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Comment: Perfection is unattainable. (Score 1) 310

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49358025) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

EVERYONE has mental health issues. It is only a matter of degree.

There is no black and white line that you can draw between someone who is SAFE and UNSAFE. And someone who is SAFE is not necessarily always going to be so, and neither, necessarily, is someone who is UNSAFE now.

And the simple fact of the matter is, ANYONE who isn't locked up is trusted with other human lives, in proportion to the power they can command.

It's always going to come down to the opinion of the person himself, and hopefully competent medical professionals in the case of airplane pilots, that a person is going to be capable of responsibly handling power until his next examination.

In particular, it's perfectly possible for someone to recover from major depression and be capable of doing as good a job as anyone as a pilot.


Comment: Possibly that would be counterproductive (Score 1) 310

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49355639) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

Would you rather that depressed people seek treatment from professionals or avoid treatment like the plague for fear of the loss of their livelihood?

Personally, I'd rather that depressed people, even if they hold the lives of others in their hands, be free to seek treatment with no fear that they'll lose their livelihoods or otherwise be stigmatized. I'd draw the line at ACTUALLY SUICIDAL. A possible compromise is a TEMPORARY leave WITH PAY until they've got their issues sorted out.

Because the fact is that ANY human is potentially mentally unreliable. All it takes is one little burst blood vessel in the wrong place and the person who was very sane literally one second ago can do insane things the next second.


Comment: Sun and moon the same size (Score 3, Insightful) 57

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49335175) Attached to: Short Circuit In LHC Could Delay Restart By Weeks

You realize that the sun/moon size thing is just a temporary condition, right? The moon's been receding from Earth and will continue to do so, so in a few hundred million years it'll be noticeably smaller than the sun and we will have no more total solar eclipses.

And the dinosaurs probably got to enjoy more eclipses because the moon was closer then.

Given that, it's hard for me to read anything into the sun/moon size thing other than that it's a coincidence.


Comment: You must be a product of US education (Score 4, Informative) 213

Because you got it completely backward. Finland's education is one of the most egalitarian in the world.

Everyone gets the same educational opportunity in Finland and it is *all* state run. And in fact it is aimed very much at the working class, starting with free daycare starting at 8months. Finland's teachers are FULLY UNIONIZED.

Finland's education system is a system of LEVELLING UPWARD, and has lifted their entire nation. US education is screwed up,but it is NOT because the left got what they wanted.


Comment: This might help with the honeybees (Score 1) 413

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49312807) Attached to: How 'Virtual Water' Can Help Ease California's Drought

Something like 60% of the US's commercial honeybee hives end up going to pollinate the California almond crop.

Maybe they honeybees will do better if they're not made to take that trip, one less commute, maybe fewer colony collapses.

Too bad about California's produce. Food's going to get more expensive, especially almonds.


Comment: Reproduction is ethically very tricky (Score 1) 299

See, a real person is created and has to LIVE WITH and SUFFER FROM the changes you've inflicted upon them.

Think about it. Standard reproduction, you have no control over the result except what you can do with nutrition and environment. So your liability is also limited. However, if as a result of your DIRECTED genetic change, someone lives a life of suffering, well, your liability is enormous. You controlled it and caused it, therefore, you are responsible.

And it's a mind-blowing responsibility. If in my hands, I'd restrict myself to JUST trying to help with the very worst of genetic defects until I was VERY sure things would work out well for the modified people.


Comment: "Heritable disease" or "survival trait" (Score 1) 299

Should we really eradicate all heritable disease, or post-edit the afflicted to mitigate effects?

Like for example, the often cited benefit of being heterozygous in the sickle-cell anaemia gene. You are more resistant to malaria, a definite survival trait.

My point is that if you reduce genetic variability by always using the 'best' gene variant, your species becomes more vulnerable to extinction due to a sudden environmental change.

If you come up with a lot of gene variants as a patch for a broken one, all of them far more workable than the broken one, then gene editing could result in MORE genetic variability and a more resilient species overall, however, I doubt investment would be done to come up with multiple good solutions.


Comment: Re:Better revolution in beekeeping (Score 1) 131

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49133761) Attached to: Inventors Revolutionize Beekeeping

Frankly, I'd rather have tougher, more resistant bees.

  Monocultures aren't that great an idea, but they're unfortunately common. A big almond orchard wouldn't provide year-round food for the amount of honey bees required to pollinate it. Better to have mobile hives that can be taken where the bees can forage, and pollinate the crops.

Yes, that's tough on bees. But its less disruptive to breed better bees than to rework all the orchards to provide year-round food for stationary hives.


Comment: Better revolution in beekeeping (Score 1) 131

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49132919) Attached to: Inventors Revolutionize Beekeeping

Would be breeding a better bee. One that is more resistant to mites, insecticides, wax moths, etc., and that isn't so susceptible to CCD.

And also perhaps more efficient at pollenization. For example, the mason bee is supposedly a more efficient pollenizer than honeybees and will work in bad weather.

These guys generally won't sting either.


Comment: How about direct government support? (Score 3, Insightful) 245

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49132557) Attached to: The Peculiar Economics of Developing New Antibiotics

I don't have a billion bucks lying around to TRY to produce an antibiotic with! I doubt I could get someone to invest a billion in something that is probably more than 50% likely to fail to get $2B.

Who would go for this prize when there are actual WINNING investments to put $1B into?

The lack of new antibiotics is a perfect example of market failure. They're not particularly profitable, and if they WERE, as someone pointed out, ($1000 per pill) people would only take 5 of their 10 pills until they were feeling better and sell the last 5 on the black market.

No, the market is NOT the solution here. Direct government support of antibiotic development is what is needed. Sure, pick the best developers, but governnent funds the development, and then the PUBLIC reaps the benefit of a PUBLICLY owned antibiotic, which does NOT have to be fed to animals in order to generate enough volume to make a profit for the company that invested to develop it!


Comment: How do you get 1Tbs in 100MHz of BW? (Score 1) 71

Would someone please explain how you get 1Tbps of data through just 100MHz of bandwidth?

I just found a (not very credible) reference on the Internet that claimed that the amount of data you could transfer would be limited by your available spectrum frequency bandwidth. I.e., if you'd have the same data transfer capability if you could use 0 to 100MHz as if you could use
1GHz to 1.1GHz.

So how do you get more than 100Mbit through 100MHz of bandwidth?

Comment: Not just heat but also stress (Score 2) 279

Chips that run hotter also have more thermal gradient, which can put mechanical stress on the various delicate layers of the chip. Being able to run hotter means you can support more of a thermal gradient to ambient, and thus support more heat flow and thus more computations/sec. However, at some point you're going to cause mechanical failure of the chip, especially if the stresses cycle.

So not only termperature tolerance, but also coefficient of thermal expansion and strength of all the various materials is going to count when it comes to longevity.


Comment: Re:Unclassified vs. declassified (Score 1) 86

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49110569) Attached to: US State Department Can't Get Rid of Email Hackers

No, unclassified information is NOT necessarily public. There is a lot of stuff US government agencies don't reveal that isn't "classified" as Secret, Top Secret, Confidential or other. Like for example, Privacy Act information (government employees SSNs are one) is NOT public and is NOT classified.

Comment: Evidence based, reasoned arguments don't work (Score 4, Insightful) 681

Except on people who are willing to listen to reason and accept evidence. Like for example, take the anti-vaccine crowd.

You show them studies that say that the risk of the vaccine is really tiny and there's no correlation of receiving vaccines with autism. They whip out Jenny McCarthy and other anecdotal evidence, and postulate vast conspiracies by Big Pharma to perpetuate the fantastically profitable vaccine industry even though vaccines are unbelievably dangerous. Fact is, Big Pharma makes its money on Viagra and pills for chronic diseases, not really on vaccines.

If someone wants to believe something, your reasoned arguments and evidence based defense of your facts will never persuade them otherwise. Instead, they just end up believing even harder in what you challenged them on.


Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.