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Comment Re:Not a snowballs chance! (Score 1) 218

How is this insightful? The Patriot Act is less than 36 hours away from expiring, and all signs point toward the extension being filibustered into defeat. Going on a defeatist rant about how government is some grand all-powerful evil that will never be defeated in any way does nothing to dispel the fact that it looks like the Patriot Act will be gone by Monday morning.

Insight brings new information and analysis, not a "the world will never change" tirade.

Comment Failure of Capitalism, not science (Score 1) 958

If the problem lays mostly in the people trying to sell multivitamins, refined sugar, milk, etc and journalists pushing bad information to sell more papers, that sounds much more like a failure of capitalism to regulate itself than a failure of science to discover facts.

Yes, preliminary studies were used as justification, but it's not the scientist's fault that media and private interests ran with unconfirmed data as long as the scientists made clear that the studies weren't definitive. The main failure on science's part is a failure to be more vigilant in refuting bad information.

Comment Why does anyone care about Anonymous anymore? (Score 1) 509

I keep hearing about Anonymous "declaring war" and making threats every now and then, but rarely do I ever see anything come of it. At most they'll deface or DOS a website for a couple hours, maybe a day if they're lucky. How terrifying... And that's on the occasion they manage to actually pull off anything at all.

They're just a bunch of attention-seeking wannabe activists who talk a lot of shit and try hijacking every major news story of unrest to convince the world that they're somehow relevant.

Comment Re:Time for some leaps and not baby steps (Score 1) 142

If we could compare it with life on Earth we would have a much better understanding of the nature of life itself in the universe. Do we share genetics with life on Mars, showing that life can travel between planets on asteroids? If life developed independently on Mars it would show that life could be very common in the universe, and it would be very interesting to see if life on Mars uses the same methods as life on Earth.

Comment Re:Consciousness versus Intelligence (Score 1) 455

Consciousness, in my view, is the ability to synthesize a single and continuous experience out of disparate sensory and cognitive input. Conceptually that definition makes sense to me, and it's consistent with the observation that the prefrontal cortex (The part of the brain most associated with consciousness) is highly interconnected with the other regions of the brain.

From that definition, consciousness is a property of any information processing system, regardless of the underlying "hardware" (whether biological or electronic). The fact that the mammalian brain can create consciousness proves that consciousness can be created from physical processes, so I see no reason why a computer wouldn't be able to do the same.

Comment Re:Wouldn't time be better spent... (Score 1) 481

How do you "teach" someone to not be a criminal? I can guarantee you that all men already know how to not rape. The grandparent post's point is that you can't stop everyone from doing bad things, so you should teach people how to avoid and handle those people doing bad things. Unless you think all it will take to end criminality once and for all in the human race is just a little more schooling telling kids "don't do bad things".

Comment Re:Capitalism does not reward morality (Score 1) 197

A monopoly is the antithesis of a free market. How is a market free when it's controlled by a single entity? What does it matter if that entity calls itself a government or a corporation?

The thing libertarians constantly fail to recognize is that centralization of power itself is the problem. They recognize it in government, but then somehow think that a corporation wouldn't abuse it's power.

What happens when consolidation leads to a single company that controls the food supply? When they get to choose who gets to eat or starve, how is that any different from a government rationing food? Any sufficiently powerful organization becomes a de facto government.

Comment Re:I really don't understand smart watches... (Score 1) 415

As the saying goes, "It's the little things in life..."

Having the current weather a glance away is really handy. Sometimes when I'm about to leave my apartment I'll check the time on my watch, notice that it's colder out than I expected and realize I should grab a warmer coat before getting outside and having to run back upstairs.

There's the convenience of being able to see text messages and phone calls even while your phone is plugged in somewhere to charge or play music
And when I get a text that doesn't require a reply, it's nice to be able to read it without having to dig my phone out of my pocket. It saves just a couple seconds, but it feels less clumsy and if I'm busy I can see if a message is important without breaking my train of thought.

I don't think smart watches are a great deal for everyone, but if you're willing to spend $100 to make life a little more streamlined I think it's worth it. I have a Pebble by the way, which only has to be charged about once a week.

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder