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Comment: Re: Transphobic assholes (Score 1) 120

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."

Comment: Re: Hahah (Score 1) 179

And you're telling me you and your friends never did anything stupid? When you were 15 you were as sober as a 30 year-old?

Or maybe treating kids like nothing they do has consequences,

This is what is called a false dichotomy. You don't treat kids like adults who have misbehaved; you treat kids like kids who have misbehaved. Or do you think that a 12 year-old who starts a fire playing with matches should be treated like a 40 year who starts a fire playing with matches, because in the end they did the same thing?

What I'm saying is take the age of the offender into account in how you punish them. This isn't some kind of radical new liberal idea. It's how this country operated until the end of the 20th C.

Comment: Re: Hahah (Score 1) 179

Yours apparently has some way to go. Or maybe it's too far gone.

The brain isn't one big ball of mush. It has different parts that perform different functions. You get injured in your Broca's area and you won't be able speak or write. I've seen it in stroke patients; it doesn't matter that the rest of their brains is just good as new, they don't have any expressive language. Likewise if your orbital frontal cortex is damaged or not fully developed yet, you're going to act like an ass. Doesn't matter how smart or well-meaning you are.

Teenaged brains can be misleading, because in some ways they're at their lifetime peak. But at the same time they suck at certain things. A smart fifteen year-old can explain the difference between right and wrong, between a smart and stupid action. But he can't be trusted to act in accordance to that kind of knowledge, because among other things the OFC isn't finished yet. This is why parents get fooled into thinking their wonderful children won't do dumb things. You simply cannot expect a teenager to act intelligently because he has knowledge. The knowledge helps, but it does't determine behavior in a fifteen year-old as it does in a thirty year-old.

Comment: Re:Hahah (Score 1) 179

He did the crime (actually several), he must do the time.

If he wants to play big boy games then he must accept big boy penalties. Fuck your PC "Oh but he's a kid with his whole life ahead of him!" bullshit, he's chosen his path, let him reap the consequences.

That's just a straw man argument. The actual problem with treating him as an adult is that that is contrary to fact. He is not an adult.

In the state of Georgia a fifteen year-old cannot vote; he cannot purchase liquor; cannot obtain a driver's license, cannot hold a full-time job. The rules we have for minors assume they're incapable of making adult choices. It's logically inconsistent to believe minors are not competent to make responsible decisions, but then claim we should treat them as if they can decide responsibly because they've failed to do so. When have you ever used reasoning like that for anything else? I had a housemate once who decided to become her own herbalist. She went to the herb store and bought a lot of herbal shit and promptly made herself sick. By your logic I should go to her for medical treatment because (a) I previously had reason to believe she was not competent to practice medicine and (b) her subsequent actions proved my suspicions correct.

You don't need some namby-pamby PC mumbo jumbo to know that most teenagers have a penchant for doing spectacularly stupid things, but that *most* of them grow out it. That's common sense, and the law should take that into account. And science actually backs up common sense here. Most people's brains go through a development spurt in their "executive functions" (acting according to long term plans, inhibiting impulsive actions, directing attention) when they're around fifteen. That means there's roughly a 50/50 chance someone under sixteen is neurologically incapable of not acting like a jackass.

So both science and common sense tell us that treating children as if they were adults is irrational and serves no useful purpose. That doesn't mean you do nothing when kids commit crimes. That's a false dichotomy. It means you do something different.

Comment: Re:Popular support (Score 1) 164

by Rei (#49604743) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

I don't think NASA needs to make the fictional heroes; I think every piece of sci-fi that comes out helps inspire the next generation. I guarantee you that there's tons kids and young teens who saw, say, Gravity and think that's what it is to work at NASA and have set that as their aspiration. "Astronaut" is usually in the top 10 of what kids want to be when they grow up.

More than anything else, I see the main point of having astronauts is just to inspire kids. Just knowing that there's people going up there is enough - they don't need ot be doing big stunts that cost hundreds of billions of dollars to put a footprint on a distant body; they simply need to be twirling around in zero G in LEO.

Comment: Re:Popular support (Score 2) 164

by Rei (#49604707) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

How many current astronauts can you name?
How many current astronauts can anyone here name off the top of their head?

The time of astronauts as heroes has passed. Far, far more people today do care about MESSENGER and New Horizons than they do about what astronauts are doing in space. They get more coverage in the popular press too. MESSENGER hasn't been a big public eye-catcher (except briefly when it crashed) but there was lots of attention about Rosetta, MERs, MSL, Cassini periodically (for example, the geysers of Enceladus, the Huygens landing, etc), and you better believe New Horizons is going to get a lot of coverage when it does its Pluto flyby (the public has a lot of interest in Pluto, more than in a long time due to the "demotion" controversy)

Yes, the percentage of Americans who read about these sort of things when they come up in the news (let alone follow them in depth) is probably in the 10-20% range. But so? How many specific sub-programs in the Social Security Administration or Internal Revenue Service can you name? NASA still captures the public imagination in a way that no other part of the federal government does. It doesn't take a moon landing to do that.

Comment: Re:Did a paid shill write this summary? (Score 1) 164

by Rei (#49604651) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

It's about time someone defunded this utterly ridiculous and transparent scam.

Indeed, it's about time they defund SLS/Orion!

Don't get me wrong, NASA should be in the launch systems business. In the revolutionary launch systems business. Government programs are supposed to exist to do the important thing that private industry is unwilling or unable to do - in the science field this means things like such as science without immediate commercial applications, very expensive basic research, etc. There is no shortage of private companies now competing over the launch market, and indeed even for the heavy launch market. It's no longer some sort of monopolistic scenario.

NASA needs to be working on rocketry techs that are seen as too much cost / too much of a long shot for private industry to try - that is, until someone else (such as NASA) can prove them. Metstable fuels, nuclear-steam rockets, liquid airbreathing rockets, scramjets, solar sails, magnetic sails, fission sails, advanced ion propulsion technologies, fission fragment rockets, ballistic launch, launch loops, antimatter-initiated microfission / microfusion rockets, nuclear saltwater rockets, nuclear pulse propulsion, and on and on, plus advanced non-propulsion techs for landing, transit, sustaining a base/colony, new communications technologies, advanced robotic systems, etc - with all exact schematics, production instructions, consultations with the developers to serious parties, etc made available at no charge. I'm also of the opinion that NASA should produce and make available at low cost to private space companies and researchers the sort of large-scale analysis and test facilities whose capital costs would break a startup.

Basically, they need to be filling in the gaps in advancing space technology, not trying to do everything, even those things that other parties are more than happy to do on their own with their own money.

Comment: Re:usually the complaints are for too much politic (Score 3, Informative) 164

by Rei (#49604579) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

That might be true if this was some sort of dispassionate commentary on the bill. But it's not, it's a ringing endorsement of a highly partisan bill. Surely you see the difference.

For those who are serious, here's the Planetary Society's commentary, with a link to an indepth but nonpartisan analysis at SpacePolicyOnline. The Planetary Society is very happy with the planetary science numbers, not happy with the earth science numbers, and couldn't seem to care less about the funding for SLS/Orion.

Comment: Re:stop going to reddit (Score 1) 104

by UnknownSoldier (#49604179) Attached to: Should Developers Still Pay For Game Engines?

Get off your high horse. I've been on /. for 15 years, and Reddit for 7 years. I've been helping people there for years. While reddit tends to be (more) immature, you don't know what the hell you are talking about WRT to /r/gamedev.

Instead of complaining about the community what are _you_ doing to improve it?

Comment: Re:Popular support (Score 2) 164

by hey! (#49604091) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

I was eight years old when Neil Armstrong stepped off the LEM onto the Moon. It was an overcast day but the thing I remember vividly was how quiet the city was; aside from a few trucks in the distance and the wind blowing between the buildings there was simply nothing to be heard. The street was utterly deserted, more deserted than it would have been in the middle of the night. I'd gone out to find someone to play with, but gave it up for a bad job. I came in just in time to watch Armstrong step off the LEM. Cronkite couldn't make out what Armstrong said -- later it turned out Armstrong had bungled his line.

The only thing since then that has come close for shared amazement was 9/11.

The thing is there will never be another moment like that, not for manned space exploration. For those of us too young to remember WW2, the Apollo program was the biggest, most exciting thing that had happened in our lifetime. Older people had grown up with the Moon as the very symbol of something that was impossible to obtain. Every human being who'd ever lived and who wasn't blind had looked up in the sky and seen that big fat Moon hanging up there looking so close you could touch it.

Mars isn't like that. For most people it's just a name. More people have seen fake Mars in movies than have seen the real thing. So I'm guessing that few people will interrupt their lives to watch the first step on Mars. Maybe some of us will, but there won't be the same amazement, that sense of witnessing a once-in-a-species event.

Speaking of movies, one of the things that happened after 1970 is that production values on sci-fi movies went way, way up. Most people today have grown up watching representations of humans traveling to the stars; that's the new milestone for the human imagination. So I don't think there will ever be the kind of adulation for real astronauts that we had in the 60s. Actors are more photogenic than real astronauts and they don't spend their time doing tedious and inexplicable things.

But I don't think it's impossible to get people interested in space exploration; only that it's folly to put men up there and expect the public to automatically get excited. Henceforth space exploration is only going to matter to people who've been educated enough to find science interesting. That in itself is a worthwhile goal.

Comment: Re:Did a paid shill write this summary? (Score 3, Interesting) 164

by hey! (#49603913) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

I've been a Democrat since 1979. I'd vote for Bernie Sanders if he weren't an abrasive, self-righteous prig who'd inevitably do more damage to his allies than to his enemies. But despite that I'm almost 100% in agreement with the man. And I haven't seen any rampant Republican agenda here. More like rampant laziness, if there were such a thing.

If the editors spent a whole minute between the moment they opened the story and the moment they hit "post" I'd be flabbergasted.

Comment: Re:Bernie Sanders (any real shot at winning?) (Score 1) 344

by hey! (#49603861) Attached to: Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate and H-1B Skeptic

When hardline socialist parties gain power they tend to become more pragmatic. Such parties usually still consider themselves socialist and think of themselves as working toward eventual socialism.

The Socialist Party in France is a good illustration of this. Go back and look at the history of the Mitterrand presidency. In 1984 he abandoned nationalization of industry so that France would qualify for the European Monetary System. The subsequent collapse of the leftist coalition forced him to "cohabit" with Chirac's conservative RPR. Since then it'd be fair to characterize PS as a center-left party.

The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Paul Erlich

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