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Comment: Re: Agent Smith was Right (Score 1) 110

by dasunt (#48802213) Attached to: Ancient Viruses Altered Human Brains

I'm not saying humans are awesome, and I'm not dismissing our environmental impacts. I'm just pointing out the flaws in that speech.

Take "Collapse" by Jared Diamond, since you mentioned it. The regions he talked about still have a human population. It's not similar to a virus, but instead a boom/bust population cycle common to some mammals (e.g. the infamous snowshoe hare)

We may cause the end of our civilization in many ways. But humanity is likely to still be around even after the end.

Comment: Re:Agent Smith was Right (Score 5, Interesting) 110

by dasunt (#48799723) Attached to: Ancient Viruses Altered Human Brains

Agent Smith: "I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops an equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not.

Cute sentimentality, but considering how obviously untrue it is, that monologue always bugged me.

First off, what areas have humans consumed so many natural resources that they can no longer survive there? About the only arguable cases I can think of is areas of desertification - and even then, humans do manage to live there.

Second, mammals have no instinct to come to an equilibrium with their environment. E.g. rabbits in Australia - introduced a century ago, and definitely did not come to an homeostasis with the environment they found - instead, growing so numerous that they are a serious ecological problem.

Comment: Re:Dupe (Score 1) 840

That was a time when you could actually easily fix something. Take cars, for example. Fixing a modern car aside from trivial cases is not easy.

I may not drive the most modern vehicles, but they were built this century. Had a few problems with one - alternator went out (replaced it), serpentine idler pully locked up (replaced that - required disconnecting an engine mount), did the timing belt, pulleys and water pump at 100k, and had a faulty sensor, throwing the computer out of wack (pulled the trouble codes, did some research, pulled the sensor, tested the resistance (fine), threw it in some boiling water, and tested the resistance again (out of range) - hence explaining why the car would fail only once the engine was warmed up).

It's all in knowing what to do, and we're in the golden age of being able to research. I've worked on everything from refinishing wood floors (and damn they look good) to recapping electronics. And I'm under 40!

It's all in the attitude, the ability to search for help, and the patience and willingness to step back and think.

I think much of the excuse of things nowadays not being able to be fixed is people not willing to learn how modern things work.

Comment: 100th idiot (Score 3, Insightful) 34

The only way I can see these people getting their crazy plans funded is through the 100th idiot effect amidst venture capitalists.

From _Matter_ by Iain M. Banks: "100 idiots make idiotic plans, and carry them out. All but one justly fail. The hundredth idiot whose plans succeeded through pure luck, is immediately convinced he's a genius."

Comment: Re:Races are different (Score 1) 53

by dasunt (#48672973) Attached to: Russian Hackers Stole Millions From Banks, ATMs

Now the elephant in the room is, do all the races have exactly the same IQ distribution amongst their population? Test results say no. Need citation? Just look up anything, SAT, GRE, MCAT, police dept entrance exams, fireman exams, military exams, straight IQ tests, anything. The body of evidence is overwhelming.

The body of evidence is overwhelming. IQs have been steadily rising over the past century. The phenomenon even has it's own name: The Flynn Effect.

It seems that for the population as a whole, nurture and not nature has a strong effect on IQ. We have some indications of what that "nurture" may be - nutrition, education, household stability, etc.

So lets not jump on the "some races are naturally dumb" bandwagon quite yet, until we even out the nurture part.of the equation. Until we eliminate food insecurity in poor households, until an inner city school is just as good as a private school, until we've brought livable incomes to all, we should not and can not excuse the problem by saying some races just don't have what it takes.

We need to fix our society, because as it happens, we've set up a class of people (which partially correlates to some racial groups) to more likely fail than succeed. And that's a drain on the present and the future.

Comment: Re:Tired of this shit (Score 1) 448

by dasunt (#48613575) Attached to: Virtual Reality Experiment Wants To Put White People In Black Bodies

I just think it would be interesting to see how it affects you psychologically when you are a treated differently by society.

Don't bath or shave for a few days, throw on some dirty tattered clothes and a hat, and otherwise look like a homeless person.

I suspect you'll get some different views of people.

Comment: Re:How is that startling? (Score 2) 413

by dasunt (#48479847) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

Why not include a census question asking people what neighbors they feel they are closest to?

That way, with a few simple rules, it's possible to calculate census areas which are culturally distinct. So a major urban area won't dilute a rural area, a black majority-area won't be diluted by being split up into multiple districts, etc.

Comment: Re:Hmmm ... (Score 1) 167

by dasunt (#48423507) Attached to: Bicycle Bottle System Condenses Humidity From Air Into Drinkable Water

Agreed. I'm a cyclist, both short and long distance.

I've never had a problem with getting water. A cyclist can easily travel 10 miles an hour, even fully loaded. Its easy enough to refill every few hours. Even if I was in the boondocks, I could carry a water filter and fill up from streams.

I suppose there are places without sources of water for tens of miles, but it's a very rare corner case.

Comment: Re:Stupid, trucks cause the problem (Score 2) 554

by dasunt (#48393691) Attached to: The Downside to Low Gas Prices

I have done the same, in Germany though. None of your mentioned problems whatsoever.

I commute to work, by bike, from an affordable house that's technically in the suburbs (less than a quarter mile from the main city). My commute is 5 to 8 miles (say 8 to 13 km).

This is in the US, in the north where it's snowy. It was a fun week last week, that's for sure. It was below 10F (-10C for everyone else), which wasn't bad - easy enough to dress for. However, for the most part, we're automobile-centric enough that we don't really dress for the weather around here.

That isn't the major issue. Here's the issue. Most of our infrastructure is very auto-centric. I have a few major limited access highways to cross on my commute, and all of them have severely impaired bikeability/walkability. The remaining streets that transverse these highways are optimized to move vehicle traffic quickly. All of which is rather unfriendly to cyclists. In addition, since there's such few streets that transverse the highways, they tend to be used for all traffic - bus routes, delivery trucks, etc.

Now I can cut over to side streets for part of my route, and I've done so, but there's the remaining issue - all these vehicle-optimized roads have encouraged fast driving and the idea that roads are for cars. At every intersection, I must slow down, regardless if I have a stop sign or not, because people will tend to try to roll through the stops, and in winter conditions, they can't stop in time. If they ever do kill me, odds are that won't face any legal repercussions.

Add in the occasional bit of road rage with drivers literally threatening to mow you down with their cars, and you may understand that the United States isn't that bike friendly.

Comment: Re:The Highway Trust Fund (Score 1) 554

by dasunt (#48393615) Attached to: The Downside to Low Gas Prices

If the money was used as originally intended - to fund building and maintenance of the Interstate highway system - it would be brimming with cash. Instead, it's also being used for lots of other projects, like mass transit, bicycle paths, and landscaping for roads. About a quarter of the income from the HTF goes to non-highway projects.

What's your source for this?

I'm not seeing the numbers adding up. According to the Washington Post " In 2013, the trust fund disbursed $50 billion to states â" $43 billion for roads and $7 billion for mass transit, reports the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)."

But what was the revenue? This claims $30 billion from the gas tax in 2013.

That's a $13 billion shortfall.

State and local spending on roads is even worse.

You may want to do more research in this area. The 4th power rule for vehicle weight/damage to roads seems to indicate that cyclists cause negligible wear to the roads. Induced demand will explain why building more roads won't necessarily make traffic better. And the externalities of vehicle pollution, if you look into that, should be considered yet another subsidy to motor vehicle travel.

Comment: Re:Doesn't solve the problem (Score 1) 136

by dasunt (#48291741) Attached to: A Smart Electric Bike: Taking the Copenhagen Wheel Out For a Spin

Also bikes are quite light and do not have the weight on the wheels needed to get a good grip.

Technology has marched on. Right now, you can buy an off-the-shelf bike with 4" or 5" tires that will run at 8 PSI. Studded versions are available.

Trust me, traction ain't the problem.

Comment: Re:Doesn't solve the problem (Score 1) 136

by dasunt (#48291727) Attached to: A Smart Electric Bike: Taking the Copenhagen Wheel Out For a Spin

Being someone who rides a motorcycle, weather has a very large part of how stress free a ride might be. Bicycle? same thing; as the temperature hits 45 degrees or so - you just get cold. That's it.

Minnesotan here. Lowest temp so far I've faced on my morning commute is 26F. I still haven't broken out the heavy winter gear.

A lot of it is how you dress. A wicking underlayer, an insulating middle layer, and a wind-blocking outer layer goes pretty far.

Unlike a motorcycle, a bicyclist has two advantages - less speed, and more energy output. Both help contribute to staying warmer.

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