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Comment Re:Uber is as safe as taxis (Score 2) 469

Can anyone justify the expense and bureaucracy of taxi medallions when passenger safety isn't an issue?

Yes - traffic congestion. According to Uber's own study, Uber operations in central Manhattan have decreased average traffic speeds for all vehicles by 8%.

Comment Ethical issues... (Score 1) 244

The ethical issues here have nothing to do with abortion.

With abortion, the fetus lives a "normal life" until, one day, you decide to put an end to it. If you think that a fetus is a real live human being (as do certain religions), then abortion is murder. If you don't think this, then abortion is more like plastic surgery for the mom, or at most, like putting a pet to sleep when you can no longer take care of it. In short, momentary pain which is justified by other needs.

With this brain, the problem is not ending a life, but the life itself. If this brain were indeed conscious, it is not having a "normal life". It could be in a continual state of stress and panic due to not receiving the sensory input it expects. Keeping it alive could mean subjecting it to nonstop emotional torture. That's not a specifically religious concern - anyone who cares about not inflicting pain should be bothered by it.

This brain does not show brain waves, so it's probably not conscious. But the next brain this group develops will be more developed. So we need to figure out how to morally safeguard this kind of research, sooner rather than later.

Comment Re:I'm torn.... (Score 1) 663

I know a number of women who got married and then, within a year, their weight ballooned by a hundred pounds or so. Finally they felt they did not have to starve themselves in order to impress potential mates. So they let themselves go.

The good news is that after the first year, they mostly lost a significant chunk of what they had gained. It was nice not having to worry about diet, but in the long run most people want to live responsibly and healthily.

Comment Re:Quiz to check your implicit bias (Score 1) 398

This test has two main parts. First it asks you to sort between "white people and positive words" vs "black people and negative words". Then you sort between "white people and negative words" and "black people and positive words". Since you probably do the first task faster, it says you are the biased towards seeing white people as positive and black people as negative.

The problem is that just doing the test affects your judgment. When you do the first half, it trains you to build up an association between white people and positive words. Then you have to switch all of a sudden, and you are force to unlearn that association and learn a different association. Of course that is mentally confusing and you don't do as well. But that says nothing about whether you had any biases before you started taking the test.

Comment Re:And who is at the bottom? (Score 1) 432

If government imposed artificial scarcity and price controls is such great idea for taxis, then why shouldn't the same model be good for other areas of the economy?

Because there is only space for a certain number of vehicles on the street, and if too many taxis are circulating, there will be massive congestion?

Comment Re:Concorde 2.0 (Score 1) 238

One of the problems with Concorde and the Tu-144's operation was the high engine noise levels, associated with very high jet velocities used during take-off, and even more importantly flying over communities near the airport. SST engines need a fairly high specific thrust (net thrust/airflow) during supersonic cruise, to minimize engine cross-sectional area and, thereby, nacelle drag. Unfortunately this implies a high jet velocity, which makes the engines noisy which causes problems particularly at low speeds/altitudes and at take-off. Therefore, a future SST might well benefit from a variable cycle engine, where the specific thrust (and therefore jet velocity and noise) is low at take-off, but is forced high during supersonic cruise.


Comment Re:Concorde (Score 2) 238

One difference is that the intercontinental travel market has grown immensely since the days of the Concorde. US-Asia and Europe-Asia are gigantic flight markets that barely existed when the Concorde flew.

Also, the Concorde was designed in the 50s and 60s. There's been a lot of innovation in aeronautical engineering since then. A new supersonic plane would take advantage of that to be more efficient and quieter than the Concorde.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe