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SpaceX Executive Calls For $22-25 Billion NASA Budget

WrongMonkey Re:You having problems, John Galt? (114 comments)

"And all on his own dime...."

"As of May 2012, SpaceX had operated on total funding of approximately $1 billion in its first ten years of operation. Of this, private equity provided about $200M, with Musk investing approximately $100M and other investors having put in about $100M"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...

I think SpaceX is doing some neat stuff, but let's not pretend they're any different than any other government contractor.

2 days ago
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MIT's Ted Postol Presents More Evidence On Iron Dome Failures

WrongMonkey Re: Here we go... (454 comments)

It's not the Israelis who are blocking the border crossing into Egypt. Which is one the problems overlooked in the media: even other Arab states, like Jordan and Egypt, won't allow Palestinians to immigrate.

about a week ago
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The debate over climate change is..

WrongMonkey There is more than one debate (278 comments)

1) Is climate change occurring? Scientific debate

2) Is the climate change due to human activity? Scientific debate

3) What will be the impact of climate change? Evenly political/scientific debate

4) What should be done in response to climate change? Entirely political debate

about two weeks ago
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SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Blasts Off From Florida

WrongMonkey Re:"An anonymous reader" (112 comments)

SpaceX is not competing with NASA, because NASA doesn't make rockets. NASA has input on the design requirements, but all the real work is done by private contractors, like Lockheed and Boeing. SpaceX is just a new contractor and they operate just like the others. They have some interesting new engineering approaches that may reduce costs, but it's not any fundamentally new business model.

about two weeks ago
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Buzz Aldrin Pressures Obama For New Space Exploration Initiative

WrongMonkey Re:Wonders (78 comments)

Maybe you're talking about this list of 7 Modern Wonders? http://www.asce.org/content.as... What do they all have in common? Utility. They aren't just statues or publicity stunts. They serve a purpose that has direct impact on the lives of millions of people. Something that manned space programs have failed to deliver.

You talk about inspiration, but it was quite the opposite. Men walked on the moon, showed that its a barren rock and people lost interest almost immediately. All the romance and excitement was wiped out in the face of cold reality: men stuffed in aluminum cans and struggling around in awkward suits. They didn't even accomplish that much in terms of scientific discovery. What kind of inspiration is that?

Manned spaceflight is a dead end. We're not in the wooden sailing ship stage, we're in the fish flopping onto the beach stage.

about three weeks ago
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Interview: Edward Stone Talks About JPL and Space Exploration

WrongMonkey Re:Mars Direct - Unanswered? (57 comments)

20 years of detailed plans from a man who knowns NASA, knows the politics, and has a concrete and viable mission mode

Zubrin may be a smart guy. But he has never worked for NASA. He has never had a project actually go to launch. He changes his cost estimate based on whatever seems politically expedient at the moment. There's a good reason why he's ignored by real decision makers. I don't know why you hold him and his plan on such a high pedestal. I think it's just because he's telling you want you want to hear.

about three weeks ago
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Interview: Edward Stone Talks About JPL and Space Exploration

WrongMonkey Re:Mars Direct - Unanswered? (57 comments)

How many chemical factories have been launched 230 million km away, landed on another planet and operated autonomously without error for 10 months? That's what I mean by "without precedent". Just because something is easy to do in a terrestrial lab doesn't mean you're ready to do the same task in a completely alien environment. No Mars mission has been without component failure and about 2/3rds have failed completely. That's not the kind of track record that a sane person bets their life on. And the chemical plant is just one of untested components. Rotating spacecraft for artificial gravity: looks good on paper, never been actually done. Landing a 9T payload on Mars

All that having been said - what the heck are we doing mining an asteroid? How is that on the path-to-Mars?

Mining asteroids would develop engineering experience in extracting resources in space, which is one of the components needed for a Mars mission. But not everything is about Mars. Science fiction has created a cultural obsession with Mars, but its not the only thing worth studying in space.

about three weeks ago
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Interview: Edward Stone Talks About JPL and Space Exploration

WrongMonkey Re:Mars Direct - Unanswered? (57 comments)

The SpaceX website claims that the Falcon Heavy will have 1/3rd the launch cost of its nearest competitor. So let's assume that cost reduction applies across the board. The Mars Direct mission is still $100-$200 billion. That's still a order of magnitude more than any IPO in history, with no plan for making a return on that investment. Ticket Sales? The Mars Directs plans costs were based on a four person mission. Launch costs are proportional to mass, so there's no economy of scale for adding more passengers. You need one person who is actually qualified to fly, Elon is going to want seat, that leaves two passenger seats up for grabs. Even if you sold tickets to Bill Gates and Warren Buffet for their combined net worth, that still would barely cover the cost of the mission. And those two don't seem too interested.

I think its nice that at lease one billionaire is dreaming big, but there's just no way the numbers add up for a privately funded mission to Mars.

about three weeks ago
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Interview: Edward Stone Talks About JPL and Space Exploration

WrongMonkey Re:Mars Direct - Unanswered? (57 comments)

I suspect the Elon Musk's Mars colonization program is mostly PR. SpaceX is a contractor, just like Boeing or Lockheed-Martin. Those other contractors used to publicize big plans, too. I still have some LIFE OF MARS IN THE YEAR 2000 posters that Thiokol printed out. Elon Musk might have supplied seed funding from his own pocket, but Space X operations depends on money from NASA (or other paying customers) to actually do anything. A "cheap" Mars Direct plan is estimated to cost $400-500B. Even Elon Musk can't a cut a check that size himself.

about three weeks ago
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Interview: Edward Stone Talks About JPL and Space Exploration

WrongMonkey Re:Mars Direct - Unanswered? (57 comments)

A manned mission to Mars is simply too ambitious for our level of technology. Almost all of the proposed plans, whether a round trip or permanent colonization, require in situ resource utilization, which has never been done in space before. The Mars Direct plan requires a chemical factory to operated autonomously for 10 months without error. There's no precedent for that. Technology development needs to be incremental. We need some missions that extract resources from near-earth asteroids and work out the bugs before putting lives at stake. I think that NASA's proposed asteroid capture missions are a step in the right direction.

about three weeks ago
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Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven

WrongMonkey Re:Better question... (228 comments)

You want to talk about preconceived bias? From you comment history, you claim to be a patent attorney. You're aggressive in defending patent trolls in general and this one in particular. It doesn't take a lot to connect the dots.

about a month ago
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Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven

WrongMonkey Re:Better question... (228 comments)

What's your point? Are you implying that in order to criticize someone for taking an undue portion of the credit for other people's work, that I have to do a amount of work comparable to what the person I'm criticizing is claiming in the exact same field?

about a month ago
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Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven

WrongMonkey Re:Better question... (228 comments)

*Co-author* of Modernist Cuisine, along with two other co-authors, 50 staff, 36 researchers and14 outside experts. He may have financed the project, but its not as if he wrote the bulk of the material himself.

His "award-winning BBQ" was one cook-off in 1991, where he won in a pasta category.

The guy is a professional self-aggrandizer and that's about it.

about a month ago
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Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven

WrongMonkey Re:Perfection is reached... (228 comments)

In case you didn't know, Myhrvold's major claim to fame is being former CTO at Microsoft. Yes, it really does explain a lot.

about a month ago
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U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

WrongMonkey Re:The central tenet of atheism (1330 comments)

That's not faith. That's the simplest explanation based on available evidence.

about a month ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

WrongMonkey Re:And good riddance! (273 comments)

Funny, I look at your examples of collapse and see them as signs of progress. New technology is allowing more people to become self-employed. More people are taking an interest in hobbies that increase self-sufficiency. Recycling is now economically viable.

about 1 month ago
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Fixing Faulty Genes On the Cheap

WrongMonkey Re:How long before... (105 comments)

You have the question backwards: what is the evolutionary advantage for intelligence? The smartest people certainly don't have the most kids.

about a month ago
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China Starts Outsourcing From ... the US

WrongMonkey Re:theyre doing it for some very specific reasons. (274 comments)

Check your math. I thought your inflation adjustment seemed a bit high and it turns out that the very calculator you link to agrees with me. $9779 in 1977 dollars is worth $37592.19 in 2013 dollars. Following the social security link that you provided, the national average wage index for 2012 was $44,321.67.

about a month ago
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2 US Senators Propose 12-Cent Gas Tax Increase

WrongMonkey Re:Good! (619 comments)

If you're going to argue about the necessity of taxes, then you should at least come up with a better example than an increase in fees due to bureaucratic overhead from at least three agencies. Without knowing exactly what services are required, your example sounds exactly like the mismanagement and waste that people complain about.

about a month and a half ago
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SpaceX Falcon 9R Vertical Take-Off and Landing Test Flight

WrongMonkey Re:Thank you Elon (105 comments)

I don't hate Musk, but he's not the first rich guy to have a vanity space program that ultimately goes nowhere. I'm still waiting for Bigelow Aerospace to open a space hotel with transportation provided by Virgin Galactic and Armadillo Aerospace.

about a month and a half ago

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