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Comment Spitzer is more than worth the $15~ million a year (Score 2) 107

NASA officially says - 'Without a budget boost from Congress or cost savings within the Spitzer project, money for the mission will run out Sept. 30 and NASA will decommission the telescope beginning this fall. Spitzer received $16.5 million to operate in fiscal year 2014, which ends Sept. 30. Helou said the initial proposal considered by NASA's senior review called for a reduced operating budget of $15.35 million in fiscal year 2015.'

This over subscribed for observation time mission that cost billions to launch needs just $15~ million dollars to continue science for another year? And yet Congress authorizes funding for another aircraft carrier group that the Pentagon doesn't want with little debate.

The New Horizons mission to Pluto is having trouble finding a follow on target in the Kuiper Belt and is looking for hard to get observation time on the Hubble. Couldn't the Spitzer be used for this purpose instead? Shutting down a functioning space telescope before its mechanical demise is fiscally and scientifically absurd.

Comment Re:NIXON! GORE! FOREVER! (Score 1) 155

I guess the previous and curiously titled comment was not supposed to be a troll. Yes, these early adopter mush brains are doomed. However you have to respect their impulse.

We do live in a real 'materialist' universe. The scientific method works. Superstition was thrown into the dustbin four hundred years ago. Some folks can't seem to throw anything away. Philosophic hoarders.

Memes, memories and instincts are encoded in the mammal and lizard neuron networks of our brain. Your personality is the story you tell of yourself.

What happens to a waterfall when the water dries up? The same thing that happens to your personality when you die. The process stops.

Immortality? The closest one gets is in the library. A magnificent invention improved upon by the internet and more to come.

Evolution conserves design. Each moment is all. Experience and enjoy. Continue the attempt to understand the universe we actually inhabit.

Comment Not Hopeless but... (Score 1) 292

This is what happens when you are so frightened by a problem that you make it worse than if you had rationally dealt with it from the beginning. Storing the waste from each plant at the original site near populated areas is the worst case scenario for the dealing with this problem. The opposition to the Yucca Mountain facility has become politically irrational to the point of making impossible demands for it safe for millions of years. Thousands of years is completely feasible and just hundreds of years should be perfectly acceptable. All these by products will eventually be valuable resources to a future technology. It is criminal negligence and a national disgrace to keep these wastes in cooling pools and proposed dry casks at the plants where they were produced. One can only hope that rational decisions can be made in time to avert a self fulfilling disaster. The prospects for this look poor.

Comment Re:This ain't the first time ... (Score 1) 470

>"Of course, we know it's still wrong. Dark matter (probably), dark energy and the incompatibility between the standard model and general relativity means we still don't know what's going on."

No more to be said. After all of the 19th and 20th century's progress and getting the nature of physics down to close to complete accuracy - we find new data that tells us we still haven't a clue as to what's really going on. Great news actually. Totally new paradigms only happen after moments like these. Science rocks on!

Comment I don't own one (Score 2) 330

I was always an early tech adopter in the 90's, but the rise of the cellphone has given me pause. I understand the benefits of communication in emergency situations but have seen this excuse devolve quickly into cyberspace zombie behavior in public and then private situations. The TV was the first 'hypnotically' attractive communication device but the so called smartphone is orders of magnitude more addictive. Instantaneous access to your person by anyone at any time might not be the greatest of innovations. I do have an iPad and that seems to grant me mobile access to the net and yet some distance from the groundswell of scattershot diversions from inane chatterboxes. - signed Grumpy Old Man - "Get off of my lawn!" ;)

Comment Careful There (Score 1) 658

Go back and get stepped on and eaten. Go forward and get stepped on but unnoticed. A little back and get locked up for being insane. A little forward and get exhibited as a curiosity. Anyway the speed of light as the arbiter of change is the law. Otherwise everything would have happened all at once at the big bang and how much fun would that have been?

Comment Re:Don't they even own a shovel? (Score 1) 413

He based the idea on an existing observed behaviour. But he's using a bio-degradeable bag instead of a polyethylene bag.

Exactly the point. This is the sort of practical solution that uses extant behavior rather than trying to force change which often fails. An good idea until the local economy affords graduation to composted toilets, etc.


Submission + - Peepoo bag saves world (nytimes.com)

captn ecks writes: A biodegradable and self sterilizing bag for people of the toilet disenfranchised world (40% of humankind) to dispose of their bodily wastes and turn them into safe fertilizer. Dead simple and brilliant solution to a vexing problem.

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