April 17, 2013: 4:29 pm: Pavaria, writing

“So are you going to Observation Night, Munji?” she asked.

“Ugh,” was all the tall dark-haired scientist could manage. He had both hands in a tub of viscous fluid. Tracy couldn’t tell if he was reacting to her or the fluid.

“Is that no?” she wrinkled her nose.

He pulled out his hands, thankfully revealing gloves and began to rinse them off. “I don’t know,” he sighed. “It just seems like a cruise ship sort of thing to do. I wouldn’t have done something like that back on Earth. Why change?”

Tracy shrugged. “I think it’s nice. Our first chance to all get together and see the star we’re headed to.”

“Our descendants. Our long distant descendants are headed to. We’ll be recycled a million times over by then,” he corrected, taking off his gloves and starting to put away his tools.

Tracy took a seat up on one of the counters across from him and watched him work. She giggled, “Yeah OK. But you make my point. We’ll be part fo them sort of. It’s the whole reason we’re here.”

Munji paused. “It’s true. I wouldn’t have signed up for this one way trip to the grave in space if I didn’t believe in it. But I can go look at the stars anytime. The trains run several times a day you know. And then I can stop at the park along the way. Take it at my own pace instead of on somebody else’s schedule.”

“I don’t like the park. There’s a bear there. Why’d they put a bear in the park? Anyway you wouldn’t be looking at the stars alone this time. That’s the point! Imagine if all 10,000 people on the Primavera show up! It might be the only time we all stand together as one. Certainly the first time. We’re the founders of a new society Munji. Don’t you want to feel a part of that?”

Munji finished putting away the last of his things. “I feel a part of that every day. Besides, won’t it throw the ship out of balance if we all stand in one place?”

She knew he was kidding. “Oh please. Even if we all crowd together and jump up and down at the same time, it might register as a seismic event ont he Bridge but it wouldn’t do anything to this ships course and trajectory. You know how much non-human matter there is in this behemoth. What about that?” she pointed at the tub of fluid.

Munji made an ‘oh right’ face and picked up the tub to put it in a storage compartment. “Thanks. That would have spoiled and I’d have lost a day of work.”

“So thank me by taking me to Observation night,” she grinned.

Munji shrugged. “Fine. For one night I’ll surrender myself to the plans of the most gigantic cruise ship int he known universe. It will be fun to see it along with everyone who’s fathering this future race. Who knows if they’ll ven be humans still by the time they get there.”

Tracy slipped her hand in Munji’s as they left the Lab.

Some time later

Trella sat on the edge of the metal road on the boarded of the north Wildlands. Everyone told her she was nuts to venture out there alone. All manner of wild animals and mutants roamed the wildlands from North to South. Many people had been injured or killed there. But she couldn’t help herself. Those people had ventured into the wildlands. She just sat on the edge. She loved climbing the metal road where it rose in the air like a bridge over nothing. And nothing could get up there to get her without her seeing ti coming far away.

And the real treat was getting to see the skyline of Fisher Heights. The abandoned city stood on top of the highest point in the wildlands, separating north from south. She longed to visit there, but she wasn’t headstrong enough to go there alone. That would truly be dangerous. But someday. Somehow, she’d find someone as intrigued as her and they’d venture in to find the secrets. Some folks talked that the abandoned tunnels under her hometown of Vash somehow connected to Fisher Heights. Agains, not something you wanted to investigate on your own and without proper defenses.

“Excuse me,” a voice said shocking her so much she almost fell off the bridge. “Is this the way to Vash? I’m headed for the Hope Night festivities.”

Trella was on her feet almost screaming. “How in god’s glass did you sneak up on me like that!”

The man looked suddenly very embarrassed. “I’m so sorry. You were so lost in thought, I should have realized. My apologies Lady.” The man gave a bow of formality. Trella finally noticed he wore a white coat and the braids of a Captain’s Man.

“You’re a priest! Are you from Thelb?” her eyes widened. Vash had priests but they were all from Vash, ordained in the far away priest’s city of Thelb, and returned home to serve. A visit from a real priest of Thelb was a rarity. And this one had braids which meant he was in the Captain’s service! A high-ranking priest indeed.

“From Bridgeton actually,” he stammered. “I was ordained in Thelab though, of course. I’ve been there many times. The train still runs there.”

She noticed he pronounced Thelb funny with an extra syllable at the end. She tried to rememebr that so she could say it right and impress people in the future. Who it would impress, she hadn’t thought through.

“Pardon my manners,” she returned his bow of formality and held her head down waiting for him to say the words to release her.

“It’s OK. I’m not very good at being a priest. They warned me about that when I got them to let me travel here. Told me I was foolish and likely get killed. Um, so you can look at me again.”

Trella slowly looked up. He was an odd priest. She risked a question since he didn’t seem to follow the usual priestly rules. “Did you say you actually saw a train? A real train? Did it really run underground?”

He laughed a little. “Not only saw it but got inside and rode in it. A few times actually. But it’s all overland on that route. No tunnels for me. I wasn’t ill.”

She didn’t know what to make of this last bit but didn’t want to appear ignorant, so laughed at what she hoped was some kind of jest.

“I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean to startle you. But I hope to get to Vash before dimming. It is Hope Night, yes?”

She nodded. “Yes, you’re just in time. Dimmings not for a few rotations yet, and we’re less than a half rotation from Vash. I live there. I should probably be getting back anyway. I can show you the way if you like?”

“I’d like that very much,” the priest smiled. “I was hoping not to have to view Hope Night alone,” he ventured.

She looked at him again. Was he asking her? “well nobody ever views Hope Night alone. That’s the whole point. We gather to give the hope point our energy so that it grows bigger. But I’d be happy to accompany you there too,” she got nervous and almost whispered, “if you wish.”

The priest just nodded as they began the walk to Vash.

November 4, 2012: 12:08 pm: Politics

On November 5, 2008 I wrote a post calling attention to the predictive markets. Intrade has since caught a lot of public attention, but I was writing then about the Iowa Electronic Markets, and I still prefer them. Three races is far from statistical validity, as good as they have been, so this year’s a chance to add another data point. Can they make it a fourth good prediction? Let’s review.

Two days before the 2000 election

Who will win
Al Gore – 27.3%
George Bush – 74.9%

Vote Share Prediction
Al Gore – 49.6%
George Bush – 49.4%

Actual result
Al Gore – 48.4%,
George Bush 47.9% – Winner

Two days before the 2004 election

Who will win
George Bush – 55.2%
John Kerry – 45.3%

Vote Share Prediction
George Bush – 51.7%
John Kerry – 48%

Actual result
George Bush – 50.7% – Winner
John Kerry – 48.3%

Two days before the 2008 election

Who will win
John McCain – 11.2%
Barack Obama – 88.3%

Vote Share Prediction
John McCain – 47%
Barack Obama – 53.5%

Actual Result
John McCain – 45.66%
Barack Obama – 52.92% – Winner

2 days before the 2012 election

Who will win
Mit Romney – 29.1%
Barack Obama – 71.8%

Vote Share Prediction
Mit Romney – 48.0%
Barack Obama – 52.8%

Actual Result
? – We’ll find out Tuesday.

October 31, 2012: 6:27 pm: Technology

As I find myself using Ubuntu and Windows 8 more these days, it got me thinking about my personal history with operating systems. I’ve often been a multi-OS user, even back int he 1980s. So I plotted out to the best of my recollection what OSs I had on my machines dating back to 1982.

This doesn’t count the number of machines just the OSs running on them. In most cases there were more machines than OSs. In some cases fewer, since I was virtualizing through much of the 2000s. When there are multiple OSs I have listed them in order of most used. I only listed years in which I changed an OS.

1981 – Apple II
1982 – TI 99/4A
1984 – Commodore 64/Timex Sinclair
1985 – Commodore 64
1988 – Windows 286
1990 – Apple System 6/Windows 286
1993 – Windows 3.1
1996 – Windows 95
1998 – Windows 98
2000 – Windows 98/Mandrake
2001 – Windows XP/Mandrake
2002 – Windows XP/Xandros
2004 – Windows XP
2007 – Windows XP/Windows Vista/OS X/Ubuntu
2009 – OS X/Windows XP/Windows 7/Ubuntu
2010 – OS X/Windows 7/Ubuntu
2012 – Ubuntu/Windows 8/OS X

Update: Did I use DOS? Yes. a lot, especially in the Windows 286 years. These are also not the only OSs I ever used. Just the ones I lived in. I experimented with BeOS and OS/2 Warp, OK? Who didn’t? I’m not ashamed.

October 21, 2012: 8:41 pm: Tales of the Aggregate

Kelby heard screams and what sounded like someone moving furniture. It had been like that all night. Or what counted for night in the perpetual twilight of Armstrong base on the Moon.

After the announcement, Everyone had broken up into small groups to deal with the fact that they had been abandoned by Earth and would have to figure out how to make it without any resupply.

A few groups had gone off to party, reasoning that alcohol would all have to be homemade so there was no reason to conserve the good stuff. Others started planning sessions right away on how best to recycle what was irreplaceable and mine refine and make what wasn’t.

Kelby had heard some fights broke out and even a rumor of a suicide. It would be the first of many. Armstrong was populated with reasonable and intelligent people drawn from science and business. Some of them reasoned that the base could only support a limited number of people and felt they were old enough or lacked enough value that rather than drain the resources they should politely kill themselves.

So Kelby had broke up from his group of engineers who had spent some time half-heatedly discussing tweaks to the ventilation system that might make it even more air and resource tight, then went back to his room.

He had a shift in 10 hours, and figured other people would have figured things out by then. He wasn’t essential to that equation. But he couldn’t sleep. He doubted anyone could. His mind kept racing back to t he announcement. He kept wondering if there was some way to get back to Earth.

His group had briefly discussed the idea of a catapult.

“Heinlein wrote about it centuries ago,” said Ken the ventilation chief. “In Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.” It was a cargo delivery system that was then turned into a weapon and finally used for transport”

The engineers had combed over the idea until the agreed that centuries old fiction made a bad template of rather engineering and resource realities of the real Moon.

But his mind wouldn’t give up on the idea. Or some other alternative. It just couldn’t be the end, from the shrieks and laughs and noises in the hallways, he barely thought the Armstrong staff would last through the night much less on their own for decades.

Someone rang his door chime. He thought about ignoring it but noticed without moving that it was Telfer, his QA crewmate. He dragged himself from the catatonic position he’d been in for hours on his side and punched open the door.

“Ken killed himself,” Telfer said by way of a greeting. “I guess the Moon really is a harsh mistress.”

Kelby grunted. “Beer?”

“Crazily no. Too many already. With Ken. He started getting maudlin then said some weird stuff and headed out. I got it into my head to follow him. Caught up with him at the airlock. Think he saw me but he never acknowledge. Just trotted outside without a suit and froze quick. Shitty way to go if you ask me. But he didn’t.”

Kelby sat down with two beers in his hand. “Guess I’ll drink both.”

“Nah. Give me one.” No use saving them. You aren’t thinking about offing yourself are you? Heard about 20 or so have already. That have been reported anyway. Kay told me that when I reported Ken.”

“Too curious how it turns out,” said Kelby. “You?”

“Nah. Too chickenshit,” He took a big swig of beer. “Have a good idea for QA on the ventilators too. I’d like to see if it works.”

“Let’s hear it.”

Telfer began lining out his ventilator system. It was a good system. It also likely saved them oth from following in Ken’s footsteps.

