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Comment Re:Better to dream big than not at all (Score 1) 319

Solar panels? No. Any colony off of Earth will need nuclear power or it's dead. Solar power is far too dilute and fragile. That nuclear power can take the form of a fission reactor or a radio-thermal generator (RTG) but it's nuclear power or death. Even the Apollo missions used RTGs for running their electronics and those were just ten day trips.

Comment Re:What's missing (Score 2) 319

While I see your point I believe that there are bigger issues to solve first. The technology is easy compared to many of the non-technological issues that caused colonization efforts to fail before. Take as examples many failed colonies from the age of sail to more recent efforts to create new nations on artificial structures like islands or "floating cities". What caused many of them to fail were not technology but issues like people having disputes over property rights, people not doing their "fair share" of the work to maintain the colony, how crimes are dealt with, taxation disputes, and so forth.

These "soft science" problems in fields like psychology, economics, law, and so forth are (to me at least) bigger questions than "hard science" problems like building a big enough rocket, being able to grow veggies, or creating enough oxygen for people to breathe.

I've thought about how these issues might be solved and considered writing a story basically proposing solutions. You propose sending robots to Mars first to build things for the colonists. What I have to ask is, who owns what the robots build? That might not seem like a big problem at first but for the people on Mars it might be a matter of who lives and dies. I can just imagine a person hoarding valuable items, or even valuable data, and causing problems. Valuable data like how to repair an important item can be a means to declare ownership of something. If one of these robots sent to Mars to build things for the colonists breaks then what? Can a person on Mars then declare ownership of the robot, and therefore anything it builds in the future, by repairing it? Would ownership have to be shared in some way and in what proportion?

I believe that solving the problems on how to live on Mars is more than just what biochemistry and ecology can answer. We can send robots but we'll also have to send lawyers.

Comment Re:"Activist" judges? (Score 1) 433

I also said, and this is important, that fewer guns means more crime and murder.

Yet I posted a link to research that shows this is not true, and you clearly choose not to accept this.

I wrote a lengthy response to your nonsense but I threw it all away because I found a video that summed up my argument nicely:

Comment Re:Beautiful (Score 1) 141

If 5Gbps networks become the norm I can imagine something of a return to the VAX and green screen days. Imagine a terminal with ports for display, keyboard, mouse, whatever, and the processing done on a central server somewhere in the building. The terminal could be a small box to turn the RJ-45 into a bunch of USB-C ports for all the peripherals one would need.

Perhaps that is going a bit too far since even at 5Gbps, and allowing for some level of video processing/compression/whatever in the box that might not be enough to meet the needs of what people expect from even a typical office worker. Maybe just the storage be on the network. The terminal would have all the processing but no permanent storage, it boots from the network almost as if it was just a long eSATA line. Some places do this already with 100Mbps networks for small dedicated task workstations but with 5Gbps it would be feasible for so many more things.

I'd think the data security aspects of a net boot system like this could be a big selling point for even small businesses. This assumes a competitive price point, which I believe is quite possible, and the setup not being too difficult, which I think is the hardest part. I've tried playing with net booting before and it is a nightmare. Perhaps I just didn't get enough of the right training but I took Cisco and Microsoft certification courses and I couldn't get it working.

A nice speedy network like this, IPv6, a few other technologies, and the right business case, and net booting could be the norm.

Comment Re:De plane, de plane! (Score 1) 227

I'm pretty sure you are just trying to be funny but in case you aren't I'll say that orbiting solar satellites is a nice science fiction that in reality will never work.

What might just end up working is the seawater to jet fuel technology the US Navy is researching. The process works by extracting the dissolved CO2 from the water and hydrogen from electrolysis and synthesizing hydrocarbons from them. This technology is intended for nuclear powered warships but would work just as well on land.

Comment Re:Why not both? (Score 1) 227

But when you say algae biodiesel isn't available today, I think we're discussing two different things. You're saying you can't buy it today, and that's true. I'm saying we have the technology to make it if we wanted, which is also true.

Yes, it appears we are discussing two different things. What I'm pointing out is that unless a technology is cheaper than what it replaces, or has a slight cost increase but gains in some other way, then it cannot succeed. The algae to fuel process in that was described in the article you linked to even points out that the process is very expensive still. The process requires high temperatures and pressures to make it work, where is that going to come from? Is that solar powered too? If so then it can only run in daylight which severely limits output. If using nuclear power for that heat and pressure then why bother with the algae part and not just use a hydrocarbon synthesis process?

I used to believe as you did, that solar power would provide all the power we needed, but now I realize that solar power outside of pocket calculators, communications satellites, and a handful of other places is just not viable.

Think about how the process works and compares to processes we know. Ethanol production has an energy return on energy invested of about 2. If we use better crops for ethanol than corn and we might be able to get to 10. Oil and gas can have an EROEI of more than 20, even bitumen sands can get 3 and there is a lot of that. Algae might be able to beat the EROEI but it will have to rely on some other energy source for that to happen, such as nuclear. Nuclear has an EROEI of 10 now and if we use new technologies like pebble bed or molten salt then it becomes 100. With an EROEI of 100 the algae portion of the energy equation becomes a rounding error. If we use nuclear power to process the algae then so many other processes become viable.

If we are not using nuclear power to process the algae then we have other problems. If using a fossil fuel to process the algae then we gain nothing. If we use solar or wind then we add the cost of that energy on top of the unreliability of that energy.

Algae fuels are not here today. Nuclear is here today. We have a very safe and plentiful means to harness nuclear energy right now and the only thing holding it back is politics. If we get past the politics then we can develop next generation reactors and gain even more on the energy we can harness, improve the safety, and reduce the costs. All we have with algae is a theoretical process with a known top end on the EROEI of about 10. We can already do better than that with a theoretical fuel synthesis process from nuclear power. It appears to me that for algae fuels to work we'd need nuclear power, if we have nuclear power then we don't need the algae.

Comment Re:"Activist" judges? (Score 1) 433

No-one said anything about banning anything.

I didn't say you did. I used the example of a ban on swimming pools as an example of swimming pool controls. I could have used an example of pools having depth limits, or may contain only salt water (it's more buoyant), or must have trained and licensed life guards. A ban is a kind of control, no? This swimming pool control would mean banning something, like a ban on fresh water pools, or banning private ownership of pools. Controls are bans.

When people talk of gun controls it will result in bans on some level. It will be bans on semi auto rifles, pump action shotguns,bans on standard capacity magazines, people will be banned from owning firearms, or certain kinds of ammunition would be banned. Even a waiting period is a kind of ban since people would be banned from purchasing a firearm on the same day. If you want gun control, but no bans, then explain a gun control law that is not a ban.

Perhaps you can explain a control that is not a ban, but I doubt it.

I can assume by this response that you do agree that less guns means less deaths.

There you go again, not reading what I wrote. I said fewer guns would mean fewer shootings, that is obvious. I also said, and this is important, that fewer guns means more crime and murder. I did a study on this for a statistics class. I took the gun laws as rated by the Brady Campaign and compared that to the murder rates in their respective states. There is a weak correlation there but it is there, the more restrictive the gun laws the higher the murder rate.

You bring up the suicide rates and I did not do a study on that but you linked to one and they state from the beginning that they do not advocate for stricter gun laws. They merely point out that people with access to dangerous items tend to be more successful in their suicide attempts and those that survive their first attempt at suicide tend to not repeat it. The point out several dangerous items used in suicides, great heights, pesticides, firearms, and so on. If people are denied these at the times they feel suicidal then then tend to survive. Again I point out the paper made it clear that this was not to advocate for new laws but a way to monitor and treat the suicidal. That I can understand and support.

There was a book written on this correlation between guns and crime which is widely regarded for its scientific rigor. Look it up:

When it comes to guns and crime there are three outcomes:
- More guns, less crime
- More guns. more crime
- More guns means just more guns

What no study can show is that more guns equates to more crime. VPC has repeatedly come out with "studies" showing that more guns equates to more shootings, with the intent that people will equate more shootings with more murders even though they must know this is false. What we are left with is more guns means either less crime or just more guns.

I've had someone ask me, if gun control does not increase crime then why oppose it? The answer is that the government has no business in reducing freedom, especially if there is no social benefit. The government wants to reduce our access to weapons promising that it will reduce crimes but there is nothing to support this claim. Even if the government could show gun control reduced crime I could not support it because the government would be punishing the innocent because of the criminal acts of others. That's how parents deal with unruly children, by taking away the toys from all the kids because one had a fit.

I am not a child and I expect my government not to treat me like one.

Pretty much every developed country has some level of gun ownership, they just apply some sensible rules around who can own them and how they can be used. And they all have lower murder rates, both with or without guns than the US. I fail to see how you think this outcome is a bad.

I think this is bad because you cherry pick the nations by limiting yourself to comparing the USA to "developed" nations. Mexico is a developed nation and it has a serious crime problem even though it restricts private firearm ownership. People like the VPC overlook Mexico and claim it is not "developed", why is that? The answer is simple, it makes their numbers look bad. Statistics will tell you anything if you torture them enough. VPC has tortured the statistics to make a lie look like a truth. This starts with defining "gun deaths" to include justified self defense shootings and suicides. The paper you linked to even pointed out that suicides are not linked to firearm ownership, but to access to any dangerous item that is convenient.

Gun control does nothing to help society, it can only do harm. Even when dealing with the mentally ill. When the law says that those deemed mentally incompetent cannot own a firearm then you have a case of people that need mental health treatment being reluctant to seek it because they know the government will come to take their guns away. Maybe some of these people should have their guns taken away but if you have an otherwise harmless person with an irrational fear of the government and after they get treatment the government comes and takes their guns away then what we have is a fear that is not so irrational any more.

Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 1) 227

I hope you are never in an accident and need an air ambulance to get to a hospital before you expire. But then I'm sure you'll make an exception in such cases only because I point that out.

Also, you claim that air travel is justifiable if AGW is false? Okay then, I claim that AGW is false. Therefore I am not restricted from air travel.

Oh, that's not how it works you say? Well then I'll stop flying when all those Gulfstream liberals stop flying. They will stop flying about the same time pigs start.

Comment We need nuclear (Score 1) 227

But this approach does have the merit of being available today.

No, it is not available today. What we have now are a handful of small experimental producers that make biodiesel at considerable cost for vanity consumers. The US military is buying a lot of this biodiesel and they are paying something like 4X the price they would for petro-diesel. I don't have a real problem with that since they are funding research that might prove useful in the future. I also don't have a problem with biodiesel research because the US military is also working on synthetic hydrocarbons.

The US Navy has a prototype device that take in electricity and seawater and outputs oxygen and jet fuel. This is shown to work in nearly any weather or location, since it does not require sunlight like the biodiesel. You may ask, where would the electricity come from then? I'm glad you asked. The answer is nuclear power.

Nuclear power is great. It is a technology that works now, and I can prove it with a short drive to the nuclear power plant near me. We get 20% of our electricity from nuclear now, and we'd make a serious dent in our CO2 output if it was more like 80%. We should be building more nuclear power plants.

I've had people claim that we can't build more nuclear power plants because of... reasons. No matter what reason you come up with the answer is that nuclear power has the lowest deaths per MWh produced, is as cheap as coal, is as plentiful as dirt, and has a lower CO2 output than wind or solar.

More nuclear power would reduce our CO2 output even further than switching to natural gas. It's also a carbon free (electric cars) or carbon neutral (synthetic hydrocarbons) way to replace fossil fuels for transportation. Biodiesel may prove to be workable but I have my doubts. Nuclear power works. Synthetic hydrocarbons is a very likely technology that can turn that carbon free nuclear power into fuels and it doesn't take up nearly as much valuable land.

