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Comment Re:USPS (Score 2, Insightful) 90

Seriously, loosing the USPS won't be a good thing in the long run.

They cannot die soon enough. 95% of my mail is paper spam that goes straight into the trash. The rest is either packages (that could go by UPS instead) or bills from Luddite companies that are too dumb to figure out how to save money by sending e-bills.

First class postage is still under $1 for a letter picked up and delivered door to door, usually in a few days.

I haven't sent or received a personal letter in over a decade. Why would anyone prefer that over email?

Perhaps we could scale back delivery days and save labor costs. Say three days a week ...

How about zero days a week? That would save even more.

Plenty of countries no longer have a government run postal service. They are doing just fine.

Comment Bad scaling? (Score 1) 52

D-waves systems are inherently statistical. Which means you need many replicas of an experiment to map out the ground state and reliably establish it is the ground state. Doesn't this mean that the more cubits you have the exponentially more replicas you need to run? thus anything short of exponential gains in speed is a step backward in perfromance as you add quibits? or am I wrong.

Comment Re:Cool, but how does that help anything? (Score 1) 460

Hydrogen does not have to be shipped as a liquid or gas (more to the point, it wouldn't persist as a liquid without a significant cooling system). By mass, water is 13% hydrogen, hydrazine is 14% hydrogen, polyethylene is 17% hydrogen, lithium borohydride is 18% hydrogen, ammonia is 22% hydrogen, and methane is 34% hydrogen. Most of those compounds (and others) are useful to have on a ship regardless. And any sort of effective radiation shielding is going to have to be hydrogen rich no matter what; there's nothing that moderates down neutrons to easy-to-capture energies anywhere near as well as hydrogen.

Comment Re:(HAHAHA) (Score 1) 460

The fun part of it is that the hydrogen enters and leaves the rocket in exactly the same form; it's simply there to function as a working gas for the lithium fluoride.

I'm actually somewhat of a fan of metalized propellants, although that one is certainly extreme. ;) While there's no getting around fluorine's toxicity so I can't really get onboard with that particular propulsion system, I can picture lithium being managed - yes, lithium is dangerous, but so are chemicals like LOX (really, pretty much all oxidizers are extreme fire hazards, if not outright explosion hazards). Aluminum doesn't provide as much of an isp boost as lithium, but it provides a small one, plus a major density boost (and is cheap, too), and is nice and stable. I'm actually working on some experiments for a somewhat hybrid-esque design which involves aluminum structural elements designed to burn away and contribute to the exhaust stream.

Comment Re:Let's Get One Thing Fixed... (Score 1) 460

Which explains why we routinely test novel medicinal compounds on prisoners, and unsuspecting civilians, amirite?

No, we don't do that ... but if we did, we would almost certainly make faster medical progress.

After all, we want to take risks and fail fast - so what if we kill a bunch of people by doing so?!

Number of people known to have been killed or harmed by NK's space program: 0.

Comment Re:Comment (Score 1) 312

If you want to force people to do things they don't want to do because you think it's "right", then at least I can say you're living in the correct state.

Did you forget what a fucking bona-fide occupational qualifier is, sir?

I can't say that I've ever fucking heard of a fucking bona-fide occupational qualifier, but it sounds to me that if the fucking job description is "someone who I think looks like this fucking character", then they can sort of hire whoever they fucking want. That's the magic of the fucking movies and all that, they even have a fucking makeup and wardrobe department. Then again, I'm not a fucking employment attorney, and I don't live in fucking California, so maybe I'm fucking wrong. I'm just glad that my fucking taxes aren't going towards fucking things like making sure that every fucking actor is being hired even when the people making the fucking movie don't want to hire that fucking actor.

Comment Re: meh (Score 1) 385

but what are the chances of finding a good vintage of scotch to go with all of this breaded goodness they are going to be having up there?

Alcohol is definitely going to space. Ballantine's zero-gravity glass is made in cooperation with something called the Open Space Agency, which also has a design for an automated Dobsonian telescope. Ardbeg is going to space. And a vacuum still is an old science-fiction trope.

Comment Re:Inscrutable behaviour (Score 2) 385

He's not "asking" anyone to do anything. It's a simple reality that if there was a mission to Mars coming up shortly and you passed a signup sheet around, and at the top of it was written in large letters "YOU WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY DIE AT SOME POINT DURING THIS TRIP", you'd still get thousands of signatures from people who are utterly thrilled at getting the chance and couldn't give a rat's arse about the risk.

Comment Re: meh (Score 1) 385

I knew there was a reason back in school that my binders all had pictures of sci-fi landscapes on them... it all comes full circle. Mars needs a breading program for colonists to survive... breading requires a binder... binders have pictures of Mars to encourage people to go and support the breading program!

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