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Submission + - One Way Trips To Mars, Leaving 2022 (

Daniel_Stuckey writes: "Check this vacation package: A seven month journey without showering (Just 213 days’ worth of moist clean towelettes for four) balanced with a satisfying three hours of exercise per day, and extremely tight quarters (with the possible interruption of solar storms which would require that passengers crawl deeper inro the rocket’s shelter area for days). It’s like Survivor, but it’ll take 10 years of passing immunity challenges to make it aboard. Sounds like one of the more interesting passages I’ve come across in the Rough Guide (Will there be shrimp with garlic?)

Enough though – is this for real? According to Mars One, “Yes, it is!” They say they’ve been planning a Mars trip since January 2011 in secret, and only recently could they remove their embargo once they realized it could happen. They’ve received letters of interest from big-leaguers Surrey, Thales Alenia, and space’s recent commercial debutant, SpaceX. Hooking up with these companies as suppliers, Mars One aims to call on a general audience to participate in selecting the first person to leave foot prints on the surface of the Red Planet.

“Our biggest challenge is acquiring funding. Once we do, it is on,” Mars One exclaims on their site, saying the company’s trip will help produce “the biggest media event in history!”"


Submission + - Great Wall of China Actually Twice As Long (

jones_supa writes: The Great Wall of China has been officially declared much longer than previously thought, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reports. Previous estimates of the wall's length were mainly based on historical records: a preliminary study released in 2009 estimated the wall to be 8,850 km long. Recent state survey results however indicate that the wall measures even 21,196.18 km. Tong Mingkang, deputy chief, said that the survey revealed a total of 43,721 heritage sites that included stretches of the Great Wall. Only 8.2% of the original wall remains intact, with the rest in poor condition, according to the report.

Submission + - Grad Student Wins Alan Alda's Flame Challenge (

eldavojohn writes: Scientists have long been criticized of their inability to communicate complex ideas adequately to the rest of society. Similar to his questions on PBS' Scientific American Frontiers, actor Alan Alda wrote to the Journal of Science with a proposition called The Flame Challenge. Contestants would have to explain a flame to an eleven year old kid and the entries would be judged by thousands of children across the country. The winner of The Flame Challenge is quantum physics grad student Ben Ames whose animated video covers concepts like pyrolysis, chemiluminescence, oxidation and incandescence boiled into a humorous video complete with song. Now they are asking children age 10-12 to suggest the next question for the Flame Challenge. Kids out there, what would you like scientists to explain?

Comment Re:Get a refill.. (Score 1) 1141

What I do to my own body shouldn't affect you. If it does, that just means you need to mind your own business and get out of my life.

The truth is that we are all utterly dependent on each other to survive - every part of our life is dependent on a product or service that is the result of the combined effort of many people. If everyone got out of your life, your would literally have nothing. Whether we like it or not, what one person does to their body does effect other people, and it places a cost on others regardless of any intentional interest in their business. Should we update are laws to acknowledge that, or just ignore it?

Comment Re:Get a refill.. (Score 1) 1141

One could also argue that companies marketing soda in excessively large containers is a nudge, considering psychological factors that we are all subject to, to consume more sugar than people otherwise would be interested in - this law is simply trying to reduce that nudge. People are already used to constant intervention from corporations everyday (I'm walking down the street, I'm thristy, let's see, what are my options to drink - what does that giant billboard suggest?), so an effort trying to reduce public health problems arising from that intervention isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm not sure that legally restricting container size is necessarily the right approach, but there are two sides to the argument.

Laser Scanner May Allow Passengers To Take Bottled Drinks On Planes Again 343

cylonlover writes "Besides having to remove our shoes, the volume limitations regarding liquids and gels in carry-on baggage has become a major hassle in the world of post 9-11 airport security. Hopefully, however, we may soon be able to once again bring our big bottles of water and tubes of toothpaste aboard airliners in our overnight bags. Britain's Cobalt Light Systems has developed a scanner called the INSIGHT100, that uses laser light to assess the liquid contents of containers, even if those containers are opaque."

Comment Re:aka Differential GPS (Score 1) 140

DGPS is all about using the fact that error in a normal satellite GPS signal is relatively constant in one location on Earth - the ground based transmitters just tell the DGPS receiver what that error is in your specific location. This sounds like they are using actual ground-based GPS transmitters, thereby removing the calculation of where the satellite is in the first place, to improve accuracy.

Comment Re:Who wouldn't? (Score 1) 427

I agree with your point that the carbon offsets don't truly offset the damage, but having punched the child doesn't change the positive effect of donating to NSPCC - i.e. punching a child and donating to NSPCC is still slightly better than only punching a child, and having punched the child doesn't mean that then donating to the NSPCC is stupid. The carbon offsets presumably do some good, even if it isn't enough.

Comment Re:Stored energy (Score 2) 87

Using energy stored as momentum would only allow for a temporary hop off the ground, until that momentum is used up - if the pilot can't sustain the power required for flight, the rotor would quickly slow down.. It sounds like the requirement that it fly for at least 60 seconds means that the human pilot has to be able to maintain the momentum of the rotor by pedaling with the power required for actually flying.

Comment Re:1st of Clarke's Laws (Score 1) 428

I wonder if you could flip that around to say something like:

"When a young inexperienced scientist states that something far-fetched is possible, he is probably wrong. When he states that something is impossible, he is almost certainly right."

Comment Re:In a sense ... (Score 1) 428

I admittedly have only tried it in rental cars - satellite radio is great for talk radio, so you can listen to the same program while driving cross country, but the music quality is pretty bad, the "sizzle" and reduction in dynamic range of the overly compressed audio is kind of grating.

Comment Re:When will these nutjobs learn? (Score 2) 480

A better way to word it would be to say people have the right to not have the internet taken away from them. Provided a person lives somewhere where a company can provide them access, they can pay for it, etc, then no government or other organization should be able to prevent someone from accessing it freely.

Comment Re:Supercars (Score 1) 274

It probably uses a frequency splitting response, like a high pass filter on the shock response to block out "steady state" response, so that it only responds to changes in the road - in the driving over a curb example, the shock would probably respond quickly (at high frequency) to the immediate bump, but wash out with some time constant to the normal position. If you hit the beginning of a steep slope, the shocks only would respond immediately to soften the transition.

So, right, big enough bumps (below some cutoff frequency) would be felt so as to not saturate the actuator, but most ride discomfort probably comes from higher-frequency bumps.

Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.