TNET 41: Is The Metric System Actually Better?

Yes. Yes, it is. Abso-fucking-lutely and indisputably.

Open thread, talk whatever you want, just don’t be a sphincter.

Previous thread.



  1. robert79 says

    How is this even a question?

    I can understand old units sticking around for tradition’s sake, (in Dutch we have several expressions which would literally translate as “as far as a mile” or “as thick as thumb”, and esp. in cooking we still use ounces, spoons and cups (which now have appropriate SI conversions.) But anyone who has had to do a minute amount of unit conversions (such as you see in high school), would realize that dividing/multiplying by powers of ten is just a lot easier?

    That said, as a former astronomer I’m obliged to say that CGS ( is obviously superior, even though no astronomer understands why it is meaningful to express the distance from the earth to the sun in centimeters, or the speed of light in cm/s.

  2. says

    I’d suggest some derivative of base 2 makes more sense than base 10. Use of hexadecimal was widespread in my work with computer hardware design.

  3. Who Cares says

    Now if they’d manage to do this to dates & times, those do probably more damage then even having the imperial system or having to convert to/from it.
    And yes it will take a while but I’m optimistic (granted there will always be deniers) that the SI system will eventually make it into the US to stay.

  4. Rob Grigjanis says

    I’ve long preferred Planck units. This evening, I’ll be drinking about 4e103 cubic Planck lengths of vodka.

  5. alanuk says

    You have got me started now.
    The video barely touches on the insanity. Please do not call your American Customary Units, “British Units”. Many, including all the units of volume, are different even when they have the same name.
    The term “metric” is commonly used in the US but it embraces multiple systems of units notably c.g.s. (both electromagnetic and electrostatic versions) as well as M.K.S. and variations thereon (kg-force, metric-slug).
    In Europe we use S.I. units in engineering -- 7 units but only four are significant: metre, kilogramme, second, and ampere (originally called rationalized MKS units). These units have clear and precise definitions which are the same in all countries. The lack of such standards has led to the situation where the US has “British” units of length (called ‘survey’) and “International” versions that differ slightly -- both of which differ from the original British units on which they are based.
    S.I. units are still not perfect: we need a proper name for the unit of mass that does not have ‘kilo’ in it and that 4pi x 10^(-7) is an undesirable complication that will probably never go away.
    The alternative involving long-tons, short-tons (and at least 18 other tons) poundals and slugs, inches, and fractions thereof, not to forget the American habit of throwing “metric” units into the mix, is madness.

  6. Ice Swimmer says

    I’ve been bitten in the posterior by an angle unit mix-up. I assumed that a module in the simulation software (a three-phase sine wave signal generator in this case) would use radians (full circle, 360 degrees, is 2*pi radians) as the angle unit for setting the initial phase angle, but it used degrees. Took me a while to figure out why I seemingly cannot set the phase angle.

    Still, I’ve been happy to be spared from having to use, pound-feet, horsepower or BTUs in engineering. Horsepower would have been possibly the most egregious of them, there are at least six definitions of horsepower.

  7. StevoR says

    PS. Albeit for that first link, I gotta say I did read the novel first and loved it much more than the movie. Back in the day that was, haven’t read in it since a very long time ago and am afraid it likely has its flaws if I look back now but it was a good read at the time. Also, David Brin, I think (?), has not prove to be douchebag since then so .. yeah. Book is better anyhow. Also having just read its wikipage .. Shudder, yeah. Prescient.

    Second link main bit from 1 min 30 seconds mark onwards.

  8. says

    One week of school and we got 8 schools with classes in quarantine already. The State has a whomping one million inhabitants.
    It’s going really well…

  9. says

    I’m glad Shadow is going to be fine. *hug*

    Aaaaand I have a sore throat. No cough or fever. Of course it is exactly like those mild colds I’m getting 5 times a year, but I also have no frame of reference on how Covid feels.

  10. says

    @Giliell, get well soon, let us hope it is not the plague.

    @Anne, fingers crossed for shadow. We had a tomcat who lost his tail in a catfight. Cats are not very kind to each other.

  11. says

    Well, I don’t think it#s The Plague. It feels exactly like that damn tonsillitis I’m prone to. But I just called in sick. It’s that exact kind of “I’m feeling somewhat under the weather” sick where you usually just get your act together and go to work, but this year? No way! If there’s a Covid case in school they’ll blame me and not the party in Mallorca. I have a Covid test scheduled for Wednesday anyway (routine for teachers).

  12. Jazzlet says

    I hope Shadow hels well now she’s been treated, poor lass abcesses are horrid.

    I hope you haven’t got the plague, and that you feel better soon. It seems crazy to me that you are expected to continue with face to face schooling :-(

  13. says

    Giliell, I think you’re wise to stay home. Who knows what else you might catch at work, with your immune system already stressed.

    Shadow gave me a scare this morning when I fed her -- under Kitty’s bed, again -- she just laid there looking limp, with her head down, mewing pathetically. I googled lethargy in cats and got more freaked. I pulled the towel she was lying on out, she stood up and moved to the back, out of reach. I finally got Kitty to crawl under the bed and get Shadow because she needed her pain meds anyway. Turns out she can move just fine, she just didn’t feel like moving right then. Cats.

    I know, I worry too much. But she’s currently our only cat, she’s 19, and she’s family, and I’m very protective of my family.

  14. says

    Well, the doc said it’s a cold, lie low for a few days. I’m actually already feeling better, and normally I’d just have packed tissues and gone to work, but I have no interest in being blamed for the Covid they picked up at a family party where they all had to hug so hard because they hadn’t seen each other for so long.

  15. voyager says

    I’m glad to hear that you’re feeling better and that it’s only a miserable cold and not the miserable plague. Stay safe.


    Hooray for Shadow doing well. She looks adorable in her cone of shame. I had a cat that simply refused to wear one after bladder surgery. Her name was Rosie and she would obsessively bang the cone against the walls, trying to dislodge it. We took it off after a few hours and she immediately settled down and went to sleep. I tried to put it back on a few times but didn’t have the heart to force it on her. Instead, I went to a thrift store and bought a few kids t-shirts, which Rosie happily wore until her incision healed.

  16. says

    voyager, thank you for suggesting a cat t-shirt. I don’t know if Shadow would wear one, but it’s worth trying for at least long enough for Kitty to take a photo. I dug out the special old baby clothes from the closet storage, and it turns out I still have one of Kitty’s old batik baby t-shirts, purple with a turquoise kitty-cat. I’m washing it now, and tomorrow after the vet, we’ll see how it fits.

    Giliell, I hope you are feeling better.

  17. says

    So, the little one goes camping with her new school class next week. I was a bit taken back by the thought that they’d sleep together in a tent in times of the plague, but it turns out that each kid gets their own tent, only they asked parents if they had tents because the school only has enough tents to sleep two kids a tent.
    Now, if this year had been a normal year we’d have gotten them tents anyway for the holiday, so I went and bought one, for this trip as well as a promise for the future: there will be holidays again.
    But man do I suffer from nostalgia right now. Me, Mr, a car and a tent, those were times.

  18. says

    So, I probably no longer have a trans friend. He has turned out to be COVID-19 conspiracist and he disrespected my clearly stated wish not to discuss his pseudoscientific views with me -- today he has sent me a video by known anti-vaxxer R.F. Kennedy. Without e-mail subject, without any info, just a link. So I have put his e-mail in a spam filter, at least for a while.
    It is quite disheartening that a friend whom I have known since the university has turned out to be a crackpot.

  19. says

    This morning, I got up before the alarm at 6 am, fed the cat, fed myself, took my morning pills, and realized I couldn’t keep my eyes open. So I went back to bed and slept until lunchtime, over three hours. Having eaten a bit of lunch, I think I’ll go back to bed for a while.

    This is ridiculous; I have things to do today. But apparently I need the sleep even more.

  20. Jazzlet says

    That is frustrating, but I don’t see what else you can do when you have made your wishes clear.

    That is also frustrating, and all too familiar. I am struggling to get my sleeping patterns more aligned with the majority of the UK and am not helped by being so tired I could go back to sleep again most of many days.

    I have been sent information about a deferred pension and asked what proportion of the pension I want in a lump sum and how much in monthly payments. I have no idea, so it’s just as well that a) it not a lot of money, b) I don’t need it now, and c) they will pay interest on it all until I make up my mind, because I got the letter on my 60th birthday, mailed four days before, not a lot of time to make up your mind if you did need the money promptly, like you had actually just retired and wouldn’t be getting anymore salary..

  21. says

    Jazzlet, I think for one thing, a very big happy birthday is in order. At least you have the perfect excuse to celebrate just with your closest ones.

    Charly, I feel you.
    I’m getting seriously annoyed with my BFF. Oh, she’s not a conspiracy theorist, and I know that the “lockdown” (We never had a serious lockdown) took a harsh toll on her, but now she’s like “oh, sure, Covid is bad but the effects of the measures are worse. So this week our politicians sensibly decided to ban big events until the e end of the year, which means that her booked visit to some Harry Potter show had been postponed again, which she thinks is absolutely not OK, “they forbid us everything”. I get that she’s sad and disappointed, but does she think she’s the only person who has to do without things we love? Also, she’s sitting in her nice safe office with drastically reduced contact, while I have to risk my neck every day in school.

  22. Jazzlet says

    Thank you!

    I can see why your BFF is annoying you :-\

    My part of Greater Manchester has had the tighter COVID-19 restrictions lifted today so I could go and see my SiL in her garden, after five days of clear weather it is pissing it down *sigh* On the other hand we jumped the gun yesterday as a non-local friend was passing by so we had a couple of hours chatting, safely distanced, in the garden and Jake got to play with someone that wasn’t us which quite exhausted him, lovely for all of us.

  23. says

    Yay, we’re back!
    BTW I still haven’t got the results from my Covid swap. I hope that means I am (was?) negative, because I haven’t been in quarantine since it was just a “check up” test for teachers…
    My poor not-principal (She’s the principal at the school i work at, but technically I belong to a different school) had a parents teachers night with Covid deniers.

  24. says

    Hugs, tea and cookies for everyone!

    Shadow had her second post-surgery vet visit this morning. The stitches are out, she’s doing really well. She still has to wear the cone a while longer, until everything’s healed completely, and she can’t go out until then either. I’m sure I’ll be hearing many complaints to management regarding Unfair Treatment of Felines, but that’s just too bad.

  25. says

    chigau, stay warm! I wish I could share some of our excess heat with you, but not the wildfire smoke and ash -- we’re miles away from any of the fires, but getting a lot of fallout.

    I’ve almost finished my purge of all the old paperwork piles. Once the refi is complete, this week (huzzah), I will be able to file all of that stuff. It’s all go around here.

    Hugs to all of you, and a good week.

  26. says

    Your overworked teacher friend here. Tomorrow we’ll get our new pets, so I guess there will be pictures.
    Today I’m also quite frustrated. We had some professional training. A group of us teachers is being trained as a “crisis team”. What to do when a crisis, any kind of crisis happens at school. And the instructor listed the qualities that the leader of said team needs to have. And everybody thought “hey, that sounds like Giliell”, but also “damn, she doesn’t have a steady contract, she can’t be the leader”.
    Now, it’s not like I was particularly keen on the job, because it doesn’t involve anything but heartache and responsibility, but it would have been cool to have the opportunity.

  27. Jazzlet says

    That is frustrating, but it’s nice they all thought of you. Should there be just one leader or should there be several possible leaders, because one might be out of commission in a crisis? It would be a cool thing to be trained for wherever you work.

    I hope the pets settle in quickly

    We are supposed to be having sun all day tomorrow …

  28. voyager says

    Happy Birthday. I hope you can sort out what will work best with your pensions. I have to make the same decision soon myself and I think I’ve decided to leave it until I’m 65.

    I’m glad Shadow is doing well, even if she is still upset with her post-op restrictions.

    Good luck with the new pets. I’m sorry you missed out on a career opportunity. Team leading a crisis intervention team would be interesting. I hope you still get all the training.

  29. says

    Oh, I still get all the training. The whole point of the thing is to have a team who can handle things together. The leader position is only important in case of an event you never want to experience. Some severe catastrophe like a fire, bus accident, school shooting… It’s pretty horrible to make plans for such an event, but you need to do it, because while such things will not happen at every school, they do happen at schools, and when they happen you won’t be able to make plans.
    I still hope the next modules will be more about all the small catastrophes that do besiege us every day.

  30. StevoR says

    Progress, slow, overdue, but finally :

    The third season of “Star Trek: Discovery,” set to premiere on Oct. 15, will introduce its first transgender and a nonbinary characters, according to CBS All Access.

    In an announcement on, showrunners said the trans character, Gray, will be played by trans actor Ian Alexander (“The OA,” “The Last of Us Part II”). A new nonbinary character, Adira, will also join the series and be portrayed by newcomer Blu del Barrio.

    Science finds something wonderfully weird and unexpected raising more questions -- as it does :

    Not sure if I’ve shared or mentioned this here before but this Aussie show on USA’s politics, I find very informative, entertaining and thought-provoking :

    Hosted by one of the former Chaser “boys”, Chas Licciardello if that helps.

  31. StevoR says

    Also cannot recall if this was shared before but eerie, disturbing and informative on what we’ve doing to the planet :

    Thinking of Global Overheating we’re nearing the annual Arctic sea ice minimum and you can see how that’s looking here :

    Whilst somuch speculation and possibility for good and ill alike for another planet (Proxima b) which may or may well not be more or less like ours -- all vague and unclear as but still fascinating I think :

    Hopefully, we’ll learn more eventually

  32. says

    The degus have arrived, the degus have arrived. They’re still very shy, though you can already tell that one is much more adventurous as she already climbed the highest shelf to explore.

  33. lumipuna says

    I mentioned a couple weeks ago how Finland was keeping itself very exclusive with covid-related travel restrictions. Now, we’re starting to open again to travel from various countries (for example Germany and, for the first time in six months, Sweden) next weekend. Not that Europe or World at large has gotten better (Sweden actually has, somewhat) but our own infections have been creeping upward, too.

    Also, it’s high time for travel businesses to start preparing for the next winter’s tourist season up north -- assuming there is a tourist season. If not, they’re screwed. Now at least they can gamble -- together with the rest of us.

