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View from the Edge

Peter Riva of Gila has offered his many years of columns for this online newspaper. His writings have been published in East Coast newspapers, and he decided to share them with the Beat and you, our readers.

Date: May 4, 2018

Copyright and Patent Issues Facing the USA

Basically, copyright and patent protection is a way to give the little person a fair chance to make their mark in business, art, and society. How do these protections work? When filed with the proper office, you get a piece of paper that says your invention (whether it be words on the page or a description of a mechanical device or a design) is indeed yours and the clock starts ticking. What clock? Again, very basically, you have a limited time to profit on your sole control of your invention and anyone who "knocks you off" (copies you) is wrong and can be stopped, either in a court of law or by international police action (such as customs people seizing fake Luis Vuitton imported handbags).

Date: April 27, 2018

New Govt Strategy: Space Is Only GOP Business

Hidden in the background noise of world affairs leaking and being generated from the White House was the appointment and swearing in of Congressman Jim Bridenstine as new head of NASA, who said, "NASA represents what is best about the United States of America: We lead, we discover, we pioneer, and we inspire."

Date:  April 20, 2018

New Careers In Space

A young person asked me the other day about careers in space. There’s always exploration – astronaut training as mission specialists all the way up the capability level to actual commander of a space craft. But what struck me was that the possibilities for millions of jobs are quickly forming in fields that no-one previously ever thought could possibly interest anyone except technocrats.

Currently there are five companies building and strategizing rocket systems to go and mine the asteroid belt. Anything bigger than a tennis court that they dislodge – that could fall out of orbit and impact the Earth – would take out a large city. Anything the size of a NASCAR oval could spell the end of life on Earth as we know it. And to mine the minerals and resources on these asteroids they need to move them close to Earth.

Now, why should you care? It's good free-enterprise commerce, no? Well, perhaps, but as we all know, until regulations are put into place, new experimental procedures – good commerce or not – cause disasters. The Titanic comes to mind. As does the Hindenburg. As do hundreds of people trapped in sub-standard buildings that pancaked down when an earthquake hit.

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