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Comment: Re:Still Acesulfame K (yuk!) (Score 2) 545

by bill_mcgonigle (#49562113) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

yeah, and it's probably carcinogenic.

I've got a nasty Diet Cola habit, but switched from Pepsi to Sam's after Pepsi started adding ace-K. It's not hard to calculate a dose of aspartame that your liver enyzmes can handle but there's no safe-ish dose of ace-K.

Oh, and the whole "aspartame makes you fat" meme is bullshit - I've dropped 45 lbs in the past year by getting rid of nearly all the carbs in my diet, all while drinking the stuff. An over-abundance of carbs is what horks your insulin system.

A sweetener that is proven to be incredibly dangerous, though: sugar, especially HFCS. It causes the largest health crisis the country has ever seen and innumerable downstream morbidities. Most articles about artificial sweeteners tend to "gloss over" that part.

A huge number of Americans self-medicate on caffeine (the drug they should be on is probably illegal or guarded behind the nearly impenetrable veil of the AMA's psychiatric guild). But encouraging them to drink their caffeine with sugar is the worst possible idea. Ace-K is probably carcinogenic, but once you've got some cancer cells, to really make them happy, fill them with fructose - Pepsi's got what cancer craves!

Comment: Re:Curse you, Entropy! (Score 2) 420

All well and good, but doesn't exactly solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.

Sure it does. (Not that one small pilot project solves the problem, I mean if the tech is scaled up.) It's carbon-neutral just like biofuels are, it does not add any net CO2 to the atmosphere: it only puts in what it took out to make the fuel in the first place. (I suppose your could even use it to remove CO2, to get us back to 350ppm via carbon sequestration -- make up a bunch of "blue crude" and then stick it underground, running an oil well in reverse.) The problem with greenhouse gas emissions is fossil carbon, which puts in carbon that was captured millions of years ago.

Comment: Re:BAh, (Score 1) 119

At what point did Pandora explicitly ask the artists if they wanted their work advertising? At which point did the artists explicitly agree to Pandora advertising their works?

Pandora is just radio "on the Internet", with the logical efficiencies that unicast delivery can provide. Demanding a different licensing scheme is as much bullshit as every one of the patents that demanded rent for some existing thing and then added "on the Internet" on the end.

It's only lawyers who benefit from re-litigating established societal norms. Of course, they promise some middlemen riches to get them to file actions, but there's only one party that's guaranteed any riches.

Comment: Re:Design was a major problem (Score 1) 334

by bill_mcgonigle (#49559643) Attached to: Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

This. I don't give a damn about animations or not animations, but what I do give a damn about is when I load G+ and I can't even start typing what I want to type for 15 seconds while the UI gets its shit together and loads all its assets from all kinds of Google domains and re-arranges its layout on-the-fly.

Same reason I don't 'like' YouTube comments anymore - it's at least a 10 second pain while it opens new browser windows, redirects to G+, bounces back, and occasionally works round-trip.

I really don't think that Google is this stupid - engineering principles can fix all of these problems. These must be features that somebody wanted to rot on the vine and incentivized their developers and users accordingly.

I use a few non-search Google products, but the way they seem to trip over 98% of them makes me never want to rely on any of them.

Comment: Re:Demented reading of history (Score 1) 474

by Grishnakh (#49559245) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

What's blindingly obvious is that both sides are horrible. I was only saying that I could see why the Catholics wanted to prevent commoners from doing their own interpretation, because it leads directly to fundamentalism; I never said the Catholics were models of virtue themselves.

The best answer is to not have any "holy books" at all, because as soon as you believe something like that, you get all kinds of twisted logic and justifications for stupid and horrible things. ("It says XYZ here, and we can't question that, so it follows from that that we need to do ABC in this situation.")

Comment: Re:Damn... (Score 1) 474

by bzipitidoo (#49557765) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

Are you volunteering to feed and provide health care to all these unwanted babies you want to force women to bear? No? You hate Obamacare? Then you aren't really pro-life, you're pro-overpopulation. You want those babies born, but how to care for them, how to feed all those extra mouths, well, that's someone else's problem, not yours, huh? You willing to go to war, kill off some other mouths so those babies can eat? And you think the mother can always find a way to feed her child if you make her desperate enough? And if she can't do it, then I suppose you'd blame her and call her a bad mother.

Comment: Re:truly an inspiration. (Score 1) 474

by Grishnakh (#49557585) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

A few points:

The 2A argument is a bit different. Personally, I can see both sides. Some of that may be my American (and southern) upbringing and environment, but to me, I can see both sides. One side argues that society is safer with guns because police can't be there in 5 seconds and you can protect yourself with one, the other side argues that a proliferation of guns is what makes society unsafe and that adding more guns to the mix just makes it worse. Both are valid points. Both sides, from what I've seen, have made valid points at times, and stupid points at others. This to me makes me think that the whole issue is far too complex for a simple binary choice, and also that our society's problems are a lot more complex than whether people have easy access to guns or not. I could go on and on about this subject, but at the very core, both sides have the exact same goal: a safe society for everyone. Neither side wants a society plagued by crime and violence, they just disagree on whether having legal access to guns helps or hurts this.

Gay rights is rather different. At its core, it's about equality: should homosexuals have the same rights as everyone else? Should they be allowed to live their lives peaceably, or should they live in fear and hide their orientation for fear of being ridiculed, harmed, or murdered? I honestly don't see how it's any different than civil rights for minority races. The only justification for oppressing gays is purely religious, and not based on anything rational at all. People hate them because they're different, and that's it.

That said, as for various smart people you listed, everyone does stupid stuff from time to time. I like to believe that we should *try* to be smart in our actions and beliefs, rather than being content to be dumb, but even the smartest of us do stupid things sometimes. Also, not everyone is smart in every subject. Being good at math for instance doesn't mean you've seriously thought much about ethics.

Comment: Re:truly an inspiration. (Score 1) 474

by Grishnakh (#49557517) Attached to: Woman Behind Pakistan's First Hackathon, Sabeen Mahmud, Shot Dead

Saudi Arabia isn't the #3 country by population in the world. America is. It doesn't matter what the rest of the world's Christians are doing, America has a huge chunk of them, and quite possibly a majority of Protestants. Most of the other heavily-Christian nations in the world are Catholic (Latin America plus the southern European nations like Spain and Italy). The other Protestant nations aren't very religious for the most part; Germany for instance is the birthplace of Protestantism (Luther), and most Christians there are probably Protestant, but Germany is not a highly religious country these days. America is. America is also the country where its fundie/evangelical Protestants are sending missionaries to Africa and converting everyone there to their brand of Christianity, and as a result, African nations are trying to pass laws legalizing murder of homosexuals.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"