Saturday, May 15, 2021

Back to the Moon? And on to Venus, Mars and the asteroid belt

Are we finally entering the golden age of spaceflight we originally expected (way prematurely) in the 1970s?

Mars mission successes - including China's impressive lander - are adding up. Samples are being returned from asteroids (the likely source of major riches.) The new generation of space telescopes is already revealing wonders, even before the Webb goes up. SpaceX has upturned launch economics with levels of re-use that forced panicking Lockheed/Boeing/ULA to run, desperately to Blue Origin to save them...

...and Sen. Shelby is no longer able to bully Congress into forcing the "Space Launch System (SLS)" down NASA's throat, a wasteful boondoggle so typical of Shelby's corrupt party... as the Spacex "starship," if fully successful, promises the possibility that another boondoggle - sending "American footprints back-to-the-Moon!" - won't be the calamitous distraction that is seemed bound to be (details below)...

...and new satellite comms constellations may soon deliver world access to underserved people, all over the planet. And much more. We are still a civilization that does stuff. And even more important stuff down here, on Earth.

== We're Explorers! ==

A while back I linked you to the announced Phase One awards given by NIAC -- NASA's Innovative & Advanced Concepts program (I am on the advisory council). Great, pioneering projects! Some of them bordering on science fiction. Now come the Phase II and III announcements! Projects that proved themselves to have at least an on-paper or preliminary plausibility to dramatically change our access and future out there in the cosmos!

In case you missed it... here is the descent and landing video from the wonderful Martian arrival of Perseverance. Forget the audio thing! Watch the collated 3 minutes of incredible beauty and stunning competence during arrival. I did NOT expect my breath to catch at the sight of a parachute deploying, or my heart to race at footage of dust blowing from a rocky plain. 


More crucially, the "Sky Crane" landing system is now no longer a 'miracle," but a reliable system, proved repeatable. A routine miracle.


Again, we are a people who do such things. Stop letting mafiosi undermine our confidence.   


Nearly 11 Million Names of Earthlings are on Mars Perseverance...’ 

Ooooh, I did warn about this is a short story called “Mars Opposition!” 

And if you want to be scared out of your britches, give it a read in The Best of David Brin!


== Back to the moon? ==


I've been a lonely dissenter on the notion of U.S. astronauts rushing back to the dusty/useless lunar plain, when humanity for sure will be going there anyway, in the form of Apollo-wannabe tourists, eager for their coming-of-age ritual. The US+Japan+Europe can accomplish vastly more bypassing that playpen/sandbox, doing things only we can do. And yet... if Elon truly can pull off his next prodigious leap, not just perfecting Starship but especially the super-heavy BFR to launch it out there, and do the refueling thing, then I might change my mind. 


But Jeff B and Dynetics should still develop their landers... to sell to those tourists! (While keeping techs proprietary!)


What stands out is that NASA still intends for astronauts to ride to the moon aboard the SLS... there and back via Orion capsule. Using the SpaxeX ship ONLY as a lander! But of course that will happen twice... to use up the SLS monsters in the pipeline. Then Frankenshuttle can quietly fade away. 


SpaceX has built and tested a functioning prototype of the elevator that Starship would use to lift and lower astronauts to and from the lunar surface. In blazing speed. This despite getting the least development funding from NASA’s program to incentivize private companies to make lunar landers. “Known as the Human Landing System (HLS) program, NASA selected three providers – a Blue Origin-led consortium, Dynetics, and SpaceX – to build prototypes and compete for one or two follow-on contracts back in April 2020. SpaceX’s Starship offering was deemed the riskiest solution and the company received a middling $135 million to Dynetics’ ~$250 million and the “National Team’s” ~$570 million. For their ~$820 million investment, it’s unclear what exactly NASA has gotten from its two best-funded teams aside from paperwork, a few completed design reviews, and two low-fidelity mockups mostly made out of cardboard, foam, and wood. Meanwhile, in the ten months since SpaceX received its $135 million, the company has built no less than eight full-scale Starship prototypes, performed a dozen or more wet dress rehearsals and static fires with said prototypes, and performed two powered hops and two high-altitude test flights.”  ... Oh... the image in this article looks straight out of a 1950s Wiley Ley/Bonestall envisioning! 


While I am on record dissing the notion of the U.S. dropping more ambitious and rewarding ventures farther out, in favor of a rush to put more footprints on a dusty-useless lunar plain (yawn! leave that to the kiddies!) I am fine with helping US companies develop landers they can sell or rent to those Apollo-wannabe tourists!


== And on to Venus and Mars ==


The Parker Solar Probe (the author of Sundiver is an official ‘mascot) in one of its swings by Venus looked down on the dark night side... and could see through the clouds to heat-revealed surface features!  And more from Parker!  NASA’s Parker Solar Probe captured the first complete view of Venus’s dust ring, a band of particles that stretches for the entirety of the planet’s path around the Sun.


Okay, as said above, I am still giddy over the success JPL/NASA had in landing Perseverance on Mars! Only, now that they are sure of the landing system and can optimize its weight parameters, then next time – a suggestion? Next time, LAND the darn descent stage after it finishes delivering the rover! And why not? a weather station? Seismic station? Practice?


Speaking of landers: the commercial lunar vehicle Peregrine, if successful this coming July, would be the first-ever commercial American lander on the moon — and the first United States spacecraft to touch down at all since Apollo 17 in 1972.  The same company will then target 2023 to land VIPER, a vastly more sophisticated water-surveying rover near a lunar pole, conveyed moonward by a SpaceX Heavy and brought gently down by a GRIFFIN lander. 


And it’s a moonrush! Japanese lunar robotics company ispace will deliver a rover built by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the moon in 2022, via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The Japanese startup says it supply the lander that transports the rover from the moon's orbit to the lunar surface.


Okay, like we needed this?  How about a space hurricane in our planet's upper atmosphere -- made up of swirling plasma and "rained" electrons... a 620-mile-wide (1,000-kilometer) plasma mass swirling above the North Pole. It had spiral arms and lasted for nearly eight hours. An amazing image.


== The Sky is For The Rich? ==


A fine review of a new book - Test Gods: Virgin Galactic and the Making of a Modern Astronaut, by Nicholas Scmidle - about the New Space Race, in which whole nations - China, India, Russia and even NASA - struggle to keep pace with the upward momentum of a clade of billionaire dreamers and do-ers... Musk Bezos, Branson, and several you likely haven't heard of. Heinlein predicted such an era in positive terms. I portrayed plusses and minuses, in EXISTENCE. And Wil McCarthy's book Rich Man's Sky depicts worrisome, downside trends toward owner-feudalism in future space..


This article starts with an image of Branson's Virgin Galactic mother ship based at New Mexico's Spaceport America, which gets to use the USG's White' Sands tracking facilities, but is, in consequence, way out east of the town of Truth or Consequences, NM. Those buying tickets on Virgin's deluxe space super-experience will have to leave their luxury jets and ride an air conditioned bus for 40 minutes. Along the way, they will be entertained by an introductory video of yours truly, explaining in advance what they are about to see. Fiorty minutes of me blabbing about the spaceport> That alone is worth the price!


Perhaps that's the closest I will get, to riding the torch. But WTH. We are doing these fine things. That is, if we do all the fine things, including saving the planet, species, civilization, justice and a decent, worthy enlightenment.


87 comments:

Tony Fisk said...

Couple of other things to add:
- (*ahem!*) First powered flight on another planet (with mission ongoing)
- Speaking of 'boondoggles', I gather the James Webb telescope is (finally!) scheduled to launch later this year (Oct 31). Now, if it all comes together, *that* will be a feat to boast about!
- While its primary mission is Jupiter, Juno's extended mission will include studies of the Galilean moons, starting with a close flyby of Ganymede next month (June 7).

One thing the lunar sandbox might be good for: constructing a space elevator. Apart from proof of concept and cheaper transportation, it might come to have other uses in time...

Robert said...

From last post: The "War on Drugs" was had the effect of converting the US Police into something more like an army of occupation

Also had the intended effect of suppressing blacks and the left-wing anti-war hippies.

David Brin said...

My LONG term use for a lunar space elevator:
Lift the Earth! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai8x-ZqjXPc

Larry Hart said...

Electoral-vote.com today is running letters on the subject of "How to talk to Trump supporters". Here are a coupl'a insightful ones.

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Pres/Maps/May16.html#item-1

A.A. in Branchport, NY, writes: As far as how to talk to a Trump Supporter, I was waiting last night to pick up a take-out order at a redneck bar in one of the reddest towns in one of the reddest counties in one of the reddest districts in New York State. While waiting at the bar, I got involved in a conversation with a man and a woman who were admiring my dog, whom they could see from the bar. I asked the woman if she would like to pet him, and off she went, where she and Riley had a grand time admiring each other.

As soon as she left, the man identified himself to me as a Trumper by stating the election was stolen. My rejoinder, identifying myself to him, was, "Why do you say that?" And we were off...

The next ten minutes, he would give some Trumpy lie, I'd inquire why he believed that, and after his expositions, I'd state the facts. Whereupon we would move onto the next lie. Rinse and Repeat. We had an enjoyable back and forth. He didn't move from any of his positions and I never stated mine. I am quite sure he had me pegged as one of the opposition, though.

My order came, and as I was leaving he reached out his hand for a handshake while saying something like, "We're all in this together...stay well." As I shook his hand I told him, "Remember, we're all Americans. Hope to see you again, sometime."

I believe we both had a good time. I know I did.

* * *

K.W. in Madison, WI, writes: I'd think the best way to persuade Trump voters is with a reverse field maneuver—not to argue with them, but to agree with them, and agree with an untoward enthusiasm. An article in The Atlantic tells of an experiment in Israel where social scientists tried to persuade right wing Israelis in a conservative suburb to be more open-minded and tolerant of Palestinians. But instead of trying to persuade them to change their minds, they took the opposite tack and began an advertising campaign that agreed with their anger and opinions about Palestinians, but to an overwrought and ludicrous extreme. But instead of encouraging further anger, the campaign caused conservative Israelis to more tolerance and empathy.

One of the researchers explained why it worked: "No one wants to think of themselves as some angry crank," "No one wants to be lumped in with extremists or the angriest fringe." Sometimes, however, we don't realize we've become extremists until someone makes it painfully obvious."

I doubt this tactic would work with the hardest core Trump supporters (who seem quite happy being extremists and the angriest fringe), but it could get to the less committed. If progressives started running advertising promoting Trump, but with lines like "Donald Trump 2024: Believe only the lies he tells you" or "Donald Trump: Nobody can bleed the suckers better," and agreeing that the most patriotic thing one can do is hate half the country, it would get past people's reflexive rejection of any anti-Trump or GOP criticism. Nobody wants to be told that they're wrong or intolerant, but even more so, nobody wants to think they're being condescended to or being played for a fool.

Larry Hart said...

"Clang, Clang, Clang went Josh Hawley". New from Randy Rainbow. If you like that sort of thing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07II_EJlcYg

Pappenheimer said...

The O'Neill colonies I used to read about in the 80's depended in large part on using Lunar materials, along with a huge helping of utopianism. These days I can just about imagine orbital luxury hotels in their place. Given time and continued AI progress, I can see some BIG ships being built in Lunar orbit to exploit the Jovian moons and the belt, but I doubt there would be many humans on board.
Regarding the original purpose of the O'Niells, I was interested to learn that in 2016 Japan "established space solar power as a national goal" (Wiki). For a nation dependent on foreign oil and having had recent issues with nuclear power, this does make sense.

Treebeard said...

My stock saying re: space (which you’re all free to borrow) is: “space is an altar, not a frontier”. It’s a place for high rituals designed to enthrall people down on Earth, to demonstrate the power of the sponsoring agencies, to propagandize for their mythologies of progress and glorify the egos of the space moguls. It has nothing to do with colonizing space, which is an absurd pipe dream given the incredibly harsh, uninhabitable nature of the extraterrestrial world. You guys raised on your sci-fi fantasies who think that some Heinlein future awaits because you grew up watching this space propaganda are the suckers here, not the smart guys. I grew up on the same propaganda, but I'm living proof that it's possible to break its grip on your mind and learn to be satisfied with the Earth—which is not only the only home we've ever known (as Sagan put it), but the only one we'll ever know (in my humble opinion, as always).

@Larry That’s a better approach, but it still drips with arrogance. It’s baffling to me that these people show so little self-awareness of how their basic attitude—that they know what truth and morality are, and their mission is to educate and enlighten the intellectually and morally inferior—is very off-putting. An example I encounter are the signs people put in their yards signalling to the rest of us the sign-holder’s superior virtue. The Liberal Man’s Burden is just so nauseating to so many of us, you know. Turn the arrogance and desire to propagandize way down, and you may start to make progress.

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

It’s baffling to me that these people show so little self-awareness of how their basic attitude—that they know what truth and morality are, and their mission is to educate and enlighten the intellectually and morally inferior—is very off-putting.


Isn't that exactly what conservatives do? Except instead of "educate and enlighten", their mission is to "insult and anger". That's just as off-putting, but your side doesn't care, because off-putting the libs is a feature, not a bug. Your goal isn't persuasion, but humiliation.

You're saying the equivalent of, "Riots in the streets are off-putting. When you see injustice, you should protest peacefully". Ok, then why has Colin Kaeprenick been cancelled for protesting peacefully? Same dynamic here. If we try to persuade, we're arrogant and off-putting. If we insult, we're driving you into the arms of Trump. If we believe that we do know truth and morality (in a given situation), we must be wrong, because we disagree with you, and you definitely know truth and morality. Basically, "Heads you win; tails we lose." So pardon me if I conclude that the best course of action is to do what I would do anyway, no matter what Lord Julius says.

Y'know, I had posted those excerpts above as a tacit acknowledgement that Alfred and duncan and others were probably more right than I was about going high when you go low rather than admitting that we're in an actual undeclared war with each other and acting appropriately. But you've changed my mind back. We should eliminate the filibuster, pass the "For the People" act, and expand the supreme court into submission. All's fair in war, after all.

David Brin said...

A feast from Treebeard! Now that Locumranch has turned to saying true things eloquently, in order to anecdotally "prove" false things, we need a resident spouter of pure - and purely ironic! - jibber jabber.

(Clarifying criteria: I got no problems with this kind of occasional crazy-crit. In contrast, every few months I dip into the spam bucket for a chuckle. A trio of obsessives down in that sewer keeps trying tricks to worm past the filter, howling (in effect): "Comment moderation is hypocritical suppression of speech! I have a perfect right to barge into other people's homes and shit repeatedly on their rug while screaming threats!"

(Um no, you don't. And Treebeard doesn't do that. He may be crazy, but he's not an asshole. God bless the Blogger filter system!)

Ah Treebeard: "...but I'm living proof that it's possible to break its grip on your mind and learn to be satisfied with the Earth—which is not only the only home we've ever known (as Sagan put it), but the only one we'll ever know (in my humble opinion, as always)."

Any honest person asks: "We all know that some humans nurse delusions and connot admit evidence to the contrary. So. Can I prove it is my opponents who are the more-deluded ones? Have I incorporated processes to adversarially verify it's not me?"

Okay, one movement screams"fake!" at every fact-centered profession - some of them consisting of half a million or more highly skilled, brilliant and reciprocally-competive men and women who have no reason to conspire together, including science, journalism, teaching, medicine, law and the "deep state" pros who won the Cold War and the War on terror. That movement chants slogans and incantations almost in unison that are issued by a single, secretive media org daily. Hm, might it be fair to call that movement the more-delusional?

A movement that is far more tightly DSCIPLINED and lockstep and fierce in enforcing conformity and repetition of incantations?

When the other side repeatedly offers fact-checking proposals of all kinds and direct comparisons of actual outcomes, and its partisans are diverse, more numerous, far better educated on-average and get information from a vastly wider variety of sources... and when they are seen arguing often among themselves, barely holding their coalition... is is possible that, even if they share some delusions, these are not likely to get turned into a Big Brother autarchy?

"... and their mission is to educate and enlighten the intellectually and morally inferior—is very off-putting. An example I encounter are the signs people put in their yards signalling to the rest of us the sign-holder’s superior virtue. "

Oh sure. Treebeard dials into what I've long called the Underlying Redneck Complaint! The one leveraged by Fox over and over in the campaign to get reds to hate "smug smartypants fact people" instead of their class oppressors who have robbed the middle class blind. (The way a million gray-clad poor whites marched and died for their plantation-lord slave-holding oppressions in the 1860s.).

There is a core complaint! Not just neighbors with preachy lawn signs. (You reds have howled "immorality!" at us far longer; how does it feel now?) No the core plaints is clear. Universities have 'stolen' the best and brightest from rural America for 150 years AND IT HURTS!

And Blues seem incapable of parsing how that ongoing theft -- which is utterly in the interests of the nation and world and those kids - can also have been traumatizing to those small communities. Hence the depiction of cities as Mordor and blue liberalism as satanic... even though Blue America scores better in EVERY METRIC OF TURPITUDE than any red state except Utah.

No, they are the worst deluded ones. But Treebeard conveys something important under the jibber-jabber.

scidata said...

Re: uninhabitable nature

I once saw an Inuit kid on TV who was visiting southern Canada on a class trip. He was unhappily munching on some tasteless carbo fast food, a very poor substitute for high-grade animal fat. A reporter asked him if he was enjoying his trip. The kid shook his head slowly, trying not to be impolite, and quietly said, "It's too hot."

Home is where the heart is, even if it's in (or on) a new world. Would people accept a harsh, even dangerous new environment if it meant plentiful food/resources and freedom? I think history provides a clear answer.

Robert said...

Same dynamic here. If we try to persuade, we're arrogant and off-putting. If we insult, we're driving you into the arms of Trump.

A couple of decades ago, when a broad coalition of activists, public and private sector unions, and citizens marched in the Days of Action protests in Ontario, the right-wing press* claimed that the lack of violence proved that the protesters weren't serious. On the second day, when a couple of protestors hit the hood of a car with their protest signs after it drove at speed through a picket line**, the same reporters claimed that the violence proved the protestors were terrorists who shouldn't be placated.

Sometimes you just have to ignore what the other side is saying, because their arguments are just after-the-fact justifications for an opinion they already hold, and they won't change their opinion if you disprove their arguments.


*Ie. all the media except a couple of newspapers.

**Something about having to leap out of the way tends to get the adrenaline going.

Robert said...

The kid shook his head slowly, trying not to be impolite, and quietly said, "It's too hot."

He's right. Too bloody hot down here. It's over 20° and I'm bloody melting right now.

Have I recommended Angry Inuk? Excellent documentary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85Ns94DWAQ8

Daniel Duffy said...

If you want to do anything in space you are going to need lots of energy.

So start by mining out Mercury to create a Dyson Swarm of solar power satellites.

Given Mercury's total mass, that is 70% metals and 30% silicates (almost like the solid core of a much larger planet), and assuming that only 50% of the metals (35% of the total mass - Mercury has a small molten core with metals that are basically unreachable) is recoverable through mining operations (done by robots digging tunnels through the planet like a giant anti-hill):

3.30E+23 kg total
2.31E+23 70% kg metals
1.16E+23 50% kg recoverable

Further assume that each SPS is a simple, easy to construct, rugged solar collector, essentially a giant mirror concentrating sunlight on a power generator instead of fancy-pants photo-voltaic cells (which wear out in a few decades anyways), and conservatively assuming that the a mid range material density is equivalent to steel (though many metals will be used in construction), and for the sake of long term rugged durability the mirrors are 1 cm thick.

