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Comment: Re:Who cares if its legal? (Score 1) 208

by mbone (#47894783) Attached to: Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

If you have the technology to go mine an asteroid, i dont think any country on this planet will be able to take it from you. And if they try, just "accidentally" drop some of what you mined on them.

You may not care, but your investors are highly likely to. That is really what's driving this.

Comment: Wrong, wrong wrong (Score 4, Informative) 208

by mbone (#47894777) Attached to: Congress Can't Make Asteroid Mining Legal (But It's Trying, Anyway)

I was there at the hearing, and I think the summary is pretty far from the true situation.

First, Prof. Gabrynowicz is in the minority in the legal community on this (her response is also to work for international consensus on these issues, which is not going to happen.

Second, the Asteroid Act has been vetted by the State Department (and by a whole bunch of interested parties) and it certainly is in agreement with the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 (even Prof. Gabrynowicz didn't claim otherwise).

Third, all of the space powers appear to be in agreement with the basic principle expressed by the Asteroid Act - that space mining is a lot like deep sea fishing - you can't claim your fishing hole, but you get to keep what you take.

For a more balanced explanation as to why the Act is needed as a US instantiation of the '67 Outer Space Treaty to clarify the rules for US Corporations, see Dean Larson's WSJ Op Ed (or my own take on it).

Comment: Re:Seems reasonable (Score 2) 458

by mbone (#47883971) Attached to: CBC Warns Canadians of "US Law Enforcement Money Extortion Program"

Well, starting with Nixon, one political party has made political hay with "litmus tests" for the appointment of politically correct judges, with opposition and voting out (where possible) of any judges who are "soft on crime." Is it any surprise that our judiciary is now full of political hacks?

Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 5, Insightful) 458

by mbone (#47883931) Attached to: CBC Warns Canadians of "US Law Enforcement Money Extortion Program"

No.

If police want to seize anything, they should charge the citizen with the appropriate crime, and take him or her to court. Anything else is unconstitutional BS.

Yes, not having the proceeds go to charity just turns it into an open invitation for corruption (and any PD that depends on these funds for operating expenses is certainly corrupt), but the problem is deeper than that.

Comment: The trouble with billionaires (Score 5, Insightful) 362

by mbone (#47840531) Attached to: Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

'Frankly, in the eyes of the critics, he's really not an expert. He just happens to be a guy that watched a DVD and thought it was a good idea and had a bunch of money to fund it."

That is exactly and precisely why it is not a good idea to let billionaires run your country. Having had dealings with billionaires, I can also say that he left out one thing, that such a person is almost inevitably going to be surrounded by a bunch of people (including in the press) who think that any idea he has is worthy of adulation.

Comment: Really? (Score 5, Informative) 787

by mbone (#47811595) Attached to: Invasion of Ukraine Continues As Russia Begins Nuclear Weapons Sabre Rattling

This sounds like real news. You would think it would be on the front page of the world's news sites. However...

Isn't on the BBC
Isn't on the Guardian
Isn't on the Washington Post
Isn't on the New York Times*
Isn't on the LA Times

I detect a pattern here.

* The NYT does have on its home page a story entitled "Putin’s War of Words: A Roundup." I guess saying that "thousands of words are already pouring over its western borders" doesn't have quite the same pizazz.

Comment: Re:1960s??!! You are so funny (Score 1) 141

by mbone (#47774113) Attached to: Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun

Good god man, Hans Bethe worked out the fusion processes in the Sun in the late 1930s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B...

Yes, but there was no direct observational evidence of it until the Homestake neutrino experiment in the 1960's. Theory is nice, but in physics the experiment's the thing. (And, when the Homestake experiment came up 66% short, there was no shortage of people claiming that Bethe was wrong in one way or another.)

Comment: Re:That's not how science works (Score 2) 141

by mbone (#47774079) Attached to: Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun

It is in my experience rare to meet a physicist who cares much about mathematical rigor, or who uses proofs in their work. Occasionally it is important (e.g., in some "no-go" theorems), but I feel certain that most physicists would object to saying that "Mathematical proof is central to much of physics." It is in fact notorious that much of existing physics was done and completed before anything like mathematical rigor (and, thus, proof) was brought to the subject at hand, nor did the achievement of rigor actually change anything much in the physics.

An excellent, and familiar, example, is the Dirac delta function, where it took years before the mathematicians were convinced that such a thing could possibly make sense. Even today, vastly more physics students are taught about Brownian motion than the Ito statistical calculus...

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