I think we all agree that people wearing jetpacks are not going to do much to put out a fire, but how about heavy-lift quadcopters that can haul up pressurized tanks of flame retardant foam? They could make periodic landings to swap out empty tanks and batteries for full ones, and they could actually pump meaningful volumes of foam or gel into the upper floors.
Also, how cool would it be if they would swing a harness attached to a bungee cord to people in windows waiting to be rescued, and have the people do a bungee jump "anchored" to a quadcopter? From skyscraper heights, it would be a lot safer than jumping into air pillows.
...marginalises women and the elderly by implying that something need be simple for an old woman to understand it
I am deeply offended at your quickness to assume that my grandmother is "elderly" or an "old woman". I also don't understand how one can so callously write off all the people whose grandmothers do not self-identify as female. Whoever proposed such an intolerant policy deserves a lifetime ban.
To believe that Germany's reason to go to war consisted in exterminating the Jews shows just how brainwashing works over long periods of time.
I suggest you do some reading before resorting to namecalling. Thanks partly to the work mentioned by Fire_Wraith, historical evidence is beginning to accumulate for the race v. race framing of Hitler's motivation for war. Sure, he was optimistic that Germans would prove the strongest race, but it was more important that the struggle of the races is renewed. The Jews played such a central role in Hitler's plans because he thought that they had infiltrated enough of the world's governments that they successfully put a halt to global racial struggle, leaving weak and degenerate races protected by the political artifice of statehood. No doubt this was a totally delusional view of the Jews, which is a prima facie reason to not believe that the Nazis would have held it. But the evidence seems to be stacking up that this is exactly how Hitler saw the situation.
State insitutions sometimes also sell gear in bulk on eBay. Here's is the page for New York State:
I expect you can get a lot of 2010 office computers for $15 a piece. They tend to take out the hard drives, which would be an additional cost, but not a huge one.
I think it's time we admit to ourselves that sometimes, we want scientists to do certain things simply because they're cool. That should count as a perfectly adequate reason, so that we can stop this silly game of pretending that we need to do something cool because we inexplicably started caring a lot about settling some very small and boring scientific question.
I see this a lot when people discuss manned missions to Mars. It's a popular idea, but only because it's cool and full of symbolism we like. It's not because people suddenly became nerds about the history of the Martian regolith, and unmanned missions will simply not adequately satisfy their burning curiosity. Of course, the Mars mission would cost an insane fortune. I'm all for cool things, and humanity is pretty rich, but not that rich. Cloning a mammoth, on the other hand... We might be able to afford that!
I take it the point is to use the materials in space to first build something. Only once it's built will people actually come. The reason why our space programs are stuck in first gear is that we don't know how to build things in space from materials that are there. This will change soon, because many of the lessons of automated production techniques on Earth can be applied (with modifications) in space. The problem will be one of sourcing the raw materials from which to manufacture something useful. So that demand is perfectly predictable, and asteroid mining companies are now taking the baby steps they need to take to eventually satisfy that demand.
If you're wondering about what's worth making in space, there are many great ideas. Here is just one: A truly gigantic telescope mirror. It might actually be easy to do, because the factors that make mirror production on Earth so hard are not a problem in space. There is no need to worry about sagging, stress and all these other gravity-related issues. Space-built telescopes could get pretty darn big, The question is: what will they be made of? And the most plausible answer is: materials from asteroids. Like I said, that's just one example.
Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous