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Comment: How about compulsory military service? (Score 1) 607

Males in USA have to register for the draft. They can be made to fight and die to defend this country whether they want to or not, often at great risk of life and limb.

Yet I'm supposed to get upset because, to defend this country against disease, people have to get very low risk shots? What's your position on military service?


Comment: Not sure about cause of whooping cough epidemics (Score 2) 607


    While I'm in favor of compulsory vaccination for everyone except medical exceptions, I'm not so sure we can lay whooping cough epidemics at the door of the anti-vaxxers. It seems that the vaccine is not completely effective against currently circulating strains of whooping cough.

    I'm in favor of research dollars being dedicated forthwith to improve the vaccine. I have a friend whose child, too young to be vaccinated, was killed by whooping cough.


Comment: Military service (Score 2) 607

If I, and other males, can be made to go fight and die at high risk, against my wishes, why can't EVERYONE be made to take a low risk shot?

The benefit of the shots to society is arguably FAR higher and the risk FAR lower than military service.

And by the way, I'm in favor of compulsory military service, for myself and everyone else. Just as I'm in favor of compulsory vaccination, for myself and everyone else (medical exceptions allowed for both.)


Comment: The wetware should become hardware (Score 1) 182

Being stuck on any planet is a bad idea. Down at the bottom of a gravity well. We need to engineer ourselves to better tolerate space conditions and live in orbital habitats. And by the time we're engineered in such a way, we'd probably be better described as "hardware".

I mean, tolerance of cold temperatures, high radiation, vacuum, lack of oxygen, gravity, liquid water.... Everything you'd need to be at home in space. And then you're hardware. And interchangeable parts would be cool. If your eye offends you, you pluck it out. (And put in a new one.)


Comment: Re:You think 7 vaccines is a lot? (Score 1) 339

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49524853) Attached to: Study Confirms No Link Between MMR Vaccine and Autism

Yes, and that helps keep babies alive. However, that doesn't change the fact that the baby is now being assaulted/presented with all the microbes outside the womb and must develop immunity to those thousands of microbes that s/he never saw before.

This is in comparison to the 7 or so that are in shots.


Comment: Fatality rate of measles can be high (Score 2) 339

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49524007) Attached to: Study Confirms No Link Between MMR Vaccine and Autism

In the US, with proper care and diet, measles is about .5% fatal or less to someone who was not vaccinated. Even if you don't die you've got a significant (~1%) chance of having some sort of brain damage (I'm including deafness/blindness in "brain damage".)

If you have a vitamin A deficiency, though, measles can be up to 25% (or so) fatal.

Measles isn't a joke and like polio, we should eradicate it if we can.


Comment: You think 7 vaccines is a lot? (Score 5, Informative) 339

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49523933) Attached to: Study Confirms No Link Between MMR Vaccine and Autism

Think of it this way. You're living in your mom's womb, then you get born. Your mom's womb is pretty darn sterile. Suddenly, you're born and you're literally being assaulted by every germ around you, with probably thousands of them being encountered by your immune system every day.

How are a *few* shots (7 may seem like a lot to you) going to compare against thousands of things all hitting the naive immune system of an infant all at once, starting from birth, every day?

Or is it the fact that the particular antigen is injected into a muscle supposed to make it more scary?

It just seems to me that the amount of antigens presented to someone during a shot is just completely dwarfed by the natural exposure. It's just that the select few antigens in the shots just happen to be particularly helpful in helping you resist *actual serious disease*.

Also, I can't find your "varicella vaccine mortality rate of 1 in 30,000" information on the CDC website, Please provide source. What I found was this: "Other serious problems, including severe brain
reactions and low blood count, have been reported after
chickenpox vaccination. These happen so rarely experts
cannot tell whether they are caused by the vaccine or
not. If they are, it is extremely rare." I think we would hear about it if thousands of people died from the chickenpox vaccine.

Furthermore, they also say that only the FIRST dose has such an extreme reaction. So the "much higher than 1/30,000" claim you make is extremely dubious.



Comment: Desalination plants cost a lot to operate (Score 4, Insightful) 672

And $30B will get you 30 desal plants like Carlsbad's, which cost $1B, and which will provide 7% of what San Diego area residents need.

But the $30B won't get you the power it takes to run them (new power plants?) Or the energy required to power the power plants.

Also, CA's agriculture depends upon cheap water, not expensive desalinated water.

That said, would a $30B pipeline bring in the same amount of water as desal plants? Or more? Operating expenses are sure to be lower, but there'd need to be a detailed economic and engineering case made for one solution over the other.


Comment: Persistence is not omnipotent. (Score 4, Insightful) 385

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49500487) Attached to: Can High Intelligence Be a Burden Rather Than a Boon?

I can bang my head against a brick wall all I want, but all I will ever get out of it is a broken head.

The trick is to pick a battle you can win, and then buckle down and win it.

I've climbed high in my own life, but that is because my goals were achievable and I had the tools (both born with and the opportunities I needed) to succeed.

There are many who work hard in life but don't get much of anywhere.

That said, working hard is the only way to MAXIMIZE your opportunities and inborn potential. Praise your kids for their hard work, not their brains.


Comment: Scientific American begs to differ (Score 4, Insightful) 385

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49500299) Attached to: Can High Intelligence Be a Burden Rather Than a Boon?

Some ten or fifteen years ago, Scientific American published an article about the positive correlation of "general intelligence" with virtually every measure of success in life.

Like earning enough money to be comfortable, having the emotional intelligence to have a successful marriage, etc.

They showed that "general intelligence" which is correlated with but not directly measured by things like SAT scores, was basically a ticket to (or highly correlated with) a good life, and even good health.

And the article was mighty persuasive.


Comment: I'm for nuclear power if it is economical (Score 2) 417

I think nuclear power CAN be safe, and CAN be a net environmental benefit (meaning it causes far less environmental damage than equivalent gas or coal operations), however, I'm not sure that it can be those two things AND be economical at the same time.

It's hard for a fission plant to pay for the interest on the capital used to build it selling electricity at rates competitive with alternatives. The way fusion is looking, if it EVER works, it might be in the same boat as fission, economically, except worse.

If a really good battery comes along that makes storing solar/wind energy cheap enough, the economic case for fission/fusion power will be completely wiped out.


Comment: Re:Pffff... Magnitude 7? (Score 1) 63

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49414163) Attached to: Fault System Enables Larger Quakes In California

I'm not sure you're correct about the cost, can you cite a source?
Flexibility is often more important to withstanding a quake than strength.


I recall an example, using different nails for construction in the South vastly increases a house's resistance to tornados and hurricanes.

These can increase the wind resistance of a house 2x over standard nails, and don't cost all that much more.


Comment: Re:Bloated administration (Score 1) 121

A research university like Stanford has dual goals, educate the students and perform world-class research. What is the 405% professional/non-teaching staff for? Are they doing research? Are they doing it on grants that the professors/staff have won?

If so, then it's not fair to hold that against Stanford--the staff they have hired is to do research not teach students, and they are not using tuition to fund this staff.

I've seen cases like this at other universities: non-teaching "Research professors" are hired to help do grant research, and have no role in teaching.

I don't know what the situation at Stanford is, but just on the face of it I am not sure that firing the staff and administrators will help the educational mission--those people may be executing grant work on grant resources.


Comment: No encryption == full employment for police (Score 1) 161

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49369285) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption

Because without good encryption, commerce will be WIDE OPEN to fraud as criminals acquire information required to steal money from people, like bank account numbers, passwords, locations of money, etc.

If we can't use encryption to protect our information from criminals itching to use it for fraud, then fraud will explode and we'll need LOTS of cops to track down all the criminals.

We should tell them to take a hike, because:
1) Cops will never catch fraud before it happens
2) Cops will never recover all the money stolen
3) Trust in banking will falter
4) Trust in using the internet for commerce will falter

Also, "key escrow" won't work.
I'm sorry, but if the US Government couldn't keep the HYDROGEN BOMB secret, how am I to trust ANY government to keep secrets WORTH TRILLIONS? (I.e., their escrowed keys secret from the criminal element?)


Nothing succeeds like excess. -- Oscar Wilde