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      Abbreviated rules   07/28/2017

      Underdawg did an excellent job of explaining the rules.  Here's the simplified version: Don't insinuate Pedo.  Warning and or timeout for a first offense.  PermaFlick for any subsequent offenses Don't out members.  See above for penalties.  Caveat:  if you have ever used your own real name or personal information here on the forums since, like, ever - it doesn't count and you are fair game. If you see spam posts, report it to the mods.  We do not hang out in every thread 24/7 If you see any of the above, report it to the mods by hitting the Report button in the offending post.   We do not take action for foul language, off-subject content, or abusive behavior unless it escalates to persistent stalking.  There may be times that we might warn someone or flick someone for something particularly egregious.  There is no standard, we will know it when we see it.  If you continually report things that do not fall into rules #1 or 2 above, you may very well get a timeout yourself for annoying the Mods with repeated whining.  Use your best judgement. Warnings, timeouts, suspensions and flicks are arbitrary and capricious.  Deal with it.  Welcome to anarchy.   If you are a newbie, there are unwritten rules to adhere to.  They will be explained to you soon enough.  


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About mikewof

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  1. Fire and Fury - WW II Version

    It's all sourced, but dots have to be connected. If you can think of a logical reason other than what I wrote to go to the World Cup with your weakest players, then lay it on me, Sally. And what happened days after Nagasaki with the Atomic Scientists is unprecedented. They had our Atomic program over a barrel, we had to negotiate with Japan by whatever means necessary, because the atomic scientists essentially walked out of the lab and did a sit-in. They wouldn't cooperate. That was somewhat documented in the annals of BOTAS. The Szilard Petition never made it to Truman, so after the bombs, they got forceful. And the atomic scientists who signed that petition lost their jobs ... yet days after Nagasaki, a full on movement had started.
  2. Fire and Fury - WW II Version

    I think that the history is far more sinister than that, unfortunately. Just look at the speed of what happened after Nagasaki ... an entire scientist-led peace movement literally popped into existence in days. How and why in the fuck could that have happened? And it wasn't a bunch of peaceniks and beat poets, it was literally the elite of the global nuclear intelligentsia. They organized instantly, across borders, and with a giant middle finger to superpowers, they held the new nuclear economy hostage for decades. The only successful "test" of the second one could have been to destroy a nation. It wasn't just the explosive power of Fat Man, but the long chain surrounding it. That bomb was designed to launch the nuclear era, to launch the global nuclear power-to-fuel chain, and to launch the manufacturing industry of global annihilation. When you look at Little Boy, it was an aperitif in a real way, it was designed to be simple, and understood by the Japanese physicists themselves. It was designed to be transparent, an extension of technology that we knew the Japanese could understand with the technology that we knew they had. I think that we designed Little Boy to "fail". Not fizzle, we wanted it to work, but we wanted it to look like a design (which it was) that took a ridiculously long time to make, a custom one-off of bombs, something that couldn't change Japan's resolve because it would be nearly impossible to make more than one or two per year. We bamboozled Japan with Little Boy because we WANTED them to refuse surrender so that we could nail them with the industrial mass-produced show-stoppers. We wanted their physicists to look at the radiation signatures of that nightmarish plutonium monstrosity and say "wtf is this?" A failure would have been if Japan DID surrender after Hiroshima, we made Little Boy such a disabled specimen of a nuclear weapon that it was the equivalent of a pool shark hustling a mark. Japan could have made Little Boy in another year, it was the equivalent of an atomic zip gun literally, just a low-power, low-yield uranium mess that wasted far more nuclear fuel than it used, a zip gun rubber band firing a zip gun heavy bullet into a zip gun uranium pit. The alternative to this mass murdering hell was to use our main weapon first, the real one first. That had a decent chance to result in Japanese surrender, and save lives, but if it failed to work, which was a real risk because of its intense complexity, then our fuel would be gone, and worse, it would be in the hands of The Japanese, who would know EXACTLY what to do with it, and had the capacity to make their own rudimentary Little Boy style nuke with the powerful plutonium fuel within months, and then use it against us. The first, low-yield Little Boy was unavoidable, there was almost no chance that it would impel the Japanese to surrender, the second Fat Man was "the" bomb, and the third was on its way to use when the surrender was announced, the nuclear machine was already ready, with ten more plutonium cores being produced. When all those "Atomic Scientists" took control of what they could in 1945, they apparently built on their collective guilty conscience. As bad as two bombs were though, three bombs or ten bombs would have been worse. And if our first one was a Plutonium bomb that failed and allowed them to recover the core, that war could have gone on for years more, with Japan able to barter tiny chunks of the Plutonium with the Soviets, who also knew what to do, they had spies in Los Alamos.
  3. Blue Poles?

    Is Blue Poles back at the National Gallery yet, or is it still in London? I've thought a lot about the transport of it ... how in the world do they move it some 10,000 miles to London and back? Roll it up like a Def Lepperd poster? Ship it flat? Do they crate it and dedicate a flight just for that painting? How do you move a $300 million painting the size of the side of a barn?
  4. Fire and Fury - WW II Version

    You're looking at it through a lens of 2018. Back in the 1940s, we had no idea what they could do. Remember that Japanese physicists figured out the underpinnings of the Standard Model mostly before we did, we used Yukawa's electron capture work to understand nuclear decay. European physicists were concerned about Japan because there they knew so little about them, and what they did know was -- in some cases -- so far beyond their own understanding that they took on a mythical presence. You now know that a nuke required a massive industrial effort to enrich the uranium. But in the 1940s, it was just as conceivable that Yukawa's abilities to capture fundamental particles could conceivably make enriched uranium in a much simpler way than the German methods, possibly an aneutronic method. We didn't know our ass from our elbow with fission in the beginning. It was German science. We barely understood what the Germans were doing, let alone what the Japanese were doing. You may scoff, but think back not that long ago in the 1980s, the same day the Exxon Valdez ran aground, the world thought for several months that fusion was possible with the right kind of electrochemistry. Turns out the aneutronic methods even worked, it just took Japan a few extra decades to figure it out! Ultimately, do you have a better explanation as to why we even bothered with the Oak Ridge effort? And why we dropped the weaker, somewhat more dead-end technology first?
  5. Fire and Fury - WW II Version

    I didn't mean it to be condescending. You might reference your post where you accused me of "ludicrous bullshit" as condescension. And no, I pointed out that the 2nd bomb was the main bomb, it was definitely not a "strategic/political" thing, the second one was the main bomb, it was the result of nearly all of our nuclear efforts. The "strategy/political" decision was to drop Fat Man as the second bomb, rather than the first. You wrote that there was "no compelling reason" for Fat Man, and my "lengthy" explanation, that you apparently didn't read, suggests that to be wrong. The reasons for Fat Man were beyond compelling, they were the milestone of the U.S. nuclear state. I disagreed with what you wrote. And I took the time to describe why. Note that was unlike your claim that my Dresden post was "ludicrous bullshit" that "doesn't bear refuting" ... except that you apparently had no disagreement with my "idiotic fantasy."
  6. White House staff laughs on first day of shutdown

    Most (all?) of the Feds I know didn't get stressed at the last shutdown in Obama's term. Hell, it was a paid vacation for some of them. The DOE happened to stay operaional, they had No Year funding to use. But the EPA folks got to hang at home and get paid for it. Those White House folks get paid if they work or not. The ones who can really suffer in a shutdown are the contractors, they aren't smiling and it pains them to see the water-off-the-duck's-back reaction by the Feds. They were pissed during Obama, they'll be pissed during Trump. There is a chance that I won't get paid for a while, but something about a shutdown appeals to my Anarchistic side.
  7. India cancels 150 coal power stations

    Do you remember, was it orange-grey, or more neutral grey like in that photo? The orange-grey stuff is a little more photochemical, really burns lung tissue. The neutral grey is more agricultural. When I grew up in Denver as a kid, the "brown cloud" (mostly photochemical ozone mixed with particulates) was a fact of life here. Now the air is much clearer, at least visibly clearer. But according to the EPA Criterea Pollutant website, the PM2.5 is now a little worse.
  8. India cancels 150 coal power stations

