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Comment Re:More fit, too. (Score 1) 409 409

Sedentary describes about 90% of the US population over 25. Clearly BMI is not a good measure for many folks, but everyone with a weight problem wants to think they're the exception. You're never going to get them to go get an accurate body fat assessment or get them in the gym, because that would require them to actually acknowledge that there's a problem.

Comment Re:More fit, too. (Score 1) 409 409

Hey!, I'm not fat, I'm just big boned!

Americans have totally lost perspective on what is considered a healthy weight and a healthy diet. People in general consistently underestimate their own body fat percentage, even in the bodybuilding community where there are six-pack abs abound. I'm pretty sure any doctor that would suggest weight loss to patient with a BMI of 25+ alongside a six-pack, wouldn't keep his license for very long, Yet, somehow countless obese people are so delusional that they think that's what happened to them. Denial ain't a river in Egypt.

I'm sure the folks who do strength training and intense exercise might add something to the statistics, but I'd be very surprised if it skewed the numbers by more than a pound.

Comment Re:Human evolution will become self directed (Score 1) 692 692

I had assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that by reversing age, that most of these age related ailments would be cured. I'd be willing to bet that would be the case for a large number of them. I'd also be willing to bet that the natural pessimism and inflexibility that is typical in old folks is just a result of fading memory capacity and reduction in plasticity of the brain, which I also bet would also be remedied by reversing aging.

I think we're ready, at least i know I am eager to have the body of a 25 year old for the next 1000 years. On the other hand, if I have to live 900 years in a wheelchair, then maybe death is the better alternative. I might stick it out for another 50 or so just to see if they kinks get ironed out.

Comment Human evolution will become self directed (Score 1) 692 692

People will probably live on average to be over 1000, maybe 10,000 because people will only die from accidents. Science will advance at a faster rate because we don't have to spend the first 25 years or so of life on primary education. The next problem will be that without new generations, human evolution will be at a standstill. But, perhaps not totally. If we can direct our own evolution using simulation and very limited reproduction, say with the average age of a parent being about 1000 years or more, then perhaps we can still find ways to advance as a species. We might be able to grow new bodies and perhaps even new brains for ourselves. When we want to alter our DNA, we could somehow become chimeras for a period of time until the old DNA is completely replaced by the new upgraded DNA. In this way, our species gets all the evolutionary benefits of death without actually having to die.

Comment Re:Mandarin vs. Spanish (Score 4, Interesting) 150 150

If you're having trouble with pinyin, and since you already seem to prefer traditional characters, then just use bopomofo/zhuyin fuhao. Once you learn one pronunciation system well, it's trivial to learn the other because the sounds they represent are the same, all you have to do is link them up in your mind. I personally used pinyin for many years, but using an Anki deck, I learned zhuyin fuhao in a matter of days after I moved to Taipei.

Learning Chinese is a loooooooooong road. For the casual language learner, I'd say your best ROI on your time is going to be with Spanish. But then again, it all depends on what you're motivated to learn, because motivation is the worst thing to waste. I will say however, that if your motivation is even remotely to raise your value in the eyes of Chinese girls, don't bother, because of the girls that date westerners, given the choice between fluent Chinese and six pack abs, they'll choose the abs about 90% of the time.

Comment Re:Magic Pill - Self Discipline (Score 5, Insightful) 153 153

While I agree with most of what you said, the message has a callousness that will likely cause it to fall on deaf ears. Also, to imply that it's easy or simple just to eat less or control your appetite is a bit condescending to those who have a difficult time with this. Most people lack an awareness about their appetite and take a very reactive approach to satisfying their hunger. But the truth of the matter is that sugar and carbohydrates can rule us with the fierceness of a drug or alcohol addiction. I myself have never had a trouble knowing when to stop drinking, but others, due to genetics, can't have just one.

Once I finally started to treat sugar as a drug addiction, I finally started having the success at controlling my weight. I'm currently 60lbs lighter than my peak and have a six pack for the first time in my life at 39. Now that I know how to do it, it's easy, but figuring it out and changing my habits was not.

So while I do sympathize with overweight people who struggle with controlling their appetite, I do find the fatalistic attitude that many overweight people have adopted to be quite annoying, and potentially harmful to others around them.

Comment Re:To speak Chinese is not to know China (Score 1) 217 217

It's common for foreigners to go on game shows and speak a little Chinese. For some reason, this is very entertaining to some of the locals, but I never opted to do anything like this during my stay in China as I felt it was like being a performing monkey, and somewhat degrading.

However, in this case, I think that in the case of Mark Zuckerberg, it's more than just being a performing monkey. I think this effort might serve to increase awareness of our attempts to show that Americans and other western nations are very willing to expand their horizons and venture into other cultures. His Chinese might be intermediate level at best, but I hope he continues to make progress, as it's a long and arduous path, and given that he's the CEO of Facebook, it's amazing that he's making progress at all.

And one day when his Chinese is truly fluent and Facebook is still blocked in China, then the take of the way at the end of the day from all this effort might simply be that coopreration with mainland Chinese is not worth the effort. China needs to go a long way to prove to the world that it's not a zero-sum culture.

Comment Re:Funny (Score 1) 261 261

Yes, the west is so decadent in our consumption.
And surely the selfless Chinese themselves bear no responsibility for not pricing in the damage to their environment in the price of their goods. It is the west's evil desire to consume that is the source of environmental damage and child exploitation in China. How could you even think that China themselves should bear responsibility? The Chinese are morally superior and have no desire to consume. You can be sure that if the Chinese were as rich as Westerners, they would NEVER be so wasteful. Destroying their environment and enslaving their children are just what they view as minor sacrifices in order to basque in the knowledge that they make us Westerners happy. The selfish west is completely to blame for China's ails.

In all seriousness, I suppose we could do something, impose tariffs, or boycott Chinese goods to discourage purchasing of certain products, and I think we do this already to protect certain industries, but I would think that the more you do it, the more you risk an escalating trade war. And even if you did, I doubt that many Chinese would really be in support of it.

Comment Interesting Strategy (Score 4, Informative) 225 225

Surely they're not going to get any cooperation from the Chinese government on this, but by naming these individuals, they could be limiting the future career choices of those individuals. Want to work at a foreign compa ny? might be tough. Want to travel to the US or country that has extradition with the US? Better think twice about that. Even if you want to work at a local Chinese company, you might not be able to command as high of a salary if you can't get competing offers from foreign companies. A high percentage of well moneyed and educated individuals in China have plans to emigrate to foreign countries with the growing pains China has on the horizon, and some talented folks might be dissuaded from this career path. How this will play out in the real world is hard to say, but If the US didn't think it would have some effect, I don't think they'd do it.

Comment Collusion (Score 1) 482 482

Why is it that cell phone companies previously found it profitable only to sell phones on contracts, and now find it profitable to move slightly in the opposite direction?

Why were things so expensive before? I think it's simple: Collusion.
Previously, no cell phone company offered significant off contract savings for bringing your own device. This is all beginning to change with the advent of the iPhone and the drastic cost difference between high end phones and lower end Android devices along with cost negligible feature phones. The cell phone providers are beginning to see that there is benefit in differentiating themselves by offering non-contract discounts and so the benefits of colluding are decreasing. I believe there's still a lot of room for prices to fall.

Now, to the point of the savviness of consumers, offering long term payments and bundling are absolutely an effective way to obfuscate the cost of a product. Just take car sales for example: There are countless number of "payment buyers", when deciding how much to pay for the car, they think in terms of $xxx/mo. So it's only too easy for the greedy dealer to just up increase the loan amount, or interest rate on the loan to hide the real price. This is a real and effective sales tactic that is alive and well, and operates on basically the same principal since most consumers are programmed to think in terms of dollars per month. The average consumer is such a poor decision maker that it wasn't until recently with the changing cell phone landscape, that market forces were strong enough to make cracks in the united front of collusion by the major wireless providers.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. -- Poul Anderson

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