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Comment Surfacism - why Mars and not Venus? (Score 1) 99

There are actually some compelling reasons to go to Venus first including cost and transit time but also more human-favorable gravity, greater protection from radiation and possibly the only other place in the solar system which currently offers temperatures and atmospheric pressures close Earth norm - albeit only at a 30-mile altitude. So, why not cloud cities on Venus?

BTW loved the Mars trilogy - have you read 2312 yet?

Comment Fixed? (Score 1) 130

Two of the solar panels did unfurl and theoretically are producing power. Perhaps not enough to run all the instruments, but it's something and it's possible could be keeping the batteries charged.

Most of these probes, sensing loss of communication or other problem, go into a 'fault mode' where the bare minimum is kept going until instructions are received. The probe itself might be functional and alive, just with low power and unable to communicate with it's primary array.

I wonder if there is another way to communicate now that we know what's going on? Remember Gallileo had a problem unfurling it's primary antenna and was able to communicate, although much more slowly, through a secondary, low-power antenna.

Comment Lost in importance is his comment about automation (Score 1) 839

With robotics becoming more capable all the time even more skilled labor jobs will go away. A prediction is that one in three jobs will be gone by 2025 and that trend is still ramping up.

What labor-intense industry will technology create? The current arc of innovation is not like that which enabled the move from rural farming to factory farming and sent workers to urban factories and then to work at Starbucks and Wal-Mart.

We'd better get used to a whole lot more socialism, or a whole lot fewer hours worked per week, or some other way to define value for compensation. The current winner-takes-almost-all system will collapse with no employment for the vast majority of humanity.

Comment Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 839

The biggest GDP expansion in this country was when incomes were extremely progressively taxed - up to 90%. It didn't slow down the "American Dream" - such as it was.

In fact, I think highly progressive income taxes make room for more success stories rather than a few very large economic players who can crowd out others. Honestly, there are tens of thousands of individuals who would make excellent CEOs who are never going to get the opportunity. If a CEO hits the 90% bracket and is 'discouraged from creating more value' then step away and make room.

Comment Mars has no magnetosphere (Score 1) 549

While I fully agree we could make this place a Star Trek-like utopian society (a la The Economics of Star Trek), the point is that no matter how seaworthy you make a ship, it can still be sunk. The Earth could still suffer an extinction event that we can't prevent. Mars is really our best Plan B. We have to get in more boats to make sure we stay afloat as a species.

Mars is the easiest of the options. The others - the moon (too little gravity, can never be terraformed), a giant space station (extremely large structure required to contain 1 million humans), Venus (cloud cities perhaps), Jovian satellites (radiation, extreme cold) are tougher options.

Comment Re:Intense radiation bands (Score 2) 66

From TFA:

Io’s ionosphere interacts with Jupiter’s magnetosphere, a layer of charged plasma that protects the planet from radiation, to create a frictional current that causes radio wave emissions.

Much like our magnetosphere on Earth protects us from radiation so too can that of a moon with an atmosphere and molten core. Mars doesn't have one and thus is hard-hit by solar radiation.

Your statement is accurate if you are talking about Earth's moon, but not correct in other cases.

Submission + - Exomoon Detection Technique Greatly Expands List of Potential Habitable Systems

Luminary Crush writes: Most of the detected exoplanets thus far have been gas giants which aren't great candidates for life as we know it. However, many of those planets are in fact in the star's habitable zone and could have moons with conditions more favorable. Until now, methods to detect the moons of such gas giants have been elusive, but researchers at the University of Texas, Arlington have discovered a way to detect the interaction of a moon's ionosphere with the parent gas giant from studies of Jupiter's moon Io. The search for 'Pandora' has begun.

Submission + - Dual Carbon Battery Charges 20 Times Faster Than Lithium-Ion

Luminary Crush writes: A Japanese company, Power Japan Plus, has announced plans to put into mass production a carbon-carbon ("dual carbon") battery later this year. Developed jointly with Kyushu University, the new battery has high energy density, is very safe and reliable, can sustain 3000 charge cycles, and is environmentally sustainable. If dual carbon batteries were installed in a Nissan Leaf the car could be completely charged in 12 minutes.

Submission + - Fusion power by 2020? Researchers say yes and turn to crowdfunding. 1

Luminary Crush writes: To date, the bulk of fusion research has been channelled towards a plasma containment and stabilization method. This is the approach used by ITER's tokamak reactor, the cost of which could exceed US$13.7 billion before it's online in the year 2027 (barring further delays). Researchers at LPP Fusion, in a project partially financed by NASA-JPL, are working in a different direction: focus fusion, which focuses the plasma in a very small area to produce fusion and an ion beam which could then be harnessed to produce electricity. It small enough to fit in a shipping container, can double as a rocket engine, and would cost US$50 million to produce the working 5 MW prototype. To reach the next hurdle and demonstrate feasibility, LPP Fusion has started an Indiegogo campaign to raise $200K.

Comment I'm not sure how much of a game-changer this is (Score 1) 280

It's from Wyse, so it's basically a "thin client". Don't get me wrong, Wyse makes good thin clients, but it's not fundamentally different than anything out there already. It's basically a way to run "VDI" (Virtual Desktop Interface) from your pocket.

OK, cool enough, but I can already do that with an app on my smart phone. I can run a plethora of thin client software - Citrix, VMware, Webex, PCAnywhere, Microsoft RDP, VNC... what else? The only unique thing I see here is that you can attach to a larger external screen. With an iPhone you can do that via an Apple TV with mirroring. The experience isn't fantastic but it's only a matter of time for that architecture to improve (same with Android equivalents).

I do not see myself carrying yet another device. I could see myself using my phone this way if the external graphics worked better - and there is nothing technically stopping that from happening now.

Apple or Google/Android could blink and destroy the market for this device.

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