Until now they've developed solid rocket boosters, parachutes, recovery programs, astrouanut survival and cockpit, etc. etc. and have not run into major problems yet.
Static test of solid rocket booster (110.000 HP): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g_xjGOJRws&feature=relat...
TEDx talk by Christian Von Bengtson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua9oGxNNGd0
All their technology is open source by the way.
Shameless plug: These guys survive on donations, and a few months ago I helped start a support organization to help them survive economicvally. It's $20 a month to be a member, and we really need more members so we can get these guys into space. If you feel this is a worthy cause and want to join send me an e-mail (it's in my profile). Our website is http://raketvenner.dk/ (currently only in Danish...)
To say they are 3 years from launching humans into space is very amusing.
There is no chance they will be doing that in 3 years. No chance at all.
I am a web developer, so I don't know much about C, but I am sure a lot of people here can help if you put a repository.
Remember that when you're considering developing mission critical software. It is the most dangerous sort of software to write, and needs aggressively comprehensive testing.
It's that kind of thinking that would have prevented most of human achievement in the last few hundred years. If the people signing up to ride this open source rocket into space are aware of the risks, then let them take them. That doesn't mean don't put any care and testing into things, but don't turn into NASA when trying to innovate.
There's also a difference between accepting the inherent dangers of primitive spaceflight, and being cavalier with people's lives.
But Copenhagen Suborbitals is pretty software heavy - uplinks, sensors, communications, ballistics, etc. require a lot of software. They're extremely busy right now preparing for the June launch, but I'll try to talk to them whether this would be a good idea. It seems like it to me, although safety might be an issue if you have someone "unknown" developing mission critical stuff.
Thanks for the idea!
- They only make liveburns a few times a year.
- They experiment with different cheap fuels. One rocket ran on rubber and actually worked quite well.
- They're quite known around Denmark, so they get unbelievable prices on fuel from companies that want to be associated with the project.
There is not the slightest difference between natural and synthetic fuels. Either one can be toxic or not.
And good luck even defining "natural". Crude oil is natural - so I guess it gets a free pass? Uranium is natural too.
A while ago my friend from work was at an base where SpaceX would be launching from. However, during the launch an anomaly was discovered and the countdown was suspended. At this point all the Air Force people went home, since they were used to this sort of thing taking a week to sort out, but the SpaceX people quickly isolated the problem and the launch only ended up being delayed an hour.
As for the rest, I would imagine when robots get good enough, then the incentive to use cheap labor in China drops and factories in the US become more economically viable.
Note that any decision to off-shore is distorted by a) limits to the free movement of labor and b) currency manipulation. So at the margin, you might replace an efficient domestic operation w/ an inefficient foreign process, and make up the difference in currency and labor cost arbitrage. In such cases, free trade of goods alone has a detrimental effect on technological progress. Or at least that's the speculation.
I doubt the effect has been that profound. From what I can see of the history of robots and automation, the choke point over the past 50 years has not been cheap labor, but expensive real-time computation. We only recently got CPUs that we could really do anything with. Even 320x200x15fps in black and white, a resolution you'd have a hard time actually "living" in as your only sensory input (and if humans find it hard, computers even moreso), is about a million things a second. When you've got processors running at 33MHz, it's hard to get very far, just as one example.
I think my standard of living is pretty good. If I could have super robots next decade, or I could have them in three decades after conditions around the globe have equalized a bit . . . well, I don't mind the wait.
Actually, I have no idea what industries will respond to growing prosperity w/ higher capital investment in technology--at the moment it seems to be computers, but I don't know how far to project that into the future. I know some people project it off to a singularity. Time will tell!
I don't think anyone is ever entitled to work, whatever the industry. Especially if someone else wants to do the same work for cheaper -- be it with a machine or in another country.
If you tell me someone lost their job and is having a hard time supporting their family, I do feel compassion. But the tool I reach for is charity, not a free job.
It's not like there's a shortage of opportunity. If your skillset doesn't support your desired income -- especially if you find yourself unemployed -- go get some new skills. Whether it's reading a book about PHP or learning to repair refrigerators at the local community college, someone can pivot in a few months' time. (I wish this were more of an expected fallback; it seems like simple common sense to me.)
In the mean time, the rest of us have cheaper products, and are that much richer.
I dislike arguments that focus on a particular consequence producing a particular strain of human misery, and dare the reader to disagree at the risk of being cold-hearted. I find the argument inappropriately personal -- focusing as it does on the virtue and piety of the person. But mainly I find it . . . well, myopic. Near-sighted.
Take the outsourcing we're discussing. The suffering of the fellow who loses his job and maybe his house and has to move back in with his parents is one piece of the equation. The other piece is his counterpart in China who lives in worse conditions, and wants to work hard to improve life for him and his family, but lacks the opportunity.
And then there's the cheaper product itself. There's the company that makes more money, which affects its shareholders and stock prices, which in aggregate affects people's retirement accounts. Perhaps one of them is in danger of losing a house? And then there are the customers, who can now afford the cheaper product, or who can afford more other things because it is cheaper. Perhaps one of them is in a tight situation, too?
And that doesn't even include tertiary effects. Perhaps this cheaper product is used as a component for something else new. Perhaps a whole new technology becomes feasible now. Perhaps it changes the world. Where does that fit in the equation?
That's why the argument strikes me as myopic. Our notional blue collar worker may indeed be miserable, but who is to say his misery outweighs everyone else's? Why is he special? In fact, I find the reasoning to be kind of . . . maybe not exactly racist, but kind of people-ist in some way or another. I'm sorry for the guy, but I don't feel his concerns ought to trump anyone else's.
I'm not saying you shouldn't try to figure out the impact of decisions on people at large. But I am definitely saying to have respect for how incalculable it can be, and to at least think in terms of all the people you can see right off will be affected -- and not just one class of them.
I'm also saying to use the right tool for the job. As a rule of thumb, I like industry to make progress, and charity to relieve suffering. Not that there aren't exceptions -- I myself am advocating the establishment of industry in a region as a way to improve conditions, and I certainly see the value of non-profit research.
But usually I don't want the wires crossed. If you're worried about the suffering of folks who have lost jobs and are having trouble making ends meet, the right approach seems to me to start or assist a foundation that helps those sorts of folks financially and educationally (or whatever). Limiting the help to, say, textile manufacturing workers, and having the help come in the form of keeping their jobs at the expense of jobs for folks in other regions, and ignoring an economic opportunity and possibly retarding progress in general . . .
. . . well, that seems to me really inefficient. And kind of morally dubious, too.
China operates this way today, and the US operated this way in the 19th century. Not sure why the US gave it up. One can site economic theories, but economists don't make policy, coalitions do, and I don't know who the members were.
Is this going to be a competitive advantage for India, with its high population of vegetarians?
> India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% hovers below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan; and, by 2030, India's dependency ratio should be just over 0.4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_India
In the other hand India is confronting other problems.
Sen wrote the book "Development as Freedom" after winning the 1998 Economics Nobel prize. He's known for the general observation that famines occur seldom in democratic societies because politicians are at a gross level accountable for outrageous mismanagement of resource allocation.
One major gain was a strong focus on education many of them learning English. However most of it is rote learning centric. It is only in recent years that India has been able to make a place for itself in the BRIC economies.
PS: The specific US issues like healthcare, ridiculous military spending, and debt are still easily fixable as are China's corruption and Pollution issues the problem is forcing people who benefit and influence the current system to suffer. EX: Removing the mortgage interest subsidy would be a huge long term boon to the US but good luck getting that passed.
You might see evidence of a broadening coalition in China, with high investments in public infrastructure. You might see evidence of a shrinking coalition in America, with the failure to pass effective health care, patent and telecommunications reform, in favor of greater rent-seeking.
Not to say China doesn't have rent-seeking, not at all. It's arguably worse than the States, I'm sure. But the trajectories appear to be different.
Side note: in the Chinese village my wife is from, the central government is now paying for the construction of new land fill. Currently all trash gets thrown in the river, and it creates an awful mess. The local government would never come together to provide trash remove services, so the central government has stepped in. They recognize the intractability of the issue locally, and the strategic importance to do something about it nationally. It's encouraging to watch.
Do you have any links to more detailed discussions of this theory?
I'm sure you can find more material on the subject from there.
Since I heard this, I have found it very profitable to think of public policy in terms of coalitions.
Interestingly, one of Madison's arguments in favor of union at the Constitutional Convention was what that a United States would create broader coalitions, and thus a more stable government. This was to head off arguments at the time that republics had always been geographically limited, and any large state necessarily tended towards empire. (My source for that is Joseph Ellis, btw.)
If the US waits until China's advantage from this becomes apparent, it'll probably be too late to catch up.
I really don't see as many good options for infrastructure spending as a country like China has (who, let's be honest, is playing catch-up). Perhaps we could do something real crazy, like build a space elevator, to create new markets rather than trying to build stuff for the sake of building stuff.
I'm from Australia and I just finished a 10,000 mile road trip around your nation with some mates. I can assure you your road network is falling apart. A lot of the time I felt like I was driving in a 3rd world country. While it is evident that the US has invested a lot in infrastructure in the past they are certainly not well maintained. From my limited experience Illinois had the worse road conditions and New Mexico and Texas has the best.
Here's what the economist has to say:
"Total public spending on transport and water infrastructure has fallen steadily since the 1960s and now stands at 2.4% of GDP. Europe, by contrast, invests 5% of GDP in its infrastructure, while China is racing into the future at 9%."
"In 2008 the commission (National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission) reckoned that America needed at least $255 billion per year in transport spending over the next half-century to keep the system in good repair and make the needed upgrades. Current spending falls 60% short of that amount."
You can read more here:
1)That USA is enormously resource rich, like natural gas,helium, oil, coal, enormous extensions with wood,cotton, cattle... while Japan has no resources at all.
2)That USA has an enormous population that is mobile(could move from west coast to east coast) speaking only one language while places like Europe or India has every country(or subcountry state) speaking its language and making not so easy the people to move(protectionism).
3) That USA got the world hegemony since WWII and everybody in the world needs dollars to buy oil, so USA can live from other countries work, just printing dollars.
While 1,and 2 will continue, 3 could end soon, because USA had abused so much it and is abusing it that things could change.
The problem is that using robots in manufacture involves large upfront capital costs, and that can be avoided using human labor.
If the "right conditions" include having Elon Musk as CEO, then "proven" is probably a reasonable word.
Calling it as a plumbing problem is like calling software engineering a typing problem.
Edit: Instead of downvoting, how about replying? There are only 3 clauses above, so you can just say which one of those clauses is wrong and why.
Logical fallacy. The fact that the differences in output are only quantitatively different doesn't mean that the differences in process aren't qualitatively different.
Its graphics were worse than that of the 4 year old Apple II, its speed was only a little higher (certainly way of from what the 1:4.77 clock speed ratio would make you think; both ran at around 1 MIPS).
Yes, it handled more than 64k RAM and was 16 bit-ish, but very impressive? Not in my memory.
Seriously though, SpaceX isn't Usain Bolt, it's... Fabio Cerruti (of Italy, fifth-place getter in the first heat of the men's 100m at the 2008 Olympics). He ran 100m in 10.49 seconds, which is very impressive, but nothing that hasn't been done before.
OK, enough athletics analogies.
The second two clauses contradict the first..
NASA probably isn't optimally cost-effective, but I suspect that eats more money than the plumbing problem itself does.
 Citation not needed.
Example: a few years ago China decommissioned one of its weather satellites by firing a rocket at it from Earth. Some speculated this new technology could be used to wipe out the USA's anti-nuclear system, leaving it vulnerable to an attack.