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Comment: Re:Flawed, 'cos... (Score 1) 412

by caseih (#48446303) Attached to: In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

What you say has a ring of truth to it, but from what I've read in the car magazines auto ownership is certainly stagnant, and the growth saw in the past is gone, and car companies seem to not know what to do to get demand back. They've tried the idea of a car being a lifestyle, and that didn't seem to do much especially. Now they are trying to go the entertainment route, putting everything and the kitchen sink into the center console. I highly doubt that's going to do much. Basically car makers are victims of their own success. They've saturated the market, cars are quite reliable now with minimal maintenance, and they are perceived as commodity items (albeit expensive ones). I think your arguments are likely to hold for some time yet, but the article's arguments are likely to hold more sway in the long term. The number of teenagers getting a drivinglicense is steadily declining from 30 years ago. Now arguably one huge factor in this is that they depend on others to drive them (parents or friends), but as they become adults they are likely to take their car apathy with them into the next generation. To them cars are just tools. They aren't lifestyle items anymore or fashion accessories. Just tools. When these kids who aren't car crazy begin to vote they might start voting for better public transportation, autonomous cars, etc.

Comment: This just an iphone issue or Android phones too? (Score 1) 188

by caseih (#48446251) Attached to: Corning Reveals Gorilla Glass 4, Promises No More Broken IPhones

I have an old T-mobile Galaxy II (989) that supposedly has gorilla glass on the screen. I've dropped it numerous times and it's never once broken or shattered, and it's now an ancient phone by internet standards. Yet I've seen countless iphones with broken glass. Perhaps the more flimsy, plasticy Android phones actually have an advantage here by flexing instead of shattering? Or is there some other reason this is an Apple problem?

Comment: Re:the NERVE of them swedes! (Score 1) 237

by caseih (#48435697) Attached to: Swedish Court Refuses To Revoke Julian Assange's Arrest Warrant

Even if you're trying to be funny, a falsehood is still a falsehood. So kindly please stop saying things that we know are untrue. Assange has neither been charged with nor convicted of rape. He is innocent until proven guilty, no matter what we know about his actions and lifestyle.

The swedes want him for questioning in regards to two (if I recall correctly) alleged rapes. However it's unlikely that if he did return to Sweden that they would even be able to charge him let alone convict him of rape. But getting him in Swedish custody paves the way for extradition to the United States where the current government wishes to punish him severely for exposing their sins. There's near certainty that's why the Swedes have pursued him thus. And that's why he's fighting this extradition tooth and nail.

It's kind of like how the mob bosses in 1930s Chicago were brought down. They never could make actual charges of murder stick, so they got him on tax evasion. Means to an end for the US government.

Comment: Mechanical computers are awesome (Score 3, Informative) 81

by caseih (#48394007) Attached to: Real Steampunk Computer Brought Back To Life

Wow, that was an amazing set of videos. Particularly how the machine can do decomposition. What a brilliant man who designed this machine.

All analog computers fascinate me. Apparently analog computers implemented fire control on navy ships for many years, compensating for the speed, direction, and roll of the ship in order to aim guns. The accuracy of such a system was impressive, and they were used up until the 1980s on some older ships. Digital systems simply couldn't get the accuracy for many years.

Slide rules are very cool as well. I want to learn how to use one.

Comment: Re:Hybrid vigor FTW? (Score 1) 377

by caseih (#48378207) Attached to: How 4H Is Helping Big Ag Take Over Africa

Well said. There's a lot of disinformation being spread by well-meaning individuals, and by some not-so-well meaning individuals. Especially rubbish like "hybrid seeds are bred... [to] typically need chemicals to thrive." Except that it's strictly true; they do need chemicals like water, CO2, Nitrates to survive. But to say they *need* pesticides suggests that the pesticides are directly causing growth and contributing to the plant, with the innuendo that our food is laced (purposely even) with toxic chemicals, is dishonest.

There are lots of issues at play here with sustaining food production for the future, but articles like this one don't bring anything to the table.

Comment: Re:Uh, simple (Score 4, Informative) 246

by Graymalkin (#48357329) Attached to: The Strangeness of the Mars One Project

Isn't that the point of sending people to mars? To build infrastructure to allow more people to arrive?

Granted, 6 people living in a tiny habitate on mars aren't going to recolonize Earth even if they had the means to come back, but a colony of 100,000 might. Such a large colony may be decades (centuries?) in the future, but until the first people arrive, there will continue to be zero people on mars -- someone has to be first.

Infrastructure is a lot more complicated some pressure capsules and solar panels. Infrastructure to make a colony viable would mean agriculture and industry (including ways to deal with their negative externalities). Everything about both of those would need to be bootstrapped from Earth.

Even at SpaceX's best rates for the Falcon 9 and Dragon capsules at maximum capacity it would take over 14,000 launches to put those 100,000 colonists into orbit. That alone would cost a trillion dollars (assuming awesome rates from SpaceX and no failures). Just the structures and resources to keep those people alive for the first year would cost several tens of trillions of dollars more. The infrastructure to make an actual colony...well hopefully you get the picture. To put the numbers in better perspective we've only launched a little over 300 manned orbital missions in history. Ever.

Comment: Re:Uh, simple (Score 3, Interesting) 246

by Graymalkin (#48357225) Attached to: The Strangeness of the Mars One Project

I don't know how long developing such a society would take, but it'll likely be started by people nearly everyone else considers lunatics. Something like Mars One should be a rehearsal for later attempts at colonizing space itself, without a planet under your feet.

Mars One is a sad scam. It is not real. It was never intended to be real, it has always been intended to separate gullible people from their money.

Bootstrapping a space based industry would be fantastically expensive. Delta-v is the least of your concerns with space based industry. It's the simple questions like "how do you lubricate mechanical compoentns" or "what do you do about swarf in microgravity?" that are the really expensive problematic things. The bootstrapping needs to find viable solutions to those problems, launch it into orbit, assemble it, and then maintain it until a point where it becomes self-sustaining (assuming that point exists).

It's more likely that the cheapest solution will be manufacture finished items on Earth and launch them into space (what we do now). It's not likely there exists a break even point for space based industry. There's just way too many small problems to overcome to make it really feasible. The ISS cost about $150 billion to construct, a minimally feasible space-based industrial base would likely need to be at least an order of magnitude larger. The comparable investment in mining, refining, and manufacturing on Earth would yield significantly higher output.

Comment: Re:Uh, simple (Score 3, Interesting) 246

by Graymalkin (#48357103) Attached to: The Strangeness of the Mars One Project

You have somer serious misconceptions in this post.

One example of recent times is that grown-ups can digest milk -- a result of us having settled down. Not a large change, but one that was a result of us being so smart ;).

The ability for adults to digest milk has nothing to do with "settling down". Adults producing the lactase enzyme is a result of natural selection favoring humans that could digest dairy in regions where it was a viable food source. Both goats and cows are grazing animals and so prehistoric humans that drank their milk didn't have to "settle down" to herd them. Humans remained fairly nomadic until large scale agriculture developed. Lactose tolerance came long before agriculture. It has nothing to do with intelligence.

Also clothing is the low-tech analogon of the martian suits, it makes vast parts of the earth habitable.

This is incorrect by several orders of magnitude. Clothes don't allow don't make parts of Earth more habitable. If you're stuck in the Alaskan wilderness you can still die of exposure even if you have warm clothes. Clothes tend to allow people to more comfortably live in some areas but they don't do a lot to make those places livable. Shelter makes inhospitable parts of the Earth livable, clothes let you get between different shelters.

Space suits needed on Mars don't need to just keep people warm or dry but provide them with a breathable atmosphere at a workable pressure. They'll also need to have facilities for hydration and feeding since they'll be self contained. A space suit capable of keeping someone alive on Mars is much more than mere clothing.

One day we can create nano-robots and engineer our DNA, so that we can live on less friendly planets, too. Evolution has tailored our bodies to earth. There is nothing keeping us from tailoring ourselfes to other planets, through a mixture of technology and biology.

This is just fantasy. Genetic engineering could in the future filter out congenital diseases or make everyone lactose tolerant but it's a little absurd to state as a matter of fact that we could engineer ourselves to live on Mars (or some other planet). Large complex organisms like humans can't be easily adapted for life on Mars or elsewhere. We're not tardigrades or bacteria. Even if we did manage to somehow engineer ourselves to live on Mars or elsewhere those creations would no longer be "ourselves". They would be a wholly new species and incompatible with our own. They would as as alien to us as native Martian bacteria.

Comment: Re:Uh, simple (Score 1) 246

by Graymalkin (#48357027) Attached to: The Strangeness of the Mars One Project

Will others be successful? Maybe. Personally, I don't think that colonizing Mars is a good first step, but I'm not closed-minded or narcissistic enough to think that my own trained-in prejudices are the laws of nature -- unlike some people. As such, I wish those folks all the best in their endeavors.

Now go away and allow those who actually have some vision and intestinal fortitude continue along their own path.

It seems a trend to turn to petty and childish insults rather than try to provide cogent arguments or participate in a conversation. It's pretty sad.

The Mars One "project" is such amazingly obvious bullshit I honestly feel bad for anyone that thinks they are serious. Chris Hadfield is 100% correct in his analysis of the project. It's not only going nowhere but was intended from the beginning to go nowhere, it's a scam to part overly hopeful of gullible people from their money. Supporting the Mars One group is just supporting exploitation rather than furthering space exploration.

Comment: Re:Uh, simple (Score 3, Interesting) 246

by Graymalkin (#48356393) Attached to: The Strangeness of the Mars One Project

I want people to get off this planet.

Why? What do you think is within the reach of human beings in space that is not available on Earth? A reply containing the words "wonder", "exploration" or "adventure" are not acceptable.

Space is mind bogglingly large but despite that the Earth is fucking huge. Helpfully it's also absolutely drenched in the sort of things us humans need to survive. With a bit of preparation we can readily travel to just about anywhere on the surface of the Earth. To simply survive we don't need to bring significant amounts of our home environment along with us.

The Earth is also jam packed with resources. The idea of mining asteroids and comets is laughable. It's ridiculously expensive to actually do and nowhere even remotely close to being cost effective. It's not even a question of profitability, it's simply wasteful to expand the resources to mine a single asteroid when a single mountain on Earth is far more accessible and likely has a much better yield of industrially useful materials. It simply does not make sense to pay thousands or millions of dollars a pound for carbon, ice, or silicon (the primary component of most asteroids and comets). Even for space based industry, launched prices of a thousand dollars a pound means it's more economical to build stuff on Earth and launch it into space.

The idea of "spreading out the species" is another very silly idea. It would take a ridiculous amount of resources to build even a remotely sustainable colony somewhere else in the solar system. There's simply nowhere else in the solar system where humans can easily survive. Even with a self-sustained colony on Mars the odds of humanity being wiped out by a natural disaster (asteroid, etc) aren't significantly improved over all of humanity on a single planet. Without a full ecosystem a Martian colony would eventually die out, likely long before they were able to build their own means to spread to other planets.

Moneyliness is next to Godliness. -- Andries van Dam