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Comment: Re:No surprise (Score 2) 62

by radtea (#47943001) Attached to: Study: Chimpanzees Have Evolved To Kill Each Other

War as practised by humans and chimps is fundementally different, it is a coordinated social activity most animals simply don't comprehend let alone practice.

Two words: "kin selection".

Humans and chimps are social primates. We live in groups that are relatively close to us, genetically, although humans practice exogamy (mating outside their immediate kin group) a lot more aggressively than any of our cousins.

So to say "fighting for mates is always one vs one" is to say "kin selection does not exist", which it manifestly does.

War is mate competition carried out by other means. There is no other rational for it (war is always economically irrational, although this is not generally understood because it "just makes sense" to so many people that war is somehow a good idea.)

No individual of any species ever under any circumstances kills another member of the same species for any reason other than mate competition, either for themselves or for close kin (this is not quite true, but it should be the starting point of any analysis of deadly interpersonal violence.) Killing has zero to do with hunting behaviour--both male and female bonobos hunt, and don't kill each other. Elk are vegetarian, and do kill each other. Only when reproduction is on the line does the risk of being killed in a potentially deadly fight make evolutionary sense, in humans as well as in other species.

In humans, war creates all kinds of mating opportunities beyond the simple-minded "conquer the enemy and rape their women" scenario. In particular, it creates opportunities on the home front of all kinds, and that is a very fundamental part of its completely irrational appeal.

Comment: Re:Maybe we if stopped giving Africa food (Score 1) 248

by Kjella (#47942025) Attached to: New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

Basically everything that is running bad in Africa is a direct result of european imperialism.

And how long is that excuse valid for? It's not like Europe has been very peaceful and tripped Africa up on purpose, we've started two world wars in the last 100 years on our own turf. Yes, I realize problems don't go away in a day or a year or even a decade but look how far Europe has come in the last 70 years. How far has Africa come? How much aid money, emergency relief, how many education and healthcare programs have they gotten for free?

Still trotting out that old excuse and blaming the white man for all their woes is probably going to backfire. It only nourishes the people who think Africa is the way it is because they're primitive deadbeats who can't get anything done on their own. It's not that there's anything wrong with the people as such, take a black man and put him in a different environment and he might end up as President and a Harvard magna cum laude graduate.

My impression is that most of Africa's problems are cultural, like for example the response to Ebola. If they'd just stop touching their dead and seek medical help they'd do fine, but through ignorance and indifference and working against those trying to help them they'll just let it spread. Like HIV, there's a reason it's a huge problem south of Sahara and practically nowhere else and it's because for some cultural reason they just don't seem to value safe sex.

Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 1) 44

by radtea (#47941309) Attached to: Mystery Signal Could Be Dark Matter Hint In ISS Detector

Sooooo when did dark matter become anti-matter? Or am I missing something?

Probably pretty much everything.

Matter and anti-matter are--up to a flip in charge and parity--the same thing. That is, if you take an electron (a matter particle), flip its charge and look at in a mirror you'll see a positron (an anti-matter particle).

So it is actually perfectly consistent, logically if not linguistically, for dark matter to be entirely anti-matter.

Exotic dark matter can also produce anti-matter when its particles collide with each other, which is what this report seems to be about. The significant thing is that the energy spectrum of the positrons that the AMS detector sees appear to have about the right energy spectrum for one particular type of exotic dark matter (which I personally have a pretty low prior for).

There are a whole bunch of follow-on papers from other people doing what scientists do, which is check for consistency between the exotic dark matter interpretation of this result and reality, in the sense that if this signal really is due to exotic dark matter there should be a number of different consequences (including the anti-proton signal the article mentions):

Comment: Re:Does HFCS count? (Score 2) 255

by Will.Woodhull (#47937079) Attached to: Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

Parent post is a good example of quibbling over words.

The stuff is called "high fructose" because sucrose, or normal table sugar, is one fructose molecule bonded to one glucose molecule but HFCS contains 5% of fructose that is not bound to a glucose molecule. This is significant. Hydrogen peroxide used in wound treatments is only 3% H2O2 and 97% H2O, but has very different physiologic effects than plain H2O.