(Hubble's reflective surface is only 1/8 of a micron - 1.8 or 1/100ths of a mm - thick layer of gold but the substrate needed for structural stability is thicker)

A swarm of such SPS can cover a sphere with a surface area 237 time greater than the surface of the sun:

8.00E+03 kg / m^3 density of steel
1.44E+19 m^3 total volume of metal
1.44E+21 m^2 mirror surface area at 1 cm thick

6.09E+12 km^2 surface area of the Sun
6.09E+18 m^2 surface area of the Sun
237x the area of the sun

Assuming I didn't do a bone headed math mistake, that is mind boggling.

So put the SPS swarms in orbit at the same distance from the Sun as Mercury and their mirror area can cover 3.4% of the equivalent orbital sphere:

5.79E+07 km radius Mercury's orbit
4.21E+16 km^2 area of orbital sphere
4.21E+22 m^2 area of orbital sphere
0.034

The Sun generates 3.8E+26 j/sec. Assuming that we can capture 3.4% of that and the entire energy producing process and beamed energy operation is only 50% efficient:

3.80E+26 J / sec
1.20E+34 J / year
2.05E+32 J / year recoverable

Currently, Humanity uses 4.00E+20 j/year of energy. A Dyson swarm as described above can increase that by a factor of 500 BILLION:

4.00E+20 J / year current Human energy use
513,700,653,207 x

Then again, blocking out about 3% of the sunlight reaching earth could trigger another ice age.

It's going to need one heck of an environmental impact statement.

Richard09 said...

@Brin: Couldn't you have made a cheap ticket the fee for the 40-minute recording? I suppose the fee was too far below the ticket price.

Daniel Duffy said...

Only a tiny fraction of the Dyson swarm's energy would be beamed as energy to Earth with the rest going to power space industry and mining operations.

There's a recently developed process from extracting and making carbon nanofiber (stronger than steel and used to build everything from tennis racquets to 747s) from atmospheric CO2.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-33998697

Assuming the process is scalable we have a motherload of CO2 which can be mined from the massive (100x denser than Earth's) atmosphere of Venus located just next door.

Mercury SPS swarms can provide the power to run the factories floating in Venus' atmosphere and the rail guns that would shoot the finished carbon fiber loads into orbit. Each energy system expansion can proceed apace with the carbon mining operations with more SPS being built to further increase carbon mining operations, and so on...

The amount of carbon available is truly staggering:

4.80E+20 kg total mass Venus atmosphere
96.50% percent CO2
4.63E+20 kg total mass CO2

44 molecular weight of CO2
12 molecular weight of C
32 molecular weight of O2

1.26E+20 kg total mass of C
2.00E+03 kg / m^3 density of carbon fiber
6.32E+16 m^3 volume of carbon fiber

And we would want to remove as much carbon/CO2 as possible for the side benefits of terraforming Venus (more on that below).

What to build with all that carbon nanofiber?

How about Bishop Rings, space structures that make O'Neal Cylinders look like tool sheds? With a radius of 1,000 km and a width of 500 km it creates an inner surface area equivalent to the land area of India. Raised side walls only 3 km high contain the atmosphere (it does not need top containment, so the interior of the ring is open to space).

1.00E+03 km radius
6.28E+03 km circumference
5.00E+02 km width
3.14E+06 km^2 area

Assuming that for radiation protection, rugged long term durability to micro meteors, and resistance to tensile forces created by its gravity inducing spin the wall thickness is a solid 10 m.

We could build 0ver 2,000 of them:

3.14E+12 m^2 area
10 m thick
3.14E+13 m^3 volume
2,011 each

Together, they provide the equivalent total living area of 12 new Earths

5.10E+08 km^2 earth surface
6.32E+09 km^2 bishop rings total area
12 each

That still leaves Venus with a massive atmosphere of mostly oxygen (put up the "no smoking" signs) just right for a massive dump of frozen hydrogen to create world spanning oceans.

However, that still leaves us with a mostly nitrogen atmosphere 3x denser than Earth's total atmosphere. But since nitrogen = fertilizer the next stage can be a seed dump of genetically optimized plants, algae, etc.

Also put some carbon fiber aside for a partial sun shield at its Lagrange point and orbiting mirrors to create an artificial day/night cycle.

100 years ago both science and SF pictured Venus as a wet swampy planet. Ironically, mining and seeding would terraform Venus to look just like that - though it would take over a 1,000 years to finish the project.

Daniel Duffy said...

Meanwhile, back on Mercury we have thousands of miles of huge tunnels dug by robot mining equipment. Deep under the surface, human colonists would be safe from the sun's intense radiation and heat.

Natural lava tunnel of this type, some large enough to hold cities the size of Manhattan exist on Luna and Mars.

https://www.newser.com/story/294977/the-moons-lava-tubes-can-fit-entire-cities.html

"Looks like Mars and the moon contain huge lava tubes that offer protection from solar radiation and meteors—which makes them possible homes for future explorers, LiveScience reports. A new paper says Martian tunnels appear to range from 130 to 1,300 feet in diameter, while the moon's are 1,600 to 3,000 feet and reach such heights that the world's tallest building, Dubai's 2,720-foot Burj Khalifa, could fit inside. "Tubes as wide as these can be longer than 40 kilometers"

So a good sized Martian lava tube can hold a sky scraper and provide about 40 square kilometers of living area. (the island of Manhattan is 59.1 square km - so somewhat smaller than a major city). Maybe there is a reason Elon Musk is also into tunnel machines!

Terraforming Mercury will probably never be feasible, but we can to do the next best thing. Instead of pure terraforming (remaking the entire planet) or para-terraforming (enclosed domes on the surface) we could use these tubes for holo-terraforming

As in holograms.

Take a tube large enough to hold a large city, build a city of this size, seal the tube and pump it full of a breathable atmosphere with temperature controls and fake breezes and winds generated by blower systems, fake lakes and rivers, etc. Colonists can walk around in their shirt sleeves. You can even have weather or seasons if you want.

Then cover its walls and ceiling with photo projectors that create the illusion of living out under the open sky. VR technology should be advanced to the point where a holographic image of the sky and horizon can be generated. The illusion would be made perfect by an artificial "sun" that traverses the "sky" on a 24-day cycle and acts as a grow light for crops and plants. Except for the gravity, it's identical to home.

Terraforming and colonization done cheaply with tunnels and virtual reality.

The Truman Show - but for millions of people.

duncan cairncross said...

Bringing this forwards as it missed the last "forwards"

Re - Declaring War

It sounds like a good idea to declare war back on them

But look at the "War on Terror" -
IMHO treating the attacks as a police matter NOT NOT NOT a "War" would have worked a whole lot better!

And the same for the "War on Drugs" -
The "War on Drugs" was had the effect of converting the US Police into something more like an army of occupation

I'm with Alfred on this - not so much "easier" as "more effective"

Which is all about "Declaring War"

Is there some other description? - not "War" - that smacks of "everything goes"

I'm reminded of the phase "Her Majesties loyal opposition"

Daniel Duffy said...

OK, so as we mine out Mercury, create a Dyson swarm energy infrastructure giving use 500 billion time our current energy usage, mining the atmosphere of Venus while terraforming it and building the equivalent of 12 new Earths from carbon fiber bishops rings - what else can we be doing?

Mining the asteroid belt of course (along with the ice and rock of Saturn's rings and Jupiter's trojans). As any fan of the Expanse knows, Beltalowda should colonize Ceres instead of Mars.

The dwarf planet Ceres – long believed to be a barren space rock – is an ocean world with reservoirs of sea water beneath its surface.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/aug/10/planet-ceres-ocean-world-sea-water-beneath-surface?fbclid=IwAR08khg_i1No7z7h1b-DuIXv61imqgNH2tQ9fImx9pkzgey4g1A1mJZxBPE

Ceres actually is a better place to colonize than Mars for several reasons: easier to get to, lower gravity, and lots of water. Its launch windows are actually more frequent than those for Mars.

http://www.pagef30.com/2009/04/why-ceres-might-be-better-location-for.html?fbclid=IwAR1SnqjeLYiGcxjQVCCySbYBljfQiuSFpa_rOrlcYeu_Kle3xsknIwRSjIY

Ironically, Mars is the least valuable piece of real estate in the solar system. It's gravity well is too deep and it has nothing of value. Like Venus and Mercury we can colonize it AFTER we industrialize the solar system.

Colonizing Mars or any other planet before we fully exploit the energy and material resources of the solar system makes no sense.

Colonize Ceres to establish a hub for asteroid mining. Mine said asteroids to create new mining equipment, factories and ship yards. These include Ceres itself and Vesta.

Mine Ceres for water.

Vesta has a metallic iron–nickel core 214–226 km in diameter. A volume of 4.2 x 10^15 m^3, equivalent to 1.65 x 10^17 tons of iron. Mankind produces about 100 million tons of iron annually. Vesta is a metal motherload equal to 1.65 billion x our annual iron production.

Meanwhile, back at Luna we slam a half dozen comets into the moon and create an earth like atmosphere (which it would be able to hold for a geological time scale and can always be replenished as needed) - or just stick with lava tube cities like on Mercury.

Duncan Ocel said...

RE: Phosphorus on Earth

If there are 550 Gt Carbon biomass on Earth (wikipedia);
If Redfield ratios of 106:1 Carbon:Phosphorus hold true on average;
If phosphorus is present at an average of 1.2g/kg crustal mass and is distributed nearly homogenously through the bedrock (https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4020-8435-5_1);
If land surface area is 57 million sq km;
If bedrock has an average density of 2.6 x that of water;

Then:
550E9 Mg Carbon biomass / 106 = 5.189E9 Mg phosphorus in biomass.

57E12 sq m x 1 m deep x 0.0012 P/total mass x 2.6 = 178E9 Mg phosphorus in top 1m of terrestrial bedrock.

178 / 5.189 = 34 times more phosphorus is in the top 1m of bedrock on Earth than is present in biomass right now. Or, in other words, if we only strip mine 57E12 cubic meters of Earth rock to extract phosphorus, we can grow up 34x current biomass if we can find the space/air/water/sunlight for it. Are we going to be short on Phosphorus?

This seems analogous to the seawater gold price ceiling.

Daniel Duffy said...

Beyond the asteroids are the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Of especial interest is Saturn's moon Titan. You can mine its atmosphere for nitrogen (necessary for terraforming Mars which is completely deficient in nitrogen) but it is where you will want to set up massive computer facilities :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdpRxGjtCo0

Titan has a built in cold reservoir for cooling computer operations as defined by a Carnot heat engine efficiency (start 8:00 into the video). A heat engine on Titan runs 3x more efficiently (75%) than a heat engine on Earth with a room temperature cold sink (25%). Isaac Arthur also references the Landauer limit which allows twice as many computations at half the temperature for the same amount of energy.

Creating a cold sink by refrigeration on Earth costs more energy than you save and in space you can only get rid of heat via massive radiator panels.

So don't terraform Titan, it's much too valuable as a cold sink. Instead, cover the surface of Titan with a massive computer complex.

Daniel Duffy said...

There is an issue nobody is talking about in regards to our political discourse: people suffering long term exposure to pesticides especially in rural areas may simply be less intelligent:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/03/the-toxins-that-threaten-our-brains/284466/

>Forty-one million IQ points. That’s what Dr. David Bellinger determined Americans have collectively forfeited as a result of exposure to lead, mercury, and organophosphate pesticides. In a 2012 paper published by the National Institutes of Health, Bellinger, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, compared intelligence quotients among children whose mothers had been exposed to these neurotoxins while pregnant to those who had not. Bellinger calculates a total loss of 16.9 million IQ points due to exposure to organophosphates, the most common pesticides used in agriculture.

>Last month, more research brought concerns about chemical exposure and brain health to a heightened pitch. Philippe Grandjean, Bellinger’s Harvard colleague, and Philip Landrigan, dean for global health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan, announced to some controversy in the pages of a prestigious medical journal that a “silent pandemic” of toxins has been damaging the brains of unborn children. The experts named 12 chemicals—substances found in both the environment and everyday items like furniture and clothing—that they believed to be causing not just lower IQs but ADHD and autism spectrum disorder. Pesticides were among the toxins they identified.

Glysophosphate exposure may also be a root cause of increases in Parkinson's' among men, dementia in women and autism (though that is also a result of broadening of the diagnostic spectrum):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aw16LPVnNco

And then there are the effects of micro plastics and hormone disrupters (again courtesy of the agricultural industry) on sperm counts.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/18/toxic-chemicals-health-humanity-erin-brokovich

Plummeting sperm counts, shrinking penises: toxic chemicals threaten humanity

>The end of humankind? It may be coming sooner than we think, thanks to hormone-disrupting chemicals that are decimating fertility at an alarming rate around the globe. A new book called Countdown, by Shanna Swan, an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, finds that sperm counts have dropped almost 60% since 1973. Following the trajectory we are on, Swan’s research suggests sperm counts could reach zero by 2045. Zero. Let that sink in. That would mean no babies. No reproduction. No more humans. Forgive me for asking: why isn’t the UN calling an emergency meeting on this right now?

>The chemicals to blame for this crisis are found in everything from plastic containers and food wrapping, to waterproof clothes and fragrances in cleaning products, to soaps and shampoos, to electronics and carpeting. Some of them, called PFAS, are known as “forever chemicals”, because they don’t breakdown in the environment or the human body. They just accumulate and accumulate – doing more and more damage, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Now, it seems, humanity is reaching a breaking point.

>Swan’s book is staggering in its findings. “In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” Swan writes. In addition to that, Swan finds that, on average, a man today will have half of the sperm his grandfather had. “The current state of reproductive affairs can’t continue much longer without threatening human survival,” writes Swan, adding: “It’s a global existential crisis.” That’s not hyperbole. That’s just science.

>As if this wasn’t terrifying enough, Swan’s research finds that these chemicals aren’t just dramatically reducing semen quality, they are also shrinking penis size and volume of the testes. This is nothing short of a full-scale emergency for humanity.

David Brin said...

For some reason we’ve had a flood and I worried the spam filter had collapsed! But these seem kosher...

...and it’s mostly Daniel, (jeez man, get a blog! ;-) so…

Richard09 I have made queries about releasing a version of my video about the Spaceport.

duncan cairncross said...

Daniel - re Ceres as a destination
Ceres is still a bit to big for an initial destination
The escape velocity is 0.5 km/sec - as Ceres has water we need to be looking and finding the smallest "wet" asteroid
Not to land on but to "Park" next to - close enough to use the resources while our spinning habitat has the correct "gravity" and 24/7 access to our power supply (the sun)

duncan cairncross said...

Daniel
Intelligence and fertility

We can actually lose a bit of either before we start to panic

I'm pretty sure that doing away with the lead in petrol has had an upward influence on intelligence a couple of orders of magnitude greater than the downwards influence

Remember that the US Army had to reject half of its recruits in WW1 because of malnutrition (which will have had a HUGE effect on intelligence) and that todays younger generation outscores us old farts in every way

Losing 20% (a huge amount) in fertility is not a problem when we know that malnourished very poor people in poor countries can produce 300% or more in the way of children

Larry Hart said...

Ok, I'm just noticing that right-wing media has been excoriating Biden since the latest (not as good as expected) jobs report came out. The line they're all apparently taking is that expanded unemployment insurance is paying people not to work, so they have no incentive to take jobs again.

Which is an entirely different thing, in fact (literally) the opposite thing of what a bad jobs report implies.

I remember times when jobs were actually scarce, and an auto manufacturing plan started a new line or something and announced they were hiring. Thousands of people lined up for a crack at a few hundred jobs. In other words, demand (for jobs) outpaced supply (of jobs). By an order of magnitude.

What we've apparently got here is the diametric opposite of that situation. Jobs are opening up, but going begging for workers to fill them. I suspect that's less because the workers are "paid not to work" and more because their kids are still at home, or their elderly relatives have COVID, or they're afraid of getting COVID in the workplace. But regardless of who--Tucker Carlson or myself--is correct about the cause, what we're talking about is companies opening up jobs and having difficulty finding applicants. In other words, supply (of jobs) outpacing demand (of jobs). In other other words, the exact opposite of what the right-wingers are accusing Biden of.

They pulled this crap before, when Obamacare allowed people to leave jobs that they didn't like because they could do so and retain health coverage. When something like 2 million jobs opened up, Republicans denounced Obamacare as "job killing". Let me say that again: when something like 2 million jobs opened up, Republicans denounced Obamacare as job-killing. They're doing the same thing to Biden now. Don't fall for it.

rwc said...

One rationale for basing on the moon I had not heard before is risk management. Using the moon as a test bed for the systems we’ll need elsewhere in the system allows for a ~ 3day return to earth in the event of a catastrophic system failure.

scidata said...

Boca Chica: S T A R B A S E
- sign gets lit up
- giant cranes installed
- prep begins for orbital flights
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPqF_2xULrE

Larry Hart said...

What we probably should have already known...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Pres/Maps/May17.html#item-2

...
In other words, the vast majority of Republicans (1) like tax cuts for the rich, (2) like separating migrant children from their parents and putting them in cages, (3) like a president who wants to be a king, and (4) are hostile to a free press. If these things are really true, it means that Trump wasn't some kind of aberration. He was simply the first one to realize what 40-45% of the country wanted and to give it to them. Expect more and better Trumps in the future. If the next one is slicker and more polished—say, Tucker Carlson—he might do at least as well as Trump, if not better.

The poll also asked if Joe Biden is the legitimate winner of the 2020 election. Two-thirds of Republicans said "no" and one-third said "yes." Nevertheless, Biden lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and Trump lives in Palm Beach, FL. Even Republicans know that. So the pollsters asked what Republicans need to do to win in 2024. Slightly over half (53%) said they should come with better ideas and policies and slightly less than half (47%) said they should change voting laws to make it easier for Republicans to win.

If this poll were taken of some third-world country with a shaky track record on governance, most people would say it is not ready for democracy. Now that appears to be true of the U.S. Nearly half the country doesn't believe in the results of a free election, wants an authoritarian leader, and wants to rig the rules so their side wins in the future. Throw in the role of religion with many voters and you've got Turkey rather than Venezuela.

David Brin said...

LarryHart I think that "poll" is utterly wrong. Most MAGAs do not think of themselves as 'racist' (though of course they are, and leap to gush admiration on minority types who step up to join them in denouncing the REAL enemy... one probably never mentioned in that poll... smartass, smug, patronizing-superior university types. SImply watch Fox and compare how often they rail against those 'elites.' Vs. almost never saying OVERTLY racist things and rearely even implying them.

And the inability of dems to realize this... and to judo it properly... is the reason we haven't won yet.

Robert said...

Nearly half the country doesn't believe in the results of a free election, wants an authoritarian leader, and wants to rig the rules so their side wins in the future.

Well, Nigeria did offer election observers and you guys rejected them… :-)

More seriously, there's these comments from Kari Henriksen of the OSCE (made last November):

“The right to vote and to have that vote counted is among the most fundamental principles of democracy.

“While the United States has taken great strides toward expanding the franchise, concerns remain regarding universal adult suffrage.

“Women’s participation in politics has also increased, but there should be greater attention paid to this. In the context of COVID-19 and the rise in mail-in voting, I am concerned about attempts to restrict the counting of legally cast ballots.”

