* Posts by YetAnotherBob

37 posts • joined 22 Jul 2011

Big Falcon explosion as SpaceX successfully demos Crew Dragon abort systems


Re: They're going to use both systems so there's redundancy in case of a problem with one.

"Boeing should still be required to demo their launch abort system at some point before carrying people."

Actually Boeing already did. Contrary to what a previous poster stated, last month, the Boeing test did infact achieve orbit and then de-orbit safely. It just turned out to b the wrong orbit, so they never got near to the ISS. Actual docking with the ISS has not been done by Boeing yet. SpaceX has done that one.

But going to the ISS is still too limiting. For actual advancement in this space effort, there needs to be more destinations. Maybe a moon base. Hmmm. Dragon was originally designed to be able to take up to seven men to orbit, or with some extra equipment to reach orbit of the Moon. Falcon Heavy (FH) was intended to give that much lift capability. The FH has more lift capability than the market can currently use more than once or twice a year.


Re: "given that the rocket is lost during the test anyway?"

Historically, that is called the "Military-Industrial Complex". It was a thing that President Dwight Eisenhower warned about. When the same small groups always deal with each other, and the players change sides sometimes, well, things happen that might not be strictly legal or even vaguely ethical.

Rocket purchase by US Government agencies is like that.

Space X is an outsider to the Good Ole Boy system at NASA and the Military. They compete on cost, which is why they run the largest single percentage of non-governmental launches worldwide.

That said, don't expect to see many changes in NASA's way of doing things. NASA has always been a "Cost is no bother" shop. That is understandable, as their actual mandate is to advance the technology. Maybe it's time to pass off the ISS to the Military. They generally do these things with only a hundred percent cost overrun.

Found on Mars: Alien insects... or whatever the hell this smudge is supposed to be, anyway


Re: Site visit needed?

Bacteria form spores in low air pressure and low temperature. Think of a spore as a sort of crystal. We have no idea how long they can remain viable. Estimates vary from thousands of hours to millions of years. Every Mars Lander has brought along bacteria in at least spore form. There are protocols to disinfect spacecraft before they are sent to Mars, but they eliminate Most bacteria but not All bacteria. Those deep within the spacecreft are shielded by the spacecraft. These spores are quite resilient. Studies have shown that a space rock a foot across (30 cm) provides enough shielding to allow bacteria to survive a fall to earth from interplanetary space. Bacteria are also more resistant to radiation than are human beings. Some species can withstand literally thousands of times the that will kill you or me.

Through the ages, thousands of tons of debris has been blasted into space by asteroid impacts and perhaps the occasional large volcanic eruption. So we should expect that the occasional bit of rock has for literally billions of years been slowly raining down and contaminating both planets from the other. That's called Panspermia. It is perhaps even a thing that can work on nearby interstellar space scales.

It isn't just bacteria either. There have been some mold varieties that can survive weeks in space. The Russians had a problem with mold on their Salyut Station. It even grew on the outside of the spacecraft. Some of the same problems are on the ISS, though there we seem to have better mold control now.

I've seen some of the same sorts of reports on tardigrades. That's about the most complex creature that has been tested for such things. No insects however. But tardigrades are bugs, so perhaps insects are possible. Though tardigrades are sea creatures, I think. So you would need liquid salt water to revive the spores.NASA has found limited evidence of salt water on or near the Martian surface. Hmmm....

But for this article, the evidence presented seems to be mere wishing. No actual investigation of the features claimed has been done. Nor should it. There are more important things for the rovers to be doing than chasing imaginary creatures hoped for at the edges of the camera resolutions. After all, many things can be imagined when all you have is a couple of pixels to go on.

Google's Fuchsia OS Flutters into view: We're just trying out some new concepts, claims exec


Re: A new OS from Google

That already exists. It's called Roomba.

ReactOS 'a ripoff of the Windows Research Kernel', claims Microsoft kernel engineer


Re: Shades of SCO saga

EXT3 would be better. EXT4 has too much overhead for a small phone.

DoH! Secure DNS doesn't make us a villain, Mozilla tells UK broadband providers


Re: Mozilla are only partly right

Uh, you do realize don't you that a ball point pen can be used to kill someone?

Hammers and nails are also potentially lethal.

Then there are cars. Automobiles are much more dangerous than are most pistols. Rapid Iron Poisoning. Two tons of Iron eighty Kilometers per, Lethal!!!

So if you're going to ban all weapons, well, there is almost nothing that you can be allowed to keep. Silverware is dangerous in the right hands or with the right disposition. Many people have been killed by plates or other crockery. Where does it end?


Re: Mozilla are only partly right

It's already there. I live in the US. Trump is routinely blamed for things he never did or said, and comments to that effect are routinely deleted from all the major media forums. The Press here have joined in and never admit they lied. Not even after the full facts have come out, as they always do in the end. The haters also rouitinely get names of 'supporters' and then physically harass them. Often the harassers are police in the larger cities.

Everybody knows it too.

But, it's looking like his second term is going to be by a landslide. The opposition is relying on their own lies for their reception.

Governments always try to increase their own personal power at the expense of the citizens. It's always been that way, and it probably always will be. That's why revolutions happen.

Here though, a revolution can be implemented peacefully.

I wonder if Britain has the same ability?

After all, Americans are nearly all armed and everybody knows it. That's why the Germans and the Japanese never invaded during WWII. It's also why Switzerland hasn't been invaded since Napoleon.

So, yes, we are in the middle of a mild revolution and it's driving the Powers That Be crazy.

New evidence: Comets seeded life on Earth


Re: Yeah right... SORRY

Sorry to rain on your parade, but, per reputable biologists, in terms of number of species, habitat range, and even in terms of total mass, we aren't living in the Age of Mammals, it is the Age of Bacteria, and it always was. As far back as we can measure.

Bacteria are there in the oldest rocks we have ever found. They are in the deepest wells we have ever drilled, and we find them in the highest balloons we have ever sent up to the edge of space. The bacteria and the virus strains that prey on them are the oldest and most widespread forms of life. they evidently appeared as soon as rock solidified. Yet, we have never managed to create one from scratch. Most of the pieces, yes, but a complete organism? No. that's why the Panspermia hypothesis keeps coming back. There just wasn't time. If it could have happened that fast, then it would have happened in a lab by now. It hasn't. given the number of variables that have to be right, it won't.


Re: The most interesting question is...

Bacteria form cysts. These cysts freeze well, and can be revived any time they warm up enough to sit in liquid water. In a well frozen environment, as long as they are safe from too much radiation (some bacteria can withstand several thousand times as much radiation as we humans can) they could last for a Billion Years as deep frozen crystals.

Many bacteria and mold spores can even survive naked in space for a while, and some even survive 're-entry'. Remember, it was mold that doomed MIR. The Russians are reported to have even tried evacuating all the air for an hour or so. No effect.

Scum is tough!!!


Re:Re: Neither are man boobs.

Read up on fetal development.

in the early stages, there is no difference between men and women (physically, that is).

Since women need to be able to nurse the babies, then the men have at least the rudimentary equipment. It just doesn't develop without the hormones.

A great many 'sex differences' arise because in some fashion, men are 'immature women' and women are 'immature men'.

It doesn't prove ANYTHING about whether humans arose accidentally, or by a guided design. both are theories without any real proof.

In spite of what some preachers say, the bible says "something was done", but says nothing about "how" it was done.

Similarly, in spite of what some atheists who study or more properly philosophize about development of living systems and creatures say, evolution says that something had to have happened, but says nothing about what that may have been. All evidence we have can be interpreted either way. You see what you want to see.

Don't let either side get away with the false premise that they have 'won'. They haven't, and probably never will 'win'. The religionists err by proposing that they know more than God (or at least more than God has chosen to say). The philosophers (scientists answering questions outside of their demonstrable area of expertise, or proposing solutions that they cannot demonstrate) err by proposing that they know the 'final' answer, without having any testable reproducible way to verify the hypothesis they put forward.

Mr. Dawkins is constantly reduced to mere name calling for evidence. He and his ilk are really no better than the blind sort who insist that we have to abandon science and just 'have faith', without ever knowing what faith is.

(Faith is a very old word. It means that you keep your promises. Faith in your wife is EXACTLY the same as faith in God. You promised (men) not to get intimate with any other woman when you got married. If you don't 'betray' her, then you are faithful. if not, then you are not. So it is with God. If you keep your promises, then you are faithful. If not, then you are not. If you have made no promises with God, then you cannot ever be faithful. Just saying 'I believe will do nothing. And, Yes, I realize that means that 95% or more of all Christians are not among the 'faithful'. The same holds true for Jews and Muslims, too.)

Both sides are wrong to even have this 'debate'.

The correct answer is we don't know yet. Keep looking. Much more research is needed. We not only don't know the answers, we don't even know all the questions yet!

I wouldn't expect that to change in the foreseeable future.

Boffins find RAT-SIZED bug-muncher links man to beast


Article Has Problems

So, the ancestor of all placental mammals arose around 36 Million Years after the end of the dinosaurs. Lets see now. dinosaurs ended around 65 Million years ago. 65-36 = 29 Million Years ago for the common ancestor of all placental mammals. That puts it at roughly the same time as the origins of the horse, the elephant and the whales in the fossil record. Primate skeletons that date to roughly 60 Million years ago have been found. Were these not then placental mammals?

