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The Lounge A flamboyant thread w/ razzle dazzle about the 2015 Canadian Election Sep 30 2015
11:13 (UTC)

It's going to be an interesting election.  3 weeks to go and it's a virtual dead heat between the 3 main parties.

It looks like every vote will count this year, so if you're Canadian, don't forget to go to the polling stations.

I still haven't decided between Liberal or NDP.  I think it's time for a change, I don't want the same old Harper Conservatives back in power.

I'd be happy with a Liberal/NDP coalition.  Economically speaking, I think the NPD platform has too much spending in it.  Surprisingly the Liberals have a more balanced budget platform than the Conservatives.  Mixing the two together may work out for the best.

The Lounge A flamboyant thread w/ razzle dazzle about the 2016 presidential primary elections Sep 22 2015
15:39 (UTC)

I was going to post this in the Canadian election thread, but I think it's more relevant here.

Elections Canada says "We don't want voter suppression tactics here in Canada like they have in the USA."

The Lounge A flamboyant thread w/ razzle dazzle about the 2015 Canadian Election Sep 22 2015
14:48 (UTC)

So apparently we have a dark-horse candidate in Tom Mulcair's beard.  I'm thinking of doing a write-in vote for it.

Seriously?  Syria, the economy, oil pipelines all take a backseat to noting the one of the parties has a leader who isn't clean-shaven?

Although for it's sheer ridiculousness, I do like the quote:  

“Our country needs a clean-shaven Prime Minister who has a steady hand on the economy and can keep us all safe from terrorists, most of whom have beards.”

Of course I also like the NDP's response of supplying cardboard cutout beards to their supporters, and the following quote:

"Harper is attempting yet again to deflect attention from pressing issues like the economy, allowing more refugees to come to Canada, or him being a total a$$h***.”

The Lounge A flamboyant thread w/ razzle dazzle about the 2016 presidential primary elections Sep 22 2015
14:30 (UTC)

I vote we make Trump the ambassador to Antarctica.

The Lounge A flamboyant thread w/ razzle dazzle about the 2016 presidential primary elections Sep 22 2015
11:39 (UTC)
Original Post by dnrothx:

Original Post by lysistrata:

They're related only by analogy, and being analogized to somebody who ranks up there with the top world leaders of the twentieth century is very favorable to her.

There's no question that Thatcher was definitely a prominent leader on the world stage, but given the dismal view of her in her home country, I wouldn't want to be associated with her as a candidate myself.

You know that leader whose country didn't like what they did?  I'm just like them!

Churchill wasn't much liked after the war either.  He lost his first peacetime election. 


The Lounge A flamboyant thread w/ razzle dazzle about the 2016 presidential primary elections Sep 17 2015
10:58 (UTC)

I worked for Compaq under Carly's reign.

Lets just say that I have a low opinion of her.

The Lounge Eating cats and dogs Sep 02 2015
10:56 (UTC)

It's just a cultural thing.  Asia, Africa and South America eat insects.  North Americans and Europeans would find that disgusting.  In India they would find eating beef to be horrific.  In Asia they eat dogs and cats as easily as we eat porkchops.  In China drinking Milk and eating cheese is unheard of.  Heck sure, even in Israel they would look at you in disgust if you ate a cheeseburger, because they can't mix meat and milk.   In France horse meat is a delicacy.

And don't get me started on things like blood pudding and head cheese and tripe, which is a part of our very own cultural heritage that we left behind in England.

This is broad generalizations of course.

The Lounge Eating cats and dogs Sep 02 2015
10:48 (UTC)

I was vegetarian for about 5 years.  I stopped after I had kids, because I didn't feel like imposing my values and limiting their meal choices was a good idea (plus my wife started craving pork chops when she was pregnant with our second).  Growing kids need a well-balanced diet, not a restrictive one.  Now that my kids are almost grown (and I'm divorced) I'm thinking of switching back.

The Lounge Eating cats and dogs Sep 01 2015
14:51 (UTC)

Yes, I'd eat a dog or a cat or a horse.

Every time that you eat meat you've killed an animal.  I think it would be hypocritical of me to say that a cows life is worth less than a dogs.  A life is a life, and nothing makes a cats life intrinsically more valuable than a pigs.

