RE: Good Point
"They say they'd have access to email etc., but as Earth and Mars orbit at different rates, without relay satellites between the two planets, data speeds would be significantly less at apoapsis"
Radio travels at the same speed, regardless if an intermediary satellite picks it up and rebroadcasts it. This only reduces the effect of attenuation. Relay satellites would be best used to increase transmission windows, and would have one (or more) in orbit around Mars and Earth.
"So email and usenet, yes. Facebook / VoIP / videoconfering, not likely!"
Facebook would be the same as using email or usenet. Granted, the page loads would be horrendously slow (since you're limited to a pipe the width of 1/3 of a modem). Perhaps Opera Mini has finally found its niche! Just turn off images. But yes, VoIP and videoconferencing are off the table until a higher-speed transmission is set up, and no, it won't be in real-time.
"But as for the radiation issue, how feasible would it be to design a passenger compartment that had decent shielding"
This is why they said "beyond reproductive age." They don't intend to adaquately shield them from radiation. They expect reproductive capability to be nuked, as well as shortening the lifespan to 20 years (which means nothing to a 60yr-old, as they'd likely die near 80 anyway).