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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.

Comment: Re:Dear UK (Score 5, Insightful) 240

by captainpanic (#47170037) Attached to: UK Seeks To Hold Terrorism Trial In Secret

I enjoy your sarcasm, but I will still answer your 1st question as if you were serious.

How do you know it's not a case so important and transcendental that absolute secrecy is required to protect British society as a whole?

Because the system on which our liberty and freedom is based is more important than some guys setting of a bomb, no matter how large the attack.

We just cannot - under any circumstance - accept a situation that a government can capture, try and imprison people without ever having to be accountable for those actions.

I could accept a situation where trial is postponed because of ongoing investigations against others, but the trial must be public. Heck, we (= the West) have been fighting regimes that did this in the past, saying we had to liberate the people from the oppression, etc. etc., and now we're doing it ourselves? Does not compute.

Comment: Re:This is so 1990s (Score 3, Informative) 132

by captainpanic (#47162519) Attached to: Linux Mint 17 'Qiana' Released

The long term support version of Linux Mint is indeed newsworthy. I think it is the upcoming popular Linux for the desktop. Why? Because it works, without any unnecessary fancy stuff.

In fact, I would recommend it to anyone who wants to upgrade an old WinXP computer to something more 2014. From experience I can say that installation is really easy, and it will allow you to go online, email, watch movies, listen music or write any documents/excel sheets just like XP did.

Comment: Re:blackberries in seattle? I'm Shocked. Shocked (Score 1) 290

by captainpanic (#47092359) Attached to: Should We Eat Invasive Species?

Berries are meant to be eaten. Why else would a plant put yummy sweet stuff around its seeds? You're actually helping the plant to thrive if you pick the berries (especially if you drop a few here and there while picking, or otherwise spread the seeds around).

If you want it gone, pull it out at the roots, and only then pick the berries.

Comment: Missed opportunity (Score 0) 250

by captainpanic (#47074071) Attached to: Four Weeks Without Soap Or Shampoo

Missed opportunity to mention it is "Mostly Harmless" (instead of this "generally harmless"). Also, if they had gone 6 weeks, instead of 4, that would have been 42 days, which is a much better number. Then this invention should have been called the ultimate solution to the universe etc... the only puzzle remaining then is what the heck you always need a towel for.

Comment: Re:It didn't take long to leave our mark in the se (Score 4, Insightful) 136

by captainpanic (#47073125) Attached to: Trillions of Plastic Pieces May Be Trapped In Arctic Ice

Firstly a disclaimer: I am not the historian you asked for (i.e. no expert). But I do have 2 cents to add to this comment.

I think cities/towns were often built on high ground as a prevention against flooding. People want to live near fresh water for irrigation, but still keep their houses dry.
Therefore, the main elevation of the town centers is not a giant pile of old trash, but a natural elevation (also known as a "hill"). But it is true that people would discard old items into a canal or river, or just in the mud, and in old cities you will almost always find something if you dig down.

Comment: Re:And thus, terraforming has begun (Score 1) 97

by captainpanic (#47045503) Attached to: Curiosity Rover May Have Brought Dozens of Microbes To Mars

True. The total pressure is much lower on Mars. However, the CO2 partial pressure is higher:

On Earth, we have a total of 1 bar, and 0.04% of that is CO2. That means a CO2 partial pressure of 0.0004 bar CO2, or 0.4 mbar CO2.
On Mars, there is a total of 6 mbar pressure, but 96% of that is CO2. That means a CO2 partial pressure of 0.0058 bar CO2, or 5.8 mbar CO2, almost 15 times as much CO2.

The plants may lack everything else (they do need the other gases in the atmosphere, I know, and liquid water in the soil). But just maybe some really tough microorganisms can survive.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".