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Comment: Incredibly farfetched (Score 4, Insightful) 253 253

From TFA:

build a 1" thick hull out of steel in our desired shape,
fill it with the same gases at the same temperatures and pressures in Earth's atmosphere,
and let that baby loose on Venus.

I'm no aerodynamicist, but common sense tells me that the volume of your balloon city will have to be very large and the amount of 1" thick steel you need to bring from Earth will be so massive, most Mars colony proposals will seem lightweight in comparison. Might as well just go to Mars.

Comment: This was a good outcome considering (Score 4, Insightful) 316 316

if you're gonna have a launch failure with total loss of all stages, at least this seems to be one of the better outcomes. First stage is very expensive and complex, fixing a major flaw there could take a long time and lots of money. But it looks like the first stage was working fine all the way to the (fiery) end, and it was a ruptured tank on the 2nd stage that caused the failure. Much better than the first stage exploding soon after liftoff.

Comment: Re:It might be fun for the RC pilot (Score 1) 98 98

Also note that FPV racers often race through forests and other interesting environments, so the chances for interesting crashes can be quite high.

Interesting point, I haven't thought of that. Maybe you could even build obstacle courses and windmills (like mini golf) that drones have to go through. That could be fun. Drones crashing is no big deal compared to a real airplanes crashing so they could add lots of stuff and fly very low.

FPV technology still sucks though, it needs to improve. Those beautiful FPV videos you see on Youtube, that's NOT what the pilot sees. Those footages are from GoPro recording that the guy retrieved from the SD card afterwards. Real-time transmission quality is very poor, it's just barely enough for the pilot to make out the sky, ground, tree.

Comment: It might be fun for the RC pilot (Score 1) 98 98

but I can't see anyone getting interested as a spectator.

Real air racing is still around, featuring WW2 fighters thundering through the skies at 400mph, and interest from the general public is nil. There's a niche audience of aviation buffs but that's about it.

Drones are tiny compared to the majestic P-51s and Corsairs, and very twitchy, so it would be very difficult to keep a steady camera on them.

It could still take off, just don't expect to see it on ESPN anytime soon (or ever).

Comment: Re:Good god. (Score 4, Informative) 253 253

if the calibration data are so important that the engine shuts down without them, how did the aircraft take off?

One engine delivering full power and 3 engines running at low RPM would be enough to take off, since the plane was empty and probably had a small fuel load as well.

Wiki has an article on the crash: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2...

Looks like they took off, but noticed a problem with the engines, turned around to do an emergency landing, but hit an electrical pylon and crashed. So it's not like they lost all power and fell out of the sky, they had some power and were doing an emergency landing when they hit an object on the ground just before touchdown. 2 of the 6 people on the plane survived.

Comment: Re:Overpopulating (Score 2) 637 637

This is just a thought experiment, please don't crucify me:

People tend to think of humans as different from the rest of life on earth. All plants and animals except humans form a natural balance and live in harmony; only humans screw everything up by overpopulating themselves and their livestock while making everything else go extinct.

But what if that's wrong, and humans are no different? After all we have pretty much the same DNA and cellular structure as anything else on the planet. Those wonderful wolves and deer you mentioned are actually like 99% same as us. What if human behavior is the inevitable result of earth-type lifeform? On a cosmic scale, planet earth's biosphere is just a tiny speck. Maybe other types of lifeforms are much better suited for long-term advanced civilization, and planet earth biosphere (DNA based) is an evolutionary dead end. Analogy: earth life = trilobytes. Life on other planets = vertebrates

Comment: Re:STEM Shortage (Score 3, Insightful) 336 336

I see. So what you are saying is that there is a large number of skilled engineers and scientists, sitting at home watching TV, while they wait for salaries to go up?

No, they're doing something else in life. Working, teaching, studying, masturbating, whatever. Just not willing to work 80 hours a week for 50k a year.

Job skills and careers aren't things you can acquire and shift around instantly, it takes time. It took decades of abuse to get to this point. If a sensible gov't disbanded H1B program and said "fuck you" to Bill Gates right now, salaries will rise but you're not gonna have a sudden flood of programmers entering the job market. It takes times to make programmers. What you will have is a lot more students interested in CS.

Comment: The announcement was "warmly" welcomed (Score 4, Insightful) 298 298

I see what you did there, Taco.

Anyways I seriously doubt we'll be burning fossil fuels as our primary energy source in 2100. This is probably like politicians in 1880 signing a pledge to limit horse emissions before our cities drown in horse poop (a real concern at the time). Nice gesture but rendered moot by later technological advances.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke