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Comment Dishonest Legislation (Score 1) 446 446

You do realize, right, that every GMO is required to undergo years of testing?

True but the testing they undergo is less rigorous than drugs and yet every so often a new drug has to be recalled because of either rare side effects or long term effects that were not known at the time of release. That is not a reason to ban GMO since, as with drugs, the benefits can outweigh the risks. However we would never dream of giving someone a new drug without telling them what they were taking so why should it be ok to let people eat GMO without telling them?

If GMO labelling were mandatory then companies would be forced to pass the benefits onto consumers: if GMO strawberries are cheaper to grow then they should be cheaper in the shops. This combined with an education campaign would mean that people would see and understand the benefits of GMO and so be more supportive of it. By hiding it the corporations can pocket the savings instead of us and they don't have to bother educating anyone which perpetuates the resistance to the technology.

Comment Wait for Confirmation (Score 0) 95 95

This is not the first time that someone has claimed to observe pentaquarks. I'd suggest holding off the welcome until this result is confirmed by several other experiments. Last time there was a confusing mixture of confirmations and non-confirmations until the consensus emerged that there was no evidence to support the existence of pentaquarks.

Comment Re:Faster != more time (Score 1) 654 654

Why would you rather do the email, read journals, etc on a BUS rather than do those things in the comfort of your home, or even you desk at your office?

Sorry I thought I made that clear: because it wastes less time. Bus/LRT I waste ~5-10 minutes each way, driving I waste ~25-30 minutes each way. So I get more done and have more free time. It might be nicer to do email etc. in the office/home but then I have to spend an extra hour each day doing it so less free time. I suppose it helps that I have a job where there are no real fixed hours and I just have to get things done. If I just had to be in an office from 9-5 then it would be less of an advantage.

Comment Fuel Cost not Jealousy (Score 2) 238 238

one of they key reasons Concorde failed is American jealousy

Simply not true (and I say that as a Brit). Concorde was planned before the OPEC cartel massively raised the cost of oil. The huge increase in the cost of fuel made it uneconomic because it was very inefficient. In addition there was the issue of noise pollution due to the sonic boom. Modern technology has made supersonic flight far more fuel efficient. While I am not in a position to know whether it is efficient enough to be economically viable I would not just dismiss it out of hand.

Comment Faster != more time (Score 1) 654 654

We don't drive cars only because they are cheaper than public transit, but faster too.

Actually one of the reasons I like to take the bus is that I can then use the time to do something useful because I am not driving. If I drive it would take ~25 minutes but I can do nothing but drive for those 25 minutes. By bus it is ~45 minutes but for ~40 of those minutes I can sit down and answer email, read journal papers, write course material etc. So while the bus may take longer I waste only ~5-10 minutes vs. 25 minutes when driving because I can do nothing but drive. For me the thing that will kill public transport is the self-driving car.

Comment Six of one, half dozen of other (Score 4, Insightful) 1307 1307

It's the person who believes the lie, or knows that's it's a lie and uses it for profit that creates the problem.

Greece lied to get into the Euro because it thought it was going to be richer with a stronger currency. The EU turned a blind eye to it because they wanted the Eurozone to be as large as possible. Both are now going to suffer because of it. The Eurozone countries are not going to get their money back and Greece is almost certain to exit the Euro and very possibly the EU since there is currently no legal means to drop the Euro while an EU member. At this point the best thing to do is make this happen as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Comment Usage Pattern (Score 1) 688 688 until there's a lot of used electric cars available...

I think this is the key point. The characteristics of electric vehicles make them ideal for "secondary" cars - the one you use to run about town in for commuting, errands etc. We spend more on our primary vehicle because that's the one which has to be reliable enough to go long distances when we go on trips. However EVs are a terrible fit for this usage since they have limited range, limited recharge stations and slow recharging.

The budget we have for our secondary car is far less and we will typically buy second hand because reliability is less of an issue if you are only going short distances. While this would be a good fit for an EV there is little to no second hand market in these and, even if there were, the battery packs from several years ago had far shorter lives which is a concern for a used car.

Comment Capital Controls (Score 1) 359 359

Using Bitcoin to trade doesn't make any more sense than using Google or Apple stocks to trade

Actually it might make sense. The problem is that there are government capital controls on all the standard financial channels to get money out of the Greek banks. While BitCoin is terrible as a store of value it excels at being easy to transfer whether or not a government says that you can. If there is some mechanism to get your Greek bank balance converted into BitCoins then you can transfer these to a foreign exchange and convert them back to another currency - or even back into Euros but outside Greece.

Comment Just remember who decides... (Score 1) 92 92

I think you maybe mean "Too much personal data to fail"... which is an incredibly disturbing thought.

Not really - remember that it is your government who decides which companies are too important to fail. So just make sure that you use websites that your politicians use and you should be fine!

Comment Only one problem? (Score 1) 242 242

Hold the members of government in contempt and jail them for failing to follow a court order?

...and then the government will pass laws making such rulings illegal and limiting the powers of the courts. Then you end up with messy infighting between the courts and government which introduces considerable doubt into who has the authority to do what which will undermine both of them.

Comment Government by the Courts (Score 1) 242 242

The Dutch government made promises and then tried to back out of them.

Much as I disapprove of politicians saying one thing and then doing another there are times when it is necessary e.g. if the situation changes or politicians learn the true cost/implication of the promised action. This is why, in a democracy, the people get to decide. If the government can make a good case to the people as to why it cannot fulfill its promise then they can vote it in again, if not they can give someone else a chance.

Given the number of, sometimes contradictory, promises which politicians make any system where a court can force the government to fulfill a particular promise risks ending up as being government by the courts. This is bad because then you have government by whoever can afford the most lawyers.

Comment Re:Icons on Titles (Score 1) 127 127

Chrome (latest up-to-date version 43.0.X) on a Mac OS X 10.10.3. However it also occurs on Firefox 38.0.5 too (also on Mac). One issue may be your font size. If the icons are not obscuring the end of the title then try making your window narrower and notice how the icons slide gently over the top of the title text to obscure it!

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten