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Comment: Re:Baby steps (Score 1) 351

Step 1 is being taken - all kinds of organisms (incl. plants) have been carried up to the ISS.
Step 2 should - probably for safety reasons - be build as an attachment to the ISS. It should however operate independently.
Step 3 should be part of step 2, as it is relatively straightforward to get sufficient data in advance to make it so.
Step 4 is the big leap, but I agree that the Moon is probably the logical testing ground for it.

When will this happen? As soon as there is another Space Race. And China is the only country that can start that.

Comment: Re:So? (Score 4, Informative) 488

by captainpanic (#48025945) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

Because there isn't really a good pie yet, they take far too long to pay off and can be dangerous to air traffic and wild life if they are A. in the wrong place, or B. installed incorrectly.
Oh, and if they don't have overspec'd components, they can cause a phenonom called "flicker" which is destructive of delicate electronics like your fridge, washing machine, A/C, and computer.

- Pilots have sunglasses.
- Wildlife have no problems with a flat piece of silicon that doesn't move. (Cars kill them by the millions though).
- And your electric circuit should have a fuse and other safety features that prevent fluctuations in the power.

How many of you trolls are volunteers, and how many are paid to troll by the coal/oil/gas lobbyists? This is just another scare tactic, just like everybody is now convinced that wind turbines kill birds, when in fact it is cats that kill birds.

Now move along, there is really nothing to see here.

Comment: China has a government that adapts to changes (Score 1) 261

by captainpanic (#47982069) Attached to: Obama Presses China On Global Warming

While Western nations (certainly not just the US, but also almost all of Europe) have reached a democratic impasse in which very little changes, China seems able to reflect on changes internally and externally, and develop drastic new regulations when necessary. It can self-correct. I could give a long explanation why this is true, but Eric Li explained it a lot better in a TEDx presentation. It's 20 minutes, but very relevant when comparing governments of China and US (and other Western countries).

I would not be surprised if China adopts its own pollution and climate regulations that are beneficial for the country, where benefit can include anything they think is relevant: e.g. health, economy. And it might be that these are more strict than we have here, or not. Time will tell. But they will decide on their own terms. Don't forget that China has to import a lot of fossil fuels, while it has most (all?) resources needed to produce sustainable energy production (solar/wind), and they also already have the factories within their borders. There may be a large economic incentive too.

I see Obama's challenge only as an excuse for the USA's lack of action.

Comment: Re:Small-scale, real-time. (Score 4, Insightful) 502

by captainpanic (#47612109) Attached to: Why Morgan Stanley Is Betting That Tesla Will Kill Your Power Company

Similar here in Western Europe. Wind is very reliable, as we get wind almost every day. But we're too far north to make solar energy an interesting option. Solar should be built in more southern countries such as Spain or southern Italy.

If anything, all this sustainable energy will demand a stronger, and more integrated grid, which will mean more (not less) business for the grid company. If that all means some old coal power plants go out of business, then so be it. I am sure that the solar/wind industry will compensate the loss of jobs.

Comment: Re:That's great (Score 1) 75

by captainpanic (#47331459) Attached to: NASA's Orion Spaceship Passes Parachute Test

There is no one-size fits all capsule and although the Dragon could be modified to work for deep space missions as this has been taken into account from the start, it isn't currently built for that.

Agreed. The Dragon seems to be just a 7-passenger taxi service to the ISS. However, you could probably dock it to another space station too, one with living quarters, a Mars-lander and a bunch of big engines and fuel tanks, and then you have your Mars mission complete.

Comment: Re:Good. (Score 1) 138

by captainpanic (#47331443) Attached to: Google Starts Removing Search Results After EU Ruling

True, but a lot of the requests come from politicians with dodgy pasts and paedophiles.

Yeah, but there are also millions of people who posted rather silly posts when drunk as a student, or other minor mistakes, who now have good careers and who want to get rid of some undesirable content about them on the internet.

Paedophiles, as well as any other criminal, have the right to make a new start after having served their sentence. The court determines a punishment, and often a treatment, and after that these people deserve the chance to make a new start (otherwise, the sentence is for life... and while you may agree with a life sentence, the court deliberately did not give a life sentence). Sometimes these people become politicians. If they served their sentence, and hopefully learned their mistake, then I have no problems with it.

Comment: Re:I'm almost cool with this (Score 2) 625

by captainpanic (#47228075) Attached to: EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability

Actually, no. If it is a real disability, and an obese person is registered as such, they receive the necessary medical care as any other disabled person. If that care includes a diet or regular exercise, then so be it.

Look at someone with a disability on their legs (note: I am no doctor). They can apply for a wheelchair, which will be covered for them, but only if they go see a doctor. This doctor will first see if he can help the disabled person back on his feet. If that fails, the wheelchair is the backup plan.

The medical system - at least where I live in Europe - will always choose healing over just dealing with the symptoms.

Comment: Re:Sorry... (Score 3, Interesting) 206

Also, they have a central government capable of making big decisions and capable of running large technical projects.
They may only have a little rover on the Moon, and very few (if any) space probes that are outside the earth's gravity well, but they can totally claim that they can make a decision, and then commit huge efforts to it. Look at their high speed railways. They have overtaken Europe (all of it combined) already.

If the Chinese are going for it, they really are going for it... unlike Europe or the US where the decisions are taken by a committee, which eventually will reach some lame compromise to do it only for 50% and only within a set of criteria which must support the almighty Economy, because heaven forsake if we ever waste some money - all the while blowing away money on management and bureaucratic inefficiency.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.