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Comment Re:/.er bitcoin comments are the best! (Score 5, Insightful) 253 253

They've hardly missed the boat. If Bitcoin really disrupts things in Argentina, then that means Argentinians holding Bitcoins instead of holding pesos or dollars. That would imply they hold a number of Bitcoins worth some vaguely similar amount to what their current cash holdings are worth. Given that there are about $50B USD worth of pesos, and only $3B USD worth of Bitcoins, then either the price goes up a bunch or Bitcoin isn't actually being all that disruptive.

Comment Re:Why is bitcoin popular again? (Score 5, Insightful) 254 254

Fortunately, bitcoin allows multi-signature escrow. That permits the escrow service to decide who gets the bitcoins (buyer or seller), but doesn't let them run off with them. It's not perfect, as it can't prevent collusion between escrow agent and either party against the other party, but it does prevent the simpler forms of "just run off with the money". Why it isn't in more widespread use yet, I have no idea.

Comment Re:Really?!? (Score 1) 1448 1448

By a quirk of history, this particular culture won and imposed it customs on everyone else.

There's a societal down-side to polygamy, one that needs STRONG cultural overrides to prevent. If (presumably) richer men are allowed multiple wives, that means that there are fewer wives for the rest of the men. You then end up with an excess of unmarried, non-parental young adult men, and being married and a parent is usually a calming influence. These single men are usually the first in the streets if things take even a tiny down-turn. We still see this in Arabic countries which allow polygamy, as well as countries where there's an imbalance of men and women, such as China and India (one-child policies as well as gender-based abortions responsible.

This is an obvious problem in societies that also have the problem of being strongly patriarchal and/or misogynistic. (The obvious examples you site have these issues.) In cases where women are equally allowed and able to engage in such relationships, there is no a priori reason to suspect such a problem.

The only evidence I know of that is directly relevant to modern times and from a sexually equal setting is highly anecdotal. I've looked a little for better without luck. But, what I've seen and heard from the polyamory community is that this is most likely a non-issue, and that if it isn't, you probably have your genders reversed. Basically, I've seen weak anecdotal evidence that in some circles, the women tend to participate in more relationships than the men do. I haven't seen any evidence (weak or otherwise) of the reverse effect. And, of course, this report should be taken with a large grain of salt, as it's based on fairly strongly selection-biased sources. However, I think it's strong enough to call your fears into question.

For reference, I (male, straight) in a happily polyamorous relationship. My partner (female) has a paramour (also male, also straight). The three of us get along well, and none of us are actively dating anyone else.

Comment Re:This explains it! (Score 1) 356 356

You can distill helium out of the air. There's some left. The cost would be around 10x the cost of neon, though. And if you have to ask what neon costs...

Actually, people do distill some helium out of the air. It comes out with the neon as "noncondensing gases" in the column. Those gases get sold to some buyers of neon, who don't mind some extra helium in the gas. Neon signs aren't too picky, iirc.

Comment Re:I Guess This Is What Happens When I Don't Watch (Score 1) 166 166

There have been cases of criminals finding ways to substitute another person's DNA for their own, including one case of a doctor who actually managed to hide another person's blood in one of his veins, thus faking his innocence.

Do you have a link for that? It sounds fascinating.

Comment Re:Radiation in Denver is unavoidable (Score 1) 536 536

There have been several more disasters, depending on where you set the line. If you accept anything in the "accident" range, that's 8 total events, one of which didn't involve a reactor, just some nuclear material. So, either 7 or 8, depending how you count. See International Nuclear Event Scale.

Comment Re:when these genius people are 100% (Score 1) 226 226

Suppose you believe that to be the case, and then you observe such a coin landing on edge? In other words, what do you do when certain knowledge encounters an absurd event (unity prior vs impossible evidence)? There is no recovery from that, any more than you can say that infinity minus infinity is 5. The numbers one and zero do not behave like probabilities. In order to conclude that an even has certainty 1, you must observe infinitely strong evidence about it. Even in a math journal, a carefully reviewed published paper does not come close to infinite evidence.

Comment Re:when these genius people are 100% (Score 2) 226 226

For 100% certainty you need religion

Or math, the queen of all sciences (ducks from flames)

Really? I don't think 100% certainty means what you think it does. Have you ever made a mistake proving a theorem? Has a peer-reviewed published theorem ever later been found to have a mistake? Is it even remotely possible that it will happen in the future? If so, you need to assign a level of certainty to any given theorem: a probability that it has a mistake. As it gets used more a scrutinized more, that probability declines dramatically, but it can't reach zero. Zero and one are not probabilities. There's a big difference between 0.99999999, or any other finite number of nines, and infinite nines. For the same reasons that infinity is not a real number, zero and one are not probabilities or certainties.

Earth

Did Neandertals Paint Early Cave Art? 126 126

sciencehabit writes "Dating experts working in Spain, using a technique relatively new to archaeology, have pushed dates for the earliest cave art back some 4000 years to at least 41,000 years ago, raising the possibility that the artists were Neandertals rather than modern humans. And a few researchers say that the study argues for the slow development of artistic skill over tens of thousands of years — not a swift acquisition of talent, as some had argued."
IOS

Apple Releases IOS Security Guide 91 91

Trailrunner7 writes in with a story about a iOS security guide released by Apple. "Apple has released a detailed security guide for its iOS operating system, an unprecedented move for a company known for not discussing the technical details of its products, let alone the security architecture. The document lays out the system architecture, data protection capabilities and network security features in iOS, most of which had been known before but hadn't been publicly discussed by Apple. The iOS Security guide (PDF), released within the last week, represents Apple's first real public documentation of the security architecture and feature set in iOS, the operating system that runs on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices. Security researchers have been doing their best to reverse engineer the operating system for several years and much of what's in the new Apple guide has been discussed in presentations and talks by researchers. 'Apple doesn't really talk about their security mechanisms in detail. When they introduced ASLR, they didn't tell anybody. They didn't ever explain how codesigning worked,' security researcher Charlie Miller said."

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