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Comment: Islam wasn't always violent (Score 1) 1026

At one point in history, the Middle East was the world capital of enlightenment and progress. Back then, it was Christianity which was stained in blood in feudal medieval Europe.

So Islam isn't *necessarily* violent, it's just that any religion can go off the rails if it gets into the hands of radical fundamentalists and fanatics.

I also wonder if it has to do with the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the very few at the top, which is common in the Middle East nowadays. It's easy to see how that would radicalize everyone else.

Makes me wonder what will happen if wealth concentration proceeds unchecked in certain Western nations.


Comment: Very tricky issue indeed. (Score 2) 373

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49575825) Attached to: Who Owns Pre-Embryos?

The woman may have her reproductive capability destroyed and so may only have this option to reproduce. However, the guy may not want to be a daddy with this woman.

Personally, I'd try to make some sort of deal to settle the issue, like if she raises any of these embryos over his objection, he bears no responsibility, ever, for the progeny. But if you RTFA, that's already the case, and he still objects to being a father to kids he won't be involved with.

It seems (from TFA) that every state is coming up with its own solution, like following the contract, or "balance of interests".

And what happens if some couple no longer has means to pay for embryo storage, but they assert a right to force the embryo-maintainer to keep their embryo's anyway? Just how much is reproduction a right?


Comment: How about compulsory military service? (Score 1) 615

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) 615


    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) 615

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) 341

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) 341

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) 341

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) 678

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.


Dynamically binding, you realize the magic. Statically binding, you see only the hierarchy.