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Everything posted by TheVat

  1. Yep. Too many labor-saving devices to the point that we suffer physical ailments as a result of underusing our bodies. And too many "hidden costs" that lurk behind all our amazing comforts. We don't pay directly the ecological costs or cleanup costs when we buy a product, usually. There was some famous activist in The Netherlands back in the sixties who wanted to give everyone a free bicycle. I liked that idea, but I knew he was going to have little success in selling it, as a daily use device, to most people.
  2. Erm, I was referring to fire codes and stove regs to prevent houses burning down, not preventing some using of wood as fuel. I meant safe installation and design of woodburning stoves and fireplaces, so that the carbon fixed in house structures (as Studiot referenced) would stay there. In terms of a home's main heat source, however, then yes wood is not so great given that its combustion is far less efficient than NG and can lead to overharvesting of woodlots and profiteering.
  3. Yep. I lean towards China as having a natural geopolitical interest in Taiwan. And if the US can think that what was an independent Polynesian kingdom until 1898, Hawaii, 2000 miles offshore, stolen by western businessmen, is somehow under US sovereignty, then it's hard to see how we can deny another nation's claim to an island 80 miles off their shore that was long part of them (going back to the 1600s) ,and is 95% Han ethnically. It would be like China telling us we can't claim Nantucket.
  4. Plus one to the whole post, and in particular that you mentioned timber construction as a carbon fixer. Unfortunately this is more true in the UK and EU where homes are preserved much longer than in the USA. The tendency to demolish old houses and buildings with good timber, and then fail to reuse it, is painful to behold. I have participated locally in recycling demolition wood and using some myself in renovation projects. This carbon fixing is also a reason to support strong fire codes and regulation of woodstoves and hearths. Also, subsidize renovation by governments, encouraging that option over just bulldozing.
  5. I clearly need to use the winky emoji. The lychee nuts was a bit of dry humor. I am not sure that China, which needs healthy trade with us, would use annexation to put a crimp in our chip supply. If they want to do that, they are already positioned to do so.
  6. Our commitment to Taiwan, a smallish island that exports lychee nuts and which is snugged up next to China (Mike Phelps could probably swim out there), seems shaky at best. The loss would be more symbolic than strategic is my guess. Ukraine, with its central location, and having major NG and mineral resources, and being one of the planet's major grain exporters, and having received some serious commitments from the US and European allies, and being headed towards NATO membership, might be a more significant bone of contention, and maybe even rise above our domestic catnip issues. It will be ugly when it heats up. But I'm not scanning the real estate ads in Auckland yet. Maybe I should.
  7. Well, I was going to reply to Mack, but Pete seems to have covered my points with remarkable thoroughness. My reply was something like quick release by forest clearance is the main problem. And oceans, which lose carbon storing capacity as they rise in temperature and lose phytoplankton and seagrass, cannot pick up the slack. @mistermack @Peterkin
  8. Does this trolley travel forward on rails composed of ferrous metal? And does the propulsion system in any way involve magnets?
  9. Not a 2D curvature. The rubber sheet analogy removes two dimensions of 4D spacetime. And spacetime is not embedded in a higher dimensional extended 5D space, whereas the 2D sheet is in 3D space. It is a very limited and shallow analogy which just gives one conceptual piece of the puzzle. We cannot visualize a 4D curvature so easily.
  10. I live in a windy place, and have long thought a home wind generator (plus storage) would be a useful backup when the grid fails. When it storms, the one thing you can count on is a lot of wind. Your backup system is operating at its peak when you most need it. Would be great for public service buildings and emergency vehicle fleets. If you weren't going anywhere in a storm, and had an EV garaged, it would also, if low on charge, add some overflow capacity to your house batteries.
  11. TheVat

    How to pray?

    Why am I suddenly hearing a Jethro Tull song in my head? No one knows what it's like, to be thick as a brick.
  12. TheVat

    Orch Or

    When people develop Alzheimer's, and amyloid plaques began to fill up the spaces between neurons with misfolded proteins which eventually choke and kill the neurons, the person's mind degenerates and fades away. This suggests that the mind is a physical function, a process of interacting neurons. If the mind had the option of simply going somewhere "outside of the brain" then it could convey the message "I'm still here, and still fully sentient," by stimulating surviving nerves in a person's writing hand or in the nerves controlling the mouth, lips, and larynx. In earlier stages of Alzheimer's, this free-floating mind could engage in high-level cognition and then report on those excursions during the patient's lucid moments. "I can't do basic math right now, but last night I floated away and calculated the answer to that square root you asked for yesterday. Here it is." Instead, the personality withers and fades, and the simplest mental tasks become impossible. Similarly, when people have severe strokes, some lose the ability to recognize family members. How does this happen if the intact mind is outside the brain attending to what is going on in the room? These patients can usually speak and answer questions. Why can't their free-floating mind recognize Mom and Uncle Bob and get that message across? While none of this really solves all the mysteries of consciousness and mind, it strongly suggests that what we call a mind is the operation of a physical brain.
  13. TheVat

