The Space Shuttle was an Expensive Boondoggle

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January 5th, 2017 at 1:53:39 PM permalink
Ayecarumba
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 78
Posts: 1201
Quote: Face
...Without clear, repeated, and full understanding that you will be abandoned, you go get your man.


Agreed. It is who we are, and what we do. It is also why everyone is so angry at the Epi-Pen, and other Pharma CEO's jacking the price of their products 1000's of %. Not cool. The airbag company that knew reports of deaths from their products were coming in, but remained silent... Not cool.

I agree with the Wizard that there is a price to life. However, if you were to analyze my spending, the other guy's is always worth a lot less than mine.
January 5th, 2017 at 1:57:15 PM permalink
JB
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Member since: Oct 23, 2012
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Quote: Wizard
Suppose science found a way to create electricity at 10% the current price

Have you heard of star in a jar ?
January 5th, 2017 at 2:50:31 PM permalink
Ayecarumba
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 78
Posts: 1201
Quote: JB
Have you heard of star in a jar ?


Sounds like the source of the DeLorean Time Machine's power at the end of "Back to the Future"... Mr. Fusion


While boundless waste free energy sounds like a good idea... How do the Germans plan to turn it off when it is time to replace the supercold cooling apparatus?
January 5th, 2017 at 3:15:26 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 301
Posts: 9766
Quote: JB
Have you heard of star in a jar ?


It seems remarkably similar to "hype-in-the press."

The article refers to a device known as a Tokamak. These have been around since the 1950s. The name is Russian in origin, and the first ones were built in the Soviet Union (it's that old). It's positive news that a new kind was developed and works well, but hardly a game changer. Work on fusion has been ongoing for about as long.

BTW, Fusion, when it finally comes (if it ever does), will be the biggest disappointment since fission. Back then the hype was "electricity that will be too cheap to meter." Now it's "the waste product is Helium."

The latter is true enough. Helium is chemically inert and non-radioactive (even its isotope Helium 3). It's even useful as a coolant, for filling balloons and blimps, and a few other things.

But the impression is that radioactive waste won't be a problem any more, and that's not true. Fusion produces positrons, which annihilate electrons, which produces a lot of energy and gamma rays (or rather a portion of that energy is emitted as gamma rays). Gamma rays are bad news for living things. they also tend to destabilize atoms they come in contact with, like say the fusion reactor chamber, and turn that radioactive in time.

That's still orders of magnitude better than radioactive fission waste, for one thing you won't be able to turn radioactive reactor parts into a nuclear weapon, but it's still a problem.

When you get to the bottom of things, you always find out There Ain't No Such a Thing As A Free Lunch.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
January 5th, 2017 at 3:23:23 PM permalink
Wizard
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Quote: Nareed
Counter-question: Someone close to you is sick and will die soon. There is a treatment, which is 100% effective, but it's worth twice the amount you calculate their life is worth. You have access to that much money Do you spend it on the treatment?


Since it is someone close to me, yes, I'd spend it.

Quote:
BTW, did you know coal burning electricity plants produce a larger amount, as well as a more dangerous kind, of radioactive pollution than nuclear power plants? Only unlike nuclear plants who contain the waste, coal powered plants dump it in the atmosphere.


I didn't know that but I believe it. I'm already very anti-coal and pro-nuclear so you're singing to the choir with me.
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
January 5th, 2017 at 4:07:24 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 301
Posts: 9766
Quote: Wizard
Since it is someone close to me, yes, I'd spend it.


You wouldn't mind overpaying for a human life?


Quote:
I didn't know that but I believe it.


But is it true, or is it something someone told you?

Many people think it's due to carbon-14. But the half life of carbon 14 is much shorter than the time it takes for coal to form. At best coal contains only traces of carbon 14.

The danger is ash, which contains more than traces of uranium and thorium.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
January 5th, 2017 at 7:34:24 PM permalink
AZDuffman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 95
Posts: 5621
Quote: Wizard


Suppose science found a way to create electricity at 10% the current price but it was a little dangerous and resulted in about 100 deaths per year over the whole country. Would you support it?


Absolutely! Because we lose that many using natural gas, propane, oil, and other methods. Honestly, 100 lives is really nothing, 2 per state per year. More probably die slipping in the shower.

Back to the Shuttle, I think we did well with it. NASA said it right about making it look too easy. 2 disasters in 25 years of an experimental space craft? That is one great record! How many test pilots died 1945-1960? You know you are signing up for danger when you become an astronaut. Can't deal with that, take a less risky job.

We got quite a bit out of it. If we want colonies on the Moon or Mars we have to learn how to send up payloads over and over to stage for longer flight. We have to know how longer and longer time in space affects humans. We have to know thousands of things. When the Shuttle was proposed the USA had been in space merely 15 years. The first 5 of which were tin cans with rockets under them. Then we make a craft that holds a large crew and is capable of all kinds of things and make it with 1970s tech and run it on Intel 80286 chips? That's good stuff.

But what has happened is the USA has lost her drive. Too concerned about someone dying. Too much asking "why?" Too worried about doing it as the UN not the USA. Too much analysis paralysis. It is unlikely the USA leads in space again, certainly not in our lifetimes.
The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it
January 5th, 2017 at 10:12:23 PM permalink
Fleastiff
Member since: Oct 27, 2012
Threads: 46
Posts: 3795
After we spent all our money fighting PapaDoc in every country ending in 'stan" so that Israel could watch passively as American lives were lost and all the BabyDocs fought amongst themselves, how on earth could we afford a space progam? How could conferences be held with everyone having to line up at airports for three hours before traveling. What language would be spoken at the meetings with all these refugees here insisting on clinging to their values?
And what is on the moon that is so desirable? Green Cheese?
January 16th, 2017 at 7:41:36 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 301
Posts: 9766
SpaceX launched a small constellation of satellites Saturday for the Iridium company, and managed to land the first stage on a ship. This was a polar orbit launch, done out of Vandenberg AF base in California.

I highly recommend looking up the video of the landing taken from the first stage camera.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
January 16th, 2017 at 11:48:07 PM permalink
Wizard
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Quote: AZDuffman
Absolutely! Because we lose that many using natural gas, propane, oil, and other methods. Honestly, 100 lives is really nothing, 2 per state per year. More probably die slipping in the shower.


I agree 100%. I was preparing to use natural gas as an example if I found anyone to take the other side.
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
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