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Comment: Re:Designer babies (Score 1) 84

And... what exactly is this means you're thinking they'll have?

Well, one obvious way to do it would be to set up a pricing structure for designer babies such that the babies with the Politically Correct genome (whatever that is conceived to be) waaay cheaper than the non-PC genomes.

I mean, something as simple as "white babies 1/2 off this month only!" would be vile beyond belief, and almost certainly done if it were possbile.

You could also look for genetic defects common to [minority you despise] and offer to "fix" them, along with a "few other [unspecified] improvements" that might not be seen as "improvements" by the prospective parents....

Comment: Re:All publicly funded research needs public relea (Score 1) 165

There is no genuine reason for publishing emails that were exchanged whilst the creation of regulations was still in progress.

Hmm, wouldn't you want to see an email by a Senator saying "Bloomberg really wants this, and he's promising all of us on the Committee $3 million for our campaign warchests if we make it so"?

Or if you think Bloomberg walks on water, replace "Bloomberg with "Koch Bros" or whoever your favorite bogeyman is....

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1558

by CrimsonAvenger (#46786251) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Your state level issue is largely handled by the Federal Preemption clause in Article VI, clause 2.

Hmm, you might want to reread that clause. it establishes the Constitution as the "supreme law of the land".

It does NOT say that a State can't do something that is specifically forbidden to Congress.

Now, the 14th Amendment DOES pretty much accomplish your objective. Of course, there were 75 years or so between the Constitution and the 14th Amendment, during which, by your logic the "much stronger" "Congress shall make no laws" could have been overridden by State laws. Or local laws.

Personally, I still find "shall not be infringed" to be stronger than "Congress shall make no law". But YMMV....

Comment: Re:Not Evolution (Score 3, Informative) 89

by Artifakt (#46785077) Attached to: NASA Proposes "Water World" Theory For Origin of Life

But how does Evolution prune the repication mechanism itself? If an early replicator was very sloppy and mutation prone, then any possible advantages occuring by random mutation would have little chance to be tested before other random mutations overwrote them or other mutations killed off the organisms carrying that mutation. Working backwards, let's start with modern DNA, in cases where there are many additional mechanisms to cut the mutation rate so the non-random part of Evolution has more time to work. Putting DNA inside a walled cell, and making that cell nucleated, both reduce the exposure of the DNA to chemicals that can mutate copies. Multicellularity further shields the DNA from some more mutagens, and lets Evolution prune cells with bad copies by apoptosis, which can't be used by single celled organisms. Right there, we have a trend in Evolution - Nature seems to be trying to reduce error rates to target, as you put it, the Goldilocks range. "Advanced" organisms, such as us, or mosquitos or oak trees, have many features that make the selection rate occur at an optimum, where Nature gets enough time for selection processes to occur. In fact, sexual selection is probably just another form of targeting that Goldilocks range, and I'm sure a professional biologist can think of may more examples than the four I've mentioned. Some more minor steps in this pattern might include the evolution of Alcohol Dehydrogenase enzymes and others, but that's getting beyond my depth.
        But if we extrapolate a historical trend from that, the mutation rate must have been higher for 'primative' DNA based life, but the selection pressure must have been lower. Mutation must have been still higher if RNA was once the core molecule of heredity, which seems pretty solidly established. And if there's several more primative replicators, selection pressure must have moved glacially compared to the modern era. So how did selection have time even in 3 billion years to evolve DNA itself? If the earliest replicators were something like crystaline clays that were subject to a very modest amount of selection by erosion, as some biologists have speculated, how do we get the time for these to evolve through many stages to RNA and then DNA and eventually all the extra trimmings of today? Given that we've been in a DNA based biosphere for close to 1.5 billion years, that's about half the time since Earth cooled enough to support organic compounds,, and we're trying to cram probably at least 5 or 6 earlier replicators into less than half the time, knowing that each one was subject to less selection pressure than it's successor probably by orders of magnetude.

Comment: Re:NASA Proposes "Water World" Theory For Origin o (Score 3, Interesting) 89

by Artifakt (#46784929) Attached to: NASA Proposes "Water World" Theory For Origin of Life

We can't "save a step and conclude that the universe always existed" because we think the universe had a beginning, the Big Bang. We could have saved that step if we thought the universe was Steady State. Dr. Sagan is asking this as a rhetorical question, yet he himself gave the answer not 20 pages earlier in the same book when he addressed the Steady State/Big Bang controversy in historical physics. That's showing a completely non-scientific bias and committing a logical error, and I really hoped for better from the good doctor. Fortunately, if there Is a real God, I suspect "he"s not going to be that hung up on whether his creations beleived without evidence or not.

Comment: Re:We have them already. (Score 5, Interesting) 201

by CrimsonAvenger (#46783853) Attached to: MIT Designs Tsunami Proof Floating Nuclear Reactor

They power nuclear subs, nuclear icebreakers etc. Stick a transformer on it and connect it to the grid, Bingo, floating nuclear power plant.

More to it than that. The overwhelming majority of the power for a nuclear sub/icebreaker/etc is used to make the props go roundy-roundy.

Only a very small part of that power goes to drive the generators (note that nuclear powered ships/subs HAVE been used to provide emergency power to shore installations, by the by).

And since the generators are sized for the amount of power needed by the boat/ship, you can't just push more steam through them to get more power.

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1558

by CrimsonAvenger (#46778203) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

I'm afraid the standard definitions do not support your interpretation of infringe:

to wrongly limit or restrict (something, such as another person's rights)

Hmm, I'll see your Meriam-Webster and raise you an OED:

Act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on:

And here's another:

Actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc.):

And here's another from your friend Meriam-Webster:

to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another.

Comment: Re:I'll give you six amendments: (Score 1) 1558

by CrimsonAvenger (#46778119) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

1: Campaign donations are forbidden. Each candidate for an elected office will get an equivalent place to state their platform. Advertising anything election related on a commercial (paid) basis will be a crime.

So, basically we give the various newspaper editors the privilege of deciding who gets to be President/Senator/Congresscritter? Or were you planning on forbidding newspapers from mentioning political candidates?

Comment: Re:I guess they were wrong (Score 3, Interesting) 145

by Artifakt (#46777719) Attached to: Vintage 1960s Era Film Shows IRS Defending Its Use of Computers

I do taxes professionally for part of my income, and it's a mix of personal or estate returns and corps, up to a couple of companies with 500+ full time employees.
The tax code is pretty simple for many people, but I certainly would not say the vast majority of either individuals or small businesses. I can make quick, easy money by examining a few typical returns done on a free website or $ 39 software. About 6 out of 10 will have done something wrong or missed something entirely. That's higher than the industry average reported (which is about 33%), but I'm presorting by cases where the person has either a schedule D, E, or F, or got a K1. I could probably find significant mistakes on 45% or so of the self filed Schedule A's or EITC forms out there, but those are usually dealt with by people who have only been with the firm I work for for a few years before I ever see them.
            Three mistakes I see that can have extreme consequences are:
1. people filing schedule E for rental property and thinking amortizing the property is optional (yes, it is technically optional as the tax code is phrased, but if you don't do it, the law wiill treat it as if you did, and 'recover' some of the money you never got in the first place. when you sell the property - it's 'optional' in the same sense as a parachute is optional in skydiving). I also see the vast majority of people who have other things than rent to report on an E (authorial royalties, natural gas wells, and such), have absolutely no idea what to do.
2. people filing a schedule D for sale of stock. The minor mistake about 50% of the self filers make is to spend up to 30 hours or so filling in tons of individual lines for each transaction - almost nobody who isn't a pro knows how to report groups of transactions the way the IRS wants, and the personal software will gladly let you type in every single entry from a typical 15 page brokerage statement manually if you want. By they way, I have heard from IRS agents that going to all this extra trouble increases your chance of an audit - they figure that anybody giving them all those details just might be trying to hide something among them. The major mistake is not knowing the difference between long term and short term and/or covered and non-covered transactions, and all those things that are not sales of stocks but involve capital gains and so get reported with stocks. And I have never, ever, not once in my career, seen a case where someone got a K-1 that led to an entry on schedule D, and they got it right filing with Turbo-tax or similar.
3. Schedule C for self employed income. I see people getting a 1099-Misc with some other box than 7 filled in and thinking they have to do a C, all the time. I also see young people who get paid with a 1099 that does require Schedule C for the first time and think it's basically just like a W2 and report it that way. In both cases, this puts the person in a mess immediately, because if self employment taxes get done wrongly that means the IRS and the Social Security administration both have issues with the filer, and any corrections have to propagate to both agencies before it is really fixed. I've seen way too many cases where someone spends months or even years paying off their self employment taxes, gets straight with the IRS, and then 5 years later the person gets injured, needs to collect disability and, finds out they never got credit with the Social Security Administration for working some years, and so are considered not elligibile. But the biggest mistake I see on Sched C is people claiming meals when they don't travel outside their local area or entertain clients - that happens way more often with young people new to the construction industry, than most people think, and the IRS treats every case like the taxpayer is a con artist and couldn't possibly be really that stupid. (And there's no polite way to put it, but a lot of these people are). The IRS also tends to treat this error as though the taxpayer thinks the IRS agents are boneheaded enough to believe the deliberately false claim they didn't know, and the agent auditing usually seems to feel personally insulted.

People that have a single house or two they rent out, self employed contractors and people who have a sole proprieorship that makes, say, 50 K or less net, people who get a typically sized 1099-composite statement from Wells Fargo or Merrill or T Rowe or many others - that's probably close to 40% of all filers right there. K-1s are becoming pretty common now that they're used for Family Trusts. Everybody who rents out a tiny plot of land for a Cell tower gets an E for something they don't really supervise personally, and most of them didn't study up on rental tax law even as much as the people renting a spare house.. So again, "vast majority' is an overstatement at best.

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1558

by CrimsonAvenger (#46771493) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Wish I could remember the dude's name. He was a big shot in one of the Arsenals of Revolutionary France, not just some grunt in the field.

He had the reputation of being the fastest guy with gun in France (and presumably the world, but the French at the time automatically assumed that "best in France" was the same as "best in the world").

Note that we're not talking loose powder and shot, but prepared paper cartridges....

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 3, Insightful) 1558

by CrimsonAvenger (#46771351) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

So where the first amendment is an absolute prohibition "no laws", the second amendment uses an arguably gentler "shall not be infringed".

So, "shall not be infringed" is weaker than "Congress shall make no laws"?

Sounds like you'd have no problems with New York State (or New York City) requiring any news article to be approved by government censors, eh? After all, neither New York City's government nor New York State's government is "Congress", therefore they're not constrained by the First Amendment, right?

Personally, I find the phrase "shall not be infringed" to be stronger than "Congress shall make no laws", especially given the number of groups besides Congress that make laws in this country (every city, county, state government, as examples).

"Look! There! Evil!.. pure and simple, total evil from the Eighth Dimension!" -- Buckaroo Banzai