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Comment Re: Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 52

Nowhere did I say that NASA needs to rebuild and entire installation; however, in terms of fuel cost it is much easier to launch from the Earth to the moon then refuel at the moon

Implicit in saying that is the premise that the moon has an industrial base, because you don't make fuel and launch rockets without an industrial base. And an industrial base means dependency chains. And even importing a very small fraction of the amount from Earth to fill gaps in their dependency chains that they launch from the surface would easily price them out of the market. Never mind the absurd capital costs you have to amortize.

Current NASA plans have the moon as a refueling point

NASA has no plans for a lunar refueling point. It is not part of any actively-being-worked-towards timeline. They've posited the concept before, but they've posited a million fanciful things.

Comment Re: Who cares? (Score 1) 52

So all the water on the moon that could be used as fuel for Mars missions has no value?

I'd love to see your proposal for launching water from the moon to Mars for less than $7k per kilogram. Include all allocation of labour, all feedstocks production, and all consumables, including system maintenance.

The reason we launch from the Earth is Earth is where our industrial production infrastructure is. And even if you have to import just a couple percent to the Moon of the mass that you could launch from the Moon in payload (aka a highly evolved industrial base), you've blown your budget. Just ignoring that the needs of Mars most definitely aren't water. It's habitats, vehicles, and industrial / manufacturing hardware. Have fun trying to produce that sort of stuff on the moon.

Comment Re:How much to re-create Apollo? (Score 1) 52

As you note, the tooling for Apollo doesn't exist. The suppliers don't exist. Some parts of the design don't exist any more, and that which does is just on paper. Everything would have to be started over in terms of modern CAD diagrams, full testing, etc. It would be more expensive to recreate Apollo than to make a new system with better performance. Today we have better alloys, better performance designs, more knowledge. And we do have infrastructure and suppliers that exist today, so it makes much more sense to make use of their capabilities than to recreate that which existed in the 1960s.

Your post seems premised on the notion that finding a way to make a big rocket is hard. It's not. There is no shortage of ways to come up with arrangements to reach the moon. The hard part is the low level engineering and testing, both at the component level and integration level. And we don't get that by going with Apollo. We actually lose in that regard, versus going with more modern systems.

Comment Re:We are finally getting over (Score 2) 52

Could you describe to me what is the "Obama space malaise"?

Obama didn't want SLS. It was congress that mandated it. And I'm in agreement: SLS is a giant unfunded mandate. "Let's build a rocket that will be way too expensive to make significant use out of, and which we won't have the budget to use often enough to make reliable or at all cheaper".

You don't make mandates that you're not going to fund. So much of congressional NASA mandates have been make-work programs, trying to justify keeping Apollo and Shuttle-era facilities open - the cost of keeping those facilities open inherently making anything that they do very expensive. It's no mystery that they need to cut back and streamline their operations to be competitive. But they're not allowed to.

Honestly, I'd like to see NASA become in many ways NACA again. An science agency with a focus on advanced research projects that help improve aerospace technology and understanding in ways that others can make use of. Now, exploration is in many ways part of that. But "NASA as a rocket manufacturer" strikes me as akin to the government running a passenger jet manufacturer or the like. I see the current situation as totally backwards - why should NASA be redoing the tech of the 1960s, while private companies are the ones doing innovations like first stages that return to pad for reuse? It should be NASA developing new technology and the private sector exploiting it.

And this was the approach that the Obama administration was pushing for, with the very successful COTS program. There are many things I have to fault it for, but this is not one. I mean, seriously, how weird is it that Republicans are pushing for things to be run by a big government agency that does everything internal, and Democrats pushing for greater privatization and outsourcing? ;)

Comment Re: Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 52

While they are different ways to get there, one path is to first establish a moon base and launch from there instead of Earth orbit.

Launch what, exactly, from the Moon?

I think you're confusing "a moon base" with "a full industrial infrastructure capable of producing complex objects". Even the concept that it would be cheaper to launch unrefined raw regolith from the moon cheaper than we can launch equivalent mass payloads from Earth anytime even remotely soon is absurd.

Earth is where industry is. The fact that we're a deep gravity well increases costs, but that difference is nothing compared to the difference in industrial capacities on and off Earth. Every production process has feedstock and consumables dependency chains. Those have dependency chains, and those have further chains, to a massive network of ever-increasing complexity. One of the worst dependencies is humans, which in turn spawn massive dependency chains.

Now, ultimately you can meet these things to the degree that the few things you have to import to sustain local industrial activity (at incredible cost) do not price the cost of local rocket launches out of the market., but if you think that's going to happen any time in the next few decades, you're deluding yourself. The serious proposals for going to the moon before Mars are for the moon to function as a testbed for habitats and systems designed for Mars.

Anyway, I'm personally much more for the habitation of Venus than Mars, but that is neither here nor there :)

Comment Re: Jacobin Jeopardy (Score 1) 189

I know, right? Communism never led to any abuses ever!

