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Comment Re:Where's the... (Score 1) 507

So, what if they say "my environment made me do it". does that make it any better?

At what point does the reconciliation of my perceiving you as a threat vs. the reality of you not actually being a threat need to be measured in order for a group of 12 people to assign guilt. Really, guilt or not guilt, crime or not crime comes down to which 12 people are trying to figure out whether or not they would have done the same thing given the same set of external stimuli.

Comment Re:Where's the... (Score 1) 507

Funny, my dog thinks the same thing every time he looks at my cat. There's nothing really differentiating you from the other animals other than the fact that you are a different kind of animal. There is no more personal responsibility involved in people being put down for killing people than there is in the fact that we put down bears that kill people. Your "personal responsibility" is to survive, and that means not doing things that cause the villagers to pick up their pitchforks, torches and come visit you in your castle.

Comment I understand we're geeks and all (Score 1) 227


The process would allow them to develop a new generation of ceramic engines able to withstand twice the temperatures of normal engines. The engines could potentially achieve fuel economy of 80 miles per gallon, Narayan said.

Could we at least have mentioned that this technology could potentially double the fuel efficiency of car engines???

Comment Dumbed down web sites and layered programming (Score 1) 220

People who use the web from a cell phone seem to want web pages with maybe two buttons and a text field. Should we really make the rest of our users suffer through dumbed down sucky interfaces in order to only have one development track?

Instead, we make a dumbed down mobile version that allows a user to step wise perform most of the core functions of our app. while leaving a feature rich environment for our PC based users. Since all of it is run from a decently segregated app layer, slapping on a different UI is not that big of a deal... maybe the real problem here is that a lot of development shops don't know how to work in layers.

Comment Re:If asteroids have water... (Score 2, Insightful) 123

Thing is that they do have water on them.


If you go and look up the planets in our solar system, you will notice that most if not all of them list water as part of their composition. It's just that on most of them it's either so cold that the water exists as ice or it's so hot that the water is permanently steam. What's special about the Earth (at least for the moment) is that we have the right temperature for the water to be liquid.

Comment Re:Maybe the Augustine commission is right. (Score 2, Insightful) 123

It's cheaper because we've come up with better ideas on how to do it. That's what's so great about technological progress and all. What’s expensive yesterday becomes cheap tomorrow because we've found a more clever way to do it.

As for the "money is keeping us on the ground" argument. The real issue and the real use / value of money is resource allocation based on utility value. We'd rather have HD televisions then people on Mars, so we spend our resources on those. Actually, other than the gee wiz factor of saying "look that red ball over there has people on it" most people don't really see that much utility to sending people there. That is what's really keeping us here. Far that matter, most human space travel is rather meaningless. For the cost of putting a few people on Mars we could swarm a good portion of the space between here and there with robots to do what ever it is that we intend to there, but we haven’t even found that utility value high enough compared to say... feeding people.

So, why are we not all over space? Short answer is that for the moment, we've got better and more important things to do.

Comment Re:Robots (Score 3, Informative) 132

The reason it's so cold is that it's in a crater that doesn't let the sun in. As for freezing your robot, there is no atmosphere to leach heat off of your robot, so at the most you'd need to make up for heat lost through your highly insulated tires.

The main advantage of using a robot (other than "you've got a robot on the moon") is that you can study the structure / layout of the minerals in place rather than just their composition...

Comment Robots (Score 1) 132

Is it really so hard to set up an excavation robot on the moon that we have to keep dropping things on it?!?


Trying to get rid of mental image of Man on the Moon wearing a blindfold while smoking a cigarette.

Comment Re:But (Score 1) 322

BTW, you don't need magical suspended animation.

1. Frozen embryos. (Already have this tech)
2. Artificial wombs. (Getting close on this one)
3. Automated learning systems. (Also pretty damn close)

Thaw, birth and teach them when the ship finds them a home. (You could even test the system over a 20 year cycle in our own solar system and at the end of the test "Surprise, you're actually still here!")

The point might not be to get YOU to a new star system... just a sample of humanity so we know that some of "us" are out there being "us".

Send thousands of these ships out there looking for a place to land, and see if anyone ever calls back.

Comment Re:But (Score 1) 322

Alternately, if you're not thinking of yourself, but of the potential for future generations' travels through space, you could preposition fuel at waypoints already traveling at useful speeds for their craft to catch up to...

It might take you a couple hundred years to set up, but some projects just might be worth the time / effort / expense...

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