I guess slashdot is running out of nerds who post anymore. I don't post much or read many comments here anymore, but when I saw the direction this was heading, I had to log in for the first time in ages.
The first few comments I saw were like the parent comment above - a bunch of bleating from a group of pussies who are still cowering after Sept 11, 2001, waiting for the gubermint to protect them from any and all potential harm or risk.
I grew up on sci-fi, reading about the possibilities - things humanity can do if it sets out to accomplish something grand. Bike helmets didn't exist, I ate dirt, skinned my knees climbing trees, and broke bones on (unsafe by today's standards) playground equipment. I dreamed of the stars, and of people inhabiting the entire solar system one day.
Which is worse - mining the asteroid belt or open pit mines in sensitive areas? I fully recognize that sci-fi has as much fantasy as science, but I recall novels from the 1980s that included LEO refining of asteroids, followed by dropping the materials down to earth by shaping them into gliders or capsules similar to those used in the Mercury program. There should be enough silica waste to make some heat-resistant tiles up there, and the metal can be foamed or made hollow to drop the density.
If the first few comments are representative of today's /. audience, no wonder CmdrTaco bailed.