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Comment Re:Games from discs (Score 1) 151

Frustrated now. I was about to buy a refurbed PS2 off ebay or something (interior components of the controller ports on my last model literally crumbled apart, which is apparently not uncommon) to get my Katamari and DDR on again, but now I'm not sure if I want to wait and get a modern console instead.

Comment Re:The trouble is they're right (Score 2) 145

I was going to bring up the 4th amendment, since encryption and ciphers are certainly part of being secure in one's person, house, papers and effects, but it does explicitly say you're protected against unreasonable search and seizure--not ALL search and seizure. I couldn't confidently argue one way or the other about what the founding fathers' opinions on effectively-unbreakable encryption would be.

Then again the 2nd amendment also talks about guns in the context of well-regulated militias, so who even knows.

Comment Re:How much harder would it be (Score 3, Insightful) 106

My way too many hours of Kerbal Space Program make me highly qualified (joke) to say that bringing something back is way harder than just putting stuff there. If you make a later stage twice as big, you need to make every stage leading up to it twice as big as well. Getting samples back up to orbit adds some nontrivially bigger engines and more fuel, even moreso when you think about landing that extra load, and making the orbiter come back to Earth may or may not need bigger engines but will certainly need more fuel. You could get rid of some of the lander's instrument packages and just process things back home, but that's risking an awful lot on a ton of new things that could go wrong... liftoff could fail, rendezvous could fail, anything could fail along the way home, and there's lots more radiation you have to eat.

On-site analysis is much cheaper and more reliable.

Comment Why not Tabletop Simulator? (Score 2) 40

If Tabletop Simulator supports VR (and if it doesn't, I'm surprised) then I can't see a need for any other VR-based Dungeons and Dragons thing. Okay, maybe it'd be nice having tools designed specifically to fuss with character sheets and help newbie players manage their spell lists, but 5e seems surprisingly light on the bookkeeping. Handling the rolls manually is part of the fun, it's pretty lightweight, keeps players involved, and lets the DM fudge things where appropriate.

The times I've done Tabletop Simulator for other games (like Settlers), it's felt very close to playing it in person.

Comment Off topic but wtf is up with touchofmodern ads (Score 1) 23

okay so there's an ad that's showed up on Slashdot a few times with a kind of neat glowing keychain but you need to enter your email address to even browse the site? It's like someone took pinterest and somehow made it even worse, you can't even look at a product page at all without making an account. Is it supposed to be like thinkgeek for people who don't already get enough spam? What even is their game plan here, I don't get it.

Comment Re:What would it take to replace Mars's atmosphere (Score 3, Insightful) 120 idea. If you already have the crazy tech necessary to do all that, just have your robots fabricate enclosed colony space instead. Mine, smelt, build roof. Yeah it's still ridiculous future technology, but if all you want is to make the place livable, it's a lot faster if you just make a bunch of buildings. Hell, in the amount of time it would take to crack all those atmospheric gases, you could have your crazy future robots just build an entire planet-covering roof for an enormous habitation space. It would take less work.

Comment What would it take to replace Mars's atmosphere? (Score 5, Interesting) 120

The article says it would last for a while if we could, so...back of the envelope with probably horribly wrong numbers. Martian atmospheric density at the surface is 0.020 kg/m^3, human survival limit is something like 0.6 kg/m^3, so we need to add 29x current martian atmosphere to be long-term human survivable without a mask (for children and older, babies would still need higher pressure). NASA puts current atmospheric mass at 2.5e16kg, so we need to add 7.25e17kg. If we wanted to accomplish that task over a thousand years, or roughly 3.15e10 seconds, we would need to produce about 2.30e7kg of atmosphere every second for the duration. (At that speed, the loss rate of Mars's atmosphere due to solar wind is absolutely negligible.)

Martian surface area is 1.44e14m^2, which means we'd need to pull ~5,000 kg of atmosphere out of every single square meter of the planet if we don't have some other source. I don't know what density or composition Martian rock is, but rock in general is about 2.5g/cm^3, or 2500kg/m^3. So you might need to dig several meters into the ground to get what you're after, and expend one hell of a lot of energy to crack the oxygen out of it, but it's not like you'd need to dig a whole mile down across the whole planet or anything.

In 1750 Issac Newton became discouraged when he fell up a flight of stairs.