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Comment Re:It is a waste of human effort (Score 1) 351

Aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I could go on. No, see the highest form of advertising is where the advertiser can create a previously non existing desire for a product. Advertising and marketing should not be conflated as they are, in fact, different things. Marketing is cool, marketing is great, marketing is about getting your product out there, and awareness, and it's hard. Advertising can be a part of that, but advertising can be a whole lot more.

Take the fashion industry as an example. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of fashion; I have my favourite designers and a strong appreciation for the industry. But tell me, how do brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton continue to extract such incredible amounts of money from each new generation of (predominately) women? The answer is through clever psychological manipulation. Step 1 is to create beautiful pictures in magazines. Now it is true that the products in question are featured in these pictures, but that is neither hear nor there. These pictures are engaging in their own right; they are aesthetically pleasing, you want to look at them simply because they are beautiful. They are art. The old kind of art, when art was made to please a purchaser rather than for the expression of the artist. But look a little closer, they are more than that. They also show an idea, an ideal perhaps, a utopian world where everything and everyone is beautiful. Who would not want to live in such a world, who would not want to be around such things? Of course, the prices are obscene, you could never possible justify the many thousands of dollars on a handbag or dress. It is a beautiful world, but you are not part of it. If you walk into a Chanel store the assistant will look you up and down and judge, not overtly perhaps, but with a simple understanding. She is of that world and you are of this. Your world is something else, something less, something less beautiful at any rate. Still, you wish you could be part of that world, perhaps a little. But lo! You spy in these magazines, these beautiful magazines, that Chanel sells perfume and make-up, and these are not out of reach. Quite accessible really, much more affordable than the handbags on which you would never spend that kind of money. So you spray the perfume, and it is lovely, and you wear the make up and others ask you what it is, and you reply "oh it's Chanel" and they ooh and ahh. And now you are part of it, in just a small way, part of that world, and you think, "Maybe I could afford a handbag, if I save up for a year or so, and they are so very beautiful" And other things have been changing too, you have learned from these magazines and have been putting more effort into your appearance, your clothes, it might not be designer, but you have the eye now, you have that understanding.

When you walk into that store to buy your first Chanel handbag a year from now, the girl does not treat you as an outsider, she sees, she knows. You see, she went through this all herself a long time before.

Comment Re:Except people's intrinsic motivations still rul (Score 2) 503

Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, looking for a non-negative upvoted post... No one believes the world will, or even can, get better. Not even with magic technology. For the record, neither do I, not really, not deep down. I want to believe. I have kids, I want to think that their lives could be better than mine, that pain and suffering and poverty and wasted purposeless lives can become extremely rare. But I don't, you don't, why is that? Something is wrong with us, something deep, thick and sickly. The vessels, are impossibly intertwined, pulsating, growing. Growing faster than the good, and slowly but surely, strangling, crushing, sucking. Life. Hope. Future.

We will fail. I think we all know that we will fail. Not for any external reason, but because the cancer is within.

Comment Re:Why does Jobs always steal the limelight? (Score 1) 266

There were plenty of other engineers who were capable of single-handedly putting together a microprocessor based computer board at the time.

Although this is completely true, Woz is special because he had a.. sorry there is no word for it but genius mind for reducing the number of components required to perform a particular function. So Woz was a a very lucky find as he could make a cheap computer. Cheaper than anyone else could for the same functionality. He could do the same thing with code (though there are other examples), but I think the combination was a large contributor to their early success. Sometimes one smart guy really does make a difference.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 407

Your argument was effectively "it must do something bad! It's a stim! They make your heart asplode!", so I shot the specific. You've reduced it to, "Well it must hurt SOMEHOW," which is the same fallacy as the trade-off concept.

No, my argument was that anything that increases your blood pressure and/or your heart rate is bad. I made the mistake in assuming that this specific drug also did this, and I'm happy to accept being wrong on this point. The rest of my argument is that you can't claim something is safe over the long term (lifetime) without actually studying it over a lifetime. You may have convinced yourself that the risks are minimal, but without even clinical trials, I find it hard to be so confident.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 407

It's good thing if Phenotropil doesn't affect your heart rate or blood pressure (but my comment on no-safe level of the typical ADHD drugs still stands). At the same time, you don't know what other health effects long-term usage may cause. I can't find any studies of the sort you would find for a drug that has gone through clinical trials. If this was going to fix something that was wrong, I'd view the risk as pretty moderate, but to take it to "be smarter" looks pretty dumb.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 407

Phenotropil is the only safe stimulant I've found

Define safe. How do you know that it is safe? Have there been long term studies following users over their life span? The answer is that they haven't, so you can't know that it is safe. There may be no obvious harmful short term affects; but this is not the same as safe. Cigarettes are quite safe for a very short term view.

All stimulants; including Methylphenedate and Dex at normal prescribed doses cause an increase in blood pressure and resting heart rate. Long term the research is showing us that this increases your risks for dementia and heart disease. Don't kid yourself, there is no safe stimulant.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 2) 407

There are in fact controlled studies showing that these stimulants enhance learning, remembered detail and a host of other things that are useful in both the academic and work setting. BUT. They are stimulants, there are side affects that will have a negative affect on your long term health. For people with ADD etc, it's probably worth it to have a normal life, but for a normal person you are greatly increasing your risk of heart disease and dementia (due mostly it would appear to the impact on your resting heart-rate and blood pressure). These risks are the same if your ADHD, but most medicine is a trade off. Here we are trading quality of life in the late stage (and length of life) for quality of life through the early to late stages. It'd be awesome if we could create drugs or other mechanisms to resolve these issues, without the negative health affects, but I've yet to see them. Anti-depressants are worse.

There is a reason why your doctor will try to get you to eat healthy and exercise, rather than go down the drug route. Sometimes you can achieve just the same benefits, and it won't be killing you

Comment Re:which one? (Score 1) 167

The Russian experiment was extremely interesting for a number of reasons (the way floppy ears and lower brain capacity came with selecting against aggression for example. There is evidence to suggest that humans have self-domesticated over the years leaving us friendlier, cuter, and a bit dimmer than our distant ancestors; but I digress), but it's hard to see how it has much to do with the original domestication of the dog (you need cages and scientists and 50 years of a completely useless animal before you end up with a lovely pet). The dog was the first domesticated animal, and in a lot of ways it seems a very odd choice to domesticate (it's an unlikely choice for the first dinner menu item). And you can't start with a dog when you don't have a dog, you start with a wolf. Even the most friendly of wolves is still a wolf. Even a wolf puppy is still going to turn into a wolf. It takes several generations of selective breeding to get something that's not going to have that level of aggression that stops every wannabe tough guy having his own pet wolf today. Add to this that there is evidence to suggest that humans and wolves (or early dogs), were hanging out together while humans were still hunter gatherers and the situation becomes even more intriguing. Did humans and wolves cooperate in some way? How could hunter gathers kept early dogs that were much more wolf than dog? Why did they do it? There is so much here of interest and it's great that all the disagreeing researchers are now working together (more or less), to really gather the information that will hopefully shed more light on this fascinating piece of our history.

Comment Re:There is art in engineering (Score 5, Insightful) 232

Yes, but his brilliance was in minimising the number of components required to perform a certain function. His "art" was in solving two pragmatic problems. a) Correct function of device and b) minimising the costs (components). The constraints (physical and budgetary) are what channeled his creativity.

Comment Re:More... (Score 5, Interesting) 232

Personally I think that one of the problems with software development is that we don't treat it like engineering enough. Not engineering in the sense of building a bridge, but engineering in the sense of design (designing a circuit for example). Engineering is inherently a pragmatic discipline where creativity is constrained by various physical, budgetary, and time constraints. Because software has less of the physical constraints, I think that the "art" side can get a little carried away at times. But the main issue is lack of discipline; and that is more of an artefact of the culture that can be associated with software development, rather than anything inherent in the work itself. I'm biased (with an engineering background), but I think that many software companies could benefit from the attitude that comes with engineering.

Comment Re:No one ever got fired for buying IBM (Score 2) 232

Mature technologies are proven.

Yes, but somebody had to do the proving. As that great fount of wisdom, John Wooden, once said; when we are young we tend to see all change as progress, but as we mature, we can forget that there is no progress without change. It's not easy to know when you should take on a new technology, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take on a new technology.

Comment Re:Stupid Question (Score 1) 162

I didn't ask can we get to the speed of light, I asked "does space travel become possible?" We would just need to go at some % speed of light. I thought this was impossible at the moment due to accelerating == throwing stuff over the side, and I had assumed even with EmDrive physics defying abilities it would still take "too bloody long". But perhaps not is the point.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.