November 4th, 2021

#7883: I liked hearing that

While visiting my uncle I happened to see a clip, on the news, of Nancy Pelosi saying, "Tuesday was a bad day," and I just about laughed my balls off.

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Wow--nothing much on which I feel like commenting. It's been a long a tiring week and it's still only Thursday.

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I don't really know what to think about how Tuesday's elections went. I mean, the democrats are really unhappy with how things turned out. I think Virginia's election turnout was so massive, it was well beyond the margin of cheat, or even the margin of fortification.

A lot of the prominent ones are doubling down on "they're all racist racists!" and complaining about how dangerous the republicans are.

Meanwhile, the guy in New Jersey who unseated a multi-term democrat, with a campaign budget of something like $5200--suddenly the press is giving him a belated anal exam and finding all kinds of things in his social media posts that they don't like. It's hilarious, because the democrat obviously thought he had the whole thing sewn up and no one took his republican challenger seriously--which, it turns out, was a rather big mistake.

New Jersey's gubernatorial election was just barely lost by the republican challenger. It's a hard-blue state and has been approximately since Tutankhamen was laid to rest, and there is already evidence arising that the election there was fortified, so there's actually a pretty good chance that the republican challenger won--just not big enough to be outside the margin of fortification.

It looks as if an increasing fraction of the American public has begun to read the writing on the wall. That is very encouraging.

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The prosecution of Kyle Rittenhouse does not appear to be going very well.

In fact, it appears to be an impending train wreck.

...the prosecution--if it actually aims to be successful--had better have something really good it intends to produce before resting its case. Otherwise, this looks as if they're going to lose, badly.

Of course, one must always remember the cardinal rule: the law is an ass.

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This morning, I was thinking about flight training in my SF world.

I have a pretty significant novel I want to write: a good version of the very first story set in this universe, that I began writing in 1979, a mere forty-two years ago. What I mean to write will resemble the original story only in very highly superficial ways (mainly, most of the characters will have the same names, but some plot points will remain) but it's going to be a project on par with the one that AV turned out to be. It'll also, to some extent, be a kind of prequel.

But the main character is a naval aviator (space navy); when the story starts, he's just a guy from Iowa who doesn't want to go into the family business. (Politics.) Graduates from university, then goes and enlists. The thing I forgot about, this morning, is that he's already a private pilot when the story begins, and in fact holds an interplanetary rating for both powered ships and solar sailcraft.

Still: having forgotten that detail (c'mon, I'd been awake for about 15 minutes) I was trying to think about what basic training aircraft looked like on the cusp of the 23rd century.

Finally I decided on a plane that resembles a Cessna 152: high wing, two seats, unpressurized, propellor. The propellor is driven by an electric motor which draws its power from an accumulator (a bank of supercapacitors) in the wings, and the accumulator is kept charged by a small fusion reactor just behind the electric motor in the nose of the plane. Fuel tankage for the reactor is a two-liter tank just above the reactor. In normal operation the plane can fly about a thousand kilometers before it must land and allow the accumulator to recharge; the fusion reactor is just a little too small to power the airplane, so the accumulator runs out of juice after a while. It can't be bigger (weight) but when everything is powered off, the rector can charge the accumulator in about an hour or so.

Of course the plane is made out of better materials than mere aircraft-grade aluminum, so it's lighter than a C152 is. I was thinking about a fly-by-wire system that makes it impossible to stall the aircraft, but then decided that was extraneous. You need to learn to fly in a machine that can stall, because what if you're flying a fancy and expensive machine and the avionics go into fail-safe and the anti-stall system fails? Any aircraft can stall at any time for any reason--that needs to be drilled into an aviator, and his response to a stall must be immediate and automatic.

So, cables and pulleys. Yes, even in 2185 AD.

As I said, this is a basic training aircraft. It's what you fly until you get your ticket, and can then start adding things to it like instrument rating and complex aircraft rating and-and-and, all the way to a jet rating, then high altitude, then extra-atmospheric, etcetera. Soon you're taking off from a runway, flying into orbit, and landing in the flight deck of a carrier, and the boat you use for that resembles a 21st century fighter jet the same way a Tesla resembles a Model T.

There were some thoughts in there about how the fusion reactors work, though. Getting useful power out of a fusion reaction is more difficult than getting power from a fission reactor. But then I thought, fusion is done with plasma. Plasma has a charge...doesn't it? If you bring a charged object near a metal plate, the metal plate will express the opposite charge near the charged object. Could this be a way to pull electricity directly from a fusion reaction?

Probably not. But as long as I don't give too many details, use the proper amount of Handwavium and LOOK HALLEY'S COMET I might be able to get away with it.

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Anyway, garbage night tonight. I came home from my uncle's house and washed the mountain of dishes we'd accumulated. Got the trash out, mostly, but for cleaning the cat boxes and dumping the bathroom and office trash.

Suppose I ought to do that and go to bed.

Mrs. Fungus bought a set of sheets for our bed from QVC because the price was outstanding, and they looked nice to boot. We put them on Wednesday night, and they're extremely comfortable. The problem is, Smudge has now thrown up on that bed two nights in a row. *sigh*

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Lastly--Sarah Hoyt put up a GoFundMe and reportedly hit her goal in seven hours. She and her husband got out of Colorado because she has some kind of altitude sickness that has not been getting any better, and so she needed to move to a lower elevation. But some things went wrong in the course of their move, to the point that they needed money--so she swallowed her pride and set up a campaign...and her fans answered the call, and in spades.

As for her health issue, I sympathize with it. I have that sort of issue, myself; I get short of breath on airplanes. I can't imagine living at altitude for years; I bet that if I tried, I'd have much the same kind of trouble she's been having.

Graveling to learn that one is a groundhog/flatlander, but there's not much one can do about it.

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And that's all for today. I need to hit the can and take my pills and brush my teeth, and clean the cat boxes and finish taking out the trash, before I can go to bed.