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Comment: Re:Obsession (Score 1) 144

by camperdave (#48476919) Attached to: Australia Elaborates On a New Drift Model To Find MH370
I was thinking an electrical fire in the avionics bay at first; a power surge or cross-circuit that knocked out the communications but didn't trigger the O2 systems. It accounts for the sudden turn (diverting to the nearest airport), but it doesn't explain the apparent circumnavigation of Indonesia.

Comment: Re:What people want... (Score 1) 453

by camperdave (#48443795) Attached to: In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars
Granted. However, the problem with public cars is, that because of the societal dictate of a 9-5 workday, everybody needs the car at the same time. Further, because of the layout of the typical city (businesses in the core, residences on the outskirts) the cars would be spending half of their travel time empty. In the morning, they would go to the outskirts, pick up people, and drop them off downtown. Then they would drive empty back out to the outskirts to pick up the next batch of travellers. The reverse would happen during the evening. If we had more homogeneous city layouts, mixing residential and business, commutes would be shorter and public cars more effective. Why, for example, do we not have combined office/residential buildings? It would sure cut a lot of commuting if all a person needed to do to get to work was to take the elevator.

Comment: What would happen? (Score 2) 235

by camperdave (#48432295) Attached to: Russia May Be Planning National Space Station To Replace ISS
What would happen if the Russians just decided to keep the International Space Station going unilaterally? Is there anything critical to the operation of the ISS that only the US can provide?

Or is the ISS getting so old - seals are starting to leak, parts are getting brittle with age and the harsh environment of space - that it's safer to ditch it than to continue to use it?

All in all, it seems like quite a waste to splash a hundred and fifty billion dollar microgravity research station, especially when they're planning on adding new modules to it next year, and in 2017.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 2) 520

by camperdave (#48424449) Attached to: What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?
It's not a matter of adding an RTG. It is a matter of *substituting* a pile of solar panels with an RTG. Solar panels aren't exactly massless. So the tradeoff is mass per watt, not simply mass.

When it comes to RTGs vs solar, the basic rule of thumb I've read is that solar is good sunward of the asteroid belt, and RTG is better outward of the belt.

Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested, and say nothing about the other.