Neither did video tape.
No. Digital content needs to be worked. Digital archives are a certain path to unreadable formats, corrupted files, failed electronics, etc. It's different with archiving paper/film/etc, where constant handling reduces lifespan and data decays in a "human friendly" way. USBs, harddrives, DVDs, all shitty archive material unless they are being constantly used (and thus checked) and copied and themselves backed up.
Even with a archive folder(s) on an active drive, every few years you need to check that the formats are still readable, and that the player/editor software still works on your current system and/or that newer player/editors play the older files. And periodically convert the data to newer formats (by all means keep the old to avoid lossy conversion to short lifespan formats.) And it all gets backed up with your normal backup regime, which itself is a system that gets periodically updated because it's in regular use.
What exactly is that first component?
Ionisation of the upper atmosphere creates a cloud of relativistically accelerated electrons which the Earth's magnetic field causes to flow (or rather, to slam) back into the ground. That creates a RF pulse so sharp that it creates a voltage potential across any electronics or electrical devices, no matter how well protected against surges. It is sharp enough to create a voltage potential across a Faraday cage, removing the cage's protective effect. (And if you've seen Faraday cages resist lightning, you'll get an idea how fast this pulse is. It makes lightning look slow.)
The second component is slower, and apparently more like lightning. So at distance, a simple surge protector is enough. Closer, a Faraday cage will do the job. The third component is more like a geomagnetic storm, long wave RF that overloads long antennas (such as power lines). Pulling the plug is enough to protect you. Hell, your normal breakers or fuses should also suffice. The risk there is the destruction of the power grid over a large area.
Is there any way an average Joe can protect his electronics from it? Or is the only defense, "pray that a nuke won't detonate above your region"?
Rad-hardened electronics will shorten the distance that you are vulnerable. But mostly it's just about putting bulk mass between you and the EMP. And your basement isn't enough, due to the metal lines running from above (power/plumbing/strapping/etc). So basically that means the answer is bunkers.
It's always bunkers.
There are three components to a nuclear EMP. One affects electronics and can punch though a Faraday cage, one affects electronics but can be stopped by a Faraday cage, and one which affects power lines and a Faraday cage for individual devices is overkill. The range of each component is an order of magnitude greater than the previous.
A geomagnetic storm (from a Carrington Event scale CME) only produces the third component. It won't affect your harddrive unless it's plugged into a wall-socket and you're really, really unlucky.
I'm not saying "It should be", or "I expect", I'm saying it's already been decided: unless the law gets changed, the FAA will be the regulator of private manned spaceflight.
NASA hasn't incrementally developed spacecraft for decades. Their obsession with one-off throw-away designs is a major annoyance of mine.
So the topic was human vs robotic. And it's clear that removing the human element has done nothing to reduce the cost of programs like JWST. On the contrary, it's blown the cost out by over 300%.
Step-wise, incremental development would lower costs no matter what program you are talking about, manned or unmanned.
neither the government nor either company could afford that. NASA has to pick one and fund it.
Can you explain the logic behind that?
If the launches are fixed price, it costs NASA a fixed price per-launch whether they have one vendor or ten. If one vendor (say, Boeing) can't compete, they'll drop out and their launches will go to other vendors who can.
Dropping back to a single vendor on a cost-plus contract is the most expensive option.
OTOH, the cost of JWST has blown out even further than Hubble (approx $9b, from an initial budget below $2b) precisely because there's no human servicing, which means everything in the overly-complex design must deploy perfectly or the entire mission is a bust. Eliminating the added cost of making the spacecraft serviceable is more than made up for by making the need to ensure the spacecraft can't fail.
So "the science guys" aren't a guarantee of savings, once a robotic mission becomes the flagship program and everyone tries to latch on to the teat to fund their idiotic ideas.
The problem with HSF at NASA is the legacy of Apollo, the hundred thousand employees and contractors, the scattered NASA centres and even more scattered contractor networks, which all make HSF unaffordable. (For example, the annual cost of the Shuttle program was the same regardless of how many missions they flew that year, 6, 4, 2 or none. The annual budget for operating the completed ISS is, by amazing coincidence, exactly the same as the annual budget during the construction, which was by yet another amazing coincidence, exactly the same as the annual budget during the last four years of development.)
By developing private human space-flight, we can reduce the cost of doing on-orbit repairs until it's cheaper to send humans to fix something than to write off the spacecraft and send up a new one.
How would SpaceX man-rate Dragon if they aren't selected by NASA given that man-rating space vehicles has always been done by NASA?
It's been done by NASA because NASA was the only body in the US flying humans into space.
Private spaceflight will be regulated by the FAA.
[Looking at FAA's rules for sub-orbital flights, it looks like they are going hands-off initially. Once there are enough commercial HSF accidents to find patterns, they'll start to add rules to eliminate some of the worst cowboy practices. (Same as happened for commercial air travel.)]
Also, SpaceX is trying to commercialise their systems. Boeing has no interest in anything except the NASA contract. That means that, if Bigelow achieves their goal, SpaceX will not only be flying to ISS, but also to private Bigelow stations. That's a secondary career for astronauts, and an alternative career path for NASA's astronaut-candidates who didn't make the cut.
And for that reason, there's nothing "safe" about choosing Boeing's capsule. That's just spin from Boeing's own PR pukes lobbying for funding. Boeing is the furthest behind of the three main participants. It is the most expensive. It will have the least flight time. It will have no upgrade path, and every development will need to be funded entirely by NASA, at increasing costs as it mutates back into a cost-plus program. Boeing has put it none of its own funding into the project, unlike every other participant, and has been lobbying behind the scenes to remove the current Commercial Crew NASA team and replace them with a traditional NASA cost-plus management structure.
Boeing is poison for Commercial Crew, a cuckoo in the nest. The sooner they are excluded from the program, the better.
Astronauts, while edible, are not pies.
"The 2017 Cadillac model will feature Super Cruise technology."
The car will react about half a second faster than you. Which, at 65mph, allows it to stop a full 50 feet earlier than you. It will also brake with full ABS, whereas you will tend to brake timidly at first for another half second before panic braking, which probably saves the car another 30-50 feet.
So it will generally avoid the entire situation that would require moral judgements over orphans versus self. Situations where it must swerve to avoid a collision are ones that occur too close to the car for you, human, to have even reacted to.
You misunderstand. I'm not saying you won't get "economy plus" if you pay for "economy plus", or "business" if you pay for "business". I'm saying that there's no guarantee what that means. Show me on your ticket where it says "minimum 34 inch seat-pitch guaranteed".
I'm saying if you look at the price of two airline tickets for the same class on the same route, one is $500, one is $550, which one has the most legroom? The $550? Not necessarily. There's no information given by the airlines on what sized seat you are buying which allows you to compare. Your original comment said, paraphrasing, blamed the consumers for buying the cheapest option, but the airlines don't give the information I need to chose between them. How do consumers influence the quality of a product if they can't differentiate between products before buying?
In reality, most casual fliers actually over-pay for their tickets because it's so difficult to untangle pricing information, even without getting into differences in seats sizes between different airlines, different aircraft within an airline, different seats within an aircraft. I'm a book-keeper and finding the best value ticket for a given trip is harder than filing my employer's monthly payroll taxes and employee superannuation. Airlines have made an art of obfuscation.
[It is possible to work it out using third party sites, but trying to use them to compare, say, three airlines on a particular route based on price-versus-seat-pitch is extremely difficult. There's no easy comparison system to say "I want to go from A to B, over this approx period, what is the price/seat-size comparison across all airlines?"
There are local airlines where the pitch of "Premium economy" (economy plus) seating is the same as another airline's more expensive "Business" class seats, if they fly the right model aircraft on that route, on that day. If they fly a slightly different model, their "Premium economy" seats are shorter than the "Basic economy" seats on the first airline. Four inch variation between aircraft.]]
It shouldn't be too hard to make aircraft seating configurable for passengers of different weights/heights.
I had that thought too. It shouldn't be hard to put entire columns of seats on rails (adjustable for each flight according to the seat-pitches ordered by customers), without adding significant mass.
However, the seats would then be out of alignment laterally across the aisle, making evacuation much more difficult. That wouldn't be allowed. [Hell, even getting up to piss would be harder, it the seats next to you are out of line with yours.]
I still think bunks are the solution. But evacuation is still an issue. During an emergency evac, everyone is falling over each other as they get out of the top bunks. Plus getting in and out of bunks, particularly for fatties and infirm, would be difficult. But there could be solutions with clever design. And bunks would be a lot more comfortable, IMO.