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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old May 21 2014, 07:51 PM   #31
bryce
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

Also, there is a LOT of potential for graphene - or a graphene and maybe a spun graphene and artificial spider-silk composite or weave - to be the basis for the long dreamed about space elevator. FINALLY.[/URL]

"Graphene - The New Wonder Material?" Science Friday.

Of course graphene is electrically conductive, so it would generate tremendous electrical currents while being pulled through the Earth's magnetic field...and that was a BIG PROBLEM for that last time NASA tried a cable experiment (electricl build-up caused the cable to snap - it was visible from Earth for a while back in 1996 - but I never saw it.) But maybe in the near future perhaps these effects can somehow be mitigated - or the electricity siphoned off and even harnessed to *power* the elevator!!! (OR maybe by mixing in electrically neutral - but equally strong and flexible - artificial spider's silk - they could insulate against the current? (I am just enamored with the idea of a cable that uses *both* graphene and/or carbon nano-tubes - because I think it would get the best of both materials...)
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Old May 22 2014, 12:51 AM   #32
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

sojourner wrote: View Post
That's because sci/fi fans get how science works.
Thanks, Sojourner. I needed a good laugh tonight.
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Old May 22 2014, 01:28 AM   #33
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

Well, you wanted to know why fans can understand the difference between science fact and science fiction. Maybe it's because they've been exposed to enough of the fiction to recognize it when they see it.
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Old May 22 2014, 07:01 PM   #34
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

FPAlpha wrote: View Post
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^ Exactly. And what has it amounted to, other than a few brief reconnaissance raids to the Moon? Please don't use the spin-off argument about non-stick frying pans and smartphones. We could have had those things without sending people 400,000 km away.

The people with the same mindset today advocate a direct jump to Mars with no other prep, and for what? Flag planting? At least the private enterprisers aiming at Mars want to achieve a permanent presence there.
Basic human curiosity?
That's what probes are for.

Without goals that push our limits we wouldn't be where we are.
And throughout history those goals have almost always been the quest for new resources, new consumables, new lands to claim and new sources of wealth. It has to remembered that the Voyage of Columbus wasn't launched because anyone was curious about the New World, it was launched because Europe needed a more efficient trade route to India.

However even after several decades the running costs were still enormous.
And will remain so until the demand for launch services significantly increases to the point that launch providers can benefit from an economy of scale. SpaceX, IMO, is already pre-positioning itself for this potential rocket boom, especially if/when they get the Falcon 9R operational.

I don't want to step on your toes but your attitude is a prime example of short sightedness which, if given free reign, could doom us as civilization because we would become content with how we are and wouldn't strive to learn and experience more and if history has shown us anything that stays still is ultimately doomed to fail.
The thing is, the national space programs never accomplished anything concrete in space. Lots of research and high-profile launches, yes, but not much that positively contributed to the technology or the engineering. Most of those gains actually came from government participation in the space INDUSTRY.

And yes, there is and has always been a space industry ever since the first communication satellites were launched. Each of those satellites is basically a privately-owned spacecraft, and each one of them had to be launched into orbit on a rocket that was paid for by private capital. This is overlooked PURELY because all of those satellites are unmanned, but the fact is industry has been active in space to a far greater degree than governments have.

Manned spaceflight is the hobby of governments only because it has never been profitable: since nobody lives in space, nobody's doing business up there, and since nobody's doing business up there, nobody lives there. It's a catch-22. The simple way OUT of that Catch-22 is to give a substantial number of people an excuse (even a flimsy pretense) to live there, and then help them find something profitable to do once they're up there. The current effort with COTS and ccdev aims to use the ISS for this purpose: an orbital science lab is an ideal customer for commercial crew transport and commercial launch services.
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Old May 22 2014, 07:10 PM   #35
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

sojourner wrote: View Post
Well, you wanted to know why fans can understand the difference between science fact and science fiction.
But we DON'T understand the difference.

That, more than anything else, explains the high popularity of CSI and Michio Kaku and is the SINGLE motivator in Voyager fandom.

Maybe it's because they've been exposed to enough of the fiction to recognize it when they see it.
Except that, once again, most of the fiction they're exposed to is PRESENTED as fact. Without any way to know better, they uncritically accept it as fact and then pat themselves on the back for being smarter than the average TV viewer.
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Old May 22 2014, 07:32 PM   #36
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

I don't actually know any sci/fi fans that like Michio Kaku or CSI. And I'm not sure how liking those things precludes someone from telling fact from fiction.

Except that, once again, most of the fiction they're exposed to is PRESENTED as fact. Without any way to know better, they uncritically accept it as fact and then pat themselves on the back for being smarter than the average TV viewer.
And yet, according to Metryq, most sci/fi fans aren't open to electric universe theories, which would seem to indicate that they can tell fact from fiction to some degree.
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Old May 22 2014, 07:53 PM   #37
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

sojourner wrote: View Post
I don't actually know any sci/fi fans that like Michio Kaku or CSI.
Somewhat more significantly, I do not know of anyone who regularly watches Michio Kaku documentaries who ISN'T a sc-fi fan. This is not as true of CSI, but it depends on which spinoff you're watching.

And I'm not sure how liking those things precludes someone from telling fact from fiction.
Because both of those productions present entirely ficticious scientific concepts as if they were factual. In Kaku's case, explicitly.

Except that, once again, most of the fiction they're exposed to is PRESENTED as fact. Without any way to know better, they uncritically accept it as fact and then pat themselves on the back for being smarter than the average TV viewer.
And yet, according to Metryq, most sci/fi fans aren't open to electric universe theories
That's ENTIRELY because Electric Universe theories aren't widely represented in science-fiction productions. Sci-fi writers tend to mimic (and grossly inaccurately at that) the leading scientific theories of their era.

For example, the increasingly common appearance in Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise of "dark matter." Science fiction helped to normalize dark matter into what is nominally "science fact" despite the fact that its existence is FAR from proven. As a result, the same science-fiction fans who grew up with "dark matter nebulas" as if that was a coherent scientific concept are willing to accept weekly press releases of "dark matter rings" being discovered all over the universe.

Science fiction fans are actually handicapped in this regard: they're used to thinking of physicists as experts, wizards or engineers who are smart enough that their best guesses are usually correct. All expertise aside, a physicists knowledge of the universe is no more accurate than a doctor's knowledge of your medical conditions, with one crucial difference: it is much simpler to get a second opinion on a medical diagnosis than a physics theory.
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Old May 22 2014, 08:30 PM   #38
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

Metryq wrote: View Post
^ Exactly. And what has it amounted to, other than a few brief reconnaissance raids to the Moon? Please don't use the spin-off argument about non-stick frying pans and smartphones. We could have had those things without sending people 400,000 km away.
Perhaps...but that's in some alternate universe where technology is 10-20 years behind ours.

Now if you will excuse me, my wife needs to make a phone call and since we don't own an expensive cellular phone nor cable internet...I have to log off.

Goodbye.
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Old May 22 2014, 08:36 PM   #39
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

Somewhat more significantly, I do not know of anyone who regularly watches Michio Kaku documentaries who ISN'T a sc-fi fan.
But are they only watching for the LOL's?

That's ENTIRELY because Electric Universe theories aren't widely represented in science-fiction productions.
Or maybe it's because Electric Universe theories don't get much support from real physicists.

I'm not even sure wtf we're arguing for. Unless you agree with Metryq?
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Old May 22 2014, 11:14 PM   #40
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

sojourner wrote: View Post
And yet, according to Metryq, most sci/fi fans aren't open to electric universe theories, which would seem to indicate that they can tell fact from fiction to some degree.
While I am a proponent of Electric Universe/Plasma Cosmology, I do not imagine it to explain everything. Even if I am not swayed by the arguments for some alternative model (and I read about many), I learn the weaknesses in mainstream theories in the process. For example, every textbook I've seen claims that the famous Michelson-Morley experiment found no indication at all for an aether, which is wrong. Some fringing was found, just "not enough." (I've read numerous treatments on that.)

And how many sci-fi fans know that black holes are not mathematically compatible with the Big Bang—or that, mathematically, only one can exist in a universe with nothing else in it? Yet astrophysicists claim they are everywhere. Black holes started out swallowing everything and now spew out all kinds of things.

Almost daily we see headlines stating that "astronomers are baffled" and researchers are quoted as saying "we will have to rethink our 'understanding' of X."

Yet sci-fi fans can tell fact from fiction.
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Last edited by Metryq; May 23 2014 at 02:16 AM.
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Old May 24 2014, 02:48 AM   #41
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

sojourner wrote: View Post
Or maybe it's because Electric Universe theories don't get much support from real physicists.
Neither does time travel, but that doesn't stop sci-fi fans from believing it's possible.

I'm not even sure wtf we're arguing for. Unless you agree with Metryq?
I agree with Metryq that sci-fi fans are not all that good at distinguishing science-fiction and science-fact, and I'm pointing out that this is mainly the fault of science fiction writers.
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Old May 24 2014, 03:27 AM   #42
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post

I'm not even sure wtf we're arguing for. Unless you agree with Metryq?
I agree with Metryq that sci-fi fans are not all that good at distinguishing science-fiction and science-fact, and I'm pointing out that this is mainly the fault of science fiction writers.
They're apparently better at it than you think since Metryq seems upset that sci/fi fans don't go in for Electric Universe theory. Which is what he is really upset about, not whether sci/fi fans believe everything self admitted fiction writers come up with.

Then again, there's nothing wrong with believing something is possible. It's when you start thinking its probable that you have to start backing up your claims.
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Old May 24 2014, 03:36 AM   #43
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

To get back on topic,
Yes the Shuttle needed to be retired, but as NASA's budget since Apollo 11 has been
choked back by Congress, the USA has to stop flights by the prior manned spaceflight system (between 1975 and 1981 there were no US manned spaceflights due to the cost of developing the STS) we HAD to retire the STS in order to develop the newer system..

Now I'm laying odds the Space X's Dragon-rider ends up being the only US manned spacecraft flying, as I think Orion will be given the heave-ho before it flys (typical Lockheed cost overruns)...and the COTS manned component will be whittled down to just one winning company..
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Old May 24 2014, 07:36 AM   #44
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

sojourner wrote: View Post
I don't actually know any sci/fi fans that like Michio Kaku or CSI.

...
Wait, you guys don't like Michio Kaku either? And here I thought I was the only one...

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Old May 24 2014, 07:45 AM   #45
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Re: Should NASA Have Retired Shuttles?

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That, more than anything else, explains the high popularity of CSI and Michio Kaku and is the SINGLE motivator in Voyager fandom.
Enough! One thing I can not stand is so called hardcore Sci-Fi "purist" telling me what is or isn't acceptable. What you enjoy DOES NOT indicate your level of education or general intelligence (and yes I know some NASA engineers who love ST:Voyager and yes even Enterprise).
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