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Comment Re:Go with usernames. (Score 1) 383

I'm pretty sure the person you are responding to wasn't implying that Chinese was obsolete; rather they were saying that some Chinese names contain ancient symbols. Sort of like how you could (in theory) run into an english speaking person whose family is positively ancient; their first name might be entirely in ASCII characters, but their last name might contain ancient/obsolete letters/symbols, like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%86 (the combined AE symbol). Depending on what exactly you are using the names for, it may not be correct to translate an old symbol into a newer one.

Comment Re:The solution is simple: (Score 1) 185

The lasers that one typically talks about using to clean up space debris are powerful enough to outright vaporize paint flecks and other small junk. On larger bits it vaporizes a portion of the material, producing thrust and hopefully changing the orbit enough that the junk hits the atmosphere and burns up.

Comment Re:Space Elevator? (Score 1) 52

For a space elevator to be practical, we need a way to produce an extremely strong tether in huge lengths. Last I heard, the longest we were able to grow a carbon nanotube (which has roughly the required strength we need for the tether) was about an inch. So in other words I don't think people have forgotten about the space elevator (or other alternative launch technologies), but they are waiting on improvements in material science.

Comment Re:imaging issues (Score 1) 417

"Also, why take up valuable satellite and computer resources to track ice floes? If there is free time on those platforms, it is a failure of CIA management to properly schedule them for tasks that are a part of that agency's objectives."

I suspect that most spy satellites are in polar orbits, so that they cover the entire Earth's surface once every 24 hours, as the Earth rotates underneath them. Assuming this is the case, then most of the time the satellites will not be over an area that is of interest to the intelligence community, so scheduling scientific photographs during that period (assuming they happen to be over an area of scientific interest) makes use of a satellite that would otherwise be doing absolutely nothing.

As for taking up valuable computer resources, I don't think that is really a problem. The communication antennas cost the same if they are being used or if they are not being used, so the only real costs to taking these images are the electricity used to power the receivers and the ground-side servers that store the images, and the cost of any personnel-hours required to declassify an image. Frankly, they might have the entire declassification process automated: if the picture is not of a predefined sensitive location, lower its resolution and send it off to the scientists.

Comment Re:Adult Content Island and verification. (Score 1) 209

You detect the non-objective viewpoint just from the word "pro-US". Apparently you can't be peace loving, anti-war, or liberal and like the US.

Though I have to object to the word "conservative" being used here. These aren't conservatives and they aren't really following conservative principles. Even neo-conservative doesn't really apply. "Jingoist" or "populist" would be more accurate.

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Logic doesn't apply to the real world. -- Marvin Minsky