dredmorbius's recent activity

  1. Comment on Making Tildes easier for me to read in ~tildes

    dredmorbius
    Link
    ObMeToo. Stumbled on this post looking for some way to bump up font size. Stylesheet hacks aren't available on mobile :-(

    ObMeToo. Stumbled on this post looking for some way to bump up font size.

    Stylesheet hacks aren't available on mobile :-(

    1 vote
  2. Comment on What are the Big Problems? in ~talk

    dredmorbius
    Link Parent
    This certainly qualifies in the impacts, likelihood, and difficulty axes.

    This certainly qualifies in the impacts, likelihood, and difficulty axes.

    2 votes
  3. Comment on What are the Big Problems? in ~talk

    dredmorbius
    Link Parent
    Good list. Of several threads going on this, you're the first to even mention bigotry (or race, tribalism, prejudice, etc.). That's one of several recently-highlighted concerns I'd have expected...

    Good list. Of several threads going on this, you're the first to even mention bigotry (or race, tribalism, prejudice, etc.). That's one of several recently-highlighted concerns I'd have expected to see mentioned.

    Dogma is also good. Would you consider questions of "narrative" as related or adjacent?

    4 votes
  4. Comment on What are the Big Problems? in ~talk

    dredmorbius
    Link Parent
    More concerning is when financial interests are aligned with not solving the problem. For climate, trillions of dollars in stranded assets. The silver lining is that flipping the bookkeeping might...

    More concerning is when financial interests are aligned with not solving the problem. For climate, trillions of dollars in stranded assets.

    The silver lining is that flipping the bookkeeping might automatically incentivise solutions. Of course that rule change itself would be problematic.

    5 votes
  5. Comment on What are the Big Problems? in ~talk

    dredmorbius
    Link Parent
    These strike me as more Big Questions than Big Problems. Anticipating another set of suggestions: while all Big Problems as both Hard and Unsolved, not all Hard or Unsolved problems are Big. I'm...

    These strike me as more Big Questions than Big Problems.

    Anticipating another set of suggestions: while all Big Problems as both Hard and Unsolved, not all Hard or Unsolved problems are Big.

    I'm trying to leave this as unconstrained as possible, but this contribution does stray a bit beyond even those generous bounds.

    9 votes
  6. Comment on What are the Big Problems? in ~talk

    dredmorbius
    Link Parent
    The Universe is an emergent property of the Universe.

    The Universe is an emergent property of the Universe.

    2 votes
  7. What are the Big Problems?

    What are the Big Problems? I'm leaving this open-ended, there's no specific criteria for responses. I'm interested in both your list and the reasons why. Submitting your suggestions before reading...

    What are the Big Problems? I'm leaving this open-ended, there's no specific criteria for responses.

    I'm interested in both your list and the reasons why. Submitting your suggestions before reading others' contributions would be preferred.

    Optionally: who is (or isn't) successfully addressing them. Individuals, organizations, companies, governments, other. How and/or why not?

    I've asked this question periodically on several forums (G+, Reddit, HN, Tildes) for seven years now.

    I've written fairly extensively on my own views, reasonably findable if you wish, but my interest here is in gaining fresh input, resetting my own biases, and not colouring the discussion overly myself.

    27 votes
  8. Comment on A vaccine reality check: so much hope is riding on a breakthrough, but a vaccine is only the beginning of the end in ~health.coronavirus

    dredmorbius
    Link Parent
    Tim Harford (economist, FT, BBC) has been, quite rightly IMO, pegging COVID-19 not as the disaster but the warning. It is just bad enough to cause real pain (and death), but not the horror of...

    Tim Harford (economist, FT, BBC) has been, quite rightly IMO, pegging COVID-19 not as the disaster but the warning.

    It is just bad enough to cause real pain (and death), but not the horror of mediaeval plagues with 10-50% mortality. At the same time, COVID has shut down the global economy and shaken political systems worldwide. Institutional and social responses are largely dysfunctional.

    Harford's "Cautionary Tales" podcast has been brilliant from the start (November 2019, amazing timing).

