Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Solving problems: Energy, Climate and Remaking the Planet

Here is another science posting, with lots of amazing news. But nowadays, it is impossible to do this without politics foaming over the rim. And so, to start off --

In honor of the French populace, and the favor they just did us all, can we finally get rid of their worst curse upon civilization? The insipidly misleading and lobotomizing "left-right political axis"? Given that every metric of entrepreneurial markets and creative enterprise does better under democrats, what purpose does the metaphor serve? And is there a better explanation for America's Blue-Red divide?

 Democrats held both Congress and the White House for only two of the last 22 years. Only four of the last 37. And yet, they were busy. Their salient trait is not to be “leftist” – (judge by actual outcomes) – but rather to be manic, scurrying around to address problems during their limited time in power.  Hence, we should note the science-tech actions taken just during the 2009-2011 span.

Sci-tech-related actions include the CAFÉ increases in fleet efficiency standards that Republicans claimed would “destroy the US auto industry.”  Recall that just a year earlier, the GOP opposed the federal government making secured loans to GM and Chrysler (loans that were paid back), shouting let ‘em go under!”  Those efficiency standards made all our cars vastly more economical, saving drivers billions, while reducing pollution and all of it while US autos got ever-better, safer, more luxurious and cheaper in constant dollars… oh and while U.S. carmakers made fine profits.

Likewise, several bills passed during those two years that stimulated the sustainable energy markets, so much so that we now appear to be verging on a “solar singularity.” That is the moment when the incredible acceleration of sustainable power supplies (including wind) gains unstoppable momentum. More jobs are being created in solar than have been lost in coal, by an order of magnitude. See the stats; they are quite impressive.

Following an amazing 30-fold increase in PV sales over the past nine years, the solar industry in the U.S. now employs more than 260,000 workers nationwide. That’s more workers than Apple, Facebook, and Google combined. Far more than the 80,000 still laboring in coal. This spectacular rise -- declared impossible under the bushites -- was unleashed by the democrats' brief, manic time in power -- 2009-2010 -- and protected under Obama.

It is too late for the oil sheiks and coal barons and their paid shills to stop it.  Because Adam Smith is now aboard.  There is vastly more money to be made in renewables than in fossil fuel development. Sorry dinosaurs. Sorry fossils.

Though I am still worried about resilience. A million solar homes in the US will shut down in the event of a power blackout, instead of providing islands of power for their neighborhoods.   We should not have to wait for cheap battery packs in order to fix this, when a $25 switch would suffice, in the short term.

But there’s more energy efficiency news, as TESLA Motors announces the soon-to-come unveiling of a project to make all-electric “semi”trucks to haul cargo with unprecedented efficiency.

The troglodyte lords who are trying to drag us back into feudalism, while heaping scorn upon all of the fact and knowledge castes, don’t get it.  If you guys succeed, you won’t like to see us when we’re mad.  But you’re safe. Because you will fail.

== Energy and Climate ==

"2,250 square miles of coastal Louisiana is expected to be lost" in the next 50 years. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency over the state's rapidly eroding coastline. Oh, and the US Navy is desperately worried about 12 new Russian bases on the nearly ice-free Arctic.


Tesla unveils an enormous solar farm on Kauai. Meanwhile, solar energy prices worldwide have dropped by 58 percent over the past five years.  China is currently the largest producer of solar energy in the world, while the U.S. nearly doubled its own yearly increase, with some states showing remarkable growth. In particula, New York increased its solar power use by more than 800 percent.


There's been remarkable progress in renewable energy in the U.S., with wind reaching nearly 50 percent of the country’s electric demand. “The US now joins countries like Scotland, who last year (intermittently) generated the nation’s entire electricity by wind alone, Denmark, whose installation of offshore wind turbines allowed them to power the whole country on just wind energy for a whole day, and other areas of Europe where wind power’s capacity has already overtaken coal.”

Shifting to climate: hypocrite-denialists cry: "There's not enough data to conclude humans cause climate change! It's premature!"  Not true. But okay then. Assuming that to be the case: (1) Should we DO nothing about a threat that 99% of experts believe... until it's 99.9%?  Or will you then move the goalposts to 99.99%?

(2) Do you want the data that could settle the matter? Under the Bushes, research was slashed and satellites sabotaged. But the Bushes were subtle compared to Trumpists, who have ordered NASA to drop all downward-looking missions and to banish the word "Earth."

"NASA's Earth-observing satellite programs (PACE, OCO-3, DSCOVR, and CLARREO Pathfinder), which are mostly still in development, are toast."  Yep! If you cover your eyes and ears, problems go away!  If you don't LOOK at a hypocrisy, it doesn't exist.  Try that with a bullet..

Meanwhile, 53% of U.S. Senators and Representatives are climate change deniers.  Are your representatives on this list?


== Should we “fix” climate change? ==

Record-setting weather and climate events are occurring at an accelerating pace. And yes, those who actually study these things know darned well what the cause has to be.

One certainty.  When it becomes clear that they can no longer keep moving the goal posts and obfuscating, those who spent decades in the denialist cult will suddenly proclaim: “I never said it was faked! Only that we should try to fix it!”

Fix it implies “geo-engineering,” and already sides are digging trenches along un-sapient and rigid partisan lines, as described in this article.  “Scientists are investigating whether releasing tons of particulates into the atmosphere might be good for the planet. Not everyone thinks this is a good idea.”

Notice how the author stacks the deck, making “scientists” obsessive meddlers, like in some Crichton tale, while a brave few question the rush to fiddle with the planet. When in fact, the world consensus early (perhaps prematurely) coalesced around blocking even modest geoengineering experiments, for reasons of ideological prudity.  For a much better and more extensive exploration, see The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World, by the Economist’s Oliver Morton. It was longlisted for the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize and shortlisted for the 2016 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize.

And yes, I just targeted a barb at a politically correct position of the left. As I said, that metaphor is just loopy and... wrong.

== Politics and Climate Change ==

This essay attempts to show that scientists need better tactics in explaining matters like climate change to the public.  And yet, I find the writer’s proposed methods to be little improvement:

Research also shows that science communicators can be more effective after they’ve gained the audience’s trust. With that in mind, it may be more worthwhile to figure out how to talk about science with people they already know, through, say, local and community interactions, than it is to try to publish explainers on national news sites.”

Sure, but the suggested methods are way too wimpy for this stage of a civil war, in which every fact-centered profession is under fire.  As the author himself shows:

“At a Heartland Institute conference last month, Lamar Smith, the Republican chairman of the House science committee, told attendees he would now refer to “climate science” as “politically correct science,” to loud cheers. This lumps scientists in with the nebulous “left” and, as Daniel Engber pointed out in Slate about the March for Science, rebrands scientific authority as just another form of elitism.”

This kind of tactic needs ferocious, not tepid response. I find it effective to point out that half of the modern economy is built on scientific discoveries of this and earlier generations. And that Soviet tanks would have rolled across western Europe without our advantages provided by science.

I ask whether expert opinion should at least inform public policy, even if experts prove to be wrong, maybe 5% of the time. I ask them if we should listen to the US Navy, which totally believes in climate change, given that the Russians are building twelve new bases lining the now melting Arctic Sea.

I ask why, if they demand more proof of climate change, their leaders so desperately quash the satellites and cancel the instruments and ban the studies that could nail it down.

Sure, it pleases vanity to envision that scientists - in fact the most-competitive of humans - are sniveling “grant huggers.” But if that’s so, then:

1- Where is a listing of these so-called “grants”? After 20 years, no one has tabulated a list to show that every scientist believing in climate change has a climate grant?

2- What about meteorologists?  They are rich, powerful, with no need of measly “climate grants.” Their vast, sophisticated, world-spanning weather models rake in billions from not just governments but insurance companies, media and industry, who rely on the miracle ten day forecasts that have replaced the old, ridiculous four-hour “weather reports” of our youth.  These are among the greatest geniuses on the planet… and every single one of them is deeply worried about climate change.

3- Funny thing. The Koch brothers and other coal barons and oil sheiks have offered much larger grants” to any prestigious or widely respected scientists who will join the denialist cult… I mean camp.  None has accepted. So much for the “motivated by grants” theory.

I’ve weighed in elsewhere about how to deal with this cult. 

No, it's not "left-vs-right." Not when most of the tech entrepreneurs, who made billions actually creating new goods and services (instead of via parastitism and inheritance) are almost all democrats.

No. It is about sapient self interest. Calmly appraising outcomes.  And looking at which politicians hate on science.

85 comments:

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul Revile...
as science becomes more market led, will there be a corresponding increase in misleading presentation of data?

Which market? There is more than one in play with us. There is our original one that trades in social status and the seemingly grubby one that trades in money. Both offer us incentives to mislead, so this isn’t a new problem. The solution to it isn’t new either.

We know from virtually every other area of western life that this is a problem, so, will the aim of the whole enterprise shift toward market share? At the expense of curiosity? Who would notice such a thing if it did occur? How could it be recognised? What might be some of the unanticipated effects?

Learn our current set of customs for dealing with this old problem and you’ll see they still apply. The question that remains is whether they are robust enough to deal with the newest incentives. Will we get another crop of ‘tobacco’ scientists for other fields? Apparently the answer is yes. Leaded gasoline was defended this way. Fossil carbon fuels are defended this way. What is most interesting about our past examples, though, is that we knew what they were doing at the time. Other scientists knew and said so. As long as we remain in our market that trades on social status, there is good incentive for the youngest to point out hypocrisy and flaws when they see them. Even our emeritus members get in on that game after they can’t be injured much by calling a spade a spade.

People who worry too much about us being influenced likely don’t know us well enough to know how we already deal with the dangers. People who worry too little about us being influenced likely trust us too much or think us irrelevant. Both extremes are best avoided. Science is a relatively young endeavor and still untested in many ways, but it isn’t an infant in need of swaddling. Pay attention and you’ll hear us calling each other out for bad behavior. Be careful to distinguish us from the journalists who do it too, though. Learn to read the journals where the formal callings-out occur. 8)

Unknown said...

Human nature is to fear. And hence suffer. 'Prove it wrong', yo.


@Lar, post-last: it seems Asimov anticipated solid state technology. (Doc Smith did the reverse......) But without a technological base, I see little to preserve. And in any case, only in the case of a Canticle, or Lucifer's Hammer, etc will there be few enough adversaries to push back when they storm the gates.

raito said...

Dr. Brin,

Why do they not want the studies? Because such people think in the false dichotomy of black and white.

Take the case of the Walker recall election in WI. If you signed the petition, it must be because you wanted to vote for someone else. If you didn't, it was because you supported Walker. No other imaginable possibilities, right? Imagine the gear-grinding when I suggested that someone who did support Walker could very well sign the recall election petition just so the issue would finally be settled. It was inconceivable! Talk about mentally inflexible. And it was an argument on their side, to boot!

And down in their hearts, they know what the studies will find.

Meanwhile, interesting stuff in the field of looking at life expectancy, The Journal of the AMA just published their latest findings. Not unexpectedly, it seems that smoking, being obese, and being poor makes you die younger.

Here's the link to the article:
http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2626194
and an animated gif of the results 1983-2014:
http://www.npr.org/assets/img/2017/05/08/longevity-3.gif

One bright spot: Menominee County WI, had a 8-13 year gain in life expectancy. It's still behind, but it's something. For you folks who don't know, that's largely a reservation. The Dakota reservations didn't do as well.

And gosh, those places where people live a long time? They tend to be in cities!

Anyone want to correlate this with the map of the last presidential election by county (http://brilliantmaps.com/2016-county-election-map/)? It correlates well, with some exceptions, such as the lower Mississippi.

So not only are those rotten cities stealing the rural youth, it's probably going to make them live longer, too! How horrible!

Or maybe it's debauchery that makes you live longer? (yes, sarcasm folks)

As for solar, it's in my plan. My neighbor is the guy who specifies installations for the local HVAC company. But since the feds extended the credit out to 2019, we're waiting. Because what we can get then for the money is going to be an awful lot better. And he says that he can't even get parts for systems installed as recently as 3 years ago.

David Brin said...

"Human nature is to fear. And hence suffer. 'Prove it wrong', yo..."

I remember this guy. Yeah, right. Sum up all of complex human nature in 8 words. Is there any better way to wave a flag that says: "Look at me! I'm a simplistic-dogmatic moron!"

In fact, fear and suffering are at all time lows, not just in the US but all over at least 2/3 of the world. But half of humans are non-satiable and fearful by *personality.* and hence their circumstances may be excellent, compared to all ancestors, but they will still seek the addictive pleasure of fretful rage.

As delineated here: http://www.davidbrin.com/nonfiction/addiction.html

In fact, science shows clearly that republicans have - on average - a lot more inherent fear-disgust reflex than democrats. Only fear-addicts would look around and not see that America is already great.

Fear certainly does have huge effects on the "horizons" we are able to perceive... horizons and worry, of opportunity, of mating, of imagination. I describe this interplay here:
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2015/07/altruistic-horizons-our-tribal-natures.html

A civilization with low fear and broad horizons can take on challenges. It is one that engenders science fiction.

donzelion said...

re Coal v. Solar - "Following an amazing 30-fold increase in PV sales over the past nine years, the solar industry in the U.S. now employs more than 260,000 workers nationwide."

A fact worth trumpeting. But this is premature:
"It is too late for the oil sheiks and coal barons and their paid shills to stop it."
Adam Smith doesn't choose sides, only processes. A lot of gains can be reversed, deferred, stopped entirely.

And this part bothers me:

"3- Funny thing. The Koch brothers and other coal barons and oil sheiks have offered much larger grants” to any prestigious or widely respected scientists who will join the denialist cult…"
Again, it's the lumping together of oil sheikhs with that lot. Feudalists do not easily conspire together - they stab one another in the back routinely, and see almost any gain as zero sum (esp. gains by the mass). The formal Saudi position on climate change has long acknowledged human causes and sought (tepidly) to mitigate it - provided they aren't the ones paying for it. Abu Dhabi has been one of the foremost leaders in solar power investment. China built it's solar industry in part through many hundreds of billions of dollars of oil sheikh money.

The oil sheikhs look with apprehension at shale oil/fracking, and with antipathy at the crazy Americans financed by the Kochs who embraced Trump. But they look with horror at 131 degree summers getting worse...Saudi maintained its commitment to the Paris Accords. They're not pulling the strings here, though if you know of some clandestine grants, I'd love to hear about it.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Dr. Brin wrote: "Funny thing. The Koch brothers and other coal barons and oil sheiks have offered much larger grants” to any prestigious or widely respected scientists who will join the denialist cult…"

Actually, one did take them up on that. Richard Muller, a physicist at Berkeley, and a genuine climate sceptic (as opposed to the denialists). The Kochs offered him ten million to simply canvass the accumulated literature on climate change, and using their own data, prove them wrong. A year later Muller reported back, and the results were a disaster for the Kochs. Climate Change, Muller found, was a) very real and b) overwhelmingly caused by human activities, principally carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels.

Paul SB said...

Pretty much all of modern neuroscience shows that fear and suffering are options only (in spite of what Buddhists say). Humans have two brain structures dedicated specifically to fear and its consequent anger, the amygdala (left and right versions),each about the size of an almond (from whence the name). But this is hardly all the neural real estate between human ears, and plenty of it relates to other feelings (nucleus accumbens, substantial nigra, etc.). If Unknown were correct, then Urbach-Weithe would be instantly fatal. Here's the Wikipedia on the disease of fearlessness.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urbach–Wiethe_disease

and a rather cool radio show on fearlessness that includes an interview with a person who has this disease.

http://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/377515477/fearless

Paul SB said...

Paul 451 (referring to the previous thread),
But who wouldn't want to meet a space elf, especially if she were willing to take you along for the ride into space?

Duncan (also referring to the previous thread),
While it's great that the cost of PV has come down, it would be safest to build homes with passive principles in mind. You never known when the price will change. It's like the foolishness of buying huge SUVs and overgrown pick up trucks when the cost of gas is low when you can bet the cost will go back up long before the machine is paid off. So I would keep the concrete heat sink, install a Trombe Wall and some TAPs anyway, just in case either the market, some government somewhere, or the collapse of civilization as we know it messes with the cost of PV and repair parts/maintenance.

An hour from Invercargill, hour and a half from Dunedin - would that put you near the lovely Catlins Forest (a place I have only seen pictures of)?

Jumper said...

Petroleum will be valuable for centuries rather than decades if we stop oxidizing it. When going after carbon, an understanding of our vast chemical industries is requisite. So many reactions depend on picking up an oxygen here and losing a CO2 there, all throughout the whole industrial process of the world.

Will we have a carbon (CO2, CO, CHx, etc.) tax, and when we do will we tax mulch? If we clear cut some forest and instead of shipping the low-value timber to Europe as wood chips to burn under the rubric of "renewable," let them lie on the forest floor until termites wasps, and beetles return them to the biosphere, still they'll be emitting. Demonstrably less, true. No mulch tax?

But anyway, the path to lesser emissions is long but not hopeless for oil countries. They possess a long term bond of great value.

Paul SB said...

Off topic, but here's a cartoon from The Nib someone sent me on the cheerful subject of fascism for your perusal.

https://thenib.com/strength-through-unity?t=recent

David Brin said...

Donzelion, history shows that feudal lords quickly drop all their feuds whenever the peasants or a middle class start getting uppity.

Unknown said...

@Paul SB: Hehn hehn hehn hehn hehn hehn.....dear lord.......no, mijo, I have experienced fear. I've learned beyond it. BUT, I am apprently genetically different in that I can. A recent-ish CAT scan showed normative formation.

Instinct of any creature is first to feed, then procreate, then survive. Mammals run through this at rapid speed every second. (I recommend Stephen Baxter's EVOLUTION for a plausible portrayal of this.) Primates found a niche that allowed them distraction, and humand more so, particularly through the formation and development of culture.

But the animal, the fear, luks beneath. This is why people mostly have sex instead make love. They fear intimacy. I told you I was a Valentine Michael Smith, beau, and am pretty like one as well.


@Dave: dude, why don't you set a time lock for threads. Say, two or three days. Or just take a moment to lock the previous one before posting the new one. It's a simple equation.

Unknown said...

Correction: mammals especially so, and hominids "run through this at rapid rate every second"......

LarryHart said...

Unknown:

But the animal, the fear, luks beneath. This is why people mostly have sex instead make love. They fear intimacy. I told you I was a Valentine Michael Smith, beau, and am pretty like one as well.


I don't doubt your self-description, or the fact that you represent a subset of humanity. I think you're presuming that you represent the entirety of humanity. It's like when Treebeard thinks that all people want to associate exclusively with their own race or ethnicity. Yes, some people are like that. No, not everyone is like that.

I do the same thing if I don't catch myself. I start thinking humans in general are logical and compassionate. I'm usually reminded by reality that some people see those qualities as weaknesses.

BTW, I don't get the "Dr Smith" reference unless it's from Lost In Space, in which case, I don't understand what that has to do with solid state.

Alfred Differ said...

Some of us continue on older threads so as not to interfere with the conversation on a new thread. It is a useful way to communicate trivia to a small group of us. Sometimes it also gets used as a way to keep venting about a topic when our host desires to move on. He can do so while we finish foaming at the mouth. 8)

From what I've seen, though, he doesn't really need to lock any of these threads. We move on with him and offer little value to the click-bait posters that dribble in later.

LarryHart said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/us/politics/james-comey-fired-fbi.html


F.B.I. Director James Comey Is Fired by Trump

...
“It is essential that we find new leadership for the F.B.I. that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission,” Mr. Trump wrote.
...


Words fail me.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "history shows that feudal lords quickly drop all their feuds whenever the peasants or a middle class start getting uppity."

History shows that feudal lords do all manner of different things at different times while pursuing their self interest at others' expense. Uniting against peasants/middle class? Some times, when they may gain something valuable. Stirring up peasants to weaken a rival lord and enhance their own prospects? Even more common.

America's revolution is one instance in which the feudal lords did not drop their feud when peasants/middle class got uppity. There are many, many more such examples. Indeed, most feudal lords were no better at acting in the long-term interest of their class than the average anti-science Republican. That's a reason they can unite so effectively.

Tony Fisk said...

No Larry, your Administration fails you.

Somebody needs to apply a large and well-levered pitchfork to a certain WH resident. Soon.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi PaulSB
The advantage of solar is that the panels are 30+ year assets - the exact opposite of buying an SUV!

You have - the panels
and an invertor - and a few switches and the like - the only part that is likely to become obsolete and difficult to replace is the invertor - but only difficult as in difficult to get exactly the same one - a replacement is easy to get

Passive solar design? - absolutely! That is FIRST -
never saw the advantages in a Trombe over using the floor slab - I've got to pay for it anyway so why not get as much use as possible

The Catlins are lovely - I prefer the actual coast to the forest myself - and about 40 minutes drive - but once you are there you can drive for hours - and 95% probably more is simply not accessibly by road

LarryHart said...

@Dr Brin,

I know you don't want anyone suggesting 1789-remedies to the Illegitimate foreign agent in the White House, so I'm wondering at this point, what else is there?

LarryHart said...

Donald Trump:

"I'm shocked, shocked to discover that gambling is going on here!"


Ok, that's not an exact quote, but it might as well be.

David Brin said...

LarryHart Actually, this fellow is proclaiming himself to be better and smarter and less fearful than most of humanity… while also declaring it a great achievement to have overcome his own fear. One can impute that it was a very great fear, indeed.

Comey! Walked right into it. Gave DT the excuse he needed, to try to staunch the Russia enquiry.

LarryHart said...

@Alfred Differ,

Glad to "see" you again. I hope life has settled down for you.

I do have a question for you. Now that the occupant of the White House is quashing the investigation into his own criminality, while his party in congress demonstrates they have no commitment to the truth, "Are we there yet?" at illegitimacy? Because if we're not, then it seems that all the roads and bridges and waterways which might lead there have been blocked.

LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

Somebody needs to apply a large and well-levered pitchfork to a certain WH resident. Soon.


Or at least shut down Twitter.

LarryHart said...

To fans of The Simpsons...

Sideshow Bob just fired Mayor Quimby for daring to let Sideshow Bob out of prison.

Tony Fisk said...

@Larry: "I'll be back! You can't keep the Democrats out forever. When they get back in, they'll release me and all my criminal buddies..."

That's a line I associate with Sideshow Bob. I could be wrong, admittedly, since it was a line overheard from a session of Simpson's Doom. A *long* time ago, but remarkably apt to the present day, now I think of it.

Tony Fisk said...

@Larry, never mind Twitter, I'm more worried about that lyre he's got with him.

Reparatii aragaze said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Igor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alfred Differ said...

Don't ask to shut down Twitter. We'd be doing all the would-be dictators of the world a favor. Don't like what he says there? Yah. Don't forget, though, that he is speaking what he is thinking without us having to subpoena him for it.

Words fail you? Hmm. How about 'Archibald Cox'.

Illegitimacy is still the wrong concept. Keep pushing for investigations, though, and we may get there. Basically, don't assume the social institutions have failed you. They haven't. They aren't 'designed' to prevent these kinds of things. They are better at dealing with them after they happen, so hold them to it.

On the personal front, I'm all moved now. Sore and aching and I can't find my stuff until I unpack more of it. Hair cutting equipment? Hmm... I'm getting a tad shaggy, but setting up my son's TV comes first. 8)

Unknown said...

@Paul SB, re - space elf: NOT. N-NOT NOT. (Anthrax if you wasn't privy - you know, long before everyone else was saying it.) Elves are skinny, in some cases sickly so, things. Blech. Also, I don't move ass for no chick. Dudes......


@Lar: Edward Elmer, my bro-tha. Geez. || And, huhn? If anything I'm sayin, "You a ho, I'm a spade, an we ain't NO-THIN ALIKE." Bonus points for knowin where that's from.


@Dave: I anticipated blue-collary-ness from someone, but was surprised to see it from you. I'm unusual. I'm arguably more capable in certain, arguably important, ways. Neutral, beau. Where's your Science hat in real life? Exactly. So, there you do need me to school you.


Re - not shutting down Twitter: I ain't on there, but Alfred may have a point. Time will tell. All this shit is just comedy, kids. Dark, brutal, but funny nonetheless. You want a different show - change the fucking channel.


PS: the spam is...was....back. Must be someone with a vendetta, Dave.

Unknown said...

Incidentally, I was reading the article linked below on Musk's boring machine. ((Jesus, too many inuendi there. Great stuff.)) Early on, it 'asked', 'is this going to be linked with Hyperloop?', and I said aloud, "May-beee....". And then I laughed my ass off when it showed his twitter response to the question. Maybe nothing special, but I thought it was cute.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/2/4/14508136/elon-musk-boring-company-hyperloop-tesla

LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

@Larry: "I'll be back! You can't keep the Democrats out forever. When they get back in, they'll release me and all my criminal buddies..."

That's a line I associate with Sideshow Bob. I could be wrong, admittedly, since it was a line overheard from a session of Simpson's Doom. A *long* time ago, but remarkably apt to the present day, now I think of it.


You remember it well. That was an even earlier Sideshow Bob episode than the one I've been referring to. It was during the presidency of Poppy Bush, at a time when it seemed we'd never have a Democratic president again. Although I'm thinking the must have been "You can't keep the Democrats out of the White House forever...", because both houses of congress would have had Dem majorities at the time.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Don't ask to shut down Twitter.


I wasn't really pushing for that. My sentence was a joke that didn't really work well. Too late at night, I guess, but I'll explain shortly why my posting habits are about to change (and it's not bad news).


Words fail you? Hmm. How about 'Archibald Cox'.


Anyone of more than a certain age is remembering Nixon now. Even with a certain amount of nostalgia. :) I just recently had to re-read my falling-apart issues of "Captain America" from 1973-1974 in which the masked leader of the Secret Empire is essentially revealed (without explicitly saying so) to be Nixon himself.

Illegitimacy is still the wrong concept. Keep pushing for investigations, though, and we may get there. Basically, don't assume the social institutions have failed you. They haven't. They aren't 'designed' to prevent these kinds of things. They are better at dealing with them after they happen, so hold them to it.


The point I was getting at was that the institutions by which corrections are made seem to all be compromised themselves. Congress won't impeach. The Justice Department won't investigate. These things alone don't make the president illegitimate, but they prevent us from reaching the point where you will accept him as such.

Me, I'm already convinced, so I'm turning it around--they have to convince me there's no fire amid all this smoke. If I drop a hammer on a planet with a positive gravity...


On the personal front, I'm all moved now. Sore and aching and I can't find my stuff until I unpack more of it. Hair cutting equipment? Hmm... I'm getting a tad shaggy, but setting up my son's TV comes first. 8)


I remember moving, even though the last time was over ten years ago. It's the male analogue to childbirth--afterwards, you never quite remember how painful it was, or else you'd never do it again.

Knowing that many of my books would be inaccessible, I set aside a few weeks' worth of reading material to last me through the interim. One of the books I kept in reach was "The Postman".

LarryHart said...

@Alfred Differ,

With a bit more thought, it's not even congress and the FBI that bother me so much as the 97% of Trump voters who say they'd still vote for him now. He seems to be gambling, with some justification, that he can blatantly disrupt investigations of his own malfeasance and it won't hurt him politically any more than it would if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue.

If democracy isn't going to reject this foreign element, then the body politic is broken. Referring to "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," Trump wasn't elected to run the Red Car, but to dismantle it. We The People are in the position of a corporation whose CEO acts to drive down our stock price because he is secretly shorting the company.

Paul SB said...

Duncan,

I don't see slab floor and Trombe Wall as an either/or option. If your home is concrete or masonry (the typical Trombe is concrete, but masonry works just as well) on the north side (in your hemisphere) it wouldn't be that expensive to install a sheet of glass over it. If you live in a place with a hot summer, the glass could be a series of folding panels like a sliding door so you can remove it. New Zealand is one of those places some people consider a good place to be in the event of a collapse of civilization. If that really did happen, you would want all the low-maintenance options possible.

I'm not much of a beach person, myself. Staring at a uniform blob of water doesn't do much for me, unless it is dotted with islands to look at. I'm a Colorado boy - forested mountains and little glacial lakes is where I find beauty. I have to drive at least an hour to get that where I live now...

Paul SB said...

Larry,

"...it's not bad news ..."
- does that mean you got a job? I hope so, but if it's messing with your posting habits, it's either too much work or some crazy night shift that messes with your circadian. Good luck either way!

Alfred,
Archibald Cox? We can only wish! I can't think of too many people who are in a position to play that role today, much less have the integrity to pull it off. These days no one trusts any politician, no matter how much integrity they actually have. Actuality doesn't mean much anymore.

Tony,
If I were a religious person I would be assuming the large pitch fork would come to Donald Grope post-mortem, wielded by a certain red-skinned, horned fellow with a pointed tail.

Unknown,
- Since I'm married and have children, I wasn't thinking of a space elf in those terms. But at least an elf's skinny anatomy would be a step up from my wife's. But what elf would touch me with a ten-foot pole? I'm not so arrogant to assume one would, and I'm not so photogenic to even place it within the real of possibility (there's a reason I don't bother with a profile picture...).

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

"...it's not bad news ..."
- does that mean you got a job?


Yes. Sorry, I meant to post that immediately, but got caught up with the Comey stuff.


I hope so, but if it's messing with your posting habits, it's either too much work or some crazy night shift that messes with your circadian.


No, it's just that I've been posting all day long lately, and now I may not to be able to post while working. We'll see.

Paul SB said...

Larry,

Well that's a relief!

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

I'm not much of a beach person, myself. Staring at a uniform blob of water doesn't do much for me, unless it is dotted with islands to look at.


It's the hot chicks in swimwear you're supposed to be looking at.

Paul SB said...

Larry,

Staring at hot chicks in swimwear has never been anything but a frustration for me. I would rather stare at the islands. The world has beauty in many forms, and most of them are much less degrading than the ones who wouldn't give you the time of day (even back when I was young, slender and had hair). : [

Jumper said...

It's best to take a hot chick in swimwear to the beach with you.

David Brin said...

Dang. There's something quirkily amiable about this Unknown character. Kinda twisted. But idiosyncratic ain't a crime, here. Nor is being a little devil-provocateur. Just expect the bullshit to be called same.

LarryHart said...

@Paul SB,

I was like you until I wasn't. It's why I have zero patience for guys like the one in Santa Barbara who went on a shooting rampage because he was still a virgin at 22, as if that's some sort of intolerable circumstance. I was pining for women who wouldn't have me until I was 33, and now I'm married to The Catwoman. When it happens, it happens.

But as to hot chicks on the beach, the point isn't to expect sex with them. I enjoy what Dave Sim referred to as "the aesthetic moment." Best artwork ever! When someone tells me she's a "woman engineer", I say I've always wanted to meet the people who design those. :)

raito said...

LarryHart,

Your comment reminds me of some zingers I got off while I worked the door at a local club while going to college.

In response to an 'offer' if I wouldn't check an ID:
"I'm sorry ma'am, but this job doesn't come with health insurance."

In response to another 'offer' that was starting to take up too much time:
"Can you do differential equations? No? Sorry, you're not attractive enough."

Though I admit I don't know what I'd have done if she could have done diffeqs. Maybe quizzed her or something.

I've always responded to women who say they want to be the next 'woman XXX' with 'why not just be the next XXX?'

donzelion,

Feudalists only stab each other in the back in ways that are not fatal. Take, for example, most of the 14th century, where one knight defeating another in battle just took them captive and charged his family enough to keep them out of the war for several years. It's going outside the law of arms that gets one killed. They'll gang up on you for not playing the game right. And their alliances shift constantly.

Unknown said...

@Dave: HEHN HEHN HEHN HEHN HEHN.....now that's a Dave I can love.


@Paul SB: I've been chasing girls (and women) since as early as I can remember. When I was seven, I asked the hot girl in the neighborhood if she'd be my girlfriend at her going-away party that night. She said yes, I was skeptical she'd do it, but she sure did, and kissed me every time I asked. Note I was the only member under....probly thirteen....and most were well into adult age. Nobody blinked an eye. They knew Vick I guess.

And so on. I gots so many stories. But the main point from this bit is I've long had females' confidence, and so they've told me how bad guys typically have been through the decades. They also schooled me in how to make love. That I was a natural helped matters.

Now dudes usually get all incredulous at this point. Which is why they don't get the opportunities I have. And people talk about 'open-minded'. ((By the way, Dave, I have video evidence of some of these concepts and procedures, so bring it on, yo.))

For that matter, you might come train with me. I'll get ya in shape in no time.


On a related note, even as a child I was females' champion. I always backed them up in front of other boys. BUT, I also refused females' clique tendencies, and the 'popular' girls always hated me. See, I ain't never been part o no group or community. Ain't against it. But there must be no politic. The Valentine again, you know. Incidentally, I didn't even read SiaSL till my early 30s. Didn't know the story even. I found it cute that I was an example of such a creatue.

But where does/can this all go? Utter pragmatism. Not belief in nothing, but belief not being part of one's process. And that's real Science.


PS: I don't watch TV (I occasionally watch Netflix, and 99% movies), I don't drink coffee or tea or soda, I don't condone professional sports (love to play, don't care to watch 'em), and I don't condone cologne/perfume/make-up.....there's more....but ain't that enough?

David Brin said...

donzelion you actually swallow that koolaid about chivalric knightly behavior? Those cases of capture-ransom were ANECDOTES! Sure it happened. So did knife-in-the-back assassinations, poisonings and behaviors that would make The Godfather seem tame. In fact, mafiosi and gangs are exactly parallel to and corealate with the feudal pattern that ruled most of human existence.

LarryHart said...

raito:

In response to another 'offer' that was starting to take up too much time:
"Can you do differential equations? No? Sorry, you're not attractive enough."

Though I admit I don't know what I'd have done if she could have done diffeqs. Maybe quizzed her or something.


Are you kidding? If she could do that, I'd have admitted "defeat" and accepted the will of destiny.

BTW, my wife can do differential equations. How many here can truthfully say that?

donzelion said...

raito: "Feudalists only stab each other in the back in ways that are not fatal."
If you are referring to feudalists as a class, rather than as individuals, perhaps you have an argument/observation. If you are referring to knightly conduct, capturing and ransoming another knight is far more lucrative than killing him - that is hardly a mark of chivalrous conduct. Besides, you'd find the largest quantity of battlefield captures in the 14th-15th centuries around the Mediterranean fueling galleons - where the good Christian knights of Malta traded slaves as intensively as any other pirate fleet (offering no end of fodder for Cervantes, who was himself a victim of that trade).

"It's going outside the law of arms that gets one killed."
I should think bacteria got a lot more knights of that era killed than other knights. Not because knights were chivalrous, but because bacteria was significantly more brutal.

But more broadly, my read on the 'law of arms' in the pre-Enlightenment era is that "those with armor command those without to kill one another - then ride home, drink about their heroism on the field and tell boastful stories."

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "donzelion you actually swallow that koolaid about chivalric knightly behavior?"
Think you were responding to Raito, not to me. My last post sets out the flavor of coolaid I drink. ;-)

"In fact, mafiosi and gangs are exactly parallel to and corealate with the feudal pattern that ruled most of human existence."
And that's my point, and the basis for my skepticism of any prolonged class-identity among the feudal set causing them to unite. Gangs CAN temporarily declare truces, as can feudal lords - primarily to divide up turf so they spend more time making money than killing each other. But feudalists, much like gangs, have no unifying thread that keeps them aligned with one another indefinitely...and everybody's gotta borrow money to pay and furnish the troops.

Tony Fisk said...

@Raito: I still recall our maths lecturer writing a seemingly innocuous equation on the board (long time ago) before turning to the class and booming out. "This is Bessel's Function: a term you will come to know and love..."

In light of your work experience, you might like to read Gaiman's "How to Talk to Girls at Parties", and take comparative notes.

Jumper said...

Why would a burglar want a bunch of burglars around?

LarryHart said...

Jumper:

Why would a burglar want a bunch of burglars around?


Are you asking that about the feudalists, or the hot chicks on the beach?

LarryHart said...

@Unknown,

You sound like the guy I wished I had been back in my younger years. If I weren't such a coward back then, I'd have been you. Except for the not watching tv or drinking coffee.

Jumper said...

This is wild. Waves of lava on Io.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/may/10/lava-waves-size-wales-jupiter-moon-io

I think recently it was massive geysers.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Re - the Beech - This is Southland

The girls in swimwear on beeches in the Catlins normally have their boyfriends with them - said boyfriends have teeth about three inches long! be careful of that boulder on the beach it will bite!

I nearly trod on one sprawled across the walking path - my first thought was - why has somebody dumped dead horse there?? - before I heard it breathing and realized what it was

Joking aside the wonderful thing about down here is all of this beautiful coast/forest and almost no people

Tony Fisk said...

In case you didn't realise, Duncan is not talking about human girls in swim wear, so calm down.* Californians should have a passing familiarity with the sort of beach babes in question.

*including you in the ST uniform... especially you!

Tony Fisk said...

the wonderful thing about down here is all of this beautiful coast/forest and almost no people

The Maori never got around to set up shop down there. There's a reason for this: you think Australia has scary things? Look up 'Te Namu'

Paul451 said...

Alfred,
"From what I've seen, though, he doesn't really need to lock any of these threads. We move on with him and offer little value to the click-bait posters that dribble in later."

Once again, the purpose of posting spam on sites like this is not to get us to click on it, it's to increase the Google page-rank by increasing the number of sites linking to the spam-site and thus increase their chance of appearing on the first page of results (which is worth gold.)

LarryHart,

Was it you that likened Comey to the mobster Eddie Valentine in The Rocketeer? "I may not make an honest buck, but I'm 100% American. I don't work for no two-bit Nazi."

(Wonder if Trump will nominate Giuliani as the new director. He was supposedly the catalyst for Comey's Clinton-email letter, and he's deeply entwined with the politically corrupt NY office.)

[Mandela Effect. I would have sworn blind The Rocketeer starred Brendan Fraser.]

Unknown said...

I can dig that image of coast and all from Duncan. I love that stuff....though not enough yet to travel there. Flying and all that is such a drag. Plus, people smell worse these days. Give me a Farcaster portal!!


Re - smart girls: turns me On. My girlfriend starts talking smart and I get aroused. That is, she doesn't always, as she has a 'Little' tendency - look it up - which tends to turn me the hell off - but when she speaks in her normal contralto all intelligent - MM. You know most of the strong female characters in Am TV and movies up through the 70s were deep contraltos. (I've thought of moving to Britain or Australia cos there's so many contraltos!) She's a redhead nurse, by the way. Isn't that trippy? (I think she's way too smart to be taking care of people, though.)


@Lar: mmmm, I've always seen people as people. I typically stood up for the misfit kids, too. The more the merrier, you know? The difference since the late 90s is I'm ever more particular about the kind of experience I want to have, and it's oftenly not the kind others want to have....or at least are ready for.

Coffee: yes, people are jonsers. Take coffee and liquor away and the world would stop, tumble, explode, and then erode.


@Paul451: Re - clickbait/google stats: doesn't work on me. Course, I don't search for most of what others search for. I also have ads turned off in Google, and I use adblock.

Re - The Rocketeer: Fraser was doing Encino Man (haven't seen it, just IMDB'd it). He is a sexy beast, though.

Unknown said...

PS: taking coffee and liquor away - now THAT'S an end of times SF story.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Tony

Re - Te Namu - Sandflies
I have lived a number of places
NZ is THE BEST for being able to avoid bitey beasties

Sand Flies are a pain - but nowhere near as bad as Scottish midges! - and you can avoid them!

I can work outside all day and come in with only a couple of tiny red bumps - In England I would have eaten to death
In Scotland I would have given up and come inside and in Indiana I simply could not work outside!

Tony Fisk said...

We-ell... yes, I may have overstated the sandflies a bit. Based on a trip on the Milford Track a few years back, followed by a couple of nights at a place on the SW coast.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Tony
Sand-flies are a pain - but unlike midges you can at least see and swat the beggars - midges have a wingspan of 1/4 mm

Once you get out of the trees and into a bit of wind they are gone - lovely!

Don't know how good the sprays are - so far I have taken the cowards approach and if there are sand flies - then I go somewhere else

The impression I get is that dressing (and oiling) appropriately works

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

Was it you that likened Comey to the mobster Eddie Valentine in The Rocketeer? "I may not make an honest buck, but I'm 100% American. I don't work for no two-bit Nazi."


Sort of.

What I said was that today's Republican congressmen don't even have that much integrity. As long as they got their tax cuts and deregulation, they'd be just fine with having Nazi masters. It would hardly even enter their minds to act as if they weren't.

Actually, I think a better model for the nationalist wave is Judge Doom from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". They're not buying the Red Car Line to profit from it, but to dismantle it. Because they intend to profit from the freeway off-ramps lined with cheap restaurants, motels, and "wonderful automobile dealerships as far as the eye can see!"

LarryHart said...

Unknown:

@Lar: mmmm, I've always seen people as people. I typically stood up for the misfit kids, too. The more the merrier, you know?


Back in school days, I wasn't strong or brave enough to stand up per se, but opposition to bullies has stuck with me forever, and it's one reason I despise the current incarnation of the Republican Party.


The difference since the late 90s is I'm ever more particular about the kind of experience I want to have, and it's oftenly not the kind others want to have....or at least are ready for.


I'm sure my fantasies weren't as...out there...as you imply, but in my own way I can sympathize. As a teenager, when we're "supposed" be drooling over classmates, my attention was always on the hot teachers. At sixteen, I watched the mothers of neighborhood kids and imagined they'd be open to a young guy who gave them the attention that their husbands were not providing.

Coffee: yes, people are jonsers. Take coffee and liquor away and the world would stop, tumble, explode, and then erode.


Taking something innocuous like coffee away only elevates its importance. Society would be so much more bearable if we'd just let people indulge small vices and get back to work rather than causing them to obsess over how and where to get their next fix.

Paul SB said...

Donzelion,
Just to add a little fuel to the conversation about pre-Enlightenment chivalry, one of the more memorable readings from a class on Medieval History included a description of a joust in which both combatants had been unhorsed, proceeded to batter each other with their longswords, and both fell to the ground. One of those chivalrous knights reached with his gauntleted hand underneath the armored skirt of the other, grabbed, twisted and yanked, killing his opponent. He was hailed as victor and no one batted an eye. It sounds like something you would see on Game of Thrones. Chivalry, like any moral code, was an ideal achieved by few of its adherents - most likely those would be diagnosed with OCD today. Maybe I would be, too. I have always been pretty rigid about moral issues, but you never know.

Larry,
Agreed on allowing small vices - as long as they don't jack up healthcare costs for everyone. That's the quandary. If this was 1776 when health insurance meant living close to a doctor who could saw your limbs off before they got gangrene, no biggie. Today's world is a little different. That's the moral dilemma - allowing people freedom is the right thing to do, but when freedom leads them to do things that hurt everyone, then you have another moral problem - then huge numbers of people can't get healthcare because all those free people chose to drink Super Big Gulps for breakfast, smoke like chimneys and get wasted every night after work. Ah, the quandaries! That's why we have such virulent debates - the world is complicated but people expect simple answers.

What is forbidden becomes obsession - why small-scale "savages" have way fewer children than societies where religions forbid normal and healthy human sexuality, guilt-tripping people for following natural instincts. But cigarettes aren't instinct, neither is wearing motorcycle helmets or seat belts. Prohibition was a spectacular failure, it's true, but this doesn't exactly speak to nature so much as nurture. The Muslim ban on alcohol has been much more effective. But alcohol is not instinct, it's addiction.

I think it has to be taken on a case-by-case basis, using as much appropriate knowledge as possible, disseminated as widely as possible, and let the electorate decide. Maybe in 20 or 30 years soda will be banned as the diabetes deaths mount and people start to get the message. Some will still scream that the big, evil government is treading on their rights, no matter how many people vote in favor.

Paul SB said...

Unknown,

I can see why people get skeptical of your stories. You certainly got my bull-o-meter red-lining, especially since it sounds like the same basic bluster you hear from most 15 year-old males, yo - except the bits about liking intelligent females and championing them against your more typical troglodyte (like our current president). But I won't discount the tales arbitrarily. You never know... But if you are more than 30 years old, you're a little old for this kind of bluster.

And thanks for the training offer, but it's way too late for me. It probably was 30 years ago. We're talking basket case, triple-thick wicker with Houdini-level locks and chains.

Cielo Chan Salamangkero said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Paul SB said...

Duncan,

My ideal house would start with Nader Khalili's super adobe system, because it is the perfect passive system to keep cool in the summer. But they are cold as tombs in the winter, so I would use a vaulted design that has some straight walls that could be either made Trombe (with the removable glass panels) or TAPs, which can be shut off in the summer by simply closing the vents. Ideally located on the side of some forested mountain, close enough to a major city that I can get what I need and not be a hermit, but far enough that I don't have to listen to the neighbors' barking dogs and raucous parties. Of course, on a teacher's salary this is just a pipe dream.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB to Unknown:

I can see why people get skeptical of your stories. You certainly got my bull-o-meter red-lining,

Me, I like his stories, and so I don't care if they really happened or not.


especially since it sounds like the same basic bluster you hear from most 15 year-old males, yo - except the bits about liking intelligent females and championing them against your more typical troglodyte (like our current president).


Ok, but you have to admit that's a pretty big "except".


"It turned out largely how I predicted, except that the Silly Party won."

raito said...

LarryHart,

My wife can do them. After I posted what I posted, how could a marry a woman who couldn't? :)

She's a chemist, chemical engineer, and has an MBA (for financing capital projects).

If you'll forgive another anecdote, it was extremely amusing when we bought a water softener. The sales guy asked if we knew how they worked. She started off explain about exhausted resin pellets and ion exchange. I don't think Mr. Salesman was prepared for that.

donzelion,

Capture and ransom was practically the definition of chivalry for about 150 years.

Also, 'law of arms' has a particular meaning, being a set of standards covering many, many situations that a noble might find himself in. And often, one ban find records of discussions of them. Usually in the context of contradictions. The canonical example being, "In a tournament where a knight gains the prize from his opponent if he unhorses him, and the knight strikes another whose girth breaks, leaving his opponent on the ground but still in his saddle, shall the knight gain the prize?" That's one of the simpler examples.

Dr. Brin,

Any koolaid I may have drunk was prepared for me for PhDs who have spent decades of their academic careers researching just these topics. You know, those knowledge guys you keep talking about. And a few of them I've talked to socially, though I see them far too infrequently to call them acquaintances (though we have fraternal connections). I'm certainly not talking about the various period romances whose intent was to present an idealized code of behavior as an attempt to indoctrinate the young. The guys I get my koolaid from can do things like quote household account ledgers of minor English knights. I'll take their word on these subjects over yours.

One thing I don't bring up often is that my definition of feudalism is at the same time more narrow and more deep than yours. I understand your purpose in using the word. You use it to tie certain concepts to, and that's fine. But you apply it too broadly, in my opinion. There are certain aspects of feudalism that your definition ignores. Not all oligarchic, oppressive societies (nor even those that want to go in that direction) are feudal. In the same vein, I understand your use of the word caste, even though I disagree. And even though some dictionary definitions agree with you, though not with their primary definition. I put more emphasis on 'hereditary' than you do, even admitting that very often children go into the same fields as their parents, because for me, the hereditary thing also includes not being able to enter a caste without the right ancestry.

For example, your statement about mafiosi and gangs is something I disagree with, though of the two, the mafiosi are closer. Part of the (narrow) definition of feudalism is that it is the government. Neither the mafiosi nor gangs are. That colors how they operate. For gangs, detente is not feudalism. And feudalism requires formal agreements of support, even though they're often not even remotely like what they're portrayed (much more complex, especially as one moved higher).

But arguing this is likely pointless, as I won't convince you. But it would be sad if my koolaid guys couldn't, either.

And yes, no system of conduct is universally adhered to.

Japanese feudalism is particularly bloody compared to the European version, even though they operated in a nearly identical fashion (though, I believe, from opposite causes). Those period European romances are similar to the Hagakure, in which a historical code of conduct that never was is touted as they way to be. Unfortunately, a lot of people take both the Hagakure and romances as history, which they are most decidedly not.

raito said...

(continued)
PaulSB,

You're talking about the judicial duel between Guy of Steenvoorde and Iron Herman, in 1127 over an accusation that Guy had conspired in a murder. What's germane to this discussion is that the 2 extant accounts are very different in tone. One basically says that God strengthened Herman. The other says Herman used strategy after being put on the ground. Which is more likely, do you think?

Certainly not a regular deed of arms (even a l'outance). And not that in the case of that sort of duel, the matter was considered to be finished. As opposed to the case where one knight had (outside the law of arms) killed another. In that case, even though the offending knight was in theory under the protection of his banneret, the lance stood aside and allowed the dead knight's associates to fight (and incidentally) kill that knight.

NoOne said...

Just my 2c on solar. I live in Gainesville, FL. We put 27 solar panels in 2010 (producing between 12-16kwH per day) with net metering distribution back to the town. The break even point is about now (when all the subsidies are taken into account). Think the 27 panels cover about 30-40% of the electricity costs. This has been a very positive experience. We did the roof at the same time as the solar panel installation, so we should get the full 15 years out of the panels without reinstallation.

Rick Scott and his merry band of goons have been undermining solar pretty much the entire time they've been in power. But, this has resulted in the emergence of a strong solar-based community which should pay off in terms of results in the next decade.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart,

seem to all be compromised

If ‘The Postman’ is a book you kept within close reach, I encourage you to have a bit more faith in your fellow citizens during this time. Think about the angry intelligence people who disliked how Trump stood in front of their monument shortly after the inauguration and trivialized it with talk that demonstrated he understood nothing of its meaning to them. Think about the angry FBI agents now who think the firing stinks no matter what they thought of their former director. Think about the angry journalists. Think about the angry citizens who seem to be willing to get up off their butts and march and show up at town halls and so on.

Just because Trump’s core voters are remaining loyal doesn’t mean the social institutions will be loyal to him. One must look carefully at how much of his base is involved in a particular institution to figure it out.

