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Comment: Re: The story (Score 1) 162

by ilguido (#48067389) Attached to: AIDS Origin Traced To 1920s Kinshasa
That proves little to nothing. The reason why chimps (and gorillas) are thought to be unable to swim is their buoyancy: a young captive orangutan in a swimming pool is really an extreme case. Factors like water temperature, density and viscosity, not to mention size, depth and shape of the pool (which usually reduce turbulence and waves) compared to a real life river, alongside the fact that captive animals have typically a higher body fat percentage than wild animals (that is they're much less dense) can determine the success or failure of such a test. They should have taken a dozen chimps, thrown them in a muddy river and then see how may survived.

Comment: Re:Finnish (Score 1) 85

by ilguido (#47959607) Attached to: Europeans Came From Three Ancestry Groupings
It tends to support more some fringe theories than the mainstream theory and it's written in a slightly misleading way. As an example, the Korean and Japanese languages are generally _not_ included in the Altaic family, while they're overwhelmingly considered isolated languages, but the article fails to emphasize that their inclusion is frowned upon by the experts of both languages. Another fact that is almost overlooked by the article is that many proponents of this language family think that it is a useful classification, but are agnostic about its origin: apart a small hardcore group, most linguists think that the similarities between Turkic, Mongol and Tungusic dialects are adequately explained by their historical proximity and are very dubious about the possibility to even demonstrate their genealogical relations. Here comes the pet theory: the hardcore proponents of the Macro-Altaic language family need the inclusion of some other language to demonstrate that genealogical link, some language that is both old and distant, so to hint at an ancient relation and to discard the idea of a more recent mutual influence; if you can demonstrate that Mongol/Tungusic are related to Japanese and Korean you can say that their relations, not only between those two groups, but even between Mongol, Turkic and Tungusic are probably due to an ancient genesis and not to documented centuries of common life in the steppe. The problem is that none, so far, has given an accepted demonstration of that link, while many have given reasons to believe it's not valid (the more you go back in Japanese and Korean, the more those languages diverge). All these difficulties are overlooked in the article, so to lean toward a Macro-Altaic point of view.

Comment: Some calculations (Score 1) 56

by ilguido (#47033287) Attached to: SpaceX Cargo Capsule Leaves Space Station For Home
So NASA spent $1.6 billion for the CRS program, that is for 12 missions [1]. That is $75 million for mission. The payload of the CRS-3 mission, the biggest so far by the way, was 4,605 pounds (the declared maximum is 7,300 lb)[2], in other words $16,200 for pound of payload, including packaging. I'd like to know how does that compare to other space transport services.

Comment: Re:A bit of common sense maybe? (Score 1) 747

by ilguido (#46483603) Attached to: Measles Outbreak In NYC
Wrong! You go to jail if you fail to assess a reasonable risk. (1) After a four months long earthquake swarm many buildings were weakened, (2) the earthquake swarm wasn't over, so (3) more earthquakes were probable (for the swarm was going on) and many buildings weren't ready for more (because they already suffered damage), conclusion: there was a reasonable risk, and the experts failed to assess it. That's how it works for technical evaluations.

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