I don't eat veal because something about killing babies to eat them just doesn't agree with me.  I wouldn't eat a person or an ape/monkey, because they're too similar to myself.  And that's about what's off-limit for me, other than say, an endangered animal.

Until I go vegetarian.

The Lounge Rest in Peace, KathyGator. Aug 28 2015
17:53 (UTC)

The Lounge Let's talk about the Apocalypse Aug 28 2015
17:47 (UTC)

Well Lys, I suppose we could always burn lawyers for fuel.

I work in a hospital, and I would imagine that no matter what hospitals would stay open, so you'd think that my job would be secure.  Unfortunately I work in the IT department of the hospital.  No electricity means no computers means no job.

The Lounge Let's talk about the Apocalypse Aug 28 2015
17:36 (UTC)

PS: Most septic systems are underground, and thus gravity fed.  No electricity required.  They could go on for years before they fill up.  Once they do fill up you'd have to choose between pumping (or shoveling) it out or building a new one.  Pretty much exactly what happens today.  People on septic systems wouldn't have to worry about their sewage, only people on municipal sewage.

People in flood plains would have to worry about their sump pumps no longer working, and more troublesome, the city's storm drain and sewage sump pumps not working.  Sewage and rainwater would start backing up into low-lying areas wherever people are on municipal systems.

And of course, everyone would have to worry about how to get water.

The Lounge Let's talk about the Apocalypse Aug 28 2015
17:26 (UTC)

Okay. lets imagine that electricity is gone.  It just stopped working one day.  Not because of a MCE, just because it happened ("Those dame experimental quantum physicists went and killed electricity with their Large Hadron Collider").

Transportation would be gone.  No electricity means no car batteries means no internal combustion.  Planes, trains, boats, cars, motorcycles would all just be hunks of metal.  Eventually people would rebuild steam locomotives, perhaps steam cars and either steam or sail boats, but do you guys know exactly how much of modern civilization relies on transportation?  My grapes come from Chile.  My apples from Washington.  My everything that's not food comes from China.  There would be mass food shortages everywhere.  Where there wasn't mass food shortages the food would rot in the fields because there's no machinery for harvesting, processing, or transporting.  New York would starve while California would be buried under rotten strawberries.

And the next year it would be even worse.  You can't plow a field without a tractor, or spread fertilizer or pesticides.  Sure you could break into a museum and get an old-time horse plow, but you can't farm 2000 acres with a horse.  200 maybe, but modern industrial farms that currently supply 7 billion people with food would have to go back to the old ways.  Even with transportation somehow miraculously restored, 1920's technology could feed about 3 billion, max.  

So farmers are producing less, and can't transport it to market.  Good bye cities.

Cities will have no food, no wood to burn after the first winter (admittedly not such a big problem for Miami or LA), and no water (bye-bye water pumps).  New York actually has a gravity fed water system, so water will still be flowing as far as the 5th floor, but LA would be dry as a bone.  Eventually windmills could be used to get water flowing again, but at nowhere near the efficiency of the modern electric pump.

New Orleans would drown, as they are below sea level and only stay dry thanks to massive electric pumps.  LA, Pheonix and much of Texas would dry up and blow away.

Sewage would be another problem.  In the short term most sewage treatment plants would stop functioning.  They would instead release raw sewage directly into the water supply.  Diseases such as cholera and dysentry would run rampant.  Eventually this could probably be corrected, with a combination of methane capture and burning fuel such as wood or coal.  Sewage treatment is mostly done by bacteria, we just help by keeping them warm and well-fed. A few pumps, some basic skimmers and grinders, and some heat is all we really need to provide.

Medicine is another thing entirely.  Basically we wouldn't have any.  No insulin, no lithium, no Lipitor, no Aspirin.  A lot of the population, especially the elderly, would die within the first year. Type 1 diabetics would all be gone.  Type 2 could probably last longer, as there would be no sugar or processed food.  Hell, without antibiotics we're all doomed.

I don't know about you, but by the time I turned 40 I was the only one in my peer group that wasn't on some type of medication.

Eventually we'd get some medications back.  Most medicines now are produced by specially modified bacteria and yeasts.  This requires a lot of electricity to maintain and especially purify their products.  But bacteria and yeast are hardy.  Someone will eventually figure out how to maintain them and purify the medicines without electricity. Transporting the medicine would be difficult, and developing new one would be nigh-impossible.  But the lack of processed foods and forced walking (still no cars or elevators yet) would actually make many people healthier than they ever were before.  At least until they drank the water and developed dysentery. 

Of course, money would be worthless.  We'd subsist on a barter economy, at least for the near-term.  Office jobs would evaporate, but manufacturing and menial labor would multiply.  The computer programmer and stock broker would give way to the blacksmith (do you know how few blacksmiths there still are?).  

And then there's fuel sources.  We can only rely of burning wood for so long.  Europe was stripped of its trees even before the industrial revolution came along.  Coal would be king, but current coal mining relies on big machines and lopping the tops off mountains.  It would take a while to convert back to picks and steam shovels again.  Oil can both be pumped and refined without electricity, it just can't be done as efficiently.  Of course gasoline would be worthless, but kerosene would still have a use, as well as grease, machine oil and asphalt.  Iron ore can conceivably be mined and smelted without electricity (though once again, not particularly efficiently) but aluminium would be gone.  On the other hand, we'll have enough rusting out hulks that we wouldn't need to mine metals for a good few years for our greatly reduced populations.

But once again transportation is the big problem.  How do you get your products and food to market?  There's only a handful of blacksmiths left in this world.  Who's building these steam engines?  How are the roads maintained?  

I suppose it wouldn't be impossible to invent a diesel engine that uses something besides electricity to light the glow plugs. 

The Lounge Science is Sexy, Quantum is Magic Aug 26 2015
11:02 (UTC)

So the department of defense has built themselves an android robot.  It can walk, run, climb, use tools, open doors, etc.  Can the Terminator be far behind?

Atlas is a high mobility, humanoid robot designed to negotiate outdoor, rough terrain. Atlas can walk bipedally leaving the upper limbs free to lift, carry, and manipulate the environment. In extremely challenging terrain, Atlas is strong and coordinated enough to climb using hands and feet, to pick its way through congested spaces. Articulated, sensate hands will enable Atlas to use tools designed for human use. Atlas includes 28 hydraulically-actuated degrees of freedom, two hands, arms, legs, feet and a torso. An articulated sensor head includes stereo cameras and a laser range finder.

And they've just completed an upgrade to make it quieter, stronger, and upgraded it's power source (no word on whether it uses an iridium nuclear-energy cell).  All it needs now is an Arnold skinsuit.

The Lounge 2015 Gardening thread Aug 25 2015
15:47 (UTC)

*Sigh*, my tomato plant gave me 1 tomato, approximately 1.5 inches in diameter.  I needed at least 3 to break even on buying the plant.  Oh well.

On the other hand I have a bumper crop of chives, rhubarb, raspberries and (soon) apples.  I have so much rhubarb right now I don't know what to do with it.  I've been making rhubarb pie, rhubarb cake and just so, so much rhubarb jam.  More rhubarb jam than I can possibly eat in several years.  I guess I know what I'm giving away for Christmas this year.

Does anyone know of a good recipe for Rhubarb wine?  It's been a few years since I decided to stop making wine because I only drink like, 2 bottles a year and my basement was filling up with dusty several-years old bottles, but I have to do something with all this rhubarb.


The Lounge Science is Sexy, Quantum is Magic Aug 24 2015
13:12 (UTC)

Brain immortality anyone?

Science is continuing to try to upload a brain into a computer. And they have succeeded ... with the brain of a nematode (worm).  Basically they mapped the brain of a nematode, marked every connection between every neuron, simulated that map into a Lego Mindstorm, and then watched as the Lego robot behaved exactly like a nematode.

They basically coped the brain of a living organism, put it in a machine, and watched as the machine behaved like the living organism.  They actually uploaded it's mind into a robot.

Now granted, the nematode organism only has 302 Neurons with a possible 5500 connections.  The human mind has over 100,000,000,000 neurons and the number of connections can be measured in the hundreds of trillions.  So they're nowhere near ready to copy a human brain.


