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aostling
08-16-2011, 07:18 PM
Now here's a telescope! http://www.lsst.org/lsst/

It will record "30 terabytes of data nightly," with "nearly instant alerts issued for objects that change in position or brightness." The public can be as much a witness to the information as the astronomers, able to see the images from the "world's largest camera."

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/Screenshot2011-08-16at42941PM.png

topct
08-16-2011, 07:51 PM
We are living in an amazing age.

I only hope that humanities natural curiosity is not stifled by the words "What good is that?".

Maybe we'll get to see some really neat stuff.

lazlo
08-16-2011, 08:35 PM
$20 Million from a billionaire I don't recognize, and $10 million from Bill Gates. Sure that's not enough to complete the telescope?

I was saddened to see that the James Webb telescope (the follow-on to Hubble) was one of the first casualties of last month's budget debacle :( NASA itself was cut $1.6 billion.


National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $16.8 billion in the bill, which is $1.6 billion below last year’s level and $1.9 billion below the President’s request. This funding includes:

$3.65 billion for Space Exploration which is $152 million below last year. This includes funding above the request for NASA to meet Congressionally mandated program deadlines for the newly authorized crew vehicle and launch system.

$4.1 billion for Space Operations which is $1.4 billion below last year’s level. The legislation will continue the closeout of the Space Shuttle program for a savings of $1 billion.

$4.5 billion for NASA Science programs, which is $431 million below last year’s level. The bill also terminates funding for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/06/JWST-HST-primary-mirrors.jpg/800px-JWST-HST-primary-mirrors.jpg

TGTool
08-16-2011, 08:37 PM
Not OT, but I'll get to that in a minute. The recent New Yorker has an interesting article about a researcher trying to establish the full DNA signature for Neanderthals. He's made considerable progress in spite of a number of challenges such as artifacts in which the DNA is no longer recoverable, and the prospect of contamination from other sources including modern humans.

The thrust of his curiosity is to identify what genetic differences spurred or allowed modern humans to take over. Excluding options such as modern humans just hunted down and exterminated their competitors, there had to be some change which gave us the edge. One of his speculations is a genetic predisposition for curiosity, change or whatever. Neanderthals made useful tools, but tool designs didn't change over maybe 10,000 years. Modern humans have made lots of changes over that time span, even going back thousands of years. So perhaps the telescope and the natural curiosity behind it is an example of the one of the things that got us where we are today.

Among the interesting facts in the article is that Neanderthals and modern humans interbred to some extent. European and Asian (but not African) DNA shows traces of Neanderthal genetic material. So if there's any question about who's been screwing who, it's all there in the genetic record.

Robin R
08-16-2011, 09:46 PM
There was a piece on Neanderthals on CBC radio a few months ago, saying that Neanderthals were much stronger and I think they may have said they also had larger brains.

The reason they gave for Neanderthals going extinct was loss of habitat, as they had developed to thrive in an Ice Age climate.

Evan
08-16-2011, 10:06 PM
The Neanderthals were swarmed by a bunch of Homo Sapiens street gangs. They were outnumbered 10 to 1. According to recent research they did interbreed with "modern" man and all of us but for those from Africa still carry Neanderthal genes. That isn't exactly a surprise. I have met some of them...

I have given up on the US space program. All that is left is previously funded projects that are either complete or nearly complete. Hopefully they won't cut off funding for New Horizons before it gets to Pluto.

rowbare
08-17-2011, 12:52 PM
$20 Million from a billionaire I don't recognize, and $10 million from Bill Gates.

Simonyi is another M$ billionaire. Among other things he invented the Hungarian Notation that you see in M$ apis A couple of common ones are wParam and lParam which mean word parameter and long parameter respectively.

bob

lazlo
08-17-2011, 01:01 PM
I have given up on the US space program. All that is left is previously funded projects that are either complete or nearly complete. Hopefully they won't cut off funding for New Horizons before it gets to Pluto.

I saw a quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson last week: the total revised cost of the James Webb telescope is $4.5 billion. That includes funds already spent (the telescope is pretty far along in construction), the first year of operating expenses, and funding that is committed by the Canadian Space agency and the European Space Agency.

We spend $9 Billion/month in Iraq...

flathead4
08-17-2011, 03:26 PM
Excluding options such as modern humans just hunted down and exterminated their competitors,

I wonder why they exclude that option. Isn't that "modern man's" modus operandi? I think we have pretty much shown that we will kill anyone or anything on this planet that gets in our way. It's probably for the best right now that our exploration of the universe outside our solar system is limited to what we can see through a telescope. One can easily imagine what could happen if we were to discover and travel to a fertile planet inhabitted by a relatively peaceful, low-tech, nomadic people. Say along the lines of our native Americans.

Tom

macona
08-17-2011, 05:06 PM
I saw a quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson last week: the total revised cost of the James Webb telescope is $4.5 billion. That includes funds already spent (the telescope is pretty far along in construction), the first year of operating expenses, and funding that is committed by the Canadian Space agency and the European Space Agency.

We spend $9 Billion/month in Iraq...

And we spend that much in about 2 days of medicare (Figuring cost at $600B a year as of 3 years ago)

lazlo
08-17-2011, 05:21 PM
And we spend that much in about 2 days of medicare (Figuring cost at $600B a year as of 3 years ago)

$500 Billion in Medicare for 2010, but sure -- let's turn off Medicare for a day so we can fund the completion of the James Webb telescope.

Or even better, there was $16.5 Billion in earmarks (Federal Pork) in FY2010. That's a great start...

macona
08-18-2011, 11:03 AM
Sounds good to me! There is so much waste in the system no one will notice! ;)

dp
08-18-2011, 11:11 AM
To eliminate a species all you need to do is kill off the defenseless young for a very few years. During or immediately after birth being the easiest time. If the specie is a member of the now missing megafauna then you also put food on the table.

It is a shame that we've gutted our space exploration programs. They have benefited the entire world with all the knock-on technologies that came from it.

dp
08-18-2011, 11:13 AM
$500 Billion in Medicare for 2010, but sure -- let's turn off Medicare for a day so we can fund the completion of the James Webb telescope.

Or even better, there was $16.5 Billion in earmarks (Federal Pork) in FY2010. That's a great start...

Can it wait? I've just come under Medicare coverage and my back hurts! :) Seriously - I've been in a wheel chair since Sunday.

flathead4
08-18-2011, 01:08 PM
To eliminate a species all you need to do is kill off the defenseless young for a very few years.

It's quicker just to kill them all. Ask any (former) buffalo hunter.


If the specie is a member of the now missing megafauna then you also put food on the table.


Temporarily.

Tom