daniel l.

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About daniel l.

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  1. I've recently been thinking about how humans would survive on long-term space voyages. And while it's definitely a fact that we can survive even without books, which I consider the bare minimum requirement for a human being to not be completely bored, it would still be best for travelers to have as much content at their disposal as possible. The limitations of the speed of light, of course, make easy access to the existing internet impossible once out of Earth's general area by a half light-minute or so, so it would be necessary to bring along a diverse and near-inexhaustible amount of information for purposes of entertainment and education. So what if a spaceship were to have, stored in its data archives, every movie ever made and every episode of every series ever made (excluding ones that are lost or illegal, of course) in the highest possible resolutions? Every work of written literature, and the sum total of all human scientific knowledge as well as, thrown in for good measure, a few photorealistic virtual-reality games and environments for the crew to enjoy using either a conventional VR headset or some form of real life holodeck. I'd imagine that such a massive data archive would require hundreds of petabytes at least, so I'm thinking that an Exabyte of capacity would be enough for it all, or at least something close to that estimation. So my question is: how much physical space would such an archive require? How compact could such a thing be made with present day tech, or with future tech based on a logical prediction. I'd hope that, with effort, it could be made small enough to fit about a craft like SpaceX's Starship, or at least a larger successor craft.
  2. A couple weeks ago I was utterly incapacitated by headaches due to a sinus infection. So I ended up on antibiotics, leaving me on a diet of saltine crackers for much of the following weeks. Once the sinus infection died, I thought I was home free. But then my father caught a nasty cold and brought it home to everyone. Now, I've got asthma, so colds really suck for me. Within days I'm barely able to stay awake as my throat and nose are clogged with disgusting goo. Today I went to a doctor, who told me I had bronchitis (which is to be expected) and an ear infection (which was not expected). So now I'm back on the goddamn antibiotics and a diet of saltine crackers, at the same time as I'm coughing up brown mucus. On a high note, my 19th birthday came and went during the calm between my two sick-spells.
  3. Out of all the parts in KSP designed to carry Kerbals inside of them, the only one designed to look and feel even somewhat like a long-term living space for Kerbals is the Hitchhiker storage container, which provides free space to move about, cabinets full of useful stuff for work and play, etc. The only other habitat modules that aren't for command are the spaceplane parts, which internally look -- surprisingly -- like the interior of an airliner, with rows and rows of seats and very little in the way of living area for the passengers. I would suggest that the devs add some more long-term habitat parts for 1.25m, 2.5m, 3.75m, and spaceplane part sizes. After all, who wants to spend a 10yr trip to Jool on a 747?
  4. toastytech.com is still going pretty strong. It's an OS review site/parody run by a guy with a serious hate-on for everything Microsoft after Windows 95. The site is formatted in good old HTML and displays properly in almost every browser I've ever run it in.
  5. I've dabbled with Oolite quite a bit. Though admittedly my main frustrations about the game are its tediousness (it can take forever to get anywhere) and the fact that pirates are everywhere. The mass-locking system is a pain in the ass without fuel injectors, too. But I do find myself sometimes hooked, and end up playing for hours -- and dying more than once. I save and load my game all the time, and I have zero shame.
  6. Wait, (sorry, I'm a bit out of the loop) did you say that we can launch from other planets now? Did SQUAD add this to the game or is it a mod?
  7. I don't see low-g as such a problem. Angled centrifuges could provide higher-g environments within the cities, for example. the half-ice part is a bigger problem IMO. How do you deal no land? Well, you could sand tiny crawler bots down to the seafloor to collect resources, bring them up and use them to assemble floating cities on the surface of the global-ocean, perhaps anchor the cities to the seafloor with long chains or girders to prevent them drifting off. You could also simply leave it frozen. Warm the moon up just enough to allow humans to exist more comfortably, perhaps as much as winter temperatures in the Antarctic. This would at least reduce the expense of heating the interiors of the habitats and allow for the use of more conventional materials. Also, it would make surviving outside the domed cities more doable for reasonable periods of time provided you're well-prepared. I can definitely also see Titan as an industrial powerhouse. But, in my opinion, such merely practical uses for a land area are kind of wasteful. There are two things an orbital habitat cannot provide with known technology: Natural gravity. Natural resources. Both of these are things humans need for long-term survival. Spin gravity is great until something jams the wheel and everyone turns to jelly on the wall. And onboard reserves supplied by trade are fine until a trade is cut off and everyone starves. True long-term inhabitability can only be provided by a planet or moon IMO. Mercury is worth terraforming because of its Mars-level gravity, substantial metals, and near-limitless solar power (you could use a shade, doubling as a solar array, to shield the planet from direct sunlight); Venus because of its Earth-level gravity and sizable resources, etc. Titan provides a weak, but usable gravity well along with a vast amount of accessible rock and metal (something that is relatively rare in the outer planets), which is why in the long run I think it worthy of being made habitable. After all, hydrocarbons don't last forever. But people will always need a place to live, and they'll probably want it to look nice, too.
  8. We like to live a certain way. Other worlds have the advantages of their positions, surroundings, mass, resources, etc. But very few people desire the idea of being forever isolated from a comfortable open-air shirtsleeve environment. A small minority of people could probably stomach the change to an extent, most of us can't; their children would be better adapted, of course, but there's only so much you can tweak about human DNA. If a world cannot support liquid water or provide oxygen to be breathed in some manner, then we cannot live there without technology. Sure, in the short-term it's nice to do your best with what you've got, but there's no reason why effort couldn't be taken to change an environment over a period of time. Titan could be easily warmed, machine-built mirrors or lenses could focus enough sunlight to dramatically increase the temperature over time. Seeding it with specially-engineered lifeforms could oxygenate the atmosphere. It wouldn't happen today, or even tomorrow, but I think it will happen. Simply because we're picky creatures and simply can't resist changing things for our own comfort. In the case of a dead world, why not?
  9. It is, in my opinion, almost a certainty that Saturn's largest moon, Titan, will be a major population center in a few centuries from now. It has a suitably thick atmosphere, abundance of natural resources (hydrocarbons and water); and is within close proximity of the resource-rich Saturnian system, which would make it a perfect center of in-system trade, as well as a great refueling outpost for interplanetary spacecraft. But Titan still isn't 100% habitable. It's air, while similar in composition to ours, is still unable to support human life due to a lack of oxygen. Furthermore, it is so cold that no human being could survive outside the habitat without an outfit that could completely enclose their body and keep them warm -- basically a spacesuit without the need for pressurization. So it's pretty clear that this moon will need terraforming before billions of human colonists can comfortably call it home. Warming Titan and adding oxygen are comparatively easy -- mirrors or lenses could focus sunlight, surface-built facilities could provide massive amounts of heat via nuclear fusion or the burning of the local hydrocarbons. Oxygen could be added in a myriad of ways -- I can think of a few things; modified lifeforms, artifical factories, etc. The real problem is this: Titan has no land. Now, it might seem silly of me to say that it has no land when it clearly does -- until the land melts. Titan's surface is entirely composed of a multi-kilometer-thick crust of water ice, which encloses a vast Europa-like subsurface ocean. In other words, Titan is a waterworld waiting to happen. The rocky surface beneath the ocean is simply too far down to be accessible, as it's way beyond the crush depth of any present human-built submarine, even taking into account the lesser gravity. So, how are we going to terraform this world? Are we just going to melt the entire moon and live in floating "lillipad" cities, anchored to the sea-floor? Or will we only warm it up enough to survive, and accept it as an antarctic world? In the distant future perhaps we'll be able to ship all that water off Titan, exposing the rocky land; but I think that'll be beyond our abilities for the next few centuries unless we exploit the potential can of worms that is self-replicating semi-autonomous machines. It's a facinating world, ripe with possibility for humanity in the future, and for interesting stories now. What are your ideas?
  10. I envy you. My first foray into linux was Opensuse 11.3 in 2009. I was only a kid then, with no experience outisde of windows. So as you might expect I fell flat on my face many, many times -- which probably wasnt helped by the fact that I was using the KDE4 variant, and the Gnome alternative refused to play any kind of video. Luckily, I got an Ubuntu 10.10 install cd and havent stopped using linux since. I very much wish I had been born in the 90s or earlier so I could experience the height of the computer revolution firsthand, perhaps even participate in it. Also, anyone else think the modern flat design styles are terrible?
  11. Ah. Gentoo, the distro that makes even Arch users shrivel up in fear. The end of the tech-tree for any Linux afficionado's progression -- or is Linux From Scratch the end, I don't know.