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It's too cold. Roof my cities, damn it!

* Nate Silver on Rasmussen polling bias.
* Willpower as limited muscle and why your New Year's resolutions will fail -- especially the one to lose weight. Starved brains don't have good willpower.
* Economists are cheapskates
* Fixing California -- oh, please let it pass!

* Divisions in the parties. GOP as uneasy alliance of neocons, libertarians, and the religious right (itself with divisons, e.g. Mormon vs. evangelical), having expelled the Rockefeller (or Roosevelt) Republicans; Democrats as uneasy alliance of neoliberals, New Dealers, and Greens, with different opinions about means if not goals.
* Democrats likely to drop superdelegates, continuing their trend of being, ahem, more democratic. (Previous major item is state delegates being allocates proportionally, in something like proxy or asset voting, whereas the GOP primaries are still winner-take-all.)
* Same author of the previous two, Michael Lind, rants about the failure of government, or what are we paying them for anyway?

* Movie of Pre-Columbian America, Kings of the Sun. Probably flawed but notable for subject matter. Haven't seen it, just heard about it.
* Iowa and New Hampshire both have gay marriage; will this affect the next presidential campaign?

* Horrible chemistry blog. ClF3 burns sand and produces HF in reaction with water. *Produces* HF, WTF. Dimethyl mercury is horrible.
* Blasphemy law in Islam Ireland.

* Religiosity by state.
* Pink science for girls


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 4th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
You want to live in a Komarran dome???
Jan. 4th, 2010 04:00 am (UTC)
If done right -- damn straight. You can always go outside when you want outside, but be spared the snow and sleet and blazing temperatures.
Jan. 4th, 2010 05:07 am (UTC)
I'm with Ekaterin about having wind in my hair. But a) I live in an extremely benign climate (near Seattle), and b) it would be different on a planet where the air outside is breathable.
Jan. 4th, 2010 05:09 am (UTC)
I grew up near Seattle and just got back from holiday there. But I have to say that after living in subtropical climates for 5 years (currently Hawaii) my definition of "benign" has shifted considerably :)
Jan. 4th, 2010 05:17 am (UTC)
"My son has worn pants for the first time!"
Jan. 4th, 2010 05:21 am (UTC)
[g] I grew up in Southern California, but I moved here from the Midwest sixteen years ago. I have the best of both worlds here.
Jan. 4th, 2010 05:22 am (UTC)
Seattle is not a compelling place for urban domes -- though the 90 days of clouds I hear about in the winter might make a case for extra lighting. (Then again, even cloudy sunlight is probably a lot brighter than what we're used to making, so never mind.) Where I live is 15 F right now, 5 F last night; 30 F is more usual for the winter but that + snow means sheets of ice that are more hazardous than just 20 F and snowdrifts. Not that those are nice. Then in the summer it can easily cruise into the 90s, plus there's the torrential rains we get. So yeah, dome.

And a city-sized enclosure can fake wind. Especially a dome. Domes probably aren't at all feasible to build; I imagine more realistic is aircraft hangar or high sky-light mall type building, possibly with skyscrapers and stuff poking out. High ceiling from a human POV, 100 feet maybe, but not miles high like a real sphere, which would probably want to lift off like a hot air balloon.

Hmm, just realized a mall-like roof interferes with helicopters. Well, cops can use roof cameras for surveillance, and medical, hmm.
Jan. 4th, 2010 05:59 am (UTC)
Extra lighting -- that's what the daylight spectrum lamp next to my computer is for. It's amazing the difference it makes in my mood in the wintertime when the daylight is 8 hours long and cloudy most of the time.

If I had to live in a place like what you're describing, I'd move (actually, I did live in a place like that when I lived in the Midwest for six years, and I did move [eg]).

Faking wind (or most other weather conditions) is not what would do it for me. The best part of weather is the serendipity of it. But it doesn't get below freezing here very often, and we only go above 90 about once every three years or so (last summer's week where it hit 106 notwithstanding -- that broke an over 100 year old record, and I'd have been quite happy with a dome then). Our average highs in August are in the 70s, and most people don't have AC because we only need it for about one week out of the year.
Jan. 4th, 2010 06:10 am (UTC)
I figure serendipity just means the planners don't always tell you what the 'weather' will be.

I plan on leaving -- though Massachusetts being the one state with universal health care may trump my return to San Francisco. Thing is, the place with nice climate aren't all that many; you may have noticed the high real estate prices in California, and the migration toward no longer cheaper places in the PNW. We can't all live in the nice areas, not without rebuilding them into Manhattans and/or tearing down a lot of the trees. More of the world is like Spokane or the Midwest than like Seattle, and if those parts could be made nicer that'd be better for all concerned.
Jan. 4th, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC)
I know. I've always been grateful that not everyone has the good taste to love the Pacific Northwest (although, IMHO, too many people do already, not that I'm in a position to complain about it).

I just have a hard time visualizing "enclosed" as equaling "better." I have a hard enough time spending a week in Texas with my mother every year, running from AC to AC. And, yes, domes would extend the AC exponentially. But the cost alone sort of boggles my mind, and it's still not the same thing. Don't know how to explain why, but it just isn't.
Jan. 4th, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
The cost of building and maintaining the roof might well be prohibitive.

The A/C... I suspect thermal mass, combined with a smart roof that can change albedo or open to let hot air out, would make keeping a target of "livable temperature" fairly cheap. You're maintaining a large volume, but have better tools to do it, vs. a whole bunch of random buildings with high surface area and exposure to the wind or sun.

Of course, then there's air circulation, and whether you can afford cars or even BBQs.
Jan. 4th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, there's a whole parade of engineering issues that I wouldn't even pretend to guess at.

That said, considering the rain pouring down outside, I wouldn't mind a nice covered outdoor walk right now [g].
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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