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Comment Re:The article should use "ridiculous" 0 times. (Score 1) 284 284

Um, the search is by keyword also (click on the "Search RCWs" link to see the full UI). And PDFs are refreshed once per year because paper publication of the complete thing is also once per year, it's not like they're deliberately slowing things down.

Comment Re:The article should use "ridiculous" 0 times. (Score 1) 284 284

Here's a better example, then - Revised Code of Washington:

Most recent version is searchable online HTML. It, and all the previous editions, are also available as downloadable PDFs, exactly as they are published on paper. All of these are free.

Comment Re:Where in the US Constitution..... (Score 1) 515 515

Let me rephrase that. It could be used as a justification of such a law, yes. My point is that it doesn't have to be, and we're better off not doing that because that would have undesirable legal side effects down the line.

"General well-being of the people" is a very vague notion that can be used as a justification for too many things, most of which you probably wouldn't like at all. Of specific note is that it doesn't require any outside actor - they could just as well limit your own activities that are potentially harmful to yourself, even statistically speaking (i.e. not harmful to you personally, but universally banning them would prevent enough people from exercising them in a harmful way that it would improve "general well-being"

It's far better to go with some more concrete justifications, such as specific measurable harm that is inflicted by the actor to other parties. It's not exactly hard to do with pollutants, either, because the emissions are measurable, and so are their effects. It's still collective harm, since it's pretty hard to quantify the individual damage you get from e.g. AGW (though still possible in some cases, and I'd love to see the polluters pay compensation and damages specifically to people they hurt whenever we can trace it), but then at least it's about harm, not some nebulous "it could be better that way".

Comment Re:Ooh Oopsie (Score 1) 283 283

Do Slashdot users still need to be taught to "hold their beliefs up to experimentation"? And do they need to be taught this by a reality TV show?

My concern with pop skeptics is that they don't believe in holding their beliefs up to experimentation, and instead decide what is "woo" based upon their feelings.

Comment The argument is "leaky" at best too (Score 4, Informative) 74 74

Pathogens don't "learn". They evolve, ok. They adapt, ok. But they aren't sentient. They are not thinking. And especially they aren't thinking "hey, if they vaccinate, they won't die anyway, at least not as fast, so let's get more deadly!" This isn't the fucking Pandemic flash game for crying out loud!

There is no interest of killing a host for a parasite. It's an side effect. Unintended, and actually harmful for the parasite in the long run. Just like poisoning the seas is harmful for us. We ain't some comic book villain who does it for ... well, for being evil. We do it 'cause it cuts costs. The oil spill is only the side effect, not the reason we do it.

So yes, they COULD get more deadly because we don't die as fast and a more deadly mutated strain would kill itself off with the host if there was no vaccination. But that is hardly an argument against vaccination. It only means that at worst we're with vaccination where we are now without. AT WORST. If, and only if, the pathogens mutate in such a way that they get more deadly. Which is neither in their interest nor anything they would (evolutionary) strive for.

What's the benefit for a pathogen to be more deadly? Killing the host is actually bad for it, since that ends spreading (with this host at least).

Comment Re:Blimey (Score 4, Informative) 283 283

Bad example. Light does exert radiation pressure, yes - but it is far, far too weak to drive a radiometer. The spinning radiometer isn't due to radiation pressure. It's a more mundane effect: Imperfect vacuum. The black side is warmed more than the white, which heats up adjacent air, which exerts higher pressure, causing the spin. It's just a plain old heat engine.

Comment Re:I'll wait until (Score 2) 283 283

Until Mythbusters confirms it, I'll just say it's Plausible.

Mythbusters' pop skepticism is the very definition of junk science.

If you're waiting for confirmation from Penn Jillette or some other aging magician or Skeptical Inquirer, you missed out on a successful career as an economist.

Comment Re: Looking more and more likely all the time... (Score 1) 283 283

I never got why so many people are so sceptical of this one.

I think some of the skepticism is not as to whether this might be an engine that produces some small amount of thrust. I mean, a little skepticism is a healthy response for any new scientific discovery, and it's not inappropriate to ask for proof. Since the thrust we're talking about is so small, the margin of error is large, and proving that it really works takes a bit of doing. I don't assume that it works, but I also don't really disbelieve it if NASA scientists say it does.

However, when this was reported, it was reported in many places as "OMG! NASA has created a warp drive. We can go faster than light now!" I'm skeptical about those claims.

Comment Re:Or let us keep our hard-earned money (Score 1) 515 515

Well, why are we punishing people who earn money through hard work? Why is sweat-of-the-brow taxed higher than rent?

As long as you have one rate set higher than the other, you can make that argument either way. Why not set a single flat rate on all kinds of income? Isn't it only fair?

It's great to be smart 'cause then you know stuff.