While HFCS could be used in lower quantities for the same level of sweetness as sucrose, it is often used to make the product sweeter than could be done with sucrose alone. As is the case in many soft drinks sold in the USA. But the more significant concern is that HFCS laden foods and drinks cause one to crave more since the HFCS interferes with the "I've had enough" mechanisms that normally govern food/drink intake. And another concern that bears repeating is that HFCS puts an increased burden on the liver and the blood glucose homeostatic mechanisms that are adapted to handling normal table sugars.

Again, my personal concern is that HFCS on the label is a marker I can use to avoid foods and drinks that predispose me to exercise induced asthma problems. And I don't care whether it is the HFCS or some other crap that is often used when HFCS is adulterating the food.

Comment: Re:More details (Score 2) 255

Most artificial sweeteners sold in powder form contain a simple sugar or starch to add bulk and give the product free-flowing granules more similar to sugar. Since saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame all taste hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, they are used in much lower amounts, with bulk added for the consumer-serving preparations so that you don't have to add micrograms of sweetener to your coffee to get the equivalent sweetness of sugar. Either glucose (usually listed as dextrose) or maltodextrin are generally used, which is interesting since it means that sugar substitutes generally contain a small amount of carbohydrates. The little single-serving packets tend to have about 3 (kilo)calories each; in the US, the FDA allows foods with less than 5 calories to be labeled as "zero calorie," so they generally are.

I note that this study did happen to use all powder-form sweeteners (dissolved in water) which means that there would some small amount carbohydrate in the solution. That's a perfectly reasonable way to run this study, since these are widely used preparations of these sweeteners, but I do wonder if there might be a difference with a genuinely digestible-carbohydrate-free preparation.

Comment: Re:Does HFCS count? (Score 1, Informative) 255

by Will.Woodhull (#47936709) Attached to: Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

HFCS is more of a "super sugar" than a sugar substitute. Fructose is a natural sugar, and HFCS in its pure laboratory form is only a highly concentrated fructose derived from corn. (high fructose corn syrup).

For me at least, it is a health concern since if I eat or drink some things that contain HFCS I am more prone to asthma attacks. This may not be due to the HFCS itself; it may be some impurity in food quality HFCS, or it may be some other additive that is commonly used with HFCS. I don't care: I know if I avoid HFCS I don't have asthma; otherwise I often have exercise induced asthma which really limits my bicycling.

HFCS is used in foods and drinks for a couple of reasons: it has a sweeter taste than sucrose; it has a documented affect on depressing satiation so people consume more of the product than if sucrose was used; and I think because it is a liquid that is often shipped in railway tanker cars its delivery costs to the food factory are cheaper.

Fructose is a form of sugar that has to be converted in the liver to a different form before it can be used. HFCS puts a strain on the liver, and the blood glucose regulatory mechanisms, that does not occur with any natural foods. Anyone with a history of hepatitis, hypoglycemia, or diabetes maybe would want to avoid HFCS.

Comment: Re:well, duh? (Score 1) 283

by dave420 (#47935981) Attached to: FCC Chairman: Americans Shouldn't Subsidize Internet Service Under 10Mbps
Size has nothing to do with it. Each ISP has local networks connected to each other (and other ISPs) by larger connections. The exact same is true in Europe. If what you say is true, then US cities should have wonderful broadband, but that is clearly not the case. Europe is larger than the US, with a similar population, so your comparison isn't at all accurate, and the more you trot it out in discussions like this, the longer it will take to fix.

Comment: NFC has never caught on, never will (Score 1, Interesting) 298

by gelfling (#47935677) Attached to: Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC To Apple Pay Only

NFC has never caught on being freely available. It won't be adopted with even tighter restrictions. Sorry by NFC is a failure that was never articulated honestly or clearly, never implemented widely and so we don't know how or if it will work or what happens when it goes wrong.

"I have just one word for you, my boy...plastics." - from "The Graduate"