Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:1Million People (Score 1) 482

Have you seen how slow Mars rovers move and how carefully they have to weigh each action, in an environment where if you mess up, there's nobody there to rescue / repair you? Have you seen how much maintenance and consumables is involved in mining?

Do these look like Mar's rovers to you?

The concept that "robots will do everything" is simply not realistic.

Show a little imagination and optimism. With this technology, we could avoid all of the downsides of sending humans to Mars at all. You get your minerals, and nobody is condemned to a miserable life on a frigid, lifeless, airless, irradiated ghetto. How is that not a good outcome for everyone?

Do robots do everything for the astronauts on the ISS? Of course not; the astronauts there are basically glorified construction workers and lab techs. Why?

The ISS is just floating there doing nothing. Meanwhile, robots are exploring the outer reaches of the solar system. Landing on Titan. Snapping pictures of Pluto. lassooing comets. Why do we send robots instead of humans? Because they are better.

It's certainly an arguable point as to whether it's worth the cost sending humans in the first place - but once they're there, there's no debate at all about whether it's cheaper to use their labour or to engineer, build, and send robots to do the same task.

No that's right, there is no debate - robots win every time.

Comment Re:1Million People (Score 1) 482

Commodities that you dig up (apart from the problem of how machinery of that size could be transported to Mars) don't require humans to be on site. Even on earth, on site presence of humans is kept to an absolute minimum. So if some consortium wanted to transport minerals or bulk stone from Mars, and they are somehow able to overcome the negative cost:benefit ratio (still orders of magnitude away) then they don't seme to have any reason to rely on a Mars Colony.

1. They don't have to ask the mars colony for permission to mine remotely

2. The colony could probably not reach any veins of interesting minerals because there are no roads, energy is limited, you can't fly (without air) and you can't camp remotely because of the need for pressurized vessels to live in and the radiation levels which require shielding, They are really limited to the area that they could walk or drive to in a day (say 250 km^2).

3. A mine remote from the colony has no reason to be financially attached to the colony, and earth resident company could run the whole thing from earth. so they don't need to pay the colony any money.

All in all that suggests the human colonists aren't going to be competitive with robotic miners, and thus can't make money by mining.

Comment Re:1Million People (Score 1) 482

Perhaps a new colony forced to live in a very special environment will create a civilization that places value and wealth on working together in order to survive to achieve the ultimate goal of exploration for a generation or three.

There has to be a reason why, in the long term, people would want to live on Mars. After a few thousand people have done it, it loses it's novelty - like flying has lost it's novelty and now relies on the utility of traveling quickly from place to place to be viable.

There isn't a rush to live in the earth's remote places - the Simpson desert, or on oil rigs, or remote islands off the coast of Antarctica. That's because once the novelty of remoteness dies off, people need other motivators to live there.

Those motivators are missing for Mars, which is a far less friendly place than a desert or remote island.

Comment Re:1Million People (Score 2) 482

Most women on earth don't want to have 5 babies - let's assume they wouldn't on Mars either, Also, it's unclear that it's possible to gestate in that environment, large doses of radiation and a low G environment do not sound favourable, plus the dangers associated with being 80 (hard) days away from medical facilities, most women would probably forgo that option.

I'd agree that large numbers of colonists would be problematic. There is no way to generate income, because Mars has no industry, no supply chain, no primary industry, no financial sector, no plausible services industry, and no chance of being able to trade with the Earth. Economically, it's a basket case. It will costs millions of dollars to transport a colonist there - money which, presumably they will need to find themselves, which means they will be heavily in debt.

Which then means after the initial flights, nobody is going to preference Mars over Earth, with all of it's abundant opportunities.

Comment Re:No one likes (Score 1) 637

Why doesn't either side stop the wars that were going on when they took power? How is that not a valid question?

Well, if we are being honest you said (I quote) But Trump hasn't gotten a good portion of the world mired in failed countries at war. When it comes to war, Hillary is probably to the right of any previous president, including W. by which we should be able to assume that you could speak to question of how this could be, if Bush started a war (on false pretenses) that Trump approved, in which a million people died, and Hillary didn't start any wars, and neither did Obama, and neither Obama, nor Hillary boasted (as Trump did) of their plans to kill millions more innocent people by nuking them.

It seems to me (and correct me if I'm reading this wrong) that the distinction seems more like the Republicans and their nuke obsessed warmongering candidate Donald Trump are the ones with blood on their hands, not the other way round, as you confidently asserted.

How is running guns into war zones to fight a proxy war in Syria not the same as Vietnam?

It's different in any number of ways, but most pertinently, nobody detonated a nuclear missile over Hanoi - mostly because they knew it would be a monumental mistake. Luckily, Trump wasn't around at the time.

Tridents have selective yields. In other words, adjustable. Starting in 2001, the British ones were able to go from 0.3 ktons to 100 ktons yield. ). 0.3 ktons is much less than North Korea's nukes. There's no reason to believe the US doesn't have similar capability.

If they do have this capability, then it isn't public knowledge. The British Tridents use a different warhead, and their nuclear strategy is quite different to the US, who have actual tactical warheads that they can attach to a cruise missile or drop from a plane without having to worry about the extremely negative consequences of lighting an SLBM and having that signature show up on various screens and dealing with the tense discussions that happen afterward.

If US Tridents have such a capability (an upgrade targeting package and the ability to only light one or two of the IRVs) then they aren't saying, and fair enough, which brings us back to Donald.

If Donald meant his reference to the trident to mean this, then he is deliberately exposing details of the Trident's capabilities that are probably classified. Is he an enemy of the United States? Or is he just an arsehole that likes to shoot his mouth off? I find that concept very ironic, given that he condemned Hillary for emails that someone else sent her and none of which exposed the US to harm, and here he is, harming the US to make himself look gangsta. What a dickhead!

No, most likely he meant it as read. He meant a Trident at full power, doing what it does best, detonating over Mosul or Palmyra or Raqqa and incinerating 100s of thousands, perhaps millions, of innocent Syrians or Iraqis. When he says he's going to "bomb the sh*t out of them" to use his words he doesn't mean to distinguish between ISIS and innocent people: as the analyst says (in the article I posted: "Trump’s plan to use thermonuclear weapons against ISIS-held areas such as the Syrian city of Al-Raqqah would result in an astronomically high number of civilian casualties, according to CNN military analyst Peter Mansoor. “Al-Raqqah alone has a population of over two hundred-thousand people, the vast majority of whom are not affiliated in any way with the Islamic State,” Mansoor said. “A strike of this magnitude would not only result in the loss of millions of innocent lives and infrastructure, but it would set diplomacy and stability in the region back at least a hundred years.”

What a guy!

Why do you think Japan wants to start building nukes?

They don't.

Destroying the enemy is the only form of self-defense that nukes are good for. Otherwise, they serve no purpose except to destabilize the situation, as North Korea is demonstrating.

And Donald Trump is demonstrating exactly the same thing. His grasp of reality sits level with Kim Jong Un.

Who said I was voting for Trump?

You were telling us a few days ago how impressed you were with his foreign policy credentials.

Comment Re:Human missions = funding (Score 2, Insightful) 112

I mean, robots are no where near performing on the same level as humans when it comes to ingenuity and ability to come up with and implement ad hoc fixes to problems that no one could even imagine before launch of the mission.

Without humans, the mission is less complex so the risk of some problem occurring is much less.

But putting that question aside, the problem with robotic missions is that they will never get the same sort of funding as human missions.

But that just begs the question: why should we fund such a mission in the first place? The robotic mission is justified by science and our desire to explore new places. Arguable, of course, not everybody agrees that those goals are worth the spend, but let's say we agree that they are. Having the exploration craft carry a human along does nothing to further that cause, anymore than the cause is furthered by having the craft carry a bag of random meats, or a monkey that urinates on everything. Good for a laugh maybe - but we could explore more, and longer, and also go to far more interesting places for the same amount of spend.

Once we have this capability, we can easily send lots of robotic and scientific payload along with humans -- it amounts to simply using the same payload delivery system that we are developing for humans anyway.

But again, why send a human? Why not a cow, or a peacock?

On the other side, if there is no ambition to fly humans to Mars, then no one will develop these capabilities. There is simply no funding for a system that delivers 10 tons of cargo onto the surface of Mars, unless it can also deliver humans, and bring them back safely. So we cannot send big robotic missions to Mars.

We can if we want. But honestly, Mars is a bit boring, and we also know a great deal about it already. We have the opportunity to go to interesting places instead, why not do that?

Human missions generate lots of excitement, lots of excitement leads to lots of funding.

No, they don't.

There is a little excitement but it's confined to a small circle that happens to hang around in places like Slashdot. That might trick you into thinking this is a bigger deal than what it is. In the end, I think human spaceflight has been largely defunded because nobody can explain why we are doing it in terms that don't sound religious. Sorry, but perhaps the lack of funding is rational and not some mistake because congressman are fat and lazy.

Robotic missions can never be on par with human missions in terms of how much excitement, and thus funding they can raise.

You are presupposing the people who currently don't care one way or the other will suddenly get excited for some reason.

Perhaps, in the end, we need a better reason than a dog and pony show.

Comment Re:No one likes (Score 1) 637

Both sides have started stupid wars. The question is, why does the other party, after denouncing them, not get the f*ck out?

Nope, that's not the question. The question is (a) Why did the Republicans start a war in Iraq on false pretenses and kill a million Iraqis? Who benefited? Did Trump himself benefit? (b) Why does Trump claim that he did not support the war at the time when we have recordings of him saying that he did? Was he lying then, or now? (c) Why are the Republicans trying to blame someone else for the butchery that they committed?

Killing a few thousand with a tactical nuke to wipe out a threat is peanuts in comparison.

Trump used the words 'Trident' and 'submarine'. The Trident is an ICBM. It is not a tactical nuke. He (Trump) readily assented to the estimate that millions would be killed. See the link I posted.

Or better yet, just get the hell out of the middle east. Get out of the middle east, and let them kill each other off.

In which case, I don't get why you are voting for Trump. He is a 'boots on the ground' guy. He says he plans to send in troops - again. Unless he is lying?

Comment Re:oh, yes (Score 4, Insightful) 199

Why does everyone keep saying Russia works with Trump? I have yet to see anything along those lines other than a couple of comments from Trump about Putin.

I suspect the payment of 12.7M by Russia to Trumps Campaign Manager Paul Manaforte and the subsequent removal of the arming of the Ukraine from the RNC platform might have something to do with it.

Comment Re:So basically... (Score 1) 637

Right - so no court or jury, and no charges were laid.

She was accused of a crime. The OP said "she is a criminal". What is that ripping sound I hear?

They just have the clout to not get arrested like the rest of us.

Yes yes. It's all a big conspiracy - presumably the knights templar and the masons are involved as well.

Comment Re:So basically... (Score 1) 637

Hillary is objectively a criminal.

Pretty sure the US Bill of Rights says that a court of law is required to make that judgement, not a 2 bit shitposter on ./

Same sort of court of law that found Trump guilty.

. I'd literally rather have a monkey as POTUS than Hillary.

A monkey would make a better (less offensive) president than Trump. Less, err, unpredictable: and no monkey has ever expressed an intent to kill millions. Nor are monkeys as sleazy - no monkey has ever settled a sexual harassment suit out of court, afaik.

So: you go ahead and vote for the monkey.

Comment Re:No one likes (Score 3, Insightful) 637

Not the best choice? Neither candidate is trustworthy, but Trump hasn't gotten a good portion of the world mired in failed countries at war.

Trump heads the political party that started those wars, and he is their elected candidate. He supported those wars.

His plan at the moment is to kill millions of innocent people with trident missiles fired from submarines in the persian gulf.

Unless he is lying?

Comment Re:So basically... (Score 0) 637

Seeing as the person he is running against said tens of millions of US citizens are deplorable, irredeemable, racists.

Stop lying.

What she actually said was:“you could put Trump’s supporters in two big baskets. They’re what I call the deplorables. The racists and the haters and the people who are drawn because they think he can somehow restore an America that no longer exists.”

And that is: ... true. A proportion of Trumps supporters do support him for exactly that reason. She is telling it like it is.

Apparently Trumps supporters don't like people telling it like it is when the telling doesn't match with their own internal fantasies.

Slashdot Top Deals

FORTRAN is not a flower but a weed -- it is hardy, occasionally blooms, and grows in every computer. -- A.J. Perlis