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Toxn last won the day on October 4 2019

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About Toxn

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  1. So what are everyone's feelings about running a mini-competition at the end of 2019, the results of which would be included in the main competition next year? If planes are being contemplated, then I'm thinking of an armament competition where contestants can design any one or more of the following: An autocannon in the 15-35mm range A heat-seeking AAM A radar-guided AAM (passive or active, to be used with a specified radar set) The equivalent for a tank competition would be to design the main gun and/or the coax. The best entries in each category would then be judged by a small panel (possibly just one guy for the autocannon and one guy for the missiles) and chosen for use in the follow-up competition, where all contestants would be required to use these items as part of their design submission. Which means that if there's only one entry in a category and it sucks (or imposes difficult weight/form factors), then it effectively becomes a limiting criterion for that competition. The caveat would, as usual, be that all of the designs can be prospective but must use a limited set of technologies. The prize money would also be much lower - something like $10 for the winner in each category.
  2. For my money 1st-gen jets are about the easiest aircraft to design. None of the issues of working out prop performance, but with 'simple' aerodynamics. Perhaps a good approach might be to make a Cascadian trainer/light fighter/interceptor competition and provide both an example powerplant and example armament in the form of 20mm hispano clones and a 1st gen sidewinder analogue. That way the keen kids can faff about designing an AMRAAM using 1950s electronics, and the rest can just focus on a good aerodynamic package.
  3. Because I apparently can't bang this drum enough, here is a direct response to how we'd go about 'fixing' @Lord_James's kids with genetic engineering: 1) Asperger's: this one is polygenic, so there are something like 20-30 genes that we know about which each have a small, quantitative effect on it. 'Fixing' this with modern genetic engineering is more or less impossible - the best way to go about it would be to find a willing partner who you've pre-screened as having lots of non-Asperger's-associated variants of the known genes. Then you could up the chances a bit by screening you and your partner's sperm/eggs before going for IVF. This would be cutting-edge stuff by today's standards, but would only constitute an average percent chance in a risk factor for a complex syndrome. Honestly you'd get 90% of the same result by just having kids with someone who doesn't have the disorder and doesn't have any family members with it. 2) Metabolic disorders: this will depend wildly on what the exact disorder is. Something like metabolic disorder is polygenic (most of the interesting traits are), while ghrelin receptor mutations are single-gene issues. Generally, though; anything tied to the core functions of the body (feeding, fighting, fucking) is going to end up being both very polygenic in nature and incredibly difficult/dangerous to improve while being very easy to fuck up. We accordingly know a bunch of ways to make people morbidly obese, a few ways to make them dangerously skinny, and still have very little idea on how to reliably make people maintain a healthy weight. So this one is probably a non-starter for the next while unless you have a very specific condition that can be linked to only a few genes. Or, again, unless you want to go the boring mate-selection-and-screening approach. 3) Familial cancer risk: here again we bump into complexity. There are lots of cancers with a genetic component, and although many of them can be traced back to a single gene they still almost always end up being a "x-percent increase over baseline" type of genetic abnormality rather than something definitive like cystic fibrosis. Dealing with this is accordingly more about screening for an issue and then avoiding risk factors (which you should be doing anyway) than it is about going into the lab and making super babies. And assuming that you did decide to go the super baby route, you'd most likely end up trading off all the risks of genetic engineering itself (mis-insertion, off-target insertion, multiple insertion, deletion) against whatever lower percentage chance risk of cancer your kid would get from replacing a given defective copy of a gene with a working one. Here, at least, the ambitious can look to the naked mole rat and wonder about what an upgrade to our P16 gene and hyaluronan synthesis pathways might do. In conclusion: the state of the art right now in terms of @Lord_James's mentioned genetic disorders doesn't have a lot going for it over living healthily and selecting a mate with as few genetic issues as possible. Unfortunately most of the fun stuff in terms of heritable traits is locked away in dense webs of interaction between dozens or even hundreds of genes and regulatory regions. So we're paradoxically much more able to do grand, sweeping things to the human form (ie: Hox gene shenanigans, know exogenous genes with potentially impressive effects, myostatin mutants) than fix nitty-gritty issues.
  4. No! Bad! {Waves rolled-up newspaper printed off an "electronic news service" using a "laser ink applicator"}. Germ line modifications? There might be issues of all sorts, on many levels, but it would depend heavily on what's been changed and how. I also cannot stress enough that we just don't know at this point what or how much to change to achieve particular things. However; if we ever do get to the point where a naga is even a viable possibility, then we'll probably be well into an era (like, over a century from now) where large, sweeping changes to genomes are both reliable and routine, and things like species barriers are more or less moot. So for the couple involved it might be a trip to the clinic to have everything sorted out rather than any sort of natural conception. And the kid would be more or less whatever the parents want within legal, technological and moral bounds that are very difficult to even speculate about from here. Again, I have no idea what the relevant moral concerns of the day will be.
  5. Right now we have very limited capacity to re-engineer someone as an adult, so a lot of proposed genetic engineering is germ-line by default. But perhaps not forever: CAR-T therapies show that it's possible (if very risky) to completely rewire parts of your immune system. So here's my (Victorian-era guy speculating on aircraft) guess as to how it might go: - You'd get a bunch of tissue samples (possibly including gut and skin microflora) taken and then be put in sterile isolation. - You'd then be more or less disinfected, put on high-dose antibiotics, antiviral drugs etc. - Your immune system would be knocked down or even out (possibly all the way to bone marrow ablation). - You'd be given a complete course of genetic engineering (possibly using advanced versions of CRISPR, as the T effector cell issue may be overcome with immunomodulation or versions of the cas 9 enzyme that don't set off a reaction) aimed at editing as many cells as possible. - If you're going for tissue/organ engineering, then this might be the point where they operate on you to give you chameleon skin or whatever. - At the same time, your immune system would be modified using something like CAR-T therapy to prevent rejection of edited cells. - Once the editing was done, your microflora etc would be reestablished and you'd be released for convalescence and follow-up treatment. Another option might be to avoid trying to edit anything out of germline all together, and just rely on non-immunogenic approaches and surgery. This may be something like novel organ printing using your own cultured cells, or xenografting. This approach is necessarily less radical and more limited in some ways (no chromatic scales for you, citizen), but still allows some really freaky possibilities (second sets of arms, crazy bio-machine hybrid organs, radical restructuring of the human form) while significantly lowering the chances of your immune system going nuts and killing you. I think it depends how common germ-line editing becomes, and how good a handle we have on it. It sounds ridiculous to say so, but the state of our knowledge right now is that we have a fairly good idea of how to give someone a second torso but have more or less no idea how to 'fix' short sightedness. I think that the biggest one in terms of societal effects might simply be if/when rich people get the wherewithal to make sure that their kids live even longer, healthier lives than the poor, and especially if this involves an element of being able to have kids much later in life. This, combined with human society's pre-existing trend towards ratcheting inequality, seems like a pretty sure path to a gerontocracy at the hands of a long-lived ruling caste. In terms of classism and the rich, I expect there to be many cycles of social movements and reactions centred around class, the cost/complexity of various treatments and elite ideas of purity/healthiness. We can already see rough outlines of this today in the antivax movement, furries, gender dysmorphia etc, but I think the intensity will be something new and startling if/when it gets going and there's no way of guessing how things will shake out. I think we're more in danger of biological essentialism making a comeback disguised as this. I suspect that how much importance is placed on modifications and their 'fitting' you to a particular role will very much depend on where you are in the hierarchy, in the same way that a 1.5-SD difference in upper body strength is held to be very important in terms of defining capacity to do physical work, but a 1-SD difference in academic achievement is not held to be important in defining capacity to do mental work. My admittedly out-of-touch read on the populist position is that notions of equality-of-outcome are more-or-less dead, while equality-of-opportunity is still alive and kicking. So you might see societies which are very happy to allow the guy with the 300-year lifespan coexist with the normies on the basis that both have 'equal opportunities'. This is something that can change rapidly though. I agree that this is definitely a fallacy on the part of whoever drew that comic (not the only one, mind), and that you've succinctly laid out the most relevant factors at play here. Expanding a bit on your thoughts; we know for a fact that shifts in taste regarding beauty standards happen with regularity in societies, and are often driven by shifts in lifestyle and a sort of cyclical 'follow the leader' phenomenon where elites set standards that are imitated by those below them until they lose currency as marks of exclusivity and are replaced by new standards. So 'everyone will be hot' is almost certainly going to mean 'everyone will be hotter by the current standard, at which point the standard will change to something harder for the hoi polloi to attain.'
  6. Fair enough. I think the idea of getting multi-hit survivability might have lead to a reliance on NERA and its associated issues. For my part: I actually did look into going with a 120 tonne vehicle (and designed a ridiculous 200mm high-powered gun for it) before discovering that the width requirement was going to result in interesting (read: difficult) design decisions all on its own. With APFSDS axed mid-way through the competition and decreasing returns on penetration as conventional shells scale up, I ended up settling on a 120-140mm main gun, built a tank around it, and optimised that design into Lil Bouy. Which then ended up having an obscene armour mass fraction, prompting a deep redesign that popped out as the final submission. I think you could make a case that this demonstrates one of the pit-falls of a rapid, iterative approach to design (which is how I design things): that you can get stuck on local maxima.
  7. So I'm late to this party, but thank you to the judges for selecting me. I think this was the most technically challenging competition we've had so far, so I'm glad my design was able to solve at least some of the issues presented. Edit: I also wanted to say thank you to the organisers (especially @N-L-M) who helped make this possible. There's at least as much work going on in the background as gets put into making the submissions themselves, and so I'm very grateful to the folk who slogged through on this so that I could have fun designing imaginary tanks.
  8. 1.486m exactly. Of course, with a turret basket et al it's probably more like 1.4m. The loader is situated so that s/he can grab from the protected ammunition storage by his/her right shoulder and load into the breech without needing to stand up or move around too much.
  9. But the left-wing media wants to silence reports of Islamic terror on US soil because {inaudible}. More seriously, I get the impression that both sides of the US's all-encompassing red/blue conflict are waiting for signs that the irredeemable asshole who did this can be pinned as a member of the other team. In the not-unlikely event that he turns out to be a hard-to-place whackaloon, then the story will lose its legs. For everyone outside of the US, of course, none of this is very interesting or relevant.
  10. So I started having issues where using the sniper scope thingy in tank battles would cause weird graphical errors and randomly crash the computer. This got really bad one night, and the next time I started my computer up Windows was borked, would not start up out of safe mode, and could not be repaired using console commands et al. Meaning that War Thunder is so kak that it bricked my PC
  11. For anyone who wants a chance to win a calendar or something: https://hushkit.net/2019/07/03/aircraft-design-contest-2019-launched/
  12. I get the impression that the Iranians are doing this to put pressure on the Europeans for some sort of sanction relief. Chances are low, unfortunately.
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