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Comment Re:Asylum-seeker flood is destroying Europe (Score 1) 965

And on top of that, the asylum seekers are very unevenly divided between the EU countries.

I actually made a note of that in my post ;-) This is largely due to a number of rich EU countries trying to keep out the refugees and get others to foot the bill for the wars in the Middle East, while other countries - Germany, Sweden, Greece and Austria - who did not take part in making the mess are now paying for it. My point is that the crisis is in the EU system itself.

For example in Finland, at the moment the average number of persons coming to the country is several hundreds a day, even though we are about the most distant country. You can compare to the birth rate which is about 150 babies a day. And you have to multiply that number because of family reunions. At this speed Finns are going to be minority in Islamic country within relative short time even if the immigrants didn't make any babies and much faster as in reality they too make babies.

I think you need to redo the math on that. Let us say that "several hundred" is 300, so the number of new people in Finland is 450 per day. Finland has a population of 5.5 million, so it would take 5.5e6/300 ~= 18000 days ~= 50 years at the current rate of immigration for there to be as many migrants as there are Fins.

Germany alone expects up to 1.5 million asylum seekers this year. And the next year is probably going to be worse as the number of asylum seekers wasn't as high at the beginning of this year, but the flow of asylum seekers has been constantly accelerating.

And Turkey, which has a similar population as Germany but is a lot poorer, has taken 2 million. Lebanon and Jordan has taken 1 million each. There is also a limitation on the number of refugees. The population of Syria was 22 million before the war started, 5-6 million of whom have fled the country. Even assuming that the entire Syrian population is fleeing to EU (which is quite unlikely), we are looking at 4% increase in the EU population. In my world, that is a manageable population increase if EU actually manages to get its shit together.

Comment Re:Majority doesn't matter. (Score 1) 965

The latest Christian fad is to load up a remote controlled plane with bombs, attack weddings and the like, kill everyone there and claim that they were all terrorists. I haven't seen the insides of such operations, so I cannot tell if the people involved pray to their God before the attack and praise their God after having unleashed the bombs on unsuspecting civilians.

Comment Re:Asylum-seeker flood is destroying Europe (Score 1) 965

I have heard quotes of roughly ½ million refugees entering EU this year. The population of EU is ½ billion. That is 1 refugee per 1000 citizens. In one year. Compare that to a birth rate of 10.9 births per 1000 citizens per year. Or compare that to Turkey who has received 2 million refugees out of a 77 million strong population. During WWI, 1 million people fled from Belgium into Holland, France and Britain. Anyone calling the current migration a flood or a crisis either lack perspective or are a populist trying to gain popular support from it.

If there is a crisis, it is that the response to such a limited challenge from the EU countries has been so impotent and feeble. Only three countries has shown any form of leadership while the rest has been trying to get everyone else to foot the bill for the last 15 years of war in the Middle East. And those three countries weren't even a part of the crazed Coalition of the Willing (and neither was France).

Comment Re:Burden of proof. (Score 1) 73

200 out of 2000 is a 10% success rate

If by "success" you mean "good enough to test on mice". How many were good enough to test on humans?

Good point. TFA does not specify how their screening process worked, though. TFA also does not specify how many actually helped against malaria, just that one was really good, nor does it say anything about testing the herbs against other ailments.

The manifest problem with "traditional medicine" isn't that none of them work, but that so damned few work, and yet fools still run around saying how all traditional is soooo great.

It is my impression that many practitioners of traditional medicine actively refuses to let their methods be subject to clinical tests, so we have no empirical data to estimate the ability of the treatment to heal a given ailment or its side effects. Mighty suspicious.

Comment Re:Check your math. (Score 1) 73

TFA does not say anything about the remaining 199, just that one of the 200 herbs selected for mice test was very successful at treating malaria. For all we know, the 199 others could be anything from toxic to useful against malaria. It is also worth noting that the 2000 herbs were not claimed to be good against malaria, but they were only tested against malaria, so some could feasibly be good against other ailments.

Comment Re:Spoils of War (Score 1) 73

It seems like we are at our industrious best when working in concert during a time of great conflict.

Working in concert can indeed produce great things quite fast. War is not required (e.g. the Apollo program), but in our typically competitive and anarchistic cultures, the people with money to invest prefer personal profit to the common good, so sharing and working in concert does not apply to the competition. The government can step in and enforce cooperation, which sometimes happen during a war economy, but it also means limiting the rights of the rich and powerful, sometimes with a big, fat lump of cash as compensation.

Comment Re:Non-removable apps (Score 3, Insightful) 151

If I pay for a phone, I *expect* to have the ability to remove any single program on it, and that is what crow was writing about. Phone manufacturers have choices, but it reeks of strong arming when wanting to include the largest Android app store results in a requirement that the manufacturer include a number of other apps *and* prohibits users from removing them. And yes, like it or not, while there are other choices, Android is in the same dominant position on the phone/tablet market as Windows is on the desktop market, and lack of access to Google Play is a deal breaker for many looking for a new phone.

Comment Re:OK, what's with this ridiculous meme? (Score 1) 147

Some 20-30 years back when wind turbines were being set up near the village where my father lives, the company approached the locals who were none too happy and suggested that a few percent of the proceeds from the wind turbines were given to the local community for local activities, e.g. playgrounds, community halls and so on. It silenced a lot of the dissent, and it is my impression that the villagers are very happy with the wind turbines.

Comment Re:Subject (Score 5, Insightful) 307

I see advertising as a campaign of propaganda directed against us, for most of us that campaign started before we were old enough to think.

I agree, and have felt the same for quite a while. It is also interesting to see the moralizing campaign against ad blockers: YOU are a thief for enjoying our content and taking the bread out of our mouths. The mass scale manipulation is viewed and accepted as the norm without question and new techniques for manipulation are being developed while advertising is filling almost every part of the public and private sphere (except, possibly, our dreams). Is ad blockers a first step in pushing back, or just a reaction to overtly intrusive and annoying advertising that is technically easy?

Comment Re:Worse yet... (Score 1) 275

However, interstellar travel is likely extremely expensive, time consuming (...)

For the crew of an hypothetical alien ship traveling close to the speed of light, the journey would not be time consuming at all [refer to Time Dilation]

I was thinking in terms of interstellar trade to generate revenue for the expense of interstellar flight. Even assuming that it would be possible to reach 100% of the speed of light (and that is in itself a huge if), goods from Proxima Centauri would be in transit for 4.2 years from the point of view of the producers and consumers. Assuming physical goods, a more reasonable estimate of 10% of the speed of light as the top speed would result in a 42 year journey. Extrapolating that to even more distant star systems, interstellar trade is on a timescale of centuries, way beyond human life expectancy. My point is that it is very unlikely that it will be profitable compared to local production, which removes an essential reason to explore the option in the first place. Science Fiction writers Ken MacLeod and Charles Stross have explored this issue, from different vantage points.

Comment Re:Worse yet... (Score 1) 275

I'm not saying that's the answer to the Fermi paradox but civilisations of any sort might simply have a far smaller footprint on a galactic level than anyone imagined, and while explorers could have passed by a hundred thousand years ago, five hundred thousand years ago or ten million years ago and found little of interest, there's no reason to believe they might stop by exactly right now and ask to be taken to our leader.

Well ... Earth has supported life for 3.6 billion years, and complex life for 600 million years. So, if ET have been investigating the solar system, they would have noticed life and could feasibly have left a probe behind, relaying information to where ever their local hub is. However, interstellar travel is likely extremely expensive, time consuming and yields little more than satisfaction of scientific curiosity, so it is unlikely that advanced ET civilizations would want to commit the expense. Even if we humans manage to avoid a catastrophic collapse of our civilizations over the next 1000 years, I doubt that we will even manage to build a self-sufficient colony outside of Earth.

"Summit meetings tend to be like panda matings. The expectations are always high, and the results usually disappointing." -- Robert Orben