Chaos Manor View, Tuesday, December 22, 2015
“This is the most transparent administration in history.”
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.
I have rediscovered the authors page on Amazon; if you have not claimed authorship of your book and there are contributors who have, one of those will be listed with link to author page, and often a bio. A boon to that author. I figured out what was happening and got some of it fixed. I’ll probably do more. It’s the first time I have thought about that author’s page in a decade or more.
Unfortunately that ate up time I should have been spending on the Avalon book, and we have a conference and lunch on that tomorrow. That means I have somewhat neglected this place. Nothing I can do about that but apologize.
We have a new system. SSD C drive and a terabyte spinning metal drive, 4K screen, experimental grade Windows 10. I’ll have more to say another time; it’s still on a shakedown cruise. I can say that Windows is shaping up nicely. They have improved the improved Office; I wish I could go back to Office 7 and stay there, particularly Word; I presume they will tune the “improved” version to make the autocorrect work like Office 7 did, but maybe not. Some of the Improvements are OK, but it’s well past my requirements; I wish they would get a good text creation editor, optimize it for that, and leave it alone; use Publisher or some fancy program for exotic formats. Sometimes you just want to write a book. Publishers do the formatting.
“The disintegration of such giant comets would produce intermittent but prolonged periods of bombardment lasting up to 100,000 years.”
RE: “The disintegration of such giant comets would produce intermittent but prolonged periods of bombardment lasting up to 100,000 years.”
1) This is not news. Astronomers have known this for years, if not decades. The Kuiper Belt and especially the Oort Cloud are likely reservoirs of just such objects as this, and are probably made up of this type of thing. After all, New Horizons is studying Pluto and its system of moons, and these are all ice bodies insofar as we can tell from the data, with precious little bits of rock thrown in — aka dirty iceballs. Slip ’em into a high-eccentricity orbit, they would get dubbed centaur comets.
2) Practicality of search is the problem. Look at what we’ve had to do just to explore the Pluto system.
3) Comet strike is a possible KT-boundary event causation, but not the most probable. That still remains the Chixulub impactor, which evidence indicates was an asteroid, not a comet.
4) The more probable means of throwing one or more of ’em inward is passage by a neighboring star, and tidal disruption of Oort cloud objects thereby. This has been a general consideration for the various extinction events over the epochs.
5) Secondary problem: we’re still speculating on the best way(s) to move a bloody asteroid. How do you move something the size of a small moon? Because yes, we are talking about objects the size of Pluto’s moons Nix and Hydra.
“The Interstellar Woman of Mystery”
We’re already experiencing “intermittent but prolonged periods of bombardment,” which we call “meteor showers.”
Clearly it _could_ be worse, but the data to show that this threat is _likely_ to get worse seem to be lacking.
A SpaceX Twofer
SpaceX’s first post-accident Falcon 9 launch is in orbit and deploying payloads.
Far more important in the long run, the F9 booster first stage is back on the landing pad at Canaveral, upright and intact, after engine-braking back down from something over 5,000 km/h at over 100 km altitude. A good day, for the company, for the industry, and for all of us who think that learning how to get off this planet affordably is important for the future of the species.
There’s plenty more hard work ahead, but this, on top of Blue Origin’s similar but less extreme booster-landing feat a few weeks ago (roughly the same height but without the large horizontal velocity) is a huge step forward. With two rival outfits both succeeding, it’s not just luck, or a stunt – we really are finally learning how to reuse space-launch rockets.
SpaceX launches rocket 6 months after accident, then lands | Fox News
It isn’t SSTO, but it achieves many of the same goals.
The next step is to either reduce structural mass of the booster to make it SSTO or develop an upper stage that is itself recoverable and reusable. I for see Ballutes playing a role in the later idea.
A neat video of 360 days of sky over San Francisco
Enjoy! The video is just under 5 minutes.
“Each panel shows one day. With 360 movie panels, the sky over (almost) an entire year is shown in time lapse format as recorded by a video camera on the roof of the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco, California”
Regards, Charles Adams
Has been selling very well, and the reviews have been good.
The Pipe Organ Desk.
Random presidential candidates
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
I read one of the comments to your blog in which an author proposed that presidential candidates be chosen by lottery. I believe there is a problem with this approach, and the name of the counterexample is Barack Hussein Obama. As in, this is what happens when a major political party nominates a person without meaningful executive experience to the white house , and he proceeds to “govern” for eight years.
The fundamental problem is that , in a world where the presidential candidates are selected by lottery, those candidates still have to run for office and win the election. That’s going to cost millions of dollars in advertisements, tv spots. The person also needs to travel from state to state “selling” him or herself, participating in TV debates, answering questions on topics like ethanol in Iowa that the average citizen doesn’t think about.
Which means that they’re going to need a bevy of handlers, pr people, airplane pilots, advertising copy writers, you name it.
I don’t believe a randomly selected person is going to be able to put together that machine by themselves. But that won’t be a problem, because the existing Democratic and Republican machines will beat a path to their door offering all those services in exchange for signing onto the platform. If the candidates are the products of the American school system, I find it unlikely they will have independently thought about these issues. Instead, the majority will simply blindly cling to whatever creed happened to be popular in their social circle at the time they were selected.
What that means is that instead of a runoff consisting of governors and senators, we’d have a political nomination of people who are the bought-and-paid-for creatures of the existing machines, people without meaningful political ideas of their own, people who make Obama look competent and well-prepared , since HE at least had national political experience as a senator before his run.
I would suggest the current system is a better solution. And will remain so, so long as the cost of running for President is as expensive as it is.
‘The study found existing models for climate change had been too simplistic and did not account for these factors.’
I’ve spent about six months of my life in China, all told, mainly in Beijing and Shanghai. Of that six months, only on two days did I see blue skies and sunshine – and those were by far the hottest days I experienced in China.
Those two sunny days, one after the other, were bracketed by darker days full of the usual Mordor-like soot. It was noticeably cooler on the darker days.
The models were designed when computers were not so good; now I have on my desk a faster machine with more memory than they had when they started climate models and chose the sizes of weather cells to use (and of course all had to be equal),
Perhaps it is new model time.
Meanwhile models are what we have; if they had better date they might find some new answers; but it is certainly time to refine the models – only they “test” the models against each other. And while temperature measuring equipment is so much better, they can’t use it to measure the past…
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.