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Comment Re:Before a human walks on Mars... (Score 1) 285

That reason is rubbish. There will not be any significant number of people on Mars before 2100, maybe two or four at a time. That will not prevent any extinction.

So, because it will take time to develop a sustainable population off planet we shouldn't do it? We don't know when the next ELE event will be; it could be an undetected space rock which will hit us next week, or possibly Yellowstone erupting in a thousand years. I don't know when the next century flood will happen, so I should spend 5 years preparing my family for such an event.

Besides, the human musculoskeletal system can not properly develop nor even be maintained on Mars. The rocky world with sufficient gravity for that is Venus, and it has a few wee little problems regarding human habitation, for instance even living in balloons at altitude where pressure and temperature wouldn't kill has sulphuric acid rain.

Our skeletons will develop for the level of gravity where we live. A human born and raised on the moon will have enough strength and muscle to live normally on the moon. Same deal with Mars. Your argument comes into play for returning to earth, where it will take some time to strengthen the bones and get used to our gravity. It is unlikely to cause immediate death.

Venus' gravity, temperature, and acid rain are irrelevant to this discussion, and only serve as a straw man.

Comment Re:How about fixing the systems? (Score 1) 143

Sorry to self-reply, but I should clarify that I believe most if not all Western countries have officially adopted the Gregorian calendar. But a number of countries with strong presence of Orthodox Christians have official churches which have instead adopted the Revised Julian. There have been some politicians in these countries which have claimed the official calendar is not Gregorian...

Obviously it's probably unlikely that anyone is going to care about this stuff 800 years from now. It's still an amusing bit of weird calendar discrepancies.

The new calendar has been adopted by the Orthodox churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Poland, and Bulgaria (the last in 1963), called the New calendarists. It has not been adopted by the Orthodox churches of Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia (including the uncanonical Macedonian Orthodox Church), Georgia, Mount Athos and the Greek Old Calendarists. Although Milankovi stated that the Russian Orthodox Church adopted the new calendar in 1923, the present church continues to use the Julian calendar for both its fixed festivals and for Easter. A solution to this conundrum is to hypothesize that it was accepted only by the short-lived schismatic Renovationist Church, which had seized church buildings with the support of the Soviet government while Patriarch Tikhon was under house arrest. After his release, on 15 July 1923, he declared that all Renovationist decrees were without grace, presumably including its acceptance of the new calendar.

Revised Julian calendar

As you can see, it's been adopted by some Orthodox churches, but not any countries.

Comment Re:How about fixing the systems? (Score 2) 143

Leap days (which we call leap years, because consistency is hard) are predictable. Software written 40 years ago will have the extra days at exactly the same times and with exactly the same frequency that the designers thought that they would. You never have problems where some parts of a distributed system got the update and others didn't. Either the code is working, or it's broken. It's also really easy to test.

Actually, I wonder how much software written 40 years ago correctly calculates leap years. Every year divisible by 4 is a leap year, except for those divisible by 100, except those divisible by 400. How much software will consider the year 2100 a leap year because the algorithm was dumbed down to every four years?

Comment Re:Before a human walks on Mars... (Score 1) 285

I'm not sure you've thought this through. Humans are NOT going to get out of this alive; the distances are simply too vast, the velocities too low, the conditions too harsh. The best we can do is pass on our legacy, not our genetics. What's our legacy? Opinions vary but I'd say logic and knowledge. Perhaps we'll pass that on through some form of robot, or something else that is impervious to eons of time, harshest of conditions, and snail-paced speeds.

I would extrapolate the migration of the Polynesians. They went from island group to island group building up colonies instead of making the entire journey across the Pacific Ocean in one go. First we'll colonize close to earth; maybe the Moon or Mars. Then that colony sends out more colonists further out. We will need to mix up the colonies a bit to avoid in-breeding until we get a sizable population. Every generation send a few families from earth to the moon, a family from the moon to earth, and a few families from the moon to the next colony, etc. A family from earth will never make it to another galaxy within a single generation, but we can play leap frog.

Comment Re:Before a human walks on Mars... (Score 1) 285

The pretense is that a single Extinction Level Event could wipe out our species. In order for our species to survive, we need to colonize off planet.

Common F. Sense: "If that shit is what we're worried about, then what's wrong with the moon?"

Lobbyist: "The moon? Booooring. Been there done that already. Besides, there's a MUCH greater ability to hide lobbyist warmongering and wasteful spending deep inside trillion-dollar Mars projects in order to support the billionaires I represent."

I personally think that the moon would be a great first step. If something goes wrong on the moon we can send a rescue mission in a matter of hours / days instead of months to years. Once we perfect a sustainable colony on the moon we should look farther out. We don't fully understand the effects of microgravity on a developing fetus, for example.

Comment Re:Before a human walks on Mars... (Score 1) 285

The pretense is that a single Extinction Level Event could wipe out our species. In order for our species to survive, we need to colonize off planet.

