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Comment Re:I feel so conflicted... (Score 0) 132

There. Not they.

Academia. Not accademia.

Cite. Not site.

Oh, and what "usually" happens when you you use a collection of preused ideas is that you create something that is unoriginal, at best. Though I must admit that your spelling is original. Perhaps that's what you were talking about?

Comment Re:Another benefit of low crude pricing (Score 2, Insightful) 92

The level of arrogance and ignorance in both your post and the grandparent would be astounding if it wasn't for the fact that it appears to be all-too-common. That "landlocked Asian minor country" has the largest coastline of any nation in the world. They are in the midst of rapid deployment of technologies to exploit the resources and opportunities of the arctic region including many new icebreakers in an effort to open a northern sea route (which may become very viable if the global warming predictions come true). Further, their current military campaign in Syria has proven remarkably effective, especially in contrast to the anemic actions of the United States and our western allies before they entered the conflict. They have demonstrated the capabilities of submarines being able to fire missiles while submerged to the effective use of some of their most modern fighters (as opposed to our failed F-35) and effective long range cruise missiles. They are growing increasingly capable while we appear to be stagnating.

It should also be noted that Russia has been signing major deals with some of the world's largest nations at the same time that we seem to be alienating our friends here in the United States. Far from being a needy border-line-third-world-nation, Russia seems to be showing us up time and again. Twice now the United States in the past few years, the United States has been forced to back down when Russia asserted their will in Syria, and despite economic pressure on Russia over Ukraine, they have not backed down at all. A lot of talk has been made over how Russia has a shrinking cash reserve and yet everyone seems to forget that _they_actually_have_a_reserve. Further, their foreign debt is currently decreasing at the same time our national debt has just reached $19 trillion. When one considers that our proposed defense budget is as large at the combined total of the next 8 countries and yet we have a fighter that cannot fight and a high-tech destroyer that cannot float, I don't think we have much room at all to speak of Russian corruption (though it almost certainly exists).

Given current trajectories, it seems to me that our country is more likely to face a future of irrelevancy than the Russians right now. Our press is very selective about what they cover, but reality has a nasty way of asserting itself and often in very painful ways.

Comment Re:I knew something was up (Score 1) 298

(power companies charge order of a billion dollars for ten hours of the electricity produced by a gigawatt plant).

Umm, no.

A gigawatt plant produces 10,000,000 KWhr in ten hours. We'd have to be paying about $100 per KWhr for this to be true.

And I don't know about you, but my electric bill isn't $30,000 per month....

Comment Re:flush (Score 2) 412

"A Logic Named Joe" by Murray Leinster (1946).

Mr. Leinster, at least, seems to have imagined some of the technology that our children use today. And he was a decade older than MY grandparents (and I'll be a grandfather soon).

But your point is still reasonable, if a longer timeline is used. Why should we expect that Charlemagne should have anticipated the modern world? And we should we think that we can anticipate the limits of the possible for our descendants in 1200 years (for those of you who are unaware of "Big Charlie", he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800AD (and yes, it was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire, but that's what history likes to call it anyway - deal))?

Comment Re:That a better answer than stopping sales (Score 1) 168

Many years ago DOD used to dither the timing signals on GPS (called "selective availability") to downgrade the position quality.

And the people who really needed accurate positioning information did "differential GPS".

Which basically consisted of a GPS receiver at a known surveyed point and a transmitter that sent corrections out in realtime based on the difference between where GPS said they were and where the survey said they were. Worked quite well close to the survey point (within a few dozen miles), not so well further away. So the whole point of SA was eliminated....

Comment Re:Newsflash: Subjects willing to take tests are.. (Score 1) 182

and folks who self-label as 'geeky' in public are folks who project a willingness to focus and specialize on a small range of subjects that they admire

It should be noted that fly-fishermen are the same way.

Ditto pilots. And sailors. And computer programmers. And...

Different "small range of subjects" for each, of course....

Comment Re:Huh, imagine that (Score 2) 34

We don't actually need to send people to a far away, dead hostile rock? Just send boxes on wheels, and have them fly back the dead rocks the geeks like to fantasize about, like Luna 16.

Frankly, if people aren't going to go there, why bother sending the box on wheels? Not like the composition of moon rocks matters, really (absent some need to mine them, of course, which pretty much means "people in outer space", since there's no shortage of metals to mine here on Earth).

Comment Re:Republic vs Democracy (Score 1) 490

Hmm, a Federal Council and a Federal Assembly. That doesn't sound like a direct democracy. It sounds a lot like any other parliamentary system (hell, it sounds like the USA, really, though the two systems aren't really very much alike).

Yes, there is a referendum mechanism, but that exists in several of our States, and none of them have a "direct democracy" either.

Comment Let's make some assumptions... (Score 5, Interesting) 163

1) The first stage is 2/3 the total cost to launch. Which would be $40 million.

2) They can renovate the first stage for $5 million.

3) They can get five launches from a first stage (original plus four more).

So, $60 million for five launches, plus the $20 million for the second stage x5.

Which comes to $32 million per launch. A bit more than half the current price.

Now, I consider those pessimistic assumptions.


If we replace (3) with 15 launches per first stage, we get $28M per.

If we replace (2) with $1M per launch, we get $29M for five launches, $23.75 per launch for 15 launches.

Big picture: reusing the first stage only will allow them to drop prices by 40-60%.

Now, if they can reuse the second stage also, we're talking some real money....

Comment Re:I know where!! (Score 1) 143

Just out of curiousity, did you know that each of the biggest three coal mining disasters has produced an order of magnitude more deaths than all of the nuclear accidents (including Chernobyl and Fukushima) combined?

And that routine coal mining deaths are a bigger killer in the 20th century than nuclear power, even if you define "nuclear power" in such a way as to include the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings?

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