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Comment: Re:2-Butoxyethanol (Score 1) 328

It's used in fracking fluids - and also in a LOT of other places, like paints, sealants, cleaning products, et bloody cetera. The shocker would be if they didn't find the stuff.

It's used in many Simple Green products, a LOT of Rustoleum paints, and a lot of others. Minwax, Goo-Gone, Zep, Windex... the list is pretty long. And all it would take would be a home mechanic spilling a bottle of one of those products to get to that same parts-per-trillion levels in their own well water.

The paper suggests that the chemical may have come from a surface-level leak at a nearby well - and that they can't actually tie the chemical to the actual fracking chemicals used at that well.

You raise some good points, but also some further questions that would help validate or invalidate this study. Since this chemical is apparently ubiquitous, is it also found at similar levels in wells not located near fracking sites? Does the concentration vary with distance from fracking sites? Since fracking is relatively recent, is there any historical data on chemical concentrations in wells?

Note that (from TFA) "an unresolved complex mixture of organic compounds was identified" which included 2-Butoxyethanol, and that "Similar signatures were also observed in flowback from Marcellus Shale gas wells" which seems like a bit of a smoking gun. It is also implied that the reason they can't actually tie the chemical mixture to the specific well is that the operator is not making samples available.

Also from TFA is that the wells that were tested were chosen because they were 'foaming' from the chemicals. I doubt that the well foamed from the date of construction.

Comment: Re:Low gravity (Re:Stupid.) (Score 1) 124

by MiniMike (#49303309) Attached to: Giant Lava Tubes Possible On the Moon

Wouldn't the elderly be better off on a space station? You could actually control the level of (artificial) gravity by designing it with rings and spinning the station (ref. almost every scifi story in space). They could start off at the outer layers (maybe 0.5 G equiv.?) and work their way up through the rings as their capabilities decreased. When they perish (dead ringers?) they could be released to fall back to Earth (shooting star), or on an orbit to intersect the Sun (if they need more flare) or wherever they chose.

Comment: Re:A few embedded strings and timestamps? (Score 1) 129

by MiniMike (#49233671) Attached to: New Evidence Strengthens NSA Ties To Equation Group Malware

...never UTC-3 unless someone is working very early hours. So it seems like weak evidence indeed!

AFAIK working early doesn't change your timezone, unless you're a pilot or long-distance driver (if it did I probably would have lapped my office a few times by now).

UTC-3 seems to only cover part of Greenland and Brazil, both well-known hotbeds of hacker activity. I suspect that the timezone information is as accurate as info found in random strings in the malware (BACKSNARF_AB25: darn it, time to change the combination on my luggage again...).

Comment: They're making billions on other drugs already (Score 1) 245

by MiniMike (#49132157) Attached to: The Peculiar Economics of Developing New Antibiotics

These drug companies are already raking in $XX billions on other drugs, and the cost to develop a new antibiotic could be less than some of their advertising budgets. The $2 billion might not even be enough incentive.

How about a rule like for every non-antibiotic drug that is approved by the FDA, they also need to submit one antibiotic drug for approval? That would get their attention.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

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