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Comment Re:Cyberpunk (Score 1) 140 140

Now that I think about it. You're right. This smells quite a bit more like the poorly considered ideas coming from Hollywood's action films than hard sci-fi authors. Either way, it's part and parcel for a Bush presidency "expert." Hopefully that is credential enough for his advice to be properly ignored.

Comment Re:The Onion had it right (Score 1) 111 111

I'm not sure I have a good answer to that. I was answering the "why" posed above. Ultimately steps need to be taken that work towards the creation of sustainable goods and services industries. Without a healthy functioning economic engine little else matters. Certain of the African nations are more amenable to supporting their citizenry than others. Those would obviously be the best places to start with. In the course of doing so, perhaps the citizens of the other nations will facilitate a change in their environment.

Comment Re:The Onion had it right (Score 5, Informative) 111 111

Until recently no one has bothered to invest in Africa (only now China). Western powers, particularly the US, actually found it to be a good place to dump farm commodity surplus (USAID). Since these are principally agrarian nations that was particularly helpful to the farmers whom have a hard time competing with free. To support their families the farmers turn to growing coffee for export. Not only does this NOT produce food for local consumption, but these farmers tend to get severely screwed by the middlemen (only weakly mitigated by the joke known as "Fair Trade" certification). The investment that did come (principally oil) went directly into the coffers of despotic leaders of whom are far more concerned with keeping their citizens' necks under their boot than with education, health, infrastructure, etc..

Don't over-estimate the "help" the western world provides to Africa. The principal goal of which is to make the west feel good about themselves not to bootstrap their entrance into the first world.

Comment Re:Blimey (Score 1) 513 513

I don't think you're paying attention to the credentials of the last two batches of testors. This isn't sloppy work. Harold White (NASA) is highly credentialed and esteemed by his peers. The German team in particular is well known for being a bunch of pedantic twits able to rip apart experiments for their faulty methods. They haven't given up on that chore, but their initial conclusions report an inability to find fault in the experiment and are able to comparably reproduce the results.

This device also doesn't have to violate physics, just our current understanding of it. The quantum world for instance while reasonably modeled is largely just that. A collection of models that fit observed behavior. Who says microwaves cannot interact with something from that world? One of the ideas tossed out there (by White IIRC) was that they were pushing against "virtual particles"

Comment Re:British invention? (Score 1) 513 513

A group of Chinese researchers were the first to claim reproduction of the results. This was followed on by NASA, and now apparently these Germans are taking a stab at it. Somewhere between China and NASA I believe I read LockMart paid the fellow a visit but nothing was ever heard from that.

Comment Re:Blimey (Score 1) 513 513

Solar sails and photon drives produce far less thrust than what is claimed to be being measured with these EM drives. If something real is going on here, it is also almost certain that the experiments represent a sub-optimal design. Nobody has a clue how an EM drive produces thrust. Once that's figured out, if there's something to figure out, more efficient designs can be had producing more thrust with less input.

Comment Re:Hey, Musk! (Score 1) 311 311

  1. Not only is Tesla a "new" car company starting from scratch, but a electric car company competing head-to-head with ICE cars.
  2. SpaceX is a private--not from the military industrial complex--company starting from scratch. They're operating on ordinary business margins rather than the--typical for the industry--government "cost-plus" blank check.

Aside from the improbable business side of it, with respect to the technology, both, but particularly Tesla are pioneers in their respective fields. Current day GM vehicles are nothing like a 1905 auto, and in many ways a Tesla is nothing like a current day GM. Your date based argument makes little sense. It is something akin to comparing a stone axe from 1000BC to a modern day chain saw and suggesting that it's nothing new.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)