Fall Bass

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About Fall Bass

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    Summer Time Bassness
  • Birthday 10/01/1986

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  1. In one of the previous threads, I speculated that he could self-publish and maybe release it chapter-by-chapter while doing a Patreon. It doesn't sound like he's interested in doing something like that, or maybe he still has hopes that a publisher will pick up the third trilogy.
  2. I remember that too - all the talk about how NASA was planning for a Mars mission in 2018 or 2020. We're not much closer to that now than we were back then.
  3. Barring some major cultural shift, I think we will someday have colonies on the Moon and Mars, although that "someday" could be "any time in the next three hundred years or so". It's going to get a big boost from better space robotics and AI, since they can then do a lot of the work in setting up a colony for us without humans having to be on site for most of it (including deep space resource extraction). I'm more optimistic about the prospects for space colonization the farther out I look, although of course it would be nice to see some of it happen in my life-time. The colonies specifically on the Moon and Mars will be there as outgrowths of scientific research stations, as projects undertaken by groups interested in setting them up who can pay for them, or for both. Imagine a research base/campus on Mars with hundreds or thousands of people, with a population that is growing due to on-site reproduction and can supply about 95% or more of its needs from local resources. Or a religious colony set up because spaceflight has gotten cheap enough to the point where they can do it on their own funds. RE: Terraforming We probably don't need to create a magnetosphere for Mars. It loses atmosphere to the solar wind, but it's a slow process that takes hundreds of millions of years. We might be able to fiddle with engineered plants and such on Mars so they replenish over time. But if we do want to create a magnetosphere, it's going to be a lot easier just to create a solar-powered artificial one positioned somewhere between Mars and the Sun rather than trying to get Mars' core conducting again (which itself would just be a solution that would require work again in hundreds of millions of years, and might cause problems for our terraforming with the resultant volcanism*). Of course, I'm optimistic about the possibility of finding life somewhere deep beneath Mars' surface - and if that happens, I don't think we'll be doing any terraforming for a very long time, if ever. * Incidentally, volcanism is why I don't think we'll be terraforming Venus any time remotely on the horizon.
  4. It's hard to get controlled fusion at a net-positive level of energy output vs input, and to do it at scale. The "scale" issue in particular has bedeviled fusion projects for years - someone comes up with a neat little fusion idea, projects that "if we could just scale this up by a factor of 500, we'd be net positive and get a self-sustaining 'ignition and burn' fusion reaction", and then it turns out to be extremely difficult to scale up (if not impossible). And of course it's not enough to solve the technical issues. It has to be something that can be built and maintained en masse in a practical fashion, and preferably be something that's cost-effective compared to other forms of low- or zero-carbon energy. I just don't see it coming online in time to make a big difference this century, unless somebody discovers practical, net-positive, cost-effective nuclear fusion in the next 5-10 years. Nature doesn't give me any confidence that we will. The Sun is a tremendously inefficient fusion reactor - IIRC, the power output that its core creates per cubic meter is on par with a compost heap.
  5. Our ability to dump particulates into the atmosphere to cool it down probably puts a cap on how hot we'll get (although hopefully that will never have to be used), but there's a lot of damage that could be done on the way there. Unless we figure out some way to pull CO2 from the atmosphere en masse, I personally tend to think we'll end up at the four or five degree Celsius level of warming by 2100, and then level out and slowly decline afterwards. Or maybe they'll just keep it up there. That has long term consequences, but stability is the key in reviving ecosystems. Everything would be put through the strainer again with a drop in CO2 from the new level.
  6. It's not so much that I'm embarrassed that others know I like something, so much as I'm embarrassed to myself that I like it. My favorite definition of a "guilty pleasure" is something where you have a hard time pinning down exactly why you like it, but you're painfully aware of its faults.
  7. There were some big institutional changes (such as the increased prominence of the themata) after the losses in the 7th century, but I think the eastern Roman Empire after that was contiguous with the one that had existed before - even if it was drastically shrunken in territory and resources. 1204 is the better date, with the Empire being broken up into successor kingdoms. One of them managed to capture Constantinople and claim it was the restored Empire on a fragment of its former territory, but then in four decades it lost basically everything except a small amount of territory around and across the strait from Constantinople (it's hard to call it even a restoration). Antietam alone was a colossal screw-up on his part. He literally had Lee's plans handed to him, and he still wasn't able to turn that into a smashing victory against the latter's army. More on the Romans - I've been reading Fate of Rome, about the role that climate change and disease played both in the fall of the western Roman Empire and the ultimate failure of Justinian's reconquest. Yersinia Pestis (the disease that was both the Plague of Justinian and the Black Death) was an even nastier piece of work than I thought. Other epidemics tended to hit the cities hardest while taking a relatively lighter touch on rural areas due to how they were transmitted, but not Y.Pestis. Even in places where it wasn't being spread by trade networks, it just slowly ground its way across 6th century Europe. And then it came back again and again in successor waves. The author had a phrase that's stuck with me: That fits with some of my other readings recently.
  8. It's dampened a bit in impact by the frequent cuts to less interesting parts of the movie, but I still love it as well. I remember saving this interesting post from another forum I visit (from a user named "Eleas", in case he or she visits here as well), about the sword-fighting choreography in the movies. Feel free to disagree - I don't know enough about sword-fighting to comment but it sounds plausible.
  9. "The future belongs to the fecund", more or less. Peasant farmers may have led less happier, harder lives than hunter-gatherers, but they had superior numbers and growth rates. That meant they could mobilize more people over time than hunter-gatherers, who tended to either retreat to marginal areas, end up submitting (unhappily) to agricultural production, or turning to pastoralism (and then ironically conquering many of those agrarian civilizations later on). And once a society embraced agriculture, the only way for it to turn back was through mass death and societal collapse (and even then it didn't usually happen). The state was a way of taming the resultant agrarian authoritarianism, creating more stratification in agrarian societies but also at least providing some rules and regularity to it. It also tended to be a project undertaken by the dominant king or ruler to tame the power of unruly oligarchical aristocrats by building up institutions that contained their power and built up a power base directly with the population itself (and so many states were constantly at war, it also helped mobilize resources and warriors for that). That's essentially what most state formation was in the Middle Ages onward, and you could argue that it's essentially what Augustus and the later emperors in the "Pax Romana" period were doing to tame the brutal oligarchical competition under the Late Republic.
  10. I strongly recommend both Golden Hill and Red Plenty by Francis Spufford. The former is set in 1750s colonial New York City, the latter in the postwar Soviet Union. Both are very interesting and readable.
  11. Robot socialism a la The Culture with a heavy emphasis on space exploration would be my preference, but lacking that I'm in favor of the idea of the "social floor": society does not let you fall below a certain level of suffering, and thus works to guarantee at least a minimum level of access to work, housing, food, etc. It's why I'm in favor of either a Job Guarantee or a Basic Income. Also, I'd like this to be done with clean energy and electricity instead of fossil fuels, and with minimal pollution.
  12. Hyperspace ram only worked because they weren't expecting it, it was a huge-ass ship doing it, and an even bigger ship being targeted. If they started regularly trying to hyperspace ram other ships, tactics would change (especially since Star Wars ships are capable of moving at a significant fraction of light speed even without using FTL). It's weird seeing Snoke talked about as if he was a mystery being set up that wasn't answered. We found out about Snoke about as much as we found out about the Emperor and Tarkin in the Old Trilogy, and not much less than what we know about Palpatine from the first six movies. He's just what he appears to be on the surface - a powerful dark-side force user who is trying to reassemble the Empire, and recruited Ren. If you can pull on stuff with the Force, it logically makes sense that you could grab on to stuff and pull yourself towards it - equal and opposite reaction and all that. The point of Finn and Rose's detour was that it was a disastrous plan that ultimately made things worse, which was the whole point of Poe's character arc this movie.
  13. EDIT: Woh, best not post a response to a comment that happened seven pages back. This thread moves quick. I thought the movie was pretty consistent with most of the other Star Wars films on hyperspace travel. The Force Awakens is the odd one out, but that's typical for Abrams' "slam a bunch of cool scenes together with good pacing and mystery box stuff even if the plot is a pile of bad contrivances and breaks the setting" (such as with the interstellar transporter in Star Trek 2009).
  14. I thought it was great, too, especially the scene where Poe trolls Hux. Hux is such a pompous, scenery-chewing* monster that he's practically asking to be trolled like that. * Domhnall Gleeson's got some good acting range. He plays both Hux and someone who is about as opposite to Hux as you can get in Ex Machina.
  15. Poe's plan was to use Maz's contact, presumably someone they could trust. That plan fell apart, but then Finn and Rose made the choice to try and continue it with DJ, who betrayed them and the rebels. If they escape and instead just come back to the fleet in failure instead (or hell, just spend another day cooling their heels in jail), the rebels mostly make it to safety in the transports under stealth. Yes, if they didn't do the plan in the first place, none of that would have happened. But what got most of the rebels killed was that Finn and Rose deviated from the plan once the original version of it became untenable.