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Comment: Re:Going metric will shortly be pointless (Score 1) 830 830

Right, it isn't monolithic, so you do you know for a fact that it is an example of market failure? I assert companies have used metric or imperial as their needs dictated and that there is no reason, per se, to believe that they made the wrong choice. It is not like no metric parts are used or make in the U.S. What I am also pointing out is that the whole question is becoming irrelevant, computers don't care and can easily deal with many measurement systems. When you 3D scan the item you will 3D print and make a computer file, the computer will be able to display the data you wish in any format you like.

Comment: Re:Going metric will shortly be pointless (Score 1) 830 830

Ah, but who bests knows the cost specifics, the people actually working in the industry or you, because they don't see the "big picture"? But your still missing it, my 3D printer can use inches, meters, cubits and furlongs and the best size for a screw may not come out evenly in any unit of measure. I have nothing against the metric system, but the future will likely make sunk transition costs today a pure loss.

Comment: Going metric will shortly be pointless (Score 1) 830 830

"Going Metric" really has nothing to do with measuring in Centimeters and Celsius and never did. It really has to do with retooling industry and parts to new standard sizes. The problem is it is very costly to do so. Think about the metric and common wrenches you have, is used to be you had one set of tools and best of all because there were not really that many commonly used sizes, and the differences were visually apparent, you could just reach for the right wrench by looking at it. Right now you might be thinking "ah but of only the U.S. would just use the parts the rest of the world uses, things would be fine.". First, remember that goes both ways as metric nuts are in no way better than common ones. Second, well, frankly most industries have fairly specialized tools, in other words you care more about those immediately around you, the sizes of available nuts have nothing to with board lengths. But, we are entering a new custom manufacturing world. We may soon be manufacturing boards AND nuts to the specific needs of the product rather than standard sizes. When that happens, well, you can measure in inches, meters or cubits and the computer will be able to convert and manufacture just fine.

Comment: Re:What is responsible for aging? (Score 2) 140 140

Still don't forget most cell lines factually don't last that long, the successful ones made it at the cost of overwhelming numbers not making it. So for example when a batch of cells go bad (say cancer), it helps to have a whole other batch of cells, say in another person, to fall back on. This is great research none the less.

Comment: All trade agreement kill a sacred cow (Score 1) 152 152

I am not supporting secrecy, but I am not surprised by it. All trade agreements piss someone off and kill someone's sacred cash cow. If there were no special interests to protect, you wouldn't need a trade agreement as there would be no, or low, import taxes. These agreements very specifically say stuff like, we are going to stop taxing microchip imports and you will stop taxing rice imports. Needless to say, your microchip producers and their rice farmers get pissed off. These agreements have been hashed out in long and difficult sessions by dedicated staff and their likely net effects on the economy of both nations have been calculated. So of course after going through this processes, the negotiators don't want to deal with local special interests campaigning to insist that their particular trade barrier remain. Basically you have lots of special interests who correctly see a big danger to themselves, while potential winners only see potential gains, the trade agreement can get quickly picked apart piece by piece.

Comment: Re:You over-focused on the particulars of this one (Score 1) 285 285

Actually I think my reply was spot on. I will leave the issue of what is a "fair" wage alone for now to simply say, because U.S. workers were so much richer than the rest of the worlds workers, there was never any doubt but that free trade would depress their wages. That is what has been happening for decades, working class U.S. citizens have been losing ground in wages because they more directly compete with others around the world. The Farm owner may be well off, but it is really is true he or she can't afford to pay too much more than they do now. However at the same time you see increasing wealth in other countries and of course the wealthy are doing even better. This was the expected result of free trade and is what we are seeing. Now I am torn about this issue. I would like people in other countries to have a shot at a good job too and it does seem fairest to give everyone an equal chance. Maybe it will be best for the world in the long term and it kind of seems world wide wealth inequity is being equalized somewhat. None the less, a pretty clear and easy to follow line can be drawn between the working class getting a smaller percentage of the U.S. economy and being able to easily hire someone in another country to do the same thing for less. As for CEO pay, check out some stories about stock holders trying to change CEO pay, many businesses are not the democracies you think they are, indeed they sound more like royal courts or high school cliques when you find out how they really run. OTOH, maybe this will finally be the wake up call for stock owners to look a little more closely at corporate governance rules, after all money in the CEOs pocket comes out of profits just like workers wages, AND there might be a business in another country paying their CEO less and thus be more competitive.