Nope, sorry, don't buy it. Something is wrong with their model. Perhaps they are using the same model that the climate people are are using. You know, the Hockey Stick one that proves we all cooked to death last year.

If their model is true, what am I to make of the fossil teeth of rats and opossums that are found in layers with dinosaurs? Perhaps they were sneaked in by the folks in the Kentucky museum?

This whole fascination with computer models and reliance on them to the exclusion of evidence is very troubling for me. I remember the late 1960s when power company employees routinely told customers with errors on their bills that 'Computers don't make mistakes'. We learned that in reality computers make every mistake they are told to make.

The folks who did this are in error. Time to find the error in the program. Am I the only one who finds debugging a real pain?

BBC: What YOU spent on our lawyers in Secret Climate 28 debacle


Re:Re: Murdoch

The BBC News is somewhat biased, but, so is most of the News programming here in the US. the 'Major Networks' which include CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN all take their marching orders from the New York Times. The NYT in turn is owned by a former 'hippie' who believes that the Viet Nam War was started by the Republican Party (America's involvement there with combat troops was actually a ploy by President Lindon Johnson, a Democrat, to defuse criticism that he was 'soft on Communism'), and that the Communists should have won the Cold War. (He is ignorant of the fate of journalists under any totalitarian regime. He has no clue what 'Up against the wall' really means.) This means that news coverage and editorial slant in the US is determined by a select group of no more than 20 people, who all live in the same area and all imitate each others prejudices and opinions. Those people then decide what is and what is not news, based on what they want to hear. The government owned/operated network, PBS/NPR is somewhere to the left of the New York Times. Every news organization, of course, claims that it is the only one that is 'fair and balanced'. None are.

As far as I have been able to find out, no news reporting organization has ever been unbiased and accurate. They are, after all made up of people. People always have opinions. Opinions expressed are what constitutes bias.

The lone large hold out in the US News Industry is Fox News. CNN used to be the hold out, but, when Ted Turner bought Time-Warner in the late 1990s and with it CBS, and then married (Hanoi) Jane Fonda, CNN was folded into the same NYT worshiping group.

Fox News is a different sort of hold out. Rupert Murdoch wants to make money, so he tries to serve a market that is under-served. Fox News uses opinion polls to find where the average of American Opinion is, and then makes that set of values their Editorial Standard.

I understand that in the UK he follows the same formula (find a market that is under served and fill it), but there, he is in the tabloid (rumor, scandal and gossip) market. Here in the US, that role is filled by the National Inquirer, which is distributed over an area larger than all of Europe (excluding the former Soviet Union) so that market niche is already taken.

CNN has noticed it is slipping against Fox, and is starting to provide less pro-socialist, anti-religious bias (the standard NYTimes agenda) during off election years. The US is generally more religious than Europe is.

In the US, Fox News has a 45% viewership share, verses 55% split among all the other five or six sources.

If you look at an election map by county of America from the last Presidential Election, President Obama and his party lost in 95% of American counties, but, won by a large amount in the large cities of the Northeast US, and the west Coast. He also won in Chicago and a few other large cities where the Metropolitan Population is well over 1 Million people. These are areas with large numbers of publicly supported people, such as welfare recipients, government workers (except military personnel) and university professors and students. There were also a couple of million dead people who voted for him. That is normal for Chicago politics.

Like most cases, these people in the largest cities vote for Democrats (the current mild pro socialist party in America) because they expect to get money from them. The other side, includes the Military, and those who don't want more government or taxes. They worry that the government will take more money from them.

Republicans are not really anti-socialist, they just want to take it slower. After all, socialism means more government power. Politicians don't go into power because they don't want power.

Historically, Democrats have since 1846 taken money from the Military to spend on their supporters, usually in causes that will not benefit more than a few percent of the nations people. Historically, Democrats get the US involved in major wars just after the military gets reduced. Soldiers know this very well. Presidents Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Trueman, Johnson, Carter, Clinton and Obama have all given proof of this.

Both parties, of course, support government sponsored monopolies in large corporations. The two parties just have different industry groups they support. There is considerable overlap among the largest corporations with the two parties. Most of what is called the Fortune 500 actually support both parties to assure that the winner owes them. It works too. General Electric, for instance, usually pays no Federal Taxes. Microsoft has lost at least two Anti-Trust cases that should have resulted in the breakup of the company, they had to call in a couple of favors and then Microsoft was actually allowed to write the settlement, and even to have one judge replaced because he knew too much about what the company had done.

The other political parties in the US are not large enough to matter in a system where winner takes all on a county or state basis. Only the Libertarians have had any victories in living memory. The Communists, the Greens, the Socialists and the various hate groups combined have less than 1% anywhere in the US. The Libertarians pull around 5%, but that is spread around the entire country.


But back on the topic, The BBC has several large money products in the United States. The US Government financed network, PBS, airs many of the stuffier BBC dramas, mysteries and selected comedies, along with it's own science and political support/propaganda programming. The Beeb is paid for this content. Also, the US Cable industry offers Beeb programming as a possible extra, and internet program providers such as Netflicks and Hulu include Beeb productions in their programming lineups. Dr. Who, for instance, is quite popular here in the US. So are the endless imitations of Jane Austins novels with extremely proper aristocracy carrying on.

I don't know what the money flow to the Beeb from the US is, but, it is certainly well over 100 Million Dollars per year. Perhaps, as high as a Half Billion per year. Even that amount is just a drop in the bucket compared to the money Hollywood pulls in, but it is still a respectable drop from a very large bucket.

Sorry, I should not go on so much.

Asteroid mining and a post-scarcity economy


Re: When...

Like most commentators, you mix up two entirely different costs associated with off earth travel.

The first is Launch Cost, which has been in the neighborhood of $1000.00 per Kg, but which has recently fallen to approximately $100.00 per Kg. The second is return cost, which is in contrast less than $1 per Kg.

To make orbital mining or other Solar System resources Recovery work, you have to send the people to operate it along with the machinery needed ONCE. They then in turn have to send the products back Many Times. It would take many years (probably 4 to 7) to make enough to pay for the boost up.

With that time frame, the effort is actually a COLONY.

There is also the little matter of trip time. The trip time for rendezvous with most asteroids is on the order of weeks to months, but, the return time is then on the order of years. You have to wait for the orbits to intersect or for a transit window to open. It's not like you can just send stuff back any old time. It can take years for the product to arrive back at the Earth, or wherever.

Asteroid miners hunt for platinum, leave all common sense in glovebox

Thumb Up

Re: robots

That's how mining is already done right here on Earth. Machines do the digging and the transporting. People just do the driving. Why would an asteroid mine be any different?

The problem for you is the speed of light delay. That's the real reason to send people there. It's to lose the lag.

Right now, it takes Opportunity around an hour to move a fraction of a meter because of the speed of light delay time. You don't want to have that on a space mining mission, where your cost is on the order of $4 Million per hour.

The Authors problem is that he thinks that Platinum is the only thing that will be sent back. It's a much bigger list than that. Platinum, sure, also rhodium, anntiomny and such, but the list includes silver and gold too, perhaps even copper. Steel and aluminum will be essentially by products, but they will be used in the containers for shipping back.

Very high cost to get there, very low cost to get back. That is the basic paradigm for Space Industry. Send very little, and get back as much as you can.

Anybody need 10^9 tonnes of iron? I know where you can get it.

What pays for this will probably turn out to be something different than we think. Sure, the Platinum will be nice, but, there is so much other stuff there to take. They WILL find ways to make money off of this. If, that is they can ever get together the $500 Million US Dollars it takes to send out the first one.

The Author was concerned about trespassers on the asteroid. That's not a concern. Orbital ballistics will protect them. There are after all other targets that are available at different times. Since the first thing a miner will have to do is to build a smelter plant, any competitors will probably want to use the existing smelter. It's just less expensive and quicker. Competitors who pay you are not really rivals.

I just LOVE Server 2012, but count me out on Windows 8 for now


Re: Thanks for the warning..

@Ray Foulkes, That's why there is XFCE.

40,000 sign petition to oust Rep. Paul 'pit of hell' Broun


Such An Amusing Gathering of Ignorance

I often like the Reg. This particular Article is an excellent example of why.

First,, most of the posters here don't know anything about this particular case. They are just repsonding ignorantly to the headline, and the obviously ignorant Author.

The person in question is a US Congressman, representing a largely rural District. His background is an undergraduate degree Chemistry, followed by the four years of Medical School necessary to practice Medicine in the US. US Medical Doctors have to study something other than Medicine, and obtain a Bachelor's Degree before enrolling in Medical School. I know it is different in Europe. Like Europe, a US Osteopath can begin his version of Medical School on entry into College, but, Osteopaths (D.O.) don't have the respect that MD's do, and are not recognized as able to practice Medicine in many US States. US Medical Doctors officially have a Doctorate.

He is also a Former US Marine, where he was a jet engine mechanic.

The Author will NEVER be treated by this man, nor will anyone else, as he no longer practices medicine. A Congressman doesn't have time. With a two year term, The House of Representatives members are always running for re-election. That's what the occasion in the video was.

Congressman Braun is a member of the Science and Technology Committee. along with 45 other Congressmen from both primary political parties. Given that he is on that committee, he is probably something of a Space Buff. The committee currently recommends that the NASA budget remain the same, though, they do want to trim some from the NSF, around 5% there. I am sure it's not like you have in the UK where there are no cuts to Science Funding, right?

BTW, most Congressmen don't attend even half of the meetings of the Committees they are on. You get on a committee by asking. That is the only requirement, if you are a member of Congress. Most Congressmen are members of several committees.

The petition is a meaningless stunt. No number of signatures from San Francisco or even London will have ANY affect on the committee membership of the Congressman.

I also wonder (and laugh) at something else. The video is of an address made to a religious meeting in Georgia. Those folks, unlike the ones in SF or UK, DO have an imput on whether the Congressman can stay on the Committee or not.

Perhaps it's just here in the US, but, Politicians here in the US often tailor their remarks to the Audience they are speaking to. Perhaps your politicians are always honest and blunt, but, ours are not.

Obama often does this, Biden always does. Romney does some too. each tells the Audience they are talking to what they think that Audience wants to hear. As you might have noticed since Obama was given a Nobel Peace Prize for what he WAS GOING TO DO, not for anything he had done, what a politician says and what he does are not always a perfect match.

I suspect that Congressman Braun is cut from the same cloth.

There is an old story here in the US, of a Texas Congressman who was waiting to board an airliner when he noticed a four year old boy who was near panicked about the upcoming flight. He approached the boy and his mother, and talked to the boy about his time as an Air Force Pilot in Vietnam. The boy listened raptly to the adventures, which included dodging missiles, and dogfights with MIG jets. (The congressman was a decorated Ace.) Then he told the boy, that this flying on the airliner wasn't at all exciting like that. He said "If I can't see out the window, I wouldn't be able to tell the plain was flying. The boy then calmly got on the plane with his mother.

The Congressman's Aide asked him "You told him about your Service Experience, but, you never told him you were a Congressman. Why not?"

The answer "Look, I wanted the kid to LIKE ME! No one likes a Congressman."

Your United Kingdom looks so provincial in this blog. You really are quite amusing.

Greens wage war on clean low-carbon renewable energy


Re: plenty of fuel

The US is the 3rd or 4th largest producer of petroleum. The problem is that it is the largest user of petroleum. That is changing, as next year, China is expeceted to be the largest user of oil.

The current known reserves of petroleum are sufficient for an estimated 50 years. The current reserves of coal are sufficient for an estimated 400 years, both at current usage rates.

The current known reserves of Uranium are sufficient for an estimated 200 years. That is using existing technology. Using both plutonium, existing stocks of depleted Uranium, and thorium, Nuclear can be stretched out to 500 to 1000 years.

Population growth has slowed. Europe and most of Asia now have declinimg populations. The fastest shrinking is currently Japan. China is expected to see population decline beginning in about 5 years. The population in the US and Canada is below reproduction levels, but is increasing by importing people from other areas of the world. UN projections have the maximumm population reached around 2050, at 9 Billion. It is currently around 7 Billion.

Food supplies, if used wisely, and farmed effectivly could feed 15 Billion at modern European levels. That is just using currently available farm land, at current US farm efficiency.So, it looks like food won't be a problem, unless we turn to Bio Fuels, and start burning food again.

For energy supplies, Fusion continues to be 20 years away, just as it has been since 1937. It's hard. A hot charged plasma creates electric current that make magnetic fields which oppose any fields used to contain it. For every step closer to a solution, we find two new problems.

Also, every power generation has problems Coal dirties the air, as do oil fired power plants. Gas power plants produce CO2. Solar power plants heat the area, and shade the ground, preventing plant growth, which can collapse entire ecosystems if used extensively. Wind kills flying things, and if used large scale will impact rainfall patterns and reduce available fresh water supplies. Nuclear has radioactive by products (for a while). Geothermal appears to increase the incidence of earthquakes. Hydro power drowns entire ecosystems.

It seems that no matter what we do, we have an impact on the world around us.

What is needed is a real cost/benifit analysis.

But, political opinions are mainly emotional, and do not respond rapidly to mere facts. Don't expect the "Greens" to change quickly. It will take a decade before they move to forbit any further Wind/Solar/Ocean current/wave energy schemes. That will be after they have experienced the harm those do several times.

Pirates not to blame for Big Media's sales plunge



"When someone develops a business model that allows the generation of profit, without any product creation or customer base, they will have created the perfect company and share holders will wet their collective pants with glee."

It's already been done. It's called IT.

Don't believe me? ask any IT group to tell you what it does.

What you will hear is that users are idiots, and not customers. IT exists in most practicioners only as a means of keeping the machines running.

Reality of course is that IT is only a cost sink that provides tools for others to use to do the things that make the company it's money.

Same with Software Companies. Microsoft. You don't think that Microsoft cares about what real End Users want, do you? if they did, there would be no Windows 8!


Re: Or the RIAA can just sue you into dust.....

no, they outsource that. There are a near limitless number of Lawyers who will take a case on only commission. So, it costs the RIAA nothing. Why pay for what they can get for free?

RIAA only has a few hundreds of employees. They are after all, really only a vehicle to get around anti-competition laws in the EU and US. Same with MPAA, but it's even smaller as a real organization. Mostly secretaries and lobbyists.


Re: Excellent article

It's nothing new. Remember Netscape? Stacker? Borland? Lotus 1-2-3? Microsoft has been doing this kind of thing for over 30 years now.


Re: Nailed It!

For me, the difference is already there. I don't buy many DVD's. Never have. I do buy some that are greatlyt reduced in price. (Seldom pay more than 10 Dollars, rarely more than 7.) but, lately, I don't buy DVD's at all. It's just to easy to go to Hulu or Netflicks and stream.

Much the same with music. The music I like isn't really mass popular. I prefer Classical, Baroque or Renassiance. The folks who produce it are seldom given much shelf space. But, I can go online and find lots that is quite reasonable. Smaller orchestras are often the best venue for unusual stuff, and radio stations online are sometimes the easiest way to find these things.

'Albums' of classical from small town orchestras or even selected high schools and colleges are really quite good enough for casual listening.

My son, who is really into Techno can only ever find that online. Same goes for real ragtime or swing.

Now, what is the purpose of these large Media Consortia again???


Re: Doesn't matter

No, Piracy should be a criminal, even capitol crime. Real pirates kill people, rape women, steal, burn ships, extort an so forth. Indonesia has cracked down on it's pirates, Somalia is the current largest supporter of real piracy. Real Piracy has always been an act warranting war.

RIAA and MPAA (often collectively referred as MAFIAA) don't care about real piracy, they only care about imaginary piracy, which they affirm is drastically reducing their imaginary sales. It isn't real piracy, it's just copying without permission. But, there isn't that much of it going on. that's because what the MAFIAA are selling isn't worth copying.

Oh, and one more thought the Parent Poster is wrong, Really, denile IS deriver in Egypt. It's even on demap!!


It's just Monopoly in Action. Governement involvement in economies always messes things up.


Business Profiteering

Standard Harvard Business School. They teach that the job of a corporate executive is to maximize profits this quarter, then take the money and run.

Of course, the best way to make huge profits on a short basis is to sell the factory, gut anything longer term than later this year, and then have the board award you (and it) HUGE bonuses. Then, you can use your resume as a "Top CEO" to get on another company, or to join the Board of another couple of corporations.

Harvard started teaching this in the 1960's, it came to the fore in the 1970's, and America got all outsourced by the 1980's. It's now standard MBA program world wide.

New industry wasn't quite in that way of doing things yet, so the new "High Tech'" survived. But, they are now being migrated from the ranks of 'New Startups' to 'Professionally Managed' (read MBA managed) corporations. So, expect the life of a Tech Titan to be about 20 years.

By the way, Apple and Microsoft are both now about 30 years old. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are both gone. Microsoft no longer has most of it's workforce in the US, and Apple no longer owns any factories. Like HP, where the generation after Hewlett and Packard have all been replaced with "Professional Managers". It's not any wonder that HP is going rapidly downhill. Microsoft and Apple will follow.Whitman and company are not real HP. Eisner was not Walt for Disney. It's the victory of the vacuous and ruinous.

Phobos-Grunt 'crippled by US aurora station', 'is a bio-weapon'


So How Do The Conspirists React To The News That

So, how do the conspiracy theorists react to the news that the bacteria in the container and the container were provided by the US Space Society, a non profit group of advocates that want to see America colonize Mars, and also want to invite the Russians and Chinese along?

Superhero oil-burping algae will save the world



Electric cars have been around for well over 100 years. They work better than ICE cars do, except for one thing, Range. Gas powered car just go farther, and can be refueled faster. That is what sealed the fate of the Electric Car by 1910. It's been the bugaboo for them ever since.


Global Cooling

You are probably too young to remember. But, 30 years ago, before Global Warming, there was Global Cooling. Yes, you are correct, the only thing that could save us was the same solutions that are being pushed today to 'solve' Global Warming. so, there is precedent for what you are saying.


