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Comment Re:You must be new here (Score 1) 1814

I'd prefer to see a more generic "agree"/"disagree" system that stood alongside the existing moderation system. It would allow people to show what the "groupthink" is, while preserving the ability to moderate a post on its merits (or lack thereof). A simple agree/disagree, where that value is shown on the post but is far less prominent. Unlike moderation, the "agreement" system would have no limits of any kind except it would be logged in users only (to make it a bit harder to game), and one--and only one, so no taksies-backsies--vote per comment. It would be shown as a % and not a whole number, and would not affect karma at all.

With such a system, it would be entirely possible to have a "+5 Insightful" rank with "98% Disagree". I know a lot of people will say that it reeks heavily of Facebook/reddit/disqus, but they didn't create simple approval systems, and as long as our new overlords don't make it prominent (it is a more minor data point, and must not overshadow regular moderation) it could be a nice addition.

Speaking of moderation, it would be nice if "stories" like this could have a "free mod" setup, where any logged-in users could give moderation to as many posts as they want, and users who currently have mod points don't spend them when moderating. This will give a much better idea of what the majority of the community wants, because right now all of these +5s are set only be people who have moderation. I'm not suggesting they don't deserve to spend their mod points here, but there are many other users who just don't have them right now who should be heard as well. (A reply doesn't cut it, and such a "free mod" system might alleviate "me too" or "someone mod parent up" posts.) Of course, if the "agreement" system were in place then "free mod" would be moot.

Comment Re:Yeah, right... (Score 1) 118

Actually the whole thing is backwards misinformation. What is really happening is that US authorities want the right to wiretap anyone in the five eyes group upon the flimsiest of excuses and extend that out into typical aggressive US search warrants, violent arrests, persecution via prosecution and fuck justice, they just want to fuck people up because they annoyed them. This is just the bullshit roundabout way of getting there. So everything about being a reciprocal arrangement and then forcing it upon other countries because a currently very corrupt government in the US and UK agreed to it.

The US are desperate to be able to force US style law en-FORCE-ment on other countries, so they can harshly interrogate anyone who pisses them off.

Comment Re:Solution! (Score 1) 308

Smarter purchasing makes more sense. Silly to go looks and I don't know 'er' higher price for ego, when the device will not be serviceable in the location you intend to use it, that is quite simply a silly purchase. So using the car analogy, yeah buying a car that can only be serviced overseas, after you ship it there and it maybe gets there, they repair and ship it back at your expense and it maybe gets back to you. But wait it doesn't stop there, we all know the syndrome of the missed a fault and it still doesn't work properly and you have to go through that all again, by this time having spend maybe three times the price of a new phone that can be serviced locally, sticking with that phone that you have already bought to maintain phone services through the months of failed attempt at phone repair.

Comment Re:What? (Score 3, Interesting) 45

Not quite accurate. Pretend rich guy is trying to stay pretend rich by rebuilding the pretend value of what makes him pretend rich. All marketing, reward is in pretend currency which will prove problematic but the pretend rich guy can hardly offer a reward in a real currency, kinda brings down the illusion of their pretend wealth, if they acknowledge the pretend currency will attract competitors. Like all ponzi schemes, they eventually inevitably implode and with them the pretend wealth.

Comment Re:Shit (Score 1) 320

Seriously how ingenious can you be. It is for the American courts to shut the fuck up and mind their own business. The only court with any jurisdictions is the British court for jumping bail and the Swedish court for the claimed cases. However both legal systems should be held liable for their purposeful corruption of the legal system in order to pander to NATO and the US government. The Australian diplomatic service should also be held liable for abandoning an Australian citizen to the blatant corruption of the US government.

The US in the most illegal fashion imaginable, in fact for the majority beyond imagining, kidnapped people from all over the world and disappeared them, torturing many to death in the process, and then the few survivors were illegal held at a base seized from the Cuban people with the threat of total annihilate them, should the Cuban people make any attempt to recover the illegal seized land.

It is up to US courts to end the stupendous corruption within the US three level legal system, rich, middle class, poor. It is up to the US courts to end blatant political corruption of those courts in all levels with hugely corrupt appointees. It is up to US courts to fuck off and stick the fucking mess in their own country and leave the rest of the world alone.

Comment Re:Venus (Score 1) 300

Plant cultivation is far, far harder on Mars, for many reasons.

1) Natural light: the solar constant is 1/5th as much on Mars as on Venus, and you're guaranteed to have dust clinging to your greenhouse glazing. More on this later.

2) Electricity: Same for solar power. And fission power systems (as opposed to radiothermal, which is far too weak) are 1) a rather expensive line-item to your development costs, 2) heavy to transport, and 3) complex (complexity is not good when it comes to operation in space). Beyond this, most people vastly underestimate how much power it takes to grow plants under lights - you need 1-2 orders of magnitude more area of solar panels than the area of plants you can grow. And the size of the LED lighting systems you'd need is very significant in its own right. Plants consume way more light to grow than most people give them credit for. The real world isn't The Martian where one can grow potatoes on normal room lights ;)

3) Room: Abundant, practically unlimited space comes free with a Venus colony. Space is extremely expensive on a Mars colony - it's a pressure vessel. Another downside to limited space: plants don't like it. It leads to humidity and temperature instabilities and buildups of gases like ethylene that are far more poisonous to plants than carbon monoxide is to humans. These gases break down, particularly in sunlght, so in big areas they're not a huge problem - but in confined spaces, they can deform and kill your plants readily. Pests and diseases also thrive much more in confined spaces.

(My comments on plants come from experience: I grow a small "jungle" in an indoor environment, entirely on artificial light)

So, while it is of course possible to grow plants on Mars, it's far, far easier on Venus.

As for opressiveness, once a wall is opaque, you can't really perceive how thick it is.

Indeed, I wasn't talking about wall thickness :) Just the issue of being enclosed in small spaces. Most designs call for integrating as many windows as they can, but that's always going to be limited - windows are a lot heavier for a given amount of surface area and can't be shielded for radiation exposure.

And I'm not sure how attractive Venus would be in comparison

So, you don't get a landscape, that's true - the surface isn't visible there. But at the desirable altitudes, there is still a "view", the clouds are dynamic there. A few kilometers further up and it's just a continuous haze (which may lead to rainbow effects below, there are some papers debating this ;) ), but in the "earthlike" layers clouds will come and go. Like living among the clouds on Earth.

But no, you don't get a landscape outside. Your landscape is the Garden of Eden you make inside, surrounded by clouds. :)

There's also those ever-present lightning storms all around you - that's going to be noisy, and a serious maintenance issue

The current state of research isn't "ever-present lightning". Again, unfortunately our knowledge of Venus is so poor compared to Mars, so it's hard to make definitive statements. But lightning appears to be "about" as common on Venus as it is on Earth.

Another thing that we need to learn more about is atmosphere variation. We've seen what appears to be significant variations in sulfur levels on Venus over time - it seems that the sulfur may be the result of frequent or continuous volcanic activity. So how the atmosphere will vary over time is an important question to be able to answer before we can send humans.

And how do you plan to prevent lightning strikes through your habitat?

Again, we don't know the distribution of lightning between a) different altitude layers, b) different latitudes, and c) over time. We actually don't know at this point if it's ever a risk at all - and if it ever is, whether it's avoidable or not. If it's not avoidable, then yes, one would need lightning protection (I presume faraday cage-style rather than any sort of ion shield), which would add mass and require a more difficult testing regime. If it is avoidable, or is never a problem: then there's no issue.

Definitely need more data on this one before we can send humans! It's time to stop neglecting Venus.

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

Actually no :) The light levels at acceptable flight altitudes (~51-55km) are comparable to Earth on a clear day (except that you also have almost as much light also reflecting up at you as coming down at you). Depending on the frequency, it blocks about half of the light from the sun - but twice as much light hits Venus. Mars, however, gets 40% as much light as on Earth - when the dust isn't blowing. Sometimes you get dust storms which can last for months, easily enough to kill plants from lack of sunlight.

Note that solar panels don't have to be outside the envelope, if the envelope is transparent (which I've been assuming thusfar). They can even be built into structural elements (for example, solar roofs on shelters or walkways). It'd cost under 10% of the power, and in turn they'd be shielded from winds, lightning (if a risk), icing (if a risk), corrosion, etc, and your wiring needs would be greatly reduced. I really don't see a point to having anything outside the envelope except for the return rocket (even that's not 100% necessary, but probably a lot easier than a rocket-sized drop-bay ;).

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.

I read a paper about this before but can't be bothered to dig it up again ;) Okay, okay, just a second.... hmm, this may have been the one. They simulated the Carrington Event and one previous one that was even stronger, and found that even they wouldn't be problematic at 62km (let alone a more realistic 53-54km, which has orders of magnitude more atmosphere over it). That is to say, they calculate 0,09Gy. Radiation therapy in humans is 45-80Gy. A CT scan is 0,008 Gy. So it's like getting a dozen CT scans, but nothing like undergoing radiation therapy. And that's at a much higher altitude than people would actually live at. Long-term GCR at actual colony height, according to their graphs, would be about 1e-8Gy/20h, or 4,4e-6Gy/year - not at all "dangerous". Levels are indeed higher than on Earth, but they're not problematic like they are on Mars. You don't need added shielding, you're sitting under a mass of shielding equivalent to a ~5 meter tall column of water. And the atmosphere above you creates a small induced magnetic field to boot.

Comment Re:Better transistors? (Score 1) 210

And if they're having a significant reduction in power consumption, then adding more cores gets all the easier.

Its always seemed to me that the best approach to processing is to offer a variety of cores and let the scheduler handle what to put where. You can have one or two extremely fast cores, half a dozen moderate speed cores, and dozens or more low speed cores - why insist that all cores be the same in "general purpose" computing?

Comment Re:Caller ID Blocker (Score 2) 196

Back when I lived in the states (I've never gotten a single telemarking call here in Iceland) I've often been tempted to respond with, "Why should I buy your product when I'm going to kill myself as soon as I get off the phone?" Suddenly making their job waaaay more stressful than they expected when they picked up the phone.

Never did it, but... ;) Honestly, I just couldn't get myself to be that mean to them, they're just normal people on the other end working menial, low paying jobs.

Comment Re: APorsche Self-Drive? (Score 1) 204

Live in the UK, never driven an automatic, don't know anybody who owns one.

Automatic gearbox uptake is way up in Europe. More and more manufacturers are ditching the stick and going to CVT-only for mileage reasons. All the top-end cars have dual-clutch transmissions, which are manual only in concept. They are all automatically controlled, and all have an automatic mode. Or at least, so says the automotive press. Mostly I get this stuff from watching Autoline, but other shows factor in as well.

Comment Re:APorsche Self-Drive? (Score 1) 204

Yeah, I think if you love to drive, then you get the stick. But if you love to win, then you get the dual clutch... if it's available and allowed. Rowing gears is great fun, as long as you aren't required to do too much of it. I like a five speed and some torque, personally, but I wouldn't piss on a six speed for my car either.

If I get enough money out of eventually selling my 300SD, perhaps I will put a 01E gearbox in my D2 A8. But that's a good three grand all told including a good clutch...

Comment Re:Fusion energy is impractical (Score 4, Interesting) 81

Fast neutrons can impact any isotope and destroy it in that regard, but that says nothing about the long-term structural stability of the bulk material. Different materials have different annealing properties. More to the point, slow neutrons can do the same thing, just in a different manner (that is, (n, gamma), instead of (n, random-ions-and-neutrons)). Fast neutrons are overall more damaging (and of course more penetrating... although we're not talking about spallation neutrons here with energies up into the GeVs, we're only talking 14,1 MeV) - but they're not some sort of whole different ball game. I am, of course, assuming you're talking about structural issues. If you're talking about from the perspective of how radioactive it will become, tell me, how hot does beryllium get under heavy bombardment? Boron carbide? Graphite? I could keep going. In fact, I did, further up the thread.

There are many reasons to complain about various designs, but your over-generalized statement is anything but some kind of universal rule. And really, the sort of flexibility of materials that fusion allows versus fission more than compensates for having to deal with higher neutron energies.

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