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Comment Re:Plenty people in power should be hanged.. (Score 1, Insightful) 485

People in power should stop forcing islam down our throat and force it out of civilized countries. Islam is a mono-cultural ideology that by definition tolerates no other cultures on basis of equality. People in power should recognize this and act accordingly. Stop allowing mosques, islamic preachers and islamic education in the Western world. This who are still determined to believe in islam should move out. If that means dividing the world in two, so be it.

The irony here is amazing.

First: Christianity itself is a mono-cultural ideology that by definition tolerates no other cultures on basis of equality. Consider how the ancient religions of Europe were entirely wiped out by the Christians, a policy of cultural dominance that continued with similar efforts in the New World, Australian and Oceania, and then (with less overall success) Africa. Although governments have recently backed off from this sort of official cultural subjugation, at the NGO level the effort is still in full swing.

Second: the utter blindness of someone advocating ethnic cleansing on a world-wide basis, imposing stringent discrimination and stripping away civil liberties, on Muslims because they are intolerant is just astounding. Wow. Just, wow!

Comment Re: Bodes Really Well for a Fair Trial (Score 2) 485

Perhaps more reasonable, though less likely in my opinion, is the pursuit of a pardon, as Aighearach noted. The President's office would have to be convinced that Snowden's actions were not deserving of punishment, regardless of what the law or courts say. Snowden would still be a convicted felon, but most of the punishment would be removed. However, a pardon would have to be pursued after a conviction, and I expect that Snowden would rather be a martyr in exile than face a proper American trial.

President Ford pardoned former President Nixon for all offenses, despite Nixon never having been formally actually charged with a crime, much less convicted.

Your statement that "a pardon would have to be pursued after a conviction" has the sound of plausibility (aka "truthiness") but clearly is not true.

Comment Re: Cue the flood... (Score 1) 193

TFTR had 15 MW of fusion reactions in the 90s, which is what is usually meant by fusion power in these reactors. That is the same definition for which ITER is using to, as it is not until DEMO that actual generators will be hooked up and electrical power comes out.

Nope. DEMO won't do this - no actual generators. That has to wait for the follow-on to DEMO, called PROTO. And even that may not an actual first power plant, but rather a technology demonstration of power production.

Comment Re:Cue the flood... (Score 1) 193

I see lots of "it's X years away and always will be" comments below but no response to this. Why am I not surprised?

The "Fusion power is 30 years away and always will be" meme started around 1960 as a result of the British ZETA project, a Z-pinch system.

The excessive optimism for controlled fusion, followed by skepticism, predates this by several years, and started with the US projects Matterhorn/Sherwood starting in 1951. For their first several years the two closely related projects were highly classified, as working fusion reactors were expected to be produced within a few years. By 1958, all of the optimism had been dashed, and the work was declassified and relegated to basic research, the prospects for imminent success having become quite bleak, with new estimates that it was 20 years away.

Comment Re:They could have bid with their Delta (Score 1) 55

They could have, but their bid would have been in no way competitive with SpaceX since the Delta 4 is a lot more expensive, and doesn't make economic sense to use on a small launch.

SpaceX should seize the opportunity to set their bidding to whatever ULA was charging before SpaceX came along. That's what happens when "bidding contracts" can be fulfilled by exactly one supplier. Isn't that what the Russians did with sending NASA astronaughts to the ISS? NASA is now paying >60 million USD per seat, when the shuttle was flying the cost was 20 million USD per seat.

According to NASA the average cost of a shuttle launch was $450 million dollars*. When were they sending up a crowd of 23 people per launch? (The largest crew every flown was 8.)

*Even this is a low-ball that does not include the cost of the ground infrastructure required to support the shuttle, nor pro-rating development costs. The total program cost, adjusted for inflation, was $200 billion, and there were 135 launches, for a naive per-launch cost of $1.5 billion per. That would require 75 people to bring the per seat cost down to $20 million.

Comment Re:With all this space hype - (Score 2) 171

Is there any knowledge about environmental impact this fantasy has? Heaving the tons of equipment and initial human support environment against native planets gravity - does it help the ionosphere destruction some more and if so, how much and what is put into the atmosphere, is it just burnt hydrogen (water) or ?? and how much energy is used to produce the fuel?

The cost of space launches will always be very high, due to the cost of the hardware, even if it is reusable. Airline flight costs on the order of $4 a pound. Spaceflight costs on the order of $4000 a pound. Spaceflight will always have a minor impact on the world environment, compared to air travel (for example).

The energy investment in space travel is vastly smaller than people imagine. It seems huge because a relatively large amount of energy is transferred to a small amount of material quickly, but launches are rare and intermittent, and the amount of material being launched is tiny. The mighty Saturn V burned up energy equivalent to $100,000 worth of wholesale electricity, an afternoons output from an average power plant.

How about bringing the harvest back - using the atmosphere as brake - how many more trillion-joules of energy would be put into the air and below?

There you have a valid cause for concern. The amount of platinum group metals consumed annually is quite small, a few hundred tons a year, and asteroids are about ten times richer than the best ores on Earth, but that is still only 0.01% PGM, so a few million tons of asteroid material will need to be deorbited a year. It will be interesting to see the proposals for doing this. The cost of doing anything in space is so high that the idea of actually processing the ore in space is truly fantasy for a long time to come.

Comment Re:Earth level? (Score 1) 171

I believe the Americans call this principle "Eminent Domain" which means, not to put too fine a point on it: "Although we allowed you to have guns, we have way more of them, so f**k off your land. This is our lawn now. Get off it."

To be fair, you left out the part about "And here's a check for the full fair market value of the lawn. Buy yourself another one, if you like.

Comment Re:National level? (Score 1) 171

Under the UN Space Treaty, all government on space settlements must arise from the culture of the settlement itself, rather than being imposed from Earth. A law like SPACE can only affect how our own legal system treats space settlers within our own jurisdiction.

Nothing like this in is the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. Is there some other UN Space Treaty I do not know about?

This claim is, frankly, impossible to credit. The whole focus of the the 1967 treaty is to make sure that States are responsible for the regulation in space of all entities under the authority. The UN does everything through the world state system.

Comment Re:National level? (Score 4, Insightful) 171

The history of claim-jumping argues against you. More efficient than prospecting on your own someplace away from other claims, is to let someone else do your prospecting for you and then take the claim for your own. If they're working an asteroid, presumably it's rich enough to make it worth taking from them.

The Earth is big but humanity has always been willing to kill each other for chosen and desirable bits of it. Space probably won't be different, because even if Space is different, humanity is still humanity.

I'm sorry this not the Wild West in space*. Not even the bill just passed lets you claim an asteroid - which is still explicitly prohibited by international treaty. It lets you claim the the stuff you got from the asteroid only, which is quite reasonable.

Translating notions of "claim jumping" to a space mining operation does not take into account the vast differences. For one, asteroids never had ore concentration processes, beyond what differentiation on formation might have accomplished, and space mining relies on the high average abundance of siderophile** elements in various classes of asteroids. The entire asteroid will be the ore body, and even a small one will vastly exceed the scale of plausible human mining operation. The whole point of space mining is the lack of scarcity up there. Earth mining practices are based on the fact that scarcity is normal.

*In science fiction this is called a "Bat Durston", translating notions of the Wild West into a space opera. For good reason these are looked upon with derision.

**The rare iron-loving elements that sank to the core of the Earth.

Comment Giger (Score 3, Insightful) 106

In early 2014, Kick tried to revive Dark Seed, a point-and-click adventure game that featured artwork by H.R. Giger. But after Giger’s sudden death, demands from the artist’s estate escalated...

[sarcasm]Clearly it is far more important to compensate artists after they have died. That really stimulates their creativity and productivity.[/sarcasm]

On the other hand, in Giger's case, maybe post-mortem artistic output is possible. Still, I expect to see him publishing his works-from-beyond-the-grave.

Comment Re:Heavy sigh. (Score 1) 208

Ya, my dream job is "independently wealthy", which I am -- or, at least, I'm debt-free and financially independent within my budget indefinitely, so I'm good to go. Of course, I'd give it all up to get my wife back - she died in 2006. (I had my dream and now she's only in my dreams...) In case anyone is wondering, I do still work - to support my teammates (who rely on me and need their jobs) and because I don't know what else to do.

Sorry to hear that. You will always dream about her. Finding new purpose is hard. I know.

Comment Re:It's been a while (Score 1) 86

Knuth put it pretty well (though I don't recall the exact verbiage) when he said something along the lines of "P=NP but the solution is going to be virtually useless outside of the one problem it solves." On a philosophical note if you proved P=NP you would essentially have God-like creative power, knowing in an instant how to do anything ...

Absolutely not.

What Knuth argues is that he thinks P=NP, but any proof to that effect will be a non-constructive proof (aka "existence proof"), i.e. merely a proof that such a fact is true. It would not solve any problem in that case. And is would most especially not give you any "God-like powers". This sort of thing is common in mathematics - you can prove a thing exists, but that proof provides no clue how to actually find an example of the that thing.

Comment Re:There should be redundancy in these tests (Score 1) 245

Who is going to pay for that? The police, who will stop sending samples and money to the lab that tells them "You're wrong" too often?

Who is paying to lock people up for years? Compared to that cost lab tests are trivial.

The police should have no say about the labs. These should be certified and run by professionals, with quality control procedures in place (blind test samples in the test stream, etc.), with regular reviews. You know, like real labs. "Police labs" are not real labs.

Comment Re:There should be redundancy in these tests (Score 4, Insightful) 245

...And even if there isn't any cheating, there is the possibility that the two labs would come to different conclusions honestly, due to the inherent messiness of most criminal matters.

You cite that like it is a problem with double checking results. No, that is the very feature we wish to implement. It two labs come to different conclusions, that throws them both into doubt - and then additional checking must be initiated to resolve the discrepancies. If a repeatable result is not possible, then it is not evidence. Period.

"Summit meetings tend to be like panda matings. The expectations are always high, and the results usually disappointing." -- Robert Orben