Japanese Emperor divine ancestry?

Had a random thought.

The Emperors of Japan stopped claiming divine ancestry under pressure of the US occupation force after World War II.  Had the United States not pushed the issue, and had the guns to force the issue if it came to that, it would not have happened.

While the fact that it happened in another country might make it technically legal for the US to have done that(by domestic law- I don’t know nearly enough about relevant international law to judge)… that’s a pretty serious violation of at least the spirit of the free exercise clause.  Forcing this on an entire country.

Now, Japan appears to be OK with it these days, still, even by our own law we shouldn’t have done it.

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We’re living a sequel to “The Proteus Operation”

“The Proteus Operation” is a time travel/alternate history novel by James P Hogan.  The basic plot- History through World War I proceeds as normal.  In the aftermath, though, it really becomes the war to end all wars.  Peace and prosperity is established worldwide by 2020.

Spoilers for the overall plot of the book, though few highly specific details.
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George Kirk returning in Star Trek 4?

There are rumors that George Kirk will return in some form in Star Trek 4.
Flashbacks seem to be the expected way, but…
Narada was originally a mining ship, but she was refit by the Tal Shiar with Borg technology. Unclear if it was reverse engineered designs or actual salvaged equipment, if the latter… Well, there’s some potential.
So the Tal’shiar installs salvaged Borg equipment on Narada. Not fully understanding how everything works, they don’t realize they are installing assimilation equipment along with the weapons or shield generators, or do and can’t figure out how to disentangle it from what they want to install. But they figure it’s not going to assimilate anyone without a command to do so, so what does it matter if it’s sitting there?  Narada is a huge ship, they have the space.
Flash forward(backward?) to the battle with USS Kelvin. George Kirk crashes Kelvin into Narada. Now, this is assumed to kill him straight away, but perhaps he survives… albeit critically injured. The Borg equipment misinterprets the injured Kirk as a severely damaged drone, and emergency protocols activate to repair the drone.
George Kirk as the Kelvin timeline Locutus. Perhaps a few other drones from other critically wounded Kelvin crew and maybe a few Narada crew near the damaged sections.
It’s a path to bringing in the Borg to this timeline.
This could seem iffy right after another hive mind type of enemy- the Swarm from Beyond- but they could present that Swarm as a precursor to the Borg. I’ve had the thought that it could have been an early version of the Collective tech, and Altamid the homeworld of the original Borg. If they make this canon, and follow it up with a Borgified George Kirk, that could be pretty cool IMO and maybe even make Beyond the second best movie of the reboot.  The experience against the Swarm might also open up ways the relatively less advanced Kelvin timeline Federation might stand a chance against a Borg invasion.
They’d need a clever way to get these drones off Narada rather than using it to assimilate the galaxy, but that shouldn’t be too hard.  Perhaps the assimilation equipment isn’t complete, and their full array of defensive equipment isn’t available, so the Naradas crew would beat them silly?  So they steal a shuttlecraft and go somewhere to contact the main Collective and gear up for an invasion.

Star Trek III and War Crimes.

Kirks “surrender” in Star Trek III would be a war crime in a modern war.
Scuttling the ship is one thing. You don’t have to let the enemy take your stuff when you surrender. Scuttling with enemy boarders aboard is also OK to prevent capture of the ship.
But surrendering with the intent of luring enemy personnel aboard when you scuttle, so that you can more easily capture their ship for your own use, is a flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions. Surrender is a way to end hostilities, not a battle tactic.
Kirk might be able to try to play a technicalities game in that there wasn’t a signed instrument of surrender, but even if he could establish having followed the letter of the law, he certainly didn’t follow the spirit.
The Klingons should have added war crimes charges to the charges of assassinating Gorkon in Star Trek VI.  It’s understandable that they might have considered it diplomatically infeasible to push extradition too hard in Star Trek IV, but they had him in custody in VI.  War crimes charges couldn’t be so easily dismissed, because he actually did do it even if he had some technicality to minimize liability.

Conference speaker diversity

So the atheist movement has a problem with speakers at conferences being disproportionately white men, and maybe a couple white women thrown in if you’re lucky. I’m sure isolated counterexamples could be found, but it’s an issue I see a lot of people complaining about, and a lot of jackasses defending on stupid grounds.
 
Of the 10 announced speakers for Skepticon 9, only two are white men and one of those is trans. One black man, one black woman, the rest white women.
 
If previous years are any indication, the final list will be just as diverse, they aren’t just holding back to drop all the white men on us in one big shot.
 
This can’t be all that hard a problem to solve if a conference that doesn’t pay speakers fees(though they do cover travel and lodging) can make it work.

Quora question- asteroid impacts

https://www.quora.com/If-Earth-were-to-be-unavoidably-destroyed-in-10-years-what-would-the-United-States-do

If we’re looking at something that can actually shatter Earth, we’re screwed.  Pretty much completely.  Even a Mars colony might not save the species, something that big will wreck orbits and cause tidal stresses and all sorts of other crap.  Our best chance in this case is to start with a distress call- just something a passing ship might notice and investigate, and hope to hell they’ve got some ideas and tech to help us out.  Parallel to this, build the largest Orion ship we can, load up the smallest genetically viable founding population we can to crew it, tell them to make babies, and point it at the nearest star that might have an Earth like planet in the habitable zone.  And hope they make it, find a habitable planet, and start anew.  Chances of failure would be incredibly high, but barring helpful aliens with fleets of FTL transports it’s our best, really only, chance of survival.

Now, as for somewhat smaller scale destruction- wiping out all life on the surface- there might be a few additional options.

There’s a good chance we won’t last long enough for the asteroid to kill us. Something this big, there’s no way it could be covered up past maybe the first few months after NASA notices it. Just too many people with telescopes in their backyard, and as it passes through the asteroid belt, too many people with eyes to look up with. There would be panic no matter what governments tried to do.
 
There may be enough wiggle room in “destroyed” for a crash program to build underground shelters for a large enough population to recolonize the surface eventually.
 
There might also be time for a crash project to build ships to take people to Mars. Orion ships could do it, and if the aerospace industry went all hands on deck to get it done(to the point of shutting down things like airliner production entirely) we could probably get a few thousand people to Mars. This has the advantage of being completely out of the line of fire, and the disadvantage of having far more unknowns and more points where things can go wrong than underground shelters.
 
Hopefully, enough people avoid panic that we could attempt both rather than putting all of our eggs in one basket.

A generation ship as in the scenario with Earth actually being destroyed wouldn’t necessarily be a terrible backup plan, but to make the far more plausible Mars attempt work we might not be able to spare the resources.  If the resource situation allows, though, the generation ship should be launched.

It would probably also be a good idea to try to send a distress call into space in this situation too. Coming up with something that aliens would immediately recognize as a distress call would be difficult to say the least, but coming up with something unusual enough to warrant a closer look might be feasible. I wouldn’t put great hope into this working, but we might as well try it if we’re facing extinction.  It’s much more likely, in the event that a passing alien picks it up, that they’ll be able to help mitigate this smaller scale disaster than the Earth shattering scenario above.

What’s an Orion ship you ask?  Nuclear pulse propulsion.  Toss a nuclear bomb out the back of the ship, and ride the shockwave.  The basic principles were proven in the 60s, but bans on nukes in space shut down practical research.  It’s the only tech we have that can achieve the speeds and load capability to give any of this any chance of working.  There are a few ideas discussed in scientific papers that might be better, but we can be sure Orion will work.  Will it work well enough?  Unclear.  But it will work at all, and we can say that with much more certainty than, say, an Alcubierre drive.

Tachometers

So, I have no idea what a tachometer is used for when driving a car, other than “don’t let it get into the red”.  Diagnostics, though, here’s a story.

So I’m driving home, and my car is acting a bit funny.  Engine runs smooth, but every time I let off on the gas power plummets almost fast enough to feel like a stall, but there’s no shuddering as the engine struggles before giving out. Like highway to idle in an instant is what it felt like.  Didn’t notice anything on acceleration.

Running through everything it could be, ruling out all the easy things I can handle on my own, then I catch a glance of my tach.  About 2.7k rpm at about 35mph.

So then I nearly shit a brick.  This held, it wasn’t a brief spike during acceleration.  It was my cruising RPM at that speed.  I was thinking my transmission died and couldn’t reach the gears it was trying for.  Bad news.

Then I remembered that even automatics have some ability to override the transmission and set a specific gear, and sure enough, I was set to 2 rather than D.  Set it properly, and my car ran fine.

I’m not sure I’d have thought to check anything transmission related if not for the tach, which would lead to me being home wondering what the hell was wrong with my car, and being unable to reproduce the problem when my dad came down to look at it.

2.7 at 35, though, makes me wonder how high my engine would go if I went on the highway in 2nd.  I redline at 6.5k(never seen past 4 even in hard acceleration) so I probably wouldn’t immediately break anything, but I can’t imagine sustained driving past the ~2.5k I typically see on the highway would be all that great for engine lifespan.