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Comment Re:Ecosystems are *Really* *Hard* (Score 2) 147

That's what Biosphere 2 tried to do. It didn't work.

Biosphere 2 tried to be entirely self-sufficient in oxygen, and only pumped it into the system when it dropped below 14.5%.

What I suggest is that you aid the oxygen (and CO2) concentrations with methods that rely on chemical engineers, not plants. Plants should be used in a space colony for producing food, not oxygen. Our human-made solar panels can convert sunlight into electricity at well over 20% efficiency, and then into oxygen at an efficiency well over 50%. Eeven in a pessimistic scenario, we can therefore use at least 10% of the incoming sunlight to make oxygen. Plants achieve a measly 1% or less.

So, there are reasons of efficiency as well as process control to do this by a process rather than "nature"...

Comment Re:Moon Zero? (Score 1) 147

The Moon is not a good rest area for a trip to Mars. But it is a good practice area for building colonies.

But just like you allow kids to camp first in your own backyard, then at the local campsite before allowing them to go trekking through the Rockies, you want to do a few practice runs closer to home with a good chance of survival if stuff goes wrong.

If would make little sense to drop down another gravity on your way. The only sensible rest area would be a space station in orbit, like the ISS.

Comment Re:Ecosystems are *Really* *Hard* (Score 3, Insightful) 147

You could of course build an ecosystem, and manually adjust it when it goes off course.

With a bunch of solar panels you can create extra oxygen or clean water when needed.
If some plants or organisms grow too fast, you can just kill them or cut them down.

To create an ecosystem that is entirely self sufficient and stable is beyond our capabilities. And actually, it is very likely that ecosystems are not stable at a small scale. But the entire earth is such a big buffer that it can average out everything. This averaging out must be done artificially in smaller systems.

Comment Actually, it is. (Score 1) 147

(The plan to bilk the public for even more money, that is.)

At least they're not wasting government money, like NASA.
I'm all in favor of space exploration (including NASA), but if this can be funded by commercial money, through advertising or sponsoring, then that's all the better.

Maybe this plan is too ambitious, and probably it will fail. But hopefully, a few valuable lessons will be learned, and it will help us all to get a little closer to spreading ourselves a little through the galaxy.

Comment Re:not shock (Score 2) 182

It's not a big surprise to the Chinese either. They know, and they are trying to fix it. But the undertaking to fix this is a huge one, and I doubt we'll see any real results in the next 5 years.
They are however working on regulations for large power stations and car emissions, ot my knowledge. I wonder if they also work on regulations for the smaller processes - some factories have a very dirty and inefficient combusion, no gas cleaning whatsoever, and a low chimney. These need to be cleaned up badly.

Comment Fill the plane to the absolute brim? (Score 1) 373

If you plan to cram even more seats into the plane, and then fill it up with passengers and luggage to its maximum take-off weight, then this is a good idea.

Most airlines have done some statistics, and make sure that in 99.9999% of the cases (*), the weight of all the passengers does not exceed the maximum take off weight. But that means they are typically not completely full.
If this airline wants to cram more people into its plane, they must accept that they will sometimes exceed the maximum weight. So, you check everyone's weight before, and it can occur that there is a seat available, but you still (in a way) overbooked the flight.

It can obviously also be an argument that 'now that we got the data anyway', we make the fat people pay more. But I somehow doubt that they will actually do that.

(*) I am not sure what percentage they use - that's a guess

Comment Re:And this is a big problem WHERE? (Score 4, Insightful) 178

I live in Amsterdam and I've been biking drunk way more times than I should admit.
Still I wouldn't buy one of these things!

All Dutch people bike drunk (at least, those who drink also bike, since every Dutchie has a bike). But there is a decent infrastructure for bikes, and as a result there are negligible accidents with drunk bikers.
If you grow up biking all the time (like most Dutch people), you will be able to bike home just as easily as you can walk home. A biker will (at most) cause harm to himself, if anything... but the numbers are so negligible that I cannot begin to state my disapproval of this invention.

Also, I just already thought of a funny way to sabotage my friend's alco-lock on his bike (remember, that bike is parked outside the pub). Spray a little parfume (or any alcohol containing liquid) into it, and that bike isn't moving for the next 15-30 minutes, lolzors. Vodka shots probably work as well.
Also, I can just breathe into all the bikes on the bike parking while drunk. :)

And a smart drunk person will just ask someone else to open his lock.

Why not put an alcohol lock on your shoes? Drunk walking is probably a problem too. Hell, just turn all the pubs into hotels: mandatory staying overnight until you're sober. You cannot leave if you're intoxicated. That would make the world a better place. /rant

Comment Why is this news? (Score 3, Insightful) 21

We have a global economy. China has long ago stopped being the evil commies that they used to be (although TFA still thinks they are, judging by the 1st paragraph). And this appears to be a peaceful scientific experiment.

All kinds of scientific cooperation, trade, and exchange of materials and technologies takes place in partnership with China all the time. I don't see why it is news that this one takes place in space?

Comment Re:Oh Great! More Central Planning! Just what we n (Score 0) 413

Yep central planning that will save us all.

But you're an AC, and you're not here to discuss. You're just trolling around. I sometimes wonder how many of you anti-sustainability trolls are paid by some lobby groups.

But there is a small chance you're not just trolling, but that you actually believe that a minimalistic government is the only way forward. And I could understand that view, if you are a brainwashed American, so I forgive your ignorance. But YES, sometimes central planning is necessary to make everybody behave, and to ensure that the interests of everyone are protected.

The energy market should have never been privatised in the first place. It is a fundamental necessity of everyone, just like healthcare, a good infrastructure and security. And it's not as if the world is lacking good examples of countries with centrally planned programs that do work.

Comment Re:No, it can be practical logic (Score 1) 220

You have to be careful about letting perfect be the enemy of better.

There are always 3 options:
1. Be perfect
2. Do something
3. Do nothing

The main problem with (Western) politicians is that they want to have an image of Strong and Decisive. They think that deciding to do nothing can look weak, and they often choose to just do something, not because it is the best option, but because it makes them look good. With elections coming up, that is important.

The life of a repo man is always intense.