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Comment Re: Finally Ford see the future. (Score 2) 432

Strongly disagree. The EcoBoost turbocharged 6 banger in the expedition and f150 is a beautiful engine. Better torque and HP than the V8 it replaced, and very similar in performance to the much touted (and now maligned) 6 cylinder diesels pushed by VW/Mercedes/BMW, but without the expensive maintenance, crappy emissions, and ultra slow acceleration. It is a refined, high output powerplant that is significantly better than the flashy "new technologies" going into other manufactures large vehicles. You would never believe that it is a 2.7 liter engine that can tow 8000+ pounds, while delivering decent MPG. (And that is tested against the ASTM standard!) I rented one once, and thought I was driving a big block V8 until I looked under the hood. It doesn't grab the headlines like a self driving hybrid diesel plug in engine, but is certainly an engineering marvel in its own right.

Comment Beep Beep Beep (Score 1) 504

"now seek new markets abroad as subsidies dry up at home" Yes, that sounds like solar products are now well on the way to being the cheapest form of power generation. Oh wait, we are talking about exclusive solar contracts in the petrostates? Yeah, I'm sure the market has spoken. Much of the world has demonstrated that nuclear power can be safe, cheap, and effective. Nuclear power should be regulated like the airlines; constant oversight, well regarded industry organs, and responsible, established manufactures serving well capitalized operators. We know it can be done, and for less $$ than some of the social moonshots we try (war on drugs, Obamacare, war on poverty (at least the worst elements), heck, climate change subsidies). Establishing a long term framework for national and global power generation, emissions free, with prices "too cheap to meter", would change the future of humanity drastically.

Comment Reading Slashdot with Multiple Tabs is Funny. . . (Score 1) 720

. . .
Article: There is only one earth.
Bulk of comments: There is no way to travel among the stars! It takes WAY too long! It might take hundred of years to get anywhere! Even if you get to relativistic speeds, that could be . . . .decades, subjectively! Why would you bother leaving Earth anyway?

Article: What happens if we perfect anti-aging technologies:
Bulk of comments: There will be too many people! There are no places for them to go! It's already too crowded! Besides, if you had hundreds, or thousands, of years of life, what would you DO with all that time, anyway?
. . .
The only thing is missing, currently, is an article on fusion energy, whereby the bulk of commenters wonder why you would need fusion-levels of energy, and what on earth could possibly use that level of energy output. . .

Comment Going to Mars.... (Score 4, Insightful) 684

Is not complicated. Nor is it difficult bringing several orders magnitude greater "stuff" than the article contemplates.

But this will not happen without nuclear propulsion. With Project Orion powered space craft, we could send 100,000 ton vessels to Mars, single stage, capable of landing, with a trip time of weeks, not months.

This is the difference between trying to explore the new world, from Europe, with 5 people, paddles and a canoe; or a fleet of diesel powered amphibious vessels holding thousands of tons of cargo, and hundreds/thousands of expeditionary personnel.

Exploring Mars (or pretending to settle it) with chemical rockets is really just playing with toys, the science equivalent of masturbation, and we really shouldn't bother with the cost. If mankind wants to expand beyond the earth, it will take nuclear propulsion.

Comment Re:Voting with wallet (Score 3, Informative) 307

876.581277 kilowatt hours for your debian router.
150 kilowatt hours for your consumer router

726 kilowatt hours times $0.11 dollars per kwh = $80 per year as your cost delta.

If you go with a standard intel atom platform, you can get that unit down to 50 watts, or $48 per year as your total operating cost.

At slightly hardware cost, you can buy a fanless nano-itx Atom pc that runs at about 13 watts. That's about $12 per YEAR. Make sure you use a USB flash drive as your storage media, for optimal energy usage.

Comment Re:I know this won't be a popular sentiment, but.. (Score 2) 198

The poverty in the third world is manufactured, not in the sense that it wasn't there before and someone created it, but in the sense that it would have naturally faded away by now if powerful rich nations weren't working their asses of to perpetuate it. Cuba is a nice example, they got the sanctions for having strong welfare, education and medical policies designed to bring them up to first world status.


Poverty in the third world is manufactured by the corrupt, miserable leadership of the third world.

To name some examples of countries that *rapidly* transitioned (or are on an incredible upswing) from the third world to the first world in the 20th century: Japan, China, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Chile, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, and Brazil.

That's just off the top of my head.

