Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

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) 683

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.

Comment Re:that's some serious hubris! (Score 1) 258

The Millennials have the backwash of the self-esteem movement on top of it all, being a pretty decent case study in precisely why that combination is a horrible, terrible idea as the self-esteem movement could be one of the poster children for the last part. When you've been told you're awesome for most of your life, it's a bit of a comedown to realize that you are, at best, normal, and maybe at the low end of that too. It doesn't help if you had the additional problem of having even what is normal expected behavior treated as praiseworthy, and discover that once an adult people will no longer praise you for such.

You say there is a case study? Can I get a link to that paper? Is is Psychological or Sociological in scope?

Comment Re:The Nazis Could Have Won (Score 1) 295

The problem with Nazism is that it required the whole world to be invaded and run as one big slave camp. The problem with Hitler is that he was a poor military strategist.

In both cases, early successes led them to believe that they were unbeatable.

I was working on an alternate history story where the Nazis got super tech. I got together with a military buff/history major friend of mine to discuss the ramifications and figure out how the Nazis could still fail when given super tech. The end answer that seems most plausible to us both was to let Hitler be Hitler and prevent it from being used effectively and micromanage it into uselessness.

Comment Re:that's some serious hubris! (Score 1) 258

Thank you for offering a great example of what Costlow says is wrong with Millennials. Outrage, minimal analysis, bumper sticker solutions.

I lack to see how that differs from any other generation. "Outrage, minimal analysis, bumper sticker solutions." is a prefect description of not only my generation for the most part (Gen X) but certainly the current state of mind of the Baby Boomers as evidenced by my parents and their friends.

Comment Re:Why assume inefficiency? (Score 1) 365

I don't think even the United Federation of Planets qualifies as Type II. They haven't harnessed the entire energy output of a star.

Which is why the entire Kardashev Type scale is trivially useless. Nobody is going to harness the entire energy output of a star unless it is more practical than just going to another star and getting the low hanging fruit there first. One the planetary scale, we do not harness the entire energy output of a single country, continent, or planet. Before we harness the entire energy output of a planet, we'll be off this rock and harnessing the energy output of the star. before we harness the entire energy output of the star, we'll be off to other solar systems. Since harnessing the entire resource of a star will probably require resources from other systems, it's not likely to ever occur except as a proof of concept or in a very limited number of systems.

Comment Re:No we have not been broadcasting (Score 1) 275

Basically : we would not be able to detect ourselves. Nobody would when the signal amplitude is dwarfed by noise. So unless some ET is continuously sending ginormous amount of energy in a directed radio signal toward us, there is no chance we would catch them.

I think that the current attempts proposed (by Hawking and others IIRC) are to look for evidence of radar and radar astronomy. Such use of radar to keep track of things like aircraft and used to map out their own solar system should be detectable by a dedicated search within quite some distance from Earth even if just used at the levels we are currently using.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 275

Wrong. A conclusion based on ill conceived science fiction.

Any civilization that can travel between star systems will be so advanced that it will not need to plunder whoever is at their destination.

I propose that your conclusion is also based on ill conceived science fiction. It's similar to primitive humans saying that any tribe or nation that had plenty to eat and the ability to fly through the air and create miracles would be so advanced they would never need to plunder them. Yet it happens all the time for a variety of reasons.

Comment Re:Interstellar predation? Why? (Score 1) 275

Maybe it's just the machines left over from another species.

But broadcasting where you are without knowing who is listening, stupid.... that's the only word for it.

Possibly, but if the listeners had the ability to travel here, they'd probably be or otherwise find us here long before we called to them. It's not like native Americans went to Europe and told them about a new world to explore.

Comment Re:Same reason we're looking for earth-like life (Score 1) 275

Right, but the real question is, once radio is invented, how long will they keep using it?

Not really. There are other uses for EM radiation besides communication. IIRc, the most resent proposal is to search for radar. Long after radio or broadcast TV dies down or off as a form of communication, they will still be using radar to locate and direct planes and spacecraft as well as to survey their own solar system. The wavelengths will be dictated by physics according for what they are used for, so we'll have a good idea of what to look for and be recognizable when we find it.

Never trust an operating system.