Supersonic Man

May 30, 2016

the dimensionality of torque

Filed under: Hobbyism and Nerdry,thoughtful handwaving — Supersonic Man @ 10:33 am

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May 21, 2016

a suggestion I intend to send to my legislators

Filed under: fun,Hobbyism and Nerdry,life,Rantation and Politicizing — Supersonic Man @ 12:28 pm

Senator Lois Wolk, Assemblymember Bill Dodd, Senate candidate Mariko Yamada, Assembly candidate Dan Wolk, and Assembly candidate Don Saylor,

Are you tired of dealing with pennies? I sure am. They take time and effort out of one’s day even if all you want to do is get rid of them. I don’t think any other economy keeps such a worthless coin in circulation — in Mexico, for instance, you never see anything smaller than a half peso. The US Treasury has been considering eliminating the penny from our coinage for twenty years, but hasn’t been able to move forward due to pointless obstructionism from assorted directions.

But fortunately, we don’t have to wait for the federal government to act. We can solve the problem right here in California. We can make it so people can use pennies if they want to, but nobody will need to. How can we do this? With a minor adjustment of the sales tax code.

All we have to do is make a rule that when buying retail at a location which accepts cash, the tax amount is rounded up or down by a cent or two, so that the total purchase price including tax is always a multiple of five cents. Note that this applies to noncash purchases as well, as long as they’re made at cash registers, so the amount remains consistent. But it would not apply to mail order purchases as they don’t offer a cash option. This means that we would not burden merchants in other states with adjusting to any new complexity.

The result would be that nobody who pays cash would need to either bring pennies, or receive them as change. People would become accustomed to nickel prices and before long, merchants might get into the habit of advertising nickel prices also. The other states would envy our penniless lifestyle and start copying us, and eventually the Treasury will stop minting pennies. And California will once again be seen as taking a leadership role.

But before that, we need someone to lead this idea in Sacramento. I’m hoping that among you, the legislators and candidates to represent me in Napa County, are the ones to do so.

I hope that this change can be accomplished by simple legislation, without requiring a ballot measure. If one is needed, I am confident that would pass, without requiring any substantial campaign effort.

Thank you for your attention, and I hope this idea appeals to you.

May 18, 2016

what we need in a president

Filed under: Rantation and Politicizing,thoughtful handwaving — Supersonic Man @ 1:44 pm

When we’re electing a president, the quality we need to look for is not experience or knowledge.  It’s not intelligence or education.  It’s not imagination or vision.  It’s not inflexible ideology or even steadfast ideals.  It certainly isn’t friendliness or folksiness or personal charm.

What we need from a president is wisdom.  The choices a president faces are often ones where an unwise decision can have calamitous consequences.  What is needed above all else is good judgment in considering all the consequences of each major choice, and in discerning good reasons for action from bad ones.

This is why candidates always have to exaggerate their religious faith: because many voters believe religion to be a source of wisdom.

And this is why most voters dread the prospect of an egotistical blowhard in the White House: because we know that such a person is unlikely to act wisely.  But it’s also why an egotistical blowhard is winning the nomination: because the other candidates have tied themselves to continuing a whole range of policies which have been shown by their consequences to have been very unwise, thereby negating the advantages that should have been theirs by virtue of knowledge and experience.  The untried blowhard has a chance, at least, of turning out to be wiser than they were.

And it’s why the blowhard might even win: because the presumptive opponent, despite having every other quality a president ought to possess, has in the past supported many of those same dreadfully unwise policies.  Repudiating those bad choices today fails to reassure us, because the doubts are not about what side a candidate is on, but about how wisely the candidate would make the next difficult decision.

May 17, 2016

let’s try something easier: special relativity

Filed under: Hobbyism and Nerdry — Supersonic Man @ 5:21 pm

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May 3, 2016

a possibly inept attempt to understand the hidden variable problem in quantum mechanics

Filed under: Hobbyism and Nerdry — Supersonic Man @ 10:40 pm

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top science fiction writers

Filed under: fun,Hobbyism and Nerdry — Supersonic Man @ 1:33 pm

Who would be my picks for the top ten or so science fiction writers of all time?  Let’s take an initial stab:

(the inarguable immortals)
H.G. Wells
Olaf Stapledon
Philip K. Dick
Ursula K. LeGuin

(maybes)
Arthur C. Clarke
Frederik Pohl
Alfred Bester
Cordwainer Smith
Kurt Vonnegut
Frank Herbert
John Brunner
Roger Zelazny
Greg Bear
Octavia Butler
Vernor Vinge
Kim Stanley Robinson

(tempting, but probably not justifiable)
R.A. Lafferty
Greg Egan

(ought to read more before rejecting)
Bruce Sterling
Doris Lessing

Names I will definitely not be listing include Asimov and Heinlein… and also Sturgeon and Bradbury.

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