One Mined Asteroid Would Eclipse Britain's Whole Economy

The value locked away inside asteroids is enough to raise the world economic ceiling to unbelievable heights.

The value locked away inside asteroids is enough to raise the world economic ceiling to unbelievable heights. A bill recently passed by Congress — the Asteroid Act — borrows from Adam Smith's famous dictum on how ownership is acquired: The apple becomes mine when I invest my labor in picking it.

Similarly, any company to successfully mine an asteroid can claim its resources as private property, and that has the potential to make a small number of individuals extremely wealthy. A mid-sized asteroid's worth of platinum, for example, would eclipse the entire GDP of the UK by nearly a third.

Such a scenario is not unimaginable as there are more than 10,000 near-Earth asteroids that private space companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries are working to assess — for both their resources and their ability to be successfully mined. 

X Prize founder and Big Think expert Peter Diamandis believes space excavation will create the first trillionaire (which my spellcheck doesn't currently recognize as a word). But it's not just the search for wealth that propels us toward asteroids:

Read more at Science.Mic.

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
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How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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Scientists just voted to change the definition of a kilogram

The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.

Greg L via Wikipedia
Surprising Science
  • The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
  • Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
  • Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
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