    13 votes
  9. Comment on The war between alt.tasteless and rec.pets.cats in ~tech

    dredmorbius
    Link Parent
    Good call on tag, added. And yes, this is ... illuminating.

    Good call on tag, added.

    And yes, this is ... illuminating.

    1 vote
  10. Comment on The war between alt.tasteless and rec.pets.cats in ~tech

    dredmorbius
    Link Parent
    I've got my own thoughts of why Usenet died. Google ... despite numerous other sins ... played a minor role.

    I've got my own thoughts of why Usenet died.

    Google ... despite numerous other sins ... played a minor role.

    8 votes
  11. Comment on The Texas Railroad Commission centennial documentary (1991) in ~humanities

    dredmorbius
    Link
    The Texas Railroad Commission (name itself and relation to responsibilities an interesting discussion) is a little known, but immensely powerful, and some would argue, immensely flawed,...

    The Texas Railroad Commission (name itself and relation to responsibilities an interesting discussion) is a little known, but immensely powerful, and some would argue, immensely flawed, governmental institution.

    This centennial documentary is as laudatory as any self-produced account can be expected to be, though it does offer a number of items worth further exploration -- the role of railroads in the 19th century, petroleum, Rule of Capture, proration, "hot oil", the New London School, and more.

    I'd stumbled across this a few years ago, it's proved illuminating.

  12. Comment on What software or service do you use for blogging? in ~talk

    dredmorbius
    Link
    What I'm ... not actually using yet though am slowly progressing toward, is a static-site generator on a Git-managed site. In my case, Pelican and GitLab, though there are other options (Hugo,...

    What I'm ... not actually using yet though am slowly progressing toward, is a static-site generator on a Git-managed site. In my case, Pelican and GitLab, though there are other options (Hugo, Jekyl, and others, on the SSG side).

    Advantages:

    • Write in Markdown, which is a very nearly fully-sufficient format.
    • Keep the overhead of templates and such out of my way.
    • Allow for tags and indices.
    • Minimal complexity.
    • Comments via ... probably email, quite honestly.
    • RSS.
    • Portable and automatically maintain my own archive(s). Given the number of times I've had to pull up stakes, this is no laughing matter.

    Downsides:

    • Search, mostly. There are solutions. None are excellent. Though I'll have a local archive I can grep or swish+ or otherwise search.
    2 votes
  13. Comment on Keybase cancels further Stellar Lumen cryptocurrency giveaways after giving away 10% of the intended amount, due to abuse in ~tech

    dredmorbius
    Link Parent
    I don't know about account creation per se, but there had been a flurry of noninformational / low-informational comments, along the lines of "great post", etc., often from new ("green") accounts....

    I don't know about account creation per se, but there had been a flurry of noninformational / low-informational comments, along the lines of "great post", etc., often from new ("green") accounts.

    I comment to the HN mods pretty actively, and mentioned this, a few months back. They'd identified Keybase as a cause, and had apparently worked out an understanding to reduce the instance.

    In general the Keybase experiment strongly supports my sense that incentivised communications based on anything other than basic informational quality is a Very Bad Idea.

    Be careful what you incentivise for. You'll get it.

    And, as Keybase demonstrates, others may also get it.

    1 vote
  14. Comment on Tesla made a pickup truck for the end of the world in ~tech

    dredmorbius
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    30 miles a day twice what Musk is claiming (15 mi), and even that is probably optimistic. (Though, noted, Musk has frequently proved me wrong.) The problems with panels permanently affixed to a...

    30 miles a day twice what Musk is claiming (15 mi), and even that is probably optimistic.

    (Though, noted, Musk has frequently proved me wrong.)

    The problems with panels permanently affixed to a vehicle's exterior, is that they're subject to all kinds of wear and damage, they don't generate electricity when shaded, and shapes and angles of automobiles are not ideal for solar PV generation. If a 5-10 km range is going to spell the difference between life or death, then maybe this is worthwhile. But again, almost any alternative mechanism (a tow, a generator, a long extension cord, a dispatchable external battery pack, a set of deployable, non-permanently-mounted, solar panels) is going to be superior.

    Note that "fold-out solar wings" would be one of those additional (and far more sensible) options. Oddly enough, Musk's other hobby, space flight, has proved extremely effective in packing large panel deployments in to very small size- and mass- packages, with reliable deployment systems. Though what's tractable for a one-time deployment in space may not fare so well on planetary surfaces with wind, dust, rain, and other factors -- those mechansism are pretty fragile. Though they can be made more robust, at a cost in mass and stowed size.

    It's simple physics: 1 kW/m^2 at best, as a starting point, of incident solar energy, further reduced through numerous technical and logistical limitations. If you're lucky you end up with 5-10% of that (0.1kW/m^2), and quite possibly only 1%. At extraordinary cost. At (roughly) 6m x 2m, if you covered the entire exterior surface of the Cybertruck with PV, you'd be starting with 18kW of incident solar energy, converted at ~10-20% efficiency, for 1.8 - 3.6 kW. If the battery pack is 500 kWh, then you'd get, again, at best, 1.3 - 3.6 miles per hour of charge, and maybe 4-8 good charging hours per day. (Musk's 15 miles/day seems to match this roughly, within a factor or so of 2.)

    1 vote
  15. Comment on Tesla made a pickup truck for the end of the world in ~tech

    dredmorbius
    Link Parent
    The amount of solar power which can be generated by panels on a vehicle is going to be minuscule. The 15 miles is a best possible option. If you're stuck beyond civilisation, it might just...

    The amount of solar power which can be generated by panels on a vehicle is going to be minuscule. The 15 miles is a best possible option. If you're stuck beyond civilisation, it might just potentially be useful, but only very barely.

    A set of deployable panels / awning which could be erected in an emergency would make more sense. The panels used in The Martian would be an example. Better: carry a generator and fuel to recharge on the rare occasions you're well off-grid. The energy storage of liquid hydrocarbons is exceedingly hard to beat, and occasional emergency off-grid use would be a high-benefit use-case. (Marine and aircraft propulsion are two others.)

    15 votes
  16. Comment on The voting on topics and comments now ends when they're 30 days old and all individual vote records are deleted, retaining only the count in ~tildes.official

    dredmorbius
    Link
    @Deimos: Thank you so much for this. I've worked on a few social media sites and projects over the years. One of the first, around the turn of the millennium, had me realising that the tracking of...

    @Deimos: Thank you so much for this.

    I've worked on a few social media sites and projects over the years. One of the first, around the turn of the millennium, had me realising that the tracking of individual voting / rating activity presented a hugely sensitive dataset that could give rise to tremendously intrusive profiling.

    My master scheme to prevent this from happening by boycotting working for such projects over the next decade ... failed miserably.

    I'm glad to see awareness rising, and that you've implemented cleansing of personal voting data on Tildes.

    This despite many regrets over the potential utility of such data in coming up with a potentially better collaborative filtering / rating / ranking system. I no longer think those benefits are worth the costs.

    Regarding the 30-day voting window: so far as rating/ranking of comments goes, this is all but certainly sufficient. The majority of value from moderation comes from the early votes, up or down. WIth time, the tendency is for negatives to accrue. The potential value of using votes (or likes, stars, etc., depending on site mechanics) as a sort of bookmarking system, also really doesn't merit the risks (though the mechanism can be useful). But the loss is small.

    I'm pretty sure there's an exponential decay in voting activity after the first few hours of a post in any regard.

    15 votes
  17. Comment on How do we want to handle Podcasts? in ~tildes

    dredmorbius
    Link
    Episode link works best for context or transcripts. Posting a direct link to the media is tremendously useful. I tend to pick those up using mpv these days, which is amazeballs. mpv, a...

    Episode link works best for context or transcripts. Posting a direct link to the media is tremendously useful. I tend to pick those up using mpv these days, which is amazeballs.

    mpv, a terminal/shell media player, can source directly from local or remote media, and can make use of the youtube-dl URL handlers to pull from a huge range of online multimedia services, well beyond Google's viral disinformation video channel.

    Cross-patform, runs on Linux, MacOS, Windows, etc. Also Android, under Termux.

    4 votes