While I support efforts to expand the human footprint to Betelgeuse and beyond, I think the survival of the species argument is just plain Mars fanboy FUD. The thing is, there hasn't been a single Extinction Level Event that has wiped off all large animals from the face of the Earth. If that were the case, then we wouldn't be having this discussion on Slashdot, since our ancestors would continually need to re-evolve from simpler life forms.

There have been between 5 and 20 major extension events in the last 540 million years (depending on how you classify an event as major). I don't expect another one any time soon, but one will eventually happen. The Permian-Triassic extinction event killed up to 96% of known marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species. 83% of all known genera became extinct. It's been hypothesized that a gamma ray burst caused the Ordovician–Silurian extinction events which would have destroyed the ozone layer, meaning most non-marine life was wiped out.

As for human evolution goes, most of our ancestors were small until about 40 million years ago, millions of years after the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.

We now have the technological sophistication to survive whatever killed the trilobites or the non-avian dinosaurs, even if we remain Earth-bound. Yes, billions would die, but the species as whole would have a good chance of surviving if we just build or enhance the infrastructure we already have for surviving an all-out nuclear war.

We could survive most anything if given enough time to prepare. Most survival techniques require us to be in a bunker of some sort during impact. There is a huge granite vault near Salt Lake City which could (theoretically) survive 5 nuclear blasts, but what are the odds of people being in there at the time of impact? How long can we survive underground while waiting for the atmosphere to recover? Are we storing enough non-perishable food, and preparing a means of underground agriculture for long-term survival? Yes, these are the same questions for colonizing off planet, but it's the same idea as having your HD back-up far enough away from your data center so that anything which affects your data center won't also affect your backup (don't store your backup tapes in a closet in the same building as the original).

If by survival of the species, you mean the survival of humanity as a civilization, then the colonization of Mars isn't the answer. What we need is the development of self-replicating technology. 3D printing and genetic engineering are steps in that direction. Until we gain the ability to fabricate essential technology from the ground up using little more than sunshine and the dirt in the ground, Dark Ages will remain a threat.

Colonizing off planet will hasten the need for more efficient means of the technologies you mention. It's not an either-or situation.

Comment Re:Before a human walks on Mars... (Score 1) 285

Anything bad enough to utterly destroy the Earths crust will probably take Mars with it too.

To don't have to destroy the planet itself in order to kill (almost) all life on it. I always thought it preposterous when people would say that the US had enough nukes to blow up the world 7 times; what they really meant was we had enough nukes to effect the entire surface of the earth seven times.

Comment Re:Before a human walks on Mars... (Score 4, Insightful) 285

Before a human walks on Mars, there ought to be some humans born in Antarctica — an environment much more welcoming to our species than the red planet.

Yeah, it is only a continent, not a planet, but it is so much easier to get to and live on, that there really is no excuse to go to Mars, until Antarctica (as well as Siberia, Australian Outback, Sahara and other deserts, American Midwest, Canadian woods) are settled to a population density exceeding 1 finger per square mile.

Mars is fascinating, but any attempts to spend tax-dollars on going there under the pretext of "humanity running out of room" must be rejected as mere pretence.

The pretense is that a single Extinction Level Event could wipe out our species. In order for our species to survive, we need to colonize off planet.

Comment Re:Mixed (Score 1) 350

If the speed limit is the "suggested maximum safe speed", then don't ticket people. It's ridiculous for some places to ticket you for going 5 over the "speed limit" and other places allow you to go over by 20 mph at certain times of the day without getting a ticket. If it's the actual speed limit, then set it at the limit and enforce it. A compromise as people are used to speeding might be set it 10 below what you want the limit is and start enforcing it after 10 over but it's anarchy to have some places enforce it as a hard limit and other places allowing you to go 20 over but not 25 over. It leaves too much discretion in the cop's hands where they can selectively pull over the people they want and ignore other people equally breaking the "law"

Speedometers in cars are not 100% accurate, therefore cops generally give some leeway (10mph) without giving a ticket for speeding.

Comment Re:SO when you pay people... (Score 1) 500

I can't seem to makes sense of your analysis. How does a family of 2 own 2 smart phones and have a child?

A family of two generally refers to a husband and wife, thus two smart phones makes sense. The baby section at the end was to serve as an eye opener if that family of two turns into a family of three. As to how they have a child, refer to your 9th grade biology book ;)

A family of 2, assuming mom and baby (ignoring the 2 phone conundrum), with a home mortgage would have enough deductions to drop their taxable income near $50,000. By my very rough estimate that puts taxes at $10,000 instead of $21,000. Which leaves $1000/month as disposable income versus the $183 you estimated.

With no tax tables in front of me, I took a 30% tax rate. It is a bit exaggerated, but serves to remind people that when you earn 70k per year, you don't take home 70k per year. I wonder why you assumed mom and baby instead of husband and wife. Two totally different tax structures. A single parent could count child care as a tax write off, lowering the taxable income and put in a different tax bracket. If both parents worked and had child care for the express purpose of the mom being to work, they could also count this as a write off, but the OP was making a big deal as to how huge a $70k / year salary is, so I assumed a single earner in the family.

Second, anyone with cash flow problems that spends $433 a month on tv/internet/landline has serious need to reset their priorities. It would not be difficult to cut that in half.

That math problem has been addressed. Working with rough numbers before my caffeine, my fingers slipped. Triple Play by Comcast costs $100 / month for the first two years.

Baby expenses still won't eat up a large chunk of the remainder, but I do not think it is quite as bleak a picture as you paint it.

My son is just over a year old, so those figures are fairly accurate for last year. My insurance company has a max out of pocket of $2,500 / person ($5k / family) per year. Since delivery involves 2 people, we maxed out at $5,000. Due to previous financial situation, we financed it. My wife (who is a stay at home mom) is unable to produce milk, so formula was the only option. Maternity clothes are expensive. Diapers are expensive. Baby furniture is expensive. Baby clothes are expensive. Baby pajamas run $15 / pair. Baby coats are $25-50. Onesies are $8. Sometimes you can find $4 shirts at Walmart.

I'd be interested to see your estimate updated to include deductions before taxes.

I have my employer take out taxes based on 4 exceptions, and we get about $3k back from the feds and $100 from the state.

Comment Re:SO when you pay people... (Score 1) 500

21k in taxes a year? my wife and I made 80k combined, filed jointly. We did not pay anywhere near 21k in taxes. We even live in California. How did you manage to get screwed for 21k a year? Buy a condo or something for the write off.

The figures were meant just as an illustration. I just took 30% of the 70k to include state and local taxes. As previously stated, that's not my actual budget (nor my actual salary).

Comment Re:SO when you pay people... (Score 1) 500

Yes, it still seems high. Because, and this is going to be amazing, of course you have less money after you spend it.

In your bills, you spend $7,600 just for internet/phone/cable (including mobile). That's really high. Also TV and smartphones are a luxury (any phone and home broadband I'll give you as a necessity).

You are purchasing a 350k+ home, and that's above what you can afford on a salary of 70k (by the standard 1/3 of takehome pay rule).

You're planning for a child and child care, so... is your spouse not also working? Because we''re talking about a single salary of 70k. If your spouse is also working, you should include that as income. With a child, your medical insurance should get subsidized, lowering those costs. Maybe you cannot afford the formula, so have to breast feed (at least some of the time).

But even if I grant all your stuff, I'll say that 183/month isn't all that little for clothing and emergencies.

As previously mentioned, those figures don't come directly from my personal budget, but are representative of my city. I'll even throw out there that I make more than $70k / year. Also note that I did a math error on the triple play (internet + cable tv + home phone) which truly is $100 / month for the first two years. I don't have a home phone since both my wife and I have cell phones, and our son is too young to use any phone. So, $100 (triple play) + $200 (cell) = $300 / month = $3600 / year. You found where I made a math error.

My home is worth about $200k, so mortgage figures in my run down don't reflect my personal situation.

My son is just over a year old, so delivery costs are accurate as of last year. We maxed out at $5000 in medical expenses. My wife is unable to produce breast milk - something we only discovered after our son was born, so formula was the only answer. By now he's eating regular food most of the time, and getting cow's milk in addition to formula. Because of my salary, we do not qualify for our medical expenses to be subsidized.

My wife is a legal alien with limited English skills. Based on minimum wage and the cost of day care, she stays home and raises our son. We are better off financially that way than for her to earn minimum wage and pay day care. It costs $600 to renew her Green Card, and she won't be eligible to take the citizenship test ($800) for another 3 years.

There are other expenses, but my main point stands: $70k / year isn't all that much depending on where you live and your station in life.

Comment Re:SO when you pay people... (Score 1) 500

It costs money to have a child??

I think everyone knows it costs money to have a child, but few realize just how much until they go through it themselves. I was planning on taking advantage of WIC and other programs, but my salary is high enough that I would only qualify on my 4th child. I also wasn't expecting all the prenatal visits + delivery to be so expensive after insurance. I figured if my parents managed to raise 7 kids on $25k / year, I should be able to raise one one my salary no sweat. It took creative budgeting, but at least I'm not drowning.

Comment Re:SO when you pay people... (Score 1) 500

I posted this later, but these figures are not my specific numbers, but representative of common costs in my area. Individual costs will vary.

I'm a bit surprised your mortgage is still so high. My mortgage was for $110K when I bought (selling it currently for $170K, hooray market recovery!) and even with Florida's silly insurance prices my monthly payment is 60% less than yours for only a ~25% lower mortgage. And your prop taxes are only about $300/yr higher than mine. Do you have a really high interest rate? Or are you also in area with crazy insurance costs?

I am not paying $1800 / month for mortgage, but that is a common (maybe even low) figure for the region. My actual mortgage is $1100 / month (excluding property tax). Because of the tech boom, my house is worth almost 50k more now than when I purchased it, but interest rates are somewhat lower. My state has ridiculous property tax rates to fund public schools. Much of our land is owned by the federal government so we don't get tax revenue.

Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man -- who has no gills. -- Ambrose Bierce