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Comment Re:The problem with privitization? Or just no shit (Score 2) 225

Was the first Arctic traversal a government mission?
How about the first summit of Mount Everest?
How about the first flight?


Either private enterprise or not-for-profit groups.

Government does little in the way of firsts as they are bound by health and safety laws and sending people on fact-gathering missions is generally a waste of money. Technically the moon missions would come under military, even then, wouldn't they?

Don't wait for your government to be the first to cross the Atlantic or swim the English Channel. It ain't going to happen.

To quote XKCD: "For Man has earned his right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone totally batshit insane."

Comment Re:Inscrutable behaviour (Score 1) 225

He's not "asking" anyone to do anything. It's a simple reality that if there was a mission to Mars coming up shortly and you passed a signup sheet around, and at the top of it was written in large letters "YOU WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY DIE AT SOME POINT DURING THIS TRIP", you'd still get thousands of signatures from people who are utterly thrilled at getting the chance and couldn't give a rat's arse about the risk.

Comment Re: meh (Score 1) 225

I knew there was a reason back in school that my binders all had pictures of sci-fi landscapes on them... it all comes full circle. Mars needs a breading program for colonists to survive... breading requires a binder... binders have pictures of Mars to encourage people to go and support the breading program!

Comment Re:1Million People (Score 2) 417

Is that not exactly what the Mars rovers were supposed to be investigating?

No, the rovers have not been gem prospecting. But the data that they've recovered would be useful for doing so. There's a lot of heavy hydrothermal veining near curiosity for example (primarily gypsum, but it's a good start!). What I wouldn't give to be there with a rover with good range...

Comment Re:Learning from queue implementations in CS (Score 1) 43

Really? Please tell us which Subway stores sell Big Macs, which Wendy's stores sell seafood, which Arby's sell bloomin' onions, or which Denny's sell sushi.

Two of these don't have any wait-to-get-seated, as they are fast food restaurants.
But anyhow, whether the details and naming of the food differs, it is to large extents the same. The diversity is minimal in American restaurants. Customers aren't willing to try new things, and the restaurants that try either have to revert to the standard pseudo-Italian and American standards like steaks and burgers, and if there's fish, it's breaded and with lemon.
Don't expect big differences. None of them will serve black pudding, sardines, savory pies except chicken pot pie, boiled cabbage, or anything much out of the ordinary you can get at a number of these places. It doesn' t really matter all that much where you go - the difference between US restaurants is as minimal as between the US political parties. From an outside point of view, it's all pretty much the same.
Sure, "Chinese", "Japanese", "Thai", "Mexican" and "Indian" restaurants have different fare from the typical American/Italian one, but it's also standardized and adjusted to the American palate. No surprises; all interchangeable within their "nationality" (to use the word loosely).

Comment Re:Cool, but how does that help anything? (Score 1) 417

I've read some papers on the subject, and it really depends on what sort of mineral you're talking about. Mars lacks or is deficient in, as you note, a lot of the processes on Earth that concentrate ores, making certain types of ores deficient. However, there are some types of ore deposits that it's expected to be rich in. A good example is bolide deposits, like the Sudbury deposit on Earth. There a large impactor created a basin which is rich in nickel, copper, and precious metals. It's not that the precious metals came from the impactor - it's that by liquefying a large chunk of the crust, it allows it to separate out into layers. Mars is struck more often by large bolides and the resulting basins are more slowly eroded, so such deposits are predicted to be notably richer on mars.

A problem with mining on Mars however is... well, mining. Overburden problems are likely to be even worse on Mars than on Earth, and I'm sure you've seen what lengths people go through to get rid of overburden. Doing that with equipment light enough to ship to Mars and keep operating? Anything but an easy task. Now, surely there's some deposits in some places that, with good prospecting effort, are low overburden and easy to mine. But then you hit the other problem which is... not everything is found in the same place, and many things distinctly aren't. And furthermore, once you build in a particular place, you're pretty much locked in there. So how do you get everything from point A to point B? Aircraft can work on Mars, but their payload capacities are terrible compared to their size, and you have to make them very fragile. Over a few hundred kilometers, your best bet is probably "mountain roads", aka you plow aside the rocks and dirt as best you can, and accept that you're going to get low throughput/high maintenance hauling over such bad roads. Over longer distances? Honestly, your best bet (in the foreseeable future) is rockets, as expensive as they are. In the long term you can talk durable cross-planet roads, high speed rail, railguns, etc. But those sorts of things aren't practical in the near term - they represent too much embodied mass, power, and/or and labour.

It's not an easy challenge

Site selection is going to be critical. The goal in the near future shouldn't be 100% independence, because that's not realistic. It should be, "what's the highest percentage of this import mass that we can eliminate?" Pick those low-hanging, high-demand fruits first.

Comment Re:Clinton's record on data security is pathetic (Score 1) 102

I would expect any future candidate to at least take their required national security training which she refused to do. Of course, if you didn't have the training, it's really easy to call handling classified information "a mistake", rather than a willful violation...

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