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Comment Re:Certainly the work of heroic Russian hackers . (Score 1) 64

(I couldn't resist - or is anybody here naÃve enough to believe that Mr. Snowden is not being, er, *asked* to help with their efforts in this regard?)

Why would he even be useful in that regard? He accomplished what he accomplished because at the time he had access. Now he doesn't. He's only useful to Russia as a PR symbol.

Comment Re:I do not care a shit about this... (Score 1) 191

Has slashdot become the outlet of political correctness gone wrong and pussies of the world united?

No, it's just the outlet of wrong, since the headline is inflammatory bullshit. The ADL did not declare Pepe to be a hatemonger. They mentioned that some people are making Nazi Pepes, and that some of these are symbols of hate. (Obviously you can make Nazi characters without promoting Nazism, by using them as targets of humor or what have you.)

Isn't pussies of the world united a lesbian film? Talk about V2V

Comment Re:1Million People (Score 1) 242

Meh, limited trade with Earth is certainly in the cards; the question of "how limited" depends on a lot of factors, but particularly their return launch costs. Even simple "Martian rock", sold as collectables or decorative stone, in small quantities could fetch tens of thousands of dollars per kilogram. Collectables markets and luxury goods markets ("Oh, the foyer in your palace is granite from Tuscany? How quaint - my foyer is from Mars") are very real things. But one order of magnitude difference in return prices equates to multiple orders of magnitude difference in the size of the market. Likewise, what exactly is available will also affect the value. A brittle sandstone for example isn't going to get the same market for the same price as big chunks of agate. We don't know what all will be found on Mars, but the presence of hydrothermal systems is encouraging; they're associated with quartz, calcite, chalcedony (agate, onyx, etc), zeolites, opal, etc. The jewelry market would be excellent to be able to break into, in terms of the scale versus what they pay per kilogram.

Comment Re:Who said what? (Score 1) 191

Kinda makes you look stupid going off on that rant, to be honest.

This story makes Slashdot look stupid, if we're being honest. The summary is bullshit. How did it make the front page? Either a bunch of dipshit slashdotters voted it up from the firehose, or a dipshit "editor" promoted it. Either way, it's stupid bullshit that helps make Slashdot grate.

Comment Re:1Million People (Score 1) 242

Honestly, if you wanted to maximize population expansion rate and you were hand-selecting the crew, you'd send 100% female and cryopreserved female embryos. You'd choose women with small stature to maximize how many you can send / keep alive with a give payload mass, and ideally from families/cultures that tend to have large numbers of children starting at a young age.

In practice, of course, there are other factors beyond maximizing reproduction. Particularly if the people going are paying customers rather than people being selected by some external organization.

Comment Re:1Million People (Score 1) 242

Large numbers of manual laborers won't be required due to the large amount of advanced machinery that'll be involved

This trope is unfortunately not reality. Do we have large numbers of advanced machinery doing all of our work for us here on Earth where it's far easier to build and test them and deliver them to consumers in bulk? We only use these billion dollar robots so heavily in space exploration because we don't have people there. These general-purpose, teleoperated robots have extremely low throughput - and would have improved-but-still-low throughput even if operated locally by the absurdly-expensive local labour (expensive because their consumables are so expensive). We only put up with the tiny throughput from general-purpose robots because it's so long between launches; there's no lives hanging in the balance. And if you want higher throughput, specialist robots (as are used extensively in industry on Earth), sure, you can make and deliver those too - each one at great expense, and you need one for each task, working within tightly controlled parameters.

If you have people locally, you're not going to spend billions engineering and delivering robots for them, you're going to use them as your labour. Is ISS teeming with robots doing all of their work for them? No, the astronauts are glorified construction workers and lab techs. When you have hands in space, they're your best option - regardless of whether it would have been cheaper not to send humans at all.

Comment Re:Think of the Hardship! (Score 1) 242

I like it how Elon's opinion of his passengers is so low that he assumes the fact they are going to Mars won't be enough of an attraction for people. He has to make sure that the trip is "really fun" as well.

I'm sad that your value on quality of human life is so low that you don't think making the trip is fun is important. I'm glad that Elon Musk cares more about quality of life than you do, since he's got a much greater impact on the world than you ever will.

Comment Re:The Moon is first (Score 1) 242

Unfortunately, the problems are considerably more difficult,

Well, there's no water. Everything else is easier because there's no weather. The moon and mars both have fine dust that will get into everything, but on mars that dust is driven by the wind.

All the moon buys you is faster transit times, which is only relevant if your need for help can wait for several days.

That's much easier than waiting multiple months.

Comment Re:Cool, but how does that help anything? (Score 2) 242

Despite how Elon phrased it, "water" isn't abundant on Mars. Rock-hard, gritty, perchlorate-contaminated, hexavalent chromium-contaminated clay-brine permafrost ? Yes. "Water"? No.

Mining isn't an easy thing even here on Earth - a maintenance-prone task that runs through lots of consumables - let alone on Mars where you have to choose between horrible throughput for remote operation, or local operation with astronomical local labour costs. A number of Mars in-situ proposals have outright done away with the water side of the equation, opting to harvest CO2 from the atmosphere locally (splitting to CO and O2 in a SOFC, like MOXIE on Mars 2020), but shipping in the hydrogen to avoid the need for mining. Most of the mass of fuels like methane is the carbon, not the hydrogen.

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