Friday’s Forum

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Happy Friday everyone!

  2. MarkedMan says:

    I haven’t been religious since I was ten, but I’ve never become an atheist because I am confident that part of the universe were are capable of comprehending is just a tiny fraction of reality that however illogical it may seem to our minds, we could be like gnats on a zebra’s ass declaring that there is nothing beyond the Great White Stripe. The problem with this is that it is vague and nebulous. I posit there is matter and energy out there that we can’t perceive directly yet perhaps we get some hints in ways that we can’t yet (and maybe never) can articulate, and this manifests as a belief in a higher power that is concerned with human affairs, but what proof could even exist for that? Regardless, this seems right to me. So I have a vague religiosity while believing any specific belief system is highly unlikely. Believing in the story book god that told some guy to build a boat so big it could hold two of all species, which were conveniently located a stones throw from where he was building the yacht strikes me as silly beyond measure, there are many many religious and spiritual people now and stretching back millennia who also disregard such silly stories but who still talk about god’s mysteries and unknowability because they sense that there is something of immense importance to us but beyond us interwoven with our existence. Still, an argument based on unknowability is profoundly disatisfying and insubstantial.

    But during the discussion yesterday I realized that there is a current theory of our origins, a wholly possible one, that is easily understood and comprehensible, yet points directly to the type of religion I’m describing: the theory that we are a simulation. It goes like this: assume that a “computer” simulation could become so detailed and accurate that the simulated beings become self aware. And further assume that a race of creatures that could make one such simulation would make many, indeed, that they would likely make hundreds or thousands or millions. That means that the odds that we are a simulation rather than a physical species is hundreds or thousands or millions to one. If this is the case, then we do indeed have a creator, one who has an interest in how our universe develops. It might even have made only a few of the simulated creatures detailed and complex enough to be self aware and it focuses its attention on those, yielding a creator who is interested in individuals in a deeply specific and personal way. Heck, in an earlier, simplistic version of the simulation, it may have decided to instruct one of the simulated creatures to build an ark, and conveniently place two of every animal within a stones throw, and set a storm in motion to see what would happen.

    It’s hard to wrap my head around this, but one thing I’m sure of: an intellectually honest Atheist should accept this possibility more than anyone else. And atheist by definition believes that our self awareness arose out of our inherent complexity. Whether that takes place in a matrix of matter or a matrix of bits and bytes (or whatever this “computer” uses to do its simulation) shouldn’t matter. Given sufficient complexity, self awareness would arise. So, bottom line, an atheist is the most likely person to believe there is an active creator operating outside our universe that is personally interested in each one of us.

  3. Scott says:

    We are in the middle of a heat wave here in Texas. However, the big story is the continuing problems with the power grid. It is unbalanced, not connected to the national grid, almost daily calls for conservation, and the fingers are being pointed.

    Here is one aspect of a larger problem:

    How South Texas played into ERCOT’s grid emergency this week: Region had power, it couldn’t get out.

    The state’s grid operator pinned the blame for a hiccup that led to a grid emergency this week on inadequacies in the infrastructure it uses to move power across the state.

    The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said late Thursday that speculation a gas- or coal-fired power plant tripped offline was incorrect. Rather, it pointed to what it called “transmission limitations” that restricted its ability to move power from South Texas — where wind power was plentiful — to where it was needed elsewhere in the state.

    Even more aggravating is this story:

    Texas paid bitcoin miner Riot $31.7 million to shut down during heat wave in August

    During the crypto boom of 2021, Riot Platforms
    was raking in cash from bitcoin mining. Now the company is losing so much money that it’s counting on energy credits from selling power back to the Texas grid to keep its costs under control.

    Riot said on Wednesday that it earned $31.7 million in energy credits last month from Texas power grid operator ERCOT. The company generated the credits by voluntarily curtailing its energy consumption during a record-breaking heatwave.

    Yes, ultimately, the consumers have to pay the bills for what the Texas Legislature, Governor, power and transmission companies have created.

  4. Scott says:

    But none dare call it treason.

    Musk cut internet to Ukraine’s military as it was attacking Russian fleet

    SpaceX cut off Starlink satellite internet service to Ukrainian submarine drones last year just as they were launching an attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet, according to a new biography of SpaceX founder Elon Musk.

  5. Modulo Myself says:


    In that theory, the gods are the runners/creators of the simulation. If they hear our prayers, it’s because they have interns at work tapping our lines at all hours. Manifestation is just updating the code. Once you start saying outside the universe, you are going beyond the notions of any anthropomorphic god or energy. Atheists could believe this, sure. But it’s only a thought experiment and has nothing to do with perception or revelation.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @Modulo Myself: I’ve had thoughts about this “laboratory experiment” view of creation for as long as I can remember and the computer simulation theory is just one way it could play out. But an important part of any such theory is that there is no reason to believe such an experimenter/creator has any good intentions towards us. And indeed, most religions throughout history have assumed a capricious god, at best uncaring and at worst resentful and childish. Trying to get such a god’s attention is a risky endeavor, but might be worth chancing it in the direst of circumstances.

  7. Stormy Dragon says:

    A year or two ago, I saw an interesting online series of lectures by a religious studies professor on the history of atheism from the middle ages up to the modern era.

    His thesis was that while areligious belief has been around since the rise of Christianity in Europe, modern atheism is rightly seen (from a historical standpoint) as the ultimate result of the reformation: protestant theologians put a huge amount of effort into demonstrating why catholicism was a faulty belief system and catholic theologians put a huge amount of effort into demonstrating why protestantism was a faulty belief system. Both sides were ultimately successful, resulting in a sort of theological mutually assured destruction that fatally damaged Christianity’s grip on Western culture.

  8. Grumpy realist says:

    @Stormy Dragon: There’s also the fact that Europe had over 200 years of “religious wars” which finally died out IMHO because all the fanatics had finally been killed off.

  9. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Grumpy realist: Or got “encouraged” to relocate to the Americas, where their b.s. continues to this day.

  10. Kathy says:


    It’s hard to wrap my head around this, but one thing I’m sure of: an intellectually honest Atheist should accept this possibility more than anyone else.

    Atheist is too general a term.

    Me, I take nothing on faith*. That is, there must be evidence or proof. So, can a simulation be so complex and detailed the simulated beings become self aware?

    The question cannot be answered. We don’t know what it takes to be self aware, what degrees, if any, of self awareness exist or can exist, etc. We don’t know the limits of computer simulations, or for that matter the limits of computers.

    So, there’s a big assumption at the root, for which there is no proof or evidence.

    BTW, we humans tend to build metaphors upon that which we know, not that which we don’t know. the idea of a simulation is very recent, as such simulations were invented only a few decades ago. But before there were even computers, similar ideas did exist. Like perhaps we exist in the imagination of some greater being, or are characters in such a being’s novel or play, etc.

    *Certainly not the big fundamental questions of life.

  11. Modulo Myself says:


    I think there’s a historical movement towards intimacy in many religions which undercuts the capricious gods of deeper time. For example, God in the Torah speaks directly to his chosen people. He has prophets and voices. Whereas Homer has the gods just toying with humans. Roughly 3-4 centuries or so separates Homer from the authors of the Torah, but this change pushes forward into the New Testament and then the Koran. I suspect there has always been this intimacy in religion from cave paintings on, even taking into account Zeus turning into a bull.

    I’m an atheist but there’s something about modern atheism which is so dorky and uninterested in humans. I find it intolerable and dumb. The simulation theory could be true, sure, but the gods who run the simulations are not the gods humans created.

  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    Mick Jagger is 80. Keith Richards is 142. And they still rock.

  13. Tony W says:

    @MarkedMan: An atheist, such as myself, will be perfectly happy to accept any explanation of our origins or our purpose in life, as soon as disprovable evidence – not assertions – exists.

  14. Sleeping Dog says:


    Saw that, and if true it would go a long way to justifying the US nationalizing StarLink.

  15. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Why is Chuck Shumer allowing a B-rated Ball Coach impersonating a Senator to gas-light the Senate and the DOD?

    Part of what made McConnell successful over the years is a feckless foil in Shumer, who apparently must be good at raising money, but couldn’t lead an Eskimo to a snowball. Republicans do not fear or respect him in the same class they regarded Pelosi.

    This isn’t a Biden issue, it’s someone pissing on Shumers living room couch and he’s finding a million other chores that need to be done to avoid confronting the pisser. I find it hard to believe that no parliamentary tools are available to outmanuever a mediocre football coach that needs to be put in his place.