August 31, 2012: 10:38 pm: Tales of the Aggregate, writing

Ji lay on her back staring at the Moon. She had picked this place because it was high up and away from everyone. It had the majestic desolation and gigantic skeletons of buildings that Estellay had, but without the crowds.

Stories of poisonous mutant reptiles kept the idle curious out of the Empire Desert. Around her sat miles of ruins, once homes and shops a long time ago. Most were just crumbling cement foundations now, most likely harboring a few reptiles. Some were poisonous, she doubted any were actually mutants.

when she heard the news, she headed straight out to her favorite spot in what was once known as Ontreo. The building she climbed had resisted the crumbling and wreckage of time that had taken down so many other of the ruins. Large orange letters from the ancient alphabet still clung to the side. She translated them once but it made no sense to her. House-Train Station? Something had definitely been lost in the translation.

But whatever it had been, it was now a solid steel structure that somehow hadn’t rusted into collapse. She had grabbed a bag of her traditional M&Ms, hit the road and here she lay, staring up into the night sky.

She loved M&M’s. They gave her a sense of history. “Brand names” had been a big thing in the pre-Delian times and though many had fallen int he delian age sophistication and the following collapse, M&M’s somehow had survived. The product had changed much over the centuries. It was odd to her to think that the lightly candied pretzel bits, nuts and cherry balls she enjoyed were not at all what the snack had been like even 100 years ago. She had researched the matter and found a historian who claimed the original M&Ms had been hard candies with a bean paste inside. She wasn’t sure she believed that but she accepted that the brand hadn’t always meant the food she loved now. And yet that was part of the reason she loved them. She felt like she was eating history.

The nostalgia brought back to a poem she learned as a little girl that had always stoked her fascination with the Moon.

Up on the Moon you cannot fall
Up on the Moon to wait in the hall
Up on the Moon untillen we call
Up on the Moon come back to us all

And now they were.

August 28, 2012: 12:48 am: Tales of the Aggregate, writing

The last of the special council’s members shuffled across the plush red carpets and took their seats. Councilman Go nodded for the bailiff to bring int he guests.

Three scientists in impeccable clothes that were utterly wrong for their complexion and bearing were accompanied by a much more accurately dressed pair of lawyers. They walked to the long authentic oak table in the center of the chamber and took their seats facing the council.

A bailiff recited the ancient litany of a council opening complete with 18th century “oyehs” and all and the Council Chief banged his gavel.

“This meeting of the complete council of the city of Los Angeles and all its districts, dependencies and aligned municipalities is called to order. The council will yield its opening time to the Mayor of the Citadel and Supervisor of the Hall of Justice.”

The Mayor rose quickly and mechanically recited. “The citadel recognizes the City Manager and yields the floor for the business of the department.”

And thus the real leader of the Citadel of Ellay as it was styled in more modern terms, began the actual meeting.

She did not rise or speak a word of ceremony, but directly addressed the scientists.

“You are the members of the mathematical sociology department at UCLA?” they nodded their agreement. “Thank you for coming. We called you hear to discuss your recent published and reviewed paper, “Rise of the Anti-Citadel Movement and Best Practices for City Management.” I think it would be best if one of you summarized your findings of rthe benefit of those int he council who may not have had a chance to read and or understand the paper in question.

A slightly built researcher named Miu took the lead.

“Thank you Mr. City Manager. Our paper very simply put, lays out the mathematical basis for the finding that the current Anti-Citadel Movement will be the most effective one yet, and will likely disrupt the governing ability of most citadels. Our paper also lays out the benefits and deficits of several considered responses the Citadels could take.”

The City Manager nodded, “Succinctly put. And what does your paper say is the best course, and why?”

“With respect, Mr. City Manager, it doesn’t choose a best option. There are an array of positives and negatives that are beyond the realm of science to discern as an objective best. Some leave the citadels in ruins, but create conditions for a swift recovery. Others smash the movement, but replace current stability with a rising dictatorship. Others lead to wars of varying fatality, or climate events, and other such negatives. It is up to government to choose what course seems best. Our job was to lay out the choice. ”

She continued before the City Manager could finish interrupting. “That said, two of our scenarios have proved most popular and seem to carry the most effectiveness. The so-called ‘Branding’ option, recasts the Anti-Citadel Movement as heretical and relegates them to a persecuted class. This would lead to the fall of the citadel system but has the benefit of a quick return to prosperous civilization within a few hundred years.

“The other option is the “Reed-bending” plan which sees the citadels accede to most of the demands of the Movement but not all, thus depriving them of momentum and support. This will significantly slow the decline of the Citadel System at the cost of some social stability. However it raises the probability of a long period of low prosperity and organization went he citadel system finally does decline.”

“So dump the problem on our descendants and give them little hope for a quick recovery, or rip the bandage off and hope for the best. Do I have it right?” Asked the City Manager.

“Yes sir,” the scientist nodded.

“Questions for the team?” The City Manager opened his time to the chamber. He knew nobody would ask a thing. All the discussions and debates were handled on public forums in front of any interested citizens long before this meeting.

“In that case we would like to–” Councilman Go raised his hand.

“How many will die?” Go asked without waiting to be called on.

The scientist didn’t pause in her answer. “In the branding scenario, over 945 million in the interim between fall and restoration. A few hundred years. In the “Reed-bending” plan 15 billion total at the end of the decline.”

Her colleague a young sandy-haired researcher added “Those are weighted numbers of deaths attributed to cause above the standard churn at a current baseline.”

The chief scientist smirked. “He means those are the deaths that wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for the upheaval. Not total deaths for all causes.”

The City Manager barely heard the answer. Councilman Go had just performed a coup. It was unheard of to ask a question in these cases, because it made the council member look unprepared. But Go had risked it in order to gain this moment. Now the council could not vote for reed-bending because in every summary, report and truthful edit of the proceedings, it would look like a bot on how many people should die. They were now locked into the distasteful religious option.

The City Manager did not bother to dismiss the guests, but moved straight into a vote. The bailiff escorted the. Scientists out anyway. The vote began and the age of the Citadel ended.

August 16, 2012: 12:34 am: Tales of the Aggregate, writing

The Lonely Tower of Ellay

Outside the great salt plains of western Nortemerica stands a beautiful brick tower of unknown age. Estimates range from two to five thousand years old but it is in perfect condition. No hints to the purpose of the tower can be found inside. A curving ramp, punctuated by openings just large enough to stick an arm out, wraps around the interior. The ramp levels to create platforms by the openings, just wide enough for a person to stand. At the top is a circular spot with a 360 degree view of the surrounding plains.

Archaeologists best guess is that the tower was built for defense, but there the theory ends. There is nothing to defend. No settlement exists and no natural resource worth defending sits nearby.

Surviving records only refer to it as an outpost of the Citadel of Ellay.

However what may have been there in the past is largely unknowable. All that can be found near the tower are traces of a huge explosion that would have incinerated everything within several kilometers. However the tower itself appears to have been unaffected by the blast.

And that leads us to the strangest detail of all. The brick of the tower can be dated and is certainly several thousand years old. But it is in fine condition. Too good. The entire tower, sometime after it’s construction, was sprayed with a complex carbon polymer that protects the brick from degradation. It protects it so well, that only in a few rare places can scientists even get to the brick to analyze it. I these few places where the sealant was either misapplied or worn away, the slightest cracks reveal an aged and crumbling brick. But everywhere else the brick appears merely old but in excellent repair.

In one case the sealant gap was big enough to allow an entire brick to be eroded, but the sealant around the brick was not, yielding an almost invisible case. This technology would seem to have been perfect for windows, but was never used in that way. The gaps in the tower are wide open to the air, and there is no evidence here was ever any covering.

The concrete used inside to make the ramp and platform, reveals little more information. It too was sealed and without gaps. That means it has been impossible to date it to see if it is contemporary with the brick or a later remodeling. The polymer seal is impenetrable to any modern solvent or force. Only lost Delian technology could have moved or broken it.

Still, archaeologists continue to comb over the site, hoping for a sealant crack, or a tidbit of material that escaped destruction to give them a bit more information on the lonely tower of Ellay.

August 15, 2012: 11:42 pm: Tales of the Aggregate, writing

Warren looked at Rida as they bobbed up and down, their capsule tossed by the currents.

“We’re alive,” he said. “We did it.”

“No turning back now,” she smiled.

A sound like destruction of every metal thing you ever knew interrupted them and then ceased.

“Hey!” a voice yelled. “This is Boatman Tira Sukjat. Welcome to Earth?”

A polite way of asking if they were alive or burned to a crisp.

“We’re alive!” shouted Warren. “Thanks for the recovery! It’s nice to be here. Can’t wai to get outside and see what it looks like up close.”

That’s when Warren realized he could barely move. His arms felt like 100-kilogram bar weights as he tried to undo his straps.

“Thank goodness,” yelled back Boatman Sukjat. “Don’t move much OK? The gravity might break a bone. We’ll get you out.”

They had been prepped on the intense gravity on Earth but the reality was much worse than they imagined. The crew of the recovery vessel lifted them out like invalids. They had to sleep in water to reduce the strain on their lunar bred bodies.

When they met with the folks who first contacted them, they did so lying down. Doctors assured them they would adapt enough to stand eventually but they both just wished they could go home.

Most of their mission could have been done without them physically there. They delivered copies of all the data preserved on the Lunar Citadel. They received a briefing and data copies of all the important info preserved on Earth. They would sift through the data and compare notes. This went much faster in person. But one thing they couldn’t have done remotely at all. They couldn’t have conducted a search.

They finally informed Earthside officials of this after the data exchange.

“We notice a lot of data missing from the Earth history’ especially in the post-Delian heretical period,” Rida began.

“Yes, we were hoping maybe you could fill in some of those gaps. You certainly do up until contact was broken,” said the Doctor. “But… That wasn’t very far into post-Delian society, in fact some date the end of the Delian age from that loss of contact. Not that your data isn’t helpful it’s just…”

“You thought there would be more.”

“Yes, especially of late Delian science. There are still things they did we cannot even fathom how. Things as simple as sealants up to advanced cures for diseases and well easier ways to get tot he Moon.”

Rida shrugged off this casual generic for Luna. “You saw our records indicated an Archive capsule was supposed to be sent to us preserving the types of info you speak of. It contained a recent copy of the Internet at the time.”

The Doctor laughed a bit. “Yes, our legends tell of a similar thing. Of course we’ve never determined what the Internet really was. All the records we have are exaggerated, and it looks like yours talk about it in the same vagaries.”

“We think it was real and pretty much as described. We have a small version of it at Amstrong, as you may have seen in our records. We also believe the Archive capsule was real and we think we know where to look for it.”

The Doctor looked skeptical. “If you hadn’t risked your life to be the first people to travel between the Earth and the Moon, I’ll be honest. I wouldn’t listen to a word of this. But setting my prejudices aside. What evidence do you have for the capsule?”

“No more evidence than you have seen that it exists. I think we just have a hater trust and respect for our records than you do, since we never had a period of anarchy to seed them with false data. However observing Earth for signs of life has been an obsession for us. And in a few hundred years we got good at noticing things.

“There is an area in the western region of North America that has a uniform blast radius. It also seems to have a structure preserved near its center. The capsule communications we have all came from a team working feverishly in a region of the LA Citadel called Utah, to preserve records and get the, to the Moon.

“If they tried to launch the records and failed they may still be partially there and there may even be a copy.”

“I know the area you’re speaking of,” The Doctor said, shaking his head. “It’s an odd artifact out near the great salt flats. We have studied it and found nothing like that. I’m afraid it’s just another ruin. The structure in the middle is an empty defensive tower, not a capsule.”

“What was it defending?” Warren finally spoke.

“We don’t know,” the Doctor admitted.

“Will you let us try to find out?” Rida asked.

August 14, 2012: 12:17 am: Tales of the Aggregate, writing

When he crawled out of the tunnel at headquarters nobody was there. Rida had confirmed the issue and hall had been repaired. He found her standing on the railing overlooking Docking Bay.

Docking bay. He thought Bout the literal meaning of it and how shocked he’d been when he learned that as a young boy. A place for ships to dock. Ships from Earth, the big blue ball that shown down on them from time to time. Intellectually he knew they all had begun there, but for him it was a legend. A myth. An unattainable mystical dream to tell stories and dream about but nothing more.

Docking bay to him was just a name for the large open area below central command where all the fans were installed. When the originals had given up on redness from Earth they had begun using Docking Bay to construct the machinery they would need to subsist. Fabs to process raw materials an minerals into tubes and hoses and gears and silicon. Cyclers to take waste products and break out the molecules into reusable growth media, water and even air.

The originals had begin the strict regimen of zero degradation that he had grown up in. Everything was re-used. Anything lost outside the hatches was lost forever. What they had could not be replaced. Each molecule could be re-used, recycled, reformed and refitted, but if they couldn’t find it outside in the Lunar dirt, it could not be replaced.

The originals began an index to track the degradation of materials over time and make sure they could stop leaks and losses quickly. All values started at 1. Recently a few had dropped perilously close to zero. When those ran out it would cause hardship. Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon were the most important. Their indexes were perilously low. He had argued with Rida about whether they would approach zero in their lifetime. She was convinced they would.

And now instead of meeting him at the exit hatch to comb over the data of the repair job and how it would effect cycle rates and nudge the indexes, she stood quietly looking out over the machines chugging away in Docking Bay.

“We’ll have to clear it,” she said as he got close to her.

She had been pessimistic before but this was ridiculous. What had set her off?

“Oh come on Rida, don’t be melodramatic, even if you’re right in a decade or so, the machines are what keeps the index–”

“No,” she turned and showed him a bloodless face painted with fear. “We’ll have to clear it for them, Warren.”

“Who?” he asked concerned. He wasn’t sure she was OK. Should he call Infirm? “Who’s them?”

“The Earth-men. They answered,” she began to sob.

He dropped his tools, as his brain attempted to reconcile his understanding of everything.”

August 8, 2012: 10:04 pm: history, humour

The other day I saw some old footage with athletes wearing CCCP on their uniform, the Cyrillic letters for USSR. It got me wondering how the old Soviet Union would be doing in the medal count if it was still together. So I did a quick count and posted it on Twitter.

The inevitable literalnet responded that not all the medals would have been won, because of team restrictions etc. But a few more interesting people replied with curiosity of how the Roman empire would do, or perhaps the British Empire.

Granted, an exhaustive survey would find out the origins of every athlete that medaled and then account for the team restrictions and who might have won if certain atheletes had been barred from medaling because of that. What I did took me too much time as it is, so this is not that and it’s not perfect.

However it is an amusing, at least to me, look at the medal count with old-timey empires put in for fun.

Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
European Union 67 88 75 230
British empire 51 41 54 146
Roman empire (ca. 117) 39 52 49 140
USSR 25 26 45 96
USA 34 22 25 81
People’s Republic of China 36 22 19 77
Holy Roman Empire (ca. 1600) 20 28 24 72
Russian Federation 11 19 22 52
Great Britain 22 13 13 48

Notes: I counted half the US medals in the British Empire since more than half of the US population lives in the old colonies. I also counted half of Italy for the Holy Roman Empire since only northern Italy was part of the time period I used. I also only used half of Great Britain’s medal count for the Roman Empire, since I really didn’t feel like digging up which of the medal winners were from Scotland and Northern Ireland (and possibly Wales and Cornwall etc. etc. if you *really* want to get sticky about it).

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