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Thoughts on the Labour Party leadership.

There is a growing fascist menace in this country, and with the Leave victory, they now have the upper hand. The rest of us have to realise that it’s no longer business as usual. We are a minority. A large, powerful minority. But a minority. We have to put aside petty differences and fight the real enemy. Left/right arguments about how to spend the country’s money can wait until we have won the larger fight.

EU membership shackles our politicians so that rapid, disruptive change is impossible. The fascists want to break those chains so that they can take the country in a radical new direction. We need to ensure that the brakes stay on, so that politics can continue to reflect a broad consensus, rather than be captured by a radical faction. In the past, before the EU, local government helped to constrain Parliament. But shires and boroughs have lost pretty much all of their power. It’s true that the recent devolutions to regional governments have replaced that a bit, but much of England is still ruled directly from Westminster.

Within the constraints of EU membership, Corbyn stood to represent a strand of opinion who deserve a voice. As PM, he could have steered politics in a different direction, whilst being forced to compromise with everyone else. But he has a long history of sharing the fascists’ frustration with the EU. I’ve been watching their forums, and they are all quite clear that he is one of them. He wants to empower Westminster, so that the next Labour govt. is free to usher in a radical socialist utopia… It’s fools’ gold. Firstly he’s not going to get to use that power – he’s the leader of a minority, of a minority, of a minority (radical left < Labour < non-fascists). Secondly, even if he somehow won power and imposed all of his well-intentioned changes, he wouldn’t carry the rest of the country with him. Change needs to come slowly, and have a broad base of support if it’s to stick. It can be nice to imagine what you would do as a dictator, but the truth is that authoritarian rule is always bad.

Labour party MPs seem to understand that. From what I’ve read, this revolt isn’t simply disgruntled Blairites. Many of his former staunch allies are also adamant that his time is past.

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Earth II

core

Expanded article on Earth system.

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QS Supplies. Avoid these spamming pests.

Months ago, I bought several bathroom furniture items from QS Supplies. Ever since, they have bombarded me with unwanted e-mails. They have ignored repeated requests to remove me from their mailing lists. There are plenty of more professional suppliers out there, I strongly urge you to use one of them.

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Procyon II

1919 A767957-C, pop=3b, F5IV white subgiant

Expanded details about Procyon.

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Can we power electric cars?

There were 240.0 billion car miles driven in the UK in 2013. That’s 386.2 billion car kilometres. [source]

If electric motoring costs 0.34 kWh per kilometre (from your 4 year old link), then that requires (386.2 × 0.34 =) 131.3 TWh of extra electrical energy.

Total electricity generation was 359 TWh in 2013. [source]

So switching to all electric cars would required the UK to increase electricity generation by 37%, according to the article you linked. If we all drove Teslas, which achieve 0.24 kWh/km, then generation would only need to increase by 26%.

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What are the chances of rolling “snake eyes”?

We were play testing my friend Sam’s board game this weekend. It features “annihilator towers” – you build up N levels of tower, and then roll N 6-sided dice to determine the damage dealt. Here’s the wrinkle though: If you roll two or more ones, then the tower explodes and the damage is dealt to the home team. What are the chances of rolling two ones, for a given tower level? Read the rest of this entry »

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Spacecraft – High Tech

This is the second part of my article on Ad Astra space drives. Part 1 is here. Today, TL9 – TL11.

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Spacecraft – Low Tech

Ad Astra space travellers are forced to use somewhat more realistic space drives than in “traditional” Traveller. Even with antimatter, high-tech interstellar craft typically take a week to travel to or from the jump point. Without antimatter, travel times stretch into months.

I’ve updated my Traveller ship design spreadsheet to reflect this new reality. This article describes the primitive drive technologies available at TL6 – TL8, together with some examples.

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Ad Astra – Index so far

I’ve been working on “Ad Astra”, a space opera campaign for Traveller. I thought I’d publish a bit of the background information… it’ll be useful for potential players, and I relish feedback from my critical friends.

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The Long Republic

A small Caravan-ship drifting over the plains of Weg.
A small Caravan-ship drifting over the plains of Weg. (by Ian McQue)

Weg (0512 A5629A9-A, pop=8b)

Orange jungle, forest, savannah, desert, tundra

The Long Republic (Langerepublik) is a huge German-speaking state that grew out of the human colony world called “Weg” (The Road). Weggers live as nomads, constantly on the move, either on their home world, or in “Caravan Ships” that ply the Main. Weggers are allied with the mysterious “Spiders” who live somewhere in the coreward Main. This has given them access to technology that baffles Core world scientists – particularly gravity generators and apparently reactionless thrusters. This technical edge allowed them to drive the Xa Imperium back along the Main, almost to Xa-Xa.

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