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Comment: I'm optimistic (Score 1) 437

by rolias (#37632002) Attached to: Neal Stephenson On 'Innovation Starvation'
If projects like the Global Village Construction Set achieve their goals, communities could establish their own industrial base to pursue big goals. Maker culture (and open source before it) has achieved some amazing things, like affordable home 3D printing, and it's accelerating. The failure of government and business to achieve big goals could be seen as an opportunity. What goals would you pursue?

Comment: Re:409 sq. ft.? (Score 1) 91

by rolias (#37566822) Attached to: NASA To Demonstrate Largest-Ever Solar Sail in Space

Glad to help. Yeah, a sufficiently large (thrust) and lightweight (acceleration) sail could counteract and even exceed the sun's gravity. A sail mass/area of ~1.5 g/m^2, which accelerates at ~6 mm/s^2 at Earth would achieve this. Lower performance sails could still linger over the sun in "halo" orbits.

I think it's an opportunity when large organizations fail do do something new. They get out of the way, giving more flexible and innovative parties have a chance. I think expansion into space has, in part, been held back for a generation or two because we expected government space programs to do it all for us: throw enough tax dollars at it, and it will happen. It didn't, and now parties like SpaceX are making great strides - with government cooperation.

Comment: Re:Sorry but the Japanese deployed a larger one. (Score 1) 91

by rolias (#37555262) Attached to: NASA To Demonstrate Largest-Ever Solar Sail in Space
The Russians deployed the Znamya space mirror from a Progress resupply ship in 1993, and tried a second time in 1999. The Progress propelled and steered it to reflect a spot of light down on the Earth, so it didn't do actual solar sailing. IKAROS has that distinction. This new mission will actually test a 38m x 38m sail, so it will be the largest.

When someone says "I want a programming language in which I need only say what I wish done," give him a lollipop.