Eric_the_Cerise's recent activity

  1. Comment on 2020 election forecast in ~news

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    I love 538. That said, for me at least, it feels frankly disingenuous at this point to make predictions like this, without at least trying to include some estimate for how much the Trump Admin's...

    I love 538.

    That said, for me at least, it feels frankly disingenuous at this point to make predictions like this, without at least trying to include some estimate for how much the Trump Admin's efforts at electoral fraud will influence the outcome.

    This is not a prediction of how the election will go in the US. It is a prediction of how it might go, if the election happened in some fantasy-US where all eligible voters who want to vote actually get to, and then, where all those votes actually get counted.

    It is obvious by now that this election will not be fair. I would love to start seeing some best-guess predictions — and fast — on just how unfair it will be.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on A proposal for a purely electric-powered commercial airline industry in ~tech

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link Parent
    Yeah, recharge time would also be a defining factor. If this could approach something close to the "80% in 30 minutes“ recharge capacity of cars, I think it would be very feasible. OTOH, if an...

    Yeah, recharge time would also be a defining factor. If this could approach something close to the "80% in 30 minutes“ recharge capacity of cars, I think it would be very feasible.

    OTOH, if an aerial recharge took 10+ hours, it would never work.

  3. A proposal for a purely electric-powered commercial airline industry

    Around 3-5 years ago, Elon Musk was teasing that he thought he had a clever idea for how to make electric-powered aircraft viable/profitable with, basically, current technology ... and he was...

    Around 3-5 years ago, Elon Musk was teasing that he thought he had a clever idea for how to make electric-powered aircraft viable/profitable with, basically, current technology ... and he was basically daring people to guess it.

    Regardless of what he actually did or didn't know, it got me thinking, and I came up with an idea. I thought I'd run it past the Tildes Team, see if it passes muster.

    My idea, in a nutshell, is to build airplanes with only 25%-50% of the battery capacity required for their flight (making them much lighter, with much more capacity for people/cargo) ... combined with, I'll call them Maser Cells on the undersides of the wings ... coupled with low-intensity maser beam emitters at all the major airports.

    Airplanes use a ridiculous amount of energy gaining altitude. For short flights, it can be upwards of 50% of their fuel spent just getting from takeoff to cruising altitude. My basic idea is for planes to get up to cruising altitude in large circles over the airport, powered by a combination of battery power and maser energy beamed up from the airport below. Then stay in a taxi-ing circle over the airport until the batteries are fully charged, before departing. Longer flights can plan their route to include one or more detours to pass over other major airports (or other recharging hubs, like the Tesla Supercharging network, but for airplanes) to recharge the batteries along the way.

    Trans-oceanic flights would be more challenging, perhaps requiring some kind of recharging hubs located midway in the oceans.

    To clarify, my "Maser Cells" are similar to traditional solar-electric power cells, except they are optimized to convert either laser or maser beamed energy into electricity. These things already exist (I forget what they're called), although getting them to a high-efficiency commercial-airline level of production, that would take some effort.

    There is, potentially, a lot of inefficiency in the conversion rates, from ground-generated electricity to ground-generated laser/maser, then on the plane, maser converted back to electricity into battery, then from battery into electric engines ... perhaps there are ways to reduce the amount of conversions necessary, or to increase the efficiency of the conversions. Or perhaps this is what kills the idea.

    Similarly, if this were actually implemented large-scale, to largely replace fossil-fuel-driven planes, we would be talking about a LOT of electricity requirements, a lot of laser/maser emitters at every airport, and a massive redesign of flight traffic management, to allow for hundreds of planes routinely in hours-long recharging flights over every airport, all the time ... potential choke-points at various recharging hubs (again, similar to what Tesla sees at overly-popular Supercharging stations on the ground) ... and doubtless lots of other issues I'm not thinking of.

    Anyway, though, that's the notion.


    ETA: This idea could be extrapolated to an extreme degree, with on-board batteries almost completely eliminated.

    With clearly defined flight corridors, and ground-based maser power stations located every 10-20 miles along, planes could fly their entire route on power beamed up to them, with only 20-30 minute battery capacity for emergencies.


