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Re^8: "Practices and Principles" to death

by tilly (Archbishop)
on Mar 04, 2008 at 02:49 UTC ( #671766=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^7: "Practices and Principles" to death
in thread "Practices and Principles" to death

How do you define an orbit for property purposes? Please keep in mind that there are many, many orbits that intersect. That there are important orbits that may have many things in them. (Geostationary orbit is the most notable example.) That orbital mechanics are chaotic, so any object placed in orbit will eventually wind up in a different orbit. (One can, if you time it right, get from near Earth orbit to the Moon with almost no usage of power. IIRC this trip takes about 2 years.)

Next, once you've defined orbits in a reasonable way, you have the problem that most of the space junk out there will cross many orbits. For each owner of an orbit, it is easier to just avoid stuff crossing your orbit than it is to clean that stuff up. (Don't forget, we still have no way to clean things up.) Also any attempt to clean up junk that is crossing one orbit is fairly likely to move it into someone else's orbit. What are the lawsuit opportunities there?

Even if you propose a solution to these problems, you have the bigger problem of how to agree on regulations that have to cover multiple countries. Do you really think that China or India is in any mood to accept a division imposed by the USA, Europe and Russia about who may use what parts of space? And what about the smaller powers? According to Wikipedia there are 45 countries with space agencies. Many, admittedly, do not launch their own satellites. But getting that many countries to agree on a complex legal system involving space is going to be very, very tricky.

I agree that these are problems that need to be addressed at some point if we're going to continue our exploration of space. However I submit that there are a lot of issues to be resolved that free markets are poorly equipped to address. And even if you come up with a solution where free market forces have a role, you first need to create the framework that free market can exist in. And that process itself can't be solved by waving the magic free market wand.


Comment on Re^8: "Practices and Principles" to death
Re^9: "Practices and Principles" to death
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Mar 04, 2008 at 05:23 UTC

    Here's an idea that popped into my head a few years ago whilst having an on-line discussion with someone who worked for an agency involved tracking space debris by radar. And it won't go away. I don't know enough about orbital mechanics, nor have a sufficient appreciation of the forces and velocities involved, to dimiss it. So, if anyone can shoot it down, please do and I can give my brain a rest.

    My assumption is that for any given piece of debris currently in a long term orbit, it would only take a small (earthwards) delta change in its instantaneous trajectory to cause it to fall back to earth of its own accord. And, for the vast majority of those small objects, that would be a safe method of displosal. Also, that a near-but-not-quite parallel collision between a piece of debris and a solid flat surface, is likely to redirect the debris, rather than for it to penetrate. Like a bulllet ricocheting off a wall.

    In the next couple of years the shuttles are due to be stood down on safety grounds. It long struck me that the biggest risks are associate with launch and return with people on board. And the biggest limitations on individual missions is the support needs for that wet ware. As a final act, one or more of the shuttles could be sent into orbit, perhaps to dock with the space station unmanned, or with a skeleton crew to be returned by other means.

    If it took up extra fuel (in the bay) for manovering; the robot arm; and a large solid deflector. It could use that deflector, extended below the shuttles orbit to change the orbits of small pieces of debris (the vast majority of the 9000 or so they track), just enough to cause them to re-enter and burn up.

    'scuse the crudity of the ascii art (its obviously not to scale :):

    ____ >[____]> / / / \ \ \ ____---- \ ____---- ____---- . . . . . . . ____---- . . . . Earth V this way . V . V

    So, shoot it down--but no missiles please :)


    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
      Do you think the arm or deflector could be manoeuvred with sufficient accuracy by remote from earth to obtain the desired effect?

        Truthfully, I've no idea, but I wasn't thinking about manoeuvering either (except maybe rotating the deflector to be at right angles to the debris path). Just the entire assemble, shuttle'n'all. And I'm not at all sure that the shuttles are capable of remote operations either, though if they're not, they could be made so--for some amount of money.

        They already track the debris pretty accurately and can predict their future course sufficient that they can avoid them when planning shuttle launches and manoeuvers, though they probably use wide margins of safety. And they have to be able to position the shuttle pretty accurately for docking, so I don't think control is a problem.

        If you imagine the deflector being a 3 cm thick titanium plate that is elliptical, and as large as can fit in the shuttle bay--say 15ft on the minor axis and 30ft on the major, for a weight of about 4 tonnes.

        If presented to the debris at a 30deg angle to its path--you have a 15ft diameter target. Many times the tolorance for docking. With military spec GPS guidance that should be possible. It really comes down how accurately the debris trajectories are known.

        I think the really major part of such an operation would be planning minimal maneouvering of the shuttle to allow it to intercept the maximum number of pieces without wasting fuel. The shuttle wouldn't have to chase after the debris. Just be in the right place as it comes by.

        The bit I really have no feel for is whether, say a camera hitting the plate would cause all the bits to predictably directed in the desired direction, or whether you'd end up with a dozen more pieces of debris on new paths?


        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

      I think you are seriously underestimating the complexity of this endeavour. I suspect it would be easier to clean the North Pacific Gyre with a tea strainer.

      Try catching a leaf falling of a tree in autumn some time. Thousands of leaves falling, everywhere, all the time. And yet, you are never in the right place at the right time.

      One could probably sail to the middle of the Gyre, toss a bucket over the side and haul it back up, and find nothing but... water. You might see lots of trash float by, lots and lots and lots, but never grab a single piece.

      And it is the same with space. Sure, we are led to believe that near space is full of all sorts of shrapnel ready to drill holes through delicate equipment like space shuttles or, heaven forfend, people. Go up there for a week, and you'll wind up shredded like character in a Tex Avery cartoon.

      I think people forget how utterly vast space is, even low earth orbit. You are simply not going to rendez-vous with so much as a 2 inch bolt.

      I also think you underestimate the mass the reflector would need to be of any use. Unless it was solid metal several centimetres thick, anything colliding with it would just drill right through. If you have sufficient mass to make it useful, you won't have the energy available to move it around. Make it light enough to move around, and you won't be able to do anything, it will just be shredded like a hand going through a rice-paper screen.

      God, I sound like a hippy but still, I say we should avail ourselves to cleaning up the oceans. The heavens can wait.

      • another intruder with the mooring in the heart of the Perl

        It would be exceedingly unlikely that any concept thrown together in the 20minutes BrowserUk took to think through his reply (I normally take about 3, at best!) would be workable in its first incarnation. Heck, it's unlikely that any code I write is going to be workable in the first incarnation.

        The key here is that there are solutions and, frankly, it's not that hard to get them going. And, it's not a matter that you're going to rendezvous with a 2" bolt this year. The question as posed 6 replies back was how to effectively make space something that private enterprise can colonize. tilly brought up the tragedy of the commons and cleaning space. I replied with one possible way that private enterprise can solve that specific problem. BrowserUk then replied (several replies later) with one possible way to solve the technical problem of cleaning space. I didn't care what the solution was, only that if there was enough potential revenue, a solution would be found. Just like the problem of clearing minefields post-conflict. Right now, it's expensive. But, imho, that's just because the value of clearing the mines is too low. If several US states were heavily mined, the cost of de-mining them would go down significantly because there would be competition to clear the land because there would be significant value in having that land cleared. Right now, there are mines in places where the land has little value. Increase the value of the land to be cleared and you increase the number of companies willing to invest in mine-clearing technology, thus driving down the cost of removing a single mine.


        My criteria for good software:
        1. Does it work?
        2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?
        Try catching a leaf falling... toss a bucket over the side and haul it back up...

        Leaves are subject to winds which are chaotic. Sea borne litter is subject to currents and winds and is even more chaotic.

        Space debris moves according to well-known and relatively simple mathematics. They can even account for atmospheric drag. Their paths are very predictible, barring collisions which do occur, but relatively infrequently due as you pointed out, the vastness of the volumes of space involved. And they are predicted, for every space mission. Launches and returns.

        An example of the predictability of space debris trajectories.

        I also think you underestimate the mass the reflector would need to be of any use.... If you have sufficient mass to make it useful, you won't have the energy available to move it around. Make it light enough to move around, and you won't be able to do anything,

        A 1.25" x 15ft x 30ft (3cm x 4.5m x 9m) titanium ellipse: Mass 4 tonnes. You could double the thickness for 8 tonnes and the shuttle could still easily get it up there. And the arm could deploy it. The Columbus science module taken up last month was 15ft x 30ft and 12.75 tonnes. It was manipulated from the cargo bay into position for attachment using a robotic arm. Albeit ISS' arm, not the shuttle's.

        The reason debris is such a risk to ISS modules is because their walls are made of two skins of thin aluminium (3mm or 4mm?). Some of the debris are bits of titanium which is nearly twice as strong and 60% denser. Soft, thin collides with harder denser, and the latter wins.

        If you fire a bullet at brick wall face on, it penetrates. Fire it at an angle and it bounces off. I seem to recall an incident of a gunman firing at the driver of a car through the side window at an angle, when the glass crazed but the bullet bounced off rather than penetrating. But it might have been a movie rather than a real life incident?

        I'm quite expecting for the idea to be shown to be bunkum, but most of your points don't do that. Your point about the vastness of the territory is valid, but remember the idea is send the shuttle up at the end of it's useful life never to return. Remote controlled, with vastly increased manouvering fuel and no rush to get any particular place fast.

        So you aim it at the point you want it to be to intercept one or more pieces of debris in a few days or weeks time and give it a gentle nudge in that direction. In a vacuum, it'll get there eventually. And you concentrate your efforts on clearing specific important orbits, like the frequently used equatorial launch paths used by things like the European ATV and Russian Progress supply vehicles to and from the ISS.


        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
      First of all let's figure out what is required to bring something down to Earth that is orbiting, say, 499 km up.

      The lowest effort way to bring an object in a circular orbit into an orbit where it will intersect the Earth is the rocket firing at apoapsis required in a Hohmann transfer orbit. Thanks to wikipedia I know that the change in velocity required is:

      sqrt(u/r2)(1-sqrt(2r1/(r1+r2)))
      where u is a constant that for the Earth is about 400,000 km**3*s**(-2), r1 is 6470 km (99 km high, just grazing the atmosphere. And r2 is 400 km more than that, or 6870. Plugging those numbers in you need to slow down by about 0.115 km/second, or about 415 km/h.

      So if you line everything up correctly, your "gentle" impact has to change the velocity of the junk by several hundred km/h. Basically you're having the junk hit about as fast as a bullet hits, and are hoping that the junk bounces off in one piece and doesn't knock off any shrapnel. (Pieces of shrapnel would, of course, themselves become space junk that would need removal as well...) Also to have the collision happen at less than tens of thousands of km/hour, you have to set up a fairly precise rendezvous between the spacecraft and the junk, which maneuver will be the vast bulk of the overall cost.

      The difficulty and risk of this maneuver doesn't strike me as remotely worthwhile. I believe it would make more sense to rendezvous fairly precisely with each piece of junk, take it into the spacecraft, and rendezvous with the next piece. The weight you save on the spacecraft (lighter = cheaper maneuvering) and lower risks more than make up for the extra bit of maneuvering you have to do.

      EDIT: Clarified the shrapnel issue, and explained further why this makes no sense.

        On the basis of those numbers it looks pretty damning. The high absolute speeds involved make it sound implausible, but you have to consider the relative speeds. When a shuttle docs with ISS, they are both travelling at over 27,000 kph, but their relative closing speed is sub 1 meter per minute.

        I understand the shrapel issue, but again it sounds dramatic because of the high absolute speeds involved. Once you start considering that for the deflector to be in (roughly) the same orbit as the debris, it has to be travelling at approximately the same speed, then the relative speeds involved become much less. (Or much more if they were orbiting in opposite directions. :) It's this aspect, maneouvering to match the direction and altitude that is the likely downfall of the idea. Unless you can pre-compute an efficient sequence of transfers from one debrise encounter to the other.

        However, the Hohmann Transfer Orbit is a one-shot, circular to circular transfer. I suspect, but cannot prove, that rather than attempting to deaccelerate the debris to initiate a direct transfer from a circular LEO orbit into a atmosphere scrapping lower circular orbit in one hit, chanhging it from circular to elliptical may be enough and require less deacceleration.

        Changing it's orbit from circular to elliptical, with a atmosphere scraping pericentre that occurs 180 degrees away from the collision (ie. on the other side of the earth half an orbit later), would (I think) require less deacceleration. And then you get the atmospheric drag and gravity working for you. Ie. Most orbits aren't actually circular but elliptical. If you can arrange the collision on the 'out-bound leg' of the orbit, when gravity is working with you, I think that the effect of the deacceleration you obtain from the collision is hieghtened?

        There is some tantalising stuff in the section "low -thrust transfer" on the page you linked. And a little more in the next section "Therefore, relatively small amounts of thrust at either end of the trip are all that are needed to arrange the transfer.". Mars orbitors tend to enter mars orbit in highly elliptical orbits initially, because it requires less deacceleration, as the planets gravity tends to aid the manoeuver. They then use apocentre burns, when the vehicle is travelling at it's slowest due to having been fighting the planets gravity for half an orbit, to slowly circularise the orbits. Of course they are also usually transfering into polar orbits at the same time, so the maths gets way too complicated for me to understand.

        I'll say it again. I've not enough knowledge to understand how far off base I really am. I kind of wish Mr. NASA (or Mr. ESA or Mr RKA), would pop by and simply say: It won't work. Then I could stop thinking about it. Of course, I'd still like to hear why it wouldn't, but the chances are I wouldn't understand the math :(


        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
Re^9: "Practices and Principles" to death
by dragonchild (Archbishop) on Mar 04, 2008 at 13:28 UTC
    How do you define an orbit for property purposes?

    I'm sure there are many definitions. I'm also pretty sure that orbits are already defined in some fashion because there are thousands of satellites up there that (IIRC) have never collided in the 50 years we've been putting stuff up there. I'm pretty sure that a company devoted to registering orbits would come up with a pretty good way of describing them.

    That there are important orbits that may have many things in them. (Geostationary orbit is the most notable example.)

    Said company(s) would start their registries non-empty.

    That orbital mechanics are chaotic, so any object placed in orbit will eventually wind up in a different orbit.

    Either that can be accounted for in a satellite without the ability to maneuver or maneuvering capability would be required.

    For each owner of an orbit, it is easier to just avoid stuff crossing your orbit than it is to clean that stuff up.

    If you don't want to clean it up and feel you can avoid it, then great! I've gone without health insurance for months at a time in the past. Even though I was fine, I still pay through the nose right now for it. If I just paid M$50 to make a satellite and get it into the right orbit and I have B$20 in future revenues riding on it, I'll be willing to pay M$10 (or something in that range) to increase its chances of survival. It's almost like a company that pays for improvements in a CPAN module. The company is paying for the benefits they are reaping and costs are calculated from that perspective. That there is an improvement to a commonly-held property is good advertising.

    Also any attempt to clean up junk that is crossing one orbit is fairly likely to move it into someone else's orbit.

    I think BrowserUk's solution would work quite nicely. With registration of lower orbits, that kind of work is pretty simple to time.

    Even if you propose a solution to these problems, you have the bigger problem of how to agree on regulations that have to cover multiple countries. Do you really think that China or India is in any mood to accept a division imposed by the USA, Europe and Russia about who may use what parts of space? And what about the smaller powers? According to Wikipedia there are 45 countries with space agencies. Many, admittedly, do not launch their own satellites. But getting that many countries to agree on a complex legal system involving space is going to be very, very tricky.

    What legal system? The only thing that even touches legalities is what courts to use for civil suits. Multinationals have been dealing with that issue since well before the East India Tea Company. Forum-shopping is a completely normal part of corporate law. If there's a crime on board a ship (or other space entity), you apply the provisions currently attaining to a crime at sea. That's worked well enough for hundreds of years. The key here is to avoid the nation-states and to appeal to the corporations. Yes, corporations are rapaciously greedy bastards that look out only for number 1. I can't think of many countries that don't qualify for that description.

    I don't have all the answers off the top of my head. I do believe, very strongly, that all the issues you're raising are issues that are solvable by for-profit entities. And, frankly, solvable in better ways than nations could do so. In my eye, the "Tragedy of the Commons" is a for-profit opportunity to take the commons private for cheap, invest to improve it, then lease out usage. At least under private management, the commons wouldn't deteriorate because the owners have a motive to keep it in good shape.


    My criteria for good software:
    1. Does it work?
    2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?
      How do you define an orbit for property purposes?
      I'm sure there are many definitions. I'm also pretty sure that orbits are already defined in some fashion because there are thousands of satellites up there that (IIRC) have never collided in the 50 years we've been putting stuff up there. I'm pretty sure that a company devoted to registering orbits would come up with a pretty good way of describing them.
      You are completely wrong about that. There is no overall coordination. Cooperation between any two countries will vary widely. For instance on space, the USA and Russia cooperate. The USA has absolutely no cooperation in space with China. The thousands of satellites have never collided simply because each has maneuvering capability and because space is a big enough place that they rarely come close to each other unintentionally.

      Any thought to the contrary is wishful thinking on your part.

      That there are important orbits that may have many things in them. (Geostationary orbit is the most notable example.)
      Said company(s) would start their registries non-empty.
      Considering the number of companies and governments that have satellites in geostationary orbit, and the economic importance of those satellites (ever heard of satellite TV?), ownership of geocentric orbit is very problematical. And even if you assigned ownership, if India (say) decided to put an unapproved satellite into geocentric orbit, what is the "owner" going to do about it?
      That orbital mechanics are chaotic, so any object placed in orbit will eventually wind up in a different orbit.
      Either that can be accounted for in a satellite without the ability to maneuver or maneuvering capability would be required.
      You should assume that satellites have maneuvering capability. They invariably do because they need the capability to maneuver perfectly into their final orbit, and there is always some fuel left over. (Better too much than too little, if you run out and the satellite does not hit the right orbit, that's a failed launch.)

      You should not take it as granted that it is always desirable for satellites to remain in one orbit. As I noted, one of the cheaper (and admittedly slower) ways to get to the Moon is through using the orbital chaos, which necessarily means going through lots of other orbits.

      For each owner of an orbit, it is easier to just avoid stuff crossing your orbit than it is to clean that stuff up.
      If you don't want to clean it up and feel you can avoid it, then great! I've gone without health insurance for months at a time in the past. Even though I was fine, I still pay through the nose right now for it. If I just paid M$50 to make a satellite and get it into the right orbit and I have B$20 in future revenues riding on it, I'll be willing to pay M$10 (or something in that range) to increase its chances of survival. It's almost like a company that pays for improvements in a CPAN module. The company is paying for the benefits they are reaping and costs are calculated from that perspective. That there is an improvement to a commonly-held property is good advertising.
      The point that you just missed is that your attempt to avoid the tragedy of the commons by asserting property rights just failed horribly. Any specific piece of junk crosses many, many orbits. Many pieces of junk cross any particular orbit. Junk is individually easy to dodge, only needs to be dodged very rarely, but it is difficult to remove the junk. The result? Nobody will find it in their interest to ever remove any junk.
      Also any attempt to clean up junk that is crossing one orbit is fairly likely to move it into someone else's orbit.
      I think BrowserUk's solution would work quite nicely. With registration of lower orbits, that kind of work is pretty simple to time.
      Clearly neither you nor BrowserUk studied physics. As my reply to him showed, his solution is untenable.
      Even if you propose a solution to these problems, you have the bigger problem of how to agree on regulations that have to cover multiple countries. Do you really think that China or India is in any mood to accept a division imposed by the USA, Europe and Russia about who may use what parts of space? And what about the smaller powers? According to Wikipedia there are 45 countries with space agencies. Many, admittedly, do not launch their own satellites. But getting that many countries to agree on a complex legal system involving space is going to be very, very tricky.
      What legal system? The only thing that even touches legalities is what courts to use for civil suits. Multinationals have been dealing with that issue since well before the East India Tea Company. Forum-shopping is a completely normal part of corporate law. If there's a crime on board a ship (or other space entity), you apply the provisions currently attaining to a crime at sea. That's worked well enough for hundreds of years. The key here is to avoid the nation-states and to appeal to the corporations. Yes, corporations are rapaciously greedy bastards that look out only for number 1. I can't think of many countries that don't qualify for that description.
      The legal system that would be necessary to register and enforce any kind of private ownership of orbits. Particularly when there is nothing resembling a scarcity of orbits that are available, and there is no incentive for any country to pay attention to any other country.
      I don't have all the answers off the top of my head. I do believe, very strongly, that all the issues you're raising are issues that are solvable by for-profit entities. And, frankly, solvable in better ways than nations could do so. In my eye, the "Tragedy of the Commons" is a for-profit opportunity to take the commons private for cheap, invest to improve it, then lease out usage. At least under private management, the commons wouldn't deteriorate because the owners have a motive to keep it in good shape.
      Believe what you want.

      For my part I believe, very strongly, that you are entirely and absolutely wrong on this subject. You have demonstrated complete ignorance of the relevant economic theory, physics, and international law affecting this matter. Instead you have a blind faith in the magic of private markets and no awareness of the well documented limitations of markets, nor the necessary role of governmental regulation in creating them.

      This thread is a reminder to me that I should be careful about deciding whether to enter non-programming conversations on a programming website. Because it is frustrating trying to convince people of basic facts that they don't get because they lack the relevant background, and when they don't even realize that the relevant background is important to know. At least when discussing programming, people are more likely to have the background they need to understand the points which are made.

        Because it is frustrating trying to convince people of basic facts that they don't get because they lack the relevant background...

        I'm sure that everyone involved in this conversation would be happy to look over any hyperlinks or reference information you could provide.

        I have studied physics. Having lived in several countries, I have a reasonable appreciation for international law. Sure, my economic theory is a bit shaky, having only really studied Adam Smith. Yes, I am a hardcore libertarian and I make no bones about it. I have read up on the "well documented limitations of the markets" and, frankly, I am not convinced (more later). I have come to a grudging respect for the role of a strong court with the ability to enforce its decisions. I have also come to an appreciation for the economic creative power of a peaceful region that can predict conditions in the near- and medium-term futures.

        As for limitations of the market, please read http://users.tpg.com.au/users/jes999/16.htm and let me know if I'm missing any limitations. In lieu of that, I will assume that this is a reasonably complete list and move forward.

        The first skew in assumptions between your POV and mine is that you are discussing countries and I am discussing companies. They're not going to behave the same, so to extrapolate the behavior of corporations based on the existing behavior of countries is, imho, an exercise doomed to failure. Additionally, I am assuming that the majority of orbital things are going to be corporate-owned rather than nationally-owned. This is the underlying assumption to my entire chain of reasoning. Additionally, whenever I propose a set of numbers, please take that to be indicative of a concept, not as an actual hard proposal.

        Instead, I would argue that the behavior of corporations in existing similar markets should be examined. Such as, for instance, the ocean. There are thousands of ships, large and small, moving through the oceans on any given day. There are well-defined shipping lanes that didn't arise as a result of international law. They arose through the natural flow of the markets. (Yes, I did some research on this.) Mimicking that would be a good start (and, I suspect, is what has happened).

        The point behind the registry is that it's a claimstake. This idea arises out of the early settler days. If there was a problem between two people, the local circuit judge would come through and see who had the best claim (based on various criteria). His ruling would give the winner the right to shoot the loser for trespassing. Seems like a good plan to me. At worst, you get into a corporate war which the shareholders quickly shutdown as being bad for profits. (When was the last time a country stopped shooting at someone because it was bad for profits?)

        As for assuming space-stuff wants to stay in an orbit ... I don't mean to give the impression that I'm assuming that. Maybe it's better to talk about registering "flight plans" or somesuch. You go ahead and declare "My thing is going to describe this motion over the next 5/10/20 years." That can be an orbit, a Moonshot, a lunar orbit, or even "I'm going to trail the Earth by 1M miles." If you require an accuracy of 10km in these plans and give everyone a 5kmx5km box to live in, that should work pretty well. Doesn't give much response time for humans, but computers would be ok.

        It is difficult right now to remove junk. It was also really really difficult to store data on a disk in such a way as to retrieve it very quickly. The markets solved the latter problem and I am almost positive that, given sufficient pain, they will solve the former, too.

        Pain, as I see it, is the pain of people who have the purchasing power to get someone else to fix it. Yes, it sucks that minefields are in places where the residents cannot pay to fix it. When I have a billion dollars, I'll gladly help out. But, you'll notice that most of the people with the funds don't consider it to be a big problem. Very few companies consider it a problem worth attempting to solve. If that land was worth something, then it would be solved right quick. In other words, if the residents on that land found a way to make it worthwhile to clear, the mines would be cleared. Yes, it's a horrible thing to say, but it's the truth.

        I hope that I have demonstrated that I can continue to carry my side of this extremely fascinating conversation. I am more than willing to read any link you give me and continue researching on my own. But, as of yet, I have not seen any specific deficiencies in my arguments. You have said "DC doesn't understand the fundamentals." and left it at that. I'll gladly learn these fundamentals.


        My criteria for good software:
        1. Does it work?
        2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?

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