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Comment Re:O RLY? (Score 2) 310

Do you think the European colonies in the Americas were cost effective from the start?
It took quite a lot of support from to get those colonies self sustainable, specially if it wasn't possible to enslave the natives to do their master's bidding.
The colonies were sold in Europe as way for riches, and to get more land, but mostly to get windfall riches after the Spanish stroke the motherload with the Aztecs and the Incas.
All other colonies had to endure several decades of very little growth and dependency of their country of origin,
The moon is a lot worse cause there null infrastructure, and the affordable technology for getting to orbit and out of Earth orbit doesn't exist yet.
But we now have ways to automate stuff, and we could send automated stations that could assemble buildings and materials in the Moon.
Probably, have an automated station building materials and equipment for some years would make it feasible to colonize the moon.

Comment Re: After reading the article (Score 1) 115

Nice, then you have leads to do randomized controlled studies where before you would have to guess. I bet there is a strong correlation with the amount of surveys done with followup controlled studies on a given subject. That is called empirical work that builds up a case. Eventually you will have a more precise picture, that's science.

Comment Re:After reading the article (Score 1) 115

Yep, correlation != causation.
But any statistical study worth their salt will check the data for bias and other effects.
Also, we don't have the abstract of the article, or the introduction to the survey questionnaire, but it is possible that there is a health condition field.
Like a health status, or if the person has a previous condition or another health issue.
So it logical to assume that there was some tracking on that.
Plus, you can be "healthy" and not know that you have a congenital or genetic condition or even cancer.
That is why in situations you are not sure about causality you'll use random testing, that's what it is used for pharma trials.
This survey from what I can read was survey done on groups to control a set of variables related to preventable death, and check for clusters.
Very much standard course of action, if it is an open survey the raw data probably is available in anonymized form so other teams can check the results.

Comment After reading the article (Score 1) 115

The survey seems to be sound in terms of methodology, sample size and tracking period. Like any statistical survey the findings might point to correlated variables that are main causes, but some variables are more difficult to ascertain what is behind them.
Lack or too much sleep might be result of hormonal or metabolic problems, also the result of breathing issues due to congenital defects or too much height.
So, although some variable aren't perfect they can me measured and tracked, while deeper and more granular issues are difficult to categorize and measure.
Cause the researchers are trying to triage main indicators of well-being and study their aftermath, so afterwards more research can be done on the causes of preventable death.
And for most part, the results are pretty much common sense. Smoking is bad, period. Heavy drinking kills your liver cells, depletes your vitamin B complex reserves, and dehydrates the body.
Chronic lack of sleep causes changes on the metabolism, increases stress response feedback, and increases the probability of an accident.
Sitting down for long periods might cause hemorrhoids and muscular atrophy, it also doesn't do much good to your bowels.
Everything put together, regardless of the network of causality that made it happen, will not have a good effect on your general health.

Comment Re:This is great (Score 0) 73

And about the possible fire hazard coming from a used Lithium-ion battery which we don't know what is the previous usage profile and number of cycles.
Plus, we don't know how much heat the batteries were subjected to. And, how will you insure against that without paying an hefty premium?

Comment There were plenty women working in computing (Score 1) 696

In the good old days of mainframes, tabulating machines and to a time computers were groups of women doing boring calculations for researchers, there were plenty of women working in computing/mathematics related fields. They were the large majority of people working in the field, and had major contributions to computer science, e.g. Grace Hopper invented the first compiler.

But most women don't like male competition on the job, I don't mean competing, I mean males competing for dominance.
Male competition is partly responsible for long work hours, hostile work environments, socially destructive schedules and family unfriendly policies.
Men compete in ways that cause damage to bystanders, making life for women that want to have a life and a family outside work much more difficult.

Comment Cue to convenient policy to control the masses (Score 1) 312

There are much easier ways to make the welfare system well financed and sustainable than to get a chip into people.
This seems to be a non sequitur argument which is set to frame the political discussion in a way that it becomes a legitimate policy option.

Comment Better not give them any emotion at all (Score 1) 112

Given that human beings are prone to be huge dicks, not that most people are but enough are to make our existence colorful and add some drama.
If a robot is able to understand emotional responses, and in some cases it might be better at inferring them by having better sensors, it can then act accordingly to those human emotions.
Probably a system that acts in a deterministic fashion for 80% to 90% of the cases, and can infer human motivation but with no emotional response associated with it is probably the best course.

Once AI's are able to experience subjective emotions, and being better at inferring human motivations then I think these emotions will eventually force the AI to act.
Emotions are an underlying response feedback mechanisms, they are as much cause and effect. Once an AI being set o emotional feedback loop that increases the need to act out against a preset safety directive (for humans) it either will become schizoid, develop some kind dysfunctional behavior or just flip.

It is a good bet if autonomous robots with capable AI would be considered by humans, at least those who can afford them, as lesser status workers or appliances. Given that humans subject people with less status to all kinds negative treatment, from discrimination, physical harm, derision, etc. Any capable AI would consider Humans as flawed and dangerous as a group.

Comment Facebook Messenger App is an issue (Score 2) 63

I found out recently that it is not possible to log out of Facebook Messenger on a mobile device.
I found this annoying cause anyone that can access a tablet can effectively check one's message and wreak havoc.
If one has a jealous or abusive spouse/partner/girlfriend/boyfriend this is clearly a big no-no, even if your significant other is not 'unstable' even innocent conversations might misconstrued.
Also, if third parties get access to a mobile device and can unlock it, this means that they can check your previous conversations and use them for their own ends.
In fact every other messaging app comes with a sign out feature why doesn't this one?

Comment The problem is SUPPLY CHAIN!!! (Score 5, Interesting) 365

The current state of complexity of our civilization is given by a web of supply chains that make it possible to produce very specialized and sophisticated products.
Liquid fuel production requires more than extracting oil from the ground, you have to distill the fractions, filter unwanted contaminants, crack heavy fractions to produce lighter compounds, and do pyrolysis to get gasoline from what is essentially tar.
This all requires a supply chain of materials to be able to construct the tools and equipments to produce what you'll pump into your car.

Then there are fertilizers, you needs sources of fossilized guano that are located around the world, and others like Ammonia based fertilizers that are mostly produced using fossil fuel sources.
Then you have catalyzer metals for reactors, the list is enormous...
And if you think that since the trade barriers have mostly gone, that has meant that most countries have shed duplicate capacity and have specialized and concentrated on only some parts of the supply chain.
That means if things go downhill you pretty much have no way to get some resources, tool or equipment spares and no knowledge how to remake those.

Comment It is called sexual selection (Score 2) 298

There are two big drivers on the evolution of sexual species, natural selection and female choice.
The two don't always go in the same direction, and in some cases they can point into opposing paths leading the species into a dead end.
For example Elks compete on antler size, and females prefer large males with big antlers, these are good when it comes to ritual fights with competing males but are a big drawback when it comes to denser wood forests. And most of the time are a large dead weight to carry around.
Peacocks also carry around a big tail for basically the same reasons, and both are examples of adverse selection in which an overall negative trait gets perceived as a positive genetic proxy by females.

Height in humans has a big weight when it comes to female selection, it is considered by large as a positive trait. And we usually tend to defer to taller people, even if that behavior isn't justified on any other social attributes.
The problem with height is that it requires extra consumption of calories and protein to enable growth, besides extra changes in the population hormonal profile to enable accelerated growth. This is all fine on our present food production output, if that changes taller people are at a disadvantage.

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