Communism has never been faithfully attempted at scale. It has always been a cynical ploy to fool the populace while the rich stayed rich. (Sometimes they are killed and their wealth absorbed by other rich people, but the wealth doesn't make it into the hands of the people.)

Neither did theocracies, anarchy, or monarchies!

I didn't say any of those things were good, did I?

Comment Re: Not that easy (Score 1) 63

I always thought it was odd they relied on the client to determine whether the bullet would hit.

They don't. But they rely on the client to determine whether or not the players can see one another. If you tamper with the client then you can get more information than you're supposed to have.

It ought to be easy to find the wall hacks from a tape of the game though.

It seems to me like there ought to be a log of every shot in the game; timestamp, initiating actor, a list of who took damage and how much they took and whether it was direct or splash damage, and the positions and facing of all the relevant actors. Ideally you would actually log literally everything for later replay, every single event. Now that would be professional.

Comment Re:Cheating at Tournaments (Score 1) 63

A hundred years ago people were saying the exact same thing about people playing just a 'game' aka football.

Some of us are saying the same thing about it now. It's understandable why this has happened:propaganda works, which is why advertising exists — and professional sports exists as an advertising substrate. Look at who's applying the majority of the money.

There isn't much difference betweeen regular sports, chess, and computer games.

Sure there is. There's loads of differences. Granted, some computer games are just like chess, and some computer games are sort of like sports, albeit only the ones which involve moving your body more than wiggling your thumbs and fingertips. But as a whole, each of these things are very different.

Comment Re:Caring (Score 1) 63

I have no right then to rob then bank if because they ignored me. It is still illegal regardless of how cool you think it is.

Yes, that would be illegal. And what he is actually doing is also illegal. He's not taking anything from the bank. What he's doing is equivalent to breaking into the bank vault, which is visible from the bank floor for the purposes of this simile, and shouting at the customers about how shit the bank security is to the point that they can't talk to the tellers and actually conduct any business. It's trespassing, it's harassment, it's denial of service, but it is not theft. This is basically the copyright infringement vs. theft argument all over again. Just like that argument, we know it is different because there are whole bodies of law which apply specifically to what he is actually doing. If everything you didn't like were theft, we would only need laws about theft. That's not how the world works, so please, stop shouting theft.

Comment Re:I'm not surprised. (Score 2) 190

If hitting on a coworker were illegal sexism, a good part of the slashdot audience wouldn't be here, because their parents never would have hooked up.

It's not appropriate for someone to send messages like this to a subordinate, period, the end. It creates a hostile work environment because they have to worry about whether they'll be penalized for saying no.

The appropriate response to someone walking in with a fistful of evidence that someone is engaging in sexual harassment is to fire the harasser, immediately. This is especially true anywhere that has had sexual harassment training. And basically all tech companies are doing that now, and this sort of thing is evidence that it is necessary; both the event, and all the jerkoffs scrambling to defend what is clearly unacceptable behavior.

Uber has a rule against sex between drivers and riders, no matter what. I guarantee you that their employee code of conduct bans sexual harassment, and clear sexual advances like these without invitation are a clear case of sexual harassment.

Finally, it wasn't actually his first offense, that was just a lie told by HR. Because HR is not your friend. Get that part straight right now. They work for the company and their job is to smooth the rough, pacify the angry, and meet legal requirements. It is not to help you.

Comment Re:Jacobin Jeopardy (Score 1) 189

What is, "capitalism"?

It really does boggle my mind that people haven't figured out that the whole system of capitalism might as well be designed to create opportunities for abuse. Since we have reason to believe that human nature hasn't changed appreciably throughout history — the more we look, the more ways we find in which we're similar to other primates, let alone humans of old — we know these opportunities will be taken.

The dictionary definition is that capital controls the means of production. That always used to come down to human hands, which meant people controlled by money. Now it's going to mean cogs and gears, and they're going to work for the people who are already wealthy. What will they choose to grind out? I guarantee it won't be sunshine and happiness for all mankind.

Comment Re:No feel (Score 1) 70

Today, well trained humans are far better at this than well trained AI using far superior, often almost cheating, sensing technologies.

But there is no cheating! They simply can have more senses than we can... as many as you can cram onto the car, along with enough hardware to make sense of the input. That's why they will be better than we are at driving cars. They can see things we can't. A sufficiently expensive and complicated laser system can not only tell that there's liquid on the track, but what it is, even if the sunlight is shining off of it. For example, in this press release they talk about identification of hydrocarbons at forty meters. Let's say they can only do it at twenty. That's still plenty of time to identify an oil slick and make decisions about it.

Today, you can get superior results having a human handle the whole vehicle as compared to having a computer handle the whole vehicle. You could have 0 computers on the car and still do better. But those days are numbered, and I suspect the number is relatively small.

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