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Comment: Re:Looks like the prophet's gunmen (Score 1) 623

by ultranova (#49611899) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

Well, when all you have to convince people that they should work for you is promises of eternal bliss after death without any kind of proof, you can't really expect nobel prize material to flock to you...

But that's not all fanatics have. It's just local flavoring. What their message is is the same as always before: "All your problems are caused by group X. Join me and take your revenge!"

Such memetic viruses don't strike at stupidity but at lack of self-awareness and -control - in other words, immaturity - and consequently, being smart - even Nobel-smart - doesn't help protect against them. In fact, should the infection take hold, all that intelligence will simply be used to construct elaborate rationalizations of the fanaticism's guise which make it even more virulent.

Fanaticism is a memetic disease. If you have lots of angry young people, you get outbreaks, just like with flu. And sooner or later one of these outbreaks mutates into a form that can cause an epidemic, or perhaps even a pandemic. In the 30's, we got fascism which eventually mutated into nazism; in the middle of the century we got small outbreaks of red terrorism, but thankfully general prosperity made the population too resistant for transmission to continue except in much-diluted form; and right now we're seeing an epidemic which is parasiting on Islam. Islam itself isn't the problem, it simply provides a new outer form - like robes for a ringwraith - for the same force that was behind Hitler and has now returned for round n+1. But the heart of this darkness is the same as it has always been.

The question is: what to do about all this? Is this some kind of inevitable function of human biology or merely an artifact from our cultural past? Would it be possible to rid the world of suhc maladjusted memes once and for all, or perhaps develop memes that work as antidotes - for example, surely knowing all this helps notice when someone's trying to pull the trick on you? As noted above, greater general prosperity would help a lot, but is not foolproof, is already being worked on, and perhaps most importantly, current iteration of the fanaticism pandemic seems to be evolving to get around it - bin Laden came from a very privileged background, and many people who have lived their entire lives in the West have gone to join Isis.

Comment: Re:Not Actually $3500 (Score 1) 228

by Rei (#49611385) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

Again, you're thinking about it totally wrong. It's about stopping the power from going out when you use both the microwave and an electric kettle at the same time, not about wanting to have 2,5kW of power consumption going 24/7.

We don't know what they're calling "peak" vs. "sustained", but even if their "peak" covers the sort of "microwave and kettle" use case, it's still way too low.

Comment: Re:Time (Score 1) 228

by Rei (#49610195) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

i simply don't belive it. the same argument was used to justify subsidies for electric cars, yet they still don't make economic sense and are more of a novelty or rich person's toy.

Really? So the Model S costs the same as a Roadster?

Sorry if we can't please you with prices instantly dropping to 10% of their former value. I find it unfortunate that you have to be inconvenienced by the fact that these things don't instantly jump forth by orders of magnitude. But if you can't see the continual line of improvements in electric cars from the start of the California ZEV days up to the present day, then I can't help you there.

Comment: Re:Not Actually $3500 (Score 1) 228

by Rei (#49610167) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

Of course we're not talking about what the houses uses all the time. We're talking about the spikes that make up part of everyone's everyday lives. Using the stove. Using the microwave. Using an electric kettle. Using a hair drier. Using an electric washer or drier. Running the toaster. And on and on. These things all can use 1 1/2 kW on up just on their own. Anything that needs to make heat is going to gobble down the power.

2 kW sustained max is just way too low.

Comment: Re:Not Actually $3500 (Score 2) 228

by Rei (#49610147) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

Burning natural gas, aka heat, is not a "higher grade" energy than electricity, it's a lower grade energy. Electricity can be converted losslessly into heat. Turning heat into electricity loses a large chunk of it.

I agree though that 2kW sustained / 3kW peak is too low for most people - even if they don't use an electric stove. Yes, one can arrange to not use multiple high consumption devices at the same time, but the goal needs to be to not make people's lives more complicated. It's so easy to forget what you have going, too... I always forget that I can't run my microwave and my electric kettle at the same time because they're both on the same circuit and combined it's too much power consumption.

Comment: Re:Remeber (Score 1) 109

Of course, he was writing to kings, most of whom had an interest in keeping their country runnning for mutiple generations.

Except they didn't. Kings of old didn't give a shit about what happened to their countries after they died. Why would they had? They were divinely appointed to their office, so whatever happened as a result of said appointment wasn't really their problem. Peasant's starving because the king sold all of nation's wheat to fund a war waged for his ego? God's will.

And of course this is still the case with the modern aristocrats. Shut down the only factory in a city and kicked all the workers to the roadside? No problem, the Invisible Hand will sort the worthy from the undeserving. A homeless guy asks for money? Hell no, he's suffering penance for his sins - if he had some marketable skills or connections he'd be sleeping in a mansion. Roads crumbling from lack of repair? Invisible Hand must be getting ready to release a flying car. The planet getting warmer? No worries, the Invisible Hand will surely save such devoted servants! And figure out some way to kick that homeless man some more in the process for being economically worthless.

There comes a point of no return, when the damage already inflicted makes it impossible to rise funds to stop more from occurring. The question is, can this pathological secularized religion be removed from power before the damn cult dooms the entire country, and possibly whole West?

Comment: Re: GIGO (Score 2) 75

by Rei (#49608161) Attached to: Microsoft's AI Judges Age From Snapshots, With Mixed Results

I agree. Duh, the program is obviously not perfect and screws up sometimes. But I'm amazed by how good it actually is. Even being able to just ballpark it some of the time would be impressive, but the fact that it gets pretty reasonably close most of the time, I find that incredibly impressive.

Someone on my Facebook feed was complaining about how in a washed-out picture of three children the picture guessed only two of them right, but saw one (a young boy) as an adult woman. My response was to crop out just the washed out face, take it out of context, and point out, if you saw this face, not understanding anything about the context, could you guess it? I certainly couldn't have. But that's exactly what the software has to do.

I took a number of pictures of myself in different angles, making different faces, etc, and its range on age guesses was only 3 years. My brother-in-law managed to get a 20-year difference in guesses by making faces, but I couldn't manage it, and neither could most people I know who tried. Again, computationally, it's very impressive.

Comment: Re: Transphobic assholes (Score 1) 152

by Rei (#49607621) Attached to: Statues of Assange, Snowden and Manning Go Up In Berlin

And how exactly do you know what her DNA is? There are XX men and XY women.

And seriously, of all of the stupid measures of who someone is, DNA has to take the cake. "Okay, okay, this Stephen Hawking guy seems to be smart, but that doesn't matter, what does his DNA say? Does his DNA say he's smart? If not then I don't care what he has to say."

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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