  34. StevoR says

    Small thing but still nice to see :

    Meanwhile :

    More than half of environmental scientists working for Australian federal and state governments report having been “prohibited from communicating scientific information”, according to the results of a new survey.

    Of the more than 200 environmental scientists from government, university and non-government organisations (NGOs) consulted for the survey, those working for government reported the highest rates of suppression or interference in communicating their work publicly. … (snip) .. One respondent claimed that government action or inaction over a particular issue influenced whether they could speak out.

    “We are often forbidden [from] talking about the true impacts of say a threatening process … especially if the government is doing little to mitigate that threat … In this way the public often remains in the dark about the true state and trends of many species,” the respondent said.

    Conveying information on threatened species was most commonly reported to have been the subject of suppression or interference, according to the report published in Conservation Letters this week.

    Australia has one of the worst records globally for mammal extinctions and increased scientific communication and protection is vital, Dr Ritchie said.

    Also cheering these teenagers on. Respect and hope they succeed :

    A class action launched on behalf of young people everywhere seeks an injunction to stop the Australian Government approving an extension to Whitehaven’s Vickery coal mine, arguing it will harm young people by exacerbating climate change. The injunction, filed in the Federal Court on Tuesday, is a first for Australia.

    An expert says it could break new legal ground with widespread ramifications, causing problems for any new coal mine in Australia — and possibly any fossil fuel project — if it is successful.

    Though the injunction itself is unique, it is part of a growing wave of climate litigation in Australia and comes less than two months after 23-year-old Melbourne law student Katta O’Donnell filed a class action against the Australian Government for failing to disclose the risk climate change poses to Australians’ super and other low risk investments.

  35. Gelaos says

    Has anyone heard about the new Oscar eligibility rules for films?
    It’s true that Oscars are mostly white-male dominated and generally I am all for diversity in art, but… This rule-based top-down approach may potentially limit artistic creativity, not to mention that -- given these specific rules -- some studio can shoot a movie that is white as snow, yet still eligible because “hey, we have 2 Asians in CGI department and two female senior executives in marketing”.

    The audience doesn’t give a damn whether the CGI was done by white males, black lesbians or purple koala bears or if the costume designer was LGBTQ+. They just want to see a good movie.

    What do you think?

  36. StevoR says

    @ ^ Gelaos : I think it would be good to have more representative movies that do more for diversity and are produced by and feature major characters that are of more and different backgrounds and genders and orientations and ethnicities. I’d like to see those rules go further there.

    @ 51. Update to my first link there on the rider -- Franco Morbidelli -- with the anti-racist helmet : he won last night’s race wearing that! Seems like a really good bloke too. See :

    & you can watch race highlights (under 10 min) here too :

    Incidentally, for other readers in Oz, tonight’s epsidoe of 4Corners is potentially looking very interesting if disturbing and might be worthwatching dealing with the storie of mercenaries and private military contractors.

    From the 4 Corners programs website :

    Soldiers of Fortune
    The Australian mercenaries selling paramilitary services to warlords and despots abroad

    In conflict zones around the world, battles are increasingly being fought, not just by armies, but by private military contractors operating as guns for hire.

    These mercenaries live in a shadowy world away from the public eye where the normal rules of combat don’t apply.

    Their work usually remains secret unless something goes very wrong.

    On Monday Four Corners investigates this murky world and the Australian military men at the heart of it.

    & see also this story here :

    Private military forces interfering in SW Asia and running arms and killing and kidnapping people. Gee, what could go wrong? There’s also been a lot of stories about some extremely racist SAS individuals trolling people online and issues with reichwing extremism and bigotry in their culture. So another gloomy global trend with obvious bad historical precedents here.

  37. StevoR says

    ^ Correction operating in Northern Africa not South West Asia. Dóh! Libya certainly isn’t in Asia. (Blushes.)

    I do generally prefer to use SW Asia rather than “Middle East ” becuase its more geographically accurate and less eurocentric. East is obvs a relative term. But yes, not approriate here. Arguably slightly okay with Egypt given the Sinai Peninula is geographically Asian although most of that nation is in North Africa.

    Also inother, sadly grim news that’s been going well under the radar and not had (any? certainly not much) media coverage here but is frontpage news on Wiki (go figure) :

    In September 2020, profuse and continuous rainfall in Sudan caused a devastating flood across at least 16 Sudanese states with the Blue Nile reaching water levels not seen for nearly a century. It ranks among the most severe floods recorded in the region. A state of emergency was declared, and teams have worked to prevent damage to threatened archeological sites. The flood affected more than 500,000 people, destroyed more than 100,000 homes, and left 102 people dead to date.

