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Comment: Re:Bioweapons are a real threat (Score 2) 36

by cusco (#47947437) Attached to: The Myths and Realities of Synthetic Bioweapons

Military organizations never seem to have much trouble filling these jobs, even when the participants know it's illegal. Clinton was horrified when he found what was going on at Dugway and the other vile biowarfare sites the Pentagon has, and as Commander In Chief he instructed the military to cease all work on bio-weapons. The Pentagon's response was to rename the programs and move them to the Black Budget. No one even had to change cubicle.

Comment: Re:Monsters? (Score 1) 36

by cusco (#47947353) Attached to: The Myths and Realities of Synthetic Bioweapons

The reason Ken Alibek was given a visa and citizenship almost overnight when he defected from the Soviet Union was because of his work on 'black pox', a smallpox/Marburg chimera. They had combined the two and came up with an air-transmissible hemorrhagic virus that worked.

Oh, you meant the monster. Never mind.

Comment: Re:Still not easy (Score 2) 36

by cusco (#47947273) Attached to: The Myths and Realities of Synthetic Bioweapons

Everyone is over-thinking this. All they really need is to get a tourist, work or student visa for some innocent illiterate campesino somewhere (preferably non-African), tell them they won a "lottery" or something that gets them a well-paying job in the US, infect them with Ebola, put them on a plane with instructions how to get on the subway, and tell them that their new employer will meet them at Grand Central Station. Even if they didn't infect anyone as they waited there all day, getting sicker and sicker, for someone who never showed up the resulting panic would cause almost as many problems as an actual outbreak. Remember, the goal isn't casualties, it's instilling fear in the target population.

Comment: Re:while... (Score 1) 116

by cusco (#47916897) Attached to: Indian Mars Mission Has Completed 95% of Its Journey Without a Hitch

Japan has stagnated,

Today. Apparently you've forgotten the entire period from 1946 to 1999. Like I said, short attention span.

China's overwhelming advantage over India and much of the rest of the world is its 5000 years of centralization, plans that would have been non-starters in a decentralized government and economy, like One Child and the open development of the Great Firewall, are acceptable there. Brasil is a special case, drastically underpopulated and resource-rich, while India is the exact opposite. You're not even comparing apples and oranges, more like apples and Barkaloungers.

Where would India be today without Indira Gandhi's education program? One only needs to look at its neighbors Pakistan and Bangladesh to see, and that was the intent of the British when they left behind a deliberately non-functional government. Where will India be in half a century if it continues to slowly and thoughtfully expand its space program? Neither you nor I can even guess, except to say far ahead of where it would be without that completely home-grown, internally-sourced, high technology industry.

Stand back and take the long view, look forward a generation or two. Other cultures do it, which is why Japan, China and India have repeatedly risen from the ashes like the phoenix.

Comment: Re:Spider legs (Score 1) 35

by cusco (#47911561) Attached to: European Space Agency Picks Site For First Comet Landing In November

Problem with that is there isn't enough gravity for your spider to be able to walk, about 1/10,000 g. Every leg thrust, no matter how weak, would bounce the thing up off the surface. Rather than looking all bad-ass walking around, your robotic spider would look rather silly bunny-hopping about.

Comment: Re:Sounds challenging. (Score 3, Informative) 35

by cusco (#47911377) Attached to: European Space Agency Picks Site For First Comet Landing In November

Actually the comet does not have enough gravity of its own to allow the spacecraft to orbit it, so Rosetta is in a solar orbit just inside of 67P. Since in that orbit it would quickly outpace the comet ESA has devised a generally triangular flight path that keeps it relatively close while enabling the best use of solar illumination.

Comment: Re:while... (Score 2) 116

by cusco (#47910187) Attached to: Indian Mars Mission Has Completed 95% of Its Journey Without a Hitch

Back in the 1970s Indira Gandhi unveiled a program to update the Indian educational system, especially the higher education, with an emphasis on computing. The portion of the world that was not laughing at the idea of Indian computer programmers and technicians was berating the Indian government for wasting money that could have been spent feeding the poor. Today that expenditure of several billion rupees over the last few decades brings in many tens of billions of dollars in investment and revenue to India every year.

Americans now have such a short attention span that any investment that requires more than a couple of years for payback is unthinkable any longer. This is the real reason why Asia is today's industrial powerhouse, they don't hesitate to build a factory or power station that will take ten or twenty years to be paid off. American executives won't spend a penny on something that doesn't improve the stock price before they move to their next post in the game of 'executive musical chairs'.

Comment: Re:Bikes lanes are nice (Score 2) 213

by cusco (#47865501) Attached to: Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars

In 1980 the two southbound lanes of the Sunshine Skyway were knocked into Tampa Bay by a freighter. Until the new bridge was constructed the two lanes of the remaining half of the bridge every year carried more vehicles in less average time and with fewer accidents than when it was four lanes.

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