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Everyone I talk to, regardless of the sector, is getting pressure from donors or what to "use AI" somehow. Maybe they think its like sprinkling a little bit of magic. Smh. It is unreal seeing all this unfold.

Speaking of space suits, the Mars suits they use are form fitting and very practical to move around in. Yet for space EVA they still use old-tech megabulky suits. Why? The pressure differential is the same. If you've managed to invent a suit like they use on the surface, you'd use it everywhere in preference to the 60kg Michelin Man.

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What didn't make sense about "The Martian".

Okay, the film's like eight years old now and there have been numerous articles about it, but none really go into very many of the problems it has. But this is a sufficiently nerdy place to try outlining them.

- The storm could not have carried that much force.

Most articles touch on this one. Mars' surface pressure is less than 1% of Earths. It has dust storms all the time, but the main problem they'd present is visibility. Even 100kph winds would not so much as raise a pebble, let alone jeopardize an ascent vehicle or impale an astronaut.

- If somehow your ascent vehicle IS about to blow over, the *worst* thing you can possibly do is launch it.

What's wrong with stakes and guy wires? Better than taking off, instantly losing the only thing that's keeping you stable and upright, and immediately tumbling and blasting into a hillside, or the ground. NASA doesn't launch rockets in a hurricane. For good reason.

- Non-organic potatoes are sprayed with a sprouting inhibitor. You can't plant them.

Given that they were sealed in transparent plastic, NASA would not have skipped this step. Okay, that's nitpickery. But this isn't:

-- Mars is 50% further from the sun than Earth is (inverse square law, anyone?) and the habitat's skylights are at best translucent. It's VERY difficult to believe the spuds got enough light.

- Retaining a full atmosphere of pressure over a two-metre diameter hole requires an extremely strong structure. Plastic wrap and duct tape won't cut it by, many orders of magnitude.

- You cannot achieve measurable delta-V by poking a hole in your glove. You just depressurise your suit and die without going anywhere much.

- You cannot lose 40m/s velocity in a massive ship by venting some of its atmosphere forward. The math doesn't work, again, by orders of magnitude.

- No competent crew would have mutinied and gone off on that rescue without a known, feasible mission plan. A course is not a mission plan. Incredibly difficult problems were only solved after they were committed. Not even one of those astronauts would have gotten their job if they were that irrational, let alone all five.

But even give all that, it's a fun movie to watch. But more as a kind of meditation and an appreciation of what we can do than as hard SF.

#Poland sitting minister of foreign affairs Radosław Sikorski teaches a lesson of actual political realism to his counterparts in Davos. An argument raised by some Western politicians is that Russia’s defeat in the war will bring throw it into an abyss of civil war and further from democratic reforms. To which Sikorski replies:

If Russia is defeated militarily, the we will have liberal reforms in Russia. Every time Russia lost a war, there were reform. Crimea war, Russo-Japanese war, the big losses in WW1, and Russia’s self-collapse in the Cold War. There were reforms. Successful, unsuccessful [that’s another question], but only then they try.

Then he goes into more comparisons with past colonial wars and mechanics of decolonisation

Here they've ripped off a Distractify article about Star Wars YouTuber drama and write "let's be honest, War of Stars fans"

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I just learned that in Spanish, to say you "spent" time with someone is a little bit insulting; equivalent to saying you wasted it. (Instead you'd say you passed time with them.)

Translating from your native language is full of these kinds of pitfalls. Fluency requires an intimate familiarity with the way people actually say things.

The number of people who sent me this Welsh Tidy Mouse. You all know me so well. 🧪

Also yeah, it's cute! But also this mouse is not cleaning. Mice (and rats) hoard stuff! They just do. And this behavior can be useful for historians and archaeologists! I actually got to check out some of the rat-collected, er, collections, at Colonial Williamsburg for this piece.

From 2015 to 2022, I spent hundreds of hours on Duolingo, translating articles, answering language questions on the forums, and helping to improve the smaller courses by reporting mistakes.

There are thousands of volunteers who donated their labour to Duo: the course creators who wrote their courses, the volunteers who created grammar guides (some smaller languages had an entire second course in the forums), the wiki contributors, the native speakers who answered questions in the sentence discussions.

All of their work made Duolingo the powerhouse it is today. Duo was built by a community who believed in its original mission: language learning should be free and accessible.

Bit by bit all of our work was hidden from us as Duolingo became a publicly-traded company. And now that work is being fed into their AI as training data.

Well, I've learned the true lesson of Duolingo: never give a corporation your labour for free. Don't ever trust them, no matter what they say. Eventually greed will consume any good intentions.

#duolingo #languagelearning #enshittification #capitalism

If there were only some way for 's armed forces to tell the n front lines: "look, stand aside and we'll shoot the convict lines behind you who are there to kill you if you try to retreat or surrender."

[Reposted from Geraschchenko_en at that other place]

Russian Telegram channels report that Arman Ospanov, a Russian colonel and head of the armored service of the Russian Airborne Forces, went to the occupied territories of Ukraine to raise the morale of personnel.

There, he stepped on a mine and died.

I kid you not. These are two actual posts from this weekend, posted by two candidates for president of the United States in 2024.

The contrast. 🤯

I wonder who's going to end up controlling 's doubles once he's secretly dead or incapacitated? Certainly not Medvedev, he's a drunken patsy whom no one listens to.

"I'm upset about abortions"
"Let's fund sex ed, contraceptives and health care for pregnant women, it will cause the number of abortions to decline dramatically."
"NO. Send the women & doctors to jail."

"I'm upset people jump the turnstyle"
"Let's properly fund the subway and make it free and faster while reducing overhead."
"NO. I want those bad teens ARRESTED."

"This dreary area under the bridge is DISGUSTING."
"Let's clean it up & install a public restroom."
"NO. Arrest people for pooping"

@pinata1138 @cybeardjm From Fargo S5E5:

Lorraine Lyon: "So you want freedom without responsibility? Son there's only one person on Earth who gets that deal."

Sheriff Roy Tillman: "The President?"

Lorraine Lyon: "A baby. You’re fighting for your right to be a baby."

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