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Comment: Re:Carl Sagan thought Titan was more important (Score 3, Insightful) 98 98

There was one other thing that cinched it (IIRC) - the original mission goal for Voyager was to explore the Jupiter and Saturn systems (NOT to do the "grand tour"). For the planning for Voyager I, the mission goals hadn't been completed (as neither Voyager had gotten to Saturn at that point), and Sagan made a strong case that the mission goal should include Titan, and that the mission goals should be completed to the extent possible with Voyager I. When Voyager II came to Saturn, the mission goals had been met (by Voyager I), so they could take the gravity assist to go on to Uranus and Neptune on an extended mission.

Comment: Re:Carl Sagan thought Titan was more important (Score 5, Informative) 98 98

How do you think these decisions are made? Carl Sagan was involved with basically every NASA planetary mission (including Apollo) from 1960 through Voyager and Viking. He proposed that Titan might have a lot of hydrocarbons (it does) a thick atmosphere (it does), haze (check) and maybe a biosphere (the jury is still out). (He did propose a strong greenhouse for Titan, and struck out there. The surface is not as balmy as he hoped.) As far as I can remember, no one was proposing a biosphere for Pluto (we didn't even know Pluto had a moon at that point). The decision to do a Titan close approach was rational, and (while it certainly wasn't his decision alone) his advocacy for it carried a lot of weight.

Comment: Carl Sagan thought Titan was more important (Score 4, Insightful) 98 98

Carl Sagan thought it was more important to get close to Titan, which made a gravity assist for Pluto impossible. I think he hoped that there would be good pictures of the hypothesized Methane seas, but in the event the Titan haze made the surface just a blur.

What the close Titan approach did provide was a radio occultation of the Titan atmosphere, showing how deep it was and something of its structure.

In space flight, as in life, you have to chose, and they chose Titan.

Comment: Bowditch Navigation Systems (Score 2) 31 31

Bowditch Navigation Systems had a similar video navigation system, but for ships at sea. It included an integrated navigation system (LORAN, OMEGA and dead reckoning), and displayed the user's location by projecting microfiche cards of the usual navigation charts. Unlike the car system, this was a practical product with a number of customers. GPS integration was planned but never implemented; the company was caught up in a lawsuit against one of its main investors and collapsed in the 1986 time frame due to a lack of cash.

Comment: Re:MASS MIGRATION!!!! (Score 1) 529 529

The town only had 120 residents. From their perspective, 40 new people is a mass migration. Heck, most towns of this size are slowly decreasing in population. They lack the resources to absorb 40 new people, let alone 40 new nut jobs with bizarre needs.

This town basically is an observatory town, and the population has been pretty stable for decades. As long as the NSF doesn't shut off the GBT (as they keep threatening to), the town won't shrink.

Comment: Interesting mix (Score 1) 529 529

It's like a social science experiment.

I have done work with the NRAO at Green Bank (I was technical lead on one of the 20 meter telescopes) and the vast majority of the people who live in Green Bank work for the NRAO (or are part of the family of someone who does). There are, in other words, a lot more PhDs than in most small country towns (even though it looks like a small country town). These are people who are used to having evidence to back up their beliefs.

Now, you take this set of people and add in a bunch of people with (shall we say) poorly evidenced medical ideas, and there is no surprise there is friction.

Comment: Re: Run out the Clock (Score 4, Insightful) 153 153

Anyways, what Assange did qualifies as rape in every country I know of.

Really? Let me introduce you to the United Kingdom. It is a fairly small country, but it does have its charms.

I think it would be fairer to say that what Assange is alleged to have done would not qualify as rape in any first world country except Sweden

Comment: Re: Run out the Clock (Score 1) 153 153

trolling or no, I'm not making this up:

Marianne Ny, who heads the investigation into accusations of rape, coercion and sexual molestation against Assange, made a formal request to interrogate him in the Ecuadorian embassy...

Ny said she had changed her mind because the statute of limitations on several of the crimes of which Assange is suspected runs out in August 2015.

Comment: Run out the Clock (Score 4, Informative) 153 153

Unfortunately that attempt failed since the government of Ecuador didn't give permission to the Swedish delegation to enter their embassy. That is quite odd given the years of demands for this.

Not odd at all.

The Statue of Limitations on some of the charges against Assange run out this August.

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.