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Comment Re:Where did it all go right? (Score 4, Informative) 290

There are a few examples of engineering projects where everything went right, or at least better than expected. [...]. The Panama canal has it too. Can you think of any others?

More importantly, can we make everything work like that?

The Panama canal bankrupted thousands of French investors, killed thousands of workers, and ruined Gustave Eiffel's reputation for the rest of his life.

Comment Sig figs (Score 1) 69

It weighs 1 million pounds (454,000 kg)

ghaaaaa! Not only are pounds medieval units shared with only Myanmar and Liberia, 1 million pounds is NOT 454,000 kg. While 1 million lb is only one significant figure, 454000 means at least 3, possibly more depending on the interpretation. The actual masses are 924,740 lb and 419,455 kg resp. These figures themselves have issues as propellant loss among other will make the last few digits variable. But the 454000 figure is way off.

Comment 40 yrs? (Score 2) 42

Although the first gravitational lens wasn't discovered for some 40 years after it was first theorized

Eddington demonstrated gravitational lensing just a few years after the theory was published, in 1919. And he would possibly have been quicker if if weren't for WWI

Comment Re:Not scientifically nitpicking (Score 1) 163

Well, ok another nitpick - if he had chatted a bit more with biologists he could have made the potato thingy more interesting.

What I was wondering while I read the book is: would it be possible to bypass the plant state and just synthesize nutrients using tabletop chemistry? Not very palatable, but potatoes get boring.

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