    Also globally there’s been flooding in Karachi and in Afghanistan, twin typhoons hitting Japan and Korea whilst of course we’ve had the massive wildfires in Western North Amercia and twin hurricanes hitting southern Nth America and too many peopel it seems still aren’t joining the dots on Global Overheating. FFS! :-/

  38. StevoR says

    Today, I learnt that my local NON-representative Federal MP, Nicolle “environmentalism is a modern day scourge”* Flint is insulting and attacking a friend of mine who died of cancer recently and cannot therefore defend himself. Meanwhile she is supporting accused sex offender and thug Sam Duluk, my state non-representative MP and her campaign manager, who is so appallingly bad that even the state SA Liberals have sacked him from the party whilst he awaits criminal trial and continues to get massively overpaid. See :

    A disgusting new low. for Nicolle Flint, Member -- Disgrace -- for Boothy.

    Meanwhile ice melts, ( ) forests burn, hurricanes, typhoons ( and floods along with droughts and heatwaves hit harder, scientficially observed reality happens & too many folks fail to join the obvious dots as our worse present let alone future gets ever clearer and more people die and lose their homes and more.

    I feel like a passenger in a car heading towards a cliff where the driver is stomping on the accelerator rather than the brake.

    * Words Flint said in her maiden spech.She was also a leading backer of the far reichwing Dutton political coup against elected moderate Liberal PM Turnbull and a former. reichwing op-ed polemicist.

  39. StevoR says

    Just posted this on my facebook page. Hope it might help. Antyt houghtsor questiosn welcomed, pleas efeelfree to use a sbest suits.


    45 days till the USA’s election is decided now.

    I’d rather talk science and sport however, this is, sadly, vital for the whole world including here in Oz because the USA remains a hugely influential superpower. The decision American citizens are about to make -- are, indeed making already with early voting -- has a disproportionate impact on our planet and our collective future for good or ill.

    The choice is between a side of politics and especially a spoiled toddler of a senile old man who has contempt for the truth and science and reality, who (as of July this year) has told over 20,000 lies versus a man who accepts the science and understands the need for action on Global Overheating and who was the first candidate ever endorsed by the ‘Scientific American’ magazine.

    Between a man who has contributed to the deaths of 200,000 Amercians by his incompetence, science denialism and refusal to take the pandemic seriously and who still uses it to whip up divisions and hatred rather than follow the most basic medical advice.

    Between a man who incites hatred and violence and calls for his cult followers to kill others and defends nazis as “..very fine people..” whilst caging the children of refugees with a man who seriously considered choosing a Republican as his running mate. A man who openly said that the election will be rigged whilst trying himself to rig it by attacking the vital US postal service and who, in fact, fell short of being the People’s Choice for POTUS last time, 48% to her to his 46% of the vote ad ewas rightly impeached for his obstruction of justice ad .

    There is so much more I could say here too. But the main thing is this. Please.

    This election matters.

    I cannot vote in it. But I urge everyone who can to do so and choose wisely and vote for Biden and other Democratic party candidates all down the ballots because the current madness over in the States needs to end for everyone’s sakes and sanity NOT Murdoch and the Trump cult needs to prevail in the US of A. So much in our shared planetary future depends on it.

    As for me, I might not be able to vote but I can argue and will do my absolute best to help Joe Biden & Kamala Harris restore reason and kindness to the USA and the wider world here. Please help me in this all because all our lives will be affected by it.


    For the ‘Scientific Americans’ endorsement of Joe Biden see :

    On Trump’s 20,000 lies and counting see :

    On Trump’s horrific environmental impacts already see :

    Among other places.

    Just posted with some great memes now.

  40. StevoR says

    @ ^ Just seen & fixed coz my typing typically sux :

    who, in fact, fell short of being the People’s Choice for POTUS last time, 48% to her to his 46% of the vote and was rightly impeached for his abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

  41. says

    1. I’m very worried. Katja the degu is sick. She’s not very active, her fur is untidy, she’s very sleepy. I asked her breeder who said that maybe she has a spoiled stomach with all the new food she’s been trying. If she hasn’t recovered tomorrow afternoon I’ll take her to the vet.

    2. I’m fucking livid. We’re trying to coordinate our family get together and as usually finding a date is difficult, a safe location even more. I even offered to host them all, provided we order pizza. I just got a mail from my aunt, who spelled my name wrong, telling me that “the date is fixed, the place is fixed, those who can’t come are out of luck”. Not only is the person with the most complicated and stressful life in the entire family supposed to accommodate the needs and wishes of all those who only have themselves to look after, I swear that nobody is allowed to speak to me like that. My boss technically is, but he’s a much better person than to do so.

  42. says

    Giliell, hugs for you and fingers crossed for Katja.

    I keep trying to get back to creative things, but I just can’t focus. So I’ve been sorting paperwork instead. Not fun, but at least there’s a visible and tangible result to show people. (I feel like I constantly have to prove I’m being a productive member of society)

  43. says

    It’s not looking good for Katja. The vet said she was probably having problems to start with, her being so much smaller than her litter mate Estelle. We’re trying to feed her through a syringe, but she’s not taking much. Our hearts are breaking.

    Hi Cicely
    It’s always good to see you. How are you?

  44. StevoR says

    @ Giliell : Everthing crossed for and hoping for the best for Katja. Best wishes and know that you are doing the best yuoucan for her and cannot do more. That sucks but not fault. Virtual (((hugs))) if you want them from me.

  45. says

    I take all the hugs, thank you. I am very, very carefully optimistic as she took some food from the pipette and then even nibbled a bit of nut. I just hope she hadn’t been too far over the edge already to suffer organ damage. Good night.

  46. says

    I am completely and utterly emotionally exhausted. After the week we had (and the death of Katja was only one major blow out of several), Estelle escaped while the little one filled their dish. And while she came downstairs to get me, the degu vanished. And I almost lost it. I was so close to yelling at the kid or just to sit down and cry.
    Thankfully we found her. She’d managed to get into the little one’s wardrobe (Degus get everywhere). From that on we could track her and I finally caught her. She thanked me by sinking her teeth into my thumb. I’m so done, I asked Mr to come back home because I need a fucking hug and because I’m married to the best guy in the world, he’s on his way.
    So much for going to bed early…

  47. Jazzlet says

    Giliell I wish I could do something to make things better for you, but in lieu of that have a long *hug*

  48. StevoR says

    Well this is worrying :

    In an unpublished paper submitted for peer review, Professor Goldstone, who is a sociologist, and Peter Turchin, an expert on the mathematical modelling of historical societies, have concluded that the US is “headed for another civil war”.

    The conditions for civil violence, they say, are the worst since the 19th century — in particular the years leading up to the start of the American Civil War in 1861.

    The reason for this are trends that began in the 1980s, “with regard to inequality, selfish elites, and polarisation that have crippled the ability of the US government to mount an effective response to the pandemic disease,” they write.

    This has also “hampered our ability to deliver an inclusive economic relief policy, and exacerbated the tensions over racial injustice.”

    On a much more positive rather mind-blowing note :

    It’s (exotic life inside stars -ed) all very speculative and mostly unprovable. However, the team proposes that if such life does arise in the core of a star, it would need to consume some of the core’s energy to survive. As a result, their star might cool faster than predicted by stellar models. Some stars do have excess cooling, but you don’t need cosmic strings, monopoles, and nuclear life to explain it.

    Right now, there’s no evidence to support nuclear life, but studies like this can help us think outside the box of terrestrial life. The universe is often stranger than we can imagine, and life out there might be far more alien than we expect.

    In other less speculative measureable astronomical news, it seems this gas giant survived th death of its sun and now orbits the dead remnant white dwarf core :

    extremely closely. Good video there with ideas on how it got into that tight orbit included.

  49. says

    Thank y’all.
    I’m feeling better today already. I know that strength is fragile, but tomorrow is Friday and the weekend starts. Time to relax.

    Giliell, I wish I could send you a sauna over the net.

    Me too. that’s another thing about Covid: all our usual things to relax are not a good idea right now…

  50. cicely says

    Hi, Giliell.

    I’m sorry about Katja; you have my sympathies.

    I’ve been having a hard time, past couple of years, emotionally; just so incredibly, awfully depressed. The current World Situation is kinda the dog turd atop the shit sundae. But I’m feeling better, and will feel better yet if we can successfully pry Trump’s lying, cheating, stealing ass out of the command chair, come election time.

    How’ve you been?
    How’ve all of y’all been?

  51. Ice Swimmer says


    I’m hoping that crook and liar in chief will be kicked out, tried and jailed for the rest of his life.

    I’m glad that you now feel better, I’ve been wondering about you every now and then.

    As for myself, I returned to University in autumn 2018 and got my Master’s degree recently (Master of Science in Technology). It was an intense two years. It was stressful but also quite fulfilling. Now I’m looking for a job because the research funding that the University got for my thesis didn’t get extended for further research.

  52. says

    Hugs and tea to all. I’m so tired of everything that I’m just numb. Which is better than curling up in a corner and sobbing, I guess. I’m just so tired from waiting for the next shoe to drop.

    I got out by myself for a bit yesterday morning -- Paul drove us to the library, then he walked home. I drove back by way of the market and Cost Plus, which has their Halloween decor in. I have a nice big new tea mug with a vintage tarot image on it.

  53. Jazzlet says

    It’s hard to find a balnce at the moment. I’m limiting my news intake o I don’t descend into the depths, but now we have COVID-19 restictions tightened locally, yet still there are idiots either not wearing masks or wearing them below the nose. Uff

  54. Jazzlet says

    Oops I forgot to add the hugs and I think hot choclate is appropriate looking out at the grey skies.

  55. says

    Hugs all around

    That’s actually a difficult question. So much in this slow motion apocalypse is so damn contradictory. The last few years have been busy, but also very good on a personal front, and shitty in the world, and then bad on some personal front, but incredibly good on others, so…

  56. says

    I went on an errand run yesterday morning. The local Goodwill has clearly marked directional aisles, and there were still people barging up them the wrong way, glaring at the rest of us. Of course those were the same people wearing their masks under their noses.

    I haven’t seen anyone refuse to wear a mask, yet. But it’s Orange county, so I expect that to happen sooner or later. Seriously, if I can wear a mask even when it makes my face sweaty and my nose run and my glasses fog, they can too. Grrrr.

  57. Jazzlet says

    Our local Cooperative store has taken out the obstruction that meant you had to follow the one way system. They do announce that “there is a one way system, please follow it” but at least half the people in the shop when I was there were not doing so nor were most of them keeping distanced. I would prefer to buy milk etc from them, but if the other shoppers continue to behave like that I won’t, I really really really do not want to bring SARS COV2 home to Paul and that behaviour is just too risky. I’m not sure why they are being so bad as staff were limiting numbers in the store and so on previously, but it all seems to have gone for a Burton.

  58. StevoR says

    “Weird Al” Yankovic on the debate in musical form -- with loud scream at start you might want the volume down for and synth but still pretty good and raises some forgotten Trumpian horrors nicley :

    In totally, mercifully unrelated awe -- inspiring news this APOD video :

    On this star system :

    Sometimes there’s just things to make your jaw drop in wonderment. This is one of them especially if you have an inkling of the literally astronomical -- scale and magnitude of all this. The three stars here have masses roughly two and half, one and a half and just over one solar mass and the disk spans 400 Astronomical units. (AU) Note here that Pluto’s orbit ranges from 30 at its closest to 50 at its furthest AUs. (Rounded up.) and that light from our Sun takes 8 minutes to travel to Earth but 5 hours to reach Pluto. :

  59. StevoR says

  60. StevoR says

    ^ Breaking news linked there = White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for COVID-19

    This writer here :

    says it well. (Found via one of the FTB blogs the other day, can’t recall who exactly now, sorry and thanks.)

    No, I will not wish Donald Trump well
    I wish for his convincing defeat on November 3. That is what should preoccupy our thoughts and energy from this moment until that day – nothing more or less.

    .. (snip) .. By any humane measure, Trump has disqualified himself from inviting any pity or concern for his wellbeing. So, save us the predictably gooey homilies, you sanctimonious revisionists.

    We need to remember that this president has mocked and belittled the invalid. He has mocked and belittled those with disabilities. He has mocked and belittled the weak. He mocked and belittled Hillary Clinton while his 2016 Democratic opponent endured a bout of pneumonia.

    He has mocked and belittled the scores of women who have accused him of raping or sexually assaulting them.
    Donald Trump
    No, I will not wish Donald Trump well
    I wish for his convincing defeat on November 3. That is what should preoccupy our thoughts and energy from this moment until that day – nothing more or less.

    Andrew Mitrovica
    Andrew Mitrovica
    Andrew Mitrovica is a Toronto-based writer.
    4 Oct 2020
    US President Donald Trump on Friday evening tweeted a pre-recorded video message thanking Americans for their support as he battles COVID-19 [Donald J Trump/Twitter]
    US President Donald Trump on Friday evening tweeted a pre-recorded video message thanking Americans for their support as he battles COVID-19 [Donald J Trump/Twitter]
    It will be the defining image of this rancid presidency.

    There Donald Trump stood in a near-barren room in the White House doing what he loves to do most – staring into a camera. But, this time, he looked worn, his shoulders slumped. The tissue-thin vitality of his perpetual bronze sprayed-on tan was gone. Instead, Trump’s glaring, almost sheet-white complexion revealed a suddenly small and sick man.

    He tried to feign confidence. He tried to convince viewers that he was fine. He tried to be reassuring. But like every other act of this pestilent president, Trump’s latest made-for-TV performance was a choreographed lie.

    He looked like a man who understood that he had been infected by a potentially lethal virus. He looked like a man who also understood his blaring bluster and bravado could no longer conceal the truth about who and what he is.

    More than anything, Trump looked frightened.

    This calculating charlatan who has spent his life burnishing a comic-book-like caricature of himself as a steely, uncompromising tough guy was alone and exposed – reduced to a scared, hollow man abruptly confronting his mortality.

    Still, the comely men and women on the US cable news networks and the largely white, centrist-hugging columnists writing for establishment newspapers did what they always do when the rich and powerful fall precariously ill – they scolded and lectured us about how we should behave and respond.

    On collective cue, they said we should wish Trump a speedy recovery and resist the urge to acknowledge, let alone celebrate, the obvious and, yes, delicious irony: A president who shouted – again and again – that a pandemic was a politically orchestrated hoax to deny him a second term, had become another one of the more than seven million Americans who have been blighted by COVID-19.

    Perhaps the nadir of this condescending and absurd piffle was offered up by that scion of inside-the-beltway journalism, Washington Post editor, Bob Woodward, who suggested that his insensitive colleagues should pause from asking questions about Trump’s condition to recognise what a “warrior” the ailing president was. My goodness.

    Blunt note to Woodward and patronising company: By any humane measure, Trump has disqualified himself from inviting any pity or concern for his wellbeing. So, save us the predictably gooey homilies, you sanctimonious revisionists.

    We need to remember that this president has mocked and belittled the invalid. He has mocked and belittled those with disabilities. He has mocked and belittled the weak. He mocked and belittled Hillary Clinton while his 2016 Democratic opponent endured a bout of pneumonia.

    He has mocked and belittled the scores of women who have accused him of raping or sexually assaulting them.

    He has mocked and belittled the scores of people who once worked for him and who have told the world that he is unfit to be commander-in-chief. And, of course, he has mocked and belittled Joe Biden and every other sensible American who knows that wearing a mask, washing your hands and keeping a distance from others protects yourself and others from being infected with COVID-19.

    Worse, Trump knew in February that this rampaging virus travelled in the air and that it killed the old, and sometimes the young, with fatal efficiency. Rather than tell citizens – whom this president swore an oath to protect and defend – the truth, Trump sold quackery, stupidity, and lunatic conspiracies to his faithful dupes.

    Trump’s manifest negligence has had apocalyptic human consequences: Hundreds of thousands of Americans have already died lonely and horrible deaths and countless more are likely to succumb in the same sad manner during the months ahead.

    So, I repeat: Save us the predictably gooey homilies, you sanctimonious revisionists.

    We need to remember the infected children who have died of rare neurological disorders. We need to remember the infected mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, partners and grandparents who died after suffering heart attacks, seizures or who slowly suffocated – often alone, out of reach of the people they loved and who loved them in equal measure.

    We need to remember, as well, that scientists and doctors tell us that many of these deaths were avoidable. But Trump and his accomplices mocked and belittled the scientists and doctors who not only warned of the pandemic but also how to limit the sorrow and suffering that was to come.

    -- Andrew Mitrovica

    Trump deserves to die disgraced and rejected in jail following a landslide loss that wipes his party out. But I would settle for the poetic justice of him being killed by the pandemic he has recklessly encouraged to spread and which his criminal incompetence has caused to kill so many hundreds of thousands of others.

  61. says

    Well, kid one commented: “He should just drink bleach” while kid 2 commented “I hope he dies”, so I think I raised them right…
    People, it’s one week until the autumn holidays and I soooooo need it. Would you believe that i was so naive to think that maybe we’d gotten Covid under control by now and could go on a week of holidays or something?
    We had Mr’s parents and aunt and husband over to celebrate his birthday and prepared them that we would cancel Christmas. It would be our turn to host the family, but I’m not hosting 20 people of which one third are high risk and one third spend their time in schools.
    Man, conservatives are weird. Said aunt’s husband is an old fashioned conservative. Not the raging murderous kind, but the kind that exactly tells you what the problem is. He has absolute faith in US civil society to “do the right thing”. If Trump wins “by the rules of the US” then we must accept him as the legitimate president, regardless of voter suppression etc. But if he loses he is absolutely confident that he will have to leave, because he has faith in the rules being followed, regardless of how many have been broken already.
    He also has this “we’ll get through this”mentality when it comes to Trump and Covid and shit, because “we got through the Bush years as well”. Of course lots of people didn’t make it back then, lots of people won’t make it this time. Funny how when it comes to welfare on the one hand or ecologically harmful behaviour on the other, conservatives are all about the individual. But when it comes to surviving autocratic regimes or Covid, it#s suddenly the group that counts and the individual can fuck off and die already…
    I like him, I really like him, I’ll just never understand him.

  62. StevoR says

    Some things folks might find interesting heer I hope. This :

    Screened recently on SouthAusse TV show Dateline :

    Plus there was this excellent PBS interview with David Attenborough :

    Someone online has said that new doco is already available on Netflix but I don’t have that so cannot verify. Hope itgoes onto free to air telly too soon.

  63. StevoR says

    PS. Also Colbert has been awesome lately :

    Then palate cleaner there’s this beautiful short (under 5 min) video of the Ethiopian wolf; Africa’s rarest caniarnvore species, although WARNING real animal hunting ie by the animals predators -prey footage.

    Plus sometimes there’s just things to make your jaw drop in wonderment. This :

    is one of them especially if you have an inkling of the literally astronomical -- scale and magnitude of all this. The three stars here have masses roughly two and half, one and a half and just over one solar mass and the disk spans 400 Astronomical Units. (AU) Note here that Pluto’s orbit ranges from 30 AUs at its closest to 50 Aus at its furthest. (Rounded up.) Plus that light from our Sun takes 8 minutes to travel to Earth but 5 hours to reach Pluto. :