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Comment: The draft (Score 1) 1051

If I can be forced into military service and be made to go fight and die, why can't I be forced, for the greater good, to get a jab in the arm that protects me (and everyone else) from getting some REALLY nasty diseases?

Or would you argue that compulsory military service is unconscionable too?


Comment: Cough medicine in general doesn't really work (Score 1) 1051

Hate to tell you, but most OTC cough medicines don't really work very well at all, according to some studies that have come out recently.


There *is* a study that says that dark chocolate, of all things, is pretty good at suppressing coughs.


I welcome it if you cite sources to refute the credibility of either of the links I gave. At least you're thinking about the subject then. Myself, I'm actually not sure that cough medicines DON'T work and I'm not sure that chocolate does. But I sure like chocolate.


Comment: The Government can force you to FIGHT and DIE (Score 2) 1051

In military service. I figure if I can be drafted, and be made to fight and quite possibly die to protect this country, I can be forced to get stuck with a needle to protect this country too!

Military service is FAR more invasive and dangerous, by many orders of magnitude, than a vaccination.

By that standard, forcing EVERYONE in this country to GET VACCINATED for the COMMON GOOD is about the most resounding slam dunk I've ever considered.


Comment: Arsenic is NOT added to the water supply! EVER (Score 3, Interesting) 1051

And certainly not to kill rats! Any level of arsenic in the water supply that would kill rats would kill every PERSON who drinks it in short order!

In fact, the standard for "potable" water, at least in the USA, says that effort should be made to drive the concentration of arsenic in tap water to ZERO.


Comment: How do you not fry people's eyes? (Score 1) 194

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48536681) Attached to: Trains May Soon Come Equipped With Debris-Zapping Lasers

Laser laboratories take rather elaborate precautions to avoid having a laser beam go into someone's eye. If there's much power in the laser, having it hit someone's eye is VERY bad--blindness can result. (And post signs that say 'do not look into laser with remaining eye'.)

Do we really want high power laser beams possibly bouncing off shiny rails going who knows where, where some poor bastard might be looking the wrong way?

I mean, even if these lasers aren't in the visible range, I still don't want a beam in my eye.

Comment: CDC needs more funding than the DoD (Score 4, Insightful) 163

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48529977) Attached to: New Virus Means Deadlier Flu Season Is Possible


    I think the CDC has a LOT more grounds to ring the "danger bell" than the people supporting Department of Defense spending. How many US people did terrorists kill in the last 10 years? Probably flu deaths are in the 100,000's? We also lose about 30k people/year to antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, however, do we even have $10B/year going into new antibiotic research?

    By *that* measure, which is pretty rational, the CDC and NIH ought to be funded at a higher level than the DoD.

    I mean, does USA *really* need to be spending more next 10 nations combined on its national defense, as opposed to spending more to control diseases which could quite conceivably mutate and become major killers, or combat already existing credible threats like ebola? How about spending more to assure the food supply is continuous? There are diseases wiping out food crops like bananas, citrus, chocolate, coffee, and there are credible disease threats against wheat. Yet USA is spending a pittiance to combat *that* risk, which, rationally, is a bigger risk than the risks mitigated by USA's DoD spending.


Comment: Technological progress is NOT linear (Score 1) 455

People drive technology and the number of people has been going up exponentially, so techincal prograss is NOT linear.

And the whole point of "singularity" is that once we create an intelligence smarter than us, it will (in theory) in turn create an intelligence smarter and faster than it, and so on. That's not linear progress.


Comment: Representation by lottery (Score 1) 204

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48381045) Attached to: Your Incompetent Boss Is Making You Unhappy

>I am pretty sure this is how we will (if ever) get a good government, too. The government has to be "us" not "them" yet almost none of us are willing to let it be "me."

How about representation by lottery? Every eligible adult (I guess I mean everyone except those currently serving a prison sentence) is entered into a lottery. The winners go serve in state or federal legislatures as representatives.

They are beholden to NO ONE to get "elected", so don't show up corrupted. And they're far more representative a sample of the population. You'd get homeless people, teachers, blue collar workers, not just the rich privileged bastards we have now. Decriminalizing marijuana would already be accomplished nationwide under this scheme.

My one fear is that the state/federal bureaucracy would end up all-powerful, because the legislators would be unskilled enough to push back vs. the bureaucracy.


Comment: How about rotating the boss hat? (Score 4, Interesting) 204

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48378911) Attached to: Your Incompetent Boss Is Making You Unhappy

Have a culture of rotating people in and out of management to "lower" positions. Like department heads at universities, the job lasts a year or two then you're back as a normal faculty.

I rotated in and out of a money management job, now I'm back doing technical stuff. As a result I have a very good understanding of that end of the business as well as the techical end.


Comment: How do you get good people to step up? (Score 4, Insightful) 204

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48378735) Attached to: Your Incompetent Boss Is Making You Unhappy

Many people don't want to manage other people. It's a tough job, often thankless, and in the words of a co-worker who quit being a boss and went back to technical work, it's like managing a bunch of four-year-olds who can't get along.

If you want good bosses, step up to the plate and make the sacrifice and do the job. Also, be a good employee, good employees can attract good bosses.

Also, in a random digression, I don't think a good technical boss necessarily HAS to be good technically. S/he just has to be able to listen effectively to the people who ARE good technically--which is something s/he should be doing even if s/he IS good technically. A boss who doesn't listen is in my opinion worse than a boss who is ignorant, knows it, and respects the experts s/he supervises.


Comment: That Scientific American figure doesn't help (Score 3, Insightful) 216

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48302567) Attached to: Scotland Builds Power Farms of the Future Under the Sea

You point to that figure and say that solar panels are terrible for the environment. Yes, apparently solar panels need more silver (and other metals) than other generation techniques, however, that doesn't mean that an ABSOLUTELY LARGE amount of silver is going to have to be provided.

Most power generation techniques don't need silver barely at all, so "relative to the current mix",yes, solar is going to need lots. That DOES NOT necessarily mean that supplying that amount of silver is going to cause widespread environmental degradation in the same way that coal DOES.

Also, solar power, once in place, doesn't require megatonnes of fuel like coal, oil, and gas do. (In that order, I guess.)

That figure doesn't DIRECTLY give insight into what energy mix is best for the environment, you can't have any hope of that unless you also compare fuel inputs per kwh generated as well, and other factors.

Comment: Re:The middle/low classes have taken real harm (Score 1) 551

by PeterM from Berkeley (#48301405) Attached to: In this year's US mid-term elections ...

Cool! You got my point! Not only the middle class and lower class would have more disposable income and less trouble affording things, the extra economic activity would enrich the 1% too.

And yes, absolutely the middle class and lower classes would spend more money if they had it. That's part of the argument. GIving money to the rich dosen't generate demand in the economy very much.

And all by letting the middle class/lower class have a greater share of corporate productivity.

In fact, I would argue that the 1% hogging all the wealth to the top has a similar damaging effect to the economy as deflation. We should combat it just as vigorously.



Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly