The General Discussion Thread

[Publish Date updated to restore to front page]

Okay as an experiment here it is. Discuss your favourite generals here!

Well perhaps… Really this is simply the place to post news-items, fun-items or whatever takes your fancy. In short just post what you want here.

It’s just another wee experiment – comments welcome.

Squonk.

[Image: General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett (Stephen Fry)]

12,886 thoughts on “The General Discussion Thread

  1. Brian: my farming tells me the only crop suitable for our area is pomegranate. Needs little water and the tough skin is hard for birds.

    Two years ago a 30 day sustained wind in June dessicated my tomato plants in spite of thousands of gallons of water. Only one Fuji apple tree has survived but she’s a winner!

  2. A Wee Phoenix Tree Ben.. May she Bloom Beautifully.

    That was a Long and somewhat Deep read.. I think I have only fleetingly heard of Above and Beyond.. great music , Conscientious Lyrics.. And time n Effort put into their Videos.. And the message of Music ..Very true. And Dance too.. I often get into trouble for not moving a lot, But I feel the music makes the moves for you.

    Thanks for sharing..Made me think about my own darkest time..

    It’s good to see the Marley Brothers n Sister Carrying their fathers Torch, and Music –

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoev5t9_Ujk

    I wonder if Squonk see’s anything in this earth wind / currents motion –

    You can rotate the Globe with the Mouse –

    https://earth.nullschool.net/?fbclid=IwAR3KkbhtcFIanknICzRprYywGoWWxoQUjoUqOjPaxDNN70h2dcbUn21-sGM#current/wind/surface/level/overlay=temp/orthographic=-9.87,60.57,373/loc=-138.639,84.470

  3. Boeing’s fix for the 737-Max problem

    Current Software:

    One sensor (of a pair) faulty/damaged => automatically crash plane

    New software:

    One sensor damaged => check with the other one and put a light on in cockpit to warn of a sensor fault. Don’t automatically crash plane.

    The warning light was previously optional for an extra 80,000 dollars but now Boeing will generously retro-fit them for free – as well as not crash the plane.

    Even if both angle-of attack sensors are broken, Boeing promise their new patch won’t send the plane into an unrecoverable dive or require Hercules in the cockpit on the manual trim wheel.

    Airbus use 3 of these sensors.

  4. Have finished the articke, and will be sending it off later today.

    See no reason to stiay around here so I am gone.

    Not into jokes, even clean ones, don’t like escapist music, don’t believe in the theory of all-powerful nature, and blame sociology for much of the troubles we have now..

    And that;s just for starters

    Bye,

  5. I can see Trowbridge is comfortable with himself. I, too enjoy my solitude. Meditating on emerging thoughts is important to general health.

    Not that I dont need company
    I just don’t need to have constant noise or conversation. Approaching 70 I do have fears of being alone but that, I think has to do with mortality and all that crap.

    Best wishes Trow. Were here if you change your mind.

  6. Extinction Rebellion –

    Monday 15th is the start of the International Rebellion. XR are setting up to shut down London until the government come to their senses and actually start taking action. Here’s the international map of XR groups; the Google version shows how many groups have been set up since the XR blog was updated:

    https://xrblog.org/2018/12/02/extinction-rebellion-worldwide-map/

    https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=11jUqqjTHMThksd4KbvGGzb3I3Cr3PkBl&ll=-3.81666561775622e-14%2C152.0719527&z=1

  7. TrowBridge

    I think you are a wee bit unfair to us Squonktoids

    No one is at total peace..EVER.. But we have to try, for our very souls.

    I, like many.. Enjoy the wee bit of Solitude, Like Being on the Summit of a Monro.. Skinny dipping in the Atlantic.. walking in Ancient Scottish forests.. a wee fire on the beach.. Electronic Music on headphones under the Stars.

    I conclude that the Art of Music.. came before Your art.. of Writing.. Is Writing Not an art form.
    And I don’t just mean Fiction..or poetry like I create .. I love creating 3 dimensional art too..

    I love the Science of One Strange Rock.. try something more powerful than Nature..

    The Most Recent Form of Escapism music here had a Very important message –

    Gabriel was influenced by an Apache Indian he met when he was on tour in the American midwest. This man worked at the motel where the band was staying for the night. He and Gabriel started talking, and he casually explained that his apartment was on fire, and that he was worried about his cat. He had no way to get there, so Gabriel drove him.

    Gabriel was struck by how the man was only concerned for the cat (which was fine), not his material possessions. They spent most of the night talking, and the man explained the traditional Apache ritual he performed when he 14. Before he could be deemed a Brave, every boy goes with a Medicine Man into the mountains, where a rattlesnake is allowed to bite him. The Medicine Man leaves, and the boy must either find his way down the mountain or die.

    This story got Gabriel thinking about how many cultures had rituals where young men are forced to face death, which can teach courage and foster an appreciation for life.

    Anyhoo.. I hope you manage to Visit Scotland for your research

    All the best Trow.

  8. “Is Writing Not an art form?”

    Persig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has much to say about this. The Ancient Greeks had only one word for art and technology and made no distinction between them; both were just regarded as ‘making’. The modern separation is disastrous, and is really about authority – an artist’s works are supposed to satisfy the artist, whereas technological works supposedly satisfy something external and ‘objective’, but of course that’s nonsense and really its about satisfying the boss, so the intimate connection between maker and work becomes corrupted and eventually no one is satisfied.

  9. Another thing is Ben on all previous models of the 737 that sensor failing would not cause the plane to go berserk and kill everyone. However on the latest “MAX” model Boeing added more fuel efficient engines and moved them forward slightly.

    By moving them forward they altered the plane’s centre of gravity and changed it’s handling “feel” especially when approaching a stall. To make it feel just like an older 737 to pilots and meet legal handling requirements Boeing added MCAS which was designed to trim slightly to emulate stick forces in older models.

    Somehow or other this minor modification was given total control authority instead of very limited movement range it was certified for, So when something went wrong the new MCAS system drove the vital flight control surface all the way to its end stop with no way to get it back. Also on all previous models you could flip a switch to turn off autopilot control leaving the ability for the pilot to use electric motor power to move the stabilizer. On the new MAX you are forced to use the manual handle. It takes 250 revolutions of that wheel to go from one end of the range to the other.

    I personally wouldn’t worry about space-weather too much unless I was planning going into orbit any time soon 🙂

  10. They claim it’s good news because SATS for comms and other stuff is important but what are the countermeasures for protection?

    I think it has nothing to do with satellites. They are warning us without really warning us. We could go into caves or we can die. Is there middle ground?

  11. More to Science and Technology , and vastly less to the Military Industrial Complex war mongers Ben.. A middle ground worth Trying.. We need to try..And Soon.

    I just became aware of this amazing place Ben..Wow – About 900 miles from you.

    https://lavendervines.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/White-Sands-National-Monument-Feature-Photo_scaled-1.jpg

    Clark

    thanks for Persig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance tip

    I was enjoying reading that..then as Robert Talked about Electro-Shock therapy.. It hit’s a Paywall

    Amazing weather we have the last couple of days.. Lovely young moon is High up.

    Stay well All.

  12. The 737 MAX issue is a disclosure issue, as are thousands of others. For instance, Merck pharmaceuticals knew that the painkiller vioxx might cause heart attacks but covered it up. By the time independent researchers discovered the problem from FDA data, it had caused probably between 88,000 and 139,000 heart attacks, of which between probably 26,000 and 56,000 were fatal. For comparison, some 58,000 US military personnel were killed in Vietnam.

    Secrecy kills.

    Commercial confidentiality has to go, because technology has become so complex that we need as many observers as possible. “With enough eyes on the code, all bugs are shallow”.

  13. “Commercial confidentiality has to go”

    Where? Our courts are dependent on autonomous jurists. Do they exist?

  14. It was a Paywall I hit Clark.

    Asking for Email ect.. was a bit unsure.. but I would like to read on..

    I will try again.

  15. Ben, the law needs to be changed. Companies supposedly serve the public good, but they’re permitted to develop their products in ‘private’, to preserve their competitive advantage; that’s ‘commercial confidentiality’.

    But it is also what permitted eg. Volkswagen to fix their engine management system to produce low emissions when the steering wheel hadn’t been moved for a while, so it would get a great rating on emissions tests, but go into higher performance / higher pollution mode when actually being driven.

    This is also how Boeing got away with programming an autocrash mode into the 737 MAX, and how Merck got a license for vioxx.

    There are now so many examples that commercial confidentiality needs to be severely curtailed. Why should companies be permitted to operate largely in secrecy? If their products truly serve the public, they can develop them under public scrutiny, no?

  16. Brian, I see; you were reading on-line.

    Ben, we’re largely protected from solar particles down here within the magnetosphere and under the atmosphere, and electronics are much more susceptible to loose electrons than plants and animals are. If the stream of particles from the Sun gets really strong, they can get picked up by long conductors on the surface, such as electricity and telephone cables – this could set the electricity grid on fire! But it still wouldn’t be a big threat to organic life.

    That’s a Carrington event and probably happens every couple of hundred years, the last one was in 1859, and one missed us by nine days in 2012. If it had hit, it would have taken out electricity grids and communications, probably doing a couple of trillion dollars worth of damage:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859

    https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/110302-solar-flares-sun-storms-earth-danger-carrington-event-science/

  17. It is said that the difference between free society and tyranny is that in a free society, by default you’re permitted to do whatever you like unless there’s a specific law against it, whereas under tyranny, everything is by default illegal, unless there’s a specific decree permitting or mandating it.

    I think we have commercial confidentiality the wrong way round. By default, anyone should be allowed to inspect any commercial activity, unless there’s a specific law allowing a company to conceal it.

  18. “Brian, I see; you were reading on-line. ”

    That would make a good plot for a book, two people reading the same book but one of them online using technology they don’t understand and the other a paper book. It could explore the differences in the experience and the understanding.

    I don’t know why nobody thought of it already.

  19. Mixed emotions about Assange getting rousted..like my former mother in law going off a cliff in my Maserati.

  20. Clark: I get concerned mainly about what they aren’t telling us because we are children. Nanny-States with hallroom monitors correcting behaviors not officially sanctioned pisses me off.

  21. Ben, I fully share your concern when it regards the pronouncements of secret services, the military, and governments.

    But science is a largely civilian activity, and the discussions in the scientific literature are available to the public – albeit more often at a price these days. But it is essentially public nonetheless; countless university students and academic and library staff have institutional subscriptions to the pay-for databases of papers, and you can still visit universities, though in recent years at many you can no longer just walk in and you need to make an an appointment. And you can write to academics; their universities publish e-mail addresses for them etc.

    Private sector research under non-disclosure agreements are an increasing problem, but there’s still a vast difference between science and, for instance, the lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

    Here’s a great public library for medical research:

    https://www.cochranelibrary.com/

    Here’s a public science archive, though not peer reviewed:

    https://arxiv.org/

    Google Scholar is pretty good too.

  22. Clark: IMO science is largely engineers and they tend conservative (closed-ended and a bit myopic, slow to amend old thinking) and belong to bureaucracies. Institutional thinking is my concern and that includes their felt responsibilities…often not transparent…to protect the public…

    I object..

  23. Ben,

    Currently we are in an extended solar minimum with a general view that the next solar cycle may be even weaker than the one coming to an end. There is also some suggestion that a Grand Minimum may be coming up. which would reduce solar activity even more.

    So it would seem more likely than not that the Sun will be quiet possibly for the next few decades and there will be a low probability of significant space weather. Even the largest Coronal Mass Ejections would have little effect on living things on the surface but it could potentially wipe out satellites and power grids which is the real big worry.

    However a nearby super-nova could cause space weather that would be seriously hazardous to life on earth and we have no current ability to predict exactly when and where the next one will be.

  24. “that includes their felt responsibilities…often not transparent…to protect the public…”

    Well on climate change, many, especially most of the more public voices, have been overly conservative, not to scare the horses… That’s how come the icecaps are melting faster than predicted.

    Squonk, is overall solar output lower during a solar minimum? I’m hoping it could buy us time.

  25. Clark,

    The latest simulations suggest a Grand Minimum might reduce warming temporarily by about 0.1C – that’s really lost in the noise.

    However some evidence suggests that Grand Minimums may cause weather changes with poler vortex outbreaks becoming more frequent. The one this year had about a 70% chance of heavily impacting Europe however it went with the 30% chance and parts of the US saw record low temperatures. If Britain had suffered record low temps (or even the lowest in a century) I think we’d have been in a mess.

  26. Ben the article you link says

    However, if we do have a “Maunder Minimum,” it would not be a return to the “Little Ice Age.” Solar radiation expert Judith Lean, PhD, of the Naval Research Laboratory points to a current global surface temperature that’s about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, warmer than at the time of the Maunder Minimum and says that a return to a Maunder Minimum phenomenon would lead to a cooling by only one-tenth of a degree C or 0.18 degree F.

    True there is debate with some solar scientists thinking the cooling effect could be greater but the vast majority opinion is of little global effect but still possibly with the potential for maybe occasional mini ice-age style winters regionally.

    The most likely thing to send us into a mini ice-age would be massive volcanic eruptions which have happened regularly throughout history – devastating human populations. I’m far more worried about that than I am of space weather to be honest.

  27. Ah, the robins are wonderful. There’s one perches at the top of the hawthorn on the boundary of my back yard, and sings like something from heaven while I’m cutting wood. Glorious.

  28. Cark, Phil,

    Hope you both okay. Haven’t had a response from Clark since yesterday afternoon but hopefully just phone charge problems. Phil – Clark mentioned in one text he planned to meet you and you had been at Waterloo Bridge. After all the arrests there last night and today just checking you both still free.

  29. Squonk, last I saw Clark he’s doing OK. His phone has died. Although he didn’t make our last half baked arrangement. I am going to look for him again in a while.

    It’s all a bit mental tbh. There’s people queuing up to be arrested in the hundreds. The cops are unbelievably polite and everyone cheers upon each arrest. I have never seen anything like it. I can’t but think of christian martyrs surrendering to Roman death.

  30. Actually, Clark might be heading home to pick up his car. He was planning to drive round all night picking up arrestees from remote police stations released in the early hours of the morning. If so I guess he will be home some time in the next few hours, so he’ll get any phone messages then.

  31. Thanks Phil,

    There was a livestream from the bridge last night and someone that might possibly have been him was arrested at one point around 2am I think – however it was dark (obviously) , out of focus and a phone camera so could be have been anyone and that’s far more likely I hope. That was when they were doing the mass arrests and I expected to wake up today and find they’d all been arrested but no.

    From tweets it seems people arrested overnight have not been released yet but maybe that’s changed by now.

    Glad you are fine and I’m sure Clark will turn up at some point.

    I also note that Edinburgh, North Bridge is currently occupied by XR and closed to traffic.

  32. Now confirmed that those arrested last night are still being held.

    http://news.met.police.uk/news/update-statement-on-extinction-rebellion-demonstrations-and-disruption-to-londoners-366169

    At this time, we have made a total of 209 arrests.

    The first five arrests were made between 13:00hrs and 15:00hrs on Monday, 15 April following reports of a disturbance outside a commercial premises in Belvedere Road, Lambeth. Three men and two women, all aged in their 40s and 50s, were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and have since been released under investigation.

    Officers subsequently made a further 117 arrests throughout the evening of Monday, 15 April and early hours of Tuesday, 16 April on Waterloo Bridge. The majority of arrests were made on suspicion of breach of a Section 14 Notice of the Public Order Act 1986 and one arrest was made for obstructing police. All those arrested remain in custody at this time.

    Throughout today, Tuesday, 16 April, officers have made an additional 87 arrests at Waterloo Bridge on suspicion of breaching a Section 14 Notice of the Public Order Act 1986 and obstructing a highway. They are in the process of being taken into custody.

  33. Well I just got back from Waterloo Bridge and the cops have given up for now. Bourgeois hippy freak party in full swing. I just need to cook some food for me missus who is due back from Ireland any minute and then I’m going back. This is all very different to climate camp and occupy. TSG no where to be seen.

    Didn’t see Clark. Get him to call me if you speak to him Squonk.

  34. Phil,

    Apparently the police have moved and are making large numbers of arrests at Oxford Circus now according to tweets.

    Clark said he was going to try and get some sleep as he hadn’t had any but will tell him when I can.

  35. Great Activism Lads. Well done all

    looks like a protest with a difference, Bit of a Carnival Atmosphere.. Watched some of the Live feed.. Cheers for the wee Videos Squonk

  36. Impressive kinda like Mohandas mass pilgrimage to illegally gather salt in defiance of British law in India.

    Kudos to both sides. I miss the flower girl who put flowers into a National Guardsmans rifle barrel.

  37. Brian,

    I don’t know. More people headed to Parliament Square this evening but it does look as if something may happen tonight with massive police numbers in the area.

  38. Strangely Silence from them

    I was reading some of them Glued themselves to J Corbyn’s fence outside his home.. Not in the keeping with EXt Reb’s I thought.. So are they really Extinction Reb’s .. I wonder.

    Yes from your clip above ..that’s a huge police presence.. Marching along with intent by the looks of it.. Cheers for the Updates.

  39. Yeah that’s the first I’ve seen of those cops going into parliament square. I guessed it’s been cleared now? I’ll look now. I was with Clark last night. He’s fine. We were at oxford circus and waterloo bridge.

  40. Sat with Clark at marbles arch site. He says hello and rebel. We’re both turning red in the sun. There’s people in kilts at parliament square.

  41. Cheers for update Phil

    Helps to have good weather, People in Kilts too Good stuff

    Stay safe you two Rebels.

  42. Credit to Clark and Phil for getting out there. Thanks and well done.
    I’ve been on holiday and heard nothing of this. You’d think the MSM would be interested in hundreds of police, marching in columns through London but nothing on CNN and France24 (the only channels I could get in Italy). Good to see that Edinburgh got involved too.
    On an unrelated note, I made it to the top of Vesuvius last week with the family. Buses took you to within 1 km from the top, competing with other traffic on narrow roads and hairpin bends. We thought it entertaining, with all the shouting from the drivers… and then heard the news about the bus crashing in Madeira. Looking back, I’m surprised there’s not more accidents.

  43. Indeed JOML.. Nothing on the MSM about Riots in Ecuador over the Julian A arrest either. .

    I was Pleasantly Surprised to hear the Rebel Protestors Singing / chanting a Native American Earth Song as hundreds of police took away their Pink Boat – At 2 mins in on this video –

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7fuvSXyWWI&t=136s

    P.s well done getting to the top of Vesuvius.. Brave stuff, Wonder when she will Awaken again.

  44. It seems xr have withdrawn from all the sites except marble arch. Maybe a good tactical move, while they re still on the up and before the cops get heavy. I guess there’ll be some dispersed actions tomorrow and then wind down after the bank holiday. But then again, my guesses at how this will pan out have been wide of the mark so far.

    I’ve only been popping back and forth at my convenience really. Clark has been at it full on. He came and showered here yesterday but I haven’t seen him today. He’s lost his phone.

  45. Thanks for the Video link Phil. What a huge crowd.

    I hope Clark is ok without his Phone.. it gets back to hin..Or he will have hunt for one of those old trusty Phones . He must be Knackered by now.

    well done you all

  46. Where is Clark? I would have thought this latest thread was right up his street. *

    —-
    * I was going to make a joke about that would save on transportation costs and externalities, but decided the subject was too serious.

  47. Just returned from a wedding. My cousin is still recovering from being T-boned on his Harley. Six ribs broke and his clavicle is fucked from December crash. He crashed his ultralight the year before.

    He danced at his wedding four months later at 67.

    It was a great family reunion.

  48. Hiya folks, and thanks for the concern. I’ve been home a couple of hours; I needed a break from site conditions, and I’d better catch up with domestic matters. I never did find my ‘phone. I haven’t put myself in the way of arrest. Mostly I’ve been doing public outreach; big credit to Blunderbuss for priming me with just about every climate denial sound-bite going (they don’t deserve the label ‘arguments’).

    Big thanks to Phil for support. Even bigger credit to XR (eXtinction Rebellion) Glasgow/Edinburgh who, after taking North Bridge Edinburgh, came on down to London and held the Westminster Bridge roadblock of Parliament Square for four whole days against huge numbers of police. Truly impressive work. A couple of folk I know from Doune the Rabbit Hole among them, including “Jamie’s assistant” (most of the time it’s the other way around) Lykke.

    Wow. What a great Easter weekend. I left from the Marble Arch camp this afternoon. Officially the Rebellion was paused yesterday pending negotiations with London authorities, but a large procession of Rebels had gone down to Parliament Square and were reportedly still parading around in the roads this afternoon.

    The principles of this movement are fantastic, but I’m too tired to go into details now. It really is a non-violent rebellion. On the Marble Arch site everyone treats everyone with massive respect, yet it’s a fun, party atmosphere, with a solar-powered stage, live bands, and extensive discussion groups and well-being activities. There’s free food for everyone, generally very basic vegan fare, except yesterday, Easter Monday, was a feast day with chocolate cake and hot cross buns.

    Find your local group folks and join in. Getting arrested is voluntary unless you’re supremely unlucky; there’s extensive training – de-escalation, non-violent direct action, legal observing, dealing with police, dealing with arrest, etc. etc.

    Get involved folks; a better world awaits. We need everyone, and everyone is crew.

  49. – “As XR UK begins a moment of reflection (however long or short!), rebellions across the world continue to thrive. To give just a taste: we’ve seen a disco in Denver, glue-ons in Chicago, the exciting arrival of XR Pakistan and XR Austria, and outreach events in Uganda and Ghana. Like in London, XR Australia has also made space to take stock, and XR New Zealand remains as subversively/submersively creative as ever.

    Before any other news, we would first like to pay our sincere condolences and respects to the family and friends of Polly Higgins, who recently passed away. Our cause is her cause. She remains an inspiration to us all.

    https://rebellion.earth/2019/04/22/update-6-a-new-phase-begins/

  50. My cousins like myself are mostly Irish and tighter than a tick with no blood source.

    Plus dad was alcoholic and abusive. Unbeknownst to yours truly over the decades I had only a fleeting glimpse of their predicament.

    Fishing the Yuba and Trinity Rivers for native Browns and Rainbow Planters was an annual pilgrimage for us and I had no idea what was happening as a youngster and even until recently. Ten years post deceased Uncle allowed his boys to openly Express their circumstance.

    There are no functional families but their are dysfunctional family survivors. Isn’t this an important (necessary] ingredient to growth?

  51. AA: I’ve already established your kind permission to store ideas at your bandwidth expense and its becoming a sort of ad hoc Journal.

    Is there an easy and secure way of saving missives and conversations at my end. Remember my simple tastes.

  52. Ben,

    You could bookmark them. For example on your comment above you could right-click (or equivalent) where it says “April 24, 2019 at 12:39 am” and then select bookmark. You can then access all your bookmarks from the bookmarks item in the page menu. If you want to download locally just copy and paste into a text ot doc file.

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