You want a better analogy?
We had planes with props for what... 30 years before someone started to develop the jet engine. Are you saying the jet engine was pointless because we already had the power to fly? No... and the first development articles were less powerful than the props they were aiming to supplant or augment. Some people just had ideas and vision that this was a technology that would go somewhere and they were right.
Now granted, that was one component and what Scaled Composites is trying to do is test a bunch of components and technologies at once. That may or may not be the right move, but they're doing it with (currently) Richard Branson's money and intend to use the money from the space tourists to continue to advance those technologies. The entire mission statement of the company is that they want to advance flight.... you can neither do that in a void nor without risk. Flying is risky... ask me; I'm a pilot who had a near miss in a Cessna with a bizjet a few years ago. I was lucky I survived... but that didn't stop me flying. I accept the risk for the pleasure it gives me and it gives me no appreciable gain other than the experience of having done it. I don't fly planes for travel... I fly planes for the pleasure of flying. By your arguments I should stop immediately... but what do you care because it's my money I'm using for my pleasure... and it's a pleasure that many others before me died for?
Honestly, if I were in that financial position to spend the money on a VG flight I probably would just to say I'd done it and just for the experience. And yes, I'd accept the risk because flight and especially SPACE flight is inherently dangerous. You don't have the stomach for it... I get it. That doesn't make it wrong. You are risk averse, I am not... if I were I'd probably still be living in Belfast and most likely spent most of my life on the dole instead of building a life for myself in another country (the USA). That was also something filled with risk... but I decided the risks were worth the potential reward. I was right.
Seriously, why not do it yourself? You can get a pretty cheap virtual host from any number of providers and just do it. You don't even have to manage the entire server, plenty of virtual hosting services too... but personally I'd recommend doing the entire server. My Linode is cheap as hell and provides a great place to host my mail and web host, as well as providing a hub for my VPN network. Yes, I have to manage it as well, but apart from the occasion patches I don't really do much with it once it was all set up except use it.
Accountants and clerks did amazing programming using Lotus 1-2-3.
I wrote a custom billing system for a bank. It had a master shell spreadsheet which then read in 300 odd data files from a mainframe listing transactions, one by one. Each customer file was parsed, the data processed into billing records which were written to another area of the sheet. Once all that was done, the bill templates were read in, again one by one, the addresses looked up, billing records turned into a charge schedule and the statements printed out. Took 30 hours to run the master macro on an IBM AT. We were the only people allowed to buy an AT, XTs were too slow. 286 - raw power.
God, I hope not. After the well-intentioned trainwreck that was Prometheus I really don't want to see The Martian by Ridley Scott. Seriously, the man has no sense of humour, which is key to why that book was so damned good, and so accessible to the non-SF person.
For my part I am not sure who I'd want to direct it... but I'd really want to see Ryan Reynolds in the lead. He was exactly who I imagined through the entire book
:) Fair enough, and I apologise. Yeah, context is hard in text. Not knowing you or seeing any context myself, your comment could easily be viewed as being a facetious remark from someone just familiar enough with Irish history. Myself I like to correct people like this because I honestly think Irish history is absolutely fascinating and I encourage people to learn something about it.
I agree though with you and the other respondent to my note; the history of Ireland is incredibly complex. These Americans think they have it bad with the Native Americans... that's a cakewalk historically speaking to understanding most of the migrations, invasions and wars that have occurred throughout most of Europe. But yes, I agree that from an outside perspective the British Isles seems pretty consolidated culturally. But at the same time I would note that a lot of this is due to an homogenisation of culture within the British Isles mostly due to English-language media, movies and so on from the US. Culturally while most of Europe is tending to lean more "American", the BI in general is far further along that path and sometimes even accelerating mostly due to the commonality of language with the USA.
Still, thanks for the response