* Posts by Brangdon

361 posts • joined 15 Sep 2008

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NASA budget shock: Climate studies? GTFO. We're making the Moon great again, says Trump

Brangdon
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Re: Private companies aim at profit...

SpaceX is not driven by profit. It is driven to make humanity a multi-planetary species. However, they consider the Moon a distraction to this endeavour, and they need income to achieve their goal, so they would want someone else to pay them to go there.

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Nvidia reports record revenues in latest fiscal quarter

Brangdon
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Re: GPU makers have been Borg'ed by BitCoin

Bitcoin isn't spelt like that, and doesn't use GPUs.

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What did we say about Tesla's self-driving tech? SpaceX Roadster skips Mars, steers to asteroids

Brangdon
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Re: It was never going anywhere NEAR Mars

According to https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/02/08/starman-puts-earth-in-the-rearview-mirror/, it's orbit is pretty much as originally planned. It will miss Mars by about 69 million miles (which is 2/3rds of the Earth-Sun distance, so a long way). Furthest distance from Sun will be 158 million miles. That's far short of Ceres (250 million miles), but relatively close to the inner asteroid belt (180 million miles).

It's not going to hit Mars any time in the next few thousand years. By the time it does, we'll be living there and will have contaminated it thoroughly.

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MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)

Brangdon
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Re: took out the landing barge

Apparently it hit the water about 100m away, and explosion did some damage to the barge, but "took out" is over-stating it.

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Brangdon
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Re: seeds of some type

This car isn't going any near Mars. It will cross Mars orbit, but Mars won't be there at the time. It'll get close to the asteroid belt before it falls back.

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No parcel drones. No robo-trucks – Teamsters driver union delivers its demands to UPS

Brangdon
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Re: no amount of clever drone technology

Drones, perhaps. Self-driving trucks should cover some cases fine. I currently have my purchases delivered to an Amazon locker at a nearby supermarket, and collect them from there myself. There's no reason why lockers couldn't be built into a self-driving vehicle and work in broadly the same way. It'd be an option you could select while ordering, if you are the kind of person who is able to walk to a curb and walk back with a package. The security isn't a problem. (Self-driving vehicles, to this level, are.)

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Look on the bright side, Pebble fans. At least your gizmo will work long enough for you to get beach body ready

Brangdon
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Sounds like a Garmin to me. My Vivoactive 3 does all that. Screen is always on and readable in normal lighting. Battery is about 9 days if I don't use the GPS. It does notifications. It also does a load more so there may be cheaper Garmin options that will do your minimum.

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New Zealand joins the Space Race

Brangdon
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Re: Cool...

I think they want to scale up to multiple launches per week, rather than heavier payloads. Getting to higher orbits is something the satellite itself can manage if it needs to. It probably needs an engine for station keeping anyway.

Ride share may be cheaper, but you need to find someone going to the same orbit and willing to share. As costs come down (eg, SpaceX), the primary payload owner becomes less willing to share because the money saved becomes too small to justify the risk and complication.

BFR is supposed to cost under $10m per launch, which doesn't leave much room for anyone else to be significantly cheaper. However, even if that is achieved, the opportunity costs of using BFR for cube sats may make it uneconomical. That is, SpaceX will always be able to make more money by launching something else instead. So Rocket Lab might have a bright future just doing what they are doing.

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Hey American business, here's how to use blockch ... sorry – we've been shut down

Brangdon
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Re: Blockchain's future...

You are confusing the general notion of a blockchain, with one specific implementation. Also, Bitcoin has always had 10-minute blocks.

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Text bomb, text bomb, you're my text bomb! Naughty HTML freezes Messages, Safari, etc

Brangdon
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Re: typographical bells and whistles

It's really not as simple as each Unicode code point mapping to a single character outline. An accented character like à can be stored as two code points, one for the 'a' and one for the accent. Or an 'f' and an 'i' might need to be combined into a ligature. Some scripts take that to extremes, with what appears to the user as a single shape being made from multiple code points the combine in complex ways. Add in changes of direction for right-to-left scripts. Think Chinese or Indic languages.

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Ice cliffs found on Mars and NASA says they’re a tap for astronauts

Brangdon
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Re: assuming the astronauts will be recycling

It's not just drinking, washing, and breathing (breathing because they'll want to extract O2 from it). They will consume large amounts of water for making rocket fuel, because it's not practical to carry enough fuel for a return journey. They might also want it for shielding. Apparently it's better than regolith against radiation.

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Cryptocurrencies to end in tears, says investor wizard Warren Buffett

Brangdon
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Re: third generation

IOTA is currently centralised, and a bit flaky. The flakiness is partly due to being designed for machine-to-machine transfers, and dumb humans don't follow the rules as well as machines do. Might be fixed by better wallet software. The centralisation they say will be removed when usage increases sufficiently. An alternative is RaiBlocks, which is working now, but not supported by many exchanges.

Neither has proven itself as well as Bitcoin in terms of security, and both have the usual issues of being deflationary and volatile. They are also proof of stake, so don't use huge amounts of electricity like Bitcoin does.

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If Australian animals don't poison you or eat you, they'll BURN DOWN YOUR HOUSE

Brangdon
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Re: Do they do it accidentally or deliberately?

Because it is too easy to attribute intelligence where there is none. People have been fooled by behaviour that was highly complex but instinctive. People have even been fooled by "Eliza"-style programs, where we know exactly how unintelligent they are. People will even suppose there is intelligence and personality behind natural phenomena like lightning strikes. Scientists need to be careful to avoid such projection.

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UK drone collision study didn't show airliner window penetration

Brangdon
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Re: Semtex

This isn't about banning drones entirely, it is about requiring owners to register them and have training. So the proposed legislation will not stop a terrorist from acquiring a drone and weaponising it. They could steal it, register under a false name, remove identifying marks or just not care what happens after their atrocity has succeeded.

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Exploding alien bodies' space death-rays gave Earth its radiation cloak

Brangdon
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Re: Mars is out

That's a bit of an over-reaction. 2x risk is still fairly low, and on Mars they have plenty of mass to make shielding from.

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US authorities issue strongly worded warnings about crypto-investments

Brangdon
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Bitcoin fees

Bitcoin fees are due to too many people using it, rather than the high price of Bitcoin. The plan to fix it is by adding another layer, called the Lightning Network, to move most transactions off-chain. This should get done over the next year, so if it can survive until then it can survive indefinitely.

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Brit MP Dorries: I gave my staff the, um, green light to use my login

Brangdon
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Re: According to the Times [usual disclaimers apply]...

He said there were thousands of images, and that they were thumbnails. Make me wonder if if clicked some crazy cascading popup thing which he couldn't stop, that downloaded the thumbnails. I gather there were some full-sized images too, but not much has been said about them. It's all about the thousands of thumbnails.

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Loose-change payment network Microraiden launches on Ethereum

Brangdon
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Re: Why not Visa or Mastercard?

Visa and Mastercard don't do micropayments. The fees they charge are too high to make them economical.

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SpaceX 'raises' an extra 100 million bucks to get His Muskiness to Mars

Brangdon
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Re: Andrew Silver, this is article is low effort trolling.

I think it's a bit over 95% now - 2 losses in 49 flights - which is about average for the industry.

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Phone fatigue takes hold: SIM-onlys now top UK market

Brangdon
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Re: swappable battery - Why?

1. So you can reboot the phone in hardware by removing the battery and replacing it.

2. So you can switch the phone off, with high confidence, by removing the battery.

3. So the phone lifetime doesn't end when the battery lifetime ends.

4. So you can replace a flat battery with a fully-charged one in the field.

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Fake news ‘as a service’ booming among cybercrooks

Brangdon
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Re: Ahhh. News, Fake News, opions, memes and social media

Conflating fake news with biased news is part of the problem.

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Apple succeeds in failing wearables

Brangdon
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Re: battery life

My Garmin has a 9-day battery life, yet the display is always readable in daylight. You only need the backlight if it is so dark you also need a torch.

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Quantum computers could crack Bitcoin, but fixes are available now

Brangdon
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This affects a lot more than Bitcoin

If you can break elliptical curve cryptography, Bitcoin is not the only target to attack. It is used quite widely.

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Bitcoin drops SegWit2x hard fork after community objects

Brangdon
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Re: Transaction fees must rise, anyway

Putting off the inevitable does make some sense, though. SegWit was added last August, and it will take time for people to switch to using it, and more time to build layers like the Lightening Network on top of it. Until that's happened, it's hard to tell what the blocksize needs to be.

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Parity calamity! Wallet code bug destroys $280m in Ethereum

Brangdon
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Re: "it's a girl!"

"It's a girl!" would refer to a newborn baby. Babies are not persons. They develop into persons.

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US says it's identified six Russian officials as DNC hack suspects

Brangdon
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re: have been copied far too rapidly for it to have been done via a web connection

So someone copied them a second time after the initial download? The timestamp data isn't as compelling as you seem to think.

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Fitbit health alert: You appear to be bleeding

Brangdon
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Re: I'm not sure about the two-horse race

I'd say three horse. If you want a fitness tracker that will be able to make mobile payments, then it's just Apple, Fitbit and Garmin. I have a Fitbit and Garmin. The Garmin has the benefit of a 9-day battery life and an always-on display, but I'm currently finding it a bit flaky in other ways. Vibrates randomly and heart-rate can be inaccurate. Shame.

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Jeff Bezos fires off a blue dart, singes Elon Musk and SpaceX

Brangdon
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Re: a fair bit of rework to reuse

SpaceX have said the first one cost substantially less than half the price of a new booster. Presumably later boosters were quicker as they got more experience, and the forthcoming Block 5 is said to incorporate lessons learned and is cheaper still. As far as we can tell, being able to land the rocket is already important. SpaceX don't pass much of the savings onto customers, though. Customers and insurance companies seem to accept that reliability of pre-loved boosters is the same or better as new ones.

Using parachutes means splashing down in the sea, which exposes the rocket to salty water, which is highly corrosive, which ruins reuse.

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Brangdon
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Re: Yowzers!

I dunno. New Glenn isn't due until 2020 or so. BFR cargo will probably be flying within a few years of that, so New Glenn will be redundant a couple of years after its born. Especially as it's hard to see how Blue Origin will ever be able to reuse their second stage.

I wouldn't be surprised if BFR makes orbit before New Glenn. SpaceX have more experience with orbital-class rockets, they have a bigger company, they have the engine and fuel tank well in hand. New Glenn might be delayed. In any case, it's going to be quite close. Blue Origin may turn out to be a vanity product of a multi-billionaire, with little commercial or industrial importance.

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Japan finds long, deep tunnel on the Moon

Brangdon
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Not near the poles

Any lunar base will likely want to be located in a region near the poles that gets constant sunlight. Without that you have to cope with nights that are 14 (Earth) days long. That's a long time to go without solar power. You'd need vast amounts of batteries. (Or a nuclear reactor, but that probably won't happen for political reasons.) The weeks of darkness are followed by weeks of sunlight, leading to extremes of temperature that are a pain for engineering. Finding lava tubes, although good science, won't be useful to early lunar bases unless they are in a good location.

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Twitter: Why we silenced Rose McGowan after she slammed alleged sex pest Harvey Weinstein

Brangdon
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Re: h4rm0ny

I'm not referring to the blog post about how to un-hypnotise a rabid anti-Trump supporter. I'm referring to this one: http://blog.dilbert.com/post/152226715516/how-to-legally-vote-more-than-once. It starts, "If you find it annoying that you only have one legal vote, here’s how you can get a few more." Here's step 1:

1. Set the stage by cleverly hiding the fact that you are a Trump supporter. Say some good things to your intended targets about Clinton’s plucky attitude, her place in history, and the breadth of her experience. Once people believe you are on the “right” side, they will find you more persuasive later.

That is, use deception and lies. Make people believe something that isn't true (namely, that you are a Clinton supporter). That's how he works.

(Sorry I don't know how to do formatting on this site.)

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Brangdon
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Re: I think Linehan has it right

I'm not the previous poster, but Scott Adams is a bit of a dick. He admires Trump and uses similar methods, including lying a lot. Much of his "persuasion" amounts to saying whatever is needed to get the other fellow to do what he wants, whether or not it is true. A few days before the election, he made a post about how to discourage Clinton supporters from voting. He's a climate change denier. Most of what he writes distorts the truth.

I still read him. One of the sad things is that there used to be meaningful criticism in the comments to his blog, but nowadays it's become a pro-Trump echo-chamber.

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SpaceX gives free ride to replacement for Facebook's fried satellite

Brangdon
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Re: Foresight

At the time it was said that the contract gave SpaceCom the option of either a free launch, or $50m to go towards a launch with another provider. It now sounds like that $50m was actually a deposit, so they would have been getting their own money back. The normal list price for a SpaceX launch is $62m, so I guess they've saved $12m or so. (Offset against the cost of renting space from someone else's satellite until their new bird gets up.) The insurer carried the loss of the satellite, and SpaceX carried the loss of vehicle and damage to pad.

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Combinations? Permutations? Those words don't mean what you think they mean

Brangdon
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Re: Hmm, Finite does not mean limited

It's more common to encounter the flip side of that: people saying "infinite" when they mean "unbounded". For example, a Turing Machine doesn't have infinite tape, it has unbounded tape. It will never use more than a finite portion of it, but there is no upper bound on how large that portion can be.

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Xperia XZ1: Sony spies with its MotionEye something beginning...

Brangdon
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Re: Real world usage

Yes. I have one of the Compact ones. If you want a small phone with long battery life, waterproof and other flagship features, there's not a lot of other choices. I'm sad they took out the FM radio.

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Brangdon
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Re: Great review...

Did you read the paragraph about reception in areas of poor coverage?

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Elon Musk says Harry Potter and Bob the Builder will get SpaceX flying to Mars

Brangdon
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Re: More engines!=more safety

The point here is that more engines may mean more failures, but it also mitigates the cost of those failures. With 31 engines, loss of one or two or a few of them should not lead to loss of vehicle, crew and passengers. It's good that an aeroplane can fly on one of its two engines, but even if it loses both, it can glide to a crash-landing and most humans aboard will survive. Not so with a rocket.

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Brangdon
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Re: But it's a lousy analogy, Elon

> transport, on its very first trip, all the infrastructure

It doesn't have to do all that on its very first trip. There will be several ships used to test entry, descent and landing, and these will bring cargo which will help found the Mars based. Part of the point of Mars is that it has resources in situ from which fuel and oxidiser can be made. It's certainly a challenging project. Musk's point here is that he knows he can't do it alone.

> Mars is exponentially harder

It really isn't. The Moon is harder because it has no atmosphere, nights that are 14 days long, lower gravity, less water and generally fewer other resources. There's a reason for picking Mars over the Moon. Musk knows the Moon is there.

> Even partly reusable ones

BFR will be completely reusable for most uses.

> Orion-style nuclear ships

Well yes; but now you are talking fantasy that won't happen for the foreseeable future. BFR has a real chance of happening within the next decade.

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Dumb bug of the week: Apple's macOS reveals your encrypted drive's password in the hint box

Brangdon
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Re: To be fair

The password isn't being stored anywhere. The hint is being stored. Unfortunately the hint was being set to the password (and the actual hint lost). This happens when the drive is created, not when it is accessed. The code that fetches and displays the hint doesn't know it is the password.

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Musk: Come ride my Big F**king Rocket to Mars

Brangdon
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Re: What is the actual fucking point?

We can do more than one thing at once. People have skills in different areas, and the ones who are good at rocket science are unlikely to be good at the social problems we have on Earth.

And I doubt anyone is smugly thinking that. Mars will be less pleasant then Earth for the foreseeable future. Musk is planning for unforeseeable events, with long horizons, not some situation likely to arise within the lifetime of anyone currently alive.

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Brangdon
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Re: What is the actual fucking point?

It's not that it's no biggie, it that's having a few million humans survive on Mars is better than humanity being wiped out entirely. Especially if those few million can help the ones left on Earth recover.

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NASA tests supersonic parachute, to help us land on Mars

Brangdon
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Re: But how...

Part of why SpaceX is so confident they can land on Mars without a parachute is the testing they've done in high Earth's atmosphere.

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Twitter's 280-char blog mode can be enabled client-side. Just sayin'

Brangdon
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Re: Trump achievements

There's one list from 5 months ago here: https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/63nxsn/update_i_was_tired_of_liberals_saying_trump_hasnt/

It is a mixture of easy stuff (like appointing the judge), negative stuff (revoking anything Obama did), and executive orders. The EOs generally are not so much achievements as instructions for someone else to look into achieving something, often without a real budget.

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Dome, sweet dome: UAE mulls Martian city here on Earth ahead of Red Planet colonization

Brangdon
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Musk thinks he can get the price under $500k a head, with fleets of reusable rockets, each rocket sending 100 people at a time, and then returning to go again two years later. He's quite serious. He's announcing an update to his plan tomorrow morning. 100 years is a long time; a lot can be achieved in that time if you try.

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Itching to stuff iOS 11 on your iPhone? You may want to hold off for a bit

Brangdon
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Re: "You can force your phone to require a PIN to unlock rather than a fingerprint"

There's a new feature where-by if it is set up to use a fingerprint or facial scan, you can force a PIN by tapping 5 times. Hopefully the police will politely wait for you to get your phone out and do that.

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Ethereum will have transaction chops of Visa in 'a couple of years', founder claims

Brangdon
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Re: Huh?

Not everyone has access to credit cards. In some countries, mobile phones are more common than bank accounts.

And there is no intrinsic need to convert it to fiat in order to use it. People would would accept Bitcoin in exchange for dollars, would also accept Bitcoin in exchange for goods and services. Supposing Bitcoin continues to grow in popularity, it's only a matter of time until the goods and services you want can be got with Bitcoin directly.

Bitcoin miners already receive fees for transactions. It hasn't been free to use for years.

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Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 is hot, but not much more than the S8+

Brangdon
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Am I the only person who also cares about FM radio? I want one partly for emergencies, partly to save data, and partly to save battery. Few flagship phones have them now, allegedly because the network operators want you to pay for internet data instead.

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NASA Earthonauts emerge from eight-month isolation in simulated Mars visit

Brangdon
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Re: Mars

Mars has an atmosphere which blocks most of the radiation. It's not as good as Earth but it's comparable to being on the ISS. The Moon has no atmosphere and no magnetic field, so it has no protection from radiation at all, and so is far worse to colonise from that point of view. (And from most other points of view, too). Either way colonists will want to spend most of their time in shielded habitats, eg sited in lava tubes.

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