Answering concerns

for your concerns,

1. Technology exists today to extract the CO2 from the air at relatively low cost. Basically, what you have are calcium ions in some kind of membrane. It can be solid or liquid. Air is blown over the membrane. The CO2 sticks to the calcium, forming single molecules of limestone (Calcium carbonate). When heated to around 150 C, the carbonate disassociates back to CO2 and calcium. with proper heat transfer, there is little energy lost. The disassociation occurs in a chamber, and the CO2 is captured. This process was developed for carbon sequestration (CCS). It works just fine for atmospheric CO2 capture also. Then the CO2 is just compressed, and transported. Later, you release it into the algae growing medium.

2. They are not talking about ANY fermentation process. They are not intending to produce ANY ethanol. That is a different bio fuel. Oils generally have a higher energy density than alcohols do.

Also, on 2., yes, you do need some sort of fertilizer. Sewage waste works just fine, as does the dead algae that the oil was recovered from. Almost any biological waste will do. There is also a need for nitrogen. Air supplies this. Fortunately, most algae can 'fix' the nitrogen. Most plants cannot. The usable nitrogen is usually in some form of ammonia or a compound of it.



Photosynthesis is inefficient for most purposes because the plant uses the sugar produced to make structures like leaves, stems, roots and then seeds. It's the seeds you want, so you disallow the rest of the plants production. The actual photosynthetic process is around 25% efficient, which is very close to the thermodynamic limit.

Algae have the advantage that as single cells, they don't build support structures (stems) or resource gathering structures (roots) or even fruit bodies. They are just 'leaves' that store the excess production as either starches or oils. These systems use the oil types, and are trying to extend them to increase production. To extract the oil, just run the algae through a blender, and let the product settle out. The oil rises to the top over the course of a couple of hours. The rest can be recycled back to the growth medium (I would say to cook it first to eliminate virus and bacteria problems, we don't want to sicken the algae now, do we?). That will give the overall process a higher efficiency than you are assuming.

Growth will probably take place at sea, far from land, where there isn't a whole lot growing. Surface areas of deep oceans are in some respects like a desert. We just need floating tanks and some living space for the crews.

People have been working on this for literally generations. It's going to happen eventually. It may just have enough push this time. we'll have to wait and see.



Yes, CO2 levels are higher now than at any recent period in Human History (we think). But, they were higher 35 Million years ago than they are today, a period known as the Mid Eocene Climactic Optimum. CO2 levels were also lower than they are today for the last few million years or so, a period known as the Ice Ages. In the distant past, the levels of CO2 were both higher and lower than at any time in the past 100 Million years. And YES, those extreems do seem to be harmful to our kind of life. But, they don't occur until levels get more than an order of magnitude higher or lower than they are today.

And know what, Life survived.

Latest evidence is that the long term climactic effect of all the CO2 we are releasing is not very major. Greenland hasn't melted, in spite of the 'hockey stick' graph (a programming error). Nor did we all freeze to death as predicted by the models used in the 1970's.

Models are just that, models, not the real thing. We use models to predict, then by comparing the model with reality, we hope to learn something.

So far all we have really learned is that our climactic models aren't very good. That doesn't mean that we should ignore the scientists using them, nor does it mean that we should all run around announcing the end of the world.

What it really means is that there is more to learn. We just aren't done yet. Keep studying. Make new models, and test them. The best tests break the model. That means that the results so far are good. Now, we need to understand why the last 40 years of models failed to predict long term. Once we think we know why, it will be time for more models.

It is indeed true that human activity is effecting the planet. It's more a question of cutting down forests than it is of dramatic climate change. It's more a question of pollution than it is of end of the world scenarios. There are indeed large portions of the world that need better care.

Cleaning up a yard is easy. Cleaning up an ocean is not.

Something needs to be done about all of that. But, the Air Conditioning Coolants released by the 'third world' and 'BRIC' countries is having more of an effect than all of the current CO2 releases are. Methane is also much more important than CO2 totals are. Contrary to popular opinion, cows do not release the majority of the methane on earth. Bacteria do.

The truth is that CO2 is only a weak greenhouse gas. Methane is around 10 X more powerful, Water vapor (clouds) is around 20 to 40 X more powerful, and Freon is over 1000 X more powerful. (fortunately, freon is only at concentrations of around 1/10 of a percent.)

It might help if we knew what the optimum CO2 level for the earth was. But, we don't. More CO2 means that plants will grow faster. Too much and animals will have problems breathing. (We are animals too!) But, those levels are more than a power of 10 higher than we are now. If agriculture becomes more productive, and climate isn't vastly changed, then we might even find that future governments will find reasons to require MORE carbon burning, not less.