    Fake News

    I am taking it easy. I just asked you a straightforward question: does my excerpted story from this morning, or Zapatos' story, support your assertion that CNN is nothing more than fake news? If so, what parts were erroneous or faked? If CNN is "nothing more than" fake news, then the story I quoted for you would have to be fake in some way, right? So, forget wikipedia, show me a CNN story (a news story, not an opinion piece, which would follow a different standard) that examples what you are saying.
  14. TheVat

    Fake News

    So, Arikel, I tested your statement by going to CNN this morning. I read their lead story, and verified its information at other news sources, as well as the press release issued by the Florida governor's office. The story seemed to match other accounts and the public record. Can you identify the fakery for us, in order to back up your claim? Please specify the false or misleading statements in the excerpted text. Thanks. Here are the opening paragraphs: St, Petersburg, Florida (CNN)Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to reestablish a World War II-era civilian military force that he, not the Pentagon, would control. DeSantis pitched the idea Thursday as a way to further support the Florida National Guard during emergencies, like hurricanes. The Florida National Guard has also played a vital role during the pandemic in administering Covid-19 tests and distributing vaccines. But in a nod to the growing tension between Republican states and the Biden administration over the National Guard, DeSantis also said this unit, called the Florida State Guard, would be "not encumbered by the federal government." He said this force would give him "the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible." DeSantis is proposing bringing it back with a volunteer force of 200 civilians, and he is seeking $3.5 million from the state legislature in startup costs to train and equip them. https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/02/politics/florida-state-guard-desantis/index.html
  15. Thanks Studio, Swan, Pete, Zap, et al for opening my eyes a bit on the need for chips, where they lurk, their carbon load, and pros and cons of more complex control systems. Like OldChem, I am partial to the zero bell/whistle vehicle (as his minimalist Camaro exampled). Windows that crank, gears you can shift yourself, nothing beeping or buzzing at you, steering with an actual mechanical connection to wheels, etc. Good lord I'm a dinosaur. For urban transit, the least-chip method per passenger (aside from bikes) would be light rail or similar. Which, sadly, seems to go against the grain of many Americans, and even more sadly seems to have become a partisan issue.
  16. I guess this is sort of an engineering question. I read in the Washington Post today about how the semiconductor chip shortage will hinder Biden's plans to have 50% of all new vehicles be electric by 2030. As I was reading the section below, something jumped out at me.... Two thousand chips?? I seem to be missing something here. The amount of systems that need control in an IC engine would seem to me to be greater than with the electric car which is, in its mechanical essence, considerably simpler. (this is one reason why electrics are touted as bringing an era of far less vehicle maintenance and longer road life). Basically, you have an electric motor that turns a wheel, maybe two motors, one on each drive wheel. So you need something to control the speed of the motor(s) and coordinate a differential rate of rotation on turns (what I think has been called "an electronic differential"). And you need to check your battery charge. That's about it. You do NOT need to regulate fuel mixture, coolant functions, exhaust gases, oxygen intake, firing timing, and myriad other complexities that come with our attempts to have efficient use of gasoline and long engine life as we ride a coordinated series of explosions down the road. Are we making the new electric cars overly complex? Giving the driver too much information? Over-engineering? Just curious.
  17. Are you saying our present situation (especially in the US, with its anti-vax cohort) could change the selective pressure towards more virulent strains? This seems to point to a need for the vaccinated to mask up zealously, in order to protect the anti-vaxxers from their own foolishness and/or paranoia.
  18. containers = most general meaning of word. The bulk of plastic pollution comes from the most prevalent use of plastic which is bottles, food packaging, trash bags, grocery/shopping bags, etc. Items that contain stuff. Items that people generate in multiple numbers every week. Yes, we buy dashboards and plastic handled tools, but the rate of purchase is so much lower, maybe one every few years (or decades, if you hoard tools and nurse aging vehicles the way I do), that it is a small fraction of plastimaggeddon. I think the path towards biodegradables has special merits that, say, closed loop recycling does not. Complete loop recycling, for example, is highly dependent on perfect human behavior, which seems an unscalable peak. Littering with a biodegradable, however, actually hastens its breakdown as it is more exposed to ionizing UV and other weathering. Not that I am advocating littering, mind you. :-)
  19. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/29/nurdles-plastic-pellets-environmental-ocean-spills-toxic-waste-not-classified-hazardous Is it time to further consider using containers made from biodegradable materials?
  20. Do gain of function research at a lab in Wuhan? JK Anyway, thanks for a chuckle this morning.
  21. Were you at the now defunct sciencechatforum? Henriette, or some similar name? This seems very familiar. Anyway, looking forward to more info.
  22. Yes, a slow rate of ionization means a double stranded break in DNA (the main cause of problems) can be repaired because the sister chromatid will likely have the homologous sequence intact and can be used as a repair template. And there are other evolved repair methods, too. If a large dose happens in a quick burst however, there is a much greater chance that flood of photons will leave no homologous sequence intact and then there is likely a serious genomic breakdown leading to tumors or cell death.
  23. RIP Stephen Sondheim. Listening to Sweeney Todd later. Maybe some clips from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. A towering eminence of musical theater. I recall an interview where he said his only past work that embarrassed him was the lyrics of "I Feel Pretty," because he has this young Puerto Rican immigrant using vocabulary more suited to Noel Coward. Hey, you were 27, give yourself a break.
  24. I will admit you seem well positioned to make that argument.
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