Indeed. With all of the stuff that we have no clue about there in our solar system, why spend so much time on the second-best studied body on the solar system? I'd take a single Titan-exploring tiltrotor VTOL craft over a hundred new lunar rovers.
"Love" is the nice way to put it. "Largess at the expense of all other solar system exploration" would be more accurate. Here's a graph. And it's always the same stupid justifications - how many times can we pretend to be excited about "revelations" that Mars was once in its past a wet place? Or that we're going to stumble into life any time soon in its perchlorate-rich, destroys-organics-on-contact regolith?
And it's not just huge amounts of money that they're wasting - they're also throwing away most of the remainder of our plutonium supply. At least there's money to start making it again, but it'll take time. Plutonium is precious, and it's needed for outer planet missions.
I hate to be the one to tell you but academia generally pays poorly outside of the US. More so in a country like Russia that is still clawing its way back up from the economic collapse that occurred during the transition from communism to capitalism.
Perhaps if most of the country's wealth wasn't concentrated in the hands of a handful of corrupt oligarchs who live like a modern version of Roman emperors they'd be able to pay researchers a living wage.
You don't need "antigravity" (which in all likelihood is impossible). Diamagnetic hoverboards would be possible... if we could make ridiculously powerful, compact halbach arrays in the board. Also you'd need a clever mechanism to detect and deal with flying over ferromagnetic material, or otherwise it's going to smack into your board really hard.
enough ram to run without swap file thrashing. Price was high as well
These two are related. OS/2 needed 16MB of RAM to be useable back when I had a 386 that couldn't take more than 5MB (1MB soldered onto the board, 4x1MB matched SIMMs). Windows NT had the same problem - NT4 needed 32MB as an absolute minimum when Windows 95 could happily run in 16 and unhappily run in 8 (and allegedly run in 4MB, but I tried that once and it really wasn't a good idea). The advantage that Windows NT had was that it used pretty much the same APIs as Windows 95 (except DirectX, until later), so the kinds of users who were willing to pay the extra costs could still run the same programs as the ones that weren't.
Sort of. The desire not to cannibalise sales was a key factor in the design of the PC, but these were also features that IBM didn't think would be missed.
IBM knew what multitasking was for: it was to allow multiple users to use the same computer with administrator-controled priorities. Protected memory was for the same things. Why would you need these on a computer that was intended for a single user to use? A single user can obviously only run one program at a time (they only have one set of eyes and hands) and you can save a lot in hardware (and software) if you remove the ability to do more. And, of course, then no one will start buying the cheap PCs and hooking them up to a load of terminals rather than buying a minicomputer or mainframe.
The problem is, sewage treatment systems have a lot of trouble (at present, let's just simply say "can't") filtering them out. They go into the sewage, they will go into the sea.
Setting up filters for particles as small as 1 micron for all sewage going out into the ocean is obviously going to be a massive expensive. Who wants to pay for that so that people can keep sticking bits of plastic in cosmetics?
Seriously, whose bright idea was it to make bits of plastic, bite-size for plankton, looking like fish eggs, whose very design intent is to wash out into the ocean? And no, while they're not harmful to us, they absolutely will be to plankton - if not immediately (how healthy do you think you'd be if you wolfed down an entire meal-sized chunk of plastic?), then with time. Plastics act as chelators for heavy metals and a number of organic poisons, to such a degree that they might even be economical to mine. There's simply no way that this isn't going to have an impact.
And it's so stupid when one can just use soluble crystals (salts, sugars, etc) instead of plastic.
The article is also based on some terrible reasoning, like:
That means there will be no asteroids left in the Solar System, because they all will have struck Earth, in another few hundred million years. Think someone’s overestimated something there? Yeah, me too. Let’s take a look with the flaws in our fear-based reasoning.
Yeah, in a universe where our solar system is some sort of perfect steady state. Which, of course, it is not. Asteroids collide or - more commonly, come close to other bodies and gravitationally interact - and throw each other into different orbits. When that happens, non-Earth-crossing asteroids can become Earth-crossing ones. For example, one of the candidates for the K-Pg extinction event is a Batisma-family asteroid. This family came from an asteroid breakup 80 million years ago.
A person well versed in the field would be aware of the fact that asteroids are not in some sort of unchanging steady state. Which is why they're the ones paid to do the research on the subject.
And more to the point, we really don't have a good handle on what's out there. We have trouble making out dwarf planets in the outer solar system. We really have no bloody clue what could be on its way into the inner solar system, apart from studying how often major events happen.
And on that note, another flaw in his logic, given that until recently, the vast majority of Tunguska-style events would never even have been detected, having occurred over the oceans, remote deserts, the poles, etc. So by all means it's perfectly fair to say that the fact that an asteroid hitting earth is more likely to hit a remote uninhabited area is perfectly fair. But saying that while mentioning the rarity of inhabited areas having been hit in the past is double-counting. The historical record is evidence of how often they hit populated areas, not how often they hit Earth.
Lastly, his claim that only one person has ever been "hit by an asteroid" is ridiculous. 1500 people were injured by the Chelyabinsk one in 2013 badly enough to seek medical attention. Yes, they weren't "hit by rocks", but that's not what large asteroid impacts do; they mostly or completely vaporize by exploding in the atmosphere and/or on impact. And there's lots of reports throughout history of people getting struck by asteroids; just because they weren't documented by modern medical science doesn't mean it never happened. Seriously, what's the bloody odds that the only person to ever in historical times be hit by an asteroid would be in the 1950s in the middle of a first-world nation? Now what's the odds that someone being hit in the 1950s in the middle of a first-world nation would be well documented, publicized, and believed?
Just a lot of really bad arguments.