I’m Very Much Alive

I’m even doing fairly well.  The cold is almost gone and I can write for the first time in a week.
I’ve just been busy AFK and will be for the next two hours at least.
I promise things will calm down after this and I’ll be more trustworthy.  For now, amuse yourselves with this:

Slavery and Freedom

78 thoughts on “I’m Very Much Alive

  1. To Our Esteemed Hostess:

    I am so glad to hear you are alive. Please take care of yourself to maximize the possibility that remain so for a long while … continuing to write much good stuff to keep us amused.

    May your writing time be productive.

  2. “Amuse yourselves with this”

    I see that our hostess has learned to be specific and not leave us with the general command to “amuse ourselves,” presumably however we please.

    1. I think it was about the same time she came back and discovered the diner was a micro black hole. Or maybe the time it was occupying six parallel universes simultaneously. Or maybe…

      1. It was when she found the six diners in THIS universe that we impressed her. And by obsessed I mean ‘screaming incendiary profanities in three languages she claims to have forgotten.’ Nicki was taking notes.

      2. Frankly I don’t think it was one of the bigger redecoration jobs that disturbed her. I think it was the time someone messed with the caffeine station, which not only created a bit of real discomfort for her, but also cause one of the original founding Huns to become a bit peevish because he had just gotten it working to his satisfaction.

        1. Jeff is a wee bit possessive of that. If you understand wee bit to mean “we still have not found the remains of the last repairman who re-calibrated the thing.”

  3. … the industrial revolution, which makes it uneconomic to keep human beings enslaved for unsavory or annoying tasks…

    Now, who wants to limit energy conversion and power generation?

    Every time available energy went up, standard of living went up with it. Even the most crude things do this. Consider the barrow. No, not the WHEEL barrow. Well, that, too. The barrow needs TWO people to move it and whatever is carried. Adding a wheel increases available energy by making it so only ONE person is needed to move things. Now TWO can do (almost) twice as much.

    Of course, as we all know, wheels are environmentally unsound and so this progress must be reversed. And if you believe THAT, you might be wondering What Happened or some such nonsense.

    1. Wheels, by focusing the pressure of the load, compress the earth underneath, squeezing life energy from the planet and making Gaia cry out. Their contribution to climate change is well established and only a denier would say otherwise.

        1. Hey, if it weren’t for my ancestors capturing and crossbreeding yours (and the other hoofed mammals), you wouldn’t even exist. And the dogs helped us do it while the cats aloofly watched.

          1. On a farm, four-legs must consider: “Is it better to be the tool, or the product?” Not sure if the Houyhnhnms get a vote. 🙂

      1. Except soil compaction is a real thing, and is why you periodically run subsoilers to break the resultant pan. You can also get soil compaction walking in your garden when the soil is wet.

        Fortunately, tracked vehicles don’t seem to have this problem, courtesy of distributing weight over a larger surface area.

        1. Caterpillar tractors were developed for wet-soil work. I don’t recall the numbers, but ground pressure was a lot lower than a similar machine with wheels. The first customers were the big rice growers in central California. ‘Dozer blades and construction focus came later.

          We see a few rubber-tread ag tractors locally, but the big ranch that used a lot sold out to a bigger ranch that replaced the Cats with Deeres.

          (*removes tractor history hat*)

          1. That made it amusing when a customer blew his stack for us getting a nearby bulldozer operator to pull out one of our trucks. The road was muddy and rutted, and he didn’t want us to make it worse. He wanted us to get a wheeled vehicle to pull out the truck. Sigh.

            I do know that I once nearly didn’t get out of thick, loose, gravel when I lost traction, but the track drive machinery on the site had no problem with it at all.

            1. But tracks will tear up a prepared road surface. They work with the coefficient of friction a little differently from a wheeled vehicle, and evidently produce a lot of horizontal shear stress that can tear up concrete or asphalt surfaces. If the customer knew the first part, but didn’t know it was just harder surfaces that are a problem, his misperception is a little more understandable.

        2. So, too, is Climate Change a real thing. It is merely the matter of how extensive man’s contribution might be, what ameliorative measures are appropriate, what costs we are willing to bear to limit its effect and whether “their” treatments are the climate science equivalent of phrenology that are undetermined.

    2. The evil wheel oppressed the second barrow worker out of a job! Oh, the humanity! The government should regulate wheelbarrows!

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          Blame WordPress.

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  4. People don’t recognize their freedoms. Much of society has become conditioned and homogenized, “rebelling” only when it’s fashionable. Ten years ago if you told someone you had no television and followed no sports, they would look for the tin-foil hat. Now many things are being questioned by the curious, the bold and the disappointed.

  5. Man: “Here’s one!”
    Cart-master: “Ninepence.”
    Old Man: (feebly) “I’m not dead!”
    Cart-master: (suprised) “Whaaat?”
    Man: “Nothing! Here’s your ninepence.”
    Old Man: “I’m not dead!”
    Cart-master: ” ‘Ere! ‘E says ‘e’s not dead!”
    Man: “Yes he is.”
    Old Man: “I’m not!”
    Cart-master: ‘”E isn’t?”
    Man: “Well… he will be soon. He’s very ill.”
    Old Man: “I’m getting better!”
    Man: “No you’re not, you’ll be stone dead in a moment.”
    Cart-master: “I can’t take ‘im like that! It’s against regulations!”
    Old Man: “I don’t want to go on the cart.”

  6. The real problem with American blacks was identified by Mr. Heinlein himself. Slaves can’t be freed by the actions of others, they have to free themselves. And I wouldn’t exactly count 150 years ago as “recent” except in geologic terms.

    1. The current problem is that – to a certain extent, and growing – they had begun freeing themselves. Then along came the Welfare State.

      1. Ironically, the end of segregation also killed a number of black-owned businesses. When larger competitors opened themselves up to customers of all kinds, the supply of customers to many of the smaller black-owned businesses dried.

      2. Forget not the effects of Jim Crow, which came before the Welfare State.

        (While we are at it, consider, both were courtesy of which party?)

  7. And the worst chains are the ones we gladly shackle onto ourselves because the thought of too much freedom is terrifying. Believe I am paraphrasing a lot of philosophers here.

  8. OK, gutted a book, am writing a massive battle-scene to go into hole, which will mean changing parts of the ending, but maaaan, I’d forgotten how relaxing it can be to write a battle scene.

    Why are y’all looking at me like that? The good guys win.

  9. After RAH, one of the most Libertarian book ever written was PTerry’s “Interesting Times”.
    “The Empire’s got something worse than whips all right. It’s got obedience. Whips in the soul. They obey anyone who tells them what to do. Freedom just means being told what to do by someone different.”

    1. “He wanted to say: how could you be so nice and yet so dumb? The best thing you could do with the peasants was to leave them alone. Let them get on with it. When people who can read and write start fighting for those who can’t, you just end up with another kind of stupidity. If you want to help them, build a big library or something somewhere and leave the door open.”

  10. Something unapproved to entertain myself with… I was going to start reading Bertram Chandler’s grimes books. I know that like the Hornblower books, the earlier in universe books were actually not the first ones written. What book should I start with?

    FYI, I started the Hornblower books with Beat to Quarters and was happy with that as they seem to make more sense in the order written as opposed to Midshipman Hornblower 1st.

    1. The official line is that it’s the waste water disposal wells, not the fracking itself. I’m not so sure. (We’ve got yet another paper that topic being presented to our professional society later this month. *sigh*) Currently they’ve got some evidence for time correlation, but there’s a lot of ‘correlation must be causation’ going on. I haven’t seen any of them address the previous (failed) efforts to actually do the same thing (but on purpose) that Ms.Osborn mentioned in a previous conversation. I haven’t been able to locate anything on those earlier attempts so I can’t compare numbers.

      On a side note, there has been some interesting side information from this on how various shocks may be influencing each other and foreshocks actually seem to add energy (directly) to the main shock as well as influencing which locations give.

      1. Wasn’t there a bit in the New Madrid stuff where some folks TRIED to use water (or other) injection to intentionally cause minor quakes (the idea being to cause small slips and hopefully prevent large ones) and met with no success at all?

        1. Yes, those are the reports/papers/results I haven’t been able to find to compare to the current stuff, nor have they been addressed in the current papers that I’ve seen. (And we’ve been getting inundated with the things. I live in Oklahoma and it’s something of a hot topic.)

          If new papers are right, there should be something different between what they did then, and what they think are causing things now (It wouldn’t prove it, but would give a line of investigation). If the new papers are full of it (as I suspect) comparing the two would give a good way to start demonstrating that.

      2. This wouldn’t be an offer of a guest post, would it? I do not pretend to speak for Mrs. Hoyt nor for any Huns other than myself, but … I would read it.

        1. If I can find the papers, maybe. On the other hand I’d rather not promise until I have the thing written. I owe a fair number of people a fair number of write ups in various places and don’t want to add something to the ‘I am behind’ pile.

          1. It seems as settled as anything that pumping fluids into a fault makes it easier for tension to be released. The August 9, 1967 Rocky Mountain Arsenal earthquake is offered as “proof”.
            So fracking should speed up earthquakes that would happen later. The hills of Oklahoma indicate that something is pushing them up. With a source of stress, lubrication helps hidden stress move.

            Don’t blame your cat for knocking down your pile of papers. It was your fault for piling them so high.

            1. Presbypoet, except they tried to just this thing on purpose in extant high stress system and accomplished exactly nothing at the time. Which is why we have waste water disposal wells done the way they currently are. They TRIED to make things go wrong, and they couldn’t so it was a ‘safe’ way to dispose of waste water. That’s why I want to see the original data of the attempt. I want to compare it with what we’re being presented with right now. What is the difference in the systems? None of the slippages have occurred right AT a disposal well site, and some of them have been up to a mile deeper than the deepest disposal site, yet no one has proposed a reasonable mechanism for interaction between the disposal wells and the actual slippage sites. The structural geologists are suggesting various stress mechanisms, but we don’t have detailed enough maps of the subsurface for that kind of precision. There’s some interesting structural work coming out of this

              The hills of Oklahoma are connected to the Apalachians. The orogeny that formed them is long over (Ouachita Orogeny if you want to look it up). Most of the current uplift in the area is simply isostatic rebound. (What happens when the mildly elastic crust springs back into ‘normal’ shape as the weight of rock above it is reduced by erosion. Note, very, very short version.)

              1. But the area to the west, including IIRC the panhandle, used to be underwater back before the Rockies were formed. Currently most of North America is being crushed along an east-west axis, and I’m not sure if this is the same loading that created the Rockies. I’ve heard that crust tends to be loaded pretty to failure. If this were a flat plate, and it was near such a deflection, I might expect some interesting stuff in the part that was near the deflection but hadn’t deflected much.

                As you say, lots more interesting geology/tectonic stuff from this than I would have expected out of Oklahoma.

                1. That was a long time ago… One round started in the Pre Cambrian, went through several sea level cycles . In the Pennsylvanian era (320-300 ish million years ago) there was a period of uplift. That’s where most of our ‘mountains’ cone from. The Appalachians were uplifting at the same time. We’re talking 15000-18000 feet of uplift in some places(note: there were several periods of uplift, I’m trying to condense things.)

                  Now, in the Permian (300-250 mya), things started to dry out because the land was now up. East dried up before west. The western 2/3 of the state was under water again in the Cretaceous. By the end of the Cretaceous (65 mya) the uplift of the Rockies had dried that side of the state out.

                  The Rockies are a whole confusing mess involving hot spots, subducted mid ocean ridges and a fair number of weirdnesses we haven’t done more than guess at. The westward movement of the plate is less of a contributor than the subduction zone that used to be there.

                  Please note: this is hugely condensed. I’m trying to keep it to a reasonable length.

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