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Comment Antarctic Bases Different (Score 4, Insightful) 473

Additionally you can read about the large amount of supplies that are required every year to keep the base going.

True but that is because nobody on an antarctic base spends their time trying to grow things (unless that is part of their science project). If you have everyone on the base dedicating all their time to growing food, finding resources, making repairs etc. you will probably need far fewer resources to support the base. This is impractical in Antarctica because it is cheaper to ship the food there than to support even more people living there who try to grow food themselves.

However I do agree that this proposal seems rather optimistic but the task is so amazingly hard that I expect that any Mars colonization mission will always appear overly optimistic until one actually succeeds.

Comment Re:Dishonest Arguments not Politics (Score 1) 655

There are literally tens of thousands of scientists that don't think it's warming.

Ok it should not be a problem to name some then should it? Please pick some that are in faculty positions at reputable universities though because when I have spoken with my colleagues over in geophysics and earth and atmospheric sciences not one of them has raised any doubts whatsoever that the mean temperature of the planet is increasing. There IS debate about the level mankind's contribution to the increase but absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the temperature is increasing....and before you go off the deep end about funding conspiracies etc. a lot of these people receive grants from the oil industry so if anything they would have a bias against global warming.

So apologies if I take the word of world experts in the field over a random guy on slashdot who has provided absolutely zero evidence to back up his claims. For example what evidence do you base your claim that only 4% of the world's CO2 is from humans? This plot shows a 25+% increase in the level since 1960. What natural process has caused such a rapid yet steady rise in CO2 over that period? I'm more than willing to keep an open mind about the causes but it seems very plausible that human CO2 emissions caused this increase and I've not heard of any natural process that could account for it. If you want to convince people you need to explain the data. Just stating what you believe and shouting at anyone who disagrees is not how science works.

Comment Re:Fiscally impossible (Score 1) 229

As for whether such a tube would be flexible enough to accommodate the two ends getting closer together or farther apart by three or four inches per year, though, I have my doubts.

Look up vacuum bellows tube. Obviously this would only provide a limited range of extension but it should be enough to last quite a few years given the length of pipe involved. Of course you would also have to scale them up which would undoubtedly produce some technical challenges but probably nothing unsurmountable if you have the money.

Comment Fiscally impossible (Score 1) 229

Air travel should be something that you do when you're crossing an ocean, because trains over water (and subduction zones) are physically impractical

Actually it is fiscally impractical, not physically impractical. You could physically build a vacuum tube-based maglev train where the tube is at some depth in the ocean to avoid surface issues and plate boundary problems. However the costs when people look at these things are utterly insane...but in theory it is physically practical to build such a thing.

Comment Electrical Fuel Transmission (Score 1) 134

The bigger the vehicle + cargo the more fuel you need to lift PLUS you need more fuel to lift the extra fuel.

If using conventional fuel then you are right. However unlike physical fuel electrical power can be transmitted wirelessly. Of course the technical challenges to do this would be immense for a moving vehicle but it does present a possible option not available to traditionally fuelled vehicles. However given all the challenges with current technology I would agree with your conclusion that Uber is very unlikely to crack this but it remains an intriguing possibility that at some point someone else might.

Comment Re:Dishonest Arguments not Politics (Score 1) 655

Not very many creationists deny that creatures change from one generation to the next....so I think it's dishonest to portray creationists as though they have their eyes and ears covered and deny all of that.

That is actually far less rational though so my apologies for giving creationists too much credit. So what you are saying is that they believe evolution happens but that despite the fact that this evolution could explain the entire fossil record they reject that idea and believe that the world was created by someone with a heck of a sense of humour because they went to all the trouble to create fossils consistent with evolution? I have a hard time believing that anyone really believes this: it seems far more probable that this is a rationalization they use to let them support measures against diseases without having to publicly admit they are wrong.

Comment Re:Dishonest Arguments not Politics (Score 1) 655

the argument is only "overwhelming" when you ignore thousands of scientists who disagree

I don't know *any* scientist who disagrees with the fact that the planet is warming. Where the disagreement lies is in the degree of the warming that is being caused by human activity. What we need to have a is a sensible debate about how we can start to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while the science figures out how much we need to reduce it by.

Instead we have an inflammatory debate with one side refusing to admit there is any problem at all (despite the overwhelming evidence that the planet is warming) and the other side responding with equally non-scientific doomsday-like scenarios. The result is deadlock and inaction when instead we need to start taking sensible, measured actions now to avoid a situation where we need to take very significant, rapid actions which could cause huge economic upheaval.

Comment Dishonest Arguments not Politics (Score 5, Insightful) 655

Not really it is simply people making dishonest arguments. The scientific evidence that the planet is warming is overwhelming the problem is that the proposed solution - reducing greenhouse gas emissions - carries with it a huge economic impact. Not surprisingly this means there are a large number of people who believe that the economic problems from reducing greenhouse gas emissions outweighs the problems of just warming the planet.

However they believe that this argument is not strong enough to prevent everyone deciding to cut greenhouse gas emissions so, although they really believe the science, their only option to prevent the economic problems they are worried about is to attack the science and try to pretend that it is wrong. So really this is simply a dishonest argument made be people who are so afraid of the impact of curbing greenhouse gases that they attack the arguments for this in the only way that has any chance of success even though they don't really believe the argument they are making themselves

When the chips are down so to speak it is amazing how overwhelmingly people will back science. One of the best examples of this which is often pointed out is despite all the arguments in US schools about whether to teach evolution vs. creationism (or whatever fancy name is the flavour of the day) everytime there is a concern about a new disease evolving an spreading e.g. SARS, bird flu, swine flu etc. no politician stands up and says that we should do nothing because viruses can't evolve. So when lives are on the line people really do believe in science to help and guide them but if they do not see an immediate threat to their well being then they'll happily undermine and ignore it to keep up their own standard of living.

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