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Comment Re:It is in the nature of the business! (Score 1, Insightful) 166

No, they aren't opening a dollar store, but the numbers from TFA are enormous. SpaceX and Blue Origin may be standing on a mountain of previous research & tech from NASA, but NASA itself is also standing on that same mountain. Since it is their own mountain, it should be logical that they would be more effective in applying previously discovered knowledge to their new projects.

And, purely the fact that space is a hostile environment isn't a fact that can be used to explain away any level of bureaucracy and overhead. Arguably, the deep see is a more hostile environment because of the higher pressures. Combine that with using nuclear power in subs and you actually have an equally complex and risky environment, probably more. There are a lot more situations where quality control is an absolute requirement, such as nuclear power, (intensive) health care, chemical plants, etc. How big is overhead in those industries?

Probably the biggest problem in discussing overhead numbers for something that doesn't work yet is that you don't have the complete picture yet. If NASA overhead costs, say 10 billion for a total program cost of 15 billion then you could argue that the overhead would be 66%. But if we actually start transporting stuff into orbit and send a bill to whoever is sending the stuff (even if it is an internal NASA team), and you could bill them 10 billion in the course of the program for the time and materials required for the launces, then the overhead percentage would suddenly be "only" 40% (I know I'm taking a lot of shortcuts and most management would probably stick around after the SLS has been delivered).

But, no, simply ignoring these astronomical levels of overhead because of the complexity of space as an environment is in my opinion not valid.

Comment Re:Simple question (Score 5, Interesting) 124

You have to find a good mix in investing in the future and solving everyday problems *now*. And it’s very hard to make any argument about investing in the future to somebody who’s hurting today. You’re never going to win that debate, rationally or emotionally.

I read somewhere (http://www.airspacemag.com/daily-planet/jfk-and-the-moon-180947824/) that Kennedy, before deciding on using project Apollo as a technological showcase for America, actually considered a large-scale desalination project to help Third World nations.

What if Kennedy had chosen the latter option? How would the world have evolved since then? An abundance of water and food in Africa but no internet and supercomputer in everybody’s pocket? Or would the desalination have contributed little and computers evolved just the same? Nobody's arguing about his choices back then because we're all happy his mission succeeded.

In the end, again, it’s about finding the right balance in investing in every day problem solving *and* investing in things that help us forward in the future.

Comment Re:Simple question (Score 5, Insightful) 124

You might be right. This might be a lucky find though in a larger project that does result in tangible benefits to society. And then I’m not against spending some more time to research it.

Your broader question might be about basic research: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.... Basic research might not result in direct benefits, but a better understanding of natural phenoma can actually result in immense benefits.

In this case, for example, this might be the first object that we discovered that actually travels at speeds (in orders of magnitude) close to the speed of light. This could, for example, in the long run improve our understanding of relativity, properties of light and electromagnetism, etc.

If you realise how close some of our everyday technologies such as microprocessors, WiFi, etc. actually are operating close to the absolutes borders of physics, then you’ll understand that things we learn from basic research is the only way left to improve those technologies.

So, this finding *might* lead to some new understanding that *might* lead to new technologies that *might* lead to incredible new benefits to society. The only problem is, you don’t know in advance which research is the one with the big benefits. Spread your bets.

Submission + - Falcon 9 explodes on pad (npr.org)

Mysticalfruit writes: NPR is reporting that a Falcon9 carrying the AMOS-6 satellite that was supposed to launch on Sat exploded during it's scheduled static fire. No injuries are reported. They're reporting that this was going to be the first reflown first stage.

Submission + - Explosion at SpaceX launch facility at Cape Canaveral

oobayly writes: The Independent reports of an explosion at SpaceX's Cape Canveral launch facility. According to NASA they were testing one of the Falcon 9 rockets recovered from a barge landing.

Buildings several miles away were shook by the blast, and people nearby reported that multiple explosions continued for several minutes. After the explosion the sky was filled with dark smoke and sirens could be heard.

No comment from either SpaceX or Elon Musk yet, but it'll be interesting to see reaction from them (and SES), especially in light of their announcment regarding the upcoming SES 10 launch.

Submission + - Bitcoin creator finally revealed? (bbc.com)

wimconradie writes: Craig Wright claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the historically most significant contributor to Bitcoin. He also provided technical proof to support this statement.

His main motivation for revealing himself seems to be because of pressure that has been put on his staff and close contacts.

Submission + - Aussie Outed as Bitcon Mastermind 'Satoshi Nakamoto'. With Tax Man in 'Talks' (bbc.com)

An anonymous reader writes: "Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright has publicly identified himself as Bitcoin creator 'Satoshi Nakamoto'.
His admission ends years of speculation about who came up with the original ideas underlying the digital cash system.
Mr Wright has provided technical proof to back up his claim using coins known to be owned by Bitcoin's creator."

The proof supplied is that he signed a message with the key used to make the first bitcoin transaction back in 2009.

He is in talks with the Australian tax office on their slice of the reported $457 Million net worth.... Bastards.

I guess he didn't like the idea of spending his life on the lamb where every transaction sent a red flag up saying "here I am!"...

Comment Re: And how does this help the people? (Score 1) 69

Plus, if we would ever be able to muster the amount of resources needed for solar system colonies or interstellar space travel, those resources would probably be better spent on surviving any major disaster here on earth.

Even after massive nuclear war or an astroid impact, the earth would still be considerably more hospitable to human life than say mars or venus.

If a major cataclism is really your concern then invest in a space station with a few hundred people in it, including the means to repopulate the earth. If you can build a generation ship that can colonize an outside world, the you can also *stay* and rebuild earth.

Submission + - 194GB Photo of the Milky Way (ruhr-uni-bochum.de)

cberman writes: RUB researchers compile the largest astronomical image of all time to represent the Milky Way through 46 billion pixels

Astronomers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have compiled the largest astronomical image to date. The picture of the Milky Way contains 46 billion pixels. In order to view it, researchers headed by Prof Dr Rolf Chini from the Chair of Astrophysics have provided an online tool (http://gds.astro.rub.de/). The image contains data gathered in astronomical observations over a period of five years.

Submission + - Russian Cyberspies Targeted MH17 Crash Investigation (itworld.com)

itwbennett writes: Security researchers from Trend Micro have found evidence that the Pawn Storm cyberespionage group set up rogue VPN and SFTP servers to target Dutch Safety Board employees before and after the report on the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) was finalized. It is likely that the rogue servers were set up with the goal of phishing login credentials from people involved in the MH17 crash investigation in order to obtain access to confidential information, the researchers said.

Submission + - Lander Philae is awake – 'Hello' from space

Sique writes: The Philae lander has reported back on 13 June 2015 at 22:28 (CEST), coming out of hibernation and sending the first data to Earth. More than 300 data packets have been analysed by the team at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Lander Control Center: "Philae is doing very well – it has an operating temperature of minus 35 degrees Celsius and has 24 watts of power available," explains DLR’s Philae Project Manager, Stephan Ulamec. "The lander is ready for operations." Philae 'spoke' for 85 seconds with its team on ground in its first contact since it went into hibernation.

Submission + - Experimental drug stops Ebola-like infection (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: An experimental treatment against an Ebola-related virus can protect monkeys even when given up to 3 days after infection, the point at which they show the first signs of disease. The virus, known as Marburg, causes severe hemorrhagic fever—vomiting, diarrhea, and internal bleeding. In one outbreak, it killed 90% of people it infected. There are no proven treatments or vaccines against it. The new results raise hopes that the treatment might be useful for human patients even if they don’t receive it until well after infection. The company that makes the compound, Tekmira, based in Burnaby, Canada, has started a human safety trial of a related drug to treat Ebola virus disease, and researchers hope that it, too, might offer protection even after a patient has started to feel ill.

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