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Comment Re:There's a lot more iron much closer... (Score 1) 156

And there's some twenty million tons of gold dissolved in the Earth's oceans. Jules Verne made it the source of Captain Nemo's incredible wealth.

To put twenty million tons of gold in perspective, all the gold that has ever been mined by humans totals up to about 180 thousand tons. To put in another perspective: sure, it's gold, but at a concentration of thirteen billionths of a gram per liter of seawater it's worthless unless you have unlimited time and energy to extract it.

That's the problem with asteroid mining in general. Until the cost of changing an object's momentum goes down drastically it's not worth doing. If Pysche were a 1000 kg block of pure, refined platinum (market price: $34 million) you'd be hard-pressed to retrieve it and return it to Earth at a profit. Which is not to say asteroid mining is a bad idea; but first things first: you've got to reduce the price of interplanetary propulsion by a couple orders of magnitudes. One thing that never happens in a sci-fi asteroid mining scenario is the hero worrying about running out of gas. Propulsion in stories is always practically limitless and free of charge. Real propulsion will never be that good, but it could get good enough.

Comment Re:It's a start! (Score 1) 176

4) create a secret shopper program where well-qualified 'testers' apply for jobs and if they are turned down, an OFFICIAL (and expensive, if the company is found to be fraudulently rejecting locals) investigation would occur. one that has PUBLIC RESULTS POSTED for anyone to see. public shaming, big-time, for violators.

without a secret shopper program, there's no good way to keep the fucking companies honest. they'll continue to pay lawyers to find loopholes. but if they are publicly shamed, they'll stop. guaranteed!

Comment Re:Remember (Score 1) 67

Why would I use Telegram if I were concerned about security? It has a closed-source, roll your own crypto system. WhatsApp and Signal use OpenWhisper.

Anyway, WhatsApp might have security vulnerabilities or backdoors but the reported "backdoor" isn't a backdoor. It's a design choice, and there is an option for security-conscious people to see when a new crypto key is generated.

Comment Re:Agrument in favor of modularity (Score 5, Interesting) 81

How much thickness do you think the extra outer layer of plastic adds to the phone? If it has to be more than a millimeter I would be surprised.

Personally, I think it has more to do with the fact the lithium ion batteries have a finite shelf-life than it does with thickness. That means in two years you need a new phone even if you never added any software to it and managed the battery recharging perfectly. Even if the phone had been sitting in a box all that time it'd have significantly less battery life.

Comment From TFA: (Score 1) 159

The patterns were a mishmash of unrelated structures that were as misleading as they were illuminating.

This pretty much describes the state of every branch of science after a major influx of new data. Just look at the maps of the world produced after Europe became aware of North America. Early maps sometimes show California as an island; and it's not because the cartographer is stupid; he just put the data at his disposal together into what was at the time a plausible conjecture. And in fact the problem might not even have been that he was ignorant. He may have misinterpreted some of the (at that stage) imprecise data he had to work with.

New information confounds. The detection and resolution of conflicts in data is arguably what science is.

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