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Comment Re:Why bother patrolling? (Score 2) 157

If you're going for automation - why not just fixed cameras and other sensors covering the whole area?

Cost and because they're also easier to map out and avoid? It doesn't need to be everywhere, it's enough that it could be everywhere as that makes the risk non-zero no matter the plan. I don't see this as an either-or, you'd want basic surveillance of the whole area with roaming security to add some dynamic to the system.

Comment Re:Does it have to? (Score 1) 147

Spoken like a true bean counter, this is where economics meets accounting. Very often it is easier and more profitable to build a moat around your cash cow than to create new, profitable and big business. For example take Microsoft's stagnated IE6 and crippled Java implementation, could they have "embraced the web"? Sure, but why would they promote web applications and in the idea of "write once, run anywhere" when they could piss in the pool and get people to stay on thick clients and native software? What's the total, long term ROI on that? Or as we've seen in CPUs, short term you can gain cash by pushing out cheap processors on an old process but eventually you get trashed as the competition is selling smaller and cheaper chips and your technology is out of date as happened to AMD. Blind following of ROI is the way to bankruptcy.

Comment Re:An Earth Projection? (Score 1) 32

Right, I want a car that stops periodically to take pictures before driving at walking speed over any perceived obstacle.

That has far more to do with a power budget of 125 watts (2.5 kWh/day) to move 899 kg than a limitation in the autonomous functions. Compare that to say a Tesla Model S with a 85 kWh battery, it uses less power in a month than the Model S on a single charge and it's also got lots of scientific equipment to power as well. Build some supercharger stations on Mars and we'll see entirely different speeds.

Comment Re:Come on, you jackbooted apologists... (Score 1) 213

But the 9th amendment also doesn't support the opposite conclusion.

The Government of the Union, though limited in its powers, is supreme within its sphere of action, and its laws, when made in pursuance of the Constitution, form the supreme law of the land. There is nothing in the Constitution of the United States similar to the Articles of Confederation, which exclude incidental or implied powers. If the end be legitimate, and within the scope of the Constitution, all the means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, and which are not prohibited, may constitutionally be employed to carry it into effect.
-- McCulloch v. Maryland - 17 U.S. 316 (1819)

In short, Congress has the power to enact laws not specifically listed in the constitution. The 9th amendment says the people retain rights not specifically listed in the bill of rights. The process when non-enumerated laws clash with non-enumerated rights isn't exactly clear, sometimes the Supreme Court has "found" a right and a few times Congress has amended the constitution to specifically enumerate a few more like the 13th amendment. In many cases neither the Supreme Court nor Congress has been willing to recognize a right that people think they have. It's an argument, you can't from a plain reading of the law conclude either way.

Comment Tyson is a brilliant theoretical physicist and.. (Score 2) 580

Tyson is a brilliant theoretical physicist and he should probably continue studying theoretical physics rather than pontificating on whether a billionaire who owns and designs products for multiple successful companies understands the risks and rewards of space exploration. When Neil deGrasse Tyson launches his own successful businesses and starts designing rocket ships that successfully deliver supplies to the international space station, he'll be slightly more qualified to hold an opinion on the subject.

Elon Musk is an educated, trained physicist. He's started multiple successful businesses. He's designed and built electric cars that actually work for real people and that are built like tanks. He's designed and built rockets and capsules that carry out successful missions in space at a fraction of the cost of NASA and everyone else. He's doing what virtually nobody else is doing: taking risks. He's the next Steve Jobs and he doesn't want to make your music player pretty; he wants to go to Mars.

If I were a betting man, I most certainly wouldn't be betting against Elon Musk. That's a stupid bet.

Comment Re:I suspect he's wrong. (Score 2) 580

Something closer to what happened in the airline industry is what you want.

The airline industry takes people and cargo from one habitable place to another.

Something close to that for space would take people from one habitable place (Earth) to...where, exactly?

There is nowhere to go. "Going into space" is as pointless as "going into the air". Modulo a handful of thrill-seekers or performance artists, you go into the air in order to get somewhere. There is no destination for which you can go into space, that's worth getting there other than for extremely rich thrill-seekers or performance artists, or participants in international bigger-dick contents. Science missions can be done so much more cheaply with robots that we will never launch a human beyond Earth orbit on a science mission.

Comment Re:I suspect he's wrong. (Score 1) 580

When private industry begins talking about doing the things that have traditionally been done within NASA for cheaper, this becomes an argument against increasing government funding for space exploration.

Not at all. Private industry has always contracted for NASA. Having private companies do things like supply runs to the ISS isn't a significant change; if they can do the scutwork cheaper it leaves more funds for NASA to do the science.

Private companies are not going to launch pure science missions. There's no profit in it. Science missions are going to remain NASA's bailiwick.The handful of commercially viable space missions (which will never involve sending humans beyond Earth orbit -- deep space is for robots) can be taken over by private industry.

Comment Re:The emperor has no clothes (Score 1) 526

How exactly does "picking which laws I want to enforce" get lumped into his oath to "faithfully execute" his office?

When Congress passes an unconstitutional law -- which many drugs laws are -- for the POTUS to enforce it would be a violation of his oath. Of course, they do it anyway. :-/

Comment Re:How accurate is the sea level rise figure? (Score 2) 137

Not true. You can get shifting in the surrounding rock as things move around, though the effects are complex.

It's earth's crust rising out of the mantle, if anything the surrounding seabed will rise slightly with it, certainly not the other way around.

There's also the differences due to the change of the local gravity field; all that ice has a lot of mass and does currently attract plenty of seawater to it.

Extremely minimal, even if you have 2km sideways pull from the ice there's 6400km of downwards pull towards the center of the earth so water doesn't gather much Heavy mineral deposits or a thick crust directly under the water is different, that adds more compression without trying to counteract the sideways forces.

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