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Comment: Don't discount this so quickly (Score 5, Informative) 216

by Simon321 (#45822097) Attached to: Mars One Selects Second Round Candidate Astronauts

Lansdorp himself is a successful entrepreneur, here is a ted talk about his last company. He sold his stake and has been using the profit he made there to get Mars One off the ground for the past 3 years.

Among the people supporting them are:
  - Gerard ‘t Hooft, Nobel Prize winning Theoretical Physicist
  - Dr. Robert Zubrin, President of the Mars Society
  - Terry Gamber, worked on the lander designs for the Viking mission
  - A very large number of experienced people (see their website Advisers, ambassadors)

They don't plan to develop much of the technology themselves, they're planning to buy it from other companies mostly such as SpaceX. Most of this technology exists already. They have written statements of the companies that they are willing and able to supply these things.

List of the technology they want to use: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_One#Technology

The total cost is estimated at $6 billion. Technology has come a long way, this combined with the privatization of space has caused costs to drop significantly. The falcon heavy for example costs only $77-135M to launch (2013).

They plan to get this through sponsorship deals. They're going to broadcast the entire thing on TV. Which makes sense, the olympics receives 6 billion dollars for 1 billion viewers. The moonlanding in 1969 had 500 million viewers. The population of the earth was only 3,5 billion back then and people weren't as well connected as they are now. So imagine how many viewers a colony on Mars would get?

No one says it's guaranteed that they will succeed, but i think they should try, and we should support it.

More information can be found on their website and IndieGoGo campaign:
http://www.mars-one.com/
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mars-one-first-private-mars-mission-in-2018

The campaign is just to help pay for the Lockheed Martin study and to convince sponsors there is enough interest. I have donated myself, and advise people who think space exploration is important to do the same. It's risky, but it's high impact.

Comment: Re:If it works - it works (Score 1) 170

by Simon321 (#43795259) Attached to: Some Scientists Question Whether Quantum Computer Really Is Quantum

Geordie Rose's (D-Wave CTO) response:

The majority of that post is simply factually incorrect.
As one example, Troyer hasn’t even had access yet to the system Cathy benchmarked (the Vesuvius – based system). (!) Yes Rainier could be beat by dedicated solvers — it was really slow! Vesuvius can’t (at least for certain types of problems). Another is he thinks we only benchmarked against cplex (not true) and he thinks cplex is just an exact solver (not true). These types of gross misunderstanding permeate the whole thing.
I used to find this stuff vaguely amusing in an irritating kind of way. Now I just find it boring and I wonder why anyone listens to a guy who’s been wrong exactly 100% of the time about everything. Update your priors, people!!
If you want to know what’s really going on, listen to the real experts. Like Hartmut.

Comment: IEEE Spectrum apologised (Score 5, Informative) 108

by Simon321 (#43739969) Attached to: Google and NASA Snap Up D-Wave Quantum Computer

IEEE Spectrum apologised for that article:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/podcast/computing/hardware/big-win-for-the-losers-at-dwave

It's a quantum computer all right, just not a universal quantum computer. But it should still show quantum speedups for discrete optimization problems.

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2013/04/further-proof-for-controversial-quantum-computer.html

So far, tests have been very promising:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21829173.500-commercial-quantum-computer-leaves-pc-in-the-dust.html

If it continues to speed up like this, there are some very exciting times ahead of us!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/8054771535/ (Rose's Law, the quantum computer equivalent of Moore's Law)

Mars

4-Billion-Pixel Panorama View From Curiosity Rover 101

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-a-look dept.
SternisheFan points out that there is a great new panorama made from shots from the Curiosity Rover. "Sweep your gaze around Gale Crater on Mars, where NASA's Curiosity rover is currently exploring, with this 4-billion-pixel panorama stitched together from 295 images. ...The entire image stretches 90,000 by 45,000 pixels and uses pictures taken by the rover's two MastCams. The best way to enjoy it is to go into fullscreen mode and slowly soak up the scenery — from the distant high edges of the crater to the enormous and looming Mount Sharp, the rover's eventual destination."

+ - Texas college take over drone by GPS spoofing->

Submitted by Simon321
Simon321 (1933722) writes "A group of researchers led by Professor Todd Humphreys from the University of Texas at Austin Radionavigation Laboratory recently succeeded in raising the eyebrows of the US government. With just around $1,000 in parts, Humphreys’ team took control of an unmanned aerial vehicle owned by the college, all in front of the US Department of Homeland Security. Iran has claimed to use a similar technique to capture a US surveillance drone last year. The US military denied this and claimed 'Iran had nothing to do with the UAV crash landing'."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Shady politician (Score 1) 253

by Simon321 (#40459419) Attached to: EU Commissioner Reveals He Will Ignore Any Rejection of ACTA

This politician is suspected of fraud and is being investigated by the belgian tax inspection.

http://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/fiscus-karel-de-gucht-fraudeerde-met-1-2-miljoen-euro/article-4000115128765.htm (Article in Dutch)

He has some property in Italy that he shouldn't be able to afford.

http://www.humo.be/humo-archief/71654/karel-de-gucht-het-gevecht-met-de-fiscus (Article in Dutch)

There are rumors that he's corrupt, but it's never been proven though.

Mars

+ - Can the Dutch do reality TV on Mars?->

Submitted by Simon321
Simon321 (1933722) writes "A Dutch company, Mars One, wants to establish a permanent settlement on Mars by 2023. A video is available on their website that provides more information. They claim they will finance the mission ($6bn) by organizing a media event around it (Who wouldn't want to watch humanity colonize Mars?). Mars One's CEO, Bas Lansdorp, is known for his wind-harnessing energy company which he gave a TED talk about in 2010. Yet, people are wondering if this is a feasible project or even a hoax. Lansdorp say he would not bet his carreer on this mission if he didn't think it was feasible. Mars One's list of ambassadors include nobel prize winner Prof. dr. Gerard 't Hooft and Big Brother co-creator Paul Römer. What does slashdot think?"
Link to Original Source
Mars

+ - Dutch company aims to put four people on Mars by 2023 - permanently->

Submitted by Simon321
Simon321 (1933722) writes "An independent space launch company aims to put four people on Mars by April 2023 — and the team will not be coming back.
Mars One claims that a new crew of four will join every two years as the explorers build their settlement, and that by 2033 there will be 20 people living on Mars.
The company has been in talks with independent space suppliers such as Space X, which recently launched the first privately owned rocket to the Space Station."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Load of crap (Score 1) 308

by Simon321 (#37407708) Attached to: The Rise of Robotic Labor

First of all, I do agree that the original article’s predictions are very optimistic. I do not agree however, that robotics have progressed painfully slowly.

The reason the optimistic predictions of the 1970’s haven’t come true is because we have vastly underestimated the computational power it requires to perform tasks that for us humans seem simple. Almost every human is able to get up, walk downstairs, open the fridge door and make himself some breakfast. We do all of this without giving it a second thought.

It turns out the things we thought were hard such as math, chess, remembering large sets of data, etc are in fact incredibly easy to do for computers (I do realize computers brute force chess, but could a human do that?). The things we take for granted such as bipedal motion, object recognition, communicating with other humans in fact require a tremendous amount of information about the world and a tremendous amount of computational power to process it all.

Robots take advantage of the exponential gains in computer power as predicted by Moore’s law. And Moore’s law has been going steady for years now. Yes, I realize hardware isn’t everything. But it’s certainly a bottleneck. (I don’t think anyone believes they could achieve the same result IBM’s Watson did on a 1000$ computer if they just wrote better software.)

I never understand why people quote ‘The Jetsons’ when it comes down to futuristic predictions. It’s a cartoon. I mean, it’s not like we look at the Flinstones and says ‘Oh, that’s what people in the 1960’s thought the Stone Age was like? Getting served by dinosaurs and driving in stone vehicles?!’. The Jetsons is obviously not an attempt at a realistic prediction about the future. Did anyone (with actual credibility) really think we’d have anti-gravity flying cars by now? I have never in fact seen someone with the credentials to back it up actually predict that we’d have flying cars by now, and certainly not that they would be ubiquitous. People always say this, but I wouldn’t know where it comes from. (If someone knows, don’t hesitate to let me know.)

You say that there was banter about cars driving themselves. How has this not come true? We have seen Google’s driverless car driving 230,000km with only occasional human intervention. The only time it has had an accident was because a human was driving it. The prediction about 30% of all cars being driverless by 2015 seems optimistic to me but more because of legal reasons than technical. Think of the legal implications of driverless cars, who is to blame when there is an accident for example?

TED Talk about Google’s driverless car for more information:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp9KBrH8H04

Also, you quote robots that folds previously unseen towels, I assume you are referring to the PR2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy5g33S0Gzo

How can you not be amazed by this? So what if it takes him almost 2 hours, Moore’s law will soon speed it up. And that’s if they don’t even improve the software behind it.

We are not going to wake up one day and read in the paper about how there was some ‘big breakthrough’ in robotics and we can all go out and buy a 500$ personal robot from Wallmart who drives us around and does our laundry. It will come gradually but faster than you might think. (And I’m sure anyone who has seen the impressive gains in computer power since the 1950’s will agree with me.)

We are already seeing it today, I am sure you have someone you know that owns a Roomba. Robots are helping us fight wars, often autonomously with only a human there to pull the trigger because else it would be unethical. Sure, Robots are expensive today, but as history has taught us, this won’t last for long. The technology will become cheaper and more powerful.

I am certain that the progress in automation in the following century will seem just as impressive to us as the industrial revolution did to the people alive back then.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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