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Comment Re: Great idea... But there is a problem... (Score 1) 185

"That book"?

Why Venus? Venus has the most Earthlike environment in the solar system outside Earth. High latitudes in the middle cloud layer have Earthlike temperatures, pressures, gravity, sufficient radiation shielding, ample light, and diverse resources already gas phase and only needing to be run through a scrubber to give you feedstocks (even iron, in the form of iron chlorides - estimated at about 1% of the mass of the sulfuric acid - which, by the way, thermally decomposes in the presence of a catalyst to release water and oxygen). Concerning orbital mechanics, Venus ascent stages are of course harder than Mars, but apart from that, it's in a much more favorable spot concerning orbital mechanics, with a much greater Oberth effect and much more frequent launch windows; it can be easier to get payloads to Mars from Venus than from Earth (and can even get gravity assists from Earth). Beyond the abundant solar power, there's also abundant wind power. Normal Earth air is a lifting gas. Unlike a Mars habitat which is a cramped pressure vessel, a Venus habitat is an expansive, open, bright area, full of plants and life. If you don't like someone, go hang your room elsewhere in the envelope, potentially even hundreds of meters away. Bored? Jump into the safety netting; the scale indoors is so big you can basically do indoor skydiving.

As for learning, Venus has vastly more unknown than Mars. Venus is our twin, and the question as to why it ended up the way it did and Earth didn't is one of the great questions in planetary geology. Venus used to have oceans like Earth. Yet today its surface has become this alien place, a veritable natural refinery that bakes and erodes minerals out of the surface and precipitates them out in the clouds. The whole planetary surface, or nearly so, resurfaced itself about 500 million years ago. We have no idea why. Can Earthlike planets just up and do this? If so that's a very disturbing concept. it has the longest river in the solar system - we have no clue what carved it. The best theories are really weird, like natrocarbonatites - super-rare low-temperature lavas that look like oil, flow like water, and glow crimson at night. It has lightning, but we can't seem to find it. It seems to be the second most volcanically active place in the solar system (after Io) but we've never positively confirmed an eruption. There's a huge amount that our planetary models just can't explain. Why doesn't it have an intrinsic magnetic field? Even with its slow rotation speed, dynamo theory says it should; it doesn't. Where's its mercury? Chemical models say that there should be 3 1/2 orders of more in the clouds than the upper detection limits of the probes thusfar constrained it to. What are the strange radar reflective frosts / snows in the highlands? Pyrite? Galena? Tellurium? There seems to be more than one type, too. I could go on for pages and pages here. And there's vastly more reason to have humans present for exploration on Venus, because given the surface conditions, latency for controlling robotic probes is very important - unlike Mars, where communications "downtime" for rovers just gives them more time to charge in the weak sun. And you don't have to worry about degeneration due to low gravity like you do on Mars.

The surface, while hostile, is absolutely accessible. The Soviets had a lot better success probing the surface of Venus than they had Mars. The basic design is very simple: metal shell. insulation, and a material that absorbs heat through a phase change; it can easily buy you a couple hours. Tech developed by the Soviets in the 1960s. It's been determined that you could actually shoot a hollow titanium sphere at Venus, without any kind of heat shield or parachute, and it'd reach the surface intact; that nice "fluffy" atmosphere goes a long way. On Mars you have to have controlled propulsive landings onto rough terrain with little to slow you down - something that continues to randomly kill landers. The surface air on Venus is dense enough to allow you to dredge minerals off the surface.. You can get off the surface, too, with phase change or bellows balloons. The surface is even accessible for humans, and not just in "submersible"-style vehicles - through atmospheric diving suits like are used for deep sea human diving. NASA was developing such "hard suits" for the Apollo program and a bit after - the AX series. They went with soft suits because they're lighter, but hard suits have better mobility. And more to the point, on Venus with such a suit and a bellows balloon, a person could literally fly - floating up, and gliding down with little wings in controlled flight at up to a couple dozen meters per second.

Comment Ridiculous Slashdot story (Score 2) 46

This is one of the lamest Slashdot articles I have ever seen. In what way is this at all news for nerds? And in what way is this any more news worthy than 10,000 other random news items of day? What about if Walmart has a one-day sale on Nintendo games. Should we get a Slashdot headline article for that?

msmash is not a competent Slashdot editor. I'm going to give Slashdot some feedback here.

Comment Re:I'm not surprised. (Score 2) 614

I'll go farther: everyone has bad days where they do things they shouldn't do. Especially in matters of the heart and loosely affiliated organs. I'm not a big fan of knee-jerk firing in response to an accusation.

It's the inevitability of this that means an organization needs to be prepared to handle problems like this, and that's the problem here: the organization, not the supervisor. If the atmosphere described here is accurate, then management and HR aren't doing their jobs.

Comment Re:I'm not surprised. (Score 1) 614

So if someone gets stabbed and their wallet stolen, you're really claiming that I can't make any judgements on the perp without having him say his piece?

In other words, you're telling me I should judge people only on their words not their actions, which is kinda back to front.

Comment Re:What's wrong with this people? (Score 1) 614

We had rules to stop this behavior from occurring but you didn't like them, so now you get shit behavior. Start following the rules designed to prevent shit behavior and the shit behavior will stop.

You think this sort of behaviour happened before? Then, for the good of humanity, can you share the secret to faster-than-light travel because you clearly hail from a different planet.

By what right did you call the guy a scumbag?

Because he attempted to use his power over someone to coerce her into having sex with him. It's really really simple.

You ought to get over your puritanical moralizing about begging subordinates for sex.

That situation is abusing a power imbalance. That falls far on the wrong side of my moral code, where as consenting adults not being monogamous does not. Mostly because I have in interest in protecting people from abuse, but no interest in dictating people's sex lives.

You on the other hand seem to go the opposite way.

I wish this story could be broadcast to the people of the 1950s.

Is there something special about the 1950s which makes them some sort of high point?

Okay, first off, what the fuck are 'female engineers?'

Well, at this point I do nuderstand the source of your confusion. It appears you are struggling with extremely basic concepts. I can see therefore why you can't reason through why abusing a power dynamic is bad.

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