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

by Mab_Mass (#46872307) Attached to: The Koch Brothers Attack On Solar Energy

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

by Mab_Mass (#46517253) Attached to: The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

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

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

by Mab_Mass (#45404237) Attached to: Sweden Is Closing Many Prisons Due to Lack of Prisoners

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

by Mab_Mass (#45401673) Attached to: Sweden Is Closing Many Prisons Due to Lack of Prisoners

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

by Mab_Mass (#45349877) Attached to: Global Biological Experiment Generates Exciting New Results

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.

Comment: Re:But.. (Score 5, Insightful) 340

by Mab_Mass (#45346379) Attached to: Global Biological Experiment Generates Exciting New Results

You act as if there were no regulation of the health care industry. Indeed, it's probably the most regulated in the world. So what are the free-market forces which you claim are responsible for this issue?

First of all, the regulation of the health care industry is to the side of this issue. The largest driver for resistance is the over-use of antibiotics in non-health care related fields, like industrial agriculture, and hand soap.

The market forces here are the desire for higher meat production (ie, more profit!) as well as the marketability of antibiotics to consumers that don't realize that you don't need or want antibiotics everywhere.

Where the market forces completely and utterly fail is that the very high cost of widespread antibiotic resistance is NOT being directly felt by the industries that are using them the most. It is in fact a very nice example of where pure capitalism fails - large, long-term, external costs are not felt by the people making short term profits.

Comment: Re:Should have done it on MTV (Score 1) 762

by Mab_Mass (#44802503) Attached to: Sexist Presentations At Startup Competition Prompt TechCrunch Apology

I mean if you say that rape is NEVER the girl's fault in ANY way, you're an extremist.

Then I am an extremist.

It doesn't matter what a woman does prior to the point that a man forcibly inserts himself into her body. She is not guilty of her own rape. It is true that it is possible that a rape victim is not completely innocent, but nothing she does is ever justification of her getting raped.

To take your example of a guy verbally picking a fight, the verbal abuser is not responsible for being punched. He is responsible for being a dickhead and acting like an ass, but the person who started the physical fight bears the entire responsibility for starting the physical fight.

Stepping back, I think you have a good point - interactions are rarely black and white victim/villain scenarios, but when one person inflicts violence (of any kind) against another, the violent person is entirely responsible for their violent actions.

+ - Near-death experiences are 'electrical surge in dying brain' 1

Submitted by Mab_Mass
Mab_Mass (903149) writes "The BBC reports: "A surge of electrical activity in the brain could be responsible for the vivid experiences described by near-death survivors, scientists report. A study carried out on dying rats found high levels of brainwaves at the point of the animals' demise. US researchers said that in humans this could give rise to a heightened state of consciousness. The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ""

Comment: Re:the way I see it (Score 1) 533

Some of us dont have any issue with an eye for an eye in extreme cases. I would put this in one of those cases.

In general, I agree with the sentiment that there are some people who are cruel, bloodthirsty sadists who are best dealt with by the most extreme penalties available.

The trouble is how do you define what those limits are? Furthermore, how can you be sure that whatever definition you use is not distorted by some unscrupulous government agent at some point in the future?

This line of thinking is why I am categorically against the death penalty. The ability to kill its own citizens is too great of a power to willingly grant something as big and clumsy as the government. Once the government is given such a power, it will use it inappropriately at some point, pretty much guaranteed.

It always surprises me how many of the hard-core, anti-government conservatives are still pro death penalty...

In these matters the only certainty is that there is nothing certain. -- Pliny the Elder

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