Sunday, September 26, 2010

What's the point of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Looking for pictures of Earthrise over the moon, I ran across this comment by a refreshingly non-brainwashed person:

> So I know that Buffy has always been known as a show that has a lot of depth, and responds well to analysis, but I just wasn’t able to see it in the episode we watched in class.

> I have several friends who are die-hard Buffy fans, and I’ve always heard of it in relation to its exploration of gender issues. However, when I saw the episode in class (my first), I didn’t really get it. I mean sure, it has a badass female protagonist who can stand up for herself, but so do plenty of other things. Maybe its just because the show is 13 years old, but I don’t see what it did that was so special.

Here's my answer to that question.

The point about Buffy is that a girl can be a brainless ditz and even an abusive bitch yet still be lauded as a great leader. The more she moans, complains and whines, the more heroic she is. The great "gender reversal" of the show is that women can assault and rape their significant others and get away with it scot free, because it shows they're "strong". Just as strong as men!

[Of course, the REAL point about Buffy is that Joss Whedon's got a peculiar sexual fetish for young strong bitchy girls who show naked feet which he's managed to broadcast all over television. But I doubt you want to think about that so let's pretend it's purely political. And speaking of politics,]

In a word, it's misandry. Something that's become disgustingly common in the last few decades when women suddenly decided they wanted an equal share of modern technological society despite not having contributed a single iota to the advance of science, technology, or industry in the entire 100,000 years the human species has been alive. For instance, obstetrics didn't start progressing until men got involved in it - not a coincidence.

In fact, women don't have the slightest clue what they're good for besides pumping out babies so now that we don't really care (or want) to pump babies anymore, they've suddenly (it's a coincidence!) decided they've been the victims of oppression by males in every single society on Earth for the last 10,000+ years. As proof consider that a minority of murder victims are women - in a just world only men would ever die or drop out of school or suffer in any way. Since men acceding to women's desires to not accomplish anything in public life obviously makes women victims, their victim status entitles them to victimize in turn. An eye for an eye, that's fair right?

The reason women don't know what they're good for isn't because they're good for nothing, it's because they're stupid so they can't figure it out themselves. I'm going to give away the secret here though: women are responsible for all the psychological advances which permit and encourage the existence of modern civilization. There's quite a bit of difference between the medieval societies of Pakistan or India which have nukes and the 19th century French who didn't. The French were vastly more socially and psychologically advanced, that's what. A mere century ago, India still practiced infanticide - think about that.

Of course, the feminazis don't like to dwell on that because all that psychological advance is tied to having babies and raising children. Something they don't want. And it's no coincidence at all that they're ugly (google Andrea Dworkin if you want nightmares) or lesbians. I mean, it's not like more than 99% of 19th and early 20th century feminists were lesbians. I'm sure it was no greater than 90%. And I'm sure the percentage of lesbians has gone way down now they've accepted ugly fat man-hating bitches into their ranks.

Yes, I have a bit of a problem with anyone buying into the notion of "let's undermine the progressive half of the population out of spite, bitterness and sour grapes". Sue me.

I have an even bigger problem with the fact that according to statistics there is one third as many women who are my intellectual equals as men. How the fuck are you supposed to find a significant other who's your match in those circumstances? Yes I'm bitter, but I don't want to wreck the world because of it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fusion Will NEVER Be Viable

I've never been interested in fusion because I knew it wouldn't be viable for at least 50 years. Why bother worrying or hyping about it when it's crap? Well, I just did a spot of research into it and what I've found is simply amazing.

The main line of research is crap because the fuel they need to use (tritium) would cost millions per kilogram. This compares extremely poorly to uranium which can be had for less than 100$ per kg. Even extracting uranium from seawater costs less than 1000$ per kilogram.

Note that there isn't much conversion needed since all proposed fusion processes produce energy per kilogram of fuel at rates roughly equivalent to fission of uranium.

Let's not forget the fact that D-T fusion produces 30 times (*) the amount of neutron radiation per kilogram as uranium fission. Neutron radiation is the kind that causes things to become radioactive. I hope you love nuclear waste because D-T fusion makes fission look waste-free.

The yo-yos who want to go to the moon to mine Helium-3 say crap like "that 25-tonne load of He3 would worth on the order of $75 billion today, or $3 billion per tonne". Of course, this is a blatant lie. Helium-3 isn't worth $3 billion per tonne, it costs $3 billion per tonne. What it's actually worth if you're using it as fuel in a fusion power plant is less than $50,000 per tonne, or 60,000 times less than they're claiming.

This doesn't mean that helium-3 mining can't happen economically. It just can't happen with chemical rockets. You need nuclear (fission) rockets to get to the moon and mine that helium-3 economically. And I'm really assuming here that it'll be economical, but if you're going to be using nuclear fission rockets, if nuclear fission has gained that much political and social respectability, then why bother with a fusion reactor at all?

Why harness the power of a twinkling little star when you can harness the power of a supernova? That's where all Uranium comes from, from the r-process running up the neutron drip line, from the blazing heart of an exploding stellar super-giant. The hype around fusion defies comprehension even as mindless sun worship. Don't people realize our sun is nothing, nothing, compared to something that outshines a galaxy. It's like wishing to cuddle up to a candle when you have a roaring bonfire next to you.

But that's not where the fun ends with fusion research. You see, there's an "alternative" line of research which advertises being able to use everyday normal crap like Borax (boron) and that its reactors will be so cheap they could be built in someone's garage ....

Well problem is they can only do that if the fuel is totally pure. Boron must be purified from 80% to >99.7%, otherwise those dippy little reactors built in people's garages will kill everybody near them. The best part is that even though Borax costs $2 per kilo, pure boron costs around $5000-10,000 per kilogram depending on its purity. And you want to use that for fuel? Yeah, that's not going to happen. Don't expect any economies of scale either since industry is already making the stuff in massive quantities.

But the fun doesn't end there. You see, pure boron in fusion reactors wouldn't cut it. No siree, you need pure boron-11. Because if you shoved any boron-10 (which is 20% of natural boron) into your garage-built fusion reactor, it would ... kill everyone around it. What you really want is pure boron-11 and as it happens we do have plenty of boron-11 around since boron-10 is used as a neutron radiation absorbent by ... the nuclear fission industry.

So you see, it's beautiful. It really is. If you try to build fusion reactors to replace fission reactors then those fusion reactors won't have any fuel. The only way we'd ever have little fusion reactors in people's garages is if we have giant fission plants in every city.

*: deuterium (2 nucleons) + tritium (3 nucleons) -> helium-4 (4 nucleons) + 1 neutron for 20% of mass. In comparison, uranium (235 nucleons) + neutron -> a smorgasbord of stuff + 2.5 neutrons on average, for a net production of 1.5 neutrons (0.6% of mass) on average.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Commercial Use Of A Stargate

I always thought the Stargate in the show was ludicrously underutilized. They don't use it for anything!

First of all, we would never ever tie up the Earth's Stargate by running a military exploration program through it. Hell, it's not even remotely secure. We'd establish a military base off-world and run the entire exploration program through that. That way nobody would really care if the military base had to use the nuclear self-destruct option. Hmm too bad, we'll need to build a new base.

Opening the Choke

Secondly, the Earth's Stargate would be dedicated to colonization and resource (wood, iron, petrol, grain, and fish) transport. And the way you would run the Stargate is not using trains or cars or pedestrians, which would be immensely stupid. Rather you would place the gate horizontally so that gravity helped you drop things into the sending gate and out of the receiving gate.

Check this out.

(((pi * ((3 m)^2)) * (10 m)) per second) * (1 year) = 8.92251061 × 10^9 m^3

That's 9 billion cubic meters that can flow through the Stargate each and every year. And that's on slow speed because all you have to do is set up a funnel on the sending gate shaped in such a way that what's falling through is in free fall for one second.

In order to maintain a steady flow through the funnel, you'd set up the gate so it was movable, so you would move it away from the funnel as soon as it shut down so you could restart it. That way the kawoosh doesn't disintegrate part of the stream of goods you're trying to send. Then when it's online you slide it right back into the stream of (wood, iron, petrol, grain, and fish).

Changing Land Usage

To grasp what impact this would have on Earth, consider the world annual fish production of 120 million tonnes. It would take ((120 million tonnes) / ((721 kg) per (cubic meter))) / (9 billion (cubic meters)) = 0.018492834 (1.8%) of the Stargate's capacity to pass this through.

The world's telecommunications companies would rejoice since they would no longer have to put up with asshole fishermen cutting their (meticulously mapped) expensive fiber optic cables. And it would be much easier to regulate off-world fisheries to prevent destruction of seabeds since they would be utterly dependent on the Stargate to get fishing boats and nets off-world, and their catch to market.

Or consider the world annual roundwood production of 3.3 billion cubic meters in 2003. That wouldn't take up half of the Stargate's capacity. That's right, we could more or less end all forestry on Earth if we had a Stargate and didn't waste it like the dumbfucks at Stargate Command. And as a bonus, only the very best hardwoods would be harvested and sent through. But they would still be cheap.

Or consider the world's total cereal production of 2000 million tonnes. So (2000 million tonnes) / ((770 kg) per (cubic meter)) = 2.5974026 × 10^9 m^3. That wouldn't take up a third of the capacity.

When you add it all up, there's still plenty of room for the world's iron ore production (1.7 billion metric tonnes) / ((2500 kg) per (cubic meter)) = 680 million m^3.

Within 5 years you would displace 90% of the agricultural land usage on Earth, leaving the Earth's agricultural land for non-transportable fruits, vegetables and nuts. Hmm, nuts are transportable ... There would be massive reforesting.

And why would you do this? Well, maybe to capture some of the over one trillion euros per year that would be flowing through the Stargate. And that's at slow speed.


You'd think that passengers would be different. Well, they're not. Oh you can do things the dumb way by constructing custom trains and rolling them through the Stargate at a tempo of 40 per hour. That might get you up to 700 million trips per year. That would be dumb. And at 1000 euro per trip, that's only 700 billion per year of revenue. At 10,000 per passenger-seat, you won't find many takers.

But like I said, that would be dumb. The right way to send passengers through the Stargate is to fluidize them. Or better yet, to think of them as logs. Your job is to dump them vertically with the smallest cross-section possible through the Stargate and then into a lake of water. So it's wet suits and mini air respirators for the passengers. On the other hand, you achieve a throughput of

(pi*(300 cm radius of stargate)^2 / (pi*(50 cm width of shoulders of average man)^2 ) * 90% (the packing efficiency of circles on a plane) per second * 1 year = 4 billion trips per year.

Note that the receiving Stargates can be on any off-Earth planet. Because once you're off-Earth, efficiency no longer matters and you can just walk through your local gate to your final destination. You just need to make sure that Earth doesn't send all the passengers to a single planet - dividing them among 10 planets ought to do it.


So the way you fluidize passengers is you build a tube system. At each Stargate you build 127 tubes going into or out of each Stargate. Each tube starts at a funnel which accepts standing passengers on little platforms. Once the passengers are in their wet suits and respirators and masks, they step on this little platform inside the funnel. Then when the Stargates are working and the tube systems are aligned, the passengers are dropped sequentially 1 pax per second into the tube. They're going pretty fast so they've got 8 meters of headway between them.

Inside the tube you're dragged along by the water and the air is steadily filtered out. Then your tube starts to turn around so that it joins up with all the other 126 tubes into this huge bundle. And it's this straight bundle of tubes that's aimed at the event horizon of the Stargate. So you shoot down through your tube for a minute or two then through the wormhole then into a precisely aligned tube on the receiving Stargate. At which point the tubes are unbundled, twisted around so all 127 are in a single row and everyone's dumped into a fast-flowing but deep river. An artificial river that's flowing through pipes drilled through a gently rising smooth rockface right in the river. So you get scooped along upwards onto bare rock and the water you're in gets sucked into the rock, leaving you high and dry.

And that's how you send 4 billion people a year through a 3 meter radius choke point. As a bonus, you're providing an exciting and novel experience that nets you a few trillion Euros a year, every year. If you only use 25% of the Stargate's transport capacity for passengers then you can still offer 1 billion trips per year (more than you could offer with custom trains using up 100% of capacity) while leaving enough capacity free to transport all of the wood, all of the fish, all of the iron, and all of the grain the Earth needs.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Richard Dawkins' Magical Gene

I figured out what pisses me off so much about Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene. It's because he's a magical thinker and magical thinking is stamped right through his thesis.

Richard Dawkins thinks that individual strings of nucleotides in individual organisms compete against other strings of nucleotides in the same organism. He thinks these utterly mindless, thoughtless and passive strings of information are "selfish" and that they "seek to replicate themselves". He thinks these strings, no different from the string 0103202010102310001 have a will, have something that they want.

Of course, none of that is true. The big problem is that it's not even true as a metaphor. You see, Richard Dawkins thinks of genes as constrained within organisms. He thinks the string 0103202010102310001 in organism Dave Thompson has a magical essence which will get passed on to Dave Thompson's biological children, and maybe Dave Thompson's other cells in the case of genes that manage to duplicate themselves across chromosomes.

But that's all crap. The truth is that the string 0103202010102310001 in Dave Thompson has no magical essence, has no essence of any kind. It is exactly identical as the string 0103202010102310001 in Chen Xian Lue on the other side of planet. Exactly identical. So when you talk about genes, it's completely illogical to talk about "the gene 0103202010102310001 in Dave Thompson" or even "the individual gene in such and such organism". When you talk about genes, the MEANING of "the individual gene" is "all of the strings matching this in all of the organisms on the planet".

When you imagine an individual string of nucleotides in an organism, the correct way to think about it isn't that they are selfishly competing against all other strings of nucleotides. Because if you're going to drag in competition into this, you can equally say that each string of nucleotides is a fanatical cooperator with all other matching strings of nucleotides across every organism on the planet. At most you can only say that strings of nucleotides are competing against non-matching strings of nucleotides. And even that is only a metaphor.

Consider what would happen in an environment with 90% infant mortality if a gene guaranteed 90% survival at the cost of 10% of infants that would die because their entire DNA liquefied. Basically, consider what would happen if 10% of copies of a gene sacrificed themselves for the other 90%. They would be wildly successful!

Yet this little insight completely passed Richard Dawkins by. If Dawkins understood what genes are in the first place, he would never have entitled his oeuvre "the selfish gene" because "selfish" is hopelessly reductionist and inaccurate to describe something that is by its nature fanatically cooperative. Assuming it had a will at all, which it doesn't.

Richard Dawkins is a fairly mindless little freak who believes in magic. As biologists must be since Biology is fairly mindless & random and makes no sense at all. What is infuriating about him is that he got one thing right (that natural selection means genes compete against non-matching genes) and used this truth to push forth a much greater lie (that there are these things called genes contained inside you). And the lie is the exact opposite of the truth since genes aren't contained inside you. They're spread out across all organisms.