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Comment: Re:Warms?! (Score 1) 469

by GreenCow (#38112560) Attached to: Climate Panel Says To Prepare For Weird Weather

It isn't just our fuel, it's our food. The UN FAO reported that animal agriculture contributes more to global warming than the entire transport sector combined. Plant based diets are an easy short term solution as we develop long term solutions to energy production.
http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.HTM

Plant based diets have the added effect of being healthier, reducing local air and water pollution, and reducing ethical concerns over animal welfare.

Comment: post-capitalism (Score 1) 496

by GreenCow (#37521292) Attached to: Robot Workforce Threatens Education-Intensive Jobs

We're heading boldly into a post-capitalist world, where everything is available to everyone at virtually no cost. Working for a living will no longer be necessary, as the welfare state becomes the majority, but the children of this generation will be artists who will freely create the digital arts and new media through educational institutions or on their own. Innovation has always come through a combination of serendipity and passion. Passion will still drive people to work hard, but for those who would rather just consume media all day, that will be an option.

There remains unsolved problems of overpopulation and resource allocation, left unchecked, we would have to move to a Matrix kind of setup, or something more like Vanilla Sky, where people live forever in pods. Society will continue to advance and we should eventually find cheaper ways into space, then we'll have a world like that in Eve online.

The other option is war, revolt, reducing our great civilization and setting back the progress of science until we find a way to solve these problems.

Comment: Re:Sigh (Score 1) 1070

by GreenCow (#36382706) Attached to: Have We Reached Maximum Sustainable Population Size?

It isn't simply a matter of population, but also of how much the individuals are using. The amount of resources that each individual uses is their footprint. The carry capacity of a region is how many individuals it can support. The carrying capacity can and has been increased through increasing production and decreasing use (increased efficiency). Earth can support the entire human population and more, simply by using our resources more efficiently. For example, the mainstream US diet includes lots of animal flesh, which is primarily produced by giving animals lots of cereals that could feed an additional magnitude of humans (as we move down the trophic chain)

If we do not address our imbalance between population growth and resource consumption, there will be severe problems for society when we hit our carrying capacity. Science is a luxury that will be among the first on the chopping block as we begin the fight for survival.

Comment: Re:Factory farming should stop, really (Score 1) 298

by GreenCow (#36283720) Attached to: FDA Sued To Stop Antibiotic Abuse On Factory Farms

Milk is not just some useless by-product which cows produce. Cows make milk for the same reason that human mothers do: to feed their young. Dairy cows are impregnated as often as possible, and their young are taken away to make veal as soon as possible. Mother and child will call out to each other for days.

All this for a product which is not particularly healthy. There are better sources of calcium and protein.

Comment: hardware freeze (Score 1) 134

by GreenCow (#35427026) Attached to: Microsoft Recruiting For Next-Gen Console Development

Unless Microsoft is actually planning pre-production of the next next-gen console, the evidence seems to suggest that the system is so early in development that the graphics hardware at the very least hasn't been locked down."

It's just gonna be a little windows box, the software is more important than the hardware. I would expect next gen development to start with minimum specs for the os development, but put the latest chips in closer to when it ships to get the best performance and longest life out of the console. God help us all if we should end up using an xbox 4 for writing emails.

Comment: Re:Ironic? (Score 1) 464

by GreenCow (#34657854) Attached to: Scientifically, You Are Likely In the Slowest Line

Fry's electronics stores use a single line, usually with an extra staffer to direct people to the current open cashier (a role which isn't totally necessary since the cashiers have green lights when they're ready, but i'm sure people would still get confused) this works well for them as they have 10-30 cashiers running. In stores with just 5-10 registers it might take extra space to run a line like that.

More importantly, for grocery stores at least, is the ubiquitous candy/magazine rack at the checkout line. People have to wait and so they start looking around and what they see is high margin luxury products. It makes good sense. Stores aren't trying to get people out of the store efficiently, they're trying to make money.

Comment: Re:Riders (Score 1) 461

by GreenCow (#33441062) Attached to: Senate Trying To Slip Internet Kill Switch Past Us

Bills in the US congress tend to get pretty lengthy in order to deal with side effects, liabilities, funding, etc. It would probably be political suicide to suggest an internet kill switch as an amendment to a farm bill or something so obviously unrelated, but usually these things are more vague.

In this case the internet kill switch is being put into a defense authorization bill, and it is easy to make the case how an internet kill switch would be related to defense. This is a big bill with lots of parts, it would be a bureaucratic nightmare to try and pass every part separately.

Of course the internet kill switch is a dumb idea that does more to undermine the ideals of this country and turn public sentiment against the government for dubious benefits. I don't see how politicians like Lieberman can say 'China is doing it so we should too' and still get voted into office.

Comment: Re:Battery availability might be a concern. (Score 1) 328

by GreenCow (#33247518) Attached to: Recycling an Android Phone As a Handheld GPS?

solar charger is an option, so are spare lithium batteries.

most cell phones (all android phones) can be put into 'airplane mode' to disable the cell radio, the gps can remain on in this mode, because gps is receive only. wifi and gps can also be turned off to save battery.

buying a used device would make a spare battery even more attractive, as the original battery might not hold a good charge.

Comment: Re:Oh god.. (Score 1) 659

by GreenCow (#32403676) Attached to: Students Show a Dramatic Drop In Empathy

There are more perspectives than that, and our brains are wired to recognize the perspectives of others and empathize. We do have limited resources sometimes, but for this audience, that's not the problem. The problem is people are getting distracted from observing suffering that they may actually be causing, which is a cause for concern.

Check this video out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g&playnext_from=TL&videos=LBxSCCKVtqg

Comment: Re:People, people everywhere (Score 1) 386

by GreenCow (#32390824) Attached to: Intel Sucks Up Water Amid Drought In China

It's not just the quantity of humans that are the problem, it's the way we're using the resources. The biggest contributor to freshwater use and pollution is the fact that humans are raising billions of animals for food every year. China and other developing countries are following the lead of the west and increasing their use of animals in the food supply.

Using animals for food in most places (i'm not concerned with mongolian goat herders or midwest deer hunters) is very inefficient in terms of water and land use, as well as being worse for human health than vegetarian/vegan diets. American life expectancies are going down as heart disease, cancer and diabetes go up with meat consumption. Not to mention reports such as 'Livestock's Long Shadow' which puts animal agriculture ahead of transport in terms of global warming impact, another contributor to water scarcity.

Comment: Re:Creative destruction (Score 2, Informative) 324

by GreenCow (#30252252) Attached to: Google Attack On the Mobile Market Rumored

the G1 fills those requirements, except the proprietary jack (htc), i have a 10$ dongle that gives it mini-usb+audio+htc, but the G1 includes out of box an htc-usb cable for data and charging. the G1 is 179 with a tmo contract (400 no contract) and can be easily unlocked to install debian arm.

i think the motorola droid on verizon or most other android phones would fit most of these features as well.

Comment: Re:Motivation (Score 1) 482

by GreenCow (#29369479) Attached to: Why Motivation Is Key For Artificial Intelligence

This debate over what motivation to give to our robots is similar to the situation parents face, what motivations should we instill in our children. As adults we also choose and can change our motivations.

The motivation to gain intelligence is usually a good one, but it has resulted in immense suffering in human and non-human animals. This motivation should be secondary to avoiding causing suffering. Another wording might be that our prime motivation should be the betterment of all, not just the betterment of self.

Comment: Re:So it's a fnacy nmae (Score 1) 1345

by GreenCow (#29319101) Attached to: Schooling, Homeschooling, and Now, "Unschooling"

I agree with what you posted about the work involved in education. In my experience, It was not until after high school that I began to learn the value of homework. In high school I would learn the concept and not do the homework, because I understood the concept. My mind would go blank on tests and I thought I had issues with the pressures of testing. It wasn't that, I just hadn't done the repetitions in homework that develops the problem solving muscles and introduces the many subtle nuances that arise in the variety of problems. It still isn't easy to quiet the monkey mind long enough to do repetitive problems, but the rewards for discovering additional concepts by solving problems and being able to test with confidence, are well worth it. This is the message that I think most of your post was about, that you can't just read introductions all day, you've got to spend time working through seemingly repetitive problems. In this regard, any unschooling which would cater to any child who refuses to do work will fail to educate and likely develop a poor work ethic. Of course, homework is not all that school is or should be. Schools and parents introduce a variety of subjects in a variety of ways. Different approaches to motivation and education are tried and have been tried for hundreds or thousands of years. The sense of wonder should grow hand in hand with the hard work required in education.

I disagree with what you've written about the Arts. I have many years of experience, professional and academic, in software engineering and computer game design, subjects which are multidisciplinary, including maths and arts. Clearly, you are an obsessive maths freak, so surely you must know that in the higher and more abstract forms of math, the time for slogging through problems is over, and the time to exercise your mastery of the art of math is at hand. Inquisitiveness, opening doors to wonderment, a novel approach, an elegant solution; these are the tools you use with the basic math skills you worked hard to develop as you approach the state of the art of any subject. Suggesting that these would create imitators seems counter-intuitive. You suggest that arts and humanities students "can master the art of appearing intelligent whilst remaining shockingly ignorant," which suggests that you have a very limited view of what constitutes intelligence, and you are prejudicial because of that. Consider learning how to appreciate subjects other than math, this will actually enrich your appreciation and ability in math.

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