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Comment: Re:Its politics/emotions not intelligence level .. (Score 1) 580

by drnb (#49043269) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

Having spent a lifetime around pig headed engineers (including myself), this is my reasoning: I think it has everything to do with intelligence, or, at least self perceived intelligence. The smarter someone thinks they are, the less likely they are to listen to others who they think are somehow less intelligent.

Sounds like every day politics not engineering. The far right and the far left both think those who disagree with them must be idiots, when the truth is both the far left and the far right are not nearly as smart as they believe themselves to be. Both want to be the nanny/supervisor, neither is qualified.

Comment: Re:More liberal than libertarian (Score 4, Informative) 580

by drnb (#49043225) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

You do realize that "level playing field" and "equal opportunity" conflict with "minimal" government and "most local level", right?

No, there is no such conflict. Minimal is in the sense to achieve these goals. What reasonable libertarians and liberals disagree on is what constitutes a level playing field. A libertarian may lean more towards equal opportunity, a liberal more to equal outcomes. The later requires far more gov't involvement. A libertarian would also be less nanny-state'ish. Vax for measles, compulsory, Vax an infant for a STD, optional.

A lot of government programs are trying to help people in bad situations and give them opportunities, and very frequently local governments serve local prejudices.

Not really. The far more common situations is that Washington DC applies a one size fits all solution to problems that contain a high degree of local circumstances. Besides dollars sent to DC to address the situation coming back missing a large chunk of change, the DC money is also ineffectively used since it doesn't consider the local circumstances. Local dollars under local control could be far more effective at addressing the problem.

Comment: Re:That's because engineers are not smart (Score 1) 580

by drnb (#49043129) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

They're dogmatic. They spend their entire university career learning formulas and recipes (excuse me, algorithms) without questioning them the way physicists or philosophers do ...

Perhaps its different overseas but here in the US arguing with professors over algorithms and concepts is hardly uncommon, and discussing the origins of things is sometimes part of this argument. As in that concept/algorithm made more sense back in the day when hardware/software attribute X was true, but its not true any more.

Pick up an operating systems textbook. Some of the most popular start with computers were once this way and this is why operating systems tended to do things a certain way. And the legacy of this persists today. I've seen professors of Intro to CS classes have students do things in extremely arcane obsolete ways to experience the ancient history that has a legacy to this day.

For someone that speaks against dogma and superficial understanding you seem to be strangely practicing what our preach against.

Comment: Re:More liberal than libertarian (Score 1, Insightful) 580

by drnb (#49042873) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

I think it's more common among liberals (which makes me ashamed to call myself a liberal at times) but libertarians have a big problem with vaccines too for different reasons - and Silicon Valley is the kind of place to which libertarians are naturally drawn.

Since it's California and it's filled with both populations, you just have a double-whammy. :\

Most libertarians I know are reasonable libertarians. They want some service and regulations, they just want such to be minimal and to be served by the lowest and most local level of government. Just enough for basic safety, a level playing field, equal opportunity and most importantly accountability to locals. Not social engineering through the tax code or regulations, not consolidation of power in Washington DC and the lack of accountability to locals that results. But I am in California in a tech hub region, Libertarians may be different in Vermont. :-) The more extreme anti-gov libertarians, the ones you seem to be referring to, I can't image many being drawn to California. California is very high regulation, very high gov't involvement in everything, often to a ridiculous level.

Comment: More liberal than libertarian (Score 4, Insightful) 580

by drnb (#49042735) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

I'm not surprised by this. There's a particularly rabid strain of libertarianism that seems to hold anything related to authority in contempt, even when it's bound on sound science. Since "the man" wants them to be vaccinated, libertarians automatically distrust vaccines.

If you look at some of these enclaves of anti-vaxxers you will find that they are generally liberal enclaves, not libertarian enclaves.

Comment: Its politics/emotions not intelligence level ... (Score 4, Insightful) 580

by drnb (#49042669) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities
Science denial is probably more strongly correlated with politics/emotions not intelligence level. The left and the right merely have different things they are in denial about, different things that touch on their politics and their emotions. And emotions lead people to stand by their beliefs regardless of rational thought and evidence, both on the left and the right.

Comment: Army from same population as civilians ... (Score 1) 577

by drnb (#48956307) Attached to: DEA Planned To Monitor Cars Parked At Gun Shows Using License Plate Readers

Guns don't make a populace harder to control, and haven't for some time. A modern military full of trained soldiers can effortlessly contain even the best armed populace.

Not necessarily if the standing army comes from the same population as the civilians and is sympathetic to their grievances. The military may ignore orders and stay in barracks or refuse to fire upon civilians, as occurred when Soviet hardliners tried to prevent the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Or members of the military may actually join with rebellion citizens, as in the US Civil War.

Comment: Civil rights movement included gun rights (Score 1) 577

by drnb (#48955375) Attached to: DEA Planned To Monitor Cars Parked At Gun Shows Using License Plate Readers

You are obviously confusing civil rights (completely unrelated to guns) ...

You are misinformed regarding the civil rights movement. One of the rights the movement fought for was firearms ownership. Blacks were being discriminated against with respect to firearms too. The KKK boys prefer their victims unarmed when they show up.

Comment: Re:Why diesel fuel? (Score 1) 132

by drnb (#48800673) Attached to: Short-Term Exposure To Diesel Fumes Causes Changes In Gene Expression

... You are the one making assumptions. And dated doesn't mean bad. Nothing fundamental has changed ... because the technology is so simple. There's very little engineering involved. We're talking about problems which were solved twenty years ago ...

OK, you have lost all credibility. Any mild amount of googling proves you wrong. Try it some time. Once you get remotely familiar with the topic you will find that both paths need significant research and engineering and cost reductions. The old swimming pool sized study you cling to proves little.

Comment: Re:Why diesel fuel? (Score 1) 132

by drnb (#48790611) Attached to: Short-Term Exposure To Diesel Fumes Causes Changes In Gene Expression

... because the most efficient algae for your location will just show up and colonize the pond

The most efficient with respect to survival in the environment. That is not the same thing as the most efficient with respect to production of the desired chemicals and the efficiency of use of the injected CO2.

But they want to do algae in "reactors" (which is generally the focus of the industry) because it's a more controlled environment. They don't want to use the cheap, easy way we have to do it already for all the usual reasons.

You are making many assumptions about your very dated and very early stage research citation. There are still many technical problems with ponds and reactors are expensive. If quality control and non-seasonality are more important than cost then in the short term reactors are the way to go, this seems to be the case for the military. The industry is still researching both paths and expects large scale productions to be decades away. As I said, there is a lot of engineering to do to go from a small feasibility study to actual large scale production.

Comment: Re:Why diesel fuel? (Score 1) 132

by drnb (#48788455) Attached to: Short-Term Exposure To Diesel Fumes Causes Changes In Gene Expression

Swings in desert temperatures were very disruptive, hostile to many species

This is not a serious problem, because over time the best species will colonize the ponds and you simply harvest the dieoffs.

No, the goal is not to simply get something to grow. The point is to get specific species that produce desired byproducts efficiently to grow. Selection for the environment is one thing, selecting for efficient industrial production is something else. This is one of the differences between basic scientific research that demonstrates feasibility and engineering that produces a product, in academia a certain amount of hand waving, of leaving secondary problems for the next researcher (or engineer), is allowed.

Because the military will do something slow and expensively, it can't be done right?

Like it or not the military is leading the effort to industrialize biofuels and do large scale production. Historically many scientific and engineering advances have come from the military. When the military wants a technology then that field generally advances faster than when left purely to academia and industry. Military involvement is probably very good news for biofuels.

Actually, the best solution would be to produce Butanol. We'd be able to buy that already but a holding company owned jointly by BP and DuPont is suing a company owned by GE ventures to prevent them from selling it to us. It's a less polluting 1:1 replacement for gasoline made by bacteria since the 1800s. The patent should have been denied on the basis of obviousness and it relates to copying the gene for the ABE process from the original organism into basically anything else that might be suitable to carry it, and it was developed at a public university and therefore partly with our money (yours and mine.)

Many public universities retain patents related to any research done by their faculty or students. Licensing is a source of revenue, in theory reducing the amount of taxpayer revenue to run the place. At the University of California 50% of licensing fees go to the statewide university system, 25% to the department of the researchers and 25% to the researchers themselves. Researchers are required to report anything that is remotely patentable, a special department handles all the legal BS. The university does give small and/or local companies preferential pricing and consideration with respect to licensing fees, hoping to promote a local cluster of expertise.

Comment: Re:Why diesel fuel? (Score 1) 132

by drnb (#48785461) Attached to: Short-Term Exposure To Diesel Fumes Causes Changes In Gene Expression

No we could not do that in the very near future.

Yes, yes we could. It's cheap and easy.

Your own old citation proves otherwise. Your citation mentions various open questions moving from lab conditions to field conditions. Swings in desert temperatures were very disruptive, hostile to many species. At best your citation claims they have shown large scale plausibilty. As I said, much work remains.

Wiki shows that more recent government cost estimates approach US$200 a barrel pricing.

No. The fact that the technology is proven does not mean that it is ready to scale up to necessary levels any time soon.

Yes. The test was applicable to large-scale production. If you had read the report then you would know this. I've read the whole thing, how much have you read?

You need to re-read. They claim nothing more than plausibility of large scale production from the olympic sized pool testing. The US military is only now attempting large scale production and anticipates **decades** of work ahead. And the needs of the military are dwarfed by commercial trucking. After basic science comes engineering and engineering takes time.

Maybe someday, but not today.

A perfect summary of the situation regarding algae based biofuels. I'd love to see it happen but for the near future we could move to natural gas or continue to use petroleum.

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