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NASA Funded Study States People Could Be On the Moon By 2021 For $10 Billion 248 248

MarkWhittington writes: The Houston Chronicle reported that NextGen Space LLC has released the results of a study that suggests that if the United States were to choose to do space in some new and creative ways, American moon boots could be on the lunar surface by 2021. The cost from the authorization to the first crewed lunar landing would be just $10 billion. The study was partly funded by NASA and was reviewed by the space agency and commercial space experts.

Comment Re:Ironic (Score 1, Informative) 195 195

[sarcasm]He probably is in front of several computer screens with several separate slashdot accounts available. He saves up mod points on those separate accounts and mods up his own posts [/sarcasm] I am being somewhat sarcastic here, but really, I cannot figure out how on earth mods would mark his post as insightful. As another poster responded, it is a series of fallacies, inaccuracies and outright lies.

Seriously though. I'm not familiar with how the mod points system works here, but it seems that I get points eventually when one of my posts gets modded up. Superficially, it seems that if I get 4 mods up (to 5) I get 5 points. That would be an increase of one point overall. To someone who knows, is it possible to have a series of accounts working in conjunction, modding each others posts up? What safeguards are in place to prevent this? Because it seems to me as a pseudo-outsider, that if 4 mods up makes five points, then if you kept your points for modding up posts within your group, that you would net-increase your points within the group. Am I wrong here?

Comment Re:Need more info (Score 1) 654 654

Public transpiration systems also reach their limit, and costs to expand them are ever rising. I've been on the trains in Paris and some are so overcrowded it is simply unsafe, a miserable experience that some people face every day. The system cannot handle more trains, and there is little room to add new tracks. At least with roads you can often widen them.

First off, Paris has done expansions of their train system. For instance, the Paris Métro Line 4. You will notice that Line 4 has gates at the tracks for safety under crowded conditions. Secondly, I have spent time in Paris, and I have friends who live in Paris. The system is quite good, actually. There are times when it is busy, but you can say the same for freeways. When subways get crowded, the ride time is pretty much the same. However when freeways get crowded, you can be commuting for 90 minutes on a route that normally takes 30 minutes. Also, you were likely referencing the subways in Paris; the rides are usually quite short on those lines However the commuter rail lines are usually far more comfortable. The cars often have two levels, and commuters usually get seats, except at the very worst times.

Finally there are the intangibles. There is good evidence that living in a city with good rail transportation, and using it, results in a better psychological state. I can anecdotally support that. I sometimes commute by subway; sometimes I have to stand, but often I get a seat. The ride is 15 minutes, which is faster than driving to my destination. There are no traffic jams, no accidents. The system just works. To me, there is something quite compelling about an efficient subway system.

Comment Re:Need more info (Score 4, Informative) 654 654

The question is flawed. The fact is that most US public transportation is awful. This is quite literally by design. In the 1950's, a conscious decision was made by policy makers to begin neglecting public transportation and to start investing public money in road systems in a big way. This is what built the interstate system, for example. A few places, Portland Oregon, for example, took some of that interstate money and invested in public transportation. Portland's system is actually quite good, now, and if you lived there, you would probably use it quite a bit.

But if you live in one of the countless suburban freeway islands, using public transportation is absurd. The way the roads and infrastructure are laid out make it almost impossible to install an efficient public transportation system. In many suburban areas, the mere act of walking somewhere is almost impossible or illegal.

There is a truism in transportation design: the freeways make the sprawl. And the converse is also true: passenger rail transportation increase creates clusters of density. Evidence of this can be seen in the observation that since the massive reduction of passenger rail transportation in the US, there have been almost no new dense walkable diverse large scale downtown core cities established. The big ones, New York, Chicago, etc. were established during the age of passenger rail. Most new cities are freeway places, and usually don't achieve the density of the older cities. By choosing to build freeways, we chose to create suburban sprawl. The only way to get out of this trap is to slow the building of freeways, and to increase investment in passenger rail.

Comment Re:Country run by oil barons does nothing!!! (Score 1, Offtopic) 195 195

Today, a majority of Americans *are morons* - FTFY

I think "idiots" is the better word. According to this site,

...the word idiot originates from the Greek word idiwtes (idiotes), which refers to a person disinterested in participating in democracy and public life. These people were viewed as selfish, contemptable and stupid as they were more concerned with their daily personal affairs than they were of the good of the society.

Here is the Webster's definition. The Greek origin is mentioned at the end.

Comment Re:Solar *activity* not *output* (Score 4, Funny) 249 249

With a 60% reduction in irradiance, I suspect that it would get so cold on Earth that CO2 would freeze solid out of the air. So no more CO2 problem. Yay. But then again, plants need CO2 to make O2. So no more breathing on our part. Doh. That would suck.

Comment Re:Solar *activity* not *output* (Score 3, Insightful) 249 249

Not solar output falling 60%, which would lead to completely frozen Earth, but solar activity, i.e. the 11 year sunspot cycle. Predicting levels near or at those found during the Maunder minimum. This does imply some reduced level of solar output.

Thought I'd smelled a rat. The headline is deceptive (likely deliberately). The vast majority of readers wouldn't know the difference between activity and irradiance.

Comment Glenn Greenwald's Response (Score 1) 546 546

Glenn Greenwald has written a clear statement here arguing that the assertions of the Telegraph article are deeply flawed, and based entirely on anonymous statements from government officials. It is worth a read. Here is one paragraph from it:

The Sunday Times today merely recycled the same evidence-free smears that have been used by government officials for years – not only against Snowden, but all whistleblowers – and added a dose of sensationalism and then baked it with demonstrable lies. That’s just how western journalism works, and it’s the opposite of surprising. But what is surprising, and grotesque, is how many people (including other journalists) continue to be so plagued by some combination of stupidity and gullibility, so that no matter how many times this trick is revealed, they keep falling for it. If some anonymous government officials said it, and journalists repeat it while hiding who they are, I guess it must be true.

Comment Re:Offshoring (Score 1) 173 173

However the reasons where clearly due to Space X's failure to get their act together and provide confidence that they will be human rated in time to take over when the contract with the Russians was set to end. So NASA really doesn't have much choice, because if Space X isn't ready when the current seats we have from the Russians end, we'd be in a place where no US crew replacements would be possible.

Source for that? Really I think you are making it up. Space X just finished their launch abort test for their capsule. They are likely going to be ready on time. They have been delivering Dragon 1 capsule to the station for a while now. What this really sounds like is a full court press by incumbent aerospace companies to derail SpaceX before they can demonstrate successful launches of humans to space. The committees in Congress and the Senate that underfunded the commercial space program were largely in the pockets of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, or other existing space companies. Here is a tweet from Charles Lurio, who is a fairly reliable source of space information:

Understand that Boeing pushing HARD to reduce Commercial Crew funds to force NASA to 'downselect' to one provider - them.

There are a lot of established companies who want to kill Musk's businesses. These competitors have sunk costs, and Musk is threatening their monopolies by doing what they do cheaper and better. Examples: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, ULA are used to getting fat "cost plus" contracts for government launches. Space X looks like it will stop that. Tesla will be coming out with a $35000 electric car, that will likely sell very well. Energy companies don't what this to happen. Musk's enemies are competing using political subterfuge, bribery, and stealth "public relations" campaigns, rather than improving their business and manufacturing processes. Really all of this stinks like the worst forms of crony capitalism. America is showing its corrupt side. And so called "free enterprise" republicans are behind much of it.

Comment Re:Why bother with installed capacity? (Score 1) 259 259

One of the hallmarks of PV solar and wind (turbine) power is that its installed capacity is so completely out of sync with its utilization rate. While a coal, nuclear or gas plant can hit utilization rates of 90 - 99%, PV solar and wind tend to fluctuate around 20-30%.

Did you research that yourself, or did you get it from an anti-solar propaganda site? Is it focus group tested? Are you being paid to post? Or are you just passionately opposed to free low-cost solar energy that helps us reduce the money we send to corrupt middle eastern regimes? Personally, I think it is the former.

Comment Re:Lies, Damn lies and Statistics (Score 3, Informative) 216 216

The oil industry receives far larger subsidies per year than Musk is accused of receiving over three companies and many years. And some of the "subsidies" Musk is accused of receiving consisted of loans that were paid back with interest.

IBM Advanced Systems Group -- a bunch of mindless jerks, who'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes... -- with regrets to D. Adams