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Comment Re:Exxon MADE the hard decision (Score 5, Insightful) 255

Ah yes, the old "had to do it for the money" claim. If we accept that everyone is an idiot robot that will play Russian Roulette for a dollar, sure. But the fact is that a person or organization has the power to make a decision with short-term or long-term thinking in mind, or a decision with self-interest or social awareness in mind. Yet somehow we've got to the point where we'll excuse absolutely anything as being reasonable if there was money at stake. Personally, I'd prefer we hold ourselves to a slightly higher standard, but I realize I'm shouting into the wind.

Comment Re:So? (Score 1) 172

I also found the article's use of "paradox" and "problem" to be a bit grating. We are observing something here we don't understand, and maybe that's anathema to a physicist who thinks we already understand everything (hint: we don't), but it's not that shocking to me.

However with the last two paragraphs of the article he clears things up a bit:

Whenever there’s a conflict between what our best theories predict [...] that’s an omen of scientific advance. That paradox is such a problem because it tells us that something about our present understanding is, in some way, incomplete. Is there a new law of physics? Is there a new application of the currently existing laws that we’ve missed? Are these quantities not fundamentally conserved after all? Is the information really encoded in the final state somehow? Will quantum gravity eventually make this all clear?

We hope to have the answer to this. But in the meantime, this paradox means we have a problem, and hence that we have more to learn. And for anyone curious about the scientific truths of the Universe, that’s an incredible thing: evidence that there’s still a whole lot more to be figured out.

Well okay then. It's not so much a paradox or a problem as a (not totally unexpected to me) indication that our physics theories do not yet account for everything going on in the universe. Taken out of the framework of "paradox" and "problem" that is exciting - maybe we'll tease some new information about how the universe works by researching this further. Now that's exciting. Just let's not get ahead of ourselves as being all-knowing quite yet.

Comment Re:Surge Pricing - Why The Hate? (Score 5, Insightful) 250

> having a fucking LOTTERY of who gets the only cab available.

I don't get the hate for this approach. Perhaps some education is in order. When there aren't enough resources to go around, there are different ways to perform allocation. Each method has different moral implications. For example, a lottery implies equality between all people and is best used for resources that are perceived as utilitarian or necessary. Fair market pricing implies that the more money you have, the more important you are and is best used for resources that are perceived as a luxury. Of course this can be argued about all day, but it's not shocking that some people would find fair-market pricing to be inherently unfair.

What if there isn't enough food or medicine to go around? Is a lottery the best approach? Or the fair market? Or perhaps rationing? Should a person with more money be able to redirect resources to themselves, even if it is not as important to their survival as someone who has less money? Transportation can be vital to maintaining a job or caring for kids - it can also be a luxury. I can see an argument either way.

Comment Re:The death of common sense (Score 3, Insightful) 220

Having the student issue a written apology to the teacher and having him post a simple "obviously this was a joke" tweet seems like it should have handled the situation quite well and made it a learning experience for the student. Engaging the parents early would help ensure it's taken seriously and reinforced at home. No damage done, no lawsuits, no absurdly ignorant police chiefs.

Comment A tough area (Score 0) 220

Based on the facts presented thus far, I don't really see that the school district has a leg to stand on and that police chief needs to head back to night school to brush up on some law basics. Now that teacher; she may have had cause for some sort of civil action against the student, especially if the school did any sort of investigation of her based on the content of the exchange.

If the school wanted to take action here, they should have provided the teacher with lawyers and legal options upon request. If the tweets caused some sort of disruption on their own (frankly, the school district's actions caused more disruption than anything else), only then should they have acted based on the results of an investigation. Here they just seemed to have been lurching about without any sort of plan or clue for how to proceed properly and objectively.

Comment Re:Does anyone actually believe (Score 1) 337

No need to "believe" it when you can know it:

Is there a lot more to this complex topic? Sure. But there is no question that simply being black (or in this case study, being assumed black) lowers your chances of getting hired.

Comment Re:Yeah, great (Score 1) 205

Since we're just talking out our asses here, I'll say there's evidence that exposure to porn at young ages increases respect for women. The "evidence" is me. I first found porn mags at age 8 or so, and lots more, including videos, by 14. I have since become an avid porn collector. Yet I am absolutely respectful of women and always have been. I am far more respectful of women than the men in some no-porn areas I've lived in other countries.

Or maybe it's largely unconnected to porn. Maybe it's about culture and upbringing. In fact, there actually _is_ evidence that porn reduces rape (the ultimate form of disrespect for women):

And even though I'd still argue against allowing younger people's free access porn, the data in that article, tracking total internet usage, certainly includes young people's access to porn.

Comment Re:Yeah, great (Score 1) 205

> So what objective measurement can a cop make to tell how impaired a driver is at the moment.

How about a test of ability to drive? Instead of looking for chemicals that may or may not create a safety issue, how about we look for things like inability to focus, insufficient reaction time, etc - things that actually cause danger (though they may not be solely correlated with drugs)? There must be a way to reasonably test a driver's ability to actually drive - it's just that people would hate getting in trouble for being too tired, too distracted, or too slow. But if the goal is to improve safety, that's what it's about.

Comment Re: Looking more and more likely all the time... (Score 3, Insightful) 518

> Because they predict things up to the level of accuracy that we can currently measure, within the very limited energy and size domains we have access to. That's all there is to it.

Fixed that for you.

When you can predict particle behavior inside a black hole with planck-length precision, or you can model gravity at the galactic scale without relying on unobserved "dark matter", I might be as confident as you that our current understanding is rock solid.

Comment Re: Looking more and more likely all the time... (Score 3, Informative) 518

> Modern physics is never incorrect.

And you, sir, have just turned science into religion.

The whole reason science is superior to religion is that it openly admits that it may be incorrect, and allows for itself to be corrected. It is, as you correctly outline, an iterative process that approaches truth over time. But part of that process is accepting that any truth may be overturned by new evidence. And while Einstein didn't "disprove" Newton, he did show flaws in the theory which meant that it was, in a very small way, wrong. And that's fine. Claiming it was "extended" and not "wrong" is playing semantics and makes you sound like a religious apologist.

The more comfortable we are with being wrong, and the process of refinement, the better scientists we are. The more we claim that some aspect of science is "never incorrect", the more dogmatic we are and the science suffers.

The predictions of modern physics are phenomenally accurate in many domains. But we haven't run tests in nearly enough domains to claim perfection yet. And we've no need to be defensive about it. Science is the only way to the next truth, and that's good enough for me.

"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." -- Bakunin [ed. note - I would say: The urge to destroy may sometimes be a creative urge.]