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Comment Re:Door Sensors (Score 1) 323

Maybe someone can explain why the doors don't just open in a way that takes up minimal horizontal space all the time? Parking garages with low ceilings?

Exactly. Maybe there is a solution that minimizes both height and width, but they went for an active system that adjusts to the environment. If I had to guess, it's probably also trying to minimize power requirements. But that is just a guess.

Comment Re:So when are they making something we can AFFORD (Score 2) 323

Selling cars that cost as much as a small house is all well and good if your target market is 1%ers and boomers, but if you want to sell to the mass market you need something that's priced for a generation that will probably never be able to afford to own a home.

Tesla's business model is explicitly to use the experience and funds generated by high end models to create less expensive models. Elon musk has repeated this over and over. Here is a blog post from 2006. Why is this so hard for people to understand? Where else is Tesla suppose to get the money and experience to create the car? Tesla is using the money of 1%ers (as you say) to fund development of cars for the 50%ers and people bitch about it like it's a bad thing.

So what's the gripe? They aren't proceeding fast enough? They are proceeding as fast as they can. They want to sell a shit ton of cars, do you think they are sandbagging? I get so sick of the "cut off your nose to spite your face" envy and jealousy.

If you think it's easy to make an inexpensive but compelling electric car from scratch, then start a freaking car company and do it. Or join GM, Ford, or some other company and help them to it.

Comment Re:Dear shills that keep pointing out he's in Russ (Score 1) 206

Can I point out that the NSA is only doing what the current administration tells them to do and that it is President Obama that has not pardoned him and is pushing for his arrest?

Yes, the executive branch and congress are complicit in this. How does that make it any "better?" Also, this started a long time ago. In case some nitwit wants to turn this into an Obama sucks rant. He does suck in this regard. And so did Bush. And no doubt Clinton. And every blowhard that's a serious contender for president on both sides of the aisle. And the vast majority of congress.

Honestly, I think you have it backwards. The president and congress do what the NSA tells them. Not in a crazy conspiracy way. Just in the simple, "you don't want to risk an attack on your watch, do you?" sort of way.

Comment Re:I'm curious (Score 1) 206

Nothing is stopping the Russian government from providing him with travel documents, if it were so inclined.

You seem really confused about why he is in Russia. Russia is not detaining him, they are simply not honoring the US request to extradite Snowden for prosecution. Russia was not Snowden's destination, it's just where he was when the US cancelled his passport. So he doesn't have a passport, no other country has the will to offer him political asylum. So he's stuck. Russia is no doubt doing this simply to thumb its noise at the US. Snowden understands that and I'm absolutely sees the irony in it.

Comment Re:Catch the rounded ones early (Score 1) 300

He's right that we need rounded people as programmers - but we are more likely to get them if the possibility of being a programmer is accessible to a wider range of people than at present. That's the virtue of this approach; it opens the prospect of programming as a career to a wider range beyond us geeks and nerds! On the other hand it may make us unemployable as ordinary people nick our jobs...

I'd much prefer that that the limited time available to educate children be spent on topics that will help them make better decisions. Teaching children about cognitive biases and basic logic would benefit them and society way more than teaching them to program.

Comment Maybe (Score 2) 194

But I think it would take an awful lot of launches to get the fuel production up and running on the moon. And you'd need to design a new, hopefully reusable, moon launched vehicle/fuel depot.

I think the real problem is how expensive the SLS will be to launch, not the number of launches. Build a truly reusable vehicle, orbit the fuel depots around Earth. Send ISRU equipment to Mars (with lots of backups) and produce the fuel for the return trip. Then the cost of launching large payloads is reduced and there is no need to build a Moon base.

Comment Re:What has the ISS done for us so far? (Score 1) 211

I'm asking, not arguing, because I don't know. Is there any consensus answer to the question: What is the greatest accomplishment of the International Space Station? Right now all I know is that from time to time I can point my finger to the sky, at a rapidly moving spot of light and say, "Yup, there it is."

Well, for one thing, a shit ton of research on the effects of micro gravity on humans and how to mitigate them. Which is pretty important for a nation with aspirations of prolonged human space flight.

But it you really want to know, the NASA website has all sorts of information on the goals of the ISS and all the research that is planned or already occurred: International Space Station.

Comment Re:Obligatory Reagan Worship! (Score 1) 211

It's entertaining to watch all the shitlibs froth at the mouth and lose their minds merely because Ronald Reagan was mentioned for any reason. You're still pissed your side lost the Cold War, aren't you?

Reagan supported the development of "Space Station Freedom," but as happens with all post Apollo space programs, it ran into cost overruns, various conflicts of interests (science, DoD, etc...) and never really got fully funded. The project eventually got merged with other space station projects, scaled down, and with the addition of the Russian Space Agency became the ISS.

It's unfortunate that once again a discussion on slashdot got dragged into the ideological quagmire. damn_registrars' post was inflammatory. But saying Reagan conceived the ISS is a stretch. Just like saying Al Gore invented the Internet. Of course Al Gore never claimed to invent the Internet and Reagan never claimed to have conceived the ISS.

Now if want to see an equal but opposite reaction, mention Al Gore in a summary.

Comment Re:More Reupublican... (Score 1) 20

corporate welfare. This does nothing to help the people. Nothing.

It's part of the ongoing effort by humanity to understand the nature of the universe in which we live. I don't understand people that find no value it that.

As for helping people, I am all for it. The amount of money we spend on science and exploration is a drop in the bucket, it's not an either-or scenario.

Comment Re:The dust storm vs the MAV launch doesn't make s (Score 2) 163

Quit reading now if you don't want spoilers....

At the beginning the dust storm was strong enough to tear apart antennas, tip over the MAV, and send objects flying through the air.

But at the end, the MAV could use a piece of fabric to cover open panels because the atmosphere is so thin there is very little aerodynamic forces on the craft. (As compared to a launch on earth).

If the thin atmosphere reduces wind forces At the end why didn't it in the beginning?

FWIW - I read an interview with Andy Weir a while ago and he stated outright that the sandstorm at the beginning was a plot device to strand Mark Watney and he knew that there really wasn't enough energy in Martian sandstorms to cause the damage described. He wanted a way to strand Watney that was not anyone's fault and to set up the scenario for the rest of the book.

Maybe there is a "market" for fan fiction beginnings that are exciting, interesting, and more scientifically accurate.

Comment But, but, but ... (Score 1) 684


Do you know how hard it will be to build a railroad all they way across the continent? It'll be dangerous. People will die. Boilers are dangerous, the passangers will be taking their lives in there hands. No one will ever ride the thing. Trains will never be safe, it's pure folly.


Do you know how hard it will be to make a heavier than air vehicle fly? And it will be small and cramped. And it will smell bad and break down and fall out of the sky. People will die. Airplanes will never be safe, it's pure folly.


Do you know how hard it will be to transport equipment to Mars? To make a reliable life support system with sufficient backups to last long enough for the 2 year round trip? To make sustainable habitats? To develop in-situ resource utilization systems? People will die. Etc...

Why yes, we do know how hard it will be. But it's not impossible. And that's what makes it interesting. Luddites need not apply.

Comment Re:Worse than the space station? No. (Score 1) 684

Wow, a veritable river of "something could be wrong" is modded "Informative."

Yes, it will be hard. Yes, it will take a long time. Yes, there will be setbacks. So what?

I don't understand why people get there panties in a bunch because someone else is willing to take risks to try to do something they are passionate about.

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome. -- Dr. Johnson