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Comment Re:How about this? (Score 4, Insightful) 228

One million percent agree.

It's an "open" festival for the most "open minded" of counter culture crusaders...who end up forming their own elitist clique of snobbery, grossly ridiculing and excoriating newbs pretty much for "being new" and whose experimentalist outlook really pretty much ends up with smoking weed, not bathing, and convincing women that showing us their tits is "freedom of expression", not simply indulging adolescent male impulses.

Comment Re:Then let the countries decide (Score 1) 162

First, it's not a "defense" or justification. My point is that "not being snooped-upon" is not a credible option in 2013. SOMEONE - usually multiple someones - will be snooping on everything you do. In many cases it's corporate, and in some it's government(s). Some people misunderstand, and compare what's happening vs some utopian ideal of what they think "should be". This is misleading; our choices aren't about the "best" alternative, they're about the least-worst.

Second, I entirely disagree with you: every one of my Chinese friends (granted, they're all studying in the US) says that they would MUCH rather have the US spying on them because there's at least a reasonable certainty that the US will work aggressively to PREVENT Chinese spying, and this is a pure good from their point of view. In fact, having grown up in China, they're far more blase about the concept of privacy in the first place, which (today) is probably a healthier viewpoint to have anyway.

Comment Personally (Score 0) 112

Is anyone surprised? I see the ISS as only slightly less a political "creature of malignant compromises" than the abysmal shuttle was (and is a direct result of many of those, mind you). A "space station" at 230 miles is about as permanent as floating a buoy 25' from shore; it's practically disposable and should have been expected to be so.

Comment Re:Poor, poor Stephenson (Score 2) 124

Sounds like a group that doesn't really need to hold out a tin cup when they want to get a project funded. If they really want this game, they could probably find enough money to continue under their couch cushions. To me it sounds more like they got bored when they realized that this would be hard, and moved on to some other fantasy/project. That's their right. I've also abandoned my share of half-finished projects, for similar reasons. The thing is, they shouldn't have taken kickstarter money if they knew they were like this.

Comment Young men impersonate cops to buy GTA V, arrested (Score 4, Funny) 396

"Young Staten Island men impersonate police officers to skip line to buy Grand Theft Auto V
Kirolos Abdel Sayed, 19, Matthew Kirshen, 20, and Frank Santanastoso, 19, drove to the Staten Island Mall in what appeared to be an unmarked car complete with lights and sirens only to have their fun ended by real police officers."

Comment Re:Well, obviously (Score 1) 285

Another American here, and I entirely agree. And I don't really mind the NSA spying stuff. I've just always thought that distributing the infrastructure is a good idea - even if that means that parts of it become shady, dangerous places, other parts are run by their governments, etc. Universality is better than monopoly.

Comment Re:Whyd do we need to send humans? (Score 5, Insightful) 212

So what's a human supposed to do on Europa? Operate a hammer and icepick? That doesn't sound very productive. That 45-second figure on Mars sounds hyperbolic, since on good days, the rovers can actually go pretty far and take lots of pictures.

But here's what I don't get about people who make comments like yours: Instead of looking at current missions and wishing that humans were there to do it better, why not instead ask what humans would do in space, and wish for (and design) machines that could do it as well. I mean, be concrete. For all the mission specific objectives (beyond: what happens to a person there?) that manned missions have - whether it's reconnaissance, construction, experimentation, etc. - I am pretty sure that it would be less expensive and less risky to make robots that could preform them equally well, less expensively and more safely. I think that's been the case since basically the Apollo era, when human lives were cheap and autonomous systems were miserable. That's the good reason why the Apollo era ended in 1972. The NASA home run of the 70's was the Voyager program. Then we pissed away the 80's shuttling people to LEO for no very good reason.

And if you compare the primitive rovers of today to manned missions, keep in mind also that the latter would be several orders of magnitude more expensive, and what amazing advances we could make if those budgets were going to robotics and autonomous systems. Maybe those robots really could do in 45 seconds what yesterday's rovers take a day to do. I mean, for fuck's sake. We have cars that can drive better than my mom.

Comment Re:FFS (Score 2) 212

Yeah. By the time this mission could launch, our robots will actually be a lot more capable of doing useful research on Europa than the human settlers, especially when you control for all the mass that needs to be launched in order to keep people alive (and not crazy) for as long as this would take. Instead of people, why not send a nuclear submarine that could use its reactor to melt through all the ice and then navigate the sea beneath? If we have a chance of finding something cool, it will be down there.

Comment Silly, stupid me (Score 2) 387

The page is down, so hopefully someone can explain: how can the GDP of a system which is itself only a fraction of the planet, exceed the value of the planet?

If, as I suspect, this is calculated by totaling transactions alone - ie if I sell you an apple for $1, and then buy it back for $1, we've just added $2 to the total GDP of the system...well then my next question is why we even pay attention to such a worthless number in the first place?

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