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Comment Re:Do the Energy Math and Space is a Distraction (Score 1) 254

Unless there is infrastructure to mine the elements for fuel and materials outside Earth, then there is less need to bring out bulk supplies from Earth.
The Moon and Ceres might be obvious sources for volatile elements, there are a lot of challenges in doing this.
The first one is, that we have 0 experience in mining in low gravity environments.
The second and very important we need lots of energy to do mining, even if we accept processes that have very low yields or handle very low mass batches.
Also, mining an asteroid for volatile elements requires ways to extract and capture mass. Store the output and refine it, to get a suitable raw material that isn't too full of contaminants

The question that is more important is, how long someone is willing to foot the bill till all this supply chain starts scaling into a reasonable size. Where we are talking on the order of hundreds of metric tonnes instead of a measly kilos being transported.

Comment Most rich people's houses aren't in very... (Score 1) 332

Most rich people's houses aren't in very defensible positions to start with, even if they have tall fences or walls.
Ok, so they get into the bunker while someone is checking where the bunker door is... This is, in case all society goes to hell.
What are the odds of someone finding a way in, if it has enough determination and demolition experience.

I guess if it is a temporary situation, like a riot or terror attack then it does the trick. But a large event which causes societal breakdown??
The rich depend on scores of people that provide for them services and essentials. Some of these are necessary for what they need to project power.
Without institutions, without supply chains that support global economy, being rich after a collapse of society is not exactly a better position.

If people knew more about history, they would knew that in the American continent civilizational collapse was quite common.
In part due to geographic limitations, and not having cattle and horses, civilizations would disappear quite frequently.
This came with the usual abandoning of urban settlements, cannibalism, and loss of knowledge either technical, scientific or historical.
We might know more about the Mayas, but there were others in North America that built large mounds and cities and could work metals that disappeared without leaving a record.

Comment Re:Hackers stole a set of NSA cyberweapons (Score 2) 100

This thing of the government being inept, have you seen private bureaucracies at work?
Big corporate bureaucracies are as inept most of the time as state bureaucracies. The moment you have an organization with more than 100 people and company policies or laws start to encroach and accumulate to prevent abuses or set preferred policies then as time goes by you'll see a mismatch between desired outcomes and real outcomes.

Now, the problem is that at this point incremental improvements in productivity, technology or administration require ever more resources to be accomplished, this means that big bureaucratic tend to be the norm in both private and state organizations.

Comment Re:O RLY? (Score 2) 310

Do you think the European colonies in the Americas were cost effective from the start?
It took quite a lot of support from to get those colonies self sustainable, specially if it wasn't possible to enslave the natives to do their master's bidding.
The colonies were sold in Europe as way for riches, and to get more land, but mostly to get windfall riches after the Spanish stroke the motherload with the Aztecs and the Incas.
All other colonies had to endure several decades of very little growth and dependency of their country of origin,
The moon is a lot worse cause there null infrastructure, and the affordable technology for getting to orbit and out of Earth orbit doesn't exist yet.
But we now have ways to automate stuff, and we could send automated stations that could assemble buildings and materials in the Moon.
Probably, have an automated station building materials and equipment for some years would make it feasible to colonize the moon.

Comment Re: After reading the article (Score 1) 115

Nice, then you have leads to do randomized controlled studies where before you would have to guess. I bet there is a strong correlation with the amount of surveys done with followup controlled studies on a given subject. That is called empirical work that builds up a case. Eventually you will have a more precise picture, that's science.

Comment Re:After reading the article (Score 1) 115

Yep, correlation != causation.
But any statistical study worth their salt will check the data for bias and other effects.
Also, we don't have the abstract of the article, or the introduction to the survey questionnaire, but it is possible that there is a health condition field.
Like a health status, or if the person has a previous condition or another health issue.
So it logical to assume that there was some tracking on that.
Plus, you can be "healthy" and not know that you have a congenital or genetic condition or even cancer.
That is why in situations you are not sure about causality you'll use random testing, that's what it is used for pharma trials.
This survey from what I can read was survey done on groups to control a set of variables related to preventable death, and check for clusters.
Very much standard course of action, if it is an open survey the raw data probably is available in anonymized form so other teams can check the results.

Comment After reading the article (Score 1) 115

The survey seems to be sound in terms of methodology, sample size and tracking period. Like any statistical survey the findings might point to correlated variables that are main causes, but some variables are more difficult to ascertain what is behind them.
Lack or too much sleep might be result of hormonal or metabolic problems, also the result of breathing issues due to congenital defects or too much height.
So, although some variable aren't perfect they can me measured and tracked, while deeper and more granular issues are difficult to categorize and measure.
Cause the researchers are trying to triage main indicators of well-being and study their aftermath, so afterwards more research can be done on the causes of preventable death.
And for most part, the results are pretty much common sense. Smoking is bad, period. Heavy drinking kills your liver cells, depletes your vitamin B complex reserves, and dehydrates the body.
Chronic lack of sleep causes changes on the metabolism, increases stress response feedback, and increases the probability of an accident.
Sitting down for long periods might cause hemorrhoids and muscular atrophy, it also doesn't do much good to your bowels.
Everything put together, regardless of the network of causality that made it happen, will not have a good effect on your general health.

Comment Re:This is great (Score 0) 73

And about the possible fire hazard coming from a used Lithium-ion battery which we don't know what is the previous usage profile and number of cycles.
Plus, we don't know how much heat the batteries were subjected to. And, how will you insure against that without paying an hefty premium?

Comment There were plenty women working in computing (Score 1) 696

In the good old days of mainframes, tabulating machines and to a time computers were groups of women doing boring calculations for researchers, there were plenty of women working in computing/mathematics related fields. They were the large majority of people working in the field, and had major contributions to computer science, e.g. Grace Hopper invented the first compiler.

But most women don't like male competition on the job, I don't mean competing, I mean males competing for dominance.
Male competition is partly responsible for long work hours, hostile work environments, socially destructive schedules and family unfriendly policies.
Men compete in ways that cause damage to bystanders, making life for women that want to have a life and a family outside work much more difficult.

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