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Comment Re:Start with the moon (Score 4, Informative) 683

The Moon is not better than Mars. It has a much harsher thermal environment due to its complete lack of atmosphere. Mars is very cold - but its pretty consistent. The Moon has wild variations in temperature depending on if you are in sunlight or shade - and the night lasts 2 weeks. The first lunar night it had to endure pretty much killed the Chinese moon rover. Non of the Apollo missions spent a night.

The dust on the Moon is entirely un-weathered, and is likely to present a hazard due to being incredible abrasive. Mars dust is probably easier to deal with

The martian atmosphere provides CO2 - that is 2 useful elements you can get just by sucking it through a pump. Any materials you want to use on the Moon must be mined from rocks, and that is harder.

Finally, the Moon is too close. One goal of an offworld colony is a break from lots of the crap here on Earth. A place where you could conceivably still get a connection to Earth internet (albeit with seconds of lag) makes this harder.

Comment Re:Author has no clue ... (Score 2) 683

There have been expeditions to space stations smaller than the ISS, for duration longer than a trip to Mars. He is also wrong about the Hinderberg; hydrogen may well not have been the culprit (this theory was mainly pushed by the Nazis to blame the US for not selling them helium) and in any case the airship industry was mostly killed by powered flight getting better.

Comment Is there a market? (Score 1) 75

The technology seems sound. Others here raise concerns but I don't think they are showstoppers. This rocket ought to work. But who will buy it? The Falcon 1 filled a very similar niche and price point to this new rocket, and SpaceX simply couldn't find any customers for it. So why do people keep building these dedicated small satellite launchers? I am guess its because its easy. Your engines can be below the size threshold of various difficult and expensive problems. You don't need such a large launch facility. These companies may figure that, like SpaceX, they can create a tech demo rocket which won't attract payloads and then use it as a stepping stone to a proper rocket. What they seemed to forget is that SpaceX got through some very difficult times via direct injection of Elon Musks own cash, and also with NASA support which might not be offered again.

Comment Europe isn't Eutopia (Score 1) 734

The toxic neoliberalism that causes all the problems you describe in the US has infected Europe as well; its running riot with the coalition government in the UK trying to destroy the NHS by stealth, and on the continent its manifested by the technocrats running the Eurozone inflicting deliberate economic hardship on nations like Greece for the own byzantine macroeconomic aims.

The political classes of all western countries are heading towards Chinese levels of corruption, self-service, and outright theft. Democracy has descending into moronic partisan bickering over minor variations on the same agreed policies which are the real problem. Prime Ministers Questions makes the US Congress look like a bunch of functioning adults. The media is little more than clickbait and sensationalism.

This is the part of the post where you expect me to promote my Perfect Answer to all of this. Sorry, I don't have one. Anyone who claims they do is likely wrong.

Comment Re:This is not news (Score 2) 168

All of this is true. I am not attacking actual SpaceX, I'm attacking the libertarian fantasy version of SpaceX where a genius entrepreneur forges a rocket purely with the power of his mind and all the government does is hold him back. This is not an argument of "Well you suck too!" its just a statement that no launch service is entirely independent of government nor likely will be any time soon. I agree that SpaceX seems to be operating a lot better than some of the more well established US launch providers - but is that an indication that SpaceX is really groundbreaking, or that the old guard were simply complacent and greedy?

Comment Re:Dark matter and the sniff test (Score 1) 85

Because the equations aren't "off" at all. They precisely predict the mass density of the universe and the baryon density of the universe from observations. The difference between these two values is very well established. Read the results papers from Planck and WMAP.

Comment Re: Dark matter and the sniff test (Score 3, Informative) 85

Another good question. Gas can lose energy because it interacts with other radiation and matter, but dark matter cannot. The total angular momentum of the system must always be conserved, and a disk is the lowest energy configuration that does this. Both dark matter and gas start off in the spheroidal arrangement, and then the gas the cools to form a disk.

Comment Re: Dark matter and the sniff test (Score 1) 85

The claims are "extreme" because you don't like them, and the confidence of astrophysicists in this matter is a consequence of the overwhelming weight of evidence.

You have decided to take a position on a subject you are completely ignorant of, and that contrary positions to this are "extreme" and thus must be treated as fringe nuttery. Essentially, you think that your ad hoc guesses should be treated like the null hypothesis. You can try and dress it up in as much intellectual sounding language as you like, but you are being absolutely moronic and I'm done with you.

Comment Re: Dark matter and the sniff test (Score 1) 85

Stop. Really. You are embarrassing yourself. That is EXACTLY what you meant. You said I thought "the equations were off in two regards", so clearly you didn't know about any of the other evidence of dark matter. Now you are back-pedalling as you slowly realise you are not even vaguely qualified to be in this conversation.

Comment Re: Dark matter and the sniff test (Score 2) 85

I never said there was no other evidence for dark matter. The ratio of deuterium and the acoustic peaks of the CMB require most of the mass in the universe to be non baryonic. I simply stated the evidence that this non baryonic matter makes up most of the MW-M31 system. Your strident arrogance, coupled with your immense ignorance of the subject matter, would make a wiser person stay quiet.

Never trust an operating system.