269 posts • joined Friday 10th August 2012 07:43 GMT
" (Though it is worthy of note that nobody else in the world except Roscosmos - no, not NASA itself, at the moment - posseses a ship capable of doing what Dragon has done.)"
Orbital Sciences has also delivered to ISS with their Antares/Cygnus vehicle.
SpaceX will have a man-rated capsule when the US gov. lends them a few quid and hands over some pro-forma contracts. I think there is also the matter of writing down what constitutes a "man rating" so a proper engineering requirements document and test plan can be formulated. I wish the US Congresscritters would realize that science more than welfare makes sense to support and get back to work... lazy bastards.
If all of this madness goes through and the boys are convicted of a sex offense, in the US they will have to register as sex offenders wherever they live, there will be restrictions on where they live and any future employer is going to see the conviction as it will be a matter of public record. They may not be able to get into college or a trade school. Any job that would put them in contact with children is out. If they thought to be an attorney, they will be disqualified.
All of this and more for talking some girls into snapping a selfie. Were I so silver tongued way back when I was in school. I wonder how many of the girls ran off to the restrooms giggling with each other and added to the boy's portfolios without being coerced for a grand laugh. I'm not so old as to forget doing things before thinking that I later regret when I was younger. Some things I didn't regret, but society at large may frown on the activities.
This is a case of mass hysteria by the Mrs. Grundys of the world. All of the teens involved need to have a serious chat with their parents who issued them the smartphones in the first place. There is no need for the taxpayers to have to fund the salaries of cops and judges for what is a lapse of proper judgement. The girls in particular need a strong word or two.
I don't consider handing kids smartphones a good idea. I see enough of the populace wandering around with their attention focused on a little black box and completely disengaged with the real world. They can be useful tools, but most people use them as toys.
Oil is not equal to Electricity
This article states that oil is being used to generate electricity which is misinformation that too many journalists keep propagating. There are only a tiny number of areas that use petroleum products (fuel oil, diesel) to generate electricity and these are in places like the Aleutian islands where populations are so tiny and dispersed that a larger installation using coal or natural gas can't be economically justified. The first world relies heavily on coal and natural gas. Hydro power generates a small proportion and is maxed out around the world. Smaller dams in many places are being removed as the power they generate is not sufficient to cover expenses and there are groups wishing to restore natural habitats (and live in trees I hope).
Geo-thermal, wind, solar and other renewables can be viable power sources, but maybe just not in the way that most people think. Being intermittent, wind and solar are hard for system operators to integrate into a grid that is designed for steady inputs so using them as power grid inputs may not be how they are best deployed.
Re: er what?
Not all of those bags of fissile material you speak of is suitable for use in power generation. In fact, I will go as far as saying that nearly all of that material is not suitable. Your first paragraph is quite sweeping and without any references is very fanciful.
@martijn - The small scale fusion you may be thinking of is on the order of a few seconds at a time. Not really all that viable even if all you want to do is check your email. Do to the cost of the technology, if fusion reactors do become a reality, they will be large. The baseline costs are too much to justify anything smaller than around 1GW facilities at current estimates.
@John Sager with the long time frames in getting the current crop of PWR built, it might make much more sense for governments and industry to cooperate in getting LFTR reactors qualified. It might even turn out that a variation on the current concept of LFTR will work better, but PWRs should be closed out just as no body is suggesting new graphite moderated plants. The technology has issues and its time has past.
Re: If a bit lands in my garden ....
If it lands in my garden, be sure to check my eBay listings.
I won't say "Sorry" for stepping on your face.
The ban had less to do with modern cell phones affecting the airworthiness of the aircraft and more about passengers paying attention to what is happening around them. The two most dangerous times of a flight are the takeoff and landing including taxiing to and from the terminal. Airlines operating in the 1st world rarely fall out of the sky in the middle of the flight, but sometimes land without all of the wheels down and bang into each other while moving around an airport. In addition, that little presentation the flight attendants do showing the safety features of the plane is mandatory and passengers should take a few minutes to note where the emergency exits are and continue to pay attention even if they know how to operate a seat belt. When the plane stops in an emergency they want you off the plane in 90 seconds or less. My goal will be to be first down the slide. If you are in my way looking around for that exit, I will go through you very impolitely.
One of the features of my SatNav that I like is that it talks to me. Sometimes it talks too much, but having spoken directions is often preferable in city traffic as I am looking out for the other guy and trying to spot the street that I'm being told is .2 miles on the left. I only mount it and turn it on when I need it. The rest of the time it's tucked away and no distraction.
Re: Glass-wearers involved in accidents
To be less flippant than in my last comment. I believe that Google is logging "the Glass experience" and may have records that could be demanded in a lawsuit.
Re: Glass-wearers involved in accidents
If the NSA does have everybody's internet record, THEY would know what the Glasshole was watching.
Re: For everyone saying 'good'..
It's not holding the phone that's the problem. It's dropping the phone, taking your eyes off of the road to scramble around in the passenger footwell trying to find where it went. If your ear mounted bluetooth thingy goes flying off into the car, you're pretty well stuffed in trying to find it agin without pulling over and reaching under the seats. The other issue is having the phone in one hand and shifting with the other... Look Ma, no hands.
In California there is a statute about driving while distracted. If you are weaving all over the road whilst practicing your air guitar routine to the tune on the radio, you can get ticketed. If you are telling your brats that if they don't behave you are going to pull over and beat them which causes you to weave all over the road, you can be cited. Besides, you should pull over and whack the little monsters every once in a while so they will know you are willing to do it. Worked for my dad.... I behaved much better in the car after that. This law helps to cover all of the new stuff that comes up without having to write another law that states that you are not allowed to play your Gameboy while driving.
Sure, Glassholes COULD be using a Nav feature but they are more likely checking email, updating their Farcebook page,... whoops, Google+ page, but probably not reading comments here at El Reg. The officer in this story was correct IMO to cite this chick for being a Glasshole. It would be interesting to find out if she ever saw the cop before he got in behind her and turned on the lights. That might be a good indicator of whether the tech was on or not. I know some cops and they tell me that they don't see that somebody is on the phone directly. They are looking at the overall scene and pick up on drivers not holding their line or driving at different speeds from the rest of traffic. That's when they focus on that car and start taking notice of the driver and passengers.
Re: Two things...
A Google+ page is a web page used by 16yo girls to talk about 18yo boys on.
Re: Time for some eminent domain!
Eminent Domain might not be necessary. The title deeds to property usually define easement and building set back requirements for utility and throughway access. This was put into place to prevent just such actions. Since this is a public beach, I would imagine that there would be regular inspections, garbage collection, police patrols and cleaning of the privies. Putting up a gate and fence not only prevents access to the pubic, but also the relevant local authorities. If somebody called for emergency services after visiting the beach via boat and the ambulance couldn't get to them, would they be able to sue this twat? Hmmm, I wonder if I should row over, call the paramedics for a heart attack and then sue when they can't get to me. Might be worth a few quid.
Why is CC better than purchasing boxed software, then? For the customer. I know it's fabulous for Adobe.
Re: A hundred of the wee pods
Since they will be so handy and cheap, after the pubs close they will also be splattered with sick.
Big question, Who is going to insure these things?
Re: for idiots
You may want to get used to it. Apple tends to do things first and the others follow. If the rest of the market sees that it's now ok to build laptops to the same spec as a Furby, they're going to start doing it. I'm not a fan of the "light as a feather and thin as a sheet of paper" school of laptop design. A little heft helps the computer stay put and a bit of thickness adds rigidity to prevent cracking the circuit boards. I am also a big fan of upgradable memory, hard drives and user replaceable batteries. Oh well. If you buy one of these, invest in a really good case and start saving for a new one by next year when the batteries go flat.
So this guy was doing pretty much the same thing that Facebook, Spokeo and the CRB's do?
Re: Oh noooooooooooo!
I have to add a LMAO to my upvote.
Fixed a typo
"Facebook has removed one video of a beheading that was posted on the free-content ad-network – and told its users to be more "responsible" about the material they dump on the site."
Facebook has removed one video of a beheading that was posted on the CONTENT-FREE ad-network – and told its users to be more "responsible" about the material they dump on the site.
There, I fixed it for ya.
Re: 30 comments in and no one has asked
"That used to be possible back in the 1990s, albeit probably via local customisation, but presumably Outlook and Exchange have improved since then and IT departments have got worse since then."
Actually, the IT department has been downsized (what a polite way for management to say that they sacked all of the the smart wonks so they could have bigger bonuses come the holidays) since it's so simple now for people to configure their own mail programs (on the computers they had to bring with them).
There is an email training course at Lynda.com. The instructor covers the scenario that lead to Cisco's mess and many of the other mistakes that MBAs make when trying to use anything more complicated than a biro.
I'm seeing typical battery life of 1 to 2 years on the tech I use regularly. Sometimes the batteries don't even last that long. I don't see myself buying anything that can't have its battery replaced even by an experienced technician. As a Mac person, I'm even put off by the newer Apple laptops that contain 4 or 5 batteries in a sealed enclosure. High tech landfill is just plain sad.
Re: How archaic
"People still use an email client by choice?"
Absolutely! Anybody that is using email professionally should be using an email client rather than a web based interface. Being able to access email with a web browser is a good option to have for the times that you need to use a computer at a hotel, internet cafe or a customer's location but a specific client can be much more functional and secure.
A dedicated email client gives one the option of choosing an application with the best combination of options to suit the user. There is also the issue of consistency brought up in this article. Providers are often changing their interfaces and features around for no better reason than to change the appearance whether it improves functionality or not. With a separate email client, you get to choose if you want to "upgrade" your feature set at a time that is most convenient to you. The change is not rammed down your throat at the whim of the provider.
Remember that in many countries the contents of your email can be subpoenaed. Spy agencies such as the NSA will have a much easier time indexing your missives if they are stored in a place where they already have free access. If you are storing your email on your own computer and deleting it off of your ISP's server, outside entities will have a hard time proving that you are not fully complying with a subpoena and the spies will have a harder time gaining casual access.
Yahoo, Gmail and other free mail services can be handy to maintain a consistent personal address as your life changes. If you want to use their services (and become their bitch... umm product) you have to put up with their fanciful whims.
Re: Thermal runaway
Chevron owns the basic patents on the NIMH batteries through a subsidiary and they are not too keen on electric cars. There are no licenses for NIMH over 10AH (IIRC) granted. Licenses are also not granted for automotive propulsion applications. Toyota is grandfathered on their license which is why they use them. NIMH is less power dense, but the cost is drastically lower. There is some good information in "Who Killed the Electric Car" and various articles online. This is one of the biggest reasons I would like to see some patent reform in the USA. Between the trolls and companies that buy up patents to sit on them, the world is a poorer place. Patents were never supposed to be used in those manners.
Re: Is it me, or is video dolt driving and filming at the same time?
"27 8x10 colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and diagrams on the back of each one"
Huge upvote for the Alice's Restaurant reference!
If Delta requires flight staff to use M$, then they will use M$. They may also bring along their own iPads in addition. Since the iPad was the first device to gain approvals, developers have come up with some excellent apps for the market and the iPad has a healthy head start.
I haven't seen the ADSB implementation. I'll have to check that out this week.
I'm going to guess that Delta is getting a kickback in some form from M$.
Re: I wonder...
about locating a non-US cloud supplier and using them, only to have them be bought out at some future date by a large US company.."
Now you need to figure in that your company is engaged in defense or aerospace work and there are strict laws about arms information that you are required to keep in country. It doesn't matter that you don't make weapons, just that the government says that your tech has weapon-like aspects. Rocket engines and certain navigation system components are a good example. Been there, got the shirts.
Re: "I think this is great!"
It might be making economic sense to the large companies that can afford a single unit by receiving special tax rebates. A single "unit" might be overkill for many medium sized business with standard operating schedules (ie. 9-5)
Re: as long as you also ensure *access* to said
I think you mean "eminent domain" where the government condemns the land, pays a 'fair' price to the owner (fair being defined as the lowest amount they can get away with) and gives the land over to a developer for a specific purpose. What Walmart does is get a multi-year tax abatement, a store built for free (due to all of the jobs they will create) and other incentives. Once the the tax abatement ends, they pack up leaving a monstrous building that can't be easily subdivided in a town now bereft of most other businesses and sets up shop just over a city or county line where they have negotiated another sweetheart deal to avoid taxes and get a new building.
Re: Slightly fruity comparison
"You can eat a lot more solid plutonium in bequerel terms without ill effect, because it passes straight through you."
Actually, Pu is toxic. Never mind the radiation, the metal itself will do you in.
Radioactive Iodine can be counteracted by non-radioactive Iodine in the form of tablets. The therapy needs to be started immediately to be most effective. The human body prefers the non-radioactive flavor and will displace the radioactive isotope. Chernobyl was a problem as it took a couple of days for the the local bosses to admit that the reactor blew up and people should be evacuated. The 15-30 that died as a result of RA I issues died from politics and a bad case of CYA by the local authorities.
Personal info for a company card?
I find it very dodgy that a corporate credit card should have backing from a personal account. A company I worked for issued cards that had limits set for each card holder. We also had to sign a agreement about what the card could and couldn't be used for. On top of the individual limits, the cards drew from a deposit account that put a limit on the overall credit in aggregation. Each month we had to submit an itemized list of the charges we made and to what project the purchases should be charged to. The reason we got the company cards is the lot of us got sick to the teeth of making company purchases on our own CC's and sometimes not getting reimbursed before the payment was due and ending up having to pay interest charges out of our own pockets. Using our own cards also impacted our ability to use the card for our personal purchases.
Why didn't Oracle have any limits on this card? They should know better. If the cardholder made some bad decisions, he should be sacked, but that doesn't relieve Oracle from taking responsibility. Oracle's ability to recover the money from the (former) employee comes down to his employment agreement and any other document he signed when he was issued the card. This is all predicated on the card not being stolen or misused by the strip club.
*Natalie Gritpants: "American Express isn't a credit card, it's a charge card and that's (one of the reasons) why lots of businesses dmn't accept it."
But, like Grogan, I still don't understand. If a business *does* accept it, and they charge it, surely they have *already* been paid, rather than issued some kind of IOU? Whether the card holder then repays the financial institution responsible is between them and it, rather than the original merchant?*
Amex charges more in transaction fees to the businesses which is why many do not accept it. It's popular for travel and entertainment as AmX provides services to the cardholder that Visa and MC do not. It isn't the difference between being a "charge" or "credit" card. AmX offers both types of cards and has done for years.
If a bill is disputed the vendor gets a "chargeback" so they haven't "already been paid". Vendors try to avoid charge backs since they affect their rating and they will get charged higher per-transaction fees. If they get too many, they may get blacklisted and no processor will work with them anymore. That would pretty much put a strip club out of business.
Re: Expenses and strip clubs
Eating exotic sushi, Kobe Beef and drinking top shelf sake can run up a pretty hefty bill. I've been in a party or two where quite the expense was run up. Not to 17K, but impressive and no strippers were anywhere to be seen.
Use your position as a new provider
Most large corporations are poorly run and this sort of thing is likely to continue. All of us that are technically adept can only persevere in our attempts to correct their deficiencies.
