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Mars

Mars (One) Needs Payloads 74

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-nothing-too-heavy dept.
mbone (558574) writes Mars One has announced that their first, unmanned, lander, targeted for 2018, needs payloads. Along with their 4 experiments, and a University experiment, they have two payloads for hire: "Mars One offers two payload opportunities for paying mission contributors. Proposals can take the form of scientific experiments, technology demonstrations, marketing and publicity campaigns, or any other suggested payload. 'Previously, the only payloads that have landed on Mars are those which NASA has selected,' said Bas Lansdorp, 'We want to open up the opportunity to the entire world to participate in our mission to Mars by sending a certain payload to the surface of Mars.'" The formal Request for Proposals for all of this is out now as well.

Comment: Barnum was right (Score 1) 448

And so was George Carlin when he said "You nail two piece of wood together that have never been nailed together before and some schmuck will buy it from you."
Green energy is on a lot of people's minds in far more a religious way than a practical one. A lot of people believe in global warming...I mean global climate change...I mean global climate disruption so much that they will buy anything to satisfy their need to continue believing it in the same way that people keep buying the latest fads in diet and exercise products. I'll make a prediction: in about 4 years, solar power will fade away once the subsidies disappear and people find out that it's really not cost effective if they have to pay for the whole thing.

Comment: Where's the new ROI calculator? (Score 1) 262

by RogueWarrior65 (#47262573) Attached to: Elon Musk's Solar City Is Ramping Up Solar Panel Production

I've played around with a few ROI calculators and thus far it appears that I wouldn't break even for 17 years. That's a pretty lousy return on investment particularly if the cells only have a 20 year life. And the performance degrades over time. These calculators don't seem to take that into account.

Science

Study: Rats Regret Making the Wrong Decision 94

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-should-have-been-a-cat dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered that rats in a decision making experiment showed three behaviors consistent with regret. David Redish and his graduate student Adam Steiner '...trained rats to do a task they call "restaurant row." The rat ran around a circle past a series of four spokes, each leading to a different flavor of food. As the rat came to the entrance of each spoke, a tone sounded that indicated how long it would have to wait to receive that specific flavor of food. The rat could choose whether to stay or go, depending on how much it liked that food and how long it would have to wait...The rats showed three behaviors consistent with regret. First, the rats only looked backwards in the regret conditions, and not in the disappointment conditions. Second, they were more likely to take a bad deal if they had just passed up a good deal. And third, instead of taking their time eating and then grooming themselves afterwards, the rats in the regret conditions wolfed down the food and immediately took off to the next restaurant.'"

Comment: On a cliff...with a swarm of bees (Score 1) 310

One day, I decided to go program in the great outdoors so I drove up to the cliffs of Palos Verdes, CA overlooking the ocean. That day I was working on a tool for simulating flocking behavior. As I was testing it out, bees decided to swarm. :-O It was a Matrix-like moment several years before The Matrix came out.

Comment: More likely policy than climate (Score 1) 379

by RogueWarrior65 (#47035627) Attached to: Studies: Wildfires Worse Due To Global Warming

Sorry, but policy has much more to do with it. The prevention of regular logging operations due to bogus environmentalist claims has a great deal to do with it. National forests that currently have 250 trees per acre used to have around 50 per acre only a few decades ago which keeps fire from spreading and the forest healthier. There are those who think we shouldn't remove dead trees because the birds won't be able to eat the bark beetles (Yes, this B.S. was on NPR). The only problem with that theory is that the bark beetles don't inhabit dead trees. They inhabit live ones until they kill the tree and leave the tree when it dies. As a matter of interest, the Wallow Fire in Arizona wiped out 841 square miles. That will take generations before it returns to a healthy state. That fire also wiped out the bulk of the spotted owl population. The anti-loggers end up torching that which they are trying to save.

Comment: Somebody needs to (Score 1) 362

by RogueWarrior65 (#47021107) Attached to: Should Tesla Make Batteries Instead of Electric Cars?

Progress in battery tech is so far behind the rest of technology. You really need a battery that exceeds that of gasoline in terms of energy density. Then you need one that can go from empty to fully charged in 5 minutes without needing exotic infrastructure to do so. It needs to have a really low self-discharge rate, again, exceeding the decay rate of gasoline. And it's got to survive a few thousand charge-discharge cycles.

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