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Comment Re:15 years old? (Score 1) 303

We can roll back the point of no return through carbon sequestration - I think the "point of no return" concept is doing more harm than good. It makes people accept inevitability rather than take action. Carbon harvested from the atmosphere combined with renewable power can also be used to produce carbon-neutral synthetic gasoline for those old cars.

People won't have to put solar up, power companies will gladly build solar farms and sell you solar electricity for the madly expensive price of about what your electricity currently costs.

Comment Re:15 years old? (Score 3, Informative) 303

Well good news! People don't eat uranium, carbon fiber or semiconductor materials, so my plan won't starve people! I was thinking about nuclear, wind and solar rather than running the planet on ethanol. You know what will starve people though? The droughts and floods that come with climate change. Those and other natural disasters HURT PEOPLE.

Comment Re:Supernova Required (Score 1) 194

Actually it did not have to come from anywhere. Energy conservation relies on the laws of physics being constant in time. However since the Big Bang probably created those laws that would mean that it changed them and hence energy would not have to be conserved and so could be created. Alternatively it is possible that the Big Band created time itself in which case there was no such concept as energy before it (although "before" is hard to define in such a case).

Comment Re:The treaty says no such thing. (Score 0) 211

As unseemly as it might be to Canadians, an unrestrained land-grab in space is the most likely vehicle to spur progress.

It is also very likely to spur wars over territorial claims...hence the treaty preventing such claims. However extracting material from the asteroid and bringing it back to Earth seems like a perfectly allowed action under the treaty so long as the company does not try to claim that it is a US asteroid which they are mining.

Comment Re:The law is ridiculous anyway (Score 2) 211

It takes more than just flag-planting to make a territorial claim. A nation has to be able to demonstrate some sort of permanent control of the territory, usually in the form of colonization or economic exploitation. That's like trying to say that we need to ask the Danish, Norwegians and Swedes if Canadians can live in Newfoundland.

Before any nation can make claim to any extraterrestrial territory, it's going to have to be able to actually hold that territory, and we're still decades away from that.

Comment Re:The treaty says no such thing. (Score 4, Insightful) 211

And when we get to that point, we'll worry about it. Heck, various nations claim chunks of Antarctica, in one way or another, and thus far it's been meaningless flag planting.

But when we do get to the point where we can mine other bodies in the solar system, we'll have to come up with some sort of system of claims. The UN isn't going to be mining, it's going to be commercial and state players doing the mining, and we'll have to come up with a new treaty that will inevitably recognize the rights of those players to make what amount to territorial claims.

Probably the biggest concern, in my view, is privately-owned entities making claims independent of any national or international body.

Leveraging always beats prototyping.