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Comment: adopt a 1950's standard of living. (Score 1) 289

by ProfBooty (#47418671) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

Probably because we spend more than before?

Productivity is way up since the 1950s. If you were to live according to a 1950's lifestyle including miles driven, size of home, vacation travel, amount of times going out to eat, drop internet, CATV, cell phones etc, you could save an enormous amount of money. Invest it in some index funds or take a dividend growth approproach and you would be pretty rich.

Comment: Re:Underlying cause? (Score 1) 359

Well, I didn't actually say anything about Senator McCarthy. It is true that there were communist infiltrators, and it is true that the Rosenbergs were guilty. I'm talking about J. Edgar Hoover, who had secret files on pretty much every person in power in America. Like that dangerous communist, John F. Kennedy, for example, who knew not to mess with J. Edgar because J. Edgar could prove that Jack was bedding two or three different women a week. How many current politicians know not to mess with the NSA, because they know the NSA could scuttle their careers?

Comment: Re:The same way many global warming papers got pub (Score 4, Insightful) 109

by hey! (#47383665) Attached to: How Did Those STAP Stem Cell Papers Get Accepted In the First Place?

Peer reviewed. Yeah, right. And just who is reviewing the peers?

Ha! I knew the denialists would come swarming out of the woodwork on this one.

Consider the stem cell paper that we're talking about here. It was published in January and immediately started going down in flames. Here we are six months later, watching scientists gleefully kick the cold corpse of the authors' reputations. And you're still wondering who keeps the reviewers and editors of a scientific journal honest?

Peer review isn't some kind of certification of a paper's truth. It can't reliably weed out misconduct, experimental error, or statistical bad luck. It's just supposed to reduce the frequency of fiascos like this one by examining the reasoning and methods as described in the paper. It doesn't have to be perfect; in fact it's preferable for it to let the occasional clunker through onto the slaughterhouse floor than to squelch dissenting views or innovation.

That's why climate change denialists still get published today, even the ones who disbelieve climate change because it contravenes their view of the Bible. Peer review allows them to keep tugging at the loose threads of the AGW consensus while preventing them from publishing papers making embarrassingly broad claims for which they don't have evidence that has any chance of convincing someone familiar with the past fifty years of furious scientific debate.

Comment: Re:Sad, sad times... (Score 1) 332

Here's what I think is the confounding factor (there always is one): I'd be wondering, "Does that button REALLY deliver a shock, or is it some kind of sham social psychology experiment prop? I bet it's a prop. If it isn't, it won't deliver THAT bad a shock. If it is, I wonder what the researchers will do when I push it?"

The confounding factor is curiosity. They'd have to do *two* sessions with the overly curious.

Comment: Re:Know your history (Score 1) 359

Unfortunately, when it happens, the good things about the USA will fall with it. I admit, I enjoy being in a place where I can live on a nice suburban street with minimal immediate worries, drive a comfortable car with air conditioning, gas it up when necessary, and purchase as much food as I need at the grocery store whenever I need it. When the house of cards comes tumbling down, the WHOLE house of cards will come with it. Of course, our runaway spending will probably topple it before the iron fist of the NSA. But when it does happen, it will hardly matter what the most immediate exciting cause was.

Comment: Re:Know your history (Score 1) 359

One YEAR. The exact same trend is continuing. No one of power is fighting this. No one is backing down.

No one, or almost no one, gets that high in the political machine without having some serious skeletons in the closet. And who knows where all those skeletons are hidden? Oh, yeah. The NSA. QED

Comment: Re:Underlying cause? (Score 3, Insightful) 359

So - all in all, the tremendous snooping effort is not showing much result and essentially being a flop.

I don't know about that. I'm sure it's been about as successful as J. Edgar Hoover's mid-century communism witch hunts, which had more to do with propping up Hoover's own personal empire than with catching communists.

Comment: Re:Pivotal Decision That Went The Wrong Way... (Score 1) 238

by Zordak (#47371931) Attached to: Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

On one hand you have a guy who got in a bar fight when he was in college. Some drunk idiot spills beer on his girlfriend, so he confronts drunk idiot and beats him down, then gets charged with assault. On the other hand, you have this piece of shit (Stan O'Neil).

Perhaps the answer is to remember that "information wants to be free," and therefore it's a bad idea to beat up some random guy because he spilled beer on your girlfriend if that's not the kind of reputation you want to have. In the meantime, other people can consider whether this 20-year-old assault charge is or is not relevant to their particular circumstances. If I'm looking to hire somebody where overall emotional sobriety and self control are important, I'd at least want to find out if he'd cooled his temper in the past 20 years. If I'm interested in the guy's credit before I complete a financial transaction with him, I couldn't care less about his 20 year old assault charge.

Comment: Re:Bad media coverage (Score 1) 1304

by hey! (#47356897) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Except that if you read the majority opinion they actually open up any provision of the law to challenge on the same grounds. They warn that the ruling should not be taken as covering anything covered by insurance, but presumably any such thing could in principle be challenged on the same basis, and depending on the circumstances might likewise be exempted. The majority has opened the door to challenging the application of any provision of this law to a closely held corporation -- indeed any provision of any law. They just don't know how the challenge will turn out.

It's interesting to note that the court broke down almost exactly on religious lines when dealing with contraception. Five of the six Roman Catholic justices voted with the majority, and all three Jews joined by one dissenting Catholic. I think this is significant because the majority opinion, written exclusively by Catholics, seems to treat concerns over contraception as sui generis; and the possibility of objections to the law based on issues important to other religious groups to be remote.

Another big deal in the majority opinion is that it takes another step towards raising for-profit corporations to the same status as natural persons. The quibbling involved is astonishing:

....no conceivable definition of 'person' includes natural persons and non-profit corporations, but not for-profit corporations.

Which may be true, but it's irrelevant. The question is whether compelling a for-profit corporation to do something impacts the religious liberties of natural persons in exactly the same way as compelling a church to do that same thing. If there is any difference whatsoever, then then the regulations imposed on the church *must* be less restrictive than the regulations imposed on a business. Logically, this is equivalent to saying the regulations imposed on a business *may* be more restrictive than the regulations imposed on a church.

Comment: Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (Score 2) 151

by hey! (#47324801) Attached to: Neanderthals Ate Their Veggies

Some of us are old enough to remember the Vietnam war, which in turn brought us in contact with the long running civil war in Laos. Anti-communist Hmong from Laos fought alongside Americans and after both Vietnam and Laos fell to the Communists many Hmong refugees were resettled here in the US along with their families.

I remember this story about S. nigrum from a newspaper account back in the 80s about foraging by local Hmong refugees. There were lots of stories about Hmong settling in, and because this was pre WWW you read them because you read pretty much everything in the paper that was even vaguely interesting.

Comment: Re:Vegetables out of necessity, or out of preferen (Score 1) 151

by hey! (#47324035) Attached to: Neanderthals Ate Their Veggies

In my experience you tend to crave what you habitually eat. The Hmong forage for Solanum nigrum -- black nightshade -- a plant that is not only inedibly bitter for most people, it's actually poisonous if you haven't spent years working up a tolerance to its toxic alkaloids. And here's the kicker: black nightshade grows wild here in the US and the old folks here go looking for it in the woods, even though they can buy meat and non-toxic vegetables in the supermarket. They grew up with the stuff, so they crave it.

The single most powerful feature our species has is behavioral flexibility. The same plant that is a side dish providing auxiliary nutrients today could be famine food tomorrow if the hunt doesn't go well. If a plant is nutritious and abundant in the environment, I'd expect local humans to eat it with enjoyment.

To be awake is to be alive. -- Henry David Thoreau, in "Walden"

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