I Don’t Feel Like Writing a Post

I swear yesterday’s was stream of consciousness.  Sorry.  Almost all better from the cold, but need to write on Guardian and also posts for pj…

So, my post for PJ this week, in case you missed it is here:

Why We Must Go to the Stars.

Sorry, I really have no excuse other than I feel like playing hooky.

114 thoughts on “I Don’t Feel Like Writing a Post

  1. If you don’t feel like writing a post, don’t write a post. It’s an October Saturday, after all.

  2. What’s wrong about playing hooky when it comes to the non-paying stuff?

  3. Not having read the whole thing, I can say that trying to send people (define however you like or, don’t like for that matter) we ought to be sending machines. Will the first be passed the second and that by the third? Perhaps that is most likely. But the first still must be sent – what it finds/tells us on the way might just be important for that second, etc. Pioneers and Voyagers are great machines, yes, but… they weren’t made just for that. They just ‘live(d)’ long enough to tell us a tiny little bit.

    1. I have an idea for a story where humans send out AIs to build colonies but for some reason don’t come, leaving the AIs to inherit the stars.

      1. Though the more I think about it, that might make a better backstory to a novel dealing with the consequences of this.

        1. Would not like that. I prefer humans to prevail, even if they were somewhat changed (having humans hundreds or thousands of years from now situated stories being exactly as humans now – same age limits etc. – doesn’t seem logical, not just because any natural drifts but because we are now getting too close to where we can play with our genome – and if we can at least some will do it sooner or later, possibly in drastic ways) as long as they are still recognizably human.

          How about AIs who in that situation decide to save the human race which has gotten stuck on planet Earth and is failing as a species (maybe just because they are the progeny species)? And they realize they can’t do it if they try to stick in the role of caretakers, they need to kick humans’ butts until we will do it ourselves?

          1. Or maybe humans finally do go into deep space and have to contend with the fact that they’ve created their own competition.

      2. That was actually the source of a major disagreement between two factions in one of Asimov’s Robot novels. One group wanted to send out robots to prepare colonies, while the other contended that if they did it that way, they would never follow the robots to them.

  4. The perpetually-bored police corporal currently in charge of the armory popped his bubble gum and pushed a clipboard across the counter to Jamie. He started reciting-chanting, “Ball-point, must go through all four copies, keep one copy with the armor, one in the dog’s training and equipment file. One will be with Accounting and the fourth stays here. Make certain you record all eighteen digits and characters of the—What the skeet kind of dog is that?” He leaned forward and almost fell out of the sort-of-broken chair.

    “Prairie,” Angus replied, looking down his nose from where he stood on the floor. “I’m a native American.”
    [from “Angus on Patrol”, the next Familiar story]

    1. And he’s really angry with you for that crack. Better play nice with him; you see how he’s eyeing your neck?

  5. No apologies necessary. If you totally disappear for weeks on end (cough *lawdog* cough) we would worry about you, but as long as you drop in to say ‘I’m still here’ every few days, take as much time off as you want. Unlike the writers of the Washington Posthole, you have never wasted my time with bad writing and worse lying. You owe me bupkiss.

    1. If it makes you feel any better, I do make sure LawDog is still alive, and along with his Lady and OldNFO and other friends around here, make sure he’s fed.

      I would like to point out the he wasn’t the one who had a bird fly in the blind and ricochet off his hat, when hunting deer. The avian-assaulted (and the wasp-assaulted) hunters can feel free to self-identify if they choose to.

      1. First step is get elected (or appointed) to office.

        Alternatives: have an “uncle” who is a “made man.”

  6. Shameless plug from yesterday’s Unhinged Pantsing!

    “Whyfor can you not tell George these things?” piped up Ervin, fingering his card thoughtfully.
    “Because it will bruise the ether, and release humours of malformation,” said Bob. That apparently meant something to Erwin, because his eyes widened and he began writing very fast. Alice looked at Bob inquiringly.
    “It would be bad,” explained Bob. “Like calling fire on your own position.”
    Jimmy was looking at Erwin’s paper, following the symbolic logic notation. “What?” he exclaimed, pointing at one term. “No way.”
    Erwin grabbed another paper. “Oh yes, it is true. Because,” and wrote out another long string of Greek letters and arcane symbols.
    “No way!” exclaimed Jimmy in an awed voice, and began scribbling his own mathematics in his own notation.
    “Way to go, Bob. You sidelined the nerds,” snorted Alice in grim amusement. “So, why can George listen in while you tell us humans stuff?”
    “The private is explaining some pecadillo to his sergeant, while an officer is present. All three of them pretend the officer is deaf and blind,” said Bob. “Then the sergeant turns to the officer and reports all present and correct.”
    “There’s math for that?” said Alice skeptically.
    Bob grinned and indicated Jimmy, writing industriously. “Turns out you can rules-lawyer the universe. You just gotta know the rules.”

  7. Heck, you put out a PJ Media article and linked it. You have a house to manage and an illness to get over. The rest of us will be alright, no worries.

    This blog may be habit forming, but at least your addicts love you enough to tell you to take it easy once in a while.

    1. Of course. Unlike THOSE people, we understand deferred gratification, eating the seed corn and things like that.

  8. Take care of business and take care of yourself, Mrs. Hoyt.

    As for the stars, it probably won’t be the irrational monkeys from planet dirt in this sordid system, but maybe some other nobler beings…

    1. Noble schloble – I’m betting on the most obstinate, most illogical, most disagreeable, least think-it-all-out-and-submit-plans-in-triplicate SOBs that are around – i.e. us run of the mill hoomans.

      The nobility (and aristocracy, and annointed overclass) can stay the hell home.

      1. Sometimes humans win by luck.
        Sometimes humans win by skill.
        Sometimes humans win by knowledge.
        But mostly humans seem to win by sheer cussed stubbornness.

        1. “That’s Impossible!”
        2. * Tries anyway – back to 1 (ad seemingly infinitum)
        3. “Oh yeah!” (A long time, but…. once done…)
        4. “Huh, so THAT’S how it’s possible.”

  9. Dear Esteemed Hostess:

    Sometimes I do worry about you. We all need rest. We all need a change of pace. Yesterday you wrote what could have been the most successful shortest blog post evah!. We were happily keeping ourselves busy posting responses.

    Then you go and write a lovely piece. Instead of saving it for today you go and give it to us yesterday. So we get two (count ’em, two) blog posts yesterday.

    Today you write more than yesterday’s first piece and provide us a link for another fine piece of writing — and assert that you are not providing us with a blog post.

    You Stupid Woman! Can’t you see … it is only a wilted celery stalk and an egg whisk?

        1. Read very carefully, I shall post this only once. Perhaps if we borrow Lieutenant Gruber’s little tank we can fetch it back?

    1. Expecting the results to turn out well, Whisking with a wilted celery stalk is not about how well it works; it’s a marvel that it’s done at all.

        1. I only took a short glance, but it seems that some people think we have to wait until everything is perfect … fix the world first … find a clean, safe, infinite power source … perfect cryogenic suspension … develop a working warp drive …

          Really? On that first one, humans are going to remain human. However magnificently capable we think we are there will always be things which are beyond of human control, starting with other humans.

          1. Because the Spanish, the folks in Portugal, and the English and Dutch had perfected sailing technology and navigation before they ever set out to round the Cape of Good Hope or find China by going west.

            As everyone knows, no one dared sail out of sight of land until the chronometer was invented and the cure for scurvy had been found. [trots off to get mop to clean up sarcasm puddle]

      1. To my reading they are coming up with reasons we should not bother thinking about going to the stars.

        Because physics, or some such.

        Thinking about it.

        1. Personally, I have no interest, but that’s bullshit. People should consider and discuss as many alternatives as strike their interest, or more. A scenario you don’t let people discuss is one that might happen should your control slip. Whereas, if thoroughly discussed and obviously stupid, people might not choose to jump into it, or they might work out some of the bugs first, or they might be possible to dissuade once things start to go wrong. Okay, yeah, maybe my optimism is insane today. More speech is better. Probably more thought is better, so look as chanting and self hypnosis isn’t substituted for thought.

        2. I imagine:

          “I know that the world is not flat, but its just too big to circumnavigate. It is no use. Why should we even listen to your crazy ideas Mr. Columbus?”

          1. Now, if you want an impressive figure, get someone who argues that from the things that wash up on the Canary Islands, there is obviously something between us and China.

    1. In fairness, I’m not interested in that, and I’m a skeptic of the technology.

      That said, 1) I usually know when to shut up 2) folks here know how to take it when I assert that challenging engineering problems are challenging, and haven’t been entirely solved yet 3) while I have little interest in colonization or exploration, I’m deeply interested in militarization*. Also, if feasible, commercial exploitation.

      I’m also interested in militarizing Antarctica and the Ocean Floor.

        1. On an entirely unrelated note, the household went to see the Turner Classic Movies big screen showing this afternoon of The Princess Bride. An enjoyable time was had by all. Additional showings Wednesday, October 18, at 1400 and 1900 hours.

          I still think the book was better, but the movie does grow on you over time.

    2. The propaganda of the small horizons, live smaller crowd is quite pervasive, sadly.

      1. There’s a reason I’m so strongly opposed to environmentalism.

        Cheap plentiful energy is good for humans, and if it is so bad for the ‘environment’, we need to be committing to a program of mass murder, no making international agreements or investing in green technology.

        Orbit is ultimately an energy cost. I don’t know what the future of energy is going to be, and I don’t know what the resulting economics would be if we made energy cheap and plentiful.

        1. I don’t know what the resulting economics would be if we made energy cheap and plentiful.

          Neither do the folks making their living selling energy expensive and scarce.

          But they know they don’t want to find out.

          The history of energy costs indicates cheaper energy produces economic abundance and better lives for humans.

          If you’re serious about solar energy you want those panels installed inside Mercury’s orbit with microwave energy beamed toward collection satellites in LEO. With a power source like that we could air-condition the planet.

            1. England. It might not be official policy yet, but it certainly seems to be lurching that way every winter the way the cost of energy is going and having the automatic controls to shunt power around “during shortages.”


      1. They are a prime example of why Heinlein may have just been right when he had Lazarus Long expounding on how immigration to a new world acted as a sorting device to select for intelligence, initiative, etc.

        Or a New World, for that matter; one reason that immigration today isn’t acting that way is that we have a welfare state to support the lazy at the other end rather than a wilderness populated with gene pool chlorinators: human, animal, and climate.

    3. Yeah, looks like there’s a coupla real luckin’ fuddites haunting the comment section there.

      1. The astounding thing is that by some of their comments we shouldn’t have submarines, because there’s no air at the bottom of the sea and it’s so haaard. Yet we do. It doesn’t take a genius to realize when we get long term habitats you get a way to the stars, as that solves the most major issue. Once you get that down, sublight migration is possible over several generations. That may boggle their widdle minds, but once you have a generation of people born and raised in a habitat, they aren’t going to see a big deal about them and their children and grandchildren and all who come after living their entire lives out in habitats. I predict long before they arrive there will be some in their number who argue that they just can’t live on a planet surface because it rains and snows and storms and gets hot and gets cold and is just so haaard compared to living in a habitat.

        Hmm … a flotilla in a cloud of asteroids and comets brought along for extra material. Now, what would such a thing look like from a distance if it were headed our way?

        1. “What made them explore the stars rather than stay in their home system or on their home world? Excitement of exploration? Wanderlust? Curiosity? Some psychology we don’t, or perhaps even can’t understand?”

          “It turns out to be very simple – and depressing.”

          “Depressing? huh?”

          “They’re… Displaced Persons.. those driven out from the utter crappiness of stupid politics and such. Political refugees, you might say. There wasn’t anywhere to go on their planet, so they left that and built out the whole system. When the Ruling Crass (their term, btw) followed, they built starships. Primitive, crude, risky as all Hell… and still considered worth a try.”

          “And if the ‘Ruling Crass’ follows?”

          “Did I mention depressing? Now, how’s the weapons program going?”

          1. “I give it a fifty-fifty chance.”

            “Fifty-fifty, huh? Chances of what exactly?”

            “Oh, the usual. Death. Death by asphyxiation. Cold death when the fusion converter is jettisoned, just in time. Hot death when it isn’t. Death by radiation. Slow death by starvation. Death by itty-bitty meteors that punch holes in just the wrong places. Death by things we can’t even imagine yet. Nothing worth siginificant worry about. Just prepare as best we can.”

            “That’s only half the answer, good sir. What’s the other?”

            “Oh, the stars, my lad. And planets. Big flaming balls of gas, big non-flaming balls of gas, rocky airless places with lovely minerals locked away, hot ones full of bubbling magma, poisonous atmospheres, or icy shivery snow-globes. And maybe even a place you can have a picnic without a mask somewhere, on your way to somewhere else.

            “It’s for the survival of the species, so the boffins tell me. Hogwash. It’s the same as it’s been since Ogg and Magog wondered what was beyond the next hill, and decided to find out. It’s pushing the frontier out, far as we can fling it. Because out there, what matters is competence, grit, and raw intelligence. Privilege won’t fill a hole in your air tank anymore than pride or politics.

            “And maybe the boffins have a point, at that. Humanity seems to grow stagnant when the frontiers fade into safe backyards and cities. They tend to stifle the kinds of risky behaviors that think a fifity-fifty shot is worth it. Or maybe even less, at that. I think it’s worth the shot. Not for some high and rarified moral reason, no. I think it’s worth it because if I don’t die along the way, it’s going to be these eyes that see the light of alien suns, and have strange soil beneath my boots. If humanity is made better for it, good. But each man has to decide for himself whether to reach for the stars, because if he does, him and his will be the ones to inherit the stars.

            When the rest of mankind follows along, when it’s safe, when it’s convenient, he’ll be long gone, or his discendants will be. Once we reach the stars, there’s no stopping us, not till we fill up one galaxy and head for the next…”

            1. ” . . .each man has to decide for himself whether to reach for the stars . . .”

              Unless we end up with something like the late( 😦 ) Dr. Pournelle’s Co-Dominium, in which case the decision to emigrate might be made for us. In that case, we’d better *hope* there is some exploitable resource in the Outworlds which requires humans to extract it; otherwise, as history shows us, it’s much simpler and cheaper for totalitarian regimes to just do away with their misfits and malcontents.

            2. Humanity seems to grow stagnant when the frontiers fade into safe backyards and cities.
              Not just stagnant, but downright conformist and child-like (in a bad way). They desire their blankets and their pacifiers, and want mommy to tuck them in and kiss their foreheads. They no longer want to go play in the woods behind the house, nor explore the wardrobe, nor fly among the stars – much better to always stay protected and provided for.

              “May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

            3. Also…
              It IS “for the survival of the species.”
              The key is that that is a side effect, not why we should do it.

              Because, see, there are going to be mistakes made. There will be times when human and physics tolerances will be exceeded. People will die – maybe a LOT of them all at once.
              If we’re doing it with the point of “the survival of the species” we will stop, turn around, and likely not try again. Because “the survival of the species” will be gov’t-driven, and they are notoriously risk-averse. And, risking the species to save it is … counter-intuitive to those sorts.

              However, if we’re doing it because “what’s out there?” and “what’s over the next hill beyond the next star?” then someone else will try again when the first one fails. And someone after that. And someone doing something even crazier will try after that – even if the preceding succeeded. And someone else will try an even different approach. And eventually patches of Man will be scattered through the stars like crabgrass on an endless prairie.

          2. Once somebody has broken the trail, others looking too exploit them will follow. Remember: the big money in the gold extraction business was always made by those in the business of extracting gold from the miners.

            Once the Little Red hen has baked a cake there are always plenty of volunteers to share in it.

        2. Something I’ve been thinking about. You may not need to bring along the comets. I’ve seen estimates that the Oort cloud goes out to as much as 3.2 light years radius. The distance to alpha Centauri is about 4.4 light years. Possibly* the Centauri system has an Oort cloud too (though they may call it something else since it seems unlikely they also named it for J.H. Oort). If so, then they might intersect. It is possible that it is comets all the way there, and that in fact there may be objects in orbit of our sun that were previously in orbit of the Centauri system, and vice versa. If so could long duration space mining could just hop all the way there.

          *Though perhaps not, with Proxima Centauri orbiting around too. Any astronomers here know if the orbital mechanics of the Alphas and Proxima Centauri make an Oort cloud more or less likely for them?

  10. Look to the sky
    Look to the stars
    They can’t take us over
    They can’t take what’s ours.

    The work of our hands,
    We can always redo.
    The things in our minds
    We pass down to you.

    The will to the striving
    They never will break.
    The hope in our labors
    They never can take.

    The fire that burns
    In every free soul
    Is something they never
    Can see nor control.

    They think in our spirits
    We are like them,
    Yet we know the truth:
    We are still men.

    No machine to dance
    To a street grinder’s tune.
    No dog to lie lazy,
    Then howl at the moon.

    We look to the sky
    And reach to the stars,
    And they can’t understand
    What makes the sky ours.

    – wyrdbard, October 14, 2016 on accordingtohoyt.com

    1. I kept expecting the chorus to show up with “… You can’t take the sky from me …”. Which is a huge compliment to the quality of the writing.

  11. SO , recovering from a cold, not fun. Rainy weather, not fun.
    been cutting and shaping bamboo boards, and dealing with the fiberglass of nature, cutting etc fun, but itchy nose, eyes, and skin, not fun.
    Having to explain, again, to shipping the DOT doesn’t care what you want to call Rubbing Alcohol (2-propanol, propan-2ol that the SDS writer wants to go with) you will give it the technical name of Isopropanol, or Isopropyl Alcohol or they will fine you, for every package so “mislabeled”, is getting old and very not fun. Noticing, while on that phone call (using my personal phone) there is 1000lbs of one of our raws sitting out under a lean-to, and then realizing it is the one that must be kept under 40 degrees F or it self ignites and burns really fast? Now we’re talking unfun to nth level! Oh, it’s been there since Tuesday at some point (when I was off sick) and temps have been “cool” but never lower than that magical 40F so the pin on the grenade is pulled but how long has that been?
    Insert Beaker type noises here.

    So, my week sucked, but it could have been worse,
    I coulda not noticed and been burned, dead possibly.
    Best case, outside of noticing and getting it into freezer storage when I did was loss of my place of work after the massive fire.
    Oh, and it gave me a quick end to that annoying phone call.

        1. I pulled hundreds of pounds of rock wool out of the ceiling of the Project House. The stuff was nasty, so I looked it up online.

          Rock wool was considered to be a carcinogen for decades, until the FDA accepted a “study” done by the people who made the stuff, which found that it was totally not a carcinogen at all…

          I wore a mask and a hat while pulling down the ceilings.

          1. it’s melted rock, silicosis is likely from the dust, that often changes to cancer, so it doesn’t cause cancer, its disease does,
            see, gov’t/corporate logic.

  12. Re colonialism – I bought “Britain’s Imperial Century 1815-1914” by Hyam, hoping to find out how to grab and hold half a world unchecked by conscience or criticism – but it turns out the story is more complicated than that – here is Palmerston refusing to take possession of Ethiopia “I do not see any advantage in our getting land in those quarters. All we want is trade and land is not necessary for trade; we can carry on commerce on ground belonging to other people…”

    As far as space is concerned – I think the real imperative is “know the consequences of your actions, and your inactions, and your options.” Learning more about math and physics is a moral duty so that we can increase the set of possible actions open to us, and chose the most moral action from that expanded set. Such knowledge will naturally give us the ability to be a star-faring civilization, and I expect that by that time there will be good reasons for us to take up that option.

    1. I figure the Raj came about because so many rich people and Parliament members had business there, they were able to vote themselves government resources to protect their assets. And eventually HM Government wound up running something it never wanted in the first place.

      1. If the Honorable Company (BEIC) had not so fouled up things leading to the Sepoy Rebellion/Sepoy Mutiny/First Indian war of Independence, I suspect the British Government would have been happy to take the income and not mess with administration. At least until Russia showed up…

        Or I could be wildly off base. British government policy is not, most emphatically not, something I study.

  13. “If you’re serious about solar energy you want those panels installed inside Mercury’s orbit with microwave energy beamed toward collection satellites in LEO. With a power source like that we could air-condition the planet.”
    Well, yes and no. You need a way to radiate energy *away* from Earth to air-condition it, not bring more in. No appreciable convection to space so we’d need to maser/laser out more than we bring in.
    OTOH, if we have the tech to set up that sort of solar energy system, we’ll have the tech to put up something large enough to shade the Earth from a portion of the incoming sunlight to offset what we’re beaming in…

    1. “With a power source like that we could air-condition the planet.”

      I’m sorry — was I insufficiently clear about that suggestion being a joke?

    2. All of the “microwave to Earth” and “space mirror” schemes have the same root problem – they’d be dandy weapons, much more precise than dropping nukes from orbit. You could take out small areas without worrying about collateral damage or fallout, and tune for anything from lava to just warm enough to kill crops or people. A few days at 175F, haul the dead bodies away, and most of their stuff would still work just fine, not like the EMP from a neutron bomb.

      1. It would be harder than you think. Refraction would cause the beam to shift around wildly with a beam of visible light, and a microwave beam strong enough to do that would effectively BE an EMP. Plus, the heated air would rise rapidly, bringing in cooler air and creating an inverse tornado.

        Sure, it would kill people, if you were able to keep the satellite from being either hacked or destroyed, but it wouldn’t be particularly good at it.

        1. So … we’re basically talking a thriller in which terrorists are hacking the energy satellite to cause destruction and havoc (with a side of mayhem) for … what purpose? Discredit EnSat and return us to oil? Nukes? Windmills?

          Intrepid secret agent Jomas Bend races to find the source of the terrorist hacker’s signal while bedding super models!

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