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Comment Only 5 percent of the universe is visible to us (Score 1) 253

What other as yet unguessed effects go into making life, a consciousness, a mind? I'm not talking magic, I'm talking about science and the description of the physical reality.

We're talking about modeling what we see as the physical structure of the brain. I suspect the actual cloning of a consciousness is quite some distance away, after we're able to fully explain just what is consciousness and the mind. Heck, just describing what makes something alive is beyond us right now. A potato is most surely alive, but without a mind as far as we can tell. We can quite closely describe the structure of the potato but not so much why it's "alive".

We are capable of seeing about 5% of the universe, the rest is dark matter and energy. I suspect there's plenty more going on with the brain and mind as well.

Comment Control the primaries, control the outcome (Score 1) 351

In one form of dictatorship, the dictators select the candidates who will stand for election. This is the system in Iran. The people dutifully vote for one or the other candidate.

Here, if one can control who can reach the general election, you stand a decent chance of profiting from whoever wins the election.

Lessig talked about this in his notable TED talk which discussed the very issue of a very few, very wealthy people controlling the primary system, leading to election of the candidates they favor.

The problem is, when you undermine the electoral system, you undermine the rule of law.

Comment The Economist on TPP and patents (Score 5, Interesting) 382

The Economist is a very pro-business magazine. Here's what they said about patents and the TPP:

"The cost of the innovation that never takes place because of the flawed patent system is incalculable. Patent protection is spreading, through deals such as the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership, which promises to cover one-third of world trade. The aim should be to fix the system, not make it more pervasive."

-- The Economist, "Time to fix patents", 8 August 2015

Comment Did Carly get paid? (Score 1) 328

To the top executives, that's really the only question. They will happily load a company up with debt, execute massive stock buybacks to boost the share price, and to hell with the future and everyone else, I got mine.

So, did Carly get paid? If she did, it's perfectly understandable.

What's troubling is, if she didn't get paid, then she got owned, and getting owned so strategically like this is not a quality one would want in a national leader. Lack of strategic vision is very problematic. Merely being self-confident enough to be able to lead a large organization is insufficient for the presidency.

Comment FYI: List of Win10/Telemetry updates (Score 2) 288

Just an FYI, as this is a Windows update thread which is trying to avoid Win10 nagware + telemetry. These are the updates I've identified so far. Feel free to add/update the list:

KB 2952664
Compatibility update for upgrading Windows 7

KB 2976978
Compatibility update for Windows 8.1 and Windows 8

KB 3022345
Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry

KB 3035583
Update installs Get Windows 10 app in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1

KB 3068708
Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry

KB 3075249
Update that adds telemetry points to consent.exe in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7

KB 3080149
Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry

Comment Re:I liked the cartoon that read: (Score 4, Interesting) 662

From what I can see there is nothing special about him or what he did, he is just some cheeky kid who used a very naive way of getting attention and it got out of hand. All this talk of discrimination etc. seems like a beat-up and the poor kid will pay the price in the long run for all the manipulating adults have done to politically capitalise on his prank.

I didn't get the impression that the boy is cheeky or that this was a prank.

It just seems like he's a precocious kid interested in how things work and he wanted to show one of his teachers. Unfortunately, teachers' detectors are up for school violence (remember the child who was penalized for chewing his Pop Tart in the shape of a gun?) and the rise of radical Islam (Islamic gunmen attack the "Draw The Prophet" 40 minutes away in Garland Texas) resulted in this situation.

It's a tricky situation. However, calling the cops seems slightly absurd. They didn't think it was a bomb by the fact they didn't evacuate the premises and bring a bomb robot to blow it up. If the authorities find a credible threat, they bring in a bomb robot and blow up whatever the threat is. That didn't happen.

As far as taking things apart and putting them back together, Henry Ford did that sort of thing. This might have been simpler, but the boy correctly put it together in a different way.

Comment 33,000 automobile deaths per year in US (Score 1) 451

Source from CDC (as of 2011).

Source from IIHS (as of 2013).

This will save lives. Even with excellent drivers behind the wheel.

Maryland just abolished the parallel parking requirement, because of the growing moron population. Automated safety systems can come none too soon.

Comment Law of unintended consequences (Score 1) 224

The fuel of the future
Environmental lunacy in Europe
The Economist
Apr 6th 2013

WHICH source of renewable energy is most important to the European Union? Solar power, perhaps? (Europe has three-quarters of the world’s total installed capacity of solar photovoltaic energy.) Or wind? (Germany trebled its wind-power capacity in the past decade.) The answer is neither. By far the largest so-called renewable fuel used in Europe is wood.

