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Let's Not Go To Mars 684 writes: Ed Regis write in the NYT that today we an witnessing an outburst of enthusiasm over the literally outlandish notion that in the relatively near future, some of us are going to be living, working, thriving and dying on Mars. But unfortunately Mars mania reflects an excessively optimistic view of what it actually takes to travel to and live on Mars, papering over many of the harsh realities and bitter truths that underlie the dream. "First, there is the tedious business of getting there. Using current technology and conventional chemical rockets, a trip to Mars would be a grueling, eight- to nine-month-long nightmare for the crew," writes Regis. "Tears, sweat, urine and perhaps even solid waste will be recycled, your personal space is reduced to the size of an SUV., and you and your crewmates are floating around sideways, upside down and at other nauseating angles." According to Regis every source of interpersonal conflict, and emotional and psychological stress that we experience in ordinary, day-to-day life on Earth will be magnified exponentially by restriction to a tiny, hermetically sealed, pressure-cooker capsule hurtling through deep space and to top it off, despite these constraints, the crew must operate within an exceptionally slim margin of error with continuous threats of equipment failures, computer malfunctions, power interruptions and software glitches.

But getting there is the easy part says Regis. "Mars is a dead, cold, barren planet on which no living thing is known to have evolved, and which harbors no breathable air or oxygen, no liquid water and no sources of food, nor conditions favorable for producing any. For these and other reasons it would be accurate to call Mars a veritable hell for living things, were it not for the fact that the planet's average surface temperature is minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit." These are only a few of the many serious challenges that must be overcome before anyone can put human beings on Mars and expect them to live for more than five minutes says Regis. "The notion that we can start colonizing Mars within the next 10 years or so is an overoptimistic, delusory idea that falls just short of being a joke."

Comment Ghost Writer? (Score 1) 81

I initially assumed that this was written by Bennet Haselton. When I didn't see his name attached to it, I immediately wondered if he's testing Slashdot to see if his brilliant ideas invoke eye-rolls because they are associated with him, or well, they just are not that brilliant or insightful.

It's funny.  Laugh.

An Algorithm To Stop Joke Plagiarists 128

Bennett Haselton writes: The comedy world crucified Josh "Fat Jew" Ostrovsky for building his career on re-tweeting other people's jokes without attribution. But Twitter, or whichever company rises as their successor, could easily implement an algorithm that could stop plagiarists from building a following, while still rewarding joke writers who come up with original content. Read on for Bennett's take on how such a system could work.

Comment Re:AM could be a honeypot (Score 2) 450

If I were a subject of such extortion, I would be less likely to give in to the demands if the data were public. I would know that paying off one extortionist wouldn't prevent the next one from knocking on my door. So, if the CEO of AM were really doing this for that purpose, wouldn't his pretend hackers keep at least most of the data proprietary?

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre