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Comment He states some risks well... (Score 1) 537

Hadas most trenchant point is that governments will oppose Bitcoin if it becomes successful. He's correct, and his analysis is isomorphic with "The neighborhood thugs will rough you up if you conduct business without paying them protection".

This is an important concern; but not a reason to stop.

Comment Re:3D printers suck (Score 1) 129

1) You can't get something CNC for that.

2) Harbor freight (1.5K mill linked to below) doesn't sell tools, they sell tool _kits_. If you're not prepared to disassemble, align, and otherwise fix all the stuff they busted, you're screwed. I'm a half-owner of one, I know.

3) Tool pathing is still expensive / highly skilled. At your price point, you can't just turn a 3D model into a path that a mill can make.

4) Design constraints are different for the two. You can't mill internal voids.

None of which is to say I think the current batch of filament deposition printers are adequate... I've got one of them too, at our Hackerspace in Gainesville. Once they get the plastic printers sufficiently precise that they can turn out e.g. kitchen appliance replacement parts, we'll have gotten somewhere serious.

But your combo requires a bunch of skill to operate, and skill-less object production is kind of the point.

Comment Re:Hmmm... Makerbot? (Score 1) 120

Makerbot's got way worse resolution, and is a bloody bear to calibrate.

The newer version appears to be better than the one we bought and built, but so far all the depositional printers I've messed with seem good for building other printer parts and little toys.

This laser-based one has far better precision and resolution.

Comment Means other than chemical... (Score 1) 542

The author of the original article is presumedly no dummy, and I agree with his analysis as far as it goes. But he makes no attempt to discuss travel powered by something other than chemical rockets you bring along.

VASIMIR is one alternative, which will indeed gain efficiencies from Moore's law (extremely rapid adjustments to optmiize magnetic field?).

The juice to run that can come from nukes or solar...

Chemical fuels are a barrier to chemical propulsion, that's all.

Comment What about anti-elitism? (Score 2) 385

A founding principle of Wikipedia is the specific rejection of established credentialing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Anti-elitism

Unless the wikipedians explicitly reject this principle, and somehow translate "real world" credentials into sway in the wiki, I don't see why any academic would bother.

Comment Sadly, no progress since last year? (Score 2) 386

They were saying, in July 2009, http://gigaom.com/cleantech/the-solar-biofuel-hybrid-joule-biotechnologies-launches/ that they were going to build a pilot plant in 2010, and have the initial commercial-scale plant up in 2012.

All through 2010, their press releases talk about awards and management, funding and P.R. I would have expected "Pilot plant ground broken", "Pilot plant going online", "Pilot plant now giving free diesel to all plant employees, outside customers can pay $1.00 per gallon at plant filling station...".

What a work bennie that would be!

Earth

Breaking the Squid Barrier 126

An anonymous reader writes "Dr. Steve O'Shea of Auckland, New Zealand is attempting to break the record for keeping deep sea squid alive in captivity, with the goal of being able to raise a giant squid one day. Right now, he's raising the broad squid, sepioteuthis australis, from egg masses found in seaweed. This is a lot harder than it sounds, because the squid he's studying grow rapidly and eat only live prey, making it hard for them to keep the squid from becoming prey themselves. If his research works out, you might one day be able to visit an aquarium and see giant squid."

As long as we're going to reinvent the wheel again, we might as well try making it round this time. - Mike Dennison

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