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Comment: I Agree Completely (Score 1) 1330

tl;dr - There can be no freedom without responsibility.

Considering that the government is supplying these corporations with limited financial liability, I would argue that being covered by that government umbrella makes any such covered organization, by necessity, limited in rights due to that government associated limited liability. Thus this "religious freedom" argument is as much a violation of the first amendment as if the "religious freedom" of a bureaucrat to require you to share their religion in order to provide you with a service.

I would go further and argue that the ability to grant limits on liability is an explicit violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution. It's either that or the Government is partially extending its own immunity to the entity, limiting their rights in doing so.

Long story short, the ability to grant limited liability should require a new Constitutional amendment and any person operating under that limited liability umbrella must have, due to the limited responsibility, limited rights. In the absence of an amendment spelling out those limits, the only way to not violate equal protection is to consider persons operating under limited liability to be implicitly operating on behalf of the government.

Comment: Understatement of the Year (Score 5, Interesting) 152

by BlackGriffen (#41677329) Attached to: Alpha Centauri Has an Earth-Sized Planet

"it's far too hot to be habitable."

That's an understatement. From the ArsTechnica article on the alpha Centauri planet:

"But don't start building the colony ship just yet. With a 3.3 day orbit, the planet is only 0.04 Astronomical Units (1 AU is the typical distance from the Earth to the Sun). That makes this planet blazingly hot, at about 1,500 Kelvin."

Comment: The Other Important Question (Score 3, Informative) 264

by BlackGriffen (#33052318) Attached to: Possible Room Temperature Superconductor Achieved

How much current can it carry? Superconductors tend to lose superconductivity in the presence of a large magnetic field, limiting the amount of current they can carry. I don't know if the high Tc superconductors are more susceptible than the regular ones, but it's something to keep in mind.

If they can take a really high magnetic field then that would be really cool for projects like the LHC. A large part of what makes that project dangerous, difficult, and expensive is the large number of He cooled superconducting magnets it needs. The danger comes in when you get a cosmic ray or something that increases the temperature of the magnet so that even a small part loses its superconductivity. When that happens, the non-superconducting part rapidly starts heating up the rest of the magnet in a process called "quenching." The results of a quench can be quite catastrophic.

Comment: Re:It is not that straightforward (Score 4, Informative) 97

by BlackGriffen (#33041600) Attached to: How a Key Enzyme Repairs Sun-Damaged DNA

Things can disappear due to genetic drift. If the tail of mammals living underground or nocturnal for a long time is true, for instance, then losing the gene to repair sun damage wouldn't be a big deal. Considering that color vision is rare in mammals, another thing only useful in broad daylight, it wouldn't surprise me if it was just lost randomly. I mean, do you really think it's useless to have 3 color vision? Or 4, as is common in many other animal kingdoms? Add in the fact that so many mammals are covered in enough fur/hair that they don't have that much sun exposure and a loss by genetic drift is a virtual shoe-in.

Same thing with human's inability to produce our own vitamin C.

Comment: Re:I'm a Member of the WISE Team (Score 1) 112

by BlackGriffen (#32968700) Attached to: WISE Discovers 95 New Near-Earth Asteroids

I don't even know if that's possible to estimate because it all depends on the voluntary efforts of others to do much of the followup. It also depends on the orbit and where WISE is seeing it - WISE basically orbits over the day-night line pointed up, more or less, so it sees the solar system poles far more often than anywhere else and may not need independent followup for objects seen there. In the ecliptic, contrastingly, WISE is expected to be able to image an asteroid 8+ times. The only reason that's not enough to fix the orbit by itself is because all the images are taken over a relatively short time baseline (~180 minutes between exposures given the ~90 minute orbit and survey plan).

You can keep track of such things at the Minor Planet Center.

APL hackers do it in the quad.