I have and still do receive bank notices asking me to log in to my account and update some bit of information or read the new "privacy" policy that explains all of the ways they have thought up of selling my personal data since the last update a couple of months ago. The problem is that the notices, while being legitimate, are as poorly formatted, loaded with typesetting errors and with as horrible spelling as the phishing letters. Both versions tell me that I can visit my account by clicking the following link. I have tried to explain to bank VP's and IT departments that they appear to be sending out near carbon copies of the phishing attempts in a way that contradicts their tutorials listed on their web site about how to spot and avoid the bad guys. My usual advice to them is not to include a link in their email and that customers should log in to their accounts in the usual way or visit the bank's home page or a branch office to register for online access, again without providing a link. PayPal used to be the worst offender and I spent countless hours tracking down names and email addresses of management to forward a letter I wrote up. My biggest worry is that I click one of these links some early morning before I have fully engaged my brains and type in a password.
My other advice for financial institutions is to maintain the same look on their home page and not to keep changing it around. If you get used to your bank changing its "look" every two weeks, you may not notice a rouge page that may otherwise give itself away with gross spelling, grammar and typesetting errors. Some companies also change the layout of their sign-in box frequently. I ask that if they must change their home page to send a picture of it in an email a week before to give customers a heads-up. It's strange that banks want to change their appearance so often as customers want stability in their financial institutions.
If BT has a competent IT staff, they should consult them and pay attention to their comments. The popup notice they inflicted did indeed look like malware and there is nothing that they could put on it that could possibly confirm it as a real notice. If the Reg staff did not click on any button or link, they did the exactly correct thing. I might have gone as far as pulling the power on my computer if something like that popped up. The only people that could have correlated the account number on the notice would have had to fetch it from a file in accounting. There is no way that anybody else would have that information at their finger tips, so it fails as a check. I have no idea who the ISP was for my last employer. I was provisioned and if anything went wrong, the CTO got it fixed. I like to question anyone who gives me a reason for doing something as "it's always been done that way", but I am happy to go with the old way if the reason supplied is that "it works and nobody has come up with anything better". Sending a reminder to the person in charge of accounts payable is the old way of doing it that is perfectly acceptable. Not just acceptable but preferred as it is their job to handle payments. An outside vendor communicating company business to every employee might be an actionable offense. YLMV (Your laws may vary).
As a purveyor of IT and technical news, it's in BT's best interest to be good to you for their own public image. It won't hurt to remind them of that in a tactful way and help them not screw up this bad again in future.
Re: what it's worth to me
Thanks for the write up, Nate. You and I think a lot alike. The primary reason for keeping good backups is the ability to recover your data after something bad happens. If the bad thing is that you just deleted a file or 10 by mistake, having your data in the cloud can bail you out. If you lose a hard drive loaded with current working files, it can take ages to download your backups at the expense of any other access you may need to the internet. Working with a local host with whom you have a personal connection with can make all of the difference with getting back up and running quickly.
My metric is always "Can I throw money at the problem to get it fixed". I'd rather not have to spend money to fix something I have been investing in to save me money when the fit hits the shan, but with a large anonymous service provider there is absolutely nothing I can do. There is no way I could pay them enough money to get ME back up and running as soon as possible. I have no leverage. With a local provider, I can at least drive over and stare at them until I'm back up. If the problem is further up the line, it's likely that those responsible will be working hard on the problem as it will be impacting a much larger number of people.
Nate's sneakernet for large files is a great one. Most of my stuff is small enough that I can back it up online without a problem. If I get into video production, the files will start getting very large and it might be cheaper and faster to haul a Raid box to a colo'd server for back up. The individual video clips would be easy enough to download, it's the giant mass of data from a day or two of shooting that would be a pain to shift.
The cloud providers are alway touting how great it is to have all of your files everywhere you go. My problem is that I am working all of the time and I never get to "go". I tend to plan ahead on the rare occasion when I have time to "go" so I have all of the music I want to listen to loaded on the iPod, all of my contact data is sync'd on my phone and my laptop is sync'd with my home computer. Anything online is as far aways as the moon since I usually can't even get a connection that feels snappy when retrieving email.
Re: Fingerprint scanning less secure than a PIN?
Strangely enough, I usually leave my phone in the car when I go to parties, football games and other places I don't expect to be using it so it won't get nicked. It's been a long time since I've had a quick nap at a party, but I most certainly won't be bringing my phone with me. Maybe my mates are a bit slow and haven't twigged to all of the fun that can be had by shaving off peoples eyebrows and sending a pic to all of their contacts with their own phone. Whew, lucked out there.
Even though I use a Mac, I'm not interested in getting an iPhone.
The scary bit
...is that HR departments use these data mongers to do "background" checks on applicants and take the reports they get as factual. HR departments can be pretty scary places. I've been job hunting for some time now and the advertisements I see are poorly written and contain glaring spelling mistakes that should be caught by the most basic spell-checkers. There are stories about people that have researched their profiles from some of the more prominent data collection companies and have tried to get egregiously wrong items removed without any success. While credit reporting bureaus are regulated by laws regarding the accuracy of their reports and the requirement to provide a way for the people to challenge information being held about them, these newer data aggregation firms are not regulated at all. Your best defense is to stay away from signing up for and using "social media" sites, eschewing store loyalty cards, paying cash where you can and not handing out your personal information unless there is a compelling reason to do so. It is also a good idea to find out if your employer is selling your payroll information to a salary information site. Any information gathered will be used against you and you may not ever be told.
What would you do if data collection company has that you were arrested for murder in your file when this never happened? How about grand theft auto? Embezzlement? If a prospective employer was evaluating your resume and was given this information, you will probably never hear back from them and never be told why you were passed over. It is to your advantage that there is very little data in a file about you and an HR department has to evaluate you based on your resume, cover letter and references.
There was a prescient episode of Max Headroom that had a group of people called "blanks" that erased their histories in the overseers master computers and lived off of the net. Only old farts like me will probably remember that.
Yes and No
There is a good reason for pay-per-minute phone numbers. If you have a product that is out of warranty, you can pay for the support you need on a case by case basis rather than buying a service contract on an annual plan that you may never use. It can be very hard for a company to support discontinued products. Being able to charge a nominal fee may help. I agree that there should be a mechanism so you are only billed for the actual time you are talking with somebody and not while they are playing Muzak at you. There should be a ban against any government agency using a toll line for enquiries. Anywhere that a customer has an ongoing relationship such as a bank or telephone company should have a ban on only providing a customer service number with a toll. There are times when I would be happy to pay a premium to get immediate service rather than wait in a virtual queue.
There should be a requirement that if you are placed in a queue for more than 2 minutes, there should be a way to select the music you want to listen to.
# Robots do much of the work anyway. #
Which is why differences in labor rates are far less of a factor. Tax, land, environmental laws and other inducements for corporations have a far larger effect on where companies locate facilities.
For at least some time in the US, the restriction on the nm scale of chip production restricted US fabs from shipping products overseas without special licenses. No fabs were built in the US since technology had progressed to much smaller scaled processes and a plant built in Singapore would have no such restrictions. There was also no issue with importing the completed chips into the US. The national security minders are not very good at keeping up with the state of the art and changing laws to match reality. No company is going to build a multi-billion dollar factory and hope that when it's done the laws will have been updated and they can ship product. That's too risky for a CEO to take a chance on.
Re: $ 7,100,000,000 at $ 40 per phone is
Double that number of sales at least. There are some costs involved in manufacturing the phones, after all.
Re: Other reasons the Moon makes more sense than Mars
# 4. Nuclear waste dump anyone? #
Launching nuclear waste to the moon on rockets built by the lowest bidder could be a very bad thing.
Look for "thorium remix" on YouTube. It may turn out to be possible to "burn up" a large percentage of current radioactive material in spent reactor fuel rods which are only 5% byproducts anyway. It will have to be proven if that's viable, but the prospect is certainly worth looking into as the lace panty crowd is trying to shut down all nuclear reactors everywhere.
I agree that leaving China alone on the moon with their own bases is a frighting thought. Sun Tsu. The moon is the ultimate "high ground".
Re: Solar panels on the MOON?
# Not to mention that beaming power from space is not a proven technology. #
We've proven that beaming power from the edge of the solar system to Earth is a proven technology with the Voyager probes. The only difference is the operating frequency, the power level and the lack of modulation for data transmission. All of the concepts are EXACTLY the same.
Re: What practical reason is there for going to the moon ?
Look up interviews with Steve Squires about the usefulness of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. He states that a human geologist is able to accomplish more in an afternoon than both rovers can accomplish in a year (martian year). Since he couldn't expect to go to Mars himself, the rovers were the next best option.
Human exploration garners much more interest and excitement as long as it's breaking new ground and making exciting new discoveries. Now that ISS is built, it could be manned by robots for all most people care. Going back to the moon with autonomous rovers and mindless mining robots isn't going to make for riveting campaign speeches.
# All we have to do is stage a chemical weapon attack on the moon and the americans will want to launch a rocket up there #
Lots of rockets and damn the cost. We have teach those bastards right from wrong.
Re: All energy eventually becomes heat
We'll just move the Earth further away from the sun until our population increases to the point where having a sun is a liability. If we can bring in a couple of farming worlds and get some reactionless drive technology from the Outsiders, we won't need any sort of solar systems to live in at all.
Clouds of Magellan, here we come.
Re: Screw the moon!
Wrapped around the equator of Mars (almost twice) with the ballast rock going hell bent for leather out of the system. Didn't you get the memo?
Re: advantage is of the moon over any number of hot sunny deserts
#I can see using the power on the Moon for other manufacturing, but that begs the question of what are we manufacturing there.#
Manny's sales pitch was a good one. "Endless free vaccuum, no taxes, 100 proof Stoli Vodka $.50HKL/liter, no taxes". :) I love that book.
Processes that can benefit from being made on the moon are likely to include the manufacture of high value electronic devices. Pharmaceuticals. Research facilities that work with highly dangerous virii such as Ebola, marbug and SHF. Genetic research. Etc. The emphasis is on small, light and/or biologically dangerous items. The higher the value, the better as shipping is a major cost even if it is "downhill all the way".
I had the pleasure of talking with Charles Walker, an engineer from McDonald Douglas that flew on the Space Shuttle with an experiment he designed to separate proteins in microgravity. The research led to several breakthroughs that allowed the process to be worked out for use in Earth's gravity field. Mr Walker is convinced that being able to do the same sort of research in 1/6G and compare the results with the same experiments on Earth might be a valuable tool to gauge gravitational effects in chemical and biological processes. Somewhere I have an audio recording of the conversation. At least, I really hope I still have it.
Re: Less terrorists... (A solar cell factory on the moon...)
#And the Mojave desert in California isn't suitable because.....#
I guess you haven't run into the "Save the desert tortoise" mob. They're backed by the federal government.
Fabled tortoises aside, it's not the solar plant that is difficult to get approved and built, it's the years and years of wrangling to get approvals for the transmission lines to get the power to market.
An additional complication is that the solar facility builders want free land (or long term $1 leases) from the Bureau of Land Management to site the plant. I've always thought that the best approach would be to buy the land (swatches of undeveloped desert are damn cheap) that is adjacent to existing transmission line corridors. Power could be fed in or another set of towers could be placed along side where there is already access. Too naive? I just an engineer, what do I know?
FYI: look on Google earth or maps where interstate highway 15 crosses from California to Nevada. There are three bloody huge solar towers being built that are impressive sights from the heavens above.
Re: Less terrorists... (A solar cell factory on the moon...)
#Sadly, the desert where a major solar plant would make most sense is the northern part of Sahara, because the electricity-hungry Europe is nearby, but it is also unstable politically.#
Transmission losses will make the installation uneconomic unless the power can be used locally.
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