    ETA #2: A person who owned his/her own rocket company might also consider putting the maser cells on the tops of the planes, and launching a bunch of solar-power-generating satellites, with maser emitters shooting power down onto them.

    I guess my main point is, if this maser-energy delivery system is even remotely feasible at a commercial level, there's a lot of potential.

    10 votes
  4. Comment on What if the Big Bang was actually a Big Bounce? in ~space

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    Someone is taking another crack at a Big Bang alternative theory, where the Universe keeps repeatedly expanding and contracting. NB: I know Science doesn't work this way, but intuitively, I've...

    Someone is taking another crack at a Big Bang alternative theory, where the Universe keeps repeatedly expanding and contracting.

    NB: I know Science doesn't work this way, but intuitively, I've never liked Inflation - the currently accepted Big Bang theory. A single unexplained-and-unexplainable origin of a Universe-full of energy exploding endlessly into the future. I've always quietly assumed that the Universe actually pulses thru expansion-contraction cycles over and over, and that eventually, Science will realize that my Intuition is correct. As such, I'm always unduly optimistic when new alternate theories like this pop up.

    NB: The article author tries some analogies that, for me at least, utterly fail to explain the concepts. I'd appreciate anyone else taking a stab at a layperson's translation....

    3 votes
  5. Comment on What's a movie that has entranced you? in ~movies

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link Parent
    I am aware of the existence of such timelines and explanatory sites; I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the ending. So far, however, I have avoided the various Primer primers (heh-heh ... I...

    I am aware of the existence of such timelines and explanatory sites; I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the ending.

    So far, however, I have avoided the various Primer primers (heh-heh ... I kill me), still hoping to someday piece it together myself.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on What's a movie that has entranced you? in ~movies

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    Primer, low-budget time travel movie. The smartest time travel concept I have ever seen or read. The ending gets weird and complicated, fast, and I've never 100% understood what happened, and I...

    Primer, low-budget time travel movie. The smartest time travel concept I have ever seen or read. The ending gets weird and complicated, fast, and I've never 100% understood what happened, and I keep going back, rewatching it, literally taking notes, on paper, trying to piece it together.

    Cloud Atlas is similar, in that sense of "I missed something and I know it was good", keeps bringing me back.

    9 votes
  7. Comment on Can killing cookies save journalism? A Dutch public broadcaster got rid of targeted digital ads and its revenues went up 62-79% in ~tech

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    So, I posted a comment here, saying "cool article, but the website in question doesn't seem to match the story". Several people asked for more detail. First issue is, the article itself never...

    So, I posted a comment here, saying "cool article, but the website in question doesn't seem to match the story". Several people asked for more detail.

    First issue is, the article itself never actually identifies which website(s) to which it refers. I originally assumed NPO website was https://www.npostart.nl/ , that's the first hit I got on my search. Others have pointed out https://over.npo.nl/ , plus the company is a large media group. They have many subsidiary sites, and exactly which sites are included, I'm just not sure.

    Near the end of the article, they link to a Brave study, which confirms the article's basic theme, and lists many NPO subsidiary websites (but also no parent site?). The article also links directly to one subsidiary site, https://www.omroepmax.nl/ .

    Now, all that said, you can just go visit any of these sites, and the first thing you get (ahem, in Dutch) is the familiar "we use cookies" pop-up.

    Furthermore, upon closer reading, the article says they got rid of all "third party tracking/cookies" (that is to say, advertising cookies). I guess that means they still use cookies for their own website. It's still a huge step, but it definitely loses some of its impact.

    Keep in mind, I do not speak Dutch. IDK what those "we use cookies" messages actually say. Might be worth getting those details.

    Finally, between uMatrix and NoScript, on various subsidiary websites, I see things like

    • ajax.googleapis.com
    • gstatic.com
    • googletagmanager.com
    • fonts.googleapis.com
    • fonts.gstatic.com

    Notably, right now, on what I think is the parent site, https://www.npostart.nl/ , I see absolutely no google-like, nor any other tracking-like, libraries. I could have sworn I saw a couple there the other day, but perhaps I mixed up my sites at the time.

    6 votes
  8. Comment on Can killing cookies save journalism? A Dutch public broadcaster got rid of targeted digital ads and its revenues went up 62-79% in ~tech

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link Parent
    I'm posting a new top-level comment, expanding on this.

    I'm posting a new top-level comment, expanding on this.

    1 vote
  9. Comment on Can killing cookies save journalism? A Dutch public broadcaster got rid of targeted digital ads and its revenues went up 62-79% in ~tech

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    I was very impressed by this article. It is a new approach, contextual ads but dynamically sold and highly micro-targeted, just like current user-targeted ads, except based on web page content....

    I was very impressed by this article. It is a new approach, contextual ads but dynamically sold and highly micro-targeted, just like current user-targeted ads, except based on web page content.

    And the idea, specifically, that this approach could reverse the death spiral of Internet journalism, that's very appealing.

    But then I went and visited the actual websites mentioned in the article ... you know, that ones that "completely abandoned using cookies to track users"?

    And guess what? Cookies.

    And my uMatrix and NoScript plugins both identified several google-based libraries — maybe trackers, maybe just pretty menus — but suspicious, either way.

    15 votes
  10. Comment on With Obama saying " The filibuster is a 'Jim Crow relic' ”, It’s looking more and more like Democrats will abolish the filibuster if they win back the Senate in ~misc

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link Parent
    Eliminating the filibuster has been repeatedly referred to as "the nuclear option". However, the filibuster itself should be a kind of Senatorial nuclear option, only pulled out in rare...

    Eliminating the filibuster has been repeatedly referred to as "the nuclear option". However, the filibuster itself should be a kind of Senatorial nuclear option, only pulled out in rare circumstances to try to stop the Majority from committing some disastrous error.

    Any adjustment that would lead to that kind of attitude would work. Other ideas include "each Senator gets one filibuster per six-year term" perhaps even "each Senator gets one filibuster, and is no longer eligible for re-election after using it". Stuff like that.

    5 votes
  11. Comment on A survival guide for living in the simulation in ~humanities

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    After you discover that you are actually living in a simulation, the article spends a lot of time debating whether or not to share your revelation with the world, ultimately concluding with a firm...

    After you discover that you are actually living in a simulation, the article spends a lot of time debating whether or not to share your revelation with the world, ultimately concluding with a firm "maybe not".

    It occurs to me that an ideal solution would be to publish a very practical hands-on guide — a "survival guide", if you will — about a hypothetical revelation, perhaps in a philosophy magazine.

    ... just sayin'.

    2 votes
  12. Comment on With Obama saying " The filibuster is a 'Jim Crow relic' ”, It’s looking more and more like Democrats will abolish the filibuster if they win back the Senate in ~misc

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    I've been saying for, literally, decades that the solution is to require actual filibustering. Many people don't realize that, long ago, they adopted a rule that a Senator saying "hey, I'm gonna...

    I've been saying for, literally, decades that the solution is to require actual filibustering.

    Many people don't realize that, long ago, they adopted a rule that a Senator saying "hey, I'm gonna filibuster that" would receive a "Stipulated" free pass. No one actually has to get up and talk for 37 hours to show they're serious.

    15 votes
  13. Comment on Donald Trump calls for delay to 2020 US presidential election in ~news

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    How fun is it that the Trump Administration has inspired so many Americans (and non-Americans, too, I suspect), to relearn so many of the basics of US Constitutional Law?

    How fun is it that the Trump Administration has inspired so many Americans (and non-Americans, too, I suspect), to relearn so many of the basics of US Constitutional Law?

    9 votes
  14. Comment on Donald Trump calls for delay to 2020 US presidential election in ~news

    Eric_the_Cerise
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    At a quick glance, both Trump's and Pence's term end on Jan 20th. However, Pelosi's term ends on Jan 3rd. Fourth in line is Chuck Grassley, as President pro tempore ... and as a Senator, his term...

    At a quick glance, both Trump's and Pence's term end on Jan 20th. However, Pelosi's term ends on Jan 3rd.

    Fourth in line is Chuck Grassley, as President pro tempore ... and as a Senator, his term doesn't expire for a few more years.

    So, absent a new election, I think Grassley gets the job.

    ETA: And yes, it sounds like your reading of the 20th suggests Congress can choose whoever else they like, but A) can you see this Congress agreeing on that in a timely manner, and 2) after Jan 20th, 1/3 of the Senate and (I think), the entire House is also out ...

