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Comment Re:How Innovative (Score 1) 139

n both places, only about half of those who enter actually graduate, which tells you that many people who enter university shouldn't have gone in the first place.

Is that what that tells you? Do you have some kind of test you can do to know in advance which half a student belongs to? Are you sure that the people who drop out didn't benefit from their time despite not earning a degree?

Comment Re:Avoidance (Score 1) 67

Actually, this points out another possible explanation -- that distance is the effect of ethical behavior rather than the cause. This is not necessarily because the boss explicitly or intentionally demands unethical behavior from his subordinates. Often it's because bad bosses like to surround themselves with yes-men and toadies.

Comment Re:The treaty says no such thing. (Score 1) 163

200 parts per million might be insanely rich, but it also means you have to process over 300 pounds of ore to extract 1 oz of platinum. That's nothing to a terrestrial mining operation which might crush several tons of rock to recover a single ounce of gold, but remember they do that with mass-is-no-object machinery and consuming, from a spacecraft point of view, unthinkable amounts of power. In space operations mass and power matters a great deal.

I'm not saying it won't happen eventually, but it won't be profitable until we're measuring cost per pound to orbit in pennies rather than thousands of dollars.

Comment Re:The treaty says no such thing. (Score 2) 163

I considered the near Earth object case. Clearly that's the easiest place to return material from; the problem is that it's coals-to-Newcastle. So far as we know the bulk of that material is stuff that's easy to get here on Earth: silicates, sulfides, iron, nickel etc. Judging from meteors found here on Earth there are exotic materials like iridium, but in trace quantities.

While there's no doubt lots of valuable stuff like platinum up there, I think people are picturing it as floating around as nuggets of largely native metal. The platinum deposits in Canada's Sudbury Basin were delivered by a meteor, but that meteor was fifteen km across. It contained a lot of Pt in absolute terms, but in relative terms the Pt was rare compared to silicates or nickel. The liquefaction of the meteor in impact separated the heavy metals into convenient deposits. If we tried to mine that object while it was in space we'd have had to crush and melt a lot of ore to get much Pt.

Comment Re:Avoidance (Score 3, Insightful) 67

"Those that did the most real work and were good at it were passed over."

It seems they were not good at observation. If you are really good at your job, you WILL NOT BE PROMOTED. you need to be medicore at your job and good at ass kissing to get promoted. It has been this way from the beginning of time.

Too many people buy into the lie that if you are really good at what you do you will be rewarded. you are never rewarded, you are kept right where you are to do your job really well and make others look good.

Comment Re:The treaty says no such thing. (Score 4, Interesting) 163

It does not prohibit colonization, it just prohibits exclusive territorial claims.

Right, which does not necessarily prevent claiming materials found as private property.

That said, this is all a tempest in a teapot. At this stage of technology asteroid mining is about the worst imaginable investment anyone could make. It's a purely emotional investment, driven by enthusiasm, and it doesn't stand up to critical scrutiny. We don't even go after the valuable on the sea floor because the cost of finding and raising them makes that unprofitable. If there were hundred pound chunks of refinery-pure platinum floating around in the asteroid belt it would cost more to fetch and return them than they'd fetch on the market.

The economics of space travel is dominated by the cost of moving mass in and out of gravity wells and imparting the necessary acceleration to match position and velocity with targets. It follows that we're looking for stuff with the highest value/mass, and until costs drop by a couple of orders of magnitude there's only one commodity worth returning from space: knowledge. The first physical substances worth mining will be things useful in the pursuit of knowledge -- e.g. water that can be converted to rocket fuel without tankering to the outer solar system.

Comment This pursuit is utterly stupid... (Score 1, Insightful) 324

All it does is make phones suck more. 99% of the buying public if you ask them... "do you want a thinner phone or a phone that will last 2 days on a charge?"
  all of them will say, "give me the longer lasting charge."

We don't want thinner, we want more battery capacity. The number 1 flaw with the One Plus X is that it's battery life utterly sucks. Well number 2.. Number 1 is that it's a 3G only phone in most of the United states as they were complete retards at OnePlus and did not set it up for the 700mhz LTE band.

Everyone I show mine to says, "Ohh that is a very nice phone it's so thin!" until I tell them about battery life.. then they say they would rather have a phone that is thicker so that it lasts longer.

Comment Re:Require military trigger pullers (Score 1) 72

One of those is that the person pulling the trigger be military so that you are ensured a direct chain of command

What they really should do is provide an "easy" way for their 'civillian' drone operators to just become military by signing a piece of paper that subjects these people to a chain of command, without other problematic caveats such as a 6 year or X year commitment, or caveats of an ability to be reassigned to any other random job as an interchangeable part, or caveats of a requirement to undergo physically excruciating trials.

They would likely find many more volunteer drone combat pilots; if these people didn't have to go through a huge unnecessary ordeal and be worried about being spontaneously re-assigned to physical labor or an in-the-line-of-fire job, or guard duty on someone's whim.

Comment The China Syndrome movie didn't kill nukes. (Score 1) 320

And it sure has hell wasn't Greenpeace or the Clamshell Alliance.

It was the 1980s oil glut that did the deed. That was especially devastating following on the heels of the 1970s oil crisis, because so many companies who entered the alternative energy business in the late 70s only to have the floor cut out from under them in 1980. I had a good friend who quit his job at a software company in 1980 to go to work for a company developing a seasonal thermal energy storage scheme. He was an accountant and according to him the numbers were solid as long as oil prices were north of $100/bbl. That was in May of 1980 when oil was trading at $114/bbl. 13 months later the price of oil had fallen to $60/bbl. For the next five years the Saudis tried to prop up falling oil prices by cutting back production, but in '85 they gave up, opened the spigots, and oil prices dropped to $23/bbl.

The economic reaction was entirely what you'd predict with oil prices at a 40 year low. The development of new energy technologies stalled. Cars got bigger again and SUVs of unprecedented size and low fuel economy became wildly popular. And new nuclear plant starts dried up. Oh, the industry pointed the finger at the big, bad environmental movement, which is laughable because so far as I know they only nuclear power plant ever canceled due to protests was the monumentally stupidly sited Bodega Bay in 1964. Imagine for a moment the Clams and all those guys didn't exist; it wouldn't have mattered in the least. Nobody is going to invest in new nuclear power plants when oil is priced at $18/bbl. But it sounds better to say that the Greens have put you out of business than to say the prices you used in your revenue projections were off by an order of magnitude.

Radioactive cats have 18 half-lives.