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Comment Re:How is this newsworthy? (Score 1) 281

So you think that just because you decided to kill them, they didn't have the right to live? That's really your take on things?

If you initiate violence, you are giving up your OWN claim on your right to live. You have the right up until you infringe on someone else's. That's simple, rational stuff. If you can't use reason in your world view, then you are by definition looking at things irrationally. If you act irrationally, and it results in you doing something like killing those 9 people, then you have waived your own right to your life. Do you get that? You don't need a government to tell you that. But if you can't figure it out without a government telling you that, please do the rest of us a favor and don't do anything dangerous like voting.

Comment Re:How is this newsworthy? (Score 1) 281

In a modern society arms are useless.

Really? Then why does every single political leader - across the spectrum, including flaming lefty tyrants, eastern European strongmen, laid-back Scandinavian royalty and elected officials, mayors of cities, etc. - have armed protection at their disposal?

Why do police departments train in the use of arms? Why do militaries, even strictly defensive ones, understand the need to be able to use arms?

It's nice for you that you live in a fantasy world where there is no need for a 90-pound woman to ever defend herself against a man three times her size. Where is it, exactly, that you live that there are absolutely no violent people, no robberies, no rapes, no crimes that endanger lives? Please be specific, and if you would, please link to some reports that show your zero crime rate. Not that you will, of course, because you're full of it, and you know it.

Comment Re:How is this newsworthy? (Score 1) 281

What a load of shit. Without a government, you have no rights. Go live in a jungle sometime...

Wow, you really haven't thought this through, have you? You should.

So, you and another 100 people are in the jungle. 10 of you decide to get together in a group (you know, assembling) and chant something they think is important (you know ... speaking). Who is giving them the perfectly natural behavioral elbow room to assemble and express themselves? The other 90 people who aren't even paying attention to them? The trees? No. These are perfect examples of "natural rights." If some of the other 90 people decide to get together and force those 10 people to no longer gather, or no longer speak their minds, they are infringing on their freedom to assemble and speak.

The US constitution recognizes this, and its first amendment explicitly says that the government can't infringe on that right. There's no place in the constitution that defines the right to assemble or speak ... those are a given. They are self-evident, natural freedoms that can only be limited by other people or groups. Those 10 people don't need the other 90 to do anything in order for their group of 10 to be able to gather and speak. They can do that without any action or permission from anybody. If someone decides to take action shut them up, that's infringement of that right.

Without a government, a society, a rule of law, etc there is no such thing as 'rights'.

Nonsense. Without rule of law, there is no protection of rights. You really think that your right to speak comes from the government? You truly don't understand that it's the government's job to prevent other people (and those same government institutions) from forcibly shutting you up?

Comment Re:Venus (Score 1) 304

An intruiging idea. I think a lot of it would apply well to Mars as well - no reason you couldn't have aeroponics everywhere there too, given nuclear power or vast solar arrays for the lighting. Create a large football-stadium style dome and you've got a great park if you want "open air", and of course there would likely eventually be large inflated (or glasslike) domes for farming radiation-resistant plants,

As for opressiveness, once a wall is opaque, you can't really perceive how thick it is. And I'm not sure how attractive Venus would be in comparison - sure, you may get a lot more windows, but if you're hovering at an altitude for Earthlike conditions, you're roughly in the middle of the cloud layer, so visibility will be limited to gaps between clouds. It would be great if you could float just above them, but at that altitude you're down to about -70C ambient temperature and less than 1/10atm. Not exactly conductive to a balloon city.

There's also those ever-present lightning storms all around you - that's going to be noisy, and a serious maintenance issue. I like a good thunderstorm probably more than most, but I don't want to live in the middle of one 24-7. And how do you plan to prevent lightning strikes through your habitat? An ion shield such as trees commonly deploy might help, but that's going to be a lot to create and maintain, and isn't 100% effective, so you'll still have to regularly patch large scorch holes and any equipment that gets hit. There's a reason aircraft strive to avoid thunderstorms.

That also brings up an issue with solar panels - not only will their conductive components tend to act as lightning rods (intercloud lightning travels horizontally as easily as vertically), but since you're in the middle of the cloud layer they won't actually be getting anywhere near as much sunlight as they would in orbit, maybe not even as much as they would on Earth or Mars, after all there's no such thing as a clear day on Venus. I don't suppose you know how opaque the Venusian cloud layers are? I imagine the probes would have offered a fairly accurate assessment. And while you could float solar panels above the clouds easily enough, the steep wind shear with altitude means you couldn't keep them tethered to your city (even if stringing miles of electrical cable through a thunderstorm wasn't a really bad idea to begin with)

Also, one other point to consider, is what would the actual radiation exposure be? If the ambient pressure is ~1atm, then you have roughly as much air above you as you would on Earth, but without a magnetosphere you're going to be counting on that air to block a lot more radiation. Especially since the solar bombardment portion will be 80% higher than on Earth, and 4.4x times higher than Mars. Of course that's mostly solar wind, whose relatively low-energy charged particles should mostly be rapidly stopped by atmospheric collisions. It's the cosmic rays that are the real issue.

Comment Re:Mars is impossible (Score 1) 304

Really, do I have to make *every* detail explicit?

Option 1: you apply something like "normal" concrete to the *inside* of the inflated dome form, where you're not in vacuum. Just like is currently done for much commercial dome casting.

Option 2, use a non-water based binding agent that will set in vacuum, such as epoxy. Just like is commonly done when constructing laminates in a vacuum press.

Please do at least minimal research before calling other people idiots. There's little sadder than an incompetent troll.

Comment Re: Obligatory (Score 1) 662

It's funny you should mention a bell curve. The other day, while thinking about this, I pictured society as a bell curve progressing over time. What was "perfectly normal societal behavior" two generations ago winds up being "highly racist comments" nowadays. One of the problems with these fringe groups is that they see the bell curve passing them by and long for the days when they were in the middle of the curve. (Whether they ever actually would have been in the middle or whether they are glamorizing the past and putting themselves in the middle is another story.) The more the bell curve passes them by, the more desperate they get to pull it back and the more they are willing to resort to behavior that shocks the current "normal society."

Sadly, the long tail of the bell curve probably means that these people will be around for quite awhile, getting more and more desperate to get society to conform to their view of what it should be.

Comment Re:This time... (Score 1) 98

Unlike past efforts, our NEW copy protection scheme will totally work.
By the way, by any chance, would you happen to be in the market for a bridge?

When the content industry acts like this, I imagine them like they are a little old lady by a slot machine. Sure, the last 200 coins she inserted didn't pay off, but this coin will DEFINITELY win the jackpot. Sure, the last 200 or so DRM schemes broke, but this one will be unhackable. The difference is that the little old lady will eventually hit the jackpot if she plays long enough. The same can't be said of DRM schemes.

Comment Re:Venus (Score 1) 304

I'm not sure how relevant a Hohman transfer orbit is for people, though it would doubtless be used for supplies. Either direction that's a roughly half-year journey - far too long for passengers without serious radiation shielding. So that means either you have a large mass of shielding that you have to accelerate at both ends of a Hohmann transfer, or you can make the trip much more quickly so that you don't need the shielding nor many supplies. Which is actually the more energetically attractive option would be worth investigating, but the fast route seems far better for morale.

You make some excellent points that I'm going to enjoy thinking about.

I still think Mars is more achievable with current and near-term technology, but Venus may well prove far more hospitable in the medium term (long term, I wouldn't even venture a guess). The mass constraints inherent in a buoyant city would make for some interesting social pressures.

Comment Re:nanopore tech still has accuracy problems (Score 1) 33

All right, I think I understand your objection. The details are always far more significant from "in the trenches". On the other hand this is my first exposure to the technology outside of I think hearing of it as proof of concept years ago, and it seems like it has great potential. Watching from a distance the speed of evolution of gene-sequencing technology in general is quite breathtaking. The mere existence of these tools today leads me to expect much more sophisticated implementations to be commonplace within a few decades, though not necessarily based on the same technology.

Comment Re:nanopore tech still has accuracy problems (Score 1) 33

Seems to me the big practical advantage is actually having a sequencer available in relative backwaters. Satellite internet is available everywhere, while physically shipping non-degraded samples to labs that may be many days away seems like it could be a challenge.

Comment Re:Mars is impossible (Score 1) 304

Notice what all those problems had in common - not walking or getting much exercise. There's gravity on Mars, people will walk around. What research we've been able to do suggests that at least the worst of the problems are specific to microgravity, not just lower gravity. Will there be some problems on Mars? Quite possibly. But we'll never know what they are, or whether their serious enough to be a major issue until we make the attempt.

Now, if you're talking about issues that might prevent colonists from returning to Earth, well then I'm inclined to agree, especially for native-born Martians. A skeletal system that's only ever known 0.4g will probably be severely stressed by being suddenly subjected to 2.5x as much. Not to mention it's extremely unlikely their muscles would be strong enough for them to maneuver effectively. Though in counterpoint centrifuge tests seem to suggest that people can adapt to functioning at 2g's, and a Martian would have the added advantage of a genetic heritage developed to handle a full 1g.

That's only a problem for Martians who want to return to Earth. Sucks if you decide you don't like Mars, but isn't really relevant to Martians living on Mars. All that's important there is whether low gravity causes serious health problems. And so far I'm not aware of a single study that identifies any microgravity problem that wouldn't be drastically reduced if not completely eliminated in the presence of Mars gravity. Not saying they won't exist, but they probably won't be immediately life-threatening, and there's only one way to find out.

As for buildings, perhaps I spoke too florally, your city wouldn't be one huge dome, but many smaller ones. At least at first. It's unlikely be terribly inconvenient to build concrete domes of a few hundred to several thousand square feet - we can build one in a couple days on Earth, including site preparation, using a single semi-trailer worth of equipment. Cast the foundation, inflate the form, blow the concrete. Probably want some sort of reinforcements in there too, that adds a little time. Then remove the form and repeat, With care they're typically good for at least several dozen domes on Earth. Seems like a no-brainer to ship an adapted version to Mars. You'd obviously need to develop a concrete formula using local materials, but people are already working on that, and early results are promising.

So, build clusters of domes, as many as you like, and cover the inner walls with airtight "paint". Lots of local options for that, nanocellulose being one that has lots of other applications as well (it's roughly as strong as aluminum). Then you've got a city that can grow organically - just build a new dome against existing ones and cut holes in the intersecting walls. Put in pressure doors at least occasionally so you can limit the damage from inevitable failures.

Make that the plan and you could probably have the first domes up within a year, maybe much sooner. And once you've established sources for materials, making more domes will be much faster. Of course the first wave of pioneers settlers will likely initially live in pre-fabricated buried shelters since you don't want their survival dependent on not having bad luck procuring local materials, but finding the necessary local resources to support rapid growth is likely to be an extremely high priority, both for the long-term plan and their own comfort.

Now living inside all the time - yeah, that's probably going to wear on people. I would be a hard sell. Though I doubt hiking would be a huge problem - if you can handle the radiation from a month in space, a few hours outside probably isn't going to be a big problem, though you might want to avoid it in the months leading up to conceiving a child. Especially since the planet will be blocking half of the extra-solar radiation. And cabin fever tends to be much less of an issue as size increases. Build something mall size with lots of public spaces, and I'd venture it's not a horrible problem. And hey, talk about your prime market for virtual reality entertainment! Meanwhile you've got great sound insulation between domes, and people don't really need all that much personal space, current standards are a statistical fluke, both globally and historically. A hundred square feet of personal apartment is probably suitably luxurious, and the beauty of domes is that the bigger you make them, the cheaper they get.

Yeah, lots of speculation in that last paragraph, but there hasn't been a lot of research

Comment Re:Mars is impossible (Score 1) 304

We're talking about Venus, not Mars. Do try to keep up, there's not much sadder than an incompetent troll.

And there's nothing magical about either planet that will change the laws of physics or the degree to which biology can modify the environment. The only questions are how different life would have to be to survive there, and whether we're competent enough to find or create something suitable.

Comment Re:Mars is impossible (Score 1) 304

Oh really? Care to give an example or are you just being contrary? Because I'm really not seeing anything that's going to stop my axe from chopping a block of ice off a glacier just because I'm on Mars. We know the glaciers are there, ice isn't going to be magically stronger, and water melts the same everywhere. You may need to distill it to remove toxins before use, but distillation should work the same on Mars as well. The only question is whether there's anything dangerous in the water that would prove more difficult to remove.

Comment Re:nanopore tech still has accuracy problems (Score 1) 33

Good to know, thank you. I can see how a 4% error rate would leave much to be desired when building a reference sequence, though if necessary you could presumably do many additional passes to bring the error rate down further. I assume that 96% is just the point where they decided that diminishing returns weren't worth the incremental cost, and that will presumably improve with time.

I agree that 96% is not great, but it's more than sufficient to recognize a virus. And once you have a database of related DNA, it shouldn't be difficult to look for differences and similarities. You may not know for certain whether any given deviation from the "norm" is noise or genuine mutation, but so long as you're taking many samples from a community you can probably make a pretty high-confidence conclusion about even SNPs - if it's present more than a few percent of samples it's probably a real mutation characteristic of the local virus strain. Similarities between viruses infecting different communities then gives you a pretty good indication of a common origin. Not perfect, but a huge improvement over simply guessing at the path of infection.

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