We have plenty of rare earth metals as well as tantalum. They are not mined because of regulations, esp. from the EPA. As I understand it, rare earths are never mined in this country because thorium always occurs with them. Thorium is slightly radioactive. It's sad. Thorium is more common than uranium and burns cleaner. The DOE, however, has regulations from the 60's or 70's that only allow uranium to be used in this country. This appears to be because Uranium 235 can be used to make plutonium for weapons. Yet Thorium is much safer.
When Thorium is hit with a neutron, it gives off two neutrons (continuing the reaction) and turns into Uranium 234, which is fissionable. Uranium 234 burns cleaner and does not produce plutonium. And since Thorium is in such abundandance, it is an inexaustible supply of energy. A reactor can be designed using molten salt, which is much safer than ones using the solid rods used in many solid fuel reactors. The problems have been worked out and they are much safer. Here is one of many links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_fluoride_thorium_reactor
It seems to me, if we want to get out of "conflict metals", we should try getting them here. Eventually, someone is going to "charge us through the teeth" if we don't
I had forgotten the 'experiment in a cube' thing that they were doing now. In some ways ISS has already been "merchandised." Some might want to pay for an experiment in space. Others might want to take a multi-million dollar 'vacation' in space. So I stand corrected in under-estimating the uses they have put ISS to. And glad to hear of it again, really. Thanks!
A relative of mine used to work at NASA and I became familiar with its budgetary challenges. That NASA could go a long way on a fraction of the money being spent on overseas wars is an excellent point someone else made. They have had to become much more efficient than they used to be since the Apollo days. And since the shuttle disasters, more humble.
So if we could take that large chunk of money from the foreign wars and the defense budget mentioned above, would putting it into the ISS and NASA be the Best use of it? Or is it just a Good use of it? My teaching has always been that discerning between good and best is where the real challenge in life lies. No one wants to appear in favor of something bad. There are always lots of "Good" uses for money. Ask any lobbyist. And any bureaucrat will tell you they can put the money to good use. It doesn't matter if they are in NASA or not. But what is the best thing to do?
Herein we may disagree. And on Slashdot, where many of us nerds revel in the glories of the space program some may want to simply dump more and more tax payer dollars. But speaking of best, just suppose the central government were cut to the minimum constitutional level it was originally at. Then, with no taxes (that's how it was for the first 100+ years), everyone would have an extra 30% of their salary to play with. There could be a space program charity for people to donate to. It would be a popular one for many nerds. I laugh at those of you who think it wouldn't work. I see how much people give to things like United Way even after having 30%+ of their money pulled out of their wallets by taxes. Honestly, I think we would have already been to Mars and Back - with a crew of astronauts.
We won't hold our breath on that one. . . yet. For now, I'll just say I'm in agreement that letting ISS drop out of the sky would be a waste of money and it should be allowed to continue - and where possible, updated and improved. There are certainly bigger fish to fry than the ISS.
Good points. And I realize you may be aware of other experiments you believe are more useful than spiderweb studies, but there really isn't room to list them. One problem is few of these experiments receive much public coverage so people don't know about them. Couldn't NASA list the experiments, what they are trying to find out and if they have been successful? I've considered that there might be some 'National Security related' experiments they aren't going to report on. But I wouldn't think a spacelab labeled "International" would be doing that type of experiment exclusively. And the openness seems a responsibility since they are paid for (for the most part) by tax dollars. Photos and videos provided by Mars Rovers and Curiosity have helped the popularity and perceived profit of their respective programs.
To sum up, I see you feel the Space Station is profitable in ways not necessarily measured in money. OK, but I would like it if more of the info that makes you feel that way was made publicly available and easy to find. Maybe you know where it is. Other people might want to know, too. Thanks for your input.
So what do we really get out of the space station? Is it ever going to turn a profit? Has it ever helped produce anything?
I'm not trying to be critical. I've heard of things like experiments to see whether spiders can still spin webs in 0 G and whether the webs look different. But after many years of hearing about stuff like this, I've never heard a strong explanation put forward as to what is its real tangible benefit. If it is simply to work with other nations in a unique environment, call congress. I've heard they have some pretty unique and expensive parties. No doubt, there's a cynical meter reading very high right now. But I do know a number of the companies providing major support for the space station are well connected politically and get a lot of money for it.
So what to do? I don't know. If it is a waste of money, I don't think it is the worst the federal government has dreamed up. That's because it's a cool project. But me-thinks more could be accomplished for less money in private industry.
Sure. Evolution is science. Actually, no. It's more like a religeon. And just like most folk here say 'religeous' folk won't listen to reason, neither do many who say they are into science. It's all just inflated ego on some subjects. I usually get dropped or banned here - even when I'm polite and careful in my responses. So why bother. But here is some science for you. Check the link. It appears that the apostles of global warming are having some problems with their theories. I'm not a troll. I'm just tired of Slashdot's biased treatment of anyone with an opinion even slightly different.
I have problems debating with both sides - 'Religious' and 'Scientific'. It's funny, but consider both sides. Each side supposedly has standards.
For example, If one is a Bible Believing Christian, their logical standard would be the Bible. But if something in the Bible shows that what you believe up until now has been wrong, one is supposed to change it. Consider that it is a known fact that Jesus Christ was not born in December. The Bible never says it was December. There is much proof on this but to keep it simple, shepherds don't watch their flocks after mid October in that region. It's too cold. It's always been that way. Why don't we just change the date for his birthday? Traditions. It would 'shake the boat' and totally Freak most Christians out.
Now consider most evolutionists. Their standard should be scientific facts. Yet there have been cases of fraud involving things like orangatang skulls, carefully aging bones, and skulls put together from more than one source to prove the theory for a missing link and get fame. And there's more. As one with a chemistry degree, I find the argument where the odds against producing even one 'left handed' protein (life uses left-handed proteins and DNA exclusively) are shown to be astonomical to have strong merit. And then having them get together and just happen to form the first living cell is . . . well, it just ain't happening. A much better and provable method needs to be there than just a large ocean cooking organics that just happen to turn into living things. But tell that to a hardcore evolutionist that there needs to be something more and see what happens. It's like being told you are a stupid infidel and you need to accept what those greater scientific evolutionary priests tell you and accept it by faith. Please, I'm just making an observation based on experience.
Ever debated with Christians and had fun with, "Did humans and dinosaurs get together?" Heh! Heh! Sure you have. Although some dating methods have turned out to make dino bones much older than they are, there is no doubt that they are way older than modern human bones and the (let's use 6K years) time to fit in the generally accepted Genesis timeline. So what's it all about? What really happened?
There is a loophole. The original language (Aramaic) used for Genesis had no verb form of 'to be'. That means there is no "was", or "is" or passive verbs. They were put in by translators so it would be easier to read. When it says, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep", what it is saying (using the original words) is, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth BECAME without form and void and darkness upon the face of the deep". Why did it become without form and void? Apparently, something destroyed what was there before. Although details are not given in this location, there is evidence of it given in other places. Consider, why did God tell Adam and Eve to RE-plenish the earth in Genesis, if it had not been 'plenished' before? To summarize the parts together, there was this character who was originally named 'Lucifer', who decided he wanted to be on top and rebelled. He took 1/3 of the rest of his kind (angels) in his rebellion. When his rebellion didn't go so well, he lost and was kicked out. So he came down and ruined what was the originally done on the earth and earned a new name, the Devil.
Perhaps you are laughing at this point. That's OK. Most Christians I've told this too tend to be, at first, fascinated. But most (not all) go back to their church and decide it is easier to go with their traditions. But at least they listen! But there are quite a few people who have noticed this detail. I didn't get it out of thin air. But most people into evolution that I tell this to get irritated or even mad - especially since I'm removing a key stumbling block for many people and making science and the Bible fit together. Why is that? Although I have problems sometimes with both sides, I believe those most into evolution are not in it because of science, but into it because they want to get God out of it any way they can. What do you think?
OK, from a web dictionary, the definition of Reflection: serious thought or consideration. Perhaps that works. I see it, sort of. Snowden certainly did give serious thought or consideration in giving his assessment of NSA Spying on citizens. But reflection? It is like taking a bony, emaciated individual and calling them "fairly trim". Wouldn't it would be more accurate to go to slender. . . . or why not go to skinny. Really, if we are honest, just call it what it is and say "emaciated, bony, and starving to death." Isn't that better? It is obvious Snowden made decisions putting his future freedom, lifestyle, and possibly his physical life in jeapordy.
A stronger descriptive noun or adjective is in order.
Is Telling the Truth a Crime? It is always available to make a law that makes it a crime - especially when it hurts people in power. Please consider the case of Peter Zenger, a printer in the colonies before the Revolutionary war. One link to info on that is: http://mises.org/journals/jls/15_2/15_2_3.pdf. Here is an excerpt.
When Peter Zenger, a New York printer, was charged with criminal libel for criticizing the royal governor, Zenger wished to argue at his trial that his remarks were true. The court instructed the jury that truth was no defense. Defense counsel Andrew Hamilton, however, urged the jury to reach their own conclusions about this legal issue. They did so, acquitted Zenger, and struck a blow for free speech that was critical to the struggle for independence a few decades later.
The prosecution argued that because his criticisms were true it made his revealing them to be an even more serious crime! Alexander Hamilton, an excellent lawyer and later founding father, defended Zenger and said the law could also be judged by a jury. The law could itself be found to be unjust, or, unjustly applied. Either way, if the jury by it's own conscience found the accused innocent, it was duty-bound not to convict. This sort of thing occurred in England before, in the case of William Penn. It has become known as Jury Nullification and is a right never challenged by any Supreme Court. It is why there is a right to a jury trial. It is so a government cannot rubber-stamp a conviction of someone they do not like. How about you? If you were in a trial where you had disclosed actions by the government violating civil rights causing embarrassment of those in power, wouldn't you want an impartially picked jury making the final decision rather than a judge, appointed by the same government?
So go ahead and say it is illegal . . . . even if the laws that make it illegal have questionable (at best) Constitutional authority. Now perhaps at some point, it will become established law that a person accused of crimes affecting national security will not be afforded a lawyer. And if he is declared innocent by the jury, the government can still keep him in custody. This stuff is already in the NDAA (National Defence Authorization Act). But If it's what you want to do, go with the flow and say what Snowden did is illegal. A lot of government officials say so. It is safe to agree.
Or, Instead, why not do your own research. Don't just believe me or anyone else. Check out the Peter Zenger trial. Like many others, I do not believe Snowden could get a fair trial in this country. The government, after capturing him, would hold him as long as possible before a trial. They would leak all kinds of info to our news sources about bad things he did. And then, only if they could load the jury would they go forward with it. And even if they lost, they would still find a reason to nullify a jury verdict. I hate to say that. But it happens in other countries and I believe it to be the case here that it could happen here also.
Don't assume SCOTUS will rule against the police state. The ruling with Obamacare should have been a slam dunk denial of the program. The most recent justice, Kagan, is 'progressive' in believing the Constitution can be molded to suit the needs of modern times. Hence, the original meaning is secondary. Roberts, a supposed conservative expected to repudiate Obamacare, did a complete about face at the last minute. I'm not a lawyer but even I could see that the explanation he gave made no sense.
So no. I think the best thing to do is keep it out of the supreme court. There are some in the main stream media pushing for it to go to SCOTUS is because they believe SCOTUS is on their side . . . . not because they believe (or care) they will do what the Constitution says. I have to agree. Obama (and Bush) picked their nominees carefully. Most state courts care more about the Constitution than the US Supreme Court.
"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." -- George Bernard Shaw