Here's another researcher that's working with IBM to simulate a brain.  He's working with rat brains.  Specifically he's built a machine with 2000 computer chips that simulates the 300,000,000 interactions between the 10,000 neurons in a rats neocortical column.  A single neocortical column controls a single function of a brain.  For example, one neocortical column is used to see the colour red, or to move a single muscle, etc.

So they've built the basic building block of a brain.  Link a bunch of those together and you get a real brain.  

But to build a human brain simulation will require .... a computer that can process  200 times more data than Google currently uses, and it will consume 3 billion dollars worth of electricity a year.  Compare that to the human brain which is less than a liter and a half of meat that uses 25 watts of electricity.

So there's still a ways to go.  But as technology advances and computer processing power increases it gets easier and easier to map a human mind.  The guy working with IBM estimates that it will take him years to be able to fit a human mind down into a single computer.  How many years?  10.

So in 10 years they'll be capable of simulating a human mind in a single computer.  What will happen 10 years after that?  Will humans be capable of functional immortality?  Uploading their brain into a computer which can run on indefinably after their meatbag body dies?

Probably not, as there's no non-destructive way of recording a persons brain.  They can build a human brain inside a computer, create an artificial intelligence, but they currently have no way of recording your brain and plugging that into a computer.


Here's a quote from the second article:

“If we build this brain right, it will do everything,” Markram says. I ask him if that includes selfconsciousness: Is it really possible to put a ghost into a machine? “When I say everything, I mean everything,” he says, and a mischievous smile spreads across his face.

The Lounge Let's talk about the Apocalypse Aug 24 2015
11:24 (UTC)

Thanks to years of camping experience, I have the equipment to go offline.  I've lost electricity for days before in mid-winter and I emerged fine.

But rebuilding from a MCE would take more than days.  It would take months.  The entire power grid would go down.  There's been some improvements since the blackout of 2003, but not a lot.  A lot of the suggested improvements haven't yet been implemented.  Believe it or not a lot of the current power grid was put in place in the 1920's-1970's and hasn't really been upgraded since.  I read an article once about how some parts of New York are still using the original equipment put in place in the 1880's to 1920's.  The pictures were amazing.  

Once that goes out, it'll be incredibly hard to replace.  And you can't just pop in a new transformer and pull everything back online.  For one thing, there's only a limited supply of spare transformers that they keep on hand.  And without electricity, where would they be making more?  With no electricity to the Chinese manufacturing plants, who would be capable of making more spares? Does anyone know how to hand-wind a transformer anymore?  And with the foundries offline where do you get the copper wire?

Oh don't get me wrong, we'd recover.  It wouldn't be Armageddon.  But things would be difficult for a while.  No elevators in New York, no cellphones (or even landlines), no computers or internet for months.  The GPS would be offline and would stay that way for conceivably years.  Air transport would be gone for a good while, but ships and trains would still work fine.  Trucks and cars might be in trouble, especially as the gasoline supply would be impacted.  The stock market would of course crash.

Hospitals would have their own emergency systems that they could bring online.  They'd have to rig up some battery operated lights in the OR, which wouldn't be ideal, but there's no such thing as an OR that uses natural light, they're all deep inside buildings.  More problematic would be the lack of access to medical records.  These are all electronic now.  Even filling a prescription would be difficult.

Then of course there's the human factors.  The looting, the yahoos and survivalist running rampant while screaming "I told you so!  You can't rely on the government.  Now we get to take over!". 

There'd be hardships, but we'd mostly recover in a few months.

I had read about the 1850's event and it was amazing.  At the time electricity wasn't used much.  No home electricity, they pretty much only had telegraph.  But the telegraph system was taken out worldwide.  Hell, it was melted worldwide.  And then caught on fire.

The Lounge A Quick Puzzle to Test Your Problem Solving Aug 18 2015
15:38 (UTC)

I got the correct answer, precisely how they said, thus joining the 22% who weren't afraid to be wrong.

What that says about me I don't know. 

The Lounge Meanwhile in places that aren't Florida Aug 17 2015
11:10 (UTC)

Lady steals Baboon from the zoo because it made her son smile.

The Lounge A flamboyant thread w/ razzle dazzle about the 2016 presidential primary elections Aug 13 2015
11:50 (UTC)

Trump/Romney?  We could call it the billionaires club?