Obviously we both have our favorites. Having grown up on a farm, and worked on a solar powered car in college, I have my doubts on any technology that claims they can turn sunlight into cheap energy. Obviously we can turn sunlight into energy but making it cheaper than fossil fuels is really hard.

Comment Re:"Activist" judges? (Score 1) 433

If yes your position makes no sense, if no your position flies in the face of actual evidence. So of course you are avoiding the obvious.

What is it that is "obvious" that I am missing? That restricting gun ownership reduces shootings? That's like saying we could reduce pool drownings by banning swimming pools, but when the same number of people drown because they just go to the river to swim then you claim "success"? I made the claim that gun control does not reduce murder and you respond with a flawed study and a "gotcha" question. When I point out that the question is no win then you come back with....

So you are zero from two. Is it sinking in yet?

So you "win" because you asked a no win question even though I did not answer it. How old are you? Does Daddy know you are using his computer?

I point out that gun control does not equate to crime control and you bring out a "report" from a political organization, which has been widely shown to produce flawed, unscientific, and politically motivated "studies" as a response. You don't deny that gun control is ineffective to control crime, instead you focus on the one irrelevant "fact" in the report in order to claim a victory.

Okay, you win. Now brush your teeth and go to bed before Mommy has to remind you its past your bedtime.

Comment Re:"Activist" judges? (Score 1) 433

Regardless of how I answer you will no doubt find fault with it.

Instead I have some questions for you. Would you rather that these "gun death" suicides were from people jumping out of windows? Would you rather a woman shot her attacker and killed him or that she was stabbed to death by him?

I noticed that the VPC gathered statistics on "gun homicides" but did not specify if those deaths were only murders or included justified shootings in self defense. Since they did not make that distinction I am inclined to believe they included justified homicide numbers in their statistics to pump up the numbers.

There was a case in New Jersey of a woman applying for a permit to acquire a handgun because she feared an attack from her ex. Her permit was held up beyond the time legally allowed by the police. She was stabbed to death in her own driveway while getting into her car by this man. VPC should be proud, no? It is quite possible she'd have killed this man with that gun but since the man used a knife in the woman's murder they can feel proud that they, through their lobbying for strict gun control laws, a "gun death" was prevented.

So, no answers from me, only more questions. Are you pleased that New Jersey gun laws protected this man from a potential "gun death"?


Comment Re:Asinine. (Score 1) 433

It's so easy to say, "just keep track of your stuff and you don't have to worry". Well, since the punishment can be as high as first degree murder, "as if he pulled the trigger" then I'd say this is something to be concerned about.

What ever happened to the punishment fitting the crime?

Comment Re:"Activist" judges? (Score 1) 433

This could've made sense if you provided a reference to backup such a ridiculous claim. Here allow me to help:

Look at what that "report" shows and compare it to my claim. I said that stricter gun laws correlate to higher murder rates. What does VPC claim? Look closely. They claim stricter gun laws reduce gun death rates. Do you see the distinction? I am looking at murders regardless of the weapons used because I'm not a heartless bastard that thinks stabbing people to death is somehow "better" than shooting a person to death.

Then look at how "gun deaths" are defined.

The deaths include gun homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings.

They include a self inflicted gun shot resulting in death, a suicide, as a "gun death" for their statistics. Four of those top five states on the VPC "report" have suicide rates above the national average, and the fifth? That is Louisiana with a suicide rate so close to the average that it is difficult to find the difference from the national score.

When looking at the 5 lowest "gun death" states we see Hawaii has an above average suicide rate, by a small margin. The other four are below average on suicide rates.

It seems the evidence shows mostly that those that choose suicide tend to do so with a gun. There is also a tendency for an armed populace to reduce murders,and an unarmed populace to choose suicide by some non-firearm means.



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