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Comment Re: Obama's space policy (Score 1) 89

Firstly, whether Everest is a solo achievement or a team effort, achieved using machines or just muscle power, is not relevant, The point is that the utility of sending robots to Mars, even really good ones, is limited to the scientific information they can transmit back to us. This info could be valuable, but it's value is vanishingly insignificant, compared to the value of our becoming a multi planetary species. We may be fleshy meat bags, but we're the ones that do things, and we do them mostly for ourselves.

Sending a robot ahead, to prepare the ground, build some infrastructure - now that's a good idea, but it's only a precursor to people making the trip.

Comment Biological wiring for the win (Score 1) 786

Imagine trying to train a large group of chimps not to perform any of their mating displays, not to attempt to mate and to generally ignore the opposite sex. This is what is being attempted with us - we're just naked apes, with bigger brains, granted - but still utterly in thrall to our evolution. Men and Women are simultaneously infuriated and fascinated by each other, which is no recipe for a quiet life, and it's not going to change any time soon.

Comment Re:Never the twain (Score 1) 220

You make a good distinction. I should have been clearer that I was considering men and women statistically as a group. (Also that I was talking about heterosexual people).

Given the above, then as you say, there is certainly enormous variation within a random collection of men. What there isn't however, is any sexual tension between members of that group. My claim is that it is this extra ingredient that causes so much of the trouble between men and women.

Comment Never the twain (Score 1) 220

I don't think men and women are ever meant to see eye to eye. Each sex finds the other intoxicating and infuriating in equal amount. However I do think this perpetual turbulence must help us thrive as a species somehow.

Or maybe we're just the Gods' reality show, and the producers made us this way to "stir up some trouble", and make it more interesting. :-)

Comment New theories needed (Score 4, Interesting) 94

Mike McCulloch's MiHsC is a theory that makes some good predictions for things of this sort. It predicts a variety of anomalies quite successfully, without any tunable parameters needing adjustment. Mike McCulloch is a lecturer at Plymouth University in the UK, and he writes about his theory on this site, quite interesting stuff.


Comment Re:I thought the secondary payload (Score 1) 54

If you argue that sending astronauts to Mars is pointless, could you not also argue that all exploration of the planet is close to pointless, when you consider the expense? Yet we still do it (I'm a great believer in space exploration) because who knows what a rover might discover - and who knows what an actual astronaut might discover?
Sometimes you just do things anyway, even though the spreadsheets disagree. Let's get some people up there!

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Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?