Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   Meatless Monday
Monday, November 2 2015
Yesterday Gretchen had had a hankering for spaghetti and meatballs, though it wasn't until tonight that we actually had it for dinner. Those who agree with the environmental benefits of vegetarianism but don't have the willpower to actually be vegetarians sometimes honor a tradition called "Meatless Mondays," in which they abstain from meat on just one day each week. Tonight I asked Gretchen if she thought there were people out there who practice Meatless Mondays but hate it anyway, making up excuses for why they should forgo it on any particular Monday. Then I burst into song, "Just another Meatless Monday/Wish it were Sunday." Being as happy to never eat animal products as we are, it was amusing to imagine people who can't even do it once each week. Or ever. I went on to suggest that some vegans should forgo fake meat on Mondays, an idea Gretchen dubbed "Meatless" Mondays. Today, however, was not a "Meatless" Monday even for us; we'd be having Gardein Meatless Meatballs. They were great; even Gretchen thought so despite the detectable presence of anise (one of many flavors she dislikes).

This evening, I made a big push to wire up that caller ID board I'd started working on yesterday, adding a little Atmega32-based Arduino Pro Micro (the model I was using was actually the cheap Chinese Deek-Robot version) and an EM92547B caller ID FSK decoder, as well as additional components necessary to detect ringer current. Based on the number of podcasts I heard as I worked (mostly recent episodes of This American Life), this took over two hours, much of that spent scrounging my scrap pile for high-voltage 0.1 microfarad capacitors. And when I was done, I was disappointed to find that the circuit poisoned the telephone line with unacceptable noise (mostly a 60 Hz hum) when it was hooked up and the Arduino was powered. But it was too late to keep hacking away at it, so I went to bed, continuing to read about the many ways the world near came to an end in the book Command & Control.
Somewhere within my brain today, that book spawned an interesting idea about the nature of intelligent life: that an intelligent species of aliens is likely to be a lot smaller than humans physically. The reason for this is that all known critical masses of nuclear isotopes weigh at least ten pounds, and the easiest ones to produce weigh at least twenty pounds. These masses aren't difficult for creatures of our scale to handle and assemble, but they would be impossible for a mouse-sized (or even cat-sized) creature to manipulate without advanced machinery. This would mean that an intelligent life form of a smaller scale would be forced to advance a great deal beyond where humans were in the 1940s before being able to assemble a nuclear device, and that just might give them a chance to spread themselves out across a star system or even a galaxy before attaining the ability to cause their own immediate extinction.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next