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Comment: Re:Raise awareness? (Score 1) 76 76

I vote for the people who fund the telescopes or nukes. What I can do, personally, is vote for people who support funding programs to detect asteroids (and funding for science in general). I don't lie awake worrying about asteroid strikes, but I do try to voice my opinion for reasonable public policy.

Comment: Re:Distributed environment? (Score 1) 76 76

the overall reflectivity drops with the square of the asteroid's diameter

Wouldn't it increase with the square of the diameter, because that's the surface area? Mass of course increases with the cube of the diameter, so the surface area to mass ratio decreases by the power of 3/2 with the diameter. The rest of what you said sounds right, so yes, it does take a really big telescope to detect them a long way off. The "average Joe" discoveries usually happen when they are already very close - too close to do anything about them.

Comment: Re:"as a means to raise awareness ..." (Score 1) 76 76

But what is the reasonable precaution here? You say "Much Bigger Rockets" a few posts ago but what do you do with them? Do you build them and just leave them sitting around and hope we can knock an asteroid out of the sky with one? If instead we build the capability to detect all killer asteroids 20 years out (which seems reasonable with today's technology (it will be expensive, but less so than our wars)) then we would have 10 years to build a big rocket and get it to an asteroid and give it a tiny nudge, and a tiny nudge would be all it takes if you do it when the asteroid is still 10 years away. A detection network probably involves an array of space based telescopes and supercomputers to crunch the data, and we probably get a lot of good side uses out of that. There are lots of good side uses for big rockets too, but they don't help you deflect asteroids if you can't detect them years in advance.

Also regarding you comment on lightning and shark attacks, those kill individuals, not humanity. Big difference.

Comment: Re:Opportunities as well as problems (Score 1) 98 98

when it passes over a huge city with lots of clients

Big cities will probably have no clients because there will be better ways to get internet access in a big city. This will be great for rural areas and ships in the middle of the ocean, and thus load will never be concentrated.

Comment: Re:So is this the "new apologizing"? (Score 0) 412 412

What's wrong with standing by your opinion?

What's wrong with standing by that particular opinion is that it is idiotic. He should be back-pedaling hard. I'd sure like to see more people (especially politicians) standing by well thought-out opinions, but this doesn't qualify as one.

Comment: Re:Noocular (Score 1) 298 298

Um, no. We can, for example, make ethanol which we can use for fuel (not that I am endorsing that particular strategy). And sunlight and wind are effectively unlimited (until the sun burns out, in which case we would need to find a new home anyway). Uranium, coal, oil, and gas will run out long before that. That is difference between "fossil" and "renewable".

Comment: Re:No thanks. (Score 2) 95 95

A normal functioning pancreas can't predict the future either. All it can do is react to what it is sensing, just like the artificial one. It may be more finely tuned, better sensors, better algorithms, etc, but none of that represents anything that couldn't be incrementally improved in the artificial pancreas.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"