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Comment: Re:future... (Score 2) 92

by khallow (#48482921) Attached to: Shale: Good For Gas, Oil...and Nuclear Waste Disposal?

Why not? It's been our philosophy for centuries not to worry about the future and just expect that future generations will have more wits and basic decency than us.

That's an odd bit of sarcasm given that the grandparent post is actually worrying about the future in a constructive way. Fuel rod recycling is a rather odd thing to overlook.

Comment: Re:Let's do the math (Score 1) 306

by khallow (#48481519) Attached to: Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

That's why I said "may".

You don't say "may" till third paragraph.

Horse-drawn wagons and chariots are tools, not people.

Human bodies are tools as well.

If augments are invented in the free market capitalist way humanity has been doing since, like, forever, it's going to be costly at first. This means even if the writing is on the wall that it's in everybody's interest to get augmented, the shift will be gradual, which goes back to my point that people will still recognize each other as "human".

So what? So let's say it takes a century to get those costs down to the point where such augmentations are affordable for the average person. You still have 900 years left.

What is the practical and economical reason that humans abandon their old forms for a new non-human form? This implicitly assumes that this is a more economical solution than developing a tool to take on those non-human characteristics.

Because the new forms are better, practically and economically. The killer app here is health. If you have a body and mind that can last thousands of years, then that's a huge advantage over the current human body. And while the human body and mind aren't bad as tools, we probably can do a lot better than that in terms of pushing physical and mental limits, or in interfacing with our other tools.

Comment: Re:PR works well? Where? (Score 1) 363

by khallow (#48480143) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

Certainly the collapse of both the Weimar Republic and the French 4th Republic are usually blamed on their use of PR; I remain to be convinced its the optimal solution.

It's interesting how people retcon history.

The Wiemar Republic was imposed by force by parties who wanted to keep Germany weak following Germany's defeat in the First World War. So sure, the selection of a proportional representation system is a bit damning.

But various parties (particularly, the German military and allied industrialists and nobility) were working towards the destruction of the Weimar Republic since its creation (long before Hitler became a factor). A more unified government would have just made the transition even faster.

As to the Fourth French Republic, they lost Dien Bien Phu (and as a result French Indochina) and were set to repeat that performance in Algeria. That gets blamed on the disunity from proportional representation, but I just don't see France keeping these territories no matter what government it has. They were still rebuilding after the destruction of the Second World War. First-Past-The-Post doesn't magically build up a powerful military in a few short years.

Comment: Re:Let's do the math (Score 1) 306

by khallow (#48474659) Attached to: Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

But not so radical that we won't be "recognizably" human.

[...]

Consider Google glass, and people with artificial limbs, hearing aids, etc. Stephen Hawking communicates trough a machine. Technically, we are already radically altering ourselves. Do we call those users not recognizably human? No, we call them glassholes ;p

Artificial limbs have been around for a long time, but the first using signals from nerves date from the mid 90s according to Wikipedia. Glancing at Wikipedia, Hawking's speech synthesizer was in use since around 1985. Google Glass entered the market this year. Technically, we are already radically altering ourselves over the past few decades.

Biologically, they may deserve a new scientific name (no longer homo sapiens), but they would still be considered human, and refer to themselves as humans in everyday conversations, while the rest of us may be the ones who get a new label in the variation of "old" humans.

Unless it doesn't happen that way, of course.

Actually, it was labor being too expensive that created the incentive for machines and automation and AI to be created in the first place. To compete with machines, labor doesn't need to augment themselves. They just need to lower their price.

Horse-drawn wagons and chariots created the need for roads, but they aren't on the roads now.

This is one of the great misconceptions many first worlders have. People only think about the cost, as opposed to getting value for their buck. For example, what good is going to a more expensive school when it lands you the same job as somebody with a degree from a less known but cheaper school, or no degree at all?

OTOH, if it's not that way, then your argument wouldn't hold.

To compete with machines, labor doesn't need to augment themselves. They just need to lower their price.

Many if not most people choose to work more than 40 hours of work a week. They could choose to work less and earn less. Just because someone could choose to be unaugmented, doesn't mean they will choose to do so due to the compromises involved.

Comment: Re:Idea (Score 1) 239

by khallow (#48474123) Attached to: Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

So far the US bombed every remotely important country wanting to sell oil for Euros back into the stone age. Last time Ahmedingbats pondered aloud that he plans to have the Iran do so caused him to be pushed into the Axle of Evil.

Correlation doesn't imply causation. And it's worth noting that Iran hasn't experienced any serious consequences from the US for its alleged Euro-based oil trading since it doesn't sell its oil to the US.

Comment: Re:Ebola's not going away (Score 1) 239

by khallow (#48472245) Attached to: Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

They don't realize that the worst is yet to come once it really breaks out of the 3 African countries where is is pretty much out of control.

The thing is, it is under control in Guinea with new cases declining. Liberia and Sierra Leone seems to be the true make or break cases, but with some success in the past few weeks. It's still exponential growth, but doubling time has lengthened considerably. Even if they fail to contain Ebola in the end, this buys us some time.

Comment: Re:Idea (Score 0) 239

by khallow (#48472177) Attached to: Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

The political-military industrial complex has forced the oil producing countries to only accept U.S. dollars for their oil. Every other country that needs oil must sell products to the U.S. for U.S. dollars in order to buy oil.

No, they can buy oil in other currencies like Euros. The problem is that there aren't many reliable currencies out there. Despite the inflation of currencies like the dollar or Euro, those still are the best choice for long term contracts.

The trouble with opportunity is that it always comes disguised as hard work. -- Herbert V. Prochnow

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