Comment Big, Bigger, Biggest (Score 1) 892


The only "realistic" interstellar space vessels that make sense would be captured asteroids utilizing Orion-like propulsion. I haven't looked at the maximum possible mass of an Orion-type spacecraft, but I believe it is substantially above billions of tons if you only have to consider the pusher plate system. Advances in material sciences, and the possibility of "super" systems strengthened utilizing magnetic/electrical charges could dramatically increase this number further, to the point where even the largest of asteroids could potentially be utilized as space craft.

These asteroids would be wired and covered with a variety of useful mounts, including lasers on turrets, a variety of sensors and cameras, railgun-style mass drivers, and a variety of openings protected by plasma windows. On sufficiently large asteroids, these openings could include hangars for auxiliary craft, such as surface to space launchers, and versatile, high-speed drones. Drones could be utilized as scouts, remote sensors, maintenance devices, or perhaps, weapons platforms (suicide or otherwise).

If you needed to militarize such a craft, you wouldn't have to do much. Many of the "tools" on this craft would be versatile enough to be utilized as weapons. A railgun, or sufficiently strong utility laser would be obvious. By virtue of utilizing an asteroid as your "hull", a significant amount of armor is "built in". Turrets/Windows etc. . . could be protected by a variety of means. The above-linked Plasma Window, as well as a variety of Plasma Bubble research suggests to me that the possibilities of creating mixed-phase materials that can be oriented into coherent structures using charges and magnetic fields-- by this I am suggesting a "metal" that retains it shape based on charge passing through, and whose tensile strength is determined by a combination of material properties and energy usage. One can envision clouds of plasma, or even clouds of metals/solids/liquids which could be strengthened utilizing such tools. I would think that these "shield" would not be utilized to protect the entire asteroid, and rather be deployed to protect sensitive portions of the asteroid.

Active countermeasures would be important, as well; railguns/lasers could be utilized to divert the course of incoming projectiles, while electronic countermeasures and radios would be utilized to disrupt/confuse enemy sensors. Boarding "combat" drones could be utilized to attack the propulsion, weapon, and control systems of enemy asteroid-ships; these would probably be launched in swarms, and by railgun.

The "vast" nature of space suggests that there could be two different form of battlegrounds. Interstellar distances are too large to be considered battlegrounds; it only really makes sense to consider solar distances. Inside solar systems, combat between, say, Mars and Earth would be a slow affair; I picture rail guns hurtling projectiles at a significant fraction of light, while defense systems utilizing lasers and smaller projectiles fire back to alter the course of incoming projectiles. At closer scales, combat becomes a more conventional affair, and probably looks like a cross between modern carrier combat and drone warfare.

Comment Re:Why can't people be reasonable? (Score 1) 566

In a twisted way I see how they could have an argument.

I disagree. I've seen some ridiculous communist/fascist loving stuff at University. I've seen people who "admire" Kim Jong-Il, and who "admire" Hitler, and who "admired" Mao.

These "leaders" killed millions of people in the name of truly evil ideologies, and they are typically tolerated at academic institutions.

For example, UW Madison had its local paper run an ad by a Holocaust denier, because, "“no opinions or assertions can be so offensive that we cannot bring ourselves to hear them.”'

Also, UW Madison has *at least* one professor (Erik Olin Wright) who studies the "scientific" ideas of Stalin. A mass murderer by *any* standard. Probably the most prolific mass murderer in history.

Scary to me that a Firefly poster would be considered the "worrying" document.

Comment Re:Rent-a-cop oversteps his bounds in shock horror (Score 2) 566

What is *truly* offensive to me:

We're talking about a quote from a mainstream sci-fi series. A quote. . . posted on the door of a theater professor's door.

Yet, no one would blink twice about Mao Tse Tung quotes/posters (which I've seen, not to mention occasionally repeated by Government officials), Che posters (which are common place in academia), or Holocaust deniers (Google it, these roaches are present at several American academic institutes). There are also a fair number of "academic" North Korea lovers, a locale with ongoing state-sponsored mass murdering.

Yeah, that Firefly poster is totally something to panic about. But ululation of mass murdering communist/fascist goons? Totally fine in the name of free speech.

I'd think that Holocaust deniers, or Che-lovers, or Kim Jong-Il lovers are *far* more likely to cause psychological harm and terror.

Comment Re:Come on, Jake, it's Wisconsin (Score 1) 566

Hilariously rated as Flamebait, even though this is a normal experience for any conservative or libertarian on a college campus.

I've never been treated so poorly, nor dismissed with such regularity, as on a college campus, for my libertarian leaning views. People are *far* more open minded in urban slums, poor rural farmland, or on union shop floors; places that one would not expect to be staffed with libertarians or conservatives.

Comment Re:any signal can be found and killed (Score 2) 417

Yeah, because North Korea doesn't ever start anything.

Not like North Korea has a history of starting violent border incidents.

I think there is no serious dispute that if the North Koreas experience significant disruptions during a leadership transition when "Dear Leader" dies, there will be a fairly serious war.

Comment Purely Stupid (Score 4, Interesting) 475

This is dumb, dumb, dumb.

There is only one reason this is described as a "one-way" mission; Mankind's incredibly stupid reliance on chemical rockets. Chemical rockets *will not* allow us to explore any of outer space in a meaningful way, with the possible (and expensive) exception of near earth orbit.

We already have the technology to jet where-ever we want around the solar system. Project Orion.

There was a BBC show on it.

The short story: It was a design to use small nuclear explosives to push up against an abalative impact plate with shock absorbs. One pulse every 120 seconds. Significant levels of acceleration, and a mass to energy ratio that would make any rocket scientist blush. We could *easily* send a million ton spacecraft to Mars, with more than sufficient fuel to return several massive (10s of thousands of tons) spacecraft back to earth.

We could do round trips every 6 months without blinking an eye, with the added side effect of using much of the world's weapons grade nuclear fuel. Enhancements to the design switched from Fission to Fusion; at which point Orion spacecraft would be able to start to move around interstellar space. Early designs using current materials could achieve 0.05-0.1c . Designs using future materials (or possible relying upon non-solid ablative surfaces (this includes a plate that is sprayed with an oil solution before each blast)) could theoretically achieve .8c . This would make round-trips to Alpha Centauri possible.

How do you get around the nuclear radiation issues? Simple. First, there's no serious issue with radiation in space; build it in orbit, and there's not much to worry about. Second, the fallout/radiation from direct planetary launches would be dwarfed by weapons tests that occurred in the past, and probably by fossil fuel plant emissions, as well. The total fallout released from a planetary launch of a 6,000 ton vehicle would be equal to a 10-megaton nuclear blast (roughly one worldwide instance of cancer per launch), even using thermonuclear blasts. Further refinements to the technology could significantly reduce that; and mankind has pursued far less interesting pursuits that have caused a great deal more fallout (and heighted rates of cancer) than a real, "nuclear" space program.

In an ideal world, we'd build a few *huge* orion stations, and launch them into orbit. I'm talk multi-million ton hulks. The fallout from these launches would be significant, but would still be smaller in magnitude than the fallout from the various nuclear weapons tests that occurred during the cold war. These stations would contain the industrial complex needed to build additional ships, and smaller vessels capable of mining the needed materials from the moon. Hopefully, there are sufficient levels of fissionable and fusible materials on the moon. At that point, man kind could return to using chemical rockets as ferries to get into space; to deliver small cargos and personnel to the constructions stations.

How would you pay for this venture? That begs the question: Whats the best way to profit of a massive nuclear pulse drive in space? To move asteroids! Mining of the asteroid belt would be a serious proposition, and the low gravity (and lack of atmosphere) makes the usage of our Orion drives even more palpable. It would be necessary to figure out a cheap way to return these metals to earth; however, initial studies have suggested that even very small asteroids (1 mile diameter) can contain tens of trillions of dollars of metals.

The loss rate would be terrific, but one could imagine breaking asteroids into 500 m chunks, surrounding them with layers of ceramic heat shield, and them aiming them for the middle of the ocean, Siberia, or other wasteland type area. I have a feeling we can devise a more elegant solution over time.

This could happen in our lifetime. We could already be living this if NASA hadn't given up on Orion in the 1960s because of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. This is the future of space travel, not tiny chemical rockets which cost tens of thousands of dollars to move a kilogram.

Comment Re:History repeats itself (Score 1) 550

One, it isn't clear that there is all that much gold in "getting the software on as many units as possible"(at least if you have to compromise as much as Google has to do so.

See my other posts in this topic.

I agree with you that Android was started defensively. At this point, however, as a company which primarily sells Ads and Commercial Information, I cannot imagine that Google sees anything as more important that collecting data from "smart" devices in individual pockets.

Android revenue, Google Market Revenue, NFC revenue; all that is small potatoes to the information that can be gleaned from location aware Android devices.

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