It is also quite possible that there can be reasons on the other side too.

We just don't really know. It's all guesswork right now.

But after all that, the Algae being worked on right now is a good thing, long term.

It's really a very complicated world. Simple solutions often have very strange consequences.



Oil, think Olive Oil, not Petroleum oil. For most sea life, it's food. But even so, spills are bad because they are wasteful.


"Cutting energy usage by 50% or 75% is "easy"? Holy crap, what is "hard" then - interstellar travel?"

Yes, interstellar travel IS hard. But, it is slowly being worked on. DARPA in the US currently has a program going on that. The '100 year starship'. There have been past programs, such as the old Daedalus program. NASA also had one that assumed fusion power would be available. These are for people carrying vehicles. They all need centuries to reach their destinations. But, the design is being worked on.

Algae farms though, are relatively easy. Just give them food and light. It's square feet that is important. This has been done for a long time now.

For energy savings of up to 50 %, take your baseline from the early 1979's. we are already over 30% in energy savings, so, only another 15% to go.

UK nuclear: Walking into darkness with eyes screwed shut


Pumped Hydro

This is a proposal for using wave energy to set up a pumped hydro scheme. The problem is that it requires a lot of wave energy generators to get the output. A working gigawatt version will probably never be built. Plan on getting around a couple of liters per second from each wave generator.

It's the old saying. "There is as much strength in a million fleas as in one ox. Did you ever try to harness up a million fleas?" It looks good, but it will be very expensive to implement. Also, the pumped seawater will contaminate the water table with salt.


Tidal Power

to generate appreciable amounts of power with the tides, you need to contain a LOT of water. It's a fairly low head process, usually less than 2 meters. A good hydro site will have over a hundred meters of head. That means that you have to move a lot of water to make up for the relativly low pressure.

There are really not very many sites in the world that can generate a lot of tidal power. I am aware of one in France, and two in the US. It takes a very long bay subject to very high tides. Also, this is a very intermittent power source. Half of the day you are filling up, and 1/4 of the day discharging. The remaining 1/4 of the day, the head is too low for effective electrical power generation. This has all been studied in detail around 20 years ago.


It's Been Done

In the US, on the Great Plains, many farms were up until the late 1950's too far to get reliable electricity off the grid. Those farmers bought wind turbines and batteries and ran their houses and much of the in place farm equipment from the electricity. In modern terms, it took around $60,000.00 to run a typical house. If you want an electric car, then double it.

The truth is that power off the grid is cheaper. And yes, batteries are the major cost. Plus, the life of most batteries is only around 5 years, so plan on replacement on a regular schedule.


You don't scrap the computers

In replacing Windows with LInux or BSD Unix, you don't scrap the boxes. the other systems will run just fine on the old hardware, maybe better.

Similarly, in switching from Uranium to Thorium, you don't scrap the old engineering concepts, you just have to change the input variables. The same physics works. the same dangers are there.

Thorium is harder to get to go through the cycle, but it does go through it. basically, Uranium has more bang for the buck. Just as gasoline has more bang for the buck than CNG. That's why a gasoline fueled car goes farther than a natural gas fueled one.

Oh, and the Thorium cycle DOES potentially produce some fissionable by-products. But, just as the proposed thorium reactors will 'burn' many of the byproducts, a Uranium reactor can also be designed to 'burn' the plutonium produced in the reactor.

There is a lot of discussion on these topics which should go on before a national course of action is selected. The discussion should go through from a physics based level to an engineering level before the politicians ever get involved.

The Lords seem to be listening. That's good for the UK. I wonder if Commons will be as logical and level headed?

Major overhaul makes OS X Lion king of security


Good Points

Most if not all of these 'Security Fixes' have been available in Linux for over 10 years, if the user wanted them. They have been available in Windows at least since Win7. Even the BSD versions that Apple uses under the hood have had all of these measures available since long before Apple ripped off the BSD core for Darwin. How does any of this put Apple first? All of these measures were available in the source since long before OSX. Apple is just doing what they should have done with the first edition of OSX.

For a true leapfrogging, Apple should have integrated something like SE Linux. Or perhaps something actually new. But, Apple is still the last to implement any security.

Microsoft seems to do it right. They watch Linux development carefully, and copy what works. Linux is where the real experimentation happens. SE Linux is the best security currently available, but is difficult to use. App Armor is easier to use, and provides a 'reasonable' level of security. Microsoft has effectively included the most important features of App Armor into Win7. Over time, they will probably do the rest. Apple is still the last to the party.

Apple is still dedicated to the triumph of style over substance.


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