This is an excellent takedown of NASA's SLS (Space Launch System). I've been followed this fiasco on and off for years and am still flabbergastered by how much money has been wasted. If not cancelled soon I hope a RUD (rapid unscheduled disassembly, as SpaceX refers to them) occurs in the first flight, leading to the plug finally being pulled.

On ammonia as a fuel

In contrast to the previous post on a technology superseded by a superior replacement, this piece shows the problems with trying to replace what works with immature tech for ideological reasons in pursuit of a single aim (carbon reduction). As the article notes ammonia is less energy-dense, toxic, corrosive, and energy-intensive to produce. I doubt it would be viable to use in cars or commercial vehicles either.

On dying technology

 This is an interesting read on the end of what was a mass-market product and how they can have niche revivals. I liked this line: 'A piece of inexpensive consumer-grade technology, so recently manufactured cheaply and at scale, is proving difficult to reinvent'

On education

 Will Lloyd suggests the unthinkable (to most)-  Why it’s time to abolish schools . I'm reminded of mentions made to education in Peter F Hamilton's Night Dawn trilogy, where education has been made irrelevant by implanted memory technologies so instead of school kids go to 'day clubs' while their parents work. It is true for many this is what all schools function as.  Having worked in secondary education on and off for over 6 years my view is that extending compulsory education was a cruel mistake. IThe Japanese have the right idea in that compulsory education end at 15 (middle school), and I would advocate for a similar system in the UK, perhaps combined with a new CSE type exam for school leavers to take at 15. before they can get a job.  UPDATED 24/02- Today I saw (via Guido) this report by the IEA on post-Covid reforms. One suggestion that interested me is changing the primary to secondary transition age, I remember hearing during my OGCE of research that suggeste

On architecture

 Specifically,  Why You Hate Contemporary Architecture . An interesting read with some good suggestions on how to go foward. 

Quick links 7

I'm still busy with finalizing my essay (due tomorrow!), so here's this weeks roundup of items that caught my interest but didn't have time to post on separately, with the occasionakl small comment. Russia 1917, America 2021   The broken circle The problem with democracy Laurence Fox: ‘People need immunity from the virus of wokery’ The Thirty Tyrants  (might have posted previously) The American Cultural Revolution Will Leave Scars How Mars became the prize for a new space race — and why China is hellbent on winning it STRONG WOMEN When They Say The Quiet Part Out Loud  and by the same author  The Navy's Greatest Failure Since Pearl Harbor Nexit?  " Apart from a Protestant culture, they have much else in common with the British: their love of the sea, a sober outlook on life and a commercial disposition. Both are liberal, seafaring and trading nations that once had overseas empires used to striking out on their own.” I'd be glad to see the Dutch strike out on th

On sex and gender

 Another good article  I've come across this week. I do find the current attempts to redefine men and women baffling, and reminds me a bit of this line from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.” One thought I had this week regarding the trans debates is how many would, if science advanced to the point that it became possible, want to reproduce as their chosen sex like Loretta in Life of Brian, or are they just hardcore cosplayers more interested in the idea of being a woman rather than actually wanting to deal with the less pleasant feminine issues...

On fandom

This article raises some good points on modern fan culture. As Niven and Pournell put it in Fallen Angels, 'FIAWOL' (Fandom is a way of life), and I suspect part of the growth of fan culture is a desire to fill the 'God-shaped hole' caused by the decline of religion.

On studies and daily life

I finished the first draft of my essay yesterday afternoon. I just need to edit it down to below the word limit, sort my references/bibliography, and tidy up. I also had a job interview on Tuesday moring, and had an email this afternoon inviting me for a follow up interview next week.  I have also been catching up on background reading for my course (which I probably should have done earlier_, getting through 2 of the 4 books recommended.  Having reached the midpoint of the first proper term of my course, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on it so far.  First off, while online learning has some advantages (lack of travel cost/time, readings being all posted online rather than having to did out a paper yourself), I do find the virtual lecturers less engaging than being there in person and it is harder to discuss as a group. One og my reasons for doing this course was the social aspect, which is sorely lacking in online learning. My biggest other issue is how woke everything is, in

Quote of the day 4

Regarding squishy Conservatives: 'They never really meant what they said in the first place. It started as frat-boy cosplay, then turned into a career, and for some public office. But they never believed it, never understood it, never gave a damn about it. They like their lives, fortunes and such honor as the Left is willing to allow just fine, thank you very much' By an anonymous commentation on this (long) article- The Mote in Thine Own Eye (in the Eye of the Conservative): Why Are Conservatives So Na├»ve That They Refuse to See the Beam in the Eye of Those Who Hate Their Very Existence?