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United States

Obama's 2016 NASA Budget Status Quo, Funds Europa Mission 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the paying-bills dept.
MarkWhittington writes The Washington Post reported that the NASA portion of the president's 2016 budget proposal is basically status quo though it does provide further funding for a mission to Europa. A Europa probe is near and dear to the new chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NASA, Rep. John Culberson. However, the $18.5 billion budget proposal also funds the asteroid redirect mission, which has come under increasing fire from both Congress and the scientific community. The Houston Chronicle suggested that the final spending bill will be considerably different once congressional Republicans get through with it.

Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program? 156

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-the-money dept.
MarkWhittington writes The Houston Chronicle's Eric Berger has published the seventh in his series of articles about the American space program and what ails it. The piece focuses on Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, who has two fascinating aspects. The first is that he is taking over the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NASA funding. The second is that he has a keen appreciation for the benefits of space exploration for its own sake and not just for his Houston area district.

Culberson wants to save NASA and the space program from his fellow politicians and return it to its true glory. He favors sending American astronauts back to the moon and a robotic space probe to Jupiter's moon Europa. He would like to enact budget reforms that take funding decisions away from the Office of Management and Budget and gives them solely to Congress. He favors a steady increase in NASA funding to pay for a proper program of space exploration. To say the least, he has his work cut out for him.

Comment: Re:This is an overreaction (Score 1) 465

by Quinn_Inuit (#48596325) Attached to: Peru Indignant After Greenpeace Damages Ancient Nazca Site

While I agree that this is an opportunity for politicians to discredit Greenpeace.. its not an issue of ENVIRONMENTAL damage.. its an issue of preserving National and World Heritage. The government of Peru is not worried about plants and animals in this case.. it is worried about keeping these ancient grounds for future generations.

What they did is the equivalent of pissing on the Mona Lisa.

Don't give them ideas!


Exomoon Detection Technique Could Greatly Expand Potential Habitable Systems 66

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the larry-ellison-to-buy-exomoon dept.
Luminary Crush (109477) writes Most of the detected exoplanets thus far have been gas giants which aren't great candidates for life as we know it. However, many of those planets are in fact in the star's habitable zone and could have moons with conditions more favorable. Until now, methods to detect the moons of such gas giants have been elusive, but researchers at the University of Texas, Arlington have discovered a way to detect the interaction of a moon's ionosphere with the parent gas giant from studies of Jupiter's moon Io. The search for 'Pandora' has begun.

Comment: If it's as easy as that "Turing Test" was... (Score 1) 285

by Quinn_Inuit (#47421653) Attached to: The Lovelace Test Is Better Than the Turing Test At Detecting AI

...then all the computer will have to do is string together a series of random English words till it puts together something that sounds like a short story written by a Hungarian first-grader for whom English is a second language.

I don't care what they call the test. It's useless if the grading rubric is rigged to allow any idiot to write something that passes. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go see if I can talk ELIZA into writing me something that would function as an epistolary novel.

Comment: Google's not stupid (Score 4, Insightful) 583

by Quinn_Inuit (#47106629) Attached to: Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel
If you take the set of people who might be willing to buy a self-driving car (a set underrepresented on /.), few of them are going to want to do it if they're on the hook for whatever the car does. If that's the case, you might as well drive yourself. Google doesn't want that, either, and just put out a statement to that effect. My guess is that they're going to try to get the relevant laws changed, but, in the meantime, what better way to protect your users from liability than to make it impossible for them to have had any control of the vehicle?

Comment: Re:WhatsApp is not evidence of a bubble (Score 1) 154

by Quinn_Inuit (#47090051) Attached to: Agree or Disagree: We are in another tech bubble.
I think this is an excellent point. The current state of affairs lacks the massive public exuberance of the tech bubble or the real estate bubble. Remember what Joe Kennedy (Sr.) said about knowing it was time to cash out when the shoeshine boy had hot stock tips? I'm not hearing hot stock tips from the modern equivalent of shoeshine boys right now, not like I was about real estate ca. 2004 or tech ca. 1999. Plus, gold is too high. How can we have a proper bubble if a lot of the "air" is still elsewhere?

Comment: Re:Not really much here (Score 2) 258

by Quinn_Inuit (#46988215) Attached to: What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze?
Does anyone find it weird that they looked and found 26/29 just happened to be dated incorrectly? I'm assuming that different groups dated the sites originally (depending on who excavated them), and then this group comes in and discovers that they're almost all mis-dated in ways that support their hypothesis. That strikes me as amazingly convenient.

Comment: Re:As someone currently dealing with athlete's foo (Score 1) 63

by Quinn_Inuit (#46504517) Attached to: Friendly Fungus Protects Our Mouths From Invaders
My allergist isn't a big fan of zinc pyrithione. Selenium sulfide shampoos, OTOH, have worked far better for my seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp (also possibly caused by a fungus...specifically, a normal member of the skin ecosystem that gets out of control on some people) than zinc pyrithione ever did. I've noticed it works even better when used in concert with a prescription topical steroid. You want to absolutely minimize use of the steroid, but the one-two punch is strong enough that I can get away with only using the steroid once a month.

Comment: Failure condition? (Score 2) 846

by Quinn_Inuit (#46012701) Attached to: Global-Warming Skepticism Hits 6-Year High
I understand that one can't just cherry-pick a period of low temperature growth and claim "LOL n0 w4rmZ!", but when the period picked runs through the present, I think it's reasonable to start asking when it becomes long enough to force a re-evaluation of the relevant theories. I'm not claiming that it's long enough now, but I'm curious if anyone knows at what point a failure condition is triggered in the major relevant documents, e.g. the IPCC AR4 or 5.

Comment: Lagrange Points (Score 2) 143

by Quinn_Inuit (#45924311) Attached to: Mars One Studying How To Maintain Communications With Mars 24/7
Just throw a few communication satellites in the Earth-Sun L3 and L4/L5 (or both, for redundancy) points and finish developing that interplanetary internet protocol for them, then call it a day. This really should be trivial with existing tech, once the protocol is finished and if someone wants to fund the rocket launches. Seriously, if we can do the STEREO mission, we can do this.

Saliva causes cancer, but only if swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time. -- George Carlin