In its various forms, from sticks to pellets to sawdust, wood (or to use its fashionable name, biomass) accounts for about half of Europe’s renewable-energy consumption. In some countries, such as Poland and Finland, wood meets more than 80% of renewable-energy demand. Even in Germany, home of the Energiewende (energy transformation) which has poured huge subsidies into wind and solar power, 38% of non-fossil fuel consumption comes from the stuff. After years in which European governments have boasted about their high-tech, low-carbon energy revolution, the main beneficiary seems to be the favoured fuel of pre-industrial societies.

The Economist

See also:

Should American Wood Fuel European Power?
Growth of wood-fueled power generation in Europe spurs protests from Southern environmentalists in the U.S.
Scientific American
By Elizabeth Harball and ClimateWire | November 14, 2014

Europe's renewable energy targets drive demand for wood pellets. Other voices in the forestry sector, including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, said that wood-based energy is renewable because the wood burned is replaced by other trees that take in carbon dioxide, making the process carbon-neutral.

Today, however, it is not U.S. policy that is driving the growth of the wood-fuel sector. Europe depends heavily on wood-based fuels to meet its goal of sourcing 20 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.

-- Scientific American

Comment Re:Paul Ehrlich, eh? (Score 1) 149

I work in a technical field in a somewhat creative environment. Sometimes I'm wrong. Sometimes I'm right. There are those who try to make it seem when someone's been wrong once they are wrong about everything. It's a debate tactic which I'm sure has a name, as it's not new. Don't fall prey to it.

Just because someone is wrong once, doesn't mean they are wrong about everything, forever.

Comment Sixth Great Extinction Event is underway (Score 2, Informative) 149

Stanford researcher declares that the sixth mass extinction is here
Stanford Report
June 19, 2015

That is the bad news at the center of a new study by a group of scientists including Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies in biology and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Ehrlich and his co-authors call for fast action to conserve threatened species, populations and habitat, but warn that the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

"[The study] shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event," Ehrlich said.

-- Stanford Report, June 19, 2015

Comment Re:Seabirds and landfills (Score 3, Interesting) 149

A Diet To Die For
One bird feasts on food that would leave most other animals stone dead
Nov 29th 2014
The Economist

Among an average of 528 types of bacterium found on the heads of 50 turkey and black vultures were those that can cause botulism, gangrene, tetanus, septicaemia, blood clots and metastatic abscesses in other animals. And although these birds did not have it, another study found Bacillus anthracis in vulture faeces. It causes anthrax, except in vultures.

Vultures clearly have strong stomachs, in every sense. With an acidity at least ten times that of a human’s, a vulture’s gut destroys a large amount of any potentially pathogenic bacteria that is ingested. Indeed, when the researchers analysed the contents of each bird’s large intestine, they could not detect some 85% of the micro-organisms they had found on its facial skin.

But what remains is hardly benign. The microbial flora in a vulture’s large intestine is dominated by two types of anaerobic faecal bacteria, Clostridia and Fusobacteria, both of which can be deadly to other animals. Some Clostridia species have been responsible for periodic mass die-offs in birds such as ducks, geese and waders (although other species can be beneficial), while Fusobacteria nucleatum is associated with human colon cancer.

-- The Economist, November 29th, 2014

[Just because seagulls and vultures can do it, doesn't mean terns and albatrosses can]

Comment Re:"I wanted to work this weekend" (Score 4, Interesting) 211

Times I've wanted to work on the weekend:

1) When I'm doing work on the side and want to get it done. I'll work on the weekend.

2) When I'm being paid well and able to telecommute, and there's a task that needs to be done - I'll work on the weekend. Heck, in that situation, I've worked late nights too. The working environment couldn't get more comfortable, with my own kitchen and bathroom and climate control. And when my brain shuts down late at night, I'm a few feet from the bed.

When I'm on-site... and I'm eating from the vending machine, trying to avoid using the low-privacy, cesspool toilets, and it's too cold or too hot, and I can't take a few minutes off and relax on the couch or outside in peace - yeah, I have no interest in staying there longer than my 8 hours. I don't care how interesting the work is. I've done it of course, both late night and weekends, but under duress like the parent poster noted.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan