Whoever thought that was a good idea needs a good spanking - by Alice or Bob.
95 posts • joined 10 Sep 2012
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It's a perpetual motion machine of the 1st kind
And as such is capable of producing free energy forever. When allowed to freely accelerate on a wheel, there comes a point where the kinetic energy (quadratic with time) exceeds the total input energy (linear with time). Knock yourselves out. Throw away your coal and nuclear reactors and stop fracking.
Or it doesn't work and what's seen is experimental artifact.
We are going about this space business entirely the wrong way. The key to opening up space is cheap launches, and rockets (even reusable ones) don't cut it - only two technologies do: StarTram and Skylon. Once up there, the DEEP-IN system will allow us to weave a web of light around the solar system for almost-fuelless propulsion around the place in record time. That is the vision to which we should aspire.
There, now you have three new terms to Google.
Default admin password, weak Wi-Fi, open USB ports ... no wonder these electronic voting boxes are now BANNED
That design is a travesty
As an electronics engineer, I wouldn't design it anything like that. Chiefly, I would not allow any communications (wifi, LAN, internet, bluetooth) with the box while voting is going on. Each box is preloaded with the registration list - a list of social security numbers pertinent to the locale - and a vote consists of
a) self identification via SS number
b) the vote itself
When voting is complete, voting data is extracted via a USB port using encrypted protocols.
That's not 100% tamper-proof, but it's pretty good.
There is no need for a complex OS. The functions described can all be done with an extremely primitive microprocessor and some flash memory.
And on a political note, dissatisfaction with all of the candidates should be available for a vote via a choice labelled "None of the above". This carries more punch than simply not voting. It means you took the trouble to point out that all the candidates are shite.
Context, context. If there's no tx/rx at Alpha Centauri, there's no point in having one here. But if there is one there, it means we can get there and have already done it. Which means 550 AU is "local" for us already.
My main point is that such comms cannot be detected by the usual SETI methods, and as such assures a high degree of privacy. If that's the aliens' cup of tea, you'll never know, and SETI is a waste of effort.
But it does give a sensible answer to the Fermi question, even in the face of the ongoing blizzard of new exoplanet discoveries
Conventional wisdom about interstellar comms gets well thumped when a civilisation starts using Claudio Maccone's gravity lens system. The idea is to use one's own star as a giant focuser of radio and light waves. Great telescope, great radio antenna. With about 10 watts we could establish comms with the Alpha Centauri system and get 5 by 9 clarity and good bandwidth. Hard to believe, but that's what the maths says. Of course, there is a bit of a lag.
Our own grav focus begins at about 550 AU out. We'd place a transceiver (nuclear thermal powered I assume) on the opposite side of Sol to the target star system. At the target system we'd do the same. So we end up with a straight line that links remote Tx/Rx - remote star - Sol - local Tx/Rx.
The chief impediment we ourselves currently face is the ability to make such long trips quickly. Once we have that, we could set up radio comms all over the place.
But to the question about aliens. If they are using this mode of communication, there's not a chance in hell that we could detect it.
There's a heavy piece of irony here, as Maccone is chief of SETI.
Nobody mentions space-based solar power, and you should
Launch costs will have to come down below $200/Kg for this to be viable.
Thinking Big Picture like this will generate new industries that are of direct benefit to all of us.
In the meantime, aneutronic fusion is a desirable near-future goal - perhaps Focus Fusion will win the day.
Well, first of all to that despicable little NSA shit - go boil your head.
These people have lost touch with reality. I wouldn't normally be concerned, except that they are doing it on our tax dollars to the tune of billions, and are seemingly immune from being axed as an institution. Where are the politicians with the balls to toss the NSA on the garbage heap? We did fine without them before. NASA or the health care system could use that money.
The thesis of this idiot appears to be that if there's data that they cannot snoop, then it's a terrorist network. That way lies a 1984 society. It is a price most of us are unwilling to pay.
The elephant in the room is the inescapable fact, true for all propellantless drive ideas, that it is not only a perpetual motion machine, but that it can be made to generate free energy forever. This can be seen using very basic school physics. Constant input power generates constant thrust (it is claimed) and thus we get constant acceleration. Thus total input energy increases linearly with time, but output (kinetic) energy increases quadratically with time. It should now be clear that if you put this device on a wheel, there exists a breakeven speed above which free energy can be continuously obtained.
Therefore Shawyer is talking out of his arse when he says that the stored energy drops as the machine goes faster. Physics demands there be no preferred frame of reference, so pray tell, Roger old chap, how the cavity knows its velocity relative to its original rest frame?
I believe the thrust measurement is an artifact of induced patch charges. The only way to truly settle the debate is to do a space-based test.
Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy fame has posted an animated gif of the left and right NAVCAM views, showing that it's in one and not the other. Normally that would be the end of the argument, but not necessarily in this case. That's because we're looking at irregular terrain and the occlusion details differ between left and right cameras.
There's also the issue of simultaneity between the two cameras; then the left camera showing nothing would mean that the flash only began in time for the right camera to grab it.
Either or both of these caveats argue for Curiosity to live up to her name, and to get the hell over there and check it out. But this is NASA, so they won't.