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

This is what preceded that interpretation of the poll. Nothing about racism either pro or con. The poll was about whether Liz Cheney should be removed from leadership, the reasons why Republican voters think she should be so removed, and drilling down, what "loyalty to Trump" actually involves.

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Pres/Maps/May17.html#item-2

Among Republicans who feel she had to go, the main reasons are:

+ She's not on message (69%)
+ She's wrong about the 2020 election (57%)
+ She didn't support Trump (52%)
+ Disloyalty should be punished (34%)

The poll broke down what "supporting Trump" means to people. Republicans want Republican politicians to support Trump's views as follows:

+ On economic issues (89%)
+ On immigration (88%)
+ On leadership (80%)
+ On the media (77%)


The conclusions posted above were drawn from these numbers.

Larry Hart said...

Robert:

Well, Nigeria did offer election observers and you guys rejected them… :-)


I wanted UN observers as far back as Florida-2020.

Robert said...

Question for you Americans:

How much of the January 6 and other attempts to stop the vote can be traced back to the Brooks Brothers Riot and lack of consequences for the organizers/participants? I suspect Roger Stone, at least, learned that you could interfere in an election without consequences from that affair — at least as long as you were Republican.

Larry Hart said...

Robert:

How much of the January 6 and other attempts to stop the vote can be traced back to the Brooks Brothers Riot and lack of consequences for the organizers/participants?


I think you're onto something, although I tend to think that the slide toward Republican use of mob rule has come into being as an incremental thing rather than just one instance. But the riot you cite is the first time I remember thinking, "Wait, a US government function is allowed to be halted prematurely because of a mob action--and we are just ok with that?" I literally could not believe that was allowed to stand. Imagine if, at the murder trial of a gang member, the gang rioted in the courtroom, disrupting the trial so that the jury never got to announce a guilty verdict, and then everyone went, "Ok, I guess the defendant just goes free then."

You correctly and cynically point out that only Republicans are allowed to get their way by riots, threats of violence, or actual violence. Just notice how often someone who speaks out against some Republican talking point--even, or especially if the speaker is supposed to be a Republican--that the response of "He/she received howevermany death threats," is almost obligatory.

Robert said...

Thought this might be of interest to this crowd:

Dimensions of pathological narcissism and intention to vote for Donald Trump

Pathological narcissism is a term often applied to former President Donald Trump, but it has been less examined as a potential predictor of voting for him. Trump projects a grandiose and omnipotent self-image during press conferences and rallies, and his followers at these events often respond with both effusive admiration and an inflated sense of their own self-regard, all of which are aspects of narcissism. However, while Trump’s personal narcissism has been well documented, there is little research on the narcissism of his supporters. In this study we conducted an exploratory analysis examining the hierarchical structure of pathological narcissism and which aspects of narcissism within that structure were associated with intended voting for Trump in the 2020 U.S. presidential election in a sample of U.S. residents collected online (N = 495) using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Results indicated that an eight-echelon hierarchy best fit the data. Within this hierarchy, antagonistic and indifferent aspects of narcissism within the fifth echelon best predicted intended voting for Trump over and above relevant demographic variables. These results have implications for the study of narcissism and, especially given the results of the 2020 election, the degree to which one can make use of narcissistic aspects of personality in political contests.


https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0249892

TLDR: seems that possessing narcissistic traits is a predictor for being a Trump supporter. These folks apparently reacted positively to Trump's self-aggrandizing bombast.

duncan cairncross said...

Orbital refueling

SpaceX is going to refuel in orbit - which will give them the ability to go almost anywhere in the solar system

Somebody said that the Moon was a useful target as we can lift stuff from the surface easier than earth

It occurred to me that the refueling is 80% by mass Oxygen - which could be extracted from any rocky asteroid C type or S type

The first use of an asteroid could be to move an earth crosser into earth orbit as a source for the oxygen to fuel the "Starships"

This would leave only the 20% that is methane to be launched from earth cutting down the number of flights by a factor of five - or else increasing the number of missions by a factor of five

David Brin said...

Dancan the first/best thing to harvest is waster, since it is easily solar-heated-evaporated-collected and split. We fund some studies at NASA's Innovative & Advanced Concepts program - (NIAC). So there's your source of oxygen. The question is then whether to switch to hydrogen as fuel. Or find some carbon and turn C + H into methane, which is easier to handle.

Robert see the interesting volume PATHOLOGICAL ALTRUISM which may be the mirror image of Path-Narcissism. Maybe related, though certainly a problem amonf liberals! BTW I have a chapter in tht book! Nout ABOUT me but BY me!

Alfred Differ said...

I'm actually going to agree with Treebeard a bit and suggest a lot of what we do in human-related space is somewhere between high ritual and political theater. Less so lately, though, as there is finally a crack in the altar.

Unmanned space stuff is different, but I'll agree again that most of it has nothing to do with colonization. That's mostly because we are doing science out there instead of engineering. That used to upset me more, but I get it now that it's difficult to do repeated test cycles when costs are insufferably high. That means engineering work should work outward from cis-lunar space as costs for doing so come down.

————
The notion that space is uninhabitable is utter nonsense, though. Pshaw! Most of Earth was uninhabitable to our early ancestors too, yet we found ways and spread across six continents and a bazillion little islands BEFORE we industrialized. Most of that was done even before agriculture.

In my early effort to understand how we might colonize space using lessons for how we colonized Earth, I came across a few different theories for how humans tackled the Arctic tundra especially around where the Inuit are today. Seems it was colonized a couple of times. First group did it long ago and eeked out a living… just barely. Second group displaced them by arriving with domesticated dogs. Seems dogs make a HUGE difference in the calorie demands faced by humans living up there.

Space isn't uninhabitable. We've got a lot to learn, though. It might require more than one wave of us to pull it off. We are much more capable engineers now, though, than we were before we engineered domesticated stuff for agriculture.

————
…and yah. Daniel was on a roll there. Stripping Mercury is a little ways down the road, but I admit I approached problems that way once. Eventually I picked up a big book on 'industrial materials' and learned something about what we ACTUALLY used to build this civilization. It's amazingly crude stuff mostly. Sand, gravel, salts, water, and limestone. Not going to find much of that on Mercury, but the asteroids are a treasure trove.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Dr Brin
Water would be the easiest thing to harvest
But it would appear to be a lot rarer

Would it be better to go for something abundant that will cover 80% of the need rather than something rare that would supply 95% ??

Will probably depend on just how rare the water is

Larry Hart said...

As a counterpoint to trying to catch angry murder-hornets with honey.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/rex-huppke/ct-big-lie-election-voting-fraud-trump-gop-arizona-biden-huppke-20210518-i4qgtwg7mzdrvgod44gy5kz6ta-story.html

...
But this particularly insidious lie cannot be ignored. It has become the basis for hundreds of bills restricting voting access in statehouses across the country. It is parroted relentlessly across all social media platforms and still routinely spills from the mouths of those who think they stand to gain from sowing doubt about the integrity of U.S. elections.

At a recent Republican summit in Ohio, Josh Mandel, a GOP candidate hoping to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman, said: “Let me be very clear, this election was stolen from Donald Trump. My squishy establishment opponents in this race won’t say those words. But I will.”

Those words are a lie. Mandel is a liar, and he should be ashamed of himself.
...
Shutting up about this lie or ignoring it will not work. It needs to be stomped out with facts, drowned out over the airwaves, shunned socially and politically, and ground down with a pestle of relentless pragmatism.
...
If ever there was a time for everyone, from individuals to entire news organizations, to draw an uncrossable line, it’s now. Because this lie has metastasized, and the best we can hope for is to contain the damage yet to come.
...

Der Oger said...

Robert see the interesting volume PATHOLOGICAL ALTRUISM which may be the mirror image of Path-Narcissism. Maybe related, though certainly a problem amonf liberals!

I believe Narcissists can be found in any type of human community, right or left, private, political or business. It is a characteristic helpful when clawing your way to the top; the only question is if you can control it or it controls you. Altruism and egoism are certainly qualities that help restrain each other. Or as a mentor once said to me: "It is useful to have many disorders, but only mild ones."

That said, some critique:

While you are not wrong, that is dangerously close to the horse shoe theory, served through the back door. If I debate with conservatives who come to me with the talking point that the left is as dangerous as the right, I usually point out that ...

a) 66% of all politically motivated crimes are committed by the extreme right, and
b) the Death Count of right-wing crimes is far higher
c) the impact of White Collar crimes, corruption and business-friendly legislation on democracy, rule of law and human dignity in general is not even considered to be dangerous to society at all.(Most law enforcement officers I know give in at that point, conceding that they are not properly equipped or trained to address this problem).
d) left wing extremism is usually directed against right wing extremism and conditions caused by c), whereas right wing extremism is directed against anyone who happens to be part of a minority or just objecting to fascism as a whole.
e) the praetorians are usually blind on the right eye and hypersensitive on the left one.

(Maybe I should wager, the next time.)

David Brin said...

Duncan. Water is VERY common in asteroids beyond a “snow line… maybe ¼ of the way into the asteroid belt. And many Near Earth crossing roids have plenty under the surface.

Der Oger, you can’t seriously be claiming that I deem left and right currently equivalent threats. You know better.

---My standard way of putting it---
Yes, the FAR left CONTAINS fact-allergic, troglodyte-screeching dogmatists who wage war on science and hate the American tradition of steady, pragmatic reform, and who would impose their prescribed morality on you.

But today’s mad ENTIRE right CONSISTS of fact-allergic, troglodyte-screeching dogmatists who wage war on science and hate the American tradition of steady, pragmatic reform, and who would impose their prescribed morality on you.

There is all the world’s difference between FAR and ENTIRE. As there is between CONTAINS and CONSISTS.

--- BUT! –

…Ignoring the vicious, bullying nastiness of some of our allies will not help our side, over the long run. We were damaged horribly by the political lynching of Al Frankern. And cancel culture is NOT about improving civilization but rather about aggressing and kowtowing moderate allies. And it feeds Hannity every single night.

You are absolutely wrong about the following: “d) left wing extremism is usually directed against right wing extremism and conditions caused by c), whereas right wing extremism is directed against anyone who happens to be part of a minority or just objecting to fascism as a whole. e) the praetorians are usually blind on the right eye and hypersensitive on the left one.”
Wrong about that, top to bottom!

Left wing extremism is primarily wrathful toward pragmatic-incrementalist moderate reformers.

And the right cares VASTLY less about race and the poor than bilious hatred toward nerdy fact professions.
THINK!
Which groups stand in the way of a return to feudalism?
The POWERLESS? Bah!
Their path is blocked by civil servants, scientists and the like.
Hence 90% of the denunciations on Fox are aimed at smartypants.

---
Out of curiosity I followed up my remark about my spam bucket by opening it again to see how my three troll-obsessives reacted. Wow! What a swarm of raging losers! Screeching that it's 'censorship' not to invite in rude assholes to take shits on our rug. I scrolled down and two of them appear to try it daily! Apparently unaware how pathetic it looks that they don't have more productive pastimes. I thought of copying and pasting in a couple here for your amusement. But nah. too lazy.

Sure, someday one of them will find a way past the filters and have a brief orgasm... and who cares? I'll just adjust the filter training setting. Yawn/

Der Oger said...

Wrong about that, top to bottom!

I beg to differ, but I just realized, I might have made the mistake that I might have transferred my perceptions of things of my own country to yours. If so, then sorry for that. If you want an explanation why I come to this conclusions, I will do so.

David Brin said...

Der Oger, it is plain that far-leftists OFFICIALLY hate the oligarchic/feudalist right far more than their moderate allies. But they know that the right will just shrug off their screams and even laugh while doing so. But when they scream at moderates it HURTS them! They react with dismay and stammer and apologize and that make the far-lefties feel powerful. Seriously? You don't see that happen daily?

As for the right, WHY should they be obsessed with hurting the powerless? Races, minorities, the poor? Sure, it feeds their hate-soaked ground troops a bit. But they have no inherent reason to be fundamentally racist. What they DO need is to render impotent the groups in society that stand in their way, blocking total power.

Just watch rightist media and COUNT the number of attacks on poor people or races... versus the number against scientiata, teachers, journalists, civil servants... do the experiment!

Der Oger said...

Der Oger, it is plain that far-leftists OFFICIALLY hate the oligarchic/feudalist right far more than their moderate allies. But they know that the right will just shrug off their screams and even laugh while doing so.

I can see that.

But when they scream at moderates it HURTS them! They react with dismay and stammer and apologize and that make the far-lefties feel powerful. Seriously? You don't see that happen daily?

Frankly: No. Not over here. The political culture is somewhat more sedate and less divisive. While I can see some aspects of "cancel culture", spiking up sporadically, it targets those who are divisive themselves. (The one exception I am aware of is the question whether privileged persons may speak and teach about the problems and issues of marginalized persons.)

I'd contribute it to several aspects:
Mostly neutral public broadcasting services independent from media corporations.
A consensus oriented approach vs. a competitive approach. (The conservatives just have elected the more dovish person as a chancellor candidate, the Greens have duked it out mostly in private, and the social democrats are a shelled wasteland were only one was left.)
Also, keep in mind that many what would be considered "Free Speech" is actually a crime over here - defamation, insult, show of unconstitutional symbols, incitement, defamation of the memory of the dead.

As for the right, WHY should they be obsessed with hurting the powerless? Races, minorities, the poor? Sure, it feeds their hate-soaked ground troops a bit. But they have no inherent reason to be fundamentally racist.

Some are merely racist, or at least social chauvinists.

Some, mostly the uneducated who dream of better social conditions, and easily swallow the lies that immigrants, LGBT people, the Others are responsible for their demise. To control them, the demagogues need someone their supporters can look down to push down to. They have actual fears and needs their savior promises to relieve them from. They are not necessarily racist, but may become, the more they soak up the hateful words of their Dear Leader. Even more so (sunk cost fallacy, I assume) the more reality begs them to reconsider their choices in life. By time, they might transform into the first group of people.

What they DO need is to render impotent the groups in society that stand in their way, blocking total power.

That can achieved by multiple means. One is public defamation, sure. Another way is simple replacement. Historical Example: When the Nazis took over in 1933, the Political Police already was infiltrated by sympathisants to a high degree, it was the Gestapo in all but name.

Just watch rightist media and COUNT the number of attacks on poor people or races... versus the number against scientiata, teachers, journalists, civil servants... do the experiment!

Does it help when I say I just believe you?
But maybe it is that those other battles are already lost ... and that you, Sir, are living on one of the last islands, stemming against the ever rising brown tide.

David Brin said...

Well said, Der Oger. I am glad that Western Civilization will survive in at least a few places, if we blow it over here.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

I am glad that Western Civilization will survive in at least a few places, if we blow it over here.


The final scene in Camelot. Tragic, but allowing for hope.

One of what we all are, Pelly. Less than a drop in the great blue motion of the sunlit sea. But it seems some of the drops sparkle.

scidata said...

Re: Camelot

You know, every time I see Richard Harris, especially as King Arthur or Cromwell, I see his son as Hari Seldon. Jared Harris made several appearances in Canadian broadcast media in the last few years (thanks to "The Expanse" maybe). Here he is describing how his dad snared the lead in Camelot:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnqZJaBlMWY

Tim H. said...

Yet another thing to worry about:
https://www.vox.com/2021/5/18/22440256/brett-kavanaugh-supreme-court-edwards-vannoy-abortion-criminal-justice-constitution-stare-decisis
Brett Kavanaugh may not let precedent or consistency stand in the way of what he wants.

Larry Hart said...

A Chicago Tribune columnist argues why Illinois should not unilaterally disarm in the gerrymandering war. More to the point, he uses my favorite analogy to describe the fallacy of the argument form, "If you don't like cheating, how about you don't cheat and I continue to cheat, and we'll see which way is superior?"

https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/eric-zorn/ct-column-fair-maps-designated-hitter-zorn-20210518-shioyhk6vja25jj73o3eu5aivi-story.html

Imagine for a moment that Rick Hahn, general manager of the Chicago White Sox, decides next week to hire a new field manager despite the team’s excellent start under Tony La Russa. And imagine that this new skipper is old school and, like many baseball purists, thoroughly despises the designated hitter rule.
...
So imagine that this hypothetical new White Sox manager decides to do what he firmly believes to be the right thing by opting not to use designated hitters in hopes of persuading Major League Baseball to abandon the rule.

Traditionalists would admire his commitment to principle and fans of the other four teams in the American League Central would cheer, particularly if he also refused to employ “the shift,” an increasingly popular but similarly controversial defensive tactic of placing three infielders on one side of second base.

White Sox fans? Not so much.
...
Yes, the 14-3 map favoring Democrats seems unconscionable, but only when you don’t consider that, by several estimates, Republican gerrymandering currently gives the GOP an undeserved and even more unconscionable advantage of between 16 and 22 House seats nationwide.

So for Illinois Democrats, in the name of principle and setting a good example for the nation, to cede four seats to the Republicans in a narrowly divided House instead of waiting for a national law to limit partisan influence on political mapmaking would be like the White Sox sending their pitchers to the plate and keeping their infielders in their customary spots all season instead of waiting for the American League to abandon the DH and baseball’s grandees to ban the shift.
...

Larry Hart said...

On the lighter side...

https://news.yahoo.com/arizona-auditors-backtrack-no-election-231038931.html

PHOENIX (AP) — Firms hired to run a partisan audit of the 2020 election for Senate Republicans in Arizona said Tuesday that data was not destroyed, reversing earlier allegations that election officials in the state's most populated county eliminated evidence.


"She turned me into a newt!"

"..."

"I got better."

David Brin said...

LH I used to feel as you do, that dems should retain gerry advantages in blue states. Then goppers with UTTER hypocrisy put an ant-gerrymandering referendum on the Calif. ballot, knowing Californians despise cheating and enough dems would join for it to pass. Aha! And it did! only...

...Only something weird happened. Democratic representation in all chambers + Congress went UP! Obama and all his compatriots support ending the practice in blue states.

Illihnois and Maryland must do this! If they do, then the case can be made that gerrymandering is universally a Republican grotesque cheat. Followed by my methods in my book to corner John Roberts into a p[osition he can't writhe out of, vs the foul practice.

Again it is in Polemical Judo, http://www.davidbrin.com/polemicaljudo.html

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

..Only something weird happened. Democratic representation in all chambers + Congress went UP! Obama and all his compatriots support ending the practice in blue states.


Counter-intuitive, but if it works, I'm for it.

I just don't like the implication that blue states somehow owe a level of fairness that red states don't even give lip service to any more.

Larry Hart said...

...oh, and the main reason I posted that Eric Zorn excerpt above is that he actually made use of the Designated Hitter rule as an example of how you had better play by the rules that others play by rather than the rules you wish they'd play by.

Metaphorically, Republicans accuse Democrats of hypocrisy when they use a designated hitter in their lineup even as they assert that the DH rule should be retired.

scidata said...

Re: Starship

First SuperHeavy booster appears blue. Probably just how the light hits the steel, and not a political statement. Plan is for a capture - mount next Starship - refuel - relaunch cycle of 1 hour, allowing multiple flights per day. So just one or two boosters would be enough to keep the line moving. Production would focus on Raptors and Starships. No mention of plans, or even need, for astronauts right now.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

You don't owe it to them.
You owe it to yourselves.
[...and the rest of us]

Gerrymandering is like living with a pernicious parasite. Doing what is necessary to kill it is scary and potentially dangerous, but the reward for success is huge.


I would add one thing, though. We ALSO shifted to a jungle primary system. I'd recommend ranked-choice instead. Destroying gerrymandering here in CA DID extinguish a lot of safe GOP seats (Dems too), but the change to our primary system made it embarrassingly clear how despised Republicans were in some districts. Instead of a Dem running 'unopposed' in November, the GOP simply couldn't get on the Nov ballot. It goes the other way in a few districts, but not many.


Do yourselves a favor and purge the parasite. Your Democrats will NOT want to do that, so be prepared for a fight. Their arguments include the DH rule and the one that translates as 'better the enemy you know'.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

You owe it to yourselves.
[...and the rest of us]


I owe it to us to stand for fair play, and to still be the good guys when we win.

I also owe it to us to limit the number of Republicans in Congress. Those two debts conflict.

Just sayin'


I would add one thing, though. We ALSO shifted to a jungle primary system. I'd recommend ranked-choice instead.


Yeah, your jungle primary system is working so far, but there's the danger of enough liberals splitting the vote such that two Republicans end up in the finals.


Do yourselves a favor and purge the parasite. Your Democrats will NOT want to do that, so be prepared for a fight. Their arguments include the DH rule and the one that translates as 'better the enemy you know'.


Well, my current position is that I'm rooting for continued Democratic gerrymandering, but if the other side prevails, I'll quietly hope for the situation you and Dr Brin describe.

Oh, and I've never heard anyone other than me make the Designated Hitter Rule analogy until now.

David Brin said...

And a fine analogy it is.

Pappenheimer said...

Just got off work and my tired eyes read "Designated Hitler Rule"...

At least it would ensure that Republicans had a 1 Hitler Limit

Paul451 said...

DH rule:

Given that I have trouble understanding the nuances of sports in my own country, let alone yours, I'm kind of pushing things here, but...

The DH rules seems like it's almost universally desired by teams. The teams in the other league (National?) have been trying get their league to introduce it. The old system puts pitchers at specific risk of injury while running bases, it encourages basemen (?) to play rough with opposition pitchers, and therefore encourages teams to manipulate other rules (such as feigning injury to allow a substitute runner) to avoid putting their own pitchers at risk. Whereas the new system was just openly applied across all teams in the league, and puts everyone on an equal footing.

So in the analogy, wouldn't the DH rule be playing the role of ending gerrymandering, or ending the filibuster, or proportional representation. And those old school coaches are therefore more like Joe Manchin, who tout "tradition" while ignoring that the game has moved on.

----

Re: Moon, Artemis, SpaceX, etc.

The short goal of returning to the moon, regardless of its value as a destination, has proven to have enormous value in exposing the failure of the old ways of doing space programs. It's shown how incompetent many other players are, including supposed New Space darlings like Blue Origin.

It makes no damn sense that you can buy a customised Panamax cargo ship to ferry a couple of guys across the bay for half the price of buying a 17-foot fishing boat or trailer-sailer. That's not how the world should work. It shows how much things have failed. Making that more obvious to more people is a Good Thing.

A longer term, more complex goal, like Mars or other deep space target, allows the old guard to continue to use slogans, animations, and handwaving claims of complexity to hide their continued failure to deliver, Makes it less obvious for much longer how far behind SpaceX they are, and how much less capable they are.

That is the game Boeing et al are playing with SLS. It's what was done did with the early Space Station program. Done with the Space Shuttle. What we've seen with JWST. When you have big, vague but seemingly ambitious goals, how do you judge whether failure to deliver as promised is incompetence or just due to the innate complexity of the goal.

For example, it's not clear how Bill Nelson will use his role to help or hinter whether NASA can continue to embrace change. But if Artemis remains the official goal, it gives him so much less room to push the program back towards how things have been done for the last 40 years, even if he wants to.

While unintentional, Artemis is a part Trojan Horse and part proof of concept to show that the game has changed. If it works, NASA can safely hand over "easy" tasks to commercial operators and just rent seats and cargo-space to enable them to explore new things. (Archaeologists don't build planes or trucks to reach field sites, why should planetary geologists build rockets.)

Even if the things they do on the moon end up being worthless, Artemis is the waste we need now to avoid vastly more waste in the future.

Larry Hart said...

Pappenheimer:

Just got off work and my tired eyes read "Designated Hitler Rule"..


I wish I had said that. :)

Paul451:

The DH rules seems like it's almost universally desired by teams.
...
So in the analogy, wouldn't the DH rule be playing the role of ending gerrymandering, or ending the filibuster, or proportional representation.


Point taken, but the analogy wasn't about whether the rule itself is good or bad. It's meant to point out the fallacy of the pretense that each team should play by the rules it would prefer were in place to determine which rule is better. And the subsequent accusation that Democrats are hypocrites for opposing a rule that Republicans are nonetheless free to exploit.

Tim H. said...

One of the issues I suspect is affecting SLS is the concept was designed to exploit a specific pool of engineering talent that Boeing no longer has access to, either lost to the passing of time, or, as Jerry Pournelle thought, retired rather than move to the pacific northwest. Likely fairly expensive to recreate a dissipated pool of engineering talent, perhaps it'll pay off in the long run, if SLS doesn't turn out to be a carrier destroyer.

Alfred Differ said...

I've felt that pitchers on the base paths face risk that compensates a bit for the risk they create when pitching to batters. It's not like they don't hit batters now and then. 8)

Ultimately, though, I'm opposed to cheating just because the other guy cheats. Instead, take him out behind the woodshed.

Two wrongs and all that.*


* Okay. As a temporary corrective measure I get it. As a long term one, though, it leads to a messed up sense of what qualifies as justice. Ends do not justify means.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Ultimately, though, I'm opposed to cheating just because the other guy cheats. Instead, take him out behind the woodshed.


But neither the DH rule nor gerrymandering is "cheating" per se, as both are the rules of the game. In baseball, if you dislike the DH rule, you can't get an official to rule that the other team can't use it. Likewise, if you don't like gerrymandering, you can't get a court to rule that the other side can't do it.

If you're trying to get the rules changed to something you prefer, you can't do it by refusing to make use of the allowed rule and crying when the other side does. In fact, I'd argue that in this country, you can't get a rule you consider unfair to change until Republicans have reason to claim it's unfair*. Thus, Democratic gerrymandering in Illinois and Maryland might be the only thing that ever helps outlaw gerrymandering.

* If it were somehow possible for a Republican to win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote, the manner of choosing the president would be changed very quickly. Likewise, the moment Texas looks like it will go blue, how quickly do you think they'll go to proportional allocation of electoral votes?

Larry Hart said...

https://twitter.com/GregAbbott_TX/status/1395037572158603265

Texas governor Greg Abbot tweets:

The heartbeat bill is now LAW in the Lone Star State.

This bill ensures the life of every unborn child with a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.


No matter the right to life of a fetus, a woman is not a slave who can be forced into servitude as a living incubator. And to slightly misquote Dickens, if the law says she can be, then the law is a ass.

One may argue some degree of implied consent if she willingly engaged in consensual sex, but not if she was raped or if she's below the age of consent. Which is why such laws typically have exceptions for rape and incest, even in Republican jurisdictions. The Texas law just passed willfully excludes such exceptions.

TheMadLibrarian said...

Republicans across the nation are feeling history bearing down on them like a semi truck heading for a groundhog ambling across a rural road. They are desperately trying anything they believe has a chance of shoring up their power base before the old guard who supports them dies off. The younger up and coming Republicans we see now are even less savory than their predecessors; many of the current travesties of law being pushed though locally play directly on the fears of their older base, plus the new ones that have been sucked in by subtle merchandising and echo chamber propaganda.

duncan cairncross said...

Abortion

We have a "Right to bodily Autonomy" - nobody can claim a legal right to your blood or organs

That is no breathing living human being can

The "Pro-Birth" loonies would give a clot of cells MORE RIGHTS than an actual baby

TCB said...

I have largely given up commenting here. Even the trolls get a better hearing, it seems to me.

Most likely I will not live another five years, and instead die fighting fascists in America.

Not the future I wanted to see.

Paul451 said...

MadLib,
"Republicans across the nation are feeling history bearing down on them like a semi truck heading for a groundhog ambling across a rural road."

I disagree. While some of the old establishment Republicans might feel that way, for the new generation, for the rusted-on southern contingent, for the white supremacists, it must feel like the stars are aligning for them. Massively stacked Federal Courts, completely control over the USSC, Trump still able to motivate the base and prevent defections by elected reps, RW media totally in their pocket.

Sure they lost the last election, but that just motivated the state Republicans to get back on board and take advantage of the stacking of the courts to push through vote rigging laws that are beyond anything they'd dared for since the 1960s. Two years until they retake the House and Senate, four years until the take the White House.

They caused an insurrection by their rapid supporters, threatened the lives of the VP and Congressional opponents, and suffered no personal consequences. The brief moment of fear-induced-sanity by a few old school Repubs was quickly crushed and the Stolen Election lie is now party doctrine. Dems will never be allowed to win again.

The world is their oyster and they are truly free.

TheMadLibrarian said...

DH just brought up an interesting notion. Currently Congress is arguing about holding an investigation into the January 6 riots in Washington; Republicans are saying that that should only happen if other riots across the country are also investigated. Shouldn't the Washington riots be investigated by the feds anyhow, because it is not under state jurisdiction, but federal, being in D.C.?

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Talking about the DH rule is someone misleading on my part. In all honesty, I don't care how the MLB chooses to do it. I can see advantages and disadvantages, but I don't really care. I DID care that they stop intentional injuries by base runners trying to break up a double-play, but they resolved that well enough.

For gerrymandering, I do care. Remember how you wanted to use 'illegitimate' for the 2016 election and I thought it should be toned down a bit? Our roles are reversed here. Gerrymandering is a cancer that eats at the legitimacy of elections.

We've been living with this cancer for some time and will continue for a while yet, but that doesn't make the tumor benign. The problem with expanding tumors is they break things sometimes. Even if they don't, they consume a larger share of resources until you are barely alive in order to feed it.

I'm intentionally going for 'graphic' here. What is the point of an election, hmm? Is it to choose representatives for legislatures and leaders for executive offices… or is it to place a few more of our allies than the 50% needed to govern in a manner you don't find autocratic? You don't get to choose the legislators for my districts, so it can NOT be the later. Yet… we behave like it is. That's the cancer eating away at the legitimate purpose of elections in a federal system. To feed it, we simply MUST send money to Georgia to ensure they elect Senators who will ally with us though none of us live in Georgia. (Well… maybe someone here does. You and I don't, though.)

It's not just Senators. It's not just House members. It's all legislators and many executives. What should be a federal system cannot be with a gerrymandered cancer eating away at its heart.


Don't tell me that a change/fix requires we work within the cancerous system. We didn't fix things in California by making our legislators play nice. We stripped them of the power to draw the maps. No joke. Constitutional Amendment at the State level. I don't know what your options are over there, but neither party will like the idea of losing that power. Take it if you can, though. It absolutely works.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

One may argue some degree of implied consent if she willingly engaged in consensual sex

Actually No.

One thing that HAS been worked out in law is that no one may consent to make of themselves a slave.

Making an argument in Court that a woman facing a pregnancy unwillingly forced is MADE a slave will be a challenge. In cases of rape, juries are likely to agree. For accidents and other fine lines, they might not.

Once 'slavery' is established, though, it is not legally possible for any of us to consent to enter into that state. Not anymore. Such a contract cannot legally bind.

——

What they try to do is make all those choices that lead to parenthood look willing. In that context, juries WILL bind 'consenting' adults. We have a long history of this.

Alfred Differ said...

I suspect we can afford to let the investigations widen out enough to include the other riots too. When people cross state lines to engage in such behavior, there is probably room for FBI involvement.

Why not?

Let's include the '21 Tulsa Riot while we are at it.

Alfred Differ said...

Paul451,

On a happier note…

Artemis is the waste we need now to avoid vastly more waste in the future

Yah. The question for us in the NewSpace advocacy community was 'How much waste does it take to break the system?"

We are there, though not because Congress has lost it's appetite for space-related jobs programs.

We are there because SpaceX is embarrassing the Hell out of the OldSpace community and its advocates. It's not just SpaceX, but they ARE the visible edge of the cutting blade.

——

It's a really weird position for us all to be in. Lot's of us have ideas for what we want to fly up there and we go though an old process to get them funded, built, licensed, and flown. Then comes along Musk (and company) who says he will loft a multi-thousand satellite constellation to provide internet service to… everyone. Do that math we all think! That's a lot of flights! That's a lot of funding! What sane investor will sink that much into it?

Well… they've got boosters for F9 that have flown 10 times now and they loft 60 at a time. They aren't re-using stage two… yet… and probably won't… but they are obviously working on what comes after the F9. So do the math we think? Ten boosters flown ten times at sixty satellites each is… OMG!

Maybe they can't do it fast enough to get a viable ROI for investors? Except in 2021 their launch cadence is now around… once a week. Um… and they have about 1500 in orbit already?!

Oh… and they can fly humans now.




Heh. The old way dies in an embarrassed whimper.

duncan cairncross said...

About the investigation into the insurrection
The problem with letting the "Feds" investigate is that the GOP congress critters that organized it can simply ignore any subpoenas under the logic that they are part of the legislature
They SHOULD lose that argument but it would go all of the way to the supreme court and even if they did lose they could delay the investigation for years

So an actual congressional investigation is the only way

Robert said...

The "Pro-Birth" loonies would give a clot of cells MORE RIGHTS than an actual baby

Not really. They don't care about the clot of cells at all, that's just a smokescreen for controlling women.

Larry Hart said...

TheMadLibrarian:

Currently Congress is arguing about holding an investigation into the January 6 riots in Washington; Republicans are saying that that should only happen if other riots across the country are also investigated.


If the riots in Portland are properly investigated (i.e., not whitewashed), the conclusion won't be what the Republicans are after. Do they really want conclusive evidence that the protests were peaceful except for admitted Proud Boy agitators who broke windows to make the protesters look bad? Such investigations might backfire on them like all those state recounts which ended up with Biden picking up more votes than Trump.

* * *

TCB:

I have largely given up commenting here. Even the trolls get a better hearing, it seems to me.


WTF???


Most likely I will not live another five years, and instead die fighting fascists in America.


For your sake and ours, I hope you're as wrong as Ted Nugent was when he asserted that if President Obama was reelected, he'd soon be imprisoned or dead. He stayed free and alive long enough to contract COVID.

But I feel your pain. I've been ruminating a lot lately on the bit from 1984 in which Winston understands that his rebellious thoughts must inevitably lead to eventual torture and death.

* * *

Paul451:

The world is their oyster and they are truly free.


They're certainly capturing the rules of the game. The new revolution will amount to the rest of us not playing any longer.

Tim H. said...

This amused me, Bette Midler doing a passable Mary Poppins, in a good cause:
https://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2021/05/13/mary-poppins-returns-to-describe-the-current-gop/

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

For gerrymandering, I do care. Remember how you wanted to use 'illegitimate' for the 2016 election and I thought it should be toned down a bit? Our roles are reversed here. Gerrymandering is a cancer that eats at the legitimacy of elections.


Oh, we're not really on opposite sides here. When I say that gerrymandering is allowed by the existing rules, I'm making a practical assessment, not an aspirational one. Courts all the way up (down?) to the supremacist court (sic) have weighed in on the issue and basically said, "Yeah, but what're ya gonna do?" The remedy to fixed and rigged elections is at the ballot box--which is a bit of a paradox.

I know you've done admirably in California, but that's a blue state. I expect such things to happen in blue states. It will probably happen in Illinois too, eventually. Maybe even sooner. But what do we do about gerrymandering in Texas, in North Carolina, in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania? The legislatures controlled by the party whose essential value is "Use power to keep power--that's what it's for, isn't it?" is not going to give up that power, and the voters are stymied by the very gerrymandering we're talking about.

I don't have an answer.


"One may argue some degree of implied consent if she willingly engaged in consensual sex"

Actually No.

One thing that HAS been worked out in law is that no one may consent to make of themselves a slave.


There's no way I can adequately demonstrate the "Well......yeah.....but....." look on my face that I need in order to express a response.

You're expressing the view that consensual sex carries no responsibility for the consequence of the act? That's more libertarian than even I'm willing to cede. And in a country that can't even elect a Democrat as president without him being an old white man, good luck getting that position to prevail.

* * *

@TimH on that Bette Midler/Mary Poppins link,

So say we all!

Kal Kallevig said...


Surplus Energy Economics -- Other roads, part one
REALITY AND THE ROUTE TO NET ZERO



The release of a new policy document from the International Energy Agency marks a decisive stage in the evolution of the consensus around energy, the environment and the economy.

...
So here’s the equation that net zero combined with growth invites us to accept.


On the one hand, energy sourced from fossil fuels declines rapidly. On the other, physical products of energy – the inputs that we’ll need to expand Renewable Energy supply dramatically – will become available in very large amounts.


Another way to put this is that we’re planning to abandon the sunk energy invested in the carbon infrastructure, and build a replacement infrastructure at global scale, and carry on driving, flying and doing everything else that we do with energy, at the same time as we’re driving down energy supply from legacy sources.


An obvious snag here is that nobody seems prepared to tell us what uses of energy will need to be relinquished in order to free up the resources needed for physical investment at a transformational scale.

David Brin said...

Again, does anyone have a clue what TCB was talking about in that strange complaint?

duncan cairncross said...

Kal Kallevig
Why would we need to "relinquish" some uses of energy?
The resources to change to renewables are still there - I see this as a case of replacing wasteful solutions with more efficient ones
No "relinquishment" except when they are no longer needed

Tim H. said...

No clue, just speculation, the changes necessitated by "Spam-a-lot" have made conversation... interesting, sometimes feels like light speed delay in interplanetary fiction, often no conversation at all. Mind you, I think you made the best choice in your circumstances, and if this blog goes away, I'll miss it.

Pappenheimer said...

Alfred,

"...we can afford to let the investigations widen out enough to include the other riots..."

Going to have to disagree.
No, we can't. The only way the Republican Senate minority will sign off on this is if there are time constraints - they don't want Democrats putting top Republicans on witness stands close to the 2022 elections, even if Republicans get to spend equal time randomly shouting about Antifa. Given the slow pace of a government investigation, this just opens up room for scratching it all under the rug, like a kitten trying cover up its mistake.

The "other riots" had nothing to do with an attempted, and organized from above, disruption of the Federal elections process.

Did the Watergate hearings spend time on antiwar riots? (Going to have to pose that as a serious question, I was 9-11 years old at the time.)

Wow, Wiki says that Watergate hearings went on for 2 years. We'd have to break the filibuster to do the same today.

Robert said...

does anyone have a clue what TCB was talking about in that strange complaint?

Maybe your spam filter, or some other part of your blogging platform, is losing some of his posts?

About half of mine never show up. I figure it's either the spam filter or you're getting really crotchety with dissenting views. :-)

David Brin said...

Robert in your case one of the three most obsessive trolls tried to be "Robert" a few times, possibly by stealing your monisker plas a space after it. I think one of them may have also tried TCB. The filter is pretty sensitive. And I rescued you a couple of times. One reason (other than giggles) that I slum into the sewer backet, now and then.

Sorry you were a chief victim of a deeply dihonest person. But we have fewer such problems than most publiuc fora.

David Brin said...

onward

onward