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Comment Re:...and lunges at you (Score 2) 55

I can just imagine some rogue programmer installing the following on it:

1) As big of a battery pack as it can carry as "payload", strapped to its back.
2) Facial recognition software that measures the number of and distance to any people recorded by its camera
3) Modern neural net, trained by being rewarded when the actions it takes lead to 1) it approaching other people, and 2) people fleeing from it.

' ... and then setting it loose in the streets.

Comment Re:we can't even be bothered to get that right.... (Score 2) 129

Another option apart from orbit is going to L2 and back, if they want to basically "hover" with the moon blocking the Earth, right on the cusp of drifting away from the Earth-Moon system and into a free orbit around the sun. They'd be the first people ever to go there. It's 3.5km/s outbound, 0.6km/s back. Or if they want a long-duration stay (~100d) they can get back by the interplay of the Sun-Earth-Moon system for only 0.1 km/s (in the process going way far away from Earth).. There's probably some such returns with intermediary dV and durations as well.

But obviously a free return trajectory is the lowest energy. If I recall correctly Apollo's burn was ~3.2 km/s

Comment The *real* question... (Score 1) 45

The real question here, which shouldn't even need to be asked but does...

Which of these plans is the least-limited version of "unlimited"? I've already discovered that Verizon won't offer their plan for 4G access points (even though I can buy a five year old sacrificial phone and tether to it 24/7). AT&T apparently doesn't allow tethering at all (which I thought the FCC had previously spanked them for, but, no surprise they went for a "Hail Mary" pass after this past January).

So, which of these plans really will let you use it as close to unlimited as possible? I have no delusion any of them will actually give me the upper possible limit of a solid 42.8Mbps for 13TB/month, but will any even realistically let me use 3-5Mbps sustained for a few hours a day, with 50+GB/month total?

Comment Re:Onward to Venus [Re:Moon- not perfect, but has. (Score 1) 324

That's an old graphic, but yes, we have an excellent artist aboard. Of course, they mostly want to go for what looks the most aesthetically pleasing, while I'm always niggling on the technical details ;) The conversations usually go like,

"But.... you can't have people living there, the ballonets are going to expand into that when they launch the ascent stage... either the ballonets are going to dramatically expand or the habitat is going to dramatically collapse, take your pick. And if you store the ascent stage that close, it's going to destroy the whole habitat if there's a mishap while it's fueled. And how can I possibly fit all of that floor area into the fairing? Plus I don't see any scrubber for ISRU... it's going to need to be big, I'm struggling to get the absorption figures to work for sufficient resource collection with a 4.2 meter prop....." ;) But really, so long as their final graphics don't end up with a giant pirate flag or anything like that, I'm sure we can deal with a bit of "artistic license" :)...

Oh wait a minute, I just noticed your username. Geoffrey.landis? As in, the Geoffrey Landis? Oh wow, hey, we should chat some time. ;) (bare minimum, I at least need to ask for permission to reproduce some figures from a few of your papers). If you get a chance, definitely drop me a line at mQeme@eaQku.neQt (remove Qs to despammify). I actually just dropped by Slashdot as a break in the middle of working on some graphics illustrating non-Hohmann transfer times vs. delta-V between Earth, Mars and Venus, demonstrating the advantage Venus has due to the Oberth effect ;)

Comment Re:Rockets are too expensive (Score 1) 324

1) It's about 7% of what NYC consumes, not 10%. NYC being only a tiny fraction of total US demand, which is in turn just a fraction of world demand. Global electricity production averages around 15 TW.

500MW is a moderate sized power plant. Not even a large one. It's nothing that impressive. Cost of such a plant is 500M-$1,5B, which is nothing by rocketry standards.

2) That's not 500MW to stand idle; that's 500MW to launch 175 tonnes per day. That's 68.5kWh per kilogram. $7 of electricity per kilogram. Oooh, what a terrible waste of power.

3) If that's too much, the larger version uses significantly less per kilogram.

Is there some reason to get so much mass out of this gravity well

Do you seriously have to ask what sort of market there would be for ~$800 tickets to orbit? I'm sorry, but we're not talking "for the wealthy", we're talking for everyone at those prices.

Comment Yet another person not understanding deep learning (Score 2) 102

For a class of person that feels that they are more in tune with technology than the rest of humanity, you seem woefully ignorant of what "Artificial Intelligence" means in modern terms.

Modern deep learning networks need lots and lots of examples to function. I can easily see that in 30 years Netflix is spending significant resources feeing movies into a deep learning network (entertaining it, if you will) in order to have an AI system that can do a good job at some aspect of movie production.

Also of course, there's the fact that he was obviously half joking... why can people no longer read between the lines these days? Why have people become so literal? It makes me yearn for AI's to take over as they will be more flexible in thought than most modern humans which come across as badly programmed non-adaptive Meatbots!

Comment Fundamental Damage (Score -1, Flamebait) 109

Seriously? This is the sort of system you think is way better than going to a hospital for $0 and getting looked at?

If you cannot understand why that is way worse long-term, I'm afraid I cannot help you. Well, with any luck you will be dead before the system you love causes you or your family grievous harm. I'll be alive 100 years hence so I have to think longer term about these things and not grab at the quick but shortsighted solution now.

Comment If Canadian system is so great, why cross border? (Score 2) 109

What paywall? I read the whole thing without a subscription to anything.

I notice that you aren't even posting any links. Nice to have blind faith but I prefer facts.

And on top of that, you sound like an angry American who took the astroturf hook, line and sinker.

Not angry, just sad for the rest of the world, especially Canadians whom I am very fond of.

Signed, a Canadian who is quite happy with his single payer healthcare.

Signed, an American who is even happier with the U.S. system, especially once we bring back real insurance policies. There's a reason why Canadians cross the border for health care. Your system "works" because the unreasonably long delays your system offers for treatments can be worked around. If you didn't have the U.S. to receive pressure your system would die even sooner.

Comment Living Illegally beneath you (Score 5, Funny) 576

There are over 50 Starbucks(alone) in San Francisco. Where do all the baristas live and how do they get by?

Some have said that people live far away and commute for hours.

But that can't be true. Who would do that before moving within a year to someplace you could commute by bus within a half hour?

Quite obviously what is really going on, is that there is a large Demolition Man style underground city below SF, populated almost entirely by baristas and where no mans law applies. Only the "Law of the Bean" as the lower denizens refer to the code they live by. It is a stricter but simpler life.

If you look carefully the proof of this is obvious. Why would steam be coming from vents in the street in a place where it hardly ever rains? Obviously cooking fires from those who live below. Also of course there is the incredible pale skin that is the hallmark of the barista, in a state known for its generous sunshine.

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