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Comment It's The Age of Cyberpunk (Score 1) 599

I see a similar effect in my life and the society I live in (Germany, NRW State Capital of Duesseldorf, Germany).

I earn a neat salary for working part-time as sole web developmer in an agency, but I can only live comfortably and feel safe with a small 1-room apartment. Given, I have a daughter I support, but the truth is, jobs in IT and in these times are just to precarious and unstable to rely on steady income. That reflects on the size of the footprint I choose my every-day life to have. Basically I'm living like a well situated student, ready to move somewhere else in the republic on relatively short notice, should the need to take up a job 700km away arise.

I presume that this sort of lifestyle will only become more and more common in the future. The only people I see escaping it are my peers and friends basically going all-out alternative and setting up microhouses and organic farming collectives somewhere in cheap communities in easter Germany. Parallel to that, cultural borders are in full tilt, from vertical to horizontal, mingling and mixing in the ever growing mega-cities of the world.

If I right now had to move to some super-expensive globalized alphacity to get a job, I'd probably live in a coffin hotel or something - Neuromancer-style. Just to be able to save and have some leeway if things turn south. We're seeing what William Gibson and Neal Stephenson describe in their novels happening all over the place.

We're moving into the Age of Cyberpunk, plain and simple.

Submission + - $5 Raspberry Pi Zero Updated With Wi-Fi And Bluetooth

Mickeycaskill writes: Mini computer maker Raspberry Pi has celebrated its fifth birthday with the launch of a brand new PC: The Raspberry Pi Zero W.

A variation of the Raspberry Pi Zero – which costs $5 (£4) and sold out in just 24 hours when it was launched in November 2015 – the Zero W comes with 802.11n wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and will set you back the princely sum of $10 (£8).

The original Pi Zero has already grown a camera connector since its release, but functionality has been further boosted in the Zero W with the addition of the same Cypress CYW43438 wireless chip used in the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.

As well as the camera and connectivity options, the full list of features includes: a 1GHz single-core CPU, 512MB RAM, a mini-HDMI port and micro-USB power.

Comment This seems unlikely (Score 1) 134

SpaceX hasn't even demonstrated the Dragon 2 capsule that can take humans to the ISS, a trip which takes less than half a day.

Apollo 8 took about 6 days round trip to go to the moon and back. The difference in terms of life support (oxygen, water, heat, sleep, toilet), communications, telemetry, etc. are so significant that I wonder how they expect to pull this off in less than 2 years. Maybe they intend to rig the Dragon 2 to only hold a couple of crew and hope the lifesupport is sufficient for the trip around. Though I very much doubt even paying guests would enjoy the severe discomfort of the trip with little to do to occupy their time.

Maybe it's possible but not without delays and jury rigging. I also wonder if Musk is one of the guests himself. I wouldn't put it past him.

Comment Re: Taste Score (Score 2) 101

Liver tastes like something that spent a lifetime filtering out crap for a reason, kidneys taste like they've been marinated in piss, etc).

Organ meats contain the highest nutritional value, actually.

These statements are not mutually exclusive. Organ meats have a high chance of contamination from environmental sources because of their function. If clean, they are highly desirable. If not, you should leave them to the sled dogs. They have shorter lifespans, and are less likely to suffer the effects of bioaccumulation.

Comment Re:Not to be a wet blanket... (Score 1) 324

1) Eventually a self-sustaining human colony on Mars. Which then ensures humanity or civilization won't be wiped out by a space rock every 300K(?) years.
2) Having the self-sustaining colony on Mars also means more living area to populate with humans. Not prime real estate (unless you're dystopian), but possibly better than living in your toilet on Earth.
3) Once man can sustain themselves indefinitely outside of Earth, it may become lucrative to collect useful materials outside of Earth, process it in space, manufacture something useful in space, and then send that to Earth. Yeah, automated robots could do that too, but it may be too difficult to manage/repair those devices the further out you go for materials away from Earth.

Comment Re:Not to be a wet blanket... (Score 1) 324

But you can't plan to go to Mars with that plan. You have to spend decades first developing the robotics to do sophisticated manufacture in space/Moon. Then you're sending that factory to the Moon, rather than Mars. Oh yeah, there's no (known) iron or aluminum, or anything useful, other than sand (silica) to mine on the Moon. Then somehow you have to be able to mine an asteroid, when most asteroids are in an orbit farther than Mars but before Jupiter. Which means you'll probably be doing that with an automated robot as well. Unless you want to spend money developing a habitat module that can sustain human life in space/Moon without a radiation shield for about a year. And that's assuming there are asteroids with useful materials to mine within rocket distance of the Earth that is less than the distance to Mars. And where will be the savings in rocket launches or Earth materials for this scenario?

Comment Re:Not to be a wet blanket... (Score 1) 324

1) going to Mars from the moon would be simpler, and cheaper.

No, it would not! Based on what rationale? You'd still have to build and rocket most of those Mars station components on Earth. The Moon doesn't have known deposits of iron or aluminum to smelt and manufacture into useful devices by robots on the Moon. Even if there was enough harvestable water on the Moon, done by robot, you could still send an automated robot to Mars to do the same chore.

2) mining on asteroids would be cheaper

Again, in what sense? The only way it would be cheaper would be to process the ore on the Moon, and ship it to Earth, but it would still be even cheaper to process the ore from a space station located a a Lagrange point.

It blows my mind how people here claim to understand basic science and a layman level of engineering, but can't comprehend the basics of orbital mechanics. (It doesn't take much more energy to go to Mars rather than the Moon. They're about equal in difficulty to do at this point in space science/engineering.), or how projects require money to be developed (there's no money saved testing a sustainable hab module on the Moon, rather than testing it on Mars.) Why are people so convinced that Spain needed a colony on the Azores before they could send Columbus to the "New World"?

Comment Re:I hate to say it... (Score 1) 324

Guess why I think Space Nutters are misanthropic, maladjusted, religious nutcases?

Because you're a moron.

Directed space nuttery can result in new scientific and engineering knowledge that can be applied to desirable outcomes, whether its a self-sustaining colony on Mars, or abundant energy collected from satellites and microwaved to an Earth based collector, or harvestable H3 on the Moon to power a fusion power plant, or whatever.

Universal healthcare just extends the life of organic beings that has to die anyway. UBI may not even be economically sustainable or "desirable" in a capitalist society, and basically rewards people that can't do anything useful for existing. I'm not sure if a leisure society could have significantly desirable economic or cultural results. I'll withhold my condescension on that.

Comment Re:No Dragon 2 Soft Landing Yet (Score 1) 324

Maybe someone who is interested in lunar development should buy some Falcon 9 or Heavy launches and just make it happen?

People brighter than Perens with more money realize that the Moon is just a big homogenous, inert rock orbiting the Earth, currently with no significant, self-sustaining, financial enterprise to exploit. A permanent moon base would merely be a giant, useless suck of money until the rich guy/nation stops paying to sustain it. Then it would be a lifeless, inert moon base.

It doesn't take much more rocket propelled energy to go to Mars, rather the Moon. At least Mars has a better potential to self-sustain a colony there (more material to work with). Its just a matter of working out the engineering, which isn't cheaper if its done on the Moon first.

Comment Re:No Dragon 2 Soft Landing Yet (Score 1) 324

and it could be self sustaining.

Self sustaining, in what sense? You'd still have to ship organic chemicals (dry form, of course) to act as nutrient agent for the plants you'd be growing to consume. Is there actually enough moon/space material that's readily collectable to keep producing a synthesized atmosphere and water indefinitely? And what would you be doing on the Moon that would result in interest to indefinitely fund all the materials and operations necessary to support a moonbase doing very little?

Mars on the other hand, is big and materially diverse enough to provide for the chemical agents to actually be self-sustaining. People could travel, produce & raise kids, and live their entire life on Mars, once there's a sustainable engineering model. The Moon, on the other hand, would still need regular shipments of organic chemicals to keep its hydroponics sustained. Once Earth stops paying for that, or that massive rock ends all civilization on Earth, forget about the Moon having a self-sustaining colony.

Comment Re:Building restrictions (Score 1) 599

I'm curious what "unwarranted" mean. Does that mean it's for In-Laws you hate and feel you don't deserve to live with, or you think you don't deserve to have to know them?

"In-law unit," I guess, is an SF colloquialism. It just means a small apartment within a house or other dwelling, usually designed for just 1-2 occupants. Picture something small, probably a single room plus its own washroom, maybe off the garage or in the basement.

"Unwarranted" means it's an illegal living unit. The owner didn't obtain permits to build it, and it probably isn't up to code. So you'd better be pretty friendly with whomever you rent it to (do in-laws count?) because if something is deemed actually unsafe -- like it has no heat, or the wiring is subpar -- you can be sued, if the tenants know their rights.

Comment Re:Building restrictions (Score 1) 599

But because San Francisco (and the whole Bay Area) think that everyone should have a veto on what everyone else does with their property, rebuilding doesn't happen, demand continues to rise, and the city becomes affordable only by the rich.

This paints the problem in too-narrow terms. Sure, the owner converts a single-family dwelling to a 10-unit tower and 9 (or more) additional people move to San Francisco. And lets say this happens to single-family dwellings all over the City. Multiply those new residents by a thousand or more. See what I'm getting at?

Where will all the infrastructure to support these new residents come from? I'm assuming not everybody who lives in these new units will want the hassle of owning a car in a City that's all but openly hostile to them -- and if they did, the gridlock would be totally unworkable. But the 15, 30, and 45 buses across town are already choked wall-to-wall with people. You literally have to ram your way in. BART (the intercity light rail system) is in a shambles. My daily commute downtown (a total of five stops) is often a standing-room-only affair, and any light weather causes delays. On some of the higher-traffic commuter stations, you can regularly expect one or even all of the escalators to be out of service, leaving huge crowds to pile out of trains onto the platforms and march up a few flights of stairs. Some of the staircases are single-file, so the queue just to leave the station can be 30-40 people long.

And where will they shop? Stores in San Francisco -- I'm thinking of something like a Target (department store) or a Safeway (supermarket) -- are typically smaller than their counterparts in cities with more overall real estate. Expect long lines for food and sundries.

And don't forget taxes! Sure, a bigger population does increase the tax base. But will it increase it enough to afford to hire all the extra firefighters and the upgrades they'll need to their engines and equipment to accommodate all those new towers? Ditto the police you need to support the population increase? And when every vehicle on the road is a private corporate bus shuttling workers back and forth from Silicon Valley, who will pay to repair the roads (which are already crumbling)? And the transit systems are once again claiming they need to either float multibillion dollar bond measures or raise the ticket fees -- as they do every other year.

So in short, just adding new people to the population won't solve San Francisco's problems. What longtime San Francisco residents recognize is that you're not talking about solutions, you're just talking about more development -- something that would please the kleptocrats in City Hall greatly, but won't do a lick to correct the complete imbalance in living costs we're currently experiencing.

P.S. Another idea I hear is that San Francisco should just accept that it needs to become more like Manhattan, with the East Bay becoming more like the other boroughs. But the major difference between the Bay Area and New York is that the Five Boroughs constitute a single tax base, under a single city government. San Francisco and the nearest cities in the East Bay aren't even in the same counties.

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