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Comment The point of the Drake equation (Score 1) 344

is not to compute its result, it is to show how much we do/don't know.

We're slowly, or quickly depending on your outlook, filling in the gaps. We now have enough data on extrasolar planets to do statistical extrapolations.

In the next decade or two, we will have telescopes nearly large enough to do spectroscopic analysis of the atmosphere of nearby extrasolar planets. In particular we will be able to see if they have significant dioxygen, which can only happen as a result of life as far as we know. That will remove another unknown value.

Advances in neurology and evolutionary biology will begin to highlight how likely it is for intelligence to evolve.

Comment How does this work in the US? (Score 2) 562

Here in France direct transfer is actually safer in that respect than CC, because chargebacks are even easier to obtain (IIRC a mere phone call as opposed to written complaint, and a longer grace period). This is mostly because creditor-issued transfers have stringent specs, it's open only to established businesses (utilities mainly), and if they don't respect the charter (i.e. delay in chargebacks, abnormally large amounts ...) their authorization can be pulled in a matter of days.

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