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Comment Re:Why is inertia a puzzle to scientists? (Score 1) 532

"Inertia is simply the fact that its not possible to transfer energy at an infinite rate."

No it's not. Inertia is the fact the you NEED to transfer energy at an infinite rate to achieve infinite acceleration. You're starting from the assumption of inertia, then pointing out that given that assumption, everything else hangs together. Which is true. However, the question at issue is different - what is the mechanism that causes inertia to be manifest in the universe. Why do objects resist acceleration?

You can say "why wouldn't something stay moving at a constant speed?" but that's just shrugging your shoulders. After all, you could say the same thing about any physical phenomenon, but that won't lead you to any deeper understanding of the universe.

Comment Drunk posts (Score 4, Insightful) 653

Gopman's first post "my love affair with SF dies a little" seemed ok (although his having "no clue" about why the homeless were there does smack of techie-arrogance). It was the drunk one after that that that did for him.

In times gone by it would've just been shouting in a bar. Afterwards he could've apologised, laughed it off, and put it down to too many beers. Now - it's affected his whole life. For those living their lives online, every utterance is juggling dynamite. It seems to me that this encourages rather a strict, lockstep approach to discourse. No room to blow off a little steam, everything you ever say will be "googled" for evermore. It's a terrifying prospect, in my view.

Comment Re:Supply and Demand (Score 1) 310

"So, there's enough real work that desperately needs doing " ...
"Why are so many people trapped in poverty working in sweatshops producing frivolous luxury items like designer handbags?"

*Jumps up with hand in air* Ooh, ooh, I know! Is it because humans are mostly self-centered, irrational, aggressive large-brained primates?

Why would we expect any other outcome? No-one cares about their fellow man. Plenty of people talk (a lot) about caring, but that's just showing off. If they really cared they'd go and help some poor people in Africa / India etc. But very few people sacrifice their own quality of life to help others, beyond the odd token gesture - which (again) is designed to make themselves feel and look good.

Comment Re: Obama's space policy (Score 1) 93

If humans aren't using their muscles, then there must be a machine doing the work. This immediately raises the question - if the machine is doing the work (propelling forward, changing direction, communicating with Earth etc etc) what exactly is the human doing? If, after years of thinking about it, we can't think of ONE thing that humans do in space that isn't easier and cheaper to do with a machine, why does the machine that goes to space and already performs all the actual functions have to cart a human about?

Unless you've time traveled back from the year 3000, your estimates of the capabilities of robots is WAY too high. Did we send a robot up to repair the Hubble space telescope? No. I grant you that robots can be better suited to survival in space, but they are LIMITED in what they can do, in terms of achieving things once they are there.. In a general problem solving situation they cannot hope to match the flexibility of a person,( and remote tele-operation does not solve this). Now granted, that's using today's technology - but I would argue that developing tech. to send a human to mars will be realised MUCH sooner than tech. to develop a robot capable of matching a human/s dexterity, thinking etc.

What function would the human perform on Titan that is not better served by a machine?

People are quite robust - not to the environment of outer space, but in the sense that they can think around problems, and repurpose things. If you're remotely operating some device, you're always at the mercy of your sensors, transmitters, and whatever manipulators you put on the thing. It's a really a brittle setup.

I've already said:But "becoming a interplanetary species" has no objective value. You might believe it does, but the value is based on religious belief.

. Did the Europeans colonising America have "no objective value"? They didn't just send a few robots over to measure some stuff, they went and colonised, and it changed the world. What makes you think that the same wouldn't be the case with another planet (Mars)? Now - you might argue that you could colonise purely with a society of robots - but those are sci-fi robots, nothing like the robots of today. The tech for your fantasy robots is an order of magnitude further away that the tech. for sending a person to Mars. As for your unshakable faith in their performance, well - what was that you were saying about religious belief?

Comment Re: Obama's space policy (Score 1) 93

" Insisting that meat bags must, under their own strength travel around space in order for space travel to be valid is faintly embarrassing,"

That would indeed be embarrassing, however it's not remotely what I'm saying. You seem obsessed with the idea of humans doing things using their own muscles. Once again - that is irrelevant, and nothing to do with my point.

As you say, we haven't yet dived into the Jovian atmosphere, or landed on Titan. But that's because it's technically easier to send a specially designed robot to those places, than a person. However, given the requisite technical know how, sending a person is highly desirable.

"Spare us your religious diatribes. You don't decide on our behalf, what constitutes our destiny."

I can only think that you have utterly misunderstood what I have been saying. You seem unaccountably angry, so tell me this. Do you think that humans becoming a multi planetary species is NOT to be desired?

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