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Comment Re:Cultural? (Score 4, Insightful) 473

Depending on the corporate structure, you doom your career with the company if you ask for such orders in writing.

Never ask, just do it and send them back an email saying "I did X as you instructed me to but the problems Y and Z are still there, do you want me to do anything about it?" to create a paper trail.

Comment Re:Why does it have to be liquid? (Score 1) 139

Even as far back as the original Cosmos series, scientists were saying that the lack of a liquid iron core to generate the magnetic field was the cause of the atmosphere leaking off into space. Okay, sounds plausible but it has me wondering why it has to be liquid when lodestone has a magnetic field and it's solid. And why isn't gravity enough to hold the atmosphere in? Or is the gravitational field too weak?

Iron looses magnetic properties at 770C which is hot but still solid. A liquid iron core has a magnetic field due to convection. Once it cools and solidify, the convection stops but the core is too hot to have a magnetic field of its own.

Comment Re:This is basic planetary physics.. (Score 2) 139

"... it would still be there for tens of thousands of generations." Not good enough. If you make Mars habitable, that work will get leveraged, as in it will be inhabited. What will those distant generations think if we set up an unstable atmospheric dynamic and knowingly doom future generations to suffocating? The atmospheric dynamic must be stable, like it is on Earth. Robust and even largely self-correcting.

Not really. If we can do it once, we can keep it supplied with atmosphere in plenty of time. We keep importing resources to places that don't have them all the time. However, although about a fifth of the needed material might be already on Mars in the form of ice, the only real option would be to bring in comet type material from the oort cloud. Last time I did rough estimates on doing that, the energy needed to move all that material in ten years was measured in days total output of the sun. Move the cometary material slower, and it takes longer but the energy needed is less. Increase the time to 10,000 years, the time that an astrophysicist friend of mine said it would take for Mars, give an Earth-like atmosphere to degenerate to one that wasn't, and that makes the constant power requirement to keep Mars supplied with atmosphere at 3.8*10^14 W. That's about 2000 times what the we generate currently on the Earth, just to keep Mars' atmosphere stable.

It's also been proposed to ship Venus' atmophere to Mars, but I haven't seen any estimates on the energy needed to do that.

Comment Re:Give me a raise (Score 1) 326

I like the people management part of the job and I do like it when the customer is happy with what the team have delivered but if it were the same pay scale, Id be on the shop floor.

Exactly the point. You seem to have become a manager because of the promise of more money. I don't think you addressed the issue of if you make the best manager or if you are more of an asset to the company as a manger rather than a techie. In the end, if you are worth more money, you should be promoted to "uber techie" get more money and let managing be left to somebody who would rather manage and is better than you at managing. Just because a manager might not make as much money as a techie, doesn't mean their job can't be to issue marching order sad set goals.

Comment Re:Do you want me to code, or deal with the suits? (Score 1) 326

Somebody has to deal with the board of directors, senior managers, and large clients, ensuring that they're wishful thinking and lack of technical expertise doesn't destroy any chance that the project will be successful.

Sure, but do they need to be place above the people who actually do the work? Instead, just act as a liaison between those that set the expectations versus those that have to make it happen.

Comment Re:Games are not Sports (Score 1) 110

If you play chess, you join the chess club. You can even have competitions with other schools. But it's not a sport and it's not sponsored by the athletics competition and no one was inane enough to invent the word "cSports". What's wrong with being "an official club" as opposed to "an official club sport"?

Being a sport seems to involve having money at stake and a significant number of people willing to pay to support it as a requirement.

Comment Re:None of the people I know that Like this Show.. (Score 1) 404

People who attend cons are self-selected groups, and trying to determine a "norm" from such a group would be a mistake. It is also a positive feedback loop, where edge-of-the-curve geeks flock because they create an environment where they're comfortable.

This is different from higher academia how? Especially for Physics which, unlike say Engineering, is pretty much isolated from the professional world.

Comment Re:oh? (Score 1) 488

"small government" is just a b.s. mantra to support reduced taxes and regulations. Its proponents generally advocate a big, intrusive government, so long as the haves can have and do whatever they want.

More to the point, "small government" is just a b.s. mantra to do away with the other guys political programs. People pushing for it never talk about how they're going to limit the ones they're in favor of.

Comment Gaskets and Seals (Score 2) 211

Is there some technical reason the ISS will no longer work after the mid-2020s or is it merely a budget issue? Why are we not keeping it up there if it is still serving whatever purpose it was designed for?

IIRC from a previous ./ article, the gaskets and seals are only rated to work so long and their effectiveness is decreasing with time. The ISS already leaks and has to be resupplied and as time goes on, the cost of maintenance will go up. Any attempt to replace these parts in space would end up costing so much that it would be cheaper to just build a new space station and send it up. This is one of the obstacles to any Mars trip. They'll need something that can contain its atmosphere with minimal leakage over a time period of years. Right now, such a thing would have been like looking for a 50's American car that doesn't leak oil. It's probably possible, but won't be around for many years from now.

Comment Re:Yes, let's run before we can walk... (Score 1) 130

An orbiting colony is far, far more challenging than a Mars colony would be. You've got your cart and horse switched.

Nope. You'll essentially need an orbiting colony for the trip and back to Mars. They won't be the same thing as the deep space habitat needed to go to Mars, but will develop much of the tech and engineering needed to build one. This depends on what you mean by "colony" but also what is planned for Mars. Still, until you have an orbiting space station that can be on it's own for a few years, there's no realistic way of going to Mars.

Comment Re:Off-Earth habitation (Score 1) 684

If we want a permanent off-world habitat, would it not be more worthwhile to devote energy to exploring the possibility of permanently-habitable, (near) self-sustaining space stations?

If we plan to go to Mars, we'll have to head that way. For a Mars mission, we'll need a long term deep space habitat that can stand to be without or with minimal re-supply for three years for all the astronauts. The main issue for colonization is that one of the main reasons for colonizing space would be to mine asteroids and due to the distance and energies involved, the time scale for such is large. Just moving those materials, or the space habitat, to where we want them will not be quick.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.