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Comment Re: Still not learned from history (Score 4, Insightful) 252

Nah, too early. Most people, out of lack of personal experience, aren't yet terrified enough of a totalitatian govt. thus don't quite know why and how to love a proper functioning democracy.

Wait another decade or so, it will be easier then. More bloody, and will require more work, but there'l be more hands to help.


Comment Re:Is this different from sport? (Score 2, Insightful) 487

Many of us spend our livelihoods trying to enhance human knowledge and experience and abilities through improved software. Hell, half of us would sign up today for an internet implant chip. What's wrong with improving the wetware directly?

The rules are different, but the problems are the same as in sports with steroids. They start to arise when us others, who for various reasons don't want sign up for "improving the wetware directly", don't have any possibility of leaving normal lives anymore. You want super-powers. That's fine. But first move our society away from competitive living to just living. Take away the "winner takes it all" mentality, so you can have your drugs while I won't have mine.

Why? Because "winning" defined as who's better at "enhance human knowledge and expirience and abilities", "being smarter", "be productive", recognize a novel cure for disease" is just as random as "being a better entertainer at sports" -- life, as we live it, is still a game with a relatively level playing field imposed by society. The ruleset may be a lot more complex than sports, but still it has it's own rules and enforcements. Otherwise, in the absence of rules and enforcement, what would stop me from killing your drug-pumped, better-graded child, in order for my clean, very smart, but slightly less-performant kid to have a chance for University later on, too?

Now, we can argue whether society is such a good concept to have or not, but this is a different debate. At any rate, as long as we have one, we need to make sure that every member of society has a decent chance, not only those who would readily put their long-term health at risk for being more productive. (How much "productive" do you actually need, really, that cannot be archived otherwise? And for what, exactly?)

Comment Re:Not much else to say. (Score 1) 838

Regardless of whether it is immoral or not, making it officially legal, society will eventually reach the point where you, if old or sick, will have to justify not the wish to die, but the wish to stay alive until the "natural" end of your days! People will look at you and say "Why aren't you doing all a big favor and kill yourself?"

Comment Re:Of course! (Score 5, Insightful) 264

*sigh* It's even worse than that. IAAP and I was very excited to see this ... at first. The article by the way is very well written (serious science - not a crank). The problem is that the data (figure 2 in the arxiv paper - everyone should check this out btw) on which the author hangs all his hopes is seriously noisy (compared to the size of the "kink" that he superposes on the graph). In other words, if you imagine erasing the drawn-in kink, such artifacts occur several places in the data and are generally not above the noise level.

Not necessarily. When analysing experimental data, keep in mind that it's not only the ~5 points of the kink that carry relevant information, it's *all* the points! Thus, the proper way to look at the graph would be to focus first the lower half (up to the kink), and then on the upper half, and see what's changed. If, for example, linear fits to the separate data regions give separate straight lines, this could mean that there is something in the data.

That having been said: although IAAS (I am a scientist), I'm not a transport measurements guy and I'm not familiar with the state-of-the-art methods in this particular experimental technique... The guys improving their experimental technique would certainly not hurt at all, but for now, I'd leave it to the peer reviewers to estimate the relevance of *this* particular graph ;-)

Comment Re:"Unbiased" can mean "evil" sometimes. (Score 1) 973

I understand your point, but that's no excuse for blowing up civilians.

"With great power comes great responsibility" is a pretty chewed-out phrase, but that's what it boils down to in this kind of "but-they-could-have-been-enemies"-arguments.

Somebody wants to handle guns? Fine. Then find a way to handle them without harming civilians, or GTFO.

You cannot treat military by the same standarts you treat a random person. Whoever has the power to do great damage (e.g. because he's flying an Apache with a 30mm gun on board) cannot afford to proceed with the same carelessnes like you & me would, without that power!

Comment "Unbiased" can mean "evil" sometimes. (Score 1) 973

Sorry, but no.

I think there's too many "unbiased" people out there. People shouldn't be unbiased. They should be biased towards justice, fairness, and doing TheRightThing(tm). Killing unarmerd civilians is not TheRightThing(tm), so I'm actually damned glad that WikiLeaks isn't biased, but rather -- for a change -- biased towards the right thing.

In other words: being good is biased, just aswell as being evil is biased. Being unbiased it's not the same as being good, it's being indifferent. And that can be evil, too, given the right circumstances.

Comment Re:conundrum (Score 1) 464

Sorry, but you fail to explain one point: where to draw the line between legitimate "police helping" and "show me the warrant"-attitude?

Being asked for help by the police as in in "sir, you're the man next door, have you seen anything suspicious yesterday at the time of shooting", or being a company holding private (as opposed to *public*) information on civil persons and happily handing it out to law enforcement beas a huge difference.

To put it more clearly: would you like your telecommunications company "help out" the police by politely providing any information they might want on *you*? Like persons you talked to, invoices, message transcripstions? No? Thought so. As a matter of facts, there are laws against that (or used to be, at least).

Police, if supposed to be able to access information about you from 3rd-party, has specific devices to do so (i.e. subpoenas etc). For exactly this reason you, as a company holding sensitive information about a person, should not "help" the police unless they have the device to legally force you to!

This is in no way different in the case of a supposedly drug dealer... you don't know the man, you haven't heard his lawyers and his side of the story, and you are by no means a judge. You are a random company, and he is a random customer, and unless law enforcement has specific reasons to gather informations about him (and "specific reasons" are documented by warrants, subpoenas etc), you have no business divulging them private information.

Comment Re:Simple... if "Y" chromosome found = male (Score 1) 1091

It's Not That Simple.

Besides, you're ignoring the point. The real issue here is highlighted by this passage:

But now the IAAF claim that they want to conduct further tests to see if 'she may have a rare medical condition that gives her an unfair advantage.'

Yes, it is. If it's a female (i.e. has the corresponding genitals from birth), then... she is a female. Period.

What's an "unfair advantage"? How about being a 300 pound, 7foot tall hariy-back in heavy-weight boxing? Is that "unfair"? Tough luck. How about being so incredibly fast, that you make the 100m in 9 seconds flat? How about... well, just being a "natural" in whatever sports you're doing? How about having this thing called "talent"? Is that an "unfair advantage", too, if the wrong people win?

The whole point of world championships and olympics is for the best of the best to measure with each other, not for the best of the average. Somebody has an advantage from birth? Well, as long as that's whote Mother Nature gave him (as opposed to 'was engineerd by man, in any way') that advantage... congratulations to him/her/it and good luck with it. And to all the others: get over it. It's not about who trains the hardest, it's about who's the best.

"Can you program?" "Well, I'm literate, if that's what you mean!"