Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

Go to first entry



<< current
E-mail address:
jhertzli AT ix DOT netcom DOT com

My Earthlink/Netcom Site

My Tweets

My other blogs
Small Sample Watch
XBM Graphics

The Former Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse:
Someone who used to be sane (formerly War)
Someone who used to be serious (formerly Plague)
Rally 'round the President (formerly Famine)
Dr. Yes (formerly Death)

Interesting weblogs:
Back Off Government!
Bad Science
Boing Boing
Debunkers Discussion Forum
Deep Space Bombardment
Depleted Cranium
Dr. Boli’s Celebrated Magazine.
Foreign Dispatches
Good Math, Bad Math
Greenie Watch
The Hand Of Munger
Howard Lovy's NanoBot
Liberty's Torch
The Long View
My sister's blog
Neo Warmonger
Next Big Future
Out of Step Jew
Overcoming Bias
The Passing Parade
Peter Watts Newscrawl
Physics Geek
Pictures of Math
Poor Medical Student
Prolifeguy's take
The Raving Theist
Respectful Insolence
Seriously Science
Slate Star Codex
The Speculist
The Technoptimist
Tools of Renewal
XBM Graphics
Zoe Brain

Other interesting web sites:
Aspies For Freedom
Crank Dot Net
Day By Day
Dihydrogen Monoxide - DHMO Homepage
Jewish Pro-Life Foundation
Libertarians for Life
The Mad Revisionist
Piled Higher and Deeper
Science, Pseudoscience, and Irrationalism
Sustainability of Human Progress

Yet another weird SF fan

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What Would a Settlement near Sirius Look Like?

The Sirius system is likely to have a very high ratio of available power to planetary mass. What would a civilization in the Sirius system look like?

First, there would not be very many settlements and those settlements would have to be far from the star and, probably, from each other.

Second, they must be very sparing of mass. Instead of having heavy farms, it might make sense for the colonists to genetically engineer some photosynthetic ability so they might have some green body parts.

In addition, body parts in general should be as light as possible. One way to save mass is to avoid having unused muscles. That can be done by putting most of the muscles in the trunk and using tendons to move the limbs. They would need some means of switching the muscles from one tendon to another but I'm sure the genetic engineers will be up to it. The limbs would not need much of a blood supply and might even have a bluish color.

Their ships would also have to spare mass (but could waste energy). They can spare mass by not having a pressurized hull but instead keep the passengers in space suits. This might be uncomfortable but if they go fast enough the voyages would be brief.

In other words:

Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

Coming up with an excuse for the Quangle-Wangle or Pobbles will be left as an exercise for the reader.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Victims Resemble the Oppressors

Restricting competition isn't always a matter of social class X squeezing social class Y. The victims of restricting competition are frequently in the same class as the winners.

Restricting competition in academia (i.e., tenure) might be responsible for the exploitation of adjunct professors. Restricting competition in the blue-collar realm (i.e., unions) is associated with collapsed cities such as Detroit. The spread of professions with restricting competition into the small-business realm (i.e., occupational licensing) is correlated with the declining rate of business formation.

In other words, you can't blame restricting competition or even resistance to restricting competition on class prejudice.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Building a Silmaril

The news of the development of a crystal that can extract useful energy from radioactivity might be the first step in creating a Silmaril in our universe.

If a crystal is radioactive and can use that radioactivity to pump a laser in the same crystal it would act much like a Silmaril. It would give back any light that it's exposed to amplified. If it were hidden away in Morgoth's horde, the heat from the radioactivity would accumulate and burn anything it touches.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Third Schrödinger Population

In addition to Schrödinger's immigrants and Schrödinger's conservatives, we see Schrödinger's liberals, in a quantum superposition of neighborhoods in lily-white/inner-city states.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

What Were They Thinking?

What were the MSM people thinking?

On the one hand, accusations that conservatives are racists have been common for decades in the less-mainstream media outlets on the Left. On the other hand, such accusations have been more restrained in MSM outlets until this year. Maybe what happened is that the MSM people balance the non-mainstream leftists with NRO-type conservatives. On other occasions, the following exchange might happen:

Fringe leftists: Romney is a racist!
MSM people: Is Romney really a racist?
NRO conservatives: There's no way Romney is a racist.
MSM people: Okay, we'll talk about the 47% instead.
This year, the following happened:
Fringe leftists: Trump is a racist!
MSM people: Is Trump really a racist?
NRO conservatives: We'd rather not defend a protectionist.
MSM people: Okay, Trump is a racist.

What were the Trump primary voters thinking?

My best guess is that they regarded his business success as a matter of prowess instead of diligence and figured that diligence doesn't seem to be working. They apparently think that this “alpha-male” will fix the American economy by shear force of will and get back everything they imagine foreigners have stolen.

What were the Trump general-election voters thinking?

My best guess is that they figure that we elected and re-elected Obama and that proves the US is no longer racist and that they can go back to voting Republican.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Another Schrödinger Population

In addition to Schrödinger's immigrants, there's also Schrödinger's conservatives, they're both over-privileged and too poor to buy tickets to Hamilton. They're in a quantum superposition of poor/privileged states.

It's amazing how much the supposedly opposite sides sound alike.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

If the EmDrive Works…

… it still might not be that useful.

At 1.2 mN/kW and 4300 W/kg, that's an acceleration of \(5.16\times10^{-4}~\text{m/s}^2\).

A bit slow. It can go 80 million km (the distance between the orbits of Earth and Mars) in about 9 months.

The above needs a correction.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A What-If Speculation

A suggestion for an alternative religion clause of the First Amendment:

Neither the United States, nor any subdivision of it, shall ever be construed to support, endorse, or be founded upon any religion or religious principle; nor shall the government intrude upon the free exercise of religion so long as such exercise is injurious to no one; nor shall any religious institution participate in any election campaign or public vote. The United States shall be a secular nation with separation of church and state. No religious test or affirmation of any sort shall be required of any employee or official of the United States government, nor of any state or other part, nor by any entity receiving federal funding.
On the other hand …
  • What would “nor shall any religious institution participate in any election campaign or public vote” have done to the Abolitionist movement?
  • The phrase “…nor by any entity receiving federal funding” might produce problems for organizations that pay taxes and have to compete with other organizations that are allowed to accept federal funding that helps balance the taxes.
  • The phrase “…so long as such exercise is injurious to no one” might be interpreted as allowing lawsuits by unemployed Real Americans against people sheltering illegal aliens.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Few More Election Notes

Trump did about the same as Romney as a percentage of the white vote and slightly better as a percentage of the non-white vote. Maybe identity politics is not the wave of the future after all.

In a related story, the sane Republicans in Congress did better than Trump. It looks like the Republican Party in general lifted Trump. The GOP Establishment had the coattails and the Trump supporters should thank them.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

We Told You So, Part I

So… Trump is willing to keep the ban on discrimination on health-insurance applicants with pre-existing conditions. It is, after all, a “settled value in this country” (along with not voting for Trump and not having the Chicago Cubs win the World Series). It's been settled for time immemorial, which, if you're a “policy wonk,” means the past six years. Such discrimination is almost as bad as discrimination in real-estate deals.

A Clarification

When I said:

If Trump wins and governs on the Left, I promise not to say “We Told You So” more than once a week.

I meant that such reprimand should not be made in more than one post per week in any given network. In other words, only one post per week on Blogspot, only one post per week on Disqus, only one post per week on Twitter, …

Friday, November 11, 2016

Did the Get-out-the-Vote Effort Backfire?

The get-out-the-vote effort by Democrats might have might have backfired. The numerous calls I received warning me that a Republican victory meant an end to “choice” nearly made me vote for Trump. Then I recalled that Trump also disregards the rights of potential Americans.

One Nasty Effect of the Trump Triumph

It's causing some people on the Right to have a strange new respect for an omnipotent Federal government.

When discussing nullification, please note that nullification was also used by Wisconsin and Vermont to resist the Fugitive Slave Act. In addition, the Tariff of Abominations was an instance of blatant federal overreach and well worth resisting.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Which Trump Did We Elect?

We still don't know if we elected the Good Trump (who's tolerant of the “bitter clingers” in flyover country) or the Bad Trump (who's intolerant of people based on birth).

A test case: A religious organization could harbor an illegal alien and claim it's required by Exodus 22:21. The Good Trump (who was elected by evangelicals trying to defend the RFRA) will go one way and the Bad Trump the other.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

What Will President Trump Do?

Some of presumed President-elect Trump's positions will be applauded by libertarians and conservatives but others won't. For example:

  • Applauded by Conservatives and Libertarians:
    • Stop cap and trade
  • Applauded by Libertarians and not Conservatives:
    • Bring soldiers home (until he has a hissy fit)
    • Critical of compulsory vaccines
    • Legalize drugs (Some people think he will.)
  • Applauded by Conservatives and not Libertarians:
    • Border wall
  • Applauded by neither:
    • Tariffs
    • Supporting a local option on fracking
    • Critical of vaccines (The claim that vaccines cause autism can be used as a reason to ban vaccines.)

I have no idea on what he will do about health care and I suspect neither does he.

Please recall that last time we had a President who tried appealing to white identity politics, we got the EPA and wage–price controls.

Monday, November 07, 2016

A Few Notes before the Election

Whichever side wins the election will be the wrong one. The fact that it won means it's big enough to be dangerous.

If all of your hopes and dreams can be derailed by a chance event such as a close election, something is wrong.

The worst effect of President Trump is likely to be a tendency to think of the Democrats as the anti-racist party. I plan to deal with it by trying to locate the oldest edition of The Age of Jackson by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. I can find. It's an ode to the founder of the Democratic Party, one of our most racist Presidents.

The worst effect of President Clinton is likely to be a tendency to think that cover-ups work. This will encourage both cover-ups and conspiracy theories.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

The Conservative Case for Hillary?

The conservative case for President Hillary: What if at her inauguration she takes off her mask and says “You just elected a Goldwater girl! For years, I watched liberals infiltrate one conservative institution after another and vowed to do the same thing to them. I spent decades infiltrating the Democrats and told nobody but my pals on Wall Street. Now it's payback time!”

On the other hand, the likelihood of this being true is around zilch.

Disclaimer: The above post was written while under the influence of caffeine. Is that why Mormons think of it as a dangerous drug?

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Cubs Technologies

A few years ago, Arnold Kling wrote Red Sox Technologies about electronic technologies that have proponents perpetually saying “Wait 'til next year!” Since then the Red Sox have won World Series and two of the technologies (E-book readers and social networking) have come into common use.

It's clearly time for Cubs technologies, industrial technologies that have proponents perpetually saying “Wait 'til next year!” So… Rev up your fusion-powered air cars!

My Blogger Profile
eXTReMe Tracker X-treme Tracker

The Atom Feed This page is powered by Blogger.