Comment: Re:You're not willing to pay (Score 1) 285 285

Yes, you will, they do in Japan and think it is a bargain, of course Japan does protect farm imports. You won't pay that today because the store knows it can get them cheaper from Mexico. Even if very few strawberries are imported, U.S. producers MUST compete on price or they know they will quickly go out of business. The know the price of strawberry imports and know full well that even if this year they could keep the price up, their market would quickly erode and imports would skyrocket. I am not against free trade, but I don't blind myself to it's consequences.

Comment: Re:Every single time: "living wage" (Score 1) 285 285

Actually free trade has a lot to do with this, there were plenty of times when farmers and ranchers work hands make fine money. The real problem U.S. farmers and farm workers face is workers in other countries are willing to work for dirt poor wages in their home countries. Note in Japan farmers do well, but Japan protects is domestic farm market very aggressively. Why do you think the immigrants come here to work on farms in the first place? Hopefully in the long term, when the world is more equal, free trade will finally benefit all, but in the mean time it steps down pretty hard on the neck of the poorest people in rich nations. Maybe some kind of social justice to help out those we know for a fact will be hurt in return for cheap strawberries is worthwhile, at least an investment in resources to give them a chance to better themselves.

Comment: Hip Hip Hooray! (Score 1) 285 285

I picked strawberries as a kid, the job blew chunks and paid awful. If robots can do it, hooray!!!! I swear everyone has become such a bunch of luddites. There are social issues about making sure people are empowered to demand good wages for the work only humans can do, but good riddance to this kind of job! And if robots do everything in the future, maybe socialism will be the answer then. The truth is people are more motivated to work by feeling useful and successful anyway.

Comment: Re:Women in academia are given a little more slack (Score 1) 517 517

Very interesting post. I am guessing you are hiring for a STEM type professor? While I think there is some level of truth to the statement that someone who is any kind of minority in a field is more likely to still be there because they love the subject, one would expect then for the same logic to apply to male candidates in female dominated fields, but it seems like it doesn't according to the data. Men may brag more, but I understand research shows women are better communicators on average and thus in theory better able to express their accomplishments. Also, if there are more men over all being hired, and a fairly small number of washouts, it is more likely to randomly happen to a male. Finally, I also have not hired people who I thought were too qualified (though rarely), but the gender of the person wasn't relevant. I think the danger is that it is very easy to make an apparently self consistent reason for any kind of bias you like, but hard data ought force us to at least question our assumptions however well meant.

Comment: What do you get when you... (Score 2) 294 294

...make a computer thinks like a person? A computer that loses it's car keys. When we finally emulating living intelligence artificially, it will have many of the same disadvantages that normal human intelligence has. In fact it HAS to, if it does not it won't be a true replica and I suspect many of our so call disadvantages are inherent to the system. It is interesting to note our most useful tools really are very unlike the things they replace, a bull is much better able to take care of itself than a tractor is. To a great extent computers are useful to us because they do things we don't do well, not the things we do well. FYI, a true AI that could pass the Turning Test would itself want a PDA to help it out and take care of the pesky details it didn't like dealing with. Another time someone once remarked to me that they thought in the future, maybe we would have the way to enhance someone's intelligence with computers. I replied, "like making them better at chess?", they said yes and I pointed out we have that technology now, just give them a laptop with a chess program and have them copy the moves. The future is more like a highly connected hive mind, with human and artificial minds closely linked, in many ways our smart phones are the first step on this path.

Comment: The future of medicine (Score 3, Interesting) 77 77

In the future, our laws and the FDA are going to have to reform to adjust to a new realty. In brief, there no bad chemicals or bad drugs, only bad uses. Medicine has been so extraordinarily good at providing near miraculous cures, that we have come to have a "magic pill" mindset. This drug magically cures this disease and is "safe". The reality of medicine is a series of tradeoffs, typically the tradeoffs are greatly to our advantage, but not always. Further, it has long been known that a drug that works for one person doesn't work for someone else. There is no doubt that targeted medicine, what I consider a subset of open source medicine, is the next critical system break through. For example, this is why it is so intriguing to be putting IBM Watson on the task of medicine, Watson will be able to analysis your personal health makeup and suggest a drug appropriate for you, along with recommended possible side effect markers to watch and even possibly test for! How do you go about regulating medicine is such an environment, in the future it will no longer make sense for the FDA to "approve" or "disapprove" a drug. Rather the most sