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Comment Start with the land mines (Score 1) 213

Great idea, lets start with land mines, ban their production in the US (US-based companies build and sell more land mines than any other country, most without auto-deactivation or other features that let them stop being a problem after the war ends), sales, and shipment through US controlled territory. Oh, wait, that would impact profits, nevermind.

Comment Re:People eat (Score 1) 212

It's a great idea, but then a greedy factory-ship captain decides nobody's looking, and goes in and cores out your sanctuary, gets away with it, brags about it, and the next thing you know you have to have your navy shooting foreign ships out of the water to keep them out. Something like that happened in the Grand Banks, and Canada still, despite a naval presence, says that the banks cannot recover for the foreseeable future due to incursions by illegal foreign factory ships.

Comment Re:Gravity waves already confirmed, nobel prize (Score 1) 85

Trying to verify theories with astronomy on the other hand is impractical since we don't have a method to move stars around to see if they are what caused a phenomenon or if it's just a coincidence.

Yet. We can't do this, or blow up stars, or set up colliding black holes *yet.*

Comment Re:The point of nukes (Score 1) 230

No. The main problem is that they are weapons of mass destruction that can vaporize entire cities in an instant. They are weapons that are specifically designed to kill a large number of people over a large area very quickly. THAT is the main problem with them. Let's not lose sight of why nukes are scary. The fallout merely adds the problem.

The term collateral damage when applied to nukes is kind of meaningless. The entire point of a nuke is to destroy everything in a rather large radius. There really is no such thing as collateral damage when using explosions of that size because you are unavoidably and intentionally targeting non-combatants and infrastructure when you make the decision to use one. Yes this remains true for "tactical nukes" too.

Exactly. We also, though we could, don't create firestorms in cities anymore, nor do we engage in unlimited civilian target bombing. We seem to, as a species, decided that these things are off the table, both due to adverse reactions to civilian deaths, as well as the possibility of nuclear response ("You burned my capital to the ground, we don't have the air superiority to do the same to you, but the NORKs sold us a little bomb we've sent over in a cargo container.") As most "tactical" nukes are more powerful than the original strategic WWII-era nukes, it is pretty clear that their use, no matter what they are called, would be as city burners, as that's where the modern battlefields are.

Comment Re:Good? (Score 3, Insightful) 230

"Once both sides of a conflict start playing with nukes, even if it starts out with small, tactical, targeted nukes, the other side will too, and whichever side is losing will be tempted to scale up, "

Even if the conflict is with a non-nuclear country, or one with no long-distance delivery technology, there is a fear that a contained strike, say the US blasting an ISIS underground redoubt, would 'normalize' nuclear warfare in the future.

Not to mention that if the fallout is encountered by even one citizen of another nuclear state, let alone an embassy or crosses a border into a nuclear armed country, they may well consider that an attack and retaliate. Nuking Daesh should be safe-ish in that one regard, but even there you have Israel (still denying they have nukes), would they show restraint if, say, fallout from a Russian nuke contaminated their northern territories? How would Turkey, a member of NATO, respond if their country was irradiated? If a Chinese embassy was rendered uninhabitable by fallout, what would they do? Best to leave that can of radioactive worms unopened.

Comment Datacenter jobs aren't in the datacenter (Score 2) 94

I work for a large hosting/datacenter ISP, and most of the work on the equipment in the datacenters is done remotely. All we really need on-site is some semi-competent remote hands to unbox, rack, and plug in the various pieces of gear into the racks, some security guards to keep the riff-raff out and escort customers into/out of their cages, cleaning staff to keep the dust and debris down, and maybe an onsite engineer who knows all the power, network, and cooling setups enough to fix them when they break, though usually even that last position is remote. The remote-hands folk do all the physical work. Everything else is done by contractors or people working in an office somewhere -- I'd say about 90% of the engineering/admin work is done this way. So a massive datacenter, once it's operational and filled with customers, doesn't usually have more than a dozen or two local employees. There are some exceptions, of course -- a high-churn center will need more people for escort and remote hands, and some centers are completely unmanned, just a locked room or building that's only visited when things go really wrong. If you want jobs, insist they buy office space for their techs and engineers locally, forget about the datacenter.

Comment Bainite? No, something else. (Score 1) 236

Calling this Bainite is confusing, as the time/temperature charts show that you only really get bainite when you hold at above 400C after quenching from above critical temperatures -- which does not match the described process. I suspect it's not really bainite, but some sort of martensite/ferrite/pearlite mix. When making knives with a bainite structure, the resulting blades, usually from a high carbon tool steel such as L6, are very springy, and do not exhibit plastic deformation before breaking (i.e. they do not take a set when bent, and tend to break before taking a set unless taken to an extreme or heavily tempered). That said, it sounds like a great step forward for sheet metal working.

Comment Re: Resume the lunar program (Score 1) 242

50 kilometers above the surface the temperature and pressure are earth-normal. Huge dirigibles using oxygen and nitrogen would float in the denser co2 atmosphere.

Sure, but what are you going to make your drigibles out of? There's only two sources of nonvolatile raw materials on Venus, and if it's not to be found in Venus's atmosphere, you're either going to have to import from Earth (or elsewhere in the System) or go down to the surface and mine it. The first is prohibitively expensive just in terms of energy costs, and the second is undoable using current technology. The idea of a colony is to be self-sufficient enough to be able to establish an settlement and expand according to your needs. We'll need some significant technological development before that's even possible on Venus, but Mars and/or the Moon seem doable with just extending current engineering capabilities.

Comment I wonder if this is getting more common (Score 1) 145

I wonder if this sort of thing is getting more common. We've been seeing a lot of fiber breaks, attributed variously to "rodent chew," "car striking utility pole," and "wind damage," but all in a relatively small area for one set of connections, and I've heard of similar coincidental clusters of breaks in other areas. Nobody wants the bad press of admitting to sabotage, and unless its something obvious like a cut armored cable, its easy to attribute it to some random accident. Or I could just be paranoid, but that is what they pay me for.

Comment Re:2x Pointless = Pointless (Score 2) 54

Well, the ISS is actually doing science, which is normally quite boring. Hundreds of science projects are being done all the time. Effects of microgravity on humans, plants, insects, small mammals, bacteria. How do make mundane gizmos work in microgravity and vacuum. How to build and maintain things in orbit. Growing crystals in microgravity. Nothing earth shaking, but this is the foundation work on which we will build the future "headline worthy results." We got to the moon using technology now nearly 50 years old, but we couldn't stay. The same technology launched the first space station, but again we couldn't stay. Some day, despite the nay-sayers and budget-obliterators, we'll get to space, if not via government funding, then through private funding -- with over 1,500 billionaires and the number growing every yesr, sooner or later one of them will fund a headline worthy result. But they can't until the basics of how to survive and prosper in space are known, so now we're in the boring part where we figure it all out.

Comment Re:Best solution: (Score 1) 451

We haven't: if you drive around Amish/Mennonite areas, you have to share the road with horse driven buggies and carts on a regular basis. Most big cities also have horse-driven buggies for the tourists and romantics; New York, Philly, Chicago I've seen myself; I'm pretty sure most major cities do nowadays. So we didn't get them off the road, we just relegated them to an ever-decreasing role in transportation.

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