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Comment: Re:Good. Let's go. (Score 2) 175

Near Earth asteroids contain up to 20% chemically bound water (in the form of hydrated minerals). They don't contain water as water, because at our distance from the Sun it is too hot for water to be retained in a vacuum. To get this water out of the minerals you heat them to typically 200-300C. So stuff the asteroid rock in a closed container, focus enough sunlight on it to reach the required temperature, then have a condenser on the shaded side to turn the vapor back into liquid.

Water has multiple uses in space as propellant, shielding, and for biology. When split to oxygen we can breathe it. Some asteroids also have a large amount of carbon, so you can reform Water + Carbon into Oxygen + Hydrocarbons, which makes an excellent high thrust fuel, but that would be a more advanced application. Simple extraction of water is about as hard as running a distillery for alcohol.

Comment: Re:Absurd (Score 1) 175

You don't want one miner to claim all of Ceres or Vesta (the two largest asteroids). What makes sense is to have a "claim size" based on your mining operation and safety. Thus you don't want the next door miner to be landing his ships too close, because the exhaust can kick up rocks or contaminate your equipment. You also don't want to grant a full size mining claim to someone who lands a 1 kg payload with an electric drill. The claim should scale with how much equipment they are landing and the mining rate.

Of course, what makes sense has nothing to do with what Congress might pass, only 1% of their membership have an engineering background.

Comment: Re:won't work (Score 1) 152

by DanielRavenNest (#47438101) Attached to: Amazon Seeks US Exemption To Test Delivery Drones

I think it would be the inverse. A rather sizable drone delivers to a local distribution point like a pizza place (who are already set up for local delivery). The last few miles are done by auto the conventional way. The Amazon warehouse near a given city has a fleet of drones, who can bypass local traffic. They could be larger and faster due to aerodynamics, and more able to carry navigation and collision avoidance equipment. One drone could even fly a route, with multiple drop off points.

If you coordinate the deliveries with smartphones, you could even have it delivered while you eat lunch, or at home along with your pizza.

Comment: Re:now you lose even more money on bc (Score 3, Informative) 66

The Bitcoin payment network has utility value, because it can perform a useful function (move value from place to place, fast, with low fees). The digital currency unit within the network has value derived from the usefulness of the network it is part of. By itself the currency unit is as useless as a UPS shipping label would be without the rest of UPS.

It should be evident that a network of relay and processing nodes, databases, user software, websites, and smartphone apps can have non-zero value. We could differ on exactly what the value is, but given how much people pay for similar items elsewhere, I don't think you can argue it is zero.

Comment: Re:now you lose even more money on bc (Score 1) 66

intrinsic value vs. depending on a system to tell value from useless paper is a terrible deal.

There is no such thing as "intrinsic value". All value is relative to human needs and desires, which are not only different for each person, but varies for the same person at different times. You can measure "utility value" for an item, based on its usefulness to people, but that changes over time. For example, horses as transportation have near zero or even negative utility in the modern world, since they cost more to own and operate than even the worst motorized transport, and there are many places you can't even use horses.

In the case of bitcoin, looking only at the digital coin gives the wrong answer. The coin only functions as part of the Bitcoin payment network. It is the network that makes it spendable, and therefore useful. The analogy I make is of a UPS shipping label. By itself it is just a bit of sticky printed paper, of no particular value. As part of the UPS shipping network it is much more useful, and therefore has significant value, as evidenced by what people are willing to pay for a label.

Comment: Re:Bit torrent needs to die (Score 1) 92

by DanielRavenNest (#47394049) Attached to: Rightscorp Pushing ISPs To Disconnect Repeat Infringers

> A number of companies have taken to monitoring *ALL* BT traffic of consequence on a *GLOBAL* basis.

I call BS on that. The Pirate Bay alone has 46 million peers active. Nobody short of the NSA, and maybe not even them, can monitor that much traffic. If "of consequence" means the several thousand torrents with > 100 active peers, it would be feasible to get statistics, and maybe an IP list, but not monitor the actual traffic between users.

Comment: Re:Why are all of you so naive ? (Score 1) 251

You don't need a list of towers. Just fly a RC drone around with a signal measuring phone and snap a photo when you get close. Official towers should be pretty easy to distinguish from unmarked vans or police cars. No fancy equipment is needed to measure signal strength. Just a mirror in front of the phone that reflects the signal meter to the camera.

Comment: Re:Auctioning money? (Score 2) 101

> Gold has intrinsic value. Does bitcoin have any? No.

Gold has value because of its physical properties, scarcity, and attractiveness. The Bitcoin Network has value because of the ability to move funds from place to place, just like the UPS network has value for the ability to move packages from place to pace. Gold's source of value isn't better than other sources of value, just different. All value derives from people wanting or needing something, and the supply in relation to demand. Demand for the "bitcoin" token, which is an accounting unit within the Bitcoin Network, derives from the usefulness of the Network. Since the tokens are scarce goods, their exchange value is set by supply and demand. This is similar to how UPS shipping labels acquire value as part of the UPS network. The labels don't have value by themselves, they are just sticky paper with printing on them.

> Real money is guaranteed by the govt. If bitcoin can be considered valid currency, anybody else should be able to create their own currency.

Fiat currency is guaranteed to lose value relative to other goods through overproduction. Fiat means "let it be so", its a government imposed requirement that it be accepted for certain purposes. There are no other guarantees about it. You should read up on private bank notes prior to the Federal Reserve and private currencies since then. People do create currencies all the time, all it takes is enough acceptance in trade for other goods. Look up cigarettes in prisons, Tide detergent in buying drugs, and local currencies used particular towns. In terms of digital currencies like Bitcoin, there are hundreds of alternates, although Bitcoin has over 90% of the total market. It was the first and has the widest acceptance - dozens of exchanges where you can trade them for other currencies, and over 60,000 merchants where you can spend them.

> Credit card companies don't manufacture currency, they just transfer it. Bitcoins are manufactured in transactions.

Banks do in fact manufacture money supply when they make loans, look up "fractional reserve banking". They can then trade some of that money supply for circulating notes and coins (ie paper money). How much is based on customer demand. In the US about 12% of the money supply exists as physical notes and coins. The rest only exists as entries in computerized ledgers *just like bitcoin*. The bitcoin accounting tokens are generated by the accountants (miners) who verify blocks of transactions. They have to be originally distributed somehow, and the chosen method is payment for work done. But this is just an initial distribution situation. Once generated, coins or fractions thereof only move from person to person, and in a few years most of the bitcoins will have been generated, since the distribution algorithm provides half the remaining coins every 4 years, to a max of 21 million total.

Comment: Shedding some light (Score 1, Informative) 76

> The telescope will shed light on the 'dark ages' of the universe,

No, actually the telescope will *collect* light from the dark ages of the universe. If it shed light it would be the world's biggest fucking flashlight.

If you want to be pedantic, it *will* shed light, from several lasers mounted on the sides of the telescope structure. Those create artificial stars in the upper atmosphere so that atmospheric distortion can be cancelled by the adaptive optics. But those are attachments, not the main telescope.

Comment: Re:Water on mars for self-sustaining city (Score 1) 275

by DanielRavenNest (#47276253) Attached to: Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026

> Which would die due to harmful radiation from the sun.

Pressurized greenhouses that are buried under Martian soil, with outside mirrors to direct sunlight to windows, which have filters to block out excess UV. You want the mirrors to mildly concentrate the light, since Mars only gets about 40% of Earth's solar intensity.

"The geeks shall inherit the earth." -- Karl Lehenbauer