We The People are in the position of a corporation whose CEO acts to drive down our stock price because he is secretly shorting the company.

That’s how it looks to you, but not to Trump or his core voters. Since they are legit citizens, we have to take their beliefs for what they are. Honestly held beliefs. We’d want the same done for us and our beliefs, right?

Shorting the company.
Draining the swamp.
Lancing the boil.
Cleaning up the corruption.

Perspectives all and they cover a lot of potential shenanigans no matter who is using them.

My suggestion is that you take a deep breath and recognize that he is in the process of hanging himself. Let him.

A.F. Rey said...

My suggestion is that you take a deep breath and recognize that he is in the process of hanging himself. Let him.

Just as long as our necks aren't in the same noose with his. :(

donzelion said...

re Knightly Chivalry

Paul SB: "Chivalry, like any moral code, was an ideal achieved by few of its adherents"
I'm no expert in medieval history, but definitely expect that the codes were oversold in order to justify the special privileges enjoyed by those who could afford a suit of armor and a horse (but also used as a means of trying to constrain and limited the excesses of that group). In most of that period, that would be a tiny minority.

Raito: "Capture and ransom was practically the definition of chivalry for about 150 years."
So far as I'm aware, agreed. The fact that the Knights Hospitaller existed as a naval fleet for twice as long as they were a land-based, horse-riding, castle-guarding military force (and a major slave trading fleet at that) is almost always overlooked; the concept of a 'pirate' then was fairly vague (Christians and Muslims both defined piracy as "conduct by that other faith"). I lack a basis to dispute the existence of a 'law of arms' - though the specific example you cite makes me think of how a knight, perceiving the rule, would tie himself to a saddle so that he was never truly 'unhorsed' (only to discover that the weight of all that harness was crushing for legs, back, and ego).

Still, the structure of feudalism throughout the ages ought to entail, at least,
(1) hereditary transfer of means of wealth rather than production of new wealth (if not 'by right of succession' then de facto),
(2) power concentration in the hands of those participating in such transfers, and
(3) those with power generally offer a portion of that power to others with power in order to maintain their position through personal/familial alliances, and
(4) no/minimal alternative bases of political legitimacy.

Feudal structures are durable, because they feature both cooperation and competition within their ranks. But they are not particularly productive. Many gangs would aspire to erect feudal states (more like warlords of Central Asian vintage). Within a democracy, a sequence of gangsters would seek to subvert the allocations of power to set up parallel authority, and eventually displace and destroy alternative bases of political legitimacy to accumulate power.

Unknown said...

On the topic of governance and all: that's why I more than eagerly await some form of Iain M. Banks' Culture Minds. My future homies.


On energy-efficient quarters. Simply make aerogel far more inexpensive.


@Lar: we seem to be birds of a feather. I had pretty hot fantasies of my seventh grade history teacher, and my high school english teacher - though I never thought of their husbands.... We had the Playboy channel at home, and I was watching group stuff and all, so I would've been open to sharing. Always have been, really.

Also, I crashed pretty hard in the beginning of seventh grade, a depression that was up and down throughout late high school, and that remained in some form through about '92 when I got into music and then met my first adult love. Thrash/death metal and a sex magic witch in my life made things real interesting. That shit just fell into my lap, too.

And if only the rest of the world followed Amerstdam's example......but humans are inherent addicts, and genetic modification may be a sooner and easier method. Elective, of course, but still hella-worthwhile.


@Paul SB: if you read my last to Lar, you'll know my age range. I'm youthful, and my lingo simply issues forth. I'm adult and child-like, never a grown up. Ewww.

Second, It's not too late, man. Check this dude out: http://www.today.com/health/world-s-fittest-96-year-old-charles-eugster-shares-diet-t87956

Lastly, fitness doesn't preclude cuddling. I send you some if you haven't enough. Squish.

Unknown said...

@Lar and Paul SB - Re - fabrication: this has come to mind in the last two days. As a kid I had a friend in the neighborhood who would totally make shit up on the spot. (GREAT STUFF. Like he made up this story about there being a darker, grimmer, and slightly grizzlier version of the 1980 movie Xanadu.) And I was pretty sure it was bullshit. The other kids thought so, and I remember a discussion with them about him, "He' lies!"....and I said, 'Yeah, but so what?' Because it was all about himself, and nothing that affected us, our lives, or any interaction with him. Really he was a natural story-teller, and my imagination soared through the experience. They lost out.

LarryHart said...

raito:

LarryHart,

My wife can do them [differential equations]. After I posted what I posted, how could a marry a woman who couldn't? :)

She's a chemist, chemical engineer, and has an MBA (for financing capital projects).


Okay, you win. :)

If you'll forgive another anecdote, it was extremely amusing when we bought a water softener. The sales guy asked if we knew how they worked. She started off explain about exhausted resin pellets and ion exchange. I don't think Mr. Salesman was prepared for that.


Ok, this time I think I can beat you. My wife stayed home with our daughter when she was very young. At the time, I was relatively new at my job which was thirty miles away, and most of my colleagues were blue-collar types. After a huge rainstorm, my wife called to tell me that the backyard was flooded and the water was threatening to come in the back basement window. Had this call been from any of my male co-worker's wives, it would have been "Come home and do something!!!". But no, she had called to let me know that she constructed a makeshift siphon using a wet-dry vac and some extra PVC pipe to redirect the water around the house to the street, which was lower ground. I had not only married The Catwoman, but got McGyver in the process as well.

LarryHart said...

Unknown:

@Lar: we seem to be birds of a feather. I had pretty hot fantasies of my seventh grade history teacher, and my high school english teacher - though I never thought of their husbands....


You are of somewhat more recent vintage than I am. When I was just beginning puberty, girls and women were more mysterious, ineffable creatures than they seem to have been to guys even ten years younger than me. Also, I was skinny and nerdy way before computers became fashionable, so I understood early on that I was not alluring to the gender opposite. I hardly if ever fantasized about actual sex. What I imagined was that if a woman would let me, I'd touch her in ways that would spoil her for any other man, including the one she was married to.

If you ever saw the 1980s tv show "LA Law", specifically the episode with the Venus Butterfly, that could have been the me of my own fantasies.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Jon S. said...

What I said was that today's Republican congressmen don't even have that much integrity. As long as they got their tax cuts and deregulation, they'd be just fine with having Nazi masters. It would hardly even enter their minds to act as if they weren't."

Back in the day, late '70s or early '80s I think, DC and Marvel had one of their periodic JLA/Avengers crossovers. In this particular story, the Joker and the Red Skull were working together to take down the heroes - until the Joker realized that the whole "Nazi" thing wasn't just a put-on by the Skull, that he actually was a Nazi.

"I may be a criminal psychopath - but I'm an AMERICAN criminal psychopath!"

So what you're saying is that the GOP today has less collective integrity than the Joker...

Unknown said...

@Jon S.: EHn. Characters can be written any way - as we've seen in the last thirty years. I severely identified with The Punisher in the late 80s. Today, I might most identify with Supreme. The Punisher and THEN some.

0lRoger said...

I understand that you also follow Jim Wright (Stonekettle). This calls to me about his blog on how politics has changed. Traditional conservatives of Jimmy Carter era and now flaming liberals http://www.stonekettle.com/2011/12/everybodys-so-different-i-havent.html