spctrvl's recent activity

  1. Comment on If We All Ate Enough Fruits And Vegetables, There'd Be Big Shortages in ~food

    spctrvl Link Parent
    That number was about beef and lamb specifically, not all meat. Pork and chicken probably make up most of that ~200 pounds, and they aren't nearly as carbon intensive to produce, though they are...

    That number was about beef and lamb specifically, not all meat. Pork and chicken probably make up most of that ~200 pounds, and they aren't nearly as carbon intensive to produce, though they are of course still worse than plant based protein.

    Also, in case you or anyone else wondered, like I did, what the hell that '1.5 burgers per person per week' thing actually meant, in real units: a reduction in per capita beef/lamb consumption to 50 calories per day would save us from having to bring additional land under cultivation to feed a population of 10 billion.

    4 votes
  2. Comment on Tildistas in the US, who do you support in the 2020 Democratic Primary? in ~talk

    spctrvl Link Parent
    Yeah, he definitely has the advantage of not depriving the Democrats of a mission critical position by becoming VP. That's one of the things that bugs me about discussions that turn to such and...

    Yeah, he definitely has the advantage of not depriving the Democrats of a mission critical position by becoming VP. That's one of the things that bugs me about discussions that turn to such and such senator being a good pick for VP or a cabinet position, those picks can be drawn from anywhere, and we'd do better to not weaken our incredibly precarious position in the senate. Gaining the presidency isn't going to mean a whole lot if we still have a senate that nakedly shirks its constitutional duties in order to sabotage a Democratic executive. As they've repeatedly shown, Republicans will absolutely pull a Merrick Garland on any Democratic presidential appointment, so long as they have the ability.

    3 votes
  3. Comment on Tildistas in the US, who do you support in the 2020 Democratic Primary? in ~talk

    spctrvl Link Parent
    I would much rather have Warren in the Senate than the cabinet if she doesn't end up winning the nomination, ditto the VP slot. The Senate badly needs progressive legislators, especially ones as...

    I would much rather have Warren in the Senate than the cabinet if she doesn't end up winning the nomination, ditto the VP slot. The Senate badly needs progressive legislators, especially ones as competent and practised as Warren.

    8 votes
  4. Comment on Carbon calculator: how taking one flight emits as much as many people do in a year in ~enviro

    spctrvl Link
    Just out of curiosity, has there been much research on alternate fuels for jets? There's been a lot of interest lately in methane powered rockets, which are more efficient than kerosene powered...

    Just out of curiosity, has there been much research on alternate fuels for jets? There's been a lot of interest lately in methane powered rockets, which are more efficient than kerosene powered ones, without the difficulties of working with hydrogen. Plus, methane can be generated from atmospheric carbon, making it carbon neutral.

    It's unfortunate that there aren't that many other options for intercontinental travel. Battery electric planes are very unlikely to ever be up for the task, and an orbital ring network would require, gasp, a major investment in infrastructure.

    4 votes
  5. Comment on FBI believed Trump was closely involved in hush-money scheme, unsealed documents show in ~news

    spctrvl Link Parent
    I think the senate needs a complete overhaul to being a party-list proportional body, elected at large, instead of 2 senators per state. There are too many states that have basically nobody living...

    The Senate, I'm really not sure. Term limits would help. Put them on the House too. Both chambers are already always campaigning and accepting money anyway. At least with limits you can force out dinosaurs with antiquated ideals and minimize systematic corruption. More young people in government. The future belongs to the young, they ought to have a word in edgewise on how things are done.

    I think the senate needs a complete overhaul to being a party-list proportional body, elected at large, instead of 2 senators per state. There are too many states that have basically nobody living in them, a majority in the senate can be obtained with the support of less than 9% of the population, and for such an important body, that's just completely untenable. It's also not really what the framers had in mind, as when the constitution was written, the thirteen states had much closer population sizes. Significantly, the 24 least populous states today all have smaller shares of the population than did the least populous single state in 1790.

    There's some other bonuses to a party list proportional senate as well, like having a house of congress dedicated to the representing the whole country, counterbalancing the local representation in the house, and providing an in for third parties. But I'm not extremely picky with what replaces it, I just think the two-per-state election method has to go, and sooner rather than later. It's obviously hideously unrepresentative, and is ripe for exploitation in a United States with an increasingly concentrated population.

    7 votes
  6. Comment on Which technical/technological issues or needs do you think should have been sorted out by now? in ~comp

    spctrvl Link
    I'm continually amazed that the operating system situation on ARM platforms is still such an utter disaster compared to x86. In spite of minimal hardware variation in mainstream devices, it's...

    I'm continually amazed that the operating system situation on ARM platforms is still such an utter disaster compared to x86. In spite of minimal hardware variation in mainstream devices, it's rarely, if ever possible to install arbitrary operating systems without manufacturer support and device specific images, and tens, if not hundreds of millions of devices annually are dropped by manufactures and left running outdated software. It's insanity, I don't need to get device specific updates or install images from Microsoft or some Linux distro for my PC, and am free to install the latest version of their OSes on whatever hardware I like, usually without issue, even though my system could be made of a hodgepodge of any combinations of parts from the past fifteen years. Somehow that isn't possible on a platform that usually consists of millions of devices sharing the exact same hardware configuration.

    Also, smartphones have been used by billions of people for over ten years, how is there still only one general purpose OS and barely a custom ROM scene anymore?

    I feel like these problems are slowly being addressed with true GNU Linux phones like Librem 5 and the PinePhone coming out, as well as efforts by Google to take device manufacturers out of the OS update loop like Project Treble, but it sure fucking took long enough. It's not like phones were invented in a vacuum, but they really took their sweet time reinventing the wheel and getting to the point desktop operating systems were at twenty or thirty years ago.

    4 votes
  7. Comment on What games have you been playing lately? in ~games

    spctrvl Link Parent
    It's a PS3 emulator, not a PS4 emulator, Persona 5 launched on both. But basically RPCS3 is a cross platform, open source emulator that's capable of playing close to 50% of the PS3 library. If...

    It's a PS3 emulator, not a PS4 emulator, Persona 5 launched on both. But basically RPCS3 is a cross platform, open source emulator that's capable of playing close to 50% of the PS3 library. If you've got a decent CPU and a game you want to try, give it a shot.

    2 votes
  8. Comment on Should the US and the states create their own Sovereign Wealth Fund? in ~talk

    spctrvl Link Parent
    As it happens, Alaska already has a sovereign wealth fund for that reason, the Alaska permanent fund.

    As it happens, Alaska already has a sovereign wealth fund for that reason, the Alaska permanent fund.

    7 votes
  9. Comment on What games have you been playing lately? in ~games

    spctrvl Link
    Been playing Persona 5 at the recommendation of, well, just about everyone I know. I'm pretty picky about JRPGs, but it nails story, characters, aesthetics, music and gameplay well enough to be...

    Been playing Persona 5 at the recommendation of, well, just about everyone I know. I'm pretty picky about JRPGs, but it nails story, characters, aesthetics, music and gameplay well enough to be completely engrossing. The only thing I find frustrating about it is that it's too easy to wipe. While the combat itself is easy enough, both the PCs and NPCs get to make another attack after a crit or attack type match up, which means that the occasional trash mob can do an uninterruptible zero to death combo, causing a game over and potentially wiping out hours of progress.

    As a bonus, the game runs quite well on the RPCS3 emulator, even on an 8 year old 2600k.

    6 votes
  10. Comment on Solar Foods – Would you eat a burger made out of CO2 captured from the air? in ~food

    spctrvl Link
    Isn't that where all burgers ultimately come from? Jokes aside though, this is a super interesting technology, and I'd love to know more of the details to work out just what situations it could be...

    Isn't that where all burgers ultimately come from? Jokes aside though, this is a super interesting technology, and I'd love to know more of the details to work out just what situations it could be useful for. Can it scale down enough to provide reliable, low maintenance food for off grid homesteads, or long duration space missions? How much electricity per kcal does it actually use? Can it scale up enough to improve food security in developing countries suffering from climate change? Unfortunately, the company website doesn't have too much information on those things, but I suppose they are still early in development.

    4 votes
  11. Comment on Warren Rising: Massachusetts Progressive Announces $19 Million Fundraising Haul in ~news

    spctrvl Link Parent
    Moreover, there's few enough rich people that it's not really a burden for their college education to be funded publicly. Felt the same way in the 2016 primary when Clinton said that she didn't...

    Buttigieg comes off nice, although his whole "Free college for the poor, but not for the rich" comes off as counterproductive to me. I personally believe education after high school is a right, no matter what your economic standing is, and if you choose to go to public college, you will be expected to pay the same amount as any other equal citizen. I also don't have enough information on his ability to navigate the federal political climate to give him my vote in the primary.

    Moreover, there's few enough rich people that it's not really a burden for their college education to be funded publicly. Felt the same way in the 2016 primary when Clinton said that she didn't want to pay for Trump's kids to go to college. By all means, if they meet the entrance requirements, let them attend at the same cost as anyone else! We don't charge the rich to use public schools or public roads. Restricting tuition free college to the poor instead of making it a true public service creates unnecessary tension, making cuts and dismantlement more popular, and for very little financial benefit.

    5 votes
  12. Comment on What are you reading these days? #23 in ~books

    spctrvl Link
    Getting in some non-fiction this week, I just finished The High Frontier, by Gerard O'Neill. A bit weird that I hadn't read it already, being a huge advocate of the sort of free space colonization...

    Getting in some non-fiction this week, I just finished The High Frontier, by Gerard O'Neill. A bit weird that I hadn't read it already, being a huge advocate of the sort of free space colonization it describes, but I guess I got around to it. For those who aren't familiar, the book lays out an alternate way forward to the traditional science fiction notion of colonizing planetary surfaces. Turns out, you get a lot more bang for your buck with rotating space habitats, on the order of millions of times the living area per unit of mass. Beyond that, the lack of significant gravity wells makes shipping and transit an absolute breeze, and offers easy access to 0g environments for manufacturing and recreation. And the habitats aren't cramped: even with 1970's material technology, i.e. steel or aluminum, habitats miles across with hundreds of square miles of surface area could be built. Today with carbon fiber, you can build one thousands of miles in diameter, with the surface area of a large country or a small planet.

    Besides the central ideas, the book is also interesting for being a vision of the future written for a past with a different outlook. Like many science and science fiction writers in the mid-20th century, O'Neill was convinced that overpopulation was a much more pressing concern than it ended up being, and writing in the 1970's, was likewise of the mindset that the energy crisis was the new normal, and not just a temporary oil shortage caused by geopolitical factors. Would that we actually were running out of fossil fuels, might've saved us some trouble.

    Considering he had power satellite construction as the economic engine of space colonization, it's not surprising that none of it's happened yet, with fossil fuels still being dirt cheap. Hopefully the need for low carbon energy and the recent fall in launch costs will have us take another look at power satellites soon, but as of yet it doesn't really seem to be on anyone's radar for whatever reason. It's honestly kind of baffling to me how much both space based solar power and free space colonization have faded from public consciousness. Maybe they never had much of a hold on it in the first place, but the latter seems to have fallen by the wayside even for science fiction authors, in favor of outmoded ideas like terraforming.

    It did make me wonder though, how many of the cool space projects thought up in the 70's and 80's would we have gotten if shuttle flights weren't wildly more expensive than predicted, or if NASA had actually built a shuttle derived heavy cargo lifter, like the shuttle C? Seems like even more so than budget cuts, space development in that era was handicapped by the exorbitant launch costs of the regular shuttle.

    As an aside though, man, O'Neill hated nuclear power. I can understand, though strongly disagree with, the idea of not wanting to use it on Earth, but he wanted to avoid using it for interstellar flights too!

    4 votes
  13. Comment on What's a question you genuinely don't know the answer to? in ~talk

    spctrvl Link Parent
    You'd get distinctive emissions on the boundaries between the matter and antimatter pockets from particles and antiparticles annihilating, which we haven't seen. I guess the antimatter regions...

    You'd get distinctive emissions on the boundaries between the matter and antimatter pockets from particles and antiparticles annihilating, which we haven't seen. I guess the antimatter regions could be outside the part of the universe we can observe, but I don't think that's something we could really prove one way or the other.

    3 votes
  14. Comment on Democratic Debate #1 Thread (Night 2) in ~news

    spctrvl Link Parent
    Not parent poster, but I think he might run into more constitutional problems with rotation than with packing, considering the latter has precedent. It'd probably require an amendment as opposed...

    Not parent poster, but I think he might run into more constitutional problems with rotation than with packing, considering the latter has precedent. It'd probably require an amendment as opposed to a simple congressional majority.

    2 votes
  15. Comment on What are you reading these days? #22 in ~books

    spctrvl Link Parent
    Revelation Space is really good, but make sure to read Chasm City as well as the mainline trilogy. Maybe even before the trilogy, it's a standalone book, and it really fleshes out the histories of...

    Revelation Space is really good, but make sure to read Chasm City as well as the mainline trilogy. Maybe even before the trilogy, it's a standalone book, and it really fleshes out the histories of Yellowstone and Sky's Edge, two of the key systems, in a way that gives you a greater appreciation of the rest of the series. I also personally think it's the best book in the setting.

    4 votes
  16. Comment on What are you reading these days? #22 in ~books

    spctrvl Link
    I'm a little more than half way through Revenger, by Alastair Reynolds. It's a hard sci-fi space opera, set in a technologically regressed dyson swarm with an age of sail vibe. I like it pretty...

    I'm a little more than half way through Revenger, by Alastair Reynolds. It's a hard sci-fi space opera, set in a technologically regressed dyson swarm with an age of sail vibe. I like it pretty well so far, but I think he went a little overboard in setting the theme through linguistic choices: using leagues as a measurement, and switching out common words, like instead of air it's lungstuff.

    5 votes
  17. Comment on The medical ethics of fertility clinics refusing to treat prospective mothers they consider too large in ~health

    spctrvl Link Parent
    You probably shouldn't post whole articles in comments like this, the length isn't a problem but there's a copyright concern with essentially rehosting content without permission, especially with...

    You probably shouldn't post whole articles in comments like this, the length isn't a problem but there's a copyright concern with essentially rehosting content without permission, especially with tildes being publicly visible now.

    4 votes
  18. Comment on New York State Is About to Pass Its Own Green New Deal in ~enviro

    spctrvl Link Parent
    Down to fifteen percent of 1990 levels, with the remainder to be captured or offset. That's full carbon neutrality for the 12^th largest economy in the world, in 30 years, with a full...

    Any legislation talking about goals with time-frames set decades out is just bologna, and this isn't even seeking to really curb emissions; just get them down to 1990 levels

    Down to fifteen percent of 1990 levels, with the remainder to be captured or offset. That's full carbon neutrality for the 12^th largest economy in the world, in 30 years, with a full decarbonization of the electrical grid in just 20. Maybe not the most ambitious plan I've ever heard, but more than feel good legislation I think.

    4 votes
  19. Comment on Trump vows mass immigration arrests, removals of ‘millions of illegal aliens’ starting next week in ~news

    spctrvl Link Parent
    So? Sucks for the farmers I guess, but that's a risk you run when your business model relies on breaking the law to exploit people who have no legal recourse. Why not? I would argue that imposing...

    That's not how economics works. If you raise the price of strawberries, people will just buy less strawberries.

    So? Sucks for the farmers I guess, but that's a risk you run when your business model relies on breaking the law to exploit people who have no legal recourse.

    And the farmers won't just throw up their hands and deal with the costs. They will outsource instead and ship the strawberries in, which will still be cheaper. And you can't just implement tariffs on those imports like Trump tried with China.

    Why not? I would argue that imposing tariffs on goods imported from countries with lower standards of labor is how you prevent a global race to the bottom.

    2 votes
  20. Comment on Trump vows mass immigration arrests, removals of ‘millions of illegal aliens’ starting next week in ~news

    spctrvl Link Parent
    At this point, I'm not sure what can be said or shown to Trump supporters, any remaining Trump supporters, to change their minds. Besides hard core fascists I guess, they've already had to ignore...

    At this point, I'm not sure what can be said or shown to Trump supporters, any remaining Trump supporters, to change their minds. Besides hard core fascists I guess, they've already had to ignore so many ways that his presidency is directly antagonistic to their interests that I doubt one more is going to turn them off.

    As an aside though, I'm not at all a fan of that line of argument in favor of immigration. It's not okay to exploit immigrants for cheap labor in harsh conditions just because they weren't born here. If farmers can't find workers at the current rate of pay, they should pay more and strawberries should cost more.

    13 votes