My hovercraft is full of eels.
295 publicly visible posts • joined 7 Sep 2013
the favorite thought going through any competent scientists head must be:
it seems that chemistry has an affection for carbon compounds (source: my son the PhD Organic Chemist) . . . given energy (solar, lightning, etc) and raw materials (say, all the worlds oceans and what's dissolved in them) and deep time you're going to get some pretty complicated and complex molecules.
enough of them bumping into each other (remember the sample size and the number of collisions/second) and life is almost a certainty.
and once you have that first eater/excreter/grower/reproducer it's off to the races!
NASA's problems start with the fact that administrators are often not spaceflight or aeronautics supporters.*
the problem is made almost infinitely worse because every Senator, Representative and President endlessly tries to micromanage** NASA as to what space missions to undertake and which state gets to supply parts.
and none of the micromanager wannabes care about aeronautics or NASA's education programs.
* Charles Bolton, the previous (unless that's changed again) administrator is an ex-astronaut was a modern exception.
** usually via funding threats.
of course not . . . i'm an old (so not reliable in the memory department) but i remember seeing an item stating that no forest fire here on the left side of the pond has ever been put out by firefighters . . . it's always eventually extinguished by rain.
it figures as no fire truck can carry the amount of water that a 100,000 ton cloud can.
it's so good to know that someone is watching over the telecos . . . it would be terrible if they missed any opportunity to screw over their customers.
as far as content is concerned, i can't wait for a complete loss of messages from any and all groups considered "progressive" . . . and i'm sure that a "service" to repeat all t'Rump's tweets as text messages to every device in the country will be greenlighted and added to our bills.
there are limits on every right in The Bill of Rights . . . there are limits on 'free speech' (unless it's money) and there have been restrictions on fully automatic weapons, sawed-off shotguns and others for a long time now.
i have no idea why the supreme court decided that everybody is a member of a "well regulated militia" . . . but i suspect the reason is money again.
i've voted a lot of times (damn i'm old) and the best system i've seen is paper ballots where you fill-in a block (or other little shape) that are put into a ballot box and, at the end of the day, transported to the town hall for machine counting.
the system leaves a human-readable paper trail that can be recounted by precinct for spot checks or entirely recounted is shenanigans is suspected.
that secures the votes . . . now, can we solve the voter suppression problem?
[ . . . and, just maybe, confine campaigning to the two months preceding one national designated day for all primary elections . . . and hold the election one month later ]
yes, fix the people and their water, sewer, electric, etc. first (just so nobody thinks i'm a monster)
then . . . i hate to think it but the present administration will probably see this as a sign that the big beard in the sky hates radio astronomy and therefore won't fund fixing it . . . letting the equipment rot in the jungle for a few years, until a more enlightened administration happens, will insure it doesn't get fixed.
[ . . . or maybe all they need is their personal hatreds of science ]
you might want to check to see if someone has wired something backwards . . . that type of half-bright (or less) behavior of CFLs can be caused by switching the neutral instead of the phase wire . . . it's not a problem (unless you consider possible electrocution a problem) . . . the glow is caused by leakage between the ballast and ground (probably capacitive coupling with an electronic ballast and inductive with a really old CFL lamp ballast)
i've found that most people who work on lamps (<pedant> actually fixtures </pedant>) almost never connect the phase and neutral consistently . . . they don't care which wire goes where on the plug end and can't be bothered to keep the wiring properly phased (to match the plug) at the socket.
this is a problem here on the left side of the pond as lots of plugs aren't polarized (and often don't have a ground), nobody pays attention to which side of the all-brown cord goes where (the striated side is phase and the smooth side is neutral) and they haven't a clue why one screw on the socket is brass-colored (coloured) and the other silvery.
[ i swear, it's like all of them are trying to be Witchfinder Private Newton Pulsifer - h/t Mr. Gaiman & Sir Pterry ]
my father taught me at a young age (about 60 years ago, now) that all tools and most things you work on require occasional blood sacrifices . . . i thought i found the one job, draftsman, that broke his rule and was thinking of telling him when i cut a finger to the bone while trimming mylar sheets to size.
it was years later that i discovered that they make computer cases from old razor blades.
the electronics are lovely but useless when casting your vote.
probably the safest method is manually marking a paper ballot . . . if a human can mark it a human can read and count it.
when it comes time to tally the vote a machine does it faster, and probably more accurately, than a human.
recounts can also be done by using other machines to get a first look and comparing it to the count by a human panel . . . if there is a discrepancy, the source should be relatively easy to find.
[ when all is said and done, i worry more about masses of people (olds, non-whites, poors) being disenfranchised by the various cures for non-existent voter fraud ]