    5 votes
  15. Comment on Donald Trump calls for delay to 2020 US presidential election in ~news

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link Parent
    Agreed. A more accurate statement might be that Trump does not have the authority to do this. The pattern to date has been "Trump does whatever he wants, and then the courts spend a year or 3...

    Agreed. A more accurate statement might be that Trump does not have the authority to do this.

    The pattern to date has been "Trump does whatever he wants, and then the courts spend a year or 3 determining whether or not it was legal".

    10 votes
  16. Comment on Novel Idea: The Apartment in ~books

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link Parent
    The actual plot is still very amorphous ... lots of possibilities to explore ... my first thought was a "Friends"-like NY apartment, tracking back to a Native American village before Europeans...

    The actual plot is still very amorphous ... lots of possibilities to explore ... my first thought was a "Friends"-like NY apartment, tracking back to a Native American village before Europeans took over the Island ... but yeah, Rome is also very promising.

    2 votes
  17. Novel Idea: The Apartment

    Just finished (re-)watching the Friends TV series ... End of the last episode, sitting in the empty apartment (Joey: "Has it always been purple?" Phoebe: "Do you realize that at one time or...

    Just finished (re-)watching the Friends TV series ... End of the last episode, sitting in the empty apartment (Joey: "Has it always been purple?" Phoebe: "Do you realize that at one time or another, we've all lived in this apartment?")

    Got me thinking, more as a plot contrivance than the actual plot, a story about an apartment, spanning a century or more, and the various people that lived in it, jumping back and forth across time, linking them together through history ... perhaps even, a la "Ship of Theseus", spanning multiple centuries and multiple homes/dwellings that occupied the same space.

    So specifically, I'm wondering if anyone can think of any novels that adopt this idea, or anything similar, as a primary vehicle for their storytelling?

    I have a vague recollection of a short story or novella in 2ndary school, about the life of a redwood, and the various people and animals that lived in and around it over the centuries ... and also I recall reading "A Winter Tale" by Mark Helperin -- a semi-fantastical novel about the city of New York ... oh look, apparently, they made it into a movie, too.

    But those two are the only examples I can think of that come close to this idea.

    PS: I love to write fiction, and someday I may even finish a novel ... but generally, I get about halfway through, figure out how it's going to end, and then lose interest ... so if anyone with more ambition likes the idea, you're welcome to it.


    ETA: I'm not looking for the 10,000 variations of "oooh, haunted by the ghost of a person that died here 20 years ago". Broader, covering a longer timeframe, multiple substories interwoven into the same living space, you get the idea.

    10 votes
  18. Comment on Cloud storage recommendations? in ~tech

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link Parent
    I'm not @stu2b50, but I've also been hosting my own for several years now. Two things I've run into repeatedly ... Occasionally, (and often through no fault of the users) bad data gets written...

    I'm not @stu2b50, but I've also been hosting my own for several years now. Two things I've run into repeatedly ...

    Occasionally, (and often through no fault of the users) bad data gets written into the db, and it's a PITA to identify the problem, then to find and remove the bad data.

    The other thing is not really Nextcloud's fault, but it still should be handled more gracefully ... server upgrades and other basic server maintenance can accidentally switch the server over to a different version of php, and it is really difficult to find out which version of php Nextcloud is actually using (as opposed to the rest of the server -- yes, it can be different). Then, resetting php specifically for the Nextcloud service can also be tricky (resetting it server-wide isn't always effective). This is a php-thing more than a Nextcloud thing, but still.

    In Nextcloud's defense, these are issues I have not run into in well over a year now, and the Nextcloud community is pretty active with bug fixes, new features, release schedules, that kind of thing.

    9 votes
  19. Comment on Do you (still) use IRC? in ~tech

    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    I relearn IRC every year or two for some project or interest I find that depends on it for communication ... my knowledge of it never 'sticks'. It's use is kludgy and unintuitive, and I never feel...

    I relearn IRC every year or two for some project or interest I find that depends on it for communication ... my knowledge of it never 'sticks'. It's use is kludgy and unintuitive, and I never feel comfortable on it. Have had to quick-change my user password more than once, after accidentally broadcasting it to the World, etc.

    5 votes