    It's nearly as bad now, the big difference is that we now remove the big, visible particles, the ones that get stuck in lungs. Now all that's left are the little, invisible particles, the ones that pass right though the lungs and right into the blood. Since the the big particles have been removed, there isn't much left for the small particles to aggregate, so they hang in the air longer than ever.
  9. White House staff laughs on first day of shutdown

    I was writing that as your post notification came up! But yes, I think it's unlikely. I see the IG guys around my office, they seem to avoid the lanyards with the extension springs only the badge clips or lanyards minus the extensions. I assume that they don't want some floppy spring to drop their badge in front of their hand at just the wrong moment. It's hard to see in the photo, but that guy seems to have the extension spring about midway up the lanyard clip. Hard to say though, doesn't really matter, either. I once spoke to Secret Service back in journalism days, a story was assigned to me about new anti-counterfeiting mechanisms in the new currency at the time. It was kind of funny to me ... super friendly guy, we got into an hour's long discussion about holograms, those microengraved threads, magnetic ink, engraving versus lithography. Not really a question to me about my credentials, it was just a pleasant conversation. After it was all over, he's like "uh, wait ... who are you again and what's this for?" Really nice guy though, he knew more about printing than a lot of printers I knew!
  10. White House staff laughs on first day of shutdown

    Seems unlikely. Maybe an assistant? He seems a little too overweight to be Secret Service, and his lanyard isn't the kind of thing that the security guys and gals wear.
  11. India cancels 150 coal power stations

    It's true, the real cost of coal isn't the cost to dig it up and burn it, but the cost to public health. In the U.S.A. it's around $20 billion/year, but falling fast as natural gas takes over. Natural gas seems to want to nothing more than obsolete coal, and India now has a hard on for their natural gas industry. An aside though, that photo above, the shape of the plume isn't really Gaussian, it looks more like a fire of some kind than smokestacks from coal. They use cyclones in India, often only cyclones (unfortunately) they filter out those big 10 micron particles and just leave the PM2.5. The way the bottom of that plume is already settling near that minaret, it suggest something closer to 30 micron particles. Those are so cheap to remove from emissions that it's unlikely to be from a coal stack.
  12. India cancels 150 coal power stations

    It's weird right? On a basic level, it makes sense, PV doesn't bother with phase conversion, it just sends electrons down wires directly from photons. A wind turbine at least, has far more in common with what came before it ... it needs maintenance, lubricants, commutators, electrodes and bearings need to be replaced, friction does what it does to them, they crack under mechanical stress. But PV, it's like something that leapfrogged our entire energy economy, the equivalent of a car that never needs to be maintained, and just drives a little slower as it gets older. Such a car would run roughshod over the ancillary industries ... everything from AAA to repair shops, to tire manufacturers, to spare parts distributors would just fold up. But that's what PV does. If anything, I'm more amazed that the oil industry didn't see the inevitability of PV and build a time-bomb of some kind into each one to ensure obsolescence. But they got greedy and just dumped it. And then a bunch of engineers found a way to encapsulate them cells so that they are impervious to water, now they just last. There is a push though, to replace the glass in PV with plastic, ostensibly due to weight and cost. But more likely because it turns a 40 year PV panel into a 5-year PV panel, and disposability is what industries are now built.
  13. Fire and Fury - WW II Version

    I wasn't saying any of those things. I'm responding to your post about there being "no compelling reason" to drop two atomic bombs. You wrote that it was as much a "strategic/political" decision as a military one. There were specific technical reasons to drop Fat Man, even though humanitarian concerns were low on the list while we were still in war. That second bomb was a much more complicated design, but it segued into a perceived future of nuclear fuel manufacturing. In a sense, the first bomb that was dropped over Hiroshima was more the anomaly than the second bomb. There was no way that the second one wasn't going to be dropped unless Japan surrendered unexpectedly. It was the culmination of Trinity and a key milestone in our nuclear ambitions. The Hiroshima bomb, on the other hand, was the fail-safe, the simpler design, the more dangerous-to-the-operators design, the less powerful design. We had sufficient intelligence to suspect that Japan knew of the difficulties of gathering fissionable materials, and we apparently used that against them. After Little Boy -- and perhaps even before, given Soviet spy activity at our National Labs -- Japanese physicists undoubtedly did their calculations to find how long it would take us to to enrich sufficient uranium to make another one. Little Boy was us blowing our load all at once with that design, that one bomb used every last ounce of our Oak Ridge separation efforts ... remember, we literally gathered that fissionable material a single atom at a time. It's alluring to get this U.S.-centric idea that our Hiroshima bomb was "divine" the equivalent of bringing an AK-47 to the Revolutionary War, but Japan knew what it was, they knew how to enrich Uranium, we literally USED Japanese physics in part of that enrichment process! After Hiroshima, we probably assumed that they sat down with some back-of-the-envelope calculations and figured how long it would take us to enrich enough Uranium for another bomb. Months, even more than a year ... Japan could continue to fight. It wasn't that they were suicidal, or insane, but that they guessed that they could either make their own nuke within a couple of years, and that they could even withstand a twice-a-year nuke over their country. And then Fat Man came over Nagasaki, a design so advanced and so risky that it genuinely was the AK-47 in the Revolutionary War. The "compelling reason" to drop the second Atomic bomb was because Japan was not just a global superpower at the time, but they were (and still are) a global research superpower. In retrospect, we can see how overextended they were in their nuclear program, but at the time -- with our Americans using clunky German technology to build nukes, we had no idea what the future could hold in terms of gathering fissionable atoms one-at-a-time. Japanese physics terrified anyone who knew how to put pencil to paper. Soaked, it might take you years of subtle study to absorb what I'm about to write, so you might have to take my word on it ... the history of 20th Century European and "Western" physics was embedded with racism and fear of Japan, of Jews and of Women, and this was before WWII. We could handle Chinese physics, we could embrace Asian physics in Satyendra Bose. But Hideki Yukawa, and Lise Meitner, for example, were the embodiment of fear, their achievements and their work was buried as only skilled academics could bury it. Albert Einstein was one of the few key Western physicists to break the Japanese wall. And fission itself -- along with the nuclear era -- was discovered by a female Jew, her legacy buried by German men until fairly recently. But in the 1940s, the perceived superpowers, along with the sneering dismissal of Japan, was undeniable. We had no real idea of what they were capable other than what we stole from them, and what we used from them in our own labs. That second bomb for what you see no compelling reason to drop, WAS the U.S. atomic bomb program. The first bomb -- with all the misery it created -- was just an aperitif. Literally, days after Nagasaki, Western physics suffered a nervous breakdown at what they had done. A couple of Jew scientists; Eugene Rabinowitch and Hyam Goldsmith launched one of the most concerted and effective efforts of peace in history, they wisely avoided politics and military and just headed straight for the source, they built a peace network of Atomic Scientists with the speed of a national effort; they got them on-board, and may have kept the coming war to a Cold one, rather than a Hot one. Within the next few weeks and months, they made a mad scramble to the key minds of the day; Einstein, Teller, Bethe, Oppenheimer, Born, Russel, Szilard and a hundred more. When the world's nuclear efforts wanted to develop their nukes from that moment forward, they had to content with a fraternity of developing peaceniks who were the only ones who knew how to make it all work. Do I think there are better ways to develop peaceful coexistence than nuclear weapons, than any weapons? Of course, nobody debates that. Lise Meitner herself was a pacifist and tried to keep what she found from becoming the new weapons of war. But what brought on the first two atomic bombs wasn't hatred so much as it was fear of the unknown. The West had little interaction with Japan, their skills were both legendary and dismissed as non-existent.
  14. Would Bringing Back Earmarks Help End Gridlock?

    And also not managed at all. The fangs of the public officer are removed with earmarks. It's like a cop who pulls over the derelict teenager and son of the mayor, smoking a joint and doing 80 in a 35. She might still give that kid a ticket, but she can be sure that it will disappear before she makes it back to her desk.
  15. Would Bringing Back Earmarks Help End Gridlock?

    The glory days of earmarks are definitely behind us, and they may be in front of us again. You won't meet too many government compliance officers who don't look at them as both a curse and a blessing ... They concurrently remove responsibility from the public officer to demand responsibility with public funds, but also involve lots of ill-prepared, unmotivated people in the spending and compliance process. I see your point about the current end-run, but real earmarks are undeniably grotesque and beautiful things. If and when they come back, we'll definitely know it, like an ocean liner on Fifth Avenue.