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Comment: Re:Point was made but wrong (Score 1) 409 409

No he isn't. The summary is correct, and he is wrong. Americans are one inch taller than in 1960, not two inches. In 1960 the average man was 5'8", today he is 5'9". The average women went from 5'3" to 5'4".

So... an inch for men and an inch for women. That makes 2 inches.


Comment: Re:And 4) (Score 2) 639 639

What is the temperature of the Earth *supposed* to be?

This whole question misses the point. As you correctly observe, there is not temperature that the Earth is *supposed* to be, and in fact there have been wild fluctuations in the Earth's temperature over the past million+ years.

The trouble with man-made climate change isn't that the Earth is going through changes. The trouble is that the Earth is going through a very rapid temperature change that will have significant impacts on humanity (as well as the rest of the world).

These rapid changes will do things like cause glacial melt, increase the severity and variability of weather, change habitable zones for various species, etc.

Those changes in turn lead to water shortages, sea level rise, death and destruction due to storms, pests and pathogens moving to places where they haven't been before, etc. Those factors will have a huge impact on human habitation and the global economy.

Will the Earth survive? Of course. It has been through much worse. That's not the point.

The point is that there is a huge cost to humans with the pace of the shifting climate, and we can either eat the costs trying to minimize the shift or we can eat the cost in terms of displaced people, drought, famine, etc.

The responses being advocated mainly involve shifting away from fossil fuels (which are a fixed, non-renewable resource) towards an economy of energy production that comes from renewables. Isn't this a good idea anyway?

Comment: Re:You should title this "Patriot act to be repeal (Score 1) 188 188

However, something tells me "This bill might be a trap", an item with no chance of passing

I doubt it, largely because of who is sponsoring this. Specifically, Mark Pocan, who is my representative and who has been a prominent state representative for many years. From what I've seen of his record (and from actually running into him and talking to him at the liquor store), he would be one of the least likely people to perform this kind of trap. .

Now, if others take this as an opportunity to see who might be a good candidate for a "re-education" camp, that's a whole other story...

Comment: Re:Not Health but Money (Score 1) 342 342

How about this: The ice truck workers are paid hourly. They would rather get paid for an all-day episode of unloading ice rather than just 2-3 hours.

Wrong. The people doing the actual ice moving/selling are all volunteers. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people doing any of the infrastructure of the event are volunteers. (The one notable exception is cleaning the port-a-potties.)

Comment: Re:My only question... (Score 1) 478 478

That, and the fact that he is not obtaining or even seeking to obtain congressional authority to do so, unlike his predecessor.

In a large part, that was because with all of the post 9/11 hoo-ha, there was an "Authorization for Use of Military Force" that was worded broadly enough that it has basically served as a legal foundation for pretty much indefinite military action. Specifically, see for the text and for a rundown of how it's been used.

The real trouble is that the office President has too much power these days, and the military has too much influence in how the US acts.

Comment: Re:Open season on the white male (Score 1) 1198 1198

Every single day more people ar ekilled with guns due to gang violence than happened by this one sick fuck, yet we focus on the sick fuck rather than on gang culture??

I suspect the race of the people involved has something to do with how much the media cares, unfortunately.

Comment: Re:Buggy whips? (Score 1) 769 769

Actually, I would like to rephrase your option #1:

People who make a lot of money using a particular technology/technique will do what they can to try to keep doing so.

We have seen this pattern multiple times. When scientists showed that lead in gasoline was causing problems, the oil and gas industry fought that claim for years. When scientists said that smoking caused cancer, tobacco companies fought that claim for years.

Now, scientists are pointing out the overwhelming amount of data showing that the climate is changing rapidly and that our spike of CO2 emissions is driving it. Meanwhile, those who make a lot of money off dumping CO2 into the atmosphere are denying it.

Comment: Re:How do we know who's gifted? (Score 1) 529 529

For me, it's still better to improve education overall, rather than concentrate funds on presumably "gifted" children. This way, those chldren who don't get selected can also get a good education.

Or, better yet, fund education well enough so that we don't have these kinds of dichotomies and can educate each student as well as possible.

Comment: Re:supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults (Score 1) 554 554

And if you *really* want to become a food geek, read Harold McGee, especially hist book "On Food and Cooking."

A little bit of understanding of the basic physics/chemistry of cooking plus a lot of practice/experimentation can turn you into a fantastic cook.

Comment: Re:false dichotomy in summary (Score 1) 752 752

You may be wrong, it may be the case that incarceration increases the likelihood of reoffending.

The more and more that I've been thinking about it, the more I realize how incarceration is probably one of the best ways to majorly disrupt someone's life and send them down a path where crime is the best option. As a thought experiment, imagine that all of a sudden you weren't able to work for 2 years. By the time you're out, you probably don't have a place to live or a job, and given your criminal record, it is hard to get a job, and given your lack of a job, it is hard to find a place to live.

For the generic person who had bad circumstances and made a few bad choices, this is almost certainly a recipe for continued trouble with the law.

Comment: Re:Hey California, I have a solution for you (Score 3, Informative) 752 752

It's amusing to me that you think outspending on health is bad and that outspending on education is good. [This assumes that all your data points were intended to show Sweden superior].

I fail to see the humor here. Sweden manages to spend just over half of the US on health, but manages to have nearly half the infant mortality rate and a longer life expectancy. It seems that they must be doing something right.

Please don't make the mistake of thinking that all of these numbers are independent.

Comment: Re:But.. (Score 1) 340 340

First of all, I wonder about this conclusion that I "so desperately seek." I thought that I was sharing my views and experience with the world and how I see things.

Anyhow, you point out that a big part of the issue is that the public is not making the fully informed, long-term self-interested decisions to create the proper market forces. I'd agree wholeheartedly, and extend this analysis to say that this is NORMAL. In modern society, our consumer decisions impact many, many things. Chances are, we are all walking around wearing clothing and carrying goods that originate from multiple countries and that are built up from many different suppliers. (Personally, I just checked that my fleece was made in the Philippines, my shoes were made in china, my socks in the US, my cell phone is by a Korean company, my car is Japanese, and so on.) Furthermore, there is no indication of the quality of treatment of the workers who mined the copper that is in this computer I'm using, and I suspect that it would be very difficult to trace the origins of that copper, let alone figure out the worker conditions.

My point here is that it is essentially impossible for all consumers to make all purchase decisions based upon a fully informed view of how the products are made and what kinds of direct and external costs are factored into the price of these items. In order for a truly free market, each person would need to make all kinds of these decisions all the time.

I think this places the blame squarely on the feet of Science....Why are there biological scientists out there carrying on with their day-to-day work and not raising hell about this? Why aren't they refusing, as a group, to work on new medicines until the media and industry give the issue the publicity it needs?

Perhaps it is because scientists are often ignored, ridiculed, and dismissed. Witness discussions around evolution or global warming, two concepts widely accepted by the scientific community, yet resisted by people with long-held religious beliefs and financial interests, respectively.

You're characterization of the issue as a failing of scientists and laying the blame wholly at their feet is missing much of the larger complexities here. Perhaps those who are pumping their cattle full of antibiotics, despite warnings of scientists, also share some of the responsibility? Pointing the finger at scientists who are not talking loudly enough sure sounds like scapegoating to me.

The early bird who catches the worm works for someone who comes in late and owns the worm farm. -- Travis McGee