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Comment Re:Can't we just send them all? (Score 1) 176

I'm personally of the opinion that anyone with an inclination to volunteer to take what will invariably amount to a one-way trip to Mars based on the technology that we have so far is probably somebody that the world may be better off without.

Sadly, those we would most like to send, are probably the least likely to apply.

I understand there will be a need for telephone sanitizers on mars...

If only we hadn't sent off the Telephone Sanitizers I would have been in better health this past weekend. Well, never mind. Have to keep in top shape to do battle with that Star Goat ...

Comment Re:Because I had to look it up... (Score 1) 158

Road on totally flat terrain is still not cheap

Neither is an airship...

you have to truck all that asphalt out there and cut down all that brush

As I said already, you MAY be able to do without the asphalt. Australian truck-train drivers aren't unfamiliar with unpaved dirt roads, and they work reasonably well in the outback. They're more likely to get washed-out and impassable for some time, but with low volume trucking (which is surely what we're talking about) that's an easy trade-off to make.

Comment Re:must we endure.. (Score 1) 158

All your arguments are circular nonsense and fact-free... A large mining operation will be too large for these? And a small mining operation will be too small for these?

So, it's not undeniable, it's only undeniable if you don't know crap about mining or work in the back country.

It's undeniable airships have FAR lower operating costs per mass of cargo than conventional aircraft, and your suggestion of Chinook helicopters is positively laughable. Airships certainly CAN do many things you baselessly claim they CAN'T.

Comment Re:Well, darn. (Score 1) 59

I just upgraded to a smart phone and hated how every app I wanted to download wanted everything. Why should Pac Man need my contacts list and GPS information? ...

Exactly why I haven't installed any new apps on my Galaxy S4 since buying it. I figured I'll download the SDK and build what little I need. For all you know some of the simplest free* apps may be written by NSA fronts.

* as in beer.

Comment Re:Because I had to look it up... (Score 1) 158

Its use will be for places like northern Canada and the Australian outback where there's no airport and no landing strip and no infrastructure whatever but where there are a lot of resources like timber and minerals.

Northern Canada makes sense, but I'm having a hard time imagining its use in Australia... That's one of the FLATTEST countries on earth, with the EASIEST road construction possible. Building a road involves drawing a line on a map, cutting the brush, and dropping the asphalt, and you might even be able to skip the asphalt... There are exceedingly few areas of any terrain features that need to be bridged. While roads aren't cheap to construct, they can't be THAT expensive in the remote areas of Australia.

Comment Re:must we endure.. (Score 4, Informative) 158

no, they can't be used as you describe.

In fact they can. They talk about this exact scenario at the very bottom of TFA...

These craft have severely limited capacity for cargo

Their absolute cargo capacity doesn't matter... It's a question of cost per kg of cargo. Since airships need to consume extremely little fuel, they are extremely economical to operate, and the cost of shipping heavy materials will be vastly less expensive than flying them on conventional airplanes.

What's more, you'd be far, far better off just getting a Chinook, as those are much smaller and are designed to handle a substantial amount of cargo.

That's absolute nonsense. A helicopter will consume MORE fuel than conventional airplanes, has less range, and moves more slowly, all for the convenience of VTOL. An airship will be VASTLY more economical to operate.

Anybody with a mine doing substantial volume is going to have to have roads anyways, as miners do need to eat, and there's a tone of other supplies involved as well.

The diamond and oil mines in the arctic are operating without roads... Instead they truck in supplies at great expense only part of the year, over the ice. The Alaska pipeline was perhaps the most expensive engineering project in history, and the investment nearly bankrupted the whole US oil industry. Until recently, the South Pole McMurdo station was operating without a road over the 1,000 mile distance, and it was an incredible expense to develop, only profitable because conventional aircraft are so expensive to operate that it cost double the jet fuel for a given cargo weight to fly in supplies.

In short, there are MANY places that don't or perhaps CAN'T have roads, yet are profitable locations that need lots of bulk freight deliveries. Pretty much everything you've said in your comment is undeniably factually incorrect, and if these airships prove reliable, they may have a few incredibly profitable routes.

Comment Ideal bad-terrain cargo carrier... (Score 4, Interesting) 158

We have shows like Ice Road Truckers about dangerous, expensive, and time-limited freight delivery in the Artic circle because impassable terrain most of the year... And at the opposite end of the globe, the 1,000 mile-long McMurdo â" South Pole Highway constructed over 4 years at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars with lots of ongoing maintenance... And also consider the manifold poor remote villages that are often starving and suffering after natural disasters because they are accessible only by foot (or mule) due to mountainous terrain over which road construction would be astronomically expensive...

All these scenarios, because flying-in heavy items via conventional aircraft over long distance can consume twice their weight in jet fuel.

Airships can no-doubt fundamentally change the arithmetic of delivering supplies to these hazardous and remote locations. If these airships prove to be reliable heavy-lifters, that consume far, far less fuel, they could generate a LOT of cash from carrying cargo to such difficult destinations, no matter how slow they are to arrive at their destinations.

Comment Re:reality show rejects (Score 0) 181

How long do you have that Edsel?

The Edsel was a pretty good running car, which was just plain ugly and completely oversold to the press - while innovative in many areas it wasn't what the public wanted.

My car, on the other hand, had great styling and the early prototypes were wowing the press with its performance and features. When production began, though the love affair ended with a lot of unhappy customers, particularly those who had expected something much better (which had initially been promised.)

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