  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    I wrote a simulation story. (Spoiler) The end of my GONE spin-off, the MONSTER trilogy, ends with the discovery that the main characters are in a sim, but a sim created by those same main characters. One of the characters penetrates the simulation and speaks to his future self, the sim creator who gives him the choice – continue the sim with all the horror that will mean going forward, or end the sim. The characters take a vote and I leave it right there, unresolved.

    The point was that life in a sim is still life, still experience, and that in effect there is no difference between living in a simulation or living in ‘reality.’ You still have choices, decisions, you cannot pretend it isn’t real because in every way that matters, it is. Bash your thumb with a hammer it’ll still hurt.

    Simulation theory does not suggest or require a divine being, it just requires a sufficiently advanced AI.

  17. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I remember an interview with him in which he said he couldn’t envision himself leaping sround s stage at age 40.

  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    Makes me think I need to get my youthful 69 year-old butt back to work.

  19. Slugger says:

    I am not religious. Don’t need any capital letters to define my thinking, and don’t need any invisible personalities to explain the world. I think that a lot of people share my sentiments. I suspect that many agricultural peasants secretly thought that the prevailing sacerdotes and Lords of the land were using religion as a weapon to make off with a big part of the fruits of the peasants’ labors but were intimidated from saying so. If you didn’t go along with the official beliefs, you wound up at the stake after first getting tortured. Thus piety became the norm.
    Today, a person wrapped in the cloak of religion tells us that bullets not ballots will decide elections if we don’t comply with his wishes. This is the same deal that religion has always offered.

  20. just nutha says:

    @CSK: And Elton John once said he didn’t want to be doing a retrospective in a Vegas showroom when he got old, too. The money changes everything.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: an intellectually honest Atheist should accept this possibility more than anyone else.

    I’m not arrogant enough to call myself “intellectually honest” but as an atheist I gotta call bullshit. There is absolutely zero evidence for this universe being a “simulation,” just the fevered dreams of people who have way too much time on their hands.

    If you want to believe it, fine, be my guest, hurts me not at all. But to me? It sounds every bit as crackpot as Jonah being swallowed by a whale and spending 3 days in it’s belly before the whale finally pukes his wretched ass back out.

  22. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Probably Mick considers that to be childhood.

  23. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    I think it’s more than just the money.

  24. CSK says:

    Tommy Tuberville says we have to eliminate wokeness from the military because…

    Are you ready?

    Because “we’ve got people on aircraft carriers doing poetry.”

  25. MarkedMan says:


    That is, there must be evidence or proof.

    Yes, for a theory to be verified, there must be sufficient evidence or proof. But before there can even be a theory, there needs to be hypotheses. You are right, that until recently we didn’t even have grounds for a hypotheses about simulations. But that’s true about gravity, relativity, quantum theory, everything else. And I’ve followed scientific advancements long enough to know that when popularizing scientific advancements writers often turn “we can’t even conceive of a way this hypotheses could be tested” to “this hypotheses is inherently untestable and therefore can never make it to a theory”. One progression that went from “inherently untestable” to “generally accepted and proven theory” is quantum entanglement. I haven’t read anything on string theory for a while but I know for many years scientists were debating on whether it could ever be testable (an hence not really a theory yet), but in later years I remember hearing some that had thoughts about how it might actually be tested. So just because offhand there is no obvious way to detect whether we are simulated or not doesn’t mean that we will never be able to do so. An imperfect simulation could leave behind tell-tale anomalies, or a simulation that had been changed while running might have discontinuities that can be detected.

  26. MarkedMan says:


    Because “we’ve got people on aircraft carriers doing poetry.”

    And this is the moron the good people of Alabama have chosen to be their representative to the nation.

  27. Mister Bluster says:


    We are as gods and might as well get good at it. So far, remotely done power and glory—as via government, big business, formal education, church—has succeeded to the point where gross defects obscure actual gains. In response to this dilemma and to these gains a realm of intimate, personal power is developing—power of the individual to conduct his own education, find his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whoever is interested. Tools that aid this process are sought and promoted by the WHOLE EARTH CATALOG.
    Stewart Brand

  28. CSK says:


    I don’t know what the hell “doing poetry on aircraft carriers” even means. Do you? Does it mean reading poetry? Reciting it? Writing it?

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    the gods who run the simulations are not the gods humans created

    The problem I have with the existence of god is not the airy-fairy stories that make up our religions, modern or ancient. It’s that the capriciousness of life implied by a god (creator/experimentalist) is truly horrifying to contemplate. The god of Christianity, Islam and to a lesser extent Judaism is one of justice and fairness and consideration. The god of a creator/experimentalist is capricious and likely cruel beyond even the vicissitudes of a completely random universe. Yet to me it is the only “god” likely to exist (for certain very low values of “likely”).

    The ancients might have had it right. Try not to draw the attention of the gods, unless you are doomed in which case your only chance, however small, is to get a god to intercede so best to light a fire, shout and chant, do anything you can think of to get one to notice you.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    @Jim Brown 32: How would Schumer’s confrontation with Tuberville play out? Truly curious. I haven’t heard anyone, anywhere make a specific proposal as to what Schumer could actually do.

  31. Reformed Republican says:

    It doesn’t just need to be testable, it needs to be falsifiable. The simulation theory is not falsifiable, because even if we could not find evidence, that could be explained away by the nature of the simulation. The simulation does give us a way to measure it, or the simulation makes us blind to it, or the simulation can change our memory. It’s the same issue with God. It’s not falsifiable because anything can be explained by “God did it.”

    As it stands, I don’t really see any evidence of an active god in the universe, or any need to fall back on supernatural explanations for the universe. If there is a god who doesn’t do anything, then that is effectively the same as not existing, so I don’t see the reason to add unnecessary complication.

  32. MarkedMan says:


    There is absolutely zero evidence for this universe being a “simulation,”

    Yep. Like most forays into understanding the world in which we live, it starts with a “what if” and may very well never get beyond that. As did the Copernican view of the solar system, the concept of space-time, etc. Everyone is perfectly free to ignore scientists and amateurs trying to suss out new ways of understanding the universe and it’s probably wise to do so, because so many of them go nowhere. As for me, I think it is an interesting concept and it makes me look at things in a different way, and that’s enough for me.

  33. Kathy says:


    “Cannot be answered” is present tense, and does not mean “can’t ever be answered.”

    But gravity has always been apparent. People just didn’t know what it was and couldn’t quantify it.

  34. MarkedMan says:

    @Reformed Republican:

    it needs to be falsifiable. The simulation theory is not falsifiable

    As I said above:

    And I’ve followed scientific advancements long enough to know that when popularizing scientific advancements writers often turn “we can’t even conceive of a way this hypotheses could be tested” to “this hypotheses is inherently untestable and therefore can never make it to a theory”. One progression that went from “inherently untestable” to “generally accepted and proven theory” is quantum entanglement.

    And while I agree that “This is not a simulation” may not be falsifiable, “This is a simulation” may be provable. In other words, as you said you can always add suppositions on top of each other to keep the simulation hypotheses alive. But, for example, it may turn out that information theory would predict that all simulations must have some specific kind of detectable flaw, just as Godel’s theory says that all possible mathematical systems are inherently flawed in a particular way. Godel’s theory has been proven.

  35. Kathy says:

    The report of Georgia’s special purpose grand jury has been released. It’s embedded here, no paywall.

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    Simulation theory does not necessarily extend to the scale of the universe. If we are sims we might just be ones and zeroes in some box on a 22d century child’s desk. The world outside our box might be original reality, or it may just be another sim. We might be sims inside of sims inside of sims. And as @Reformed Republican: rightly points out, good luck testing the theory. The thing is that it doesn’t matter. We can’t prove it, we can’t disprove it, and we are powerless to wish it away or pretend our experienced reality isn’t real.

    And it has nothing whatsoever to do with god or gods. The creator of our particular sim may be an alien or a future human or an AI. Each of those is a more likely answer than: god. And as we come to understand the size and complexity of the universe the notion of a creator becomes increasingly ludicrous. The idea that we are his special little buddies and that it’s all about us (and our sexual or dietary preferences) is astoundingly narcissistic.

    Sim theory does not suggest, still less prove, anything about the nature of the alien, human, AI or natural phenomenon that might have created the sim.

    I have no reluctance to label myself an atheist. I’m an atheist as to all gods. I’m also an atheist as to fairies, elves, leprechauns, orcs, unicorns and honest used car dealers. I do not believe in things for which no evidence exists. Should evidence appear, I will re-evaluate.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: It’s certainly more than just the money. It’s the still screaming fans. The adulation. The need to still feel “relevant” at almost 80. Some of us resist facing our mortality, others have that mortality thrust upon them. The type of denial Feinstein, Yertle, and former guy (among others about whom mentioning it is sacrilegious) exhibit seems pathetic to me, but I’m one of the ones whose mortality has been thrust upon me. I could squeeze by at “60 is the new 40,” but at around 68 or so 30 years caught up all at once.

  38. gVOR10 says:

    I class myself as an “ignostic”. I suspect many of you are too. There’s a WIKI page. It goes into some detail, mostly about the impossibility of falsifying something that isn’t defined. To me it’s simpler. An atheist believes there’s no god. An agnostic isn’t sure. An ignostic doesn’t care.

    People say the existence of god is a hugely important question, but to me, a Utilitarian, it isn’t. First, people have been debating it for a thousand years without coming up with a compelling answer. I’m going to step in and solve it? Second, it would make no difference. What would I do differently if I believed in a god? If I believed in a Judeo-(Muslim-)Christian God, omnipotent, omniscient, but easily offended, I might go to church on Sundays (or Saturdays or Fridays). Otherwise, what difference would it make? I live a pretty conventionally moral life as it is.

    We used to need god(s). If your kid asked, “What is thunder?” what else did you have for an answer? (Decades ago I dated a girl whose family had a large dog they named Thor. When they had company they’d put Thor in the basement, where he’d play with his favorite toy, a bowling ball. A guest would hear “Rumble. rumble, rumble, crash!” and ask what that was. “Oh, it’s just Thor.”)

    As to us as a giant simulation, that seems to be an idea mostly supported by glibertarian tech bros. Which seems sufficient reason to ignore it. Also, too, as with religion, unless someone can propose a testable characteristic of the simulation, what’s the point to worrying about it? Without such a test, Occam’s razor will have to suffice.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: All of the above. Only fairies would have anything to do with poetry instead of manly things like killing people.

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: “And this is the moron the good people of Alabama have chosen to be their representative to the nation.”
    FTFY. Being “good” and electing Coach have nothing to do with each other–entirely unrelated.

    (And yes, I know that the phrase “good people of” is just a convention, but get real. 🙁 )

  41. Scott says:

    @MarkedMan: It would require actions that would make Schumer very unpopular. Like no Senate recess until work is done. That means 24/7. Don’t know if it is still the case but there can be no fundraising on the premises. So no fundraising. The burial of any legislation that Tuberville may want. Actual filibusters, not fake ones. Ethics referral on Tuberville Florida residence. But nothing will be done because they put collegiality and party over country.

    Digging up Harry Reid would accomplish more.

  42. gVOR10 says:


    I haven’t heard anyone, anywhere make a specific proposal as to what Schumer could actually do.

    Seems to me disciplining Republican senators is McConnell’s job. He could threaten exclusion from committee assignments and withholding of campaign contributions. Or at least he could a few years ago, now who knows?

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: @MarkedMan: For me it is all very simple: “God has nothing to do with it,” whatever “it” is.

  44. gVOR10 says:

    Some years ago, before I retired to sunny Florida, and boy has it been sunny lately, the long serving Republican congressman for Cincinnati, Steve Chabot, visited our office. He literally had an aide on each elbow moving him from place to place and facing him the right direction. (Looked like teenagers.) My boss, a hardcore Republican, had a private few minutes with him and swore Chabot was quite impressive. I was introduced to him and said a few words. I was unable to detect anybody home. I suspect this stuff like Feinstein and McConnell is more prevalent than the MSM let on. Each of these people has a loyal staff who might have to take actual jobs if the patron retired.

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: Found this retrospective on the WEC, if you’re interested.
    Interesting insights and some thoughtful musings from Brand. Still flakey as a piecrust, though.

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Riverdale had a lengthy diversion into what writing poetry says about “a man” (??) from the era that Coach seems trapped in during its recent final season.*

    *Watching Riverdale and seeing poor Sharkie having to jump over and over to exhaustion was a guilty pleasure of mine.

  47. Kathy says:

    Here’s my last word on simulations*:

    We do many realistic simulations as models to grasp, explain, or explore aspects of the universe. Well and good. but we also do elaborate ones for games, which sometimes are not realistic at all.

    So, what if we’re a simulation some kid is running, in a universe, realm, whatever, which has vastly different natural laws from ours?

    *Just not that interested in the subject.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR10: Sure. But what makes anybody think McConnell doesn’t see the advantage of being able to pretty permanently disrupt Senate business with all the fingers for it pointing at an obvious moron? I’m not seeing any upside for him in resolving the “problem.” I know I wouldn’t care if I were Mitch. (Yet another reason to not let cracker even vote, let alone hold positions of power. 🙁 )

  49. Mister Bluster says:

    @gVOR10:.. What would I do differently if I believed in a god?

    Well, like my cousin, you could go on Facebook and annoy your relatives by noting that the lowercase of BBB (Build Back Better) is not bbb. It is 666 the mark of Satan.
    My brother casually responded “That’s a bit of a stretch isn’t it?” He regrets it to this day.

  50. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Poets are sissy boys??? Really??? General Patton wrote poetry. Was he a sissy boy?

  51. gVOR10 says:

    @Mister Bluster: You’re right, I might do that. What I did once do is write a letter to the IL Sec O’ State that began some thing like, “What the hell is wrong with you fucking idiots? Sorry about that intro, but you’ve been ignoring my pleas and hopefully that got someone’s attention. Could you please deal with the license plate I paid for six months ago and never got. I’ve made several calls to the local license bureau and your office. Before I get ticketed.” It worked, I got my plate, along with copies of their paperwork that showed my apartment number had evolved from 123B to 123b to 1236. So my plate had been returned as undeliverable.

    Also, the Holy Rollers seemed surprisingly uninterested in Kushner’s 666 Fifth Ave. building. On verifying that address, I see they’ve changed it to 660, so somebody must have said something.

  52. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..WEC

    Thank you for the link. I hope to get to it later today.

  53. Michael Cain says:


    I’m always amused when I read the stories that make it sound like yeah, Texas could attach to the rest of the country’s grid(s) without much trouble, they’re just being stubborn. There’s a ton of big, expensive undertakings that would be involved.

  54. Scott says:

    @Michael Cain: The argument for more transmission interconnectivity is reliability but also cost. The average cost/mwh is about $35. During this heat wave, the surge price has gone up to around $2500/mwh. If connected to the national grid (and even the Mexican grid), this would put a damper on those surge prices since those areas with surplus power could sell at a cheaper price. Increased reliability and price stability.

    Now in San Antonio, we have a municipally owned power company with surplus power. It is hard to get info but with a little bit of luck we are selling our surplus power and making a good profit.

  55. CSK says:

    Nancy Pelosi, 83, will run for re-election in 2024.

  56. just nutha says:

    @CSK: It’s an axiom, so yes.

  57. just nutha says:

    @CSK:Whew! THAT’S a relief.

  58. Jen says:

    @Michael Cain: Agreed. And the other ISOs would likely balk at adding Texas, for a bunch of reasons, the top one being the size of the population (and the fact that it’s growing not shrinking). They’d be agreeing to frequent load balancing, which is okay every so often, but Texas is a literal hot mess.

  59. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: Sure, you’re in a simulation. Now what?

    Get back to me when there are exploitable bugs. Item duplication glitches preferred.

  60. Stormy Dragon says:


    Strictly speaking, not caring if God exists is apatheism. Ignosticism is the belief it can’t be known whether or not God exists (usually due to a belief that “god” isn’t a sufficiently well defined concept to be meaningful)

  61. Gustopher says:

    The video game Baldar’s Gate 3 allows you to select your character’s genitals. More genital options than body types.

    They aren’t even exciting options, just a bunch of very human looking penises and vulvas. Where are the terrifying duck corkscrews, or a weird Lovecraftian horror tentacle thing, or an eternal hole that stares back at you?

    I have no idea how this fits into the game.

    I’m hoping the various penis options provide a ranged weapon, and the vulvas provide extra carrying capacity.

    Anyway, add that to the simulation.

  62. Kathy says:

    BTW, Lower Decks season 4 is out.

  63. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    It’s not an axiom. It’s what a semi-literate moron like Coach Tommy believes.

  64. Stormy Dragon says:


    Get back to me when there are exploitable bugs. Item duplication glitches preferred.

    Allow me to introduce you to the Banach–Tarski paradox

  65. CSK says:

    If you’re in the OTB house, Jen and Sleeping Dog, the sky here in northeastern Essex Co. here in Mass. is nearly pitch-black, and we’re having a lollapalooza of a thunderstorm. How about you two?

  66. Kathy says:


    The thing to do is write a dirty limerick that insults or ridicules the senator.

    On other news, I doubt Starship will fly again before next year.

    I don’t know exactly whether the FAA can mandate corrective steps to a rocket manufacturer, but SpaceX does need an FAA clearance for launch. The logical conclusion is evident.

    Form the start, Starship reminded me of the ill-fated Soviet N1 rocket, designed to launch crewed missions to the Moon*. Both are massive and have too many engines. The N1 flew four times, crashing or exploding in each one. Eventually funding and patience ran out, besides the American had reached the Moon already. The Phobos Emperor God likely has less capricious funding, and is not racing anyone.

    *There are many horrifying aspects in the Soviet plans for a lunar landing. Not least is the lunar module could not be accessed from the capsule carrying the rest of the crew. A spacewalk was required to move form one to the other.

  67. Gustopher says:


    There are many horrifying aspects in the Soviet plans for a lunar landing. Not least is the lunar module could not be accessed from the capsule carrying the rest of the crew. A spacewalk was required to move form one to the other.

    I get to walk on the moon, and a bonus spacewalk! This just sounds great. I’m sure there are problems, but from a space tourism perspective, it sounds great.

  68. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: the paradox description contains:

    However, the pieces themselves are not “solids” in the usual sense, but infinite scatterings of points.

    One thing we are reasonably sure of is that a physical ball has a finite number of particles/waveforms/particle-density-maps. Particles might be popping in and out of existence, etc., but there’s a finite number of them.

    So, unless it is demonstrated in the real world, perhaps with fishes, I think it’s a purely mathematical bit of fun.

  69. CSK says:


    I’ll get right on that dirty limerick about Tuberville. Thanks for the suggestion.

    ETA: How’s this for starters?

    There once was a coach named Tommy
    Who was thought to be quite balmy
    He proved by his devotion
    To stalling promotion
    ‘Cause he had a brain of salami.

  70. Sleeping Dog says:


    About 4:15 a cell passed through. Lots of wind and moderately heavy rain, thunder, but no hits close-by. Calm and clearing now.

  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Same thing in Coach Tommy’s case. 😉 (Which is part of why I suggested that he was trapped in a reality from over a half century, specifically 67 years, ago.) He lives in a world where he is still only about a year old (born in 1954). That’s revealing! (And may explain a buncha stuff.)

  72. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..Still flakey as a piecrust, though.

    (Don’t know how I got to be 75 and never heard that one.)

    I did a WikiP skim of Brand and WEC before I made the earlier post. If I didn’t have a copy of an early WEC one of my roommates did. The one thing about it that stuck with me over all these years is the “We are as gods…” quote.
    Something that I discovered today is that, according to this article

    His hero was Buckminster Fuller, a futurist architect and designer, who he says “bent my twig” with what Brand calls a “psychedelic version of engineering”.

    Fuller is a demi-god here in Sleepytown.
    In 1971 Fuller made a presentation for his Old Man River Project to construct a dome over East Saint Louis.

    At the end of his presentation a member of the audience spoke up. “We don’t need domes, we need jobs.”
    Fuller answered him with his sincere, Utopian view of the future. ”Young man, I see a future where you don’t need jobs.”

    Fuller died 40 years ago and I’m still working.
    Typical Futurist. Never say when their visions will come true.

  73. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Oh, good. We didn’t get much rain here, but it was noisy as hell.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Coach probably thinks we’re still in 1954. Or earlier. I wonder if he has any female staff.

  74. Kathy says:


    The last three Apollo Moon flights required a spacewalk to retrieve film from instruments in the service module. The command module pilot, the one who was left orbiting the Moon while the other two walked its surface, had that duty. All three crew, though, had EVA suits, as the capsule only had no airlock for the side hatch.

    But all had direct access to the lunar module on the way out. this provided increased living space during the three day trip to the Moon. No small matter.

  75. CSK says:

    Golly gee, I could swear I heard Trump say he had a net worth of $10 billion.*

    *Depending on his mood.

    Guess not.

  76. JohnSF says:

    Well, the real World Cup 🙂 started today.
    Opening game ended France 27 New Zealand 13
    A great result for France. This is the first time ever that New Zealand have lost a match in the Rugby Union World Cup.

    I bring the news you never knew you needed!

  77. Kathy says:


    I’ve no talent for poetry at all.

    I began one, but then got stuck. If anyone wants to run with it:

    Bama’s coach Tommy is a prick
    Who likes to swing his small dick

    See, I have the dirty down, but not the clever part nor possibly the scan, and the rhyme is childish.

  78. CSK says:

    Hmmm… howzabout:

    Bama’s Coach Tommy’s a prick
    Who likes to swing his small dick
    When he gets a boner
    He’s always a loner
    Even his wife thinks he’s sick.

  79. Kathy says:


    Good one!

    Now the trick is to make it go viral in one of the data mining apps pretending to be social networks.

  80. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I’m trying to give that a thumbs up but no dice. Just so you know, whatever the count is, add one.

  81. CSK says:

    @Kathy: @OzarkHillbilly:

    Thank you both.

  82. Mister Bluster says:

    Meadows said Judge move my case
    I don’t want to be tried in this place
    The Judge said no
    I won’t let you go

    Your lawyer ain’t from outer space

    Hey, it rhymes.

  83. Kathy says:

    Mark Meadows, the last person in to the chief of staff revolving door, did not get his wish to move his Georgia RICO case to a federal court.

    This might bode badly for El Cheeto, who has announced he intends to file for removal, but has yet to file for removal. My working hypothesis is his lawyers will file after all other requests go through, and they see which arguments work. IMO, it would take someone pretty high up on the Thomas Judicial Corruption Scale to say defrauding the government is a duty of the country’s chief executive.

  84. Jen says:

    @CSK: It got very dark here, so much so that I shut down the laptop and retreated to a lower floor. Lots of lightening strikes close by, and it looks like we might get a second round here shortly.

  85. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: It worked on this one. I guess this union carpenter extreme caver is just a pannsie assed appreciator of flowing words.

    Oh, and for the record, I hug and kiss my sons every time I see them because my old man never did the same.

  86. Beth says:


    I would say that if Meadows and the rest of these chuds want to stay out of jail they need to immediately start cutting deals. Trump might get off on jury nullification, the rest of them won’t. My guess is that unless SCOTUS massively intervenes on this Meadows and the rest won’t get removed. I’d also guess that only Alito and Thomas would vote to protect them.

  87. Beth says:

    Lol, a memory just surfaced in my stupid brain after starting to read the Judge’s order. There was a question about Federal removal on the bar exam I took. It was one of the last essay questions and I totally blanked on it. I spent about a half out pulling nonsense out of my rear end, it was an absolute mess. With about 20ish minutes left my fat muppet fingers accidentally deleted the whole essay. I just started laughing like a crazy person. Spent about 10 minutes writing stupid bullshit and hit send.

    The people in the room crying did not like me laughing. Worked out well enough in the end, I got punished by being admitted to the bar.

  88. Michael Cain says:

    @Jen: Yeah. As a mental experiment to help me sleep, I sometimes think about a group of Dallas-area utilities and generators announcing they think they would be better off as part of the Southwest Power Pool instead of ERCOT. They say, here’s the new transmission lines that will have to be built to establish a reliable connection between Dallas and the SPP network. Here’s a schedule for the various utilities and generators dropping off the ERCOT network and connecting — properly synchronized — to the SPP. Here’s how we propose changing from the ERCOT power market to the SPP’s rules. Oh, and here’s the laws we need the Texas legislature to change to make this work. Then I smile and roll over and go to sleep, thinking “Not in my lifetime.”

    The Texas Triangle — do they still call DFW-Houston-San Antonio that? — would probably be better off trying the SoCal strategy: HVDC to dedicated geographically and type diverse generators. Solar in the Southwest; coal in Wyoming; wind in Kansas and Nebraska; nuclear in the TVA.

  89. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: And for the record, that gutless weasel from somewhere down south needs to read Robert Graves “Goodbye to All That” (eta wrong Sigmund)

  90. Beth says:

    So, I’m reading through this order, because I’m a masochist. This thing is really dense and the judge’s writing is without pizzaz. This kinda dry crap will torture law students for generations. Anyway, while I’m giving up on reading this, I’m left with two impressions:

    1. Meadow’s shot his own balls off by testifying. This will continue to haunt him and he should fire any lawyer that let him do it.

    2. Bill Clinton remains a FRIGGIN NIGHTMARE for Republicans.

    The Supreme Court has instructed that involvement in private litigation is not part of the executive branch’s role or powers. See Clinton v. Jones

  91. Kathy says:


    2. Bill Clinton remains a FRIGGIN NIGHTMARE for Republicans.

    I think he’s entitled to.

  92. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My bad. I was thinking of Seigfried Sassoon. Great writer, sad to say it’s been a decade since I read him or Graves.