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Comment Re:And how does this help the people? (Score 1) 45

"Actually, the biggest threat to space exploration is actually the unwillingness of people to do it."

Actually the biggest threat to space exploration is Congress.

Two sides of the same coin. Congress doesn't want to do it because either the representatives don't want to, or their voters don't. The usual reason is, as you mentioned, either some military program, or alternately, some social welfare program. Or maybe a bridge to Nowhere for their constituents.

But no, I don't think Americans are interested in killing people, we are interested in not being attacked. We just have the idea that we will get that by attacking other people *harder*, and Congress is happy to go with that reasoning in order to keep the defense contractor contributions coming in.

Comment Re:And how does this help the people? (Score 1) 45

Again, we have this odd fixation on if you want one thing, you couldn't have possibly done the other.

I've spent quite a bit of time exploring this planet. I have quite literally traveled to the other side of the world from where I live and many other places in between. What I don't understand is why this planet has to be "enough" for me.

You're making a poor assumption about who you're talking to, because it's all black and white to you. Either I agree with you, or I'm an Aspie who has never left his parent's basement; as if, even if that were true, it somehow refutes what I have been saying. I like Earth just fine, but there are other places than this. I may never go to them, but I think we should try to. For the same reason, I might travel to more terrestrial locations.

More to the point, you learn more about where you live when you can turn around and put it in perspective. When you go to the Mars or you go to the Moon, even, you can learn things about Earth itself that you can't learn any other way.

There's no so-called "techno-religion" going on here. And I get it, you're a feet on the ground sort of guy. Fair enough. You don't have to go anywhere. But of all the places that I see my money going to, this is probably one of the few where I feel like we're doing more than putting hand to mouth and taking our turn at the grindstone.

Comment Re: Nice ad. (Score 1) 114

OP's implication with that question is that you couldn't get it for that price from anywhere. The implication is that this is not a real thing you could get.

However, if Amazon is listing that item for that price, then someone has set a price and is going to be shipping it. The rest is nitpicking. I wouldn't call something that takes two months to ship to be "unreal". I'd call it "backordered".

Comment Re:Piffle (Score 1) 194

The people giving them the orders can still say, "no", and they might be more inclined to if the realize that they're actually the last human between some villager and the end of a gun.

Even drone pilots realize what they're doing, and from what I can tell, what they're doing has the same visuals as calling in support in Call of Duty. Unless someone tries to lie and tell you that you're actually playing a video game, you know you're killing people. You don't get the smell or the visceral impact of shooting or stabbing someone, but you know you're doing it. There is definitely an impact.

Comment Re:And how does this help the people? (Score 2) 45

Actually, the biggest threat to space exploration is actually the unwillingness of people to do it.

Even with current technology, we'd have a shot at a Mars landing now, if we focused our resources on it. However, I'm not asking for that. We can take our time on that, but you don't have to shut down one thing to make the other thing happen.

As for afterlife, I have other plans for the afterlife than floating in space. This isn't about that.

There are some people out there, apparently you included, who think that throwing all the money at a problem will fix it, and it can never be fixed without all the money. This is not at all true. We can add NASA's entire budget to feeding the hungry, and we'll get the same result. You know why? Because the reason that the billions we're already throwing at aid programs isn't working is politics and corruption. Politics and corruption will eat up *any* amount you send at it.

Aid packages that have been sent to war zones and areas impoverished by government failures are either regularly left to rot on the docks or are taken by the local powers that be and used to maintain their control over the populations.

As for health care, everyone is going to die eventually, as you seem to understand with your afterlife comment. It is as much as a black hole as anything else. You're never going to attain immortality for your population, but if somehow you managed to, you'd better have somewhere to put them.

As for space, yeah, there are vast empty stretches and very inhospitable conditions. Despite that, it is believed that the entire galaxy could be explored in less than 5 million years by robotic exploration. That's because space is big, really big, but there are places to go between here and infinity.

There's more to life than sitting around trying to feed yourself. There are places where we can still adventure and space is a big one. More than anything, as a species and a culture we need the challenge of space exploration almost as much as we need to remain fed. Looking up keeps us from navel gazing and helps us avoid fighting over petty things.

Comment Re:But they're not white, so it's OK (Score 1) 256

The problem with that reasoning is assuming ACs are a bloc of people who think the same and are willing to mod you down for dissing ACs in general. There is no such bloc of people because most ACs have different reasons for being an AC.

ACs aren't going anywhere. The mod system was set up with them in mind. If they're really trolls, they do get modded down. If they merely irritate you with their speech, that's not trolling, that's free speech. The signal to noise ratio is less favorable, but there is some information you will never see while people have to be identified. And frequently, you want to see people's anger about things. You want to know that people like that exist or you get blindsided when Donald Trump wins the election and you never even saw it coming. (That was an example, I don't think it is really going to happen).

Now, I don't agree that the only terrorists out there are Muslim ones, but I can see why he'd think so based on how it is reported these days. In any event, he has a right to make his comment, and he clearly seems to believe it, so he's not being a troll, even if he says something you don't like. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Comment Re:And how does this help the people? (Score 4, Interesting) 45

We're stuck on this rock for the foreseeable future, champ. Learn to love it.

We will be stuck on this rock forever, if you get your way.

There are certain things about space and space travel that you only can find out by doing it.

Learning about comets gives us the ability to see what sort of material makes up a solar system and how it interacts. We're not just doing this to go sightseeing.

There is some idea that we will somehow be able to magically be able to find all of those advances we need later if we just stay on Earth and focus no effort or money on space exploration. That makes zero sense.

We can still focus on space exploration while feeding the hungry. As I've pointed out more than once, we already *can* feed the world's population. What keeps us from doing it is actually mostly politics, which fouls up the logistics of actually doing it. We're not actually threatened with extinction and mass starvation simply because we won't add 19 billion dollars or so to our 4-6 trillion dollar budgets.

Comment Re:Turing Evolved (Score 1) 194

More to the point, it is GIGO. If we program the robots to follow our Doomsday order, they *will* execute it. A human, even a hard ass, might reconsider at the brink of nuclear war. The robots and computers would not hesitate for a millisecond in executing the bombastic, genocidal orders they were programmed with.

The problem with humans is not that we're savages, but that we'll talk like savages and when someone else reacts to that or our own people act on it, we realized that savagery isn't really what we wanted after all. That sometimes has saved us from certain doom. With machines, they will simply prevent reconsideration by taking it out of our hands entirely.

Comment Re: Turing Evolved (Score 1) 194

Well, psychopaths have their own motivations. Those motivations may include following a deranged order.

Or they may simply be motivated to kill their officers in their sleep.

No, most of the order followers aren't psychopaths, they're just detached emotionally from what they are doing. The have created a justification for it, and since no one is calling them on their BS, and worse, everyone else is reinforcing that justification, they feel like they are not responsible. They're quite sane, however.

Comment Re: Turing Evolved (Score 2) 194

Not really true.

Yes, a modern force uses suppressive fire, which frequently is aimed more in the direction of the enemy, rather than an aimed shot at them. In that case, however, they're not aiming to miss, they're keeping the enemy's heads down while their compatriots are maneuvering into a better firing position. If someone pops their head up during suppressive fire, you can be pretty sure that they'll get aimed at.

The stat that you are seeming to give was a discredited one by a buy named S.L.A. Marshall who did studies that seemed to show that only 30% of troops actually fired their weapons on the battlefield in WWII. This was completely bogus. It appears that the guy didn't even actually talk to much of anyone, he just made that shit up.

It turns out that soldiers are fighting for their lives and they are doing whatever it takes to not get killed, including returning or even initiating fire on an enemy position. They may miss because the enemy isn't a stationary paper target that can't shoot back, but they are not *trying* to miss.

Comment Re:Oh dear balls. (Score 5, Insightful) 66

Even The Pirate Bay itself is quite hacked code.

Remember that these softwares are made by amateurs who spent their time downloading warez instead of getting proper professional programming education.

Actually, I doubt that they lack CS education. What they lack is QA. "Good" developers with educations let this sort of shit through all the time. The businesses who make software actually make an effort to test their software for security and functionality.

The problem with these guys is that coding is sexy, QA is not.

Comment Re:Only Outlaws will Have Encryption (Score 1) 151

Generally, I don't agree with arguments of the form "If we ban X, only the bad guys will have X". (For example, if X is "guns", then total general unavailability of them, would eventually drive manufacturers out of business - and sooner or later all guns (and ammunition) would rust into non-existence and the bad guys wouldn't have them.)

As the other reply said, guns are easy to manufacture. That genie is out of the bottle.

There is a place in northern Pakistan, in the tribal areas, where they quite literally make *modern* weapons by hand, with *primitive tools*. And I don't mean just AK-47s, I mean *anti-aircraft guns*. And they work just fine. Yes, they would be expensive to hand make, but the community that uses them isn't exactly looking to own 50 of them.

Let's not confuse the ability to stop making guns cheaply in industrial quantities with the ability to end their existence. Organized crime can very easily obtain armorers just like they do chemists and any other specialist. In that case, the only ones with the weapons would be the criminals and probably the cops.

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"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman