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Comment Re:So how is it supposed to communicate? (Score 2) 78

At this point if a probe could just taste the plumes, it might be able to identify evidence of organic chemistry, heck maybe even be able to identify the vacuum-desiccated remnants of living organisms. We're decades away from building a probe that could actually bore through even a few kilometers of ice, but being able to build probes that could land on the surface and analyze the deposits left over from plumes should be well within current technical capabilities.

At the moment Europa really is one of our best shots at identifying life on another world. Even if Europa has never developed anything more complex than bacteria, being able to sample its DNA, or even cooler, finding some other system of protein encoding and heredity would literally be one of the most significant scientific discoveries in history. Just having life there, would go a long way to confirming the belief of many scientists that all life needs to get kickstarted is liquid water, organic compounds and energy.

Comment Re:Dishonest Arguments not Politics (Score 1) 640

There are literally tens of thousands of scientists that don't think it's warming.

Ok it should not be a problem to name some then should it? Please pick some that are in faculty positions at reputable universities though because when I have spoken with my colleagues over in geophysics and earth and atmospheric sciences not one of them has raised any doubts whatsoever that the mean temperature of the planet is increasing. There IS debate about the level mankind's contribution to the increase but absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the temperature is increasing....and before you go off the deep end about funding conspiracies etc. a lot of these people receive grants from the oil industry so if anything they would have a bias against global warming.

So apologies if I take the word of world experts in the field over a random guy on slashdot who has provided absolutely zero evidence to back up his claims. For example what evidence do you base your claim that only 4% of the world's CO2 is from humans? This plot shows a 25+% increase in the level since 1960. What natural process has caused such a rapid yet steady rise in CO2 over that period? I'm more than willing to keep an open mind about the causes but it seems very plausible that human CO2 emissions caused this increase and I've not heard of any natural process that could account for it. If you want to convince people you need to explain the data. Just stating what you believe and shouting at anyone who disagrees is not how science works.

Comment Re:Fiscally impossible (Score 1) 215

As for whether such a tube would be flexible enough to accommodate the two ends getting closer together or farther apart by three or four inches per year, though, I have my doubts.

Look up vacuum bellows tube. Obviously this would only provide a limited range of extension but it should be enough to last quite a few years given the length of pipe involved. Of course you would also have to scale them up which would undoubtedly produce some technical challenges but probably nothing unsurmountable if you have the money.

Comment Fiscally impossible (Score 1) 215

Air travel should be something that you do when you're crossing an ocean, because trains over water (and subduction zones) are physically impractical

Actually it is fiscally impractical, not physically impractical. You could physically build a vacuum tube-based maglev train where the tube is at some depth in the ocean to avoid surface issues and plate boundary problems. However the costs when people look at these things are utterly insane...but in theory it is physically practical to build such a thing.

Comment Electrical Fuel Transmission (Score 1) 133

The bigger the vehicle + cargo the more fuel you need to lift PLUS you need more fuel to lift the extra fuel.

If using conventional fuel then you are right. However unlike physical fuel electrical power can be transmitted wirelessly. Of course the technical challenges to do this would be immense for a moving vehicle but it does present a possible option not available to traditionally fuelled vehicles. However given all the challenges with current technology I would agree with your conclusion that Uber is very unlikely to crack this but it remains an intriguing possibility that at some point someone else might.

Comment Re:Dishonest Arguments not Politics (Score 1) 640

Not very many creationists deny that creatures change from one generation to the next....so I think it's dishonest to portray creationists as though they have their eyes and ears covered and deny all of that.

That is actually far less rational though so my apologies for giving creationists too much credit. So what you are saying is that they believe evolution happens but that despite the fact that this evolution could explain the entire fossil record they reject that idea and believe that the world was created by someone with a heck of a sense of humour because they went to all the trouble to create fossils consistent with evolution? I have a hard time believing that anyone really believes this: it seems far more probable that this is a rationalization they use to let them support measures against diseases without having to publicly admit they are wrong.

Comment Re:Rich people toy at best due to energy costs (Score 1) 133

No you're just making that up. The energy to run a horseless carriage wasn't unprecedented: it was about the same needed to run a conventional carriage. You're correct that a manufacturing line and economies of scale were the major factor in making cars affordable though, because the cost of manufacture was what made cars rich people toys for over a hundred years before the model A came out, not energy costs.

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