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Comment Re:Yeah, but how to get sleep (Score 1) 180

I was diagnosed with apnea, but there were various delays in getting treatment. In that interval I "fell off the cliff" and found that in my fifties I had the energy level of someone in their eighties. (From caring for my mother, I had good experience of what that was like.) I didn't connect it with the apnea diagnosis at first but eventually getting on CPAP fixed the problem. The problems of sleep apnea can be deeper than suspected - don't look for just sleepiness.

Comment Re:No, because it's still laughably expensive (Score 4, Interesting) 223

> And since we don't even have the technology to move an asteroid yet

Yet it's essential that we develop that technology. The Earth has been hit before - and odds are that it is going to be hit again, it's just a matter of time. It's a simple matter of long-term self-preservation that we need to be able to adjust asteroid orbits. Asteroid mining is an excellent idea, because it lets us learn those techniques - and it may defray some of the costs.

It doesn't stop at precious metals, either. Even if SpaceX hits its target launch costs of $150/lb, that means that a ton of anything we bring back to Earth orbit has a starting value of $300,000. (Today the numbers are closer to 10X that.) Even if it's "worthless rock", others could call it "radiation shielding" or "thermal mass" and it becomes valuable. Given an adequate supply of focused solar energy, I suspect just about anything can be refined, in orbit.

Comment Re:getting them down here is risky (Score 1) 223

Which brings us back to the "Death Star" mention in the article.

As you say, the idea is to use something cheap to bring the asteroid back near Earth, where we use the expensive facilities to mine/refine it. The real weapon here is bringing the asteroid back to Earth - all the way to Earth - with slightly different aiming.

Comment Summer after second grade (Score 1) 4

I had a friend several years older. One day in the early summer we went to the bookmobile, that stopped at the end of our street. At the time I was into submarines, big-time, and had picked out a few age-appropriate submarine books. She mocked me for my little "two-page books." So I saw "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," had seen references to it before, and checked it out. It was a bit much for a second grader, and it took me several renewals to read it, but I wasn't about to allow her to successfully mock me. This got me into science fiction, then into science.

Of course as someone else mentioned, I was glued to the TV the whole day on July 20, 1969. But even before that, in grade school they would call everyone down to the gymnasium to watch the Mercury launches on a black&white TV on a cart.

Comment Re:Maybe it's really family reasons.. (Score 1) 214

I wondered who the Jack Daniels corporate spokesperson was and why you didn't name him.

Then I wondered how many hours per week they work on average in the whiskey business, to be giving advice in this way.

After finishing reading your post, I began feeling sorry for the guy, wondering how many whiskey jokes he's the butt of.

Comment Re:The reason a "cyber Pearl Harbor" isn't imminen (Score 2) 215

No, think back a few years to the massive blackout in the Eastern part of the US. That was an accident, but that's the kind of thing a well-run attack on SCADA could do. Then if you want to kill people, as part of the attack, attack hospital utility systems. You know, like the stuff that brings the backup generators online when the mains fail. There are all sorts of regulations about keeping patient data safe, but it wouldn't surprise me if the utility systems are just as secure as a lot of the rest of them. (not very)

Comment Re:I recall MxStream (Score 1) 445

You and MickeyTheIdiot in this post are saying essentially the same thing, from two different perspectives.

But it basically boils down to this, for the most part, TPTB simply don't like the peer-to-peer nature of the internet, precisely because it is egalitarian and empowering.

By design, internet access really ought to be a utility, serviced, managed, and regulated just like electricity, POTS, natural gas, etc. For one simple reason, that's because the last mile requires monopoly infrastructure just like all of those other utilities. Some level of regulation is actually more important because internet access is far more susceptible to neutrality abuse.

At the same time current ISPs are already those regulated incumbents, and they REALLY don't want to be running yet another regulated utility - they see the big bucks and they want to grab their share. Cable TV and POTS are both regulated monopolies, but once those providers become ISPs they can sell corresponding streaming video and VOIP services, and better yet those options are unregulated.

So to the ISP the internet becomes primarily a content delivery system, and one that has already solved the content-ordering problem for them. Yet once the internet pipes exist, the ISP has no monopoly over the streaming video and VOIP services, unless they can break network neutrality.

The company sees the internet as a great communications and distribution capability. My employer had something very internet-like, minus the graphical stuff, over 10 years before the internet really hit the scene. They were also spending money developing and deploying that internal network. The internet gives it to them for "free". (Not really free, but at least at lower cost.)

In both cases, the internet is a tremendous advantage for incumbent TPTB. But in both cases there's no particular advantage to the peer-to-peer, egalitarian, empowering nature of the internet. In fact that nature is really only good for ordinary people and entrepreneurs trying to create or break into a market. For TPTB enabling entrepreneurs to break into their market is a disadvantage.

Comment Re:you get to use 100% of volume in micro-gravity (Score 3, Insightful) 132

As one who happens to be 6'4", I'll say that on Earth a 6 foot ceiling is very different from a 20 foot ceiling. I'm not normally claustrophobic, but every now and then I just like to have some space around me. Skylab was interesting, in that respect, including the open framework floors.

Never having been in microgravity I can't tell how I'd respond, if being in a space 6'x6'x tens of feet would be sufficient for me, when I'm capable of moving in any of those dimensions.

Comment Re:uuh (Score 2) 132


Have you seen any of the videos sent back from the ISS? From what the videos show, that thing is basically a maze of tunnels. There are a few (tiny) "rooms" off to the side, the cupola being the most notable and most different. (and biggest?) What's the long-term psychological impact of living in a "warren", and how great would the benefit be of having some real rooms?

Comment TransHab (Score 2) 132

The way I heard it, the TransHab (inflatable module) had some really serious enemies in Congress. That is, enemies to the tune that the NASA budget was written to explicitly forbid any money for TransHab development. So NASA sold what they had to Bigelow, since they were legally forbidden to do anything else with it. (Just checked Wikipedia, and there is at least some level of confirmation for this.)

Bigelow has 2 TransHab-based test articles in orbit. Last I heard, they were planning their own "Space Hotel." I wonder what they'd charge for "Hundred Mile High" certificates, apart from the launch and on-orbit fees.

Interestingly, everything I'd see on TransHab had the floors perpendicular to the axis. The photos in TFA have the floors parallel to the axis.

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