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Comment Re:I have an idea (Score 1) 594

Actually, no, the Western corporations would still be meddling there, and lobbying their governments to meddle there.

In the game of geopolitical economic domination they play, one does not let opportunities to secure a resource like oil pass by, because your rivals certainly will not. And when it comes to finite resources like petroleum, it is most definitely a zero-sum game.

Granted, the way they're going about it is assholish and utterly sociopathic, but then what more do you expect from the asshole sociopaths who play that game?

Comment Re:If anything can help (Score 5, Insightful) 256

Actually, it might. It will attract attention from sympathetic people and companies. And if it goes viral, it may even affect public policy. And it might even inspire white hat hackers who don't like Trolls to help identify the culprits. It sure sounds like the work of more than one.

Anyway, it sure sounds like it can't get much worse.

Comment Re: Live by the sword, die by the sword. (Score 2) 256

Right, agreed, it's a daunting task. So the additional security step is "don't attract attention by hanging out with trolls and then pissing them off."

This is advice. It is not blame.

That said, I feel really horrible for the family, especially the daughter. They don't deserve any blame.

As for Blair, TFA is very inconclusive about what he may or may not have done to attract attention.

Comment Re:Asteroid Orbit (Score 1) 171

If it's small enough that a mining craft could alter its orbit, then the craft won't "land" on it. It will dock with it.

And the same kinds of smarts that got the craft there are required to predict what forces will have what effects. And the very small technical risk of altering the orbit is further reduced by the tiny probability that the altered orbit will intersect Earth's. It took a lot of delta-V on a very small mass to get the ship there. A few newtons to bury a harpoon isn't going to do more than move aphelion/perihelion by a few cm.

The argument that mining will create a risk of Earth impact is up there with being afraid of hostile spacefaring aliens on the improbability curve.

Comment Re:You must choose.... (Score 1) 345

Big Pharma seems more interested in tweaking drugs just out of patent to market new patentable ones, and to make new drugs for very uncommon diseases (restless leg? overactive bladder?), and marketing the hell out of both.

And then they turn around and claim that the high prices charged for these patented drugs are because they have to pay for R&D for the unprofitable drugs.

If they had a pipeline of research, filled with long-term development of these meds, then they could have a new product every 3-5 years and the argument "it takes too long" goes out the window. But instead they spend money at cheap, incremental development and even more at marketing and lobbying, and record record profits measured in tens of gigabucks.

TFA just describes another symptom of approaching medicine as something to profit from. I've come to doubt the ethics of this practice, because it leads to situations where "First, do no harm" is ignored. The patient winds up being harmed due to the provider, or the provider's supplier, or the insurer, valuing profits over their patients' health.

Comment Re:Why a experimental launch carried 13 satellites (Score 4, Interesting) 60

Experimental rockets often carry payloads, in fact it's better if they do because a) they don't have to carry ballast in order to mimic operational weight and CG, and b) they can partially defray the costs of the development program and launch campaign.

Not that they charge much, and the payloads are not often insured, so it's usually University and High School and NGO satellites or experiments. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the space was donated.

Comment Re:And the age of the sun is? (Score 1) 143

This Planetary Society blog entry by their Senior Editor does a pretty good job of explaining how the chemistry of a primordial rock can tell you the conditions under which it condensed, and zircon U-Pb dating can give you a pretty good idea of the age. This gives astronomers a clear picture of what the primordial system was like.

Comment Re:Predestiny? (Score 2) 144

Read the sentence again without being so critical. He's not predetermining the result, he's just saying X = Y && Z .

If both Y and Z become true, then X (the scandal will be a boon) will become true.

In this case Y and Z aren't independent variables. Z likely won't happen unless Y does, but Y could happen without causing Z.

A fanatic is a person who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill