1,565 thoughts on “General Discussion – 2

  1. This project budgeted for 2.1 billion to mostly military contractors

    On July 18, NASA announced it awarded study contracts for that Mars orbiter mission to five companies: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Orbital ATK and Space Systems Loral. Those studies will examine ways “for supporting additional scientific instruments and functionalities” with the orbiter beyond its primary communications
    and imaging roles, according to a NASA statement, although it does not specifically mention sample return.

    Call Elon Musk

  2. We are now up to 187 detections in total in the UK according to COG data. There is a more user friendly interface slightly behind (182) at http://sars2.cvr.gla.ac.uk/cog-uk/ – Click on table 3 and scroll down to B.1.617

    Most of these detections seem to be in travellers from India and India will be added to red list from Friday, so still plenty time for people to fly to the UK if they suspect they have covid and then just jump on public transport once they get here.

  3. Navalny’s supporters say the authorities are hiding information about his condition and described the infirmary in the IK-3 prison colony as specialising in critically ill tuberculosis patients.

    “This needs to be recognised as showing that Navalny’s condition has worsened,” wrote Ivan Zhdanov, the head of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. “And it’s gotten so much worse that even the torture chamber has admitted it.”

    Navalny’s top aides have announced large protests in his support on Wednesday, setting up a potential clash between demonstrators and police. Russia’s Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor has ordered YouTube to take down a video featuring Navalny’s aides Leonid Volkov and Zhdanov announcing plans to hold Wednesday’s protest, saying that it urged people to join an unsanctioned rally. As of Monday evening, YouTube had not taken down the video.

  4. I’ve been out sunbathing. I think a bird must have come in while I was gone ‘cos there’s what looks like a little bit of bird shit on my computer monitor. I hope it found its way out again.

    We’ve had some nice days here recently, but the nights are still cold.

  5. “A rocket a day keeps the high costs away”:


    Boca Chica SpaceX launch site 24/7 livestream:


    You can see why SpaceX is so much cheaper than the bloated military contractors; the place looks like a scraggy building site. Portacabins and Heras fencing. No gantry or anything fancy like that; they just use big cranes and very tall cherry pickers.

    Rocket on the pad is SN15; all three Raptor engines installed. Flight restrictions issued for Tues, Weds and Thurs so hopefully another launch in the next few days.

  6. For the last two days, the global daily infections seven day average has exceeded the record it set in January. Three quarters of a million new infections detected daily. Globally, over three million killed so far since the pandemic began.

    Too many governments are unwilling to stop the damn thing. In Extinction Rebellion we say that the world’s governments aren’t fit for purpose; they’ve broken and continue to break the social contract, so there’s no moral obligation to obey their laws. I think this proves our point.

  7. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2021/apr/19/uk-covid-news-tories-coronavirus-stop-boris-johnson-campaigning-scotland-india-trip

    Hancock says he cannot give assurance that vaccines will be effective against Indian variant

    In the Commons earlier Matt Hancock, the health secretary, was asked by Labour’s Tan Dhesi if vaccines would effective against the Indian variant. Hancock said he could not give that assurance. He replied:

    We simply don’t know that. We’re acting on a precautionary basis because we do not have … I can’t give him that assurance.

    And of course we’re looking into that question as fast as possible but that is the core of my concern about the variant first found in India, is that the vaccines may be less effective in terms of transmission and, or in terms of reducing hospitalisation and death.

    It is the same concern that we have with the variant first found in South Africa and is the core reason why we took the decision today.

    Up to now the South African variant seems to have been best at escaping vaccines and prior immunity with the Brazilian one likely second and the UK variant seemingly a distant third.

    No variant so far entirely escapes vaccines but for a substantial minority of people some of the vaccines have very little or no protective effect against the SA variant in particular (especially after only one dose).

    The Indian variant has multiple mutations (it is more than a double mutant) in areas of potential concern but exactly how they play out together with the vaccines remains to be seen. I’m hopeful it doesn’t escape “immunity” as well as the SA variant. If it is better at escape we are likely in serious trouble.

  8. 720p video of flight from Perseverance camera – still not at full frame rate but more video including zoomed camera still coming down.

    Ben it was a relatively cheap add on to the rover mission mainly to see if it could be done. It will do a few more test flights before the rover moves on in a couple of weeks. It’s mission is scheduled to end then, unless it is such a success that it can follow the rover, as it needs to be close to Perseverance to relay telemetry. They could also lose it when they try the high altitude, high speed tests later.

  9. AA; My point is that NASA has never matched the explosive growth of the 60s . In fact the progress has been glacial and unremarkable by comparison

  10. Ben, in the 60s the drive was patriotism, to beat the Russians. Now the drive is to find rare earth minerals. Information technology is expanding exponentially, it already consumes more energy than the entire world airline industry (nobody told ER who glue themselves to doors at airports not data centres) and is desperate for rare earth. Trump knew what he was doing when he offered to buy Greenland, those who control the rare earth control the world.

  11. Not quite sure what is going on but the number of detections of B.1.617 in the UK database has just dropped from 187 to 60 in latest update. It seems a large number of sequences have been changed from B.1.617 to the UK or another strain.

    I did notice that a lot of B.1.617 detections were listed not having the E484Q mutation which I thought a bit strange but that could have been sequencing error.

    The number is still listed as 182 at http://sars2.cvr.gla.ac.uk/cog-uk/ so maybe a mistake in latest update which will correct back.

  12. Same thing with potable water Fred.

    We’ve done a fine job making Earth a husk and Mars is the next victim.

  13. Canada reports first case of B.1.617. The person was vaccinated 2 months ago but no further details are given

    Quebec confirms first case of B.1.617 variant, in the Haute-Mauricie region

    The patient tested positive for COVID-19 roughly two weeks ago. The sample was sent to the provincial laboratory for genetic sequencing to determine whether it was among the variants of concern. The patient was vaccinated two months ago. Under Quebec protocol, the results for any patient who has been vaccinated and later tests positive for COVID-19 are sent to provincial laboratories to undergo genetic sequencing tests to identify possible variants. Those tests take one to three weeks to carry out.

    “We have a confirmed case of B.1.617 in Haute-Mauricie,” said Michel Roger, head of the Quebec’s public health laboratory.

    Further information on the patient, including their condition, was not available. Officials said they are not certain how the variant was introduced into Quebec.

  14. Fred: Do you think there might be another explanation for NASA lethargy on progress because it’s an iceberg with only a small percentage of publicly available data?

    SIMI VALLEY, California — The U.S. Air Force’s top civilian and a key member of Congress agreed Saturday on the need to declassify a large amount of information about America’s military space programs to both intimidate foes and encourage support among the public.

    “Declassifying some of what is currently held in secure vaults would be a good idea,” Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said during a panel at the Reagan National Defense Forum. “You would have to be careful about what we declassify, but there is much more classified than what needs to be.”

    Fellow panelist Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., said he met with the secretary earlier in the week to discuss that very issue, calling the information on space programs “overwhelmingly classified.”

  15. Queen Elizabeth II warned Prince Philip’s death marks ‘beginning of the end’ of her reign

    PRINCE Philip’s death marks “the beginning of the end” of the Queen’s reign, according to a royal expert.

    It doesn’t take an expert. When you’re 95 the end is nigh

  16. After watching nearly 12 hours of trial coverage in the George Floyd murder trial there is one possible positive I endorse

    Defund cop mentality

    Authoritarian control freaks need not apply or receive a pension

  17. Speaking of cop mentality…Moscow Times

    10:28 p.m.: Police have detained at least 1,004 protesters across Russia, OVD-Info reported. In St. Petersburg, which saw police forcefully disperse those who had gathered in support of Navalny, 351 people were detained. In Moscow, 20 detentions were reported.

    10:20 p.m.: Pockets of protesters remain on the streets of Moscow. Navalny’s team thanked the “hundreds of thousands of beautiful people in Russia and across the world” for their “solidarity and support,” in a post on the Kremlin critic’s telegram channel, reiterating their demand that Navalny be given access to his doctors.

    9:55 p.m.: Many organizations have started to publish estimates of attendance. Navalny’s team have claimed 60,000 people attended the protest in Moscow, while Open Media estimated 25,000 were on Moscow’s central Tverskaya street alone. Russia’s Interior Ministry earlier estimated turnout at 6,000 in Moscow and 4,500 in St. Petersburg, while the Ekho Moskvy radio station said there were 10,000-15,000 in Moscow and 7,000-9,000 in St. Petersburg. “It is impossible to count accurately, people were stretched out in columns, moved and intertwined,” said Ekho Moskvy editor Alexei Venediktov.

    9:35 p.m.: Protesters in Moscow have started to disperse, although hundreds remain on the streets, chanting protest slogans in support of Navalny and against Putin. Police have started to close some streets in the city center.

  18. Canada confirmed their first case of B.1.617 earlier today and they have just confirmed to media that number is now at least 39. That’s a 39 fold increase in a day! The entire world will have it in a week!

    Of course it hasn’t really increased 39 fold in a few hours – it is just they have been lying for weeks. Only admitted it after journalists zoomed in on a table showing the B.1.617 during a briefing – a briefing where they denied B.1.617 despite it being in their notes. Gross Incompetence or Lying – take your pick. Lying seems more likely as they haven’t uploaded these sequences to tracking databases.

    The government excuse? “Didn’t notice that number on the chart because it wasn’t a VOC”

  19. Taken from Perseverance – back on ground after 2nd flight from raw download imagery (not fully colour corrected) just in.

    And in flight

  20. House renovations revealed 6 kittens and feral mom:

    Seeking a no kill shelter was easy compared to trapping the litter.

    It seems the best advice from rescue orgs is to shelter in n place.

    IOW learn to live with it. Trap one at a time for neutering and vaccines
    Then enjoy a vermin free benefit.

  21. Seems like my second Jab is next week.. Was Doon the coast by Kelburn..to Porten Cross Castle..

    We have amazing weather here..but I think the Summer Haze, and moon haze is growing to the obscure the Lyrids… ( Which main star is Mine – Vega – )

    Last week Visibility was amazing…For the mountains..and the stars… I found a new ( well New for Me ) Constellation – Corona Borealis… Very faint …But Fitting of the Times… +

    Stay Well All

  22. “ “If you saw me now—maybe you would have a good laugh,” Alexei Navalny wrote on Facebook April 20. “Look at him! A skeleton walking, wobbling around his prison cell. In his hands he is holding his court ruling, rolled up in a tube. With that tube he fervently swings away at mosquitoes covering the walls and the ceiling of his cell. Those buzzing stinging monsters can finish up a man faster than any hunger strike.”

    The tone is characteristic of the world’s most famous political prisoner: comic stoicism in the face of approaching death combined with a Gogolian fascination for all the absurdities and trivialities still imposed by a cruel Russian system responsible for its arrival.

    Navalny has been starving himself for three weeks. It is a feeble protest, perhaps, against being an involuntary guest of a 21st century gulag, but at least it is wholly his own. For someone who eight months ago was almost killed with a weapon of mass destruction (Novichok), Navalny seems determined to go on being Navalny until the very end, which could be “any minute” now, according to his physician who has not been allowed to examine his patient and can only make diagnoses from afar, based on blood test results.”

  23. Poor leadership has many consequences

    “ Despite these inescapable horrors, much of India remains in a sort of parallel reality where COVID-19 is not a threat. Tens of thousands of Hindu devotees continue to show up each day for a dip in the Ganges as part of the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. Millions of worshippers have participated in the weeks-long festival since the first day of bathing on March 11, despite clear evidence that thousands are testing positive for the virus after attending. In the space of just a few days in mid-April, more than 1,600 cases were confirmed among devotees. In March, when the second wave was already underway, state leaders from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) published full-page ads in national newspapers telling worshippers it was “clean” and “safe” to attend. The Uttarakhand chief minister declared on March 20, “nobody will be stopped in the name of COVID-19 as we are sure the faith in God will overcome the fear of the virus.” It wasn’t until mid-April that Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that participation in the pilgrimage should be kept “symbolic” to combat the pandemic. Is it any wonder that the festival has become a super-spreader event?”

  24. “ The UK government could potentially provide ventilators or therapeutics, the prime minister said.”

    They need oxygen but I think ventilators have an oxygen generator

    Is US hoarding vaccines?

  25. It looks like most ventilators don’t enrich oxygen themselves; they add oxygen from an external supply:


    Airliners use emergency chemical oxygen generators, but they only work for around twenty minutes:


    There are oxygen concentrators which take ambient air and remove some nitrogen, and these are used for medical applications, but I have found no mention of them being integrated into ventilators:


    The problem with covid is the rate it spreads – treatment technology exists, but not in the quantity required for a covid peak.

  26. https://sea.mashable.com/science/15391/what-earth-was-like-last-time-co2-levels-were-this-high

    – “We, in 150 years, have completely reversed everything the ‘rock thermostat’ has done in the last 3 million years,” explained Brigham-Grette. “The transition from a warm Arctic to a cold one that has ice sheets took a million years. We’re jumping out of that in less than 150 years.”

    – #Arctic sea ice extent is currently the *2nd* lowest on record (JAXA data)

    • about 520,000 km² less the 2010s mean
    • about 850,000 km² less the 2000s mean
    • about 1,310,000 km² less the 1990s mean
    • about 1,860,000 km² less the 1980s mean

    – Graphs: https://t.co/FUU9OT6IeN

    — Zack Labe (@ZLabe) April 12, 2021

    – Indeed, the Arctic has changed dramatically in just the last 40 years. Arctic sea ice is in rapid decline. Greenland’s melting is off the charts.

    – Humanity, fortunately, still has the ability to stabilize Earth’s temperatures this century at levels that would avoid catastrophic impacts like more extreme storms, coral devastation, punishing heat, and beyond. But, as of now, we’re on a trajectory to the climes of 3 million years ago. (And in some respects — notably atmospheric CO2 — we’re already there.)

    – “We’re on our way to the Pliocene,” said Brigham-Grette.

  27. I check the harbour frequently and it’s no where near overflowing yet.

    No reason why we shouldn’t still conserve energy though, like the energy it takes to make glass to replace bank windows, that produces loads of co2.

  28. A jury just disagreed with you Fred, despite direction to the contrary by a judge, I hear.

    Complacency. Make personal changes only; gestures against the system can only do harm. “My personal anecdote shows there’s no problem”, “the protesters’ behaviours aren’t perfect” and “go protest in China”. Same old, same old…

    Colonialism, climate change, covid. Do you feel proud of the suffering and death your ilk speak up for; does it lend you a sense of power?

  29. “A jury just disagreed with you Fred, despite direction to the contrary by a judge, I hear.”

    They said making new glass doesn’t take a lot of energy and produce a lot of co2 did they.

    Well well, they just repealed the laws of physics.

  30. F: “They said making new glass doesn’t take a lot of energy and produce a lot of co2 did they.

    What about the shoes the protestors were wearing out, Fred? They were no doubt made in some Chinese sweatshop. Surely you’ve got some crocodile tears for them?

    You know what else produces a lot of CO2? Sending out all this guff feigning concern and telling lies as is your wont. The Internet doesn’t run on fresh air, you know.

    As an armchair critic extraordinaire, what’s your solution to the problem? Or are you denying there’s even a problem? I’m thinking you’re just a snide nay-sayer, who comes up with zero solutions himself, but thinks it clever to carp on about others who at least try. But do prove me wrong if you can.

  31. Fred just wants to live his life free from the tyranny of well-intentioned do gooders who know what’s good for everyone else

  32. “Do gooders”? Humanity’s current course leads to disaster.

    It takes a certain amount of heat to melt a bucket of ice. The same amount of heat again will raise the bucket of water to 79 centigrade. We’ve got 15 to 30 years before the Arctic sea ice all melts, after which the temperature will rise much faster. It seems inevitable that major air and ocean currents will be disrupted.

    Extinction Rebellion do not claim to know what’s best for everyone else; that’s why we call for citizens’ assemblies to address the problem, because the current “democracy” clearly isn’t solving it:


    Hey Ben, you’ve got your guns; go stop your government fighting wars for oil – you did claim your guns keep your government under control, didn’t you? So the genocide of the upcoming generations is your choice, right? It’s you that knows what’s best for everyone else.

  33. ” Humanity’s current course leads to disaster.”

    In your opinion. I remember when I was young there were people who walked around with signs saying “The End of The World is Nigh”, you are just their modern day equivalent.

  34. “Fred just wants to live his life free from the tyranny of well-intentioned do gooders who know what’s good for everyone else”

    I don’t think they are well intentioned Ben. I think they are people who have hijacked the climate cause hoping to overthrow the Capitalist system and bring an end to democracy.

    They are harming the climate cause just as the upper middle class white people who vandalise statues in the name of black people are harming the cause of racial equality.

  35. Clark: As you may have heard, power is dispensed through a gun barrel and I have no intention of being a powerless, unarmed victim or watch helplessly as loved ones are slaughtered because our government disarmed us


    Since the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953 the USSR saw a small wave of liberalisations for civilian gun ownership. Soviet civilians were allowed to purchase smoothbore hunting shotguns again, even without mandatory submission of hunting licenses. However, this lasted for not more than six years. The buyer again had to pre-register in the Soviet Society of Hunters since 1959. With the introduction of the new Criminal Code in 1960, penalties were softened significantly for illegal possessions of firearms to only up to two years of imprisonment, while the possession of melee weapons were not prohibited anymore in the Soviet Union.

    Fourteen years later the punishment for illegal purchase, keeping and carrying of weapons was increased again to five years’ imprisonment. However, voluntarily surrendered unregistered rifles were met without responsibility or punishment.

  36. I think they have good motives Fred.

    But they also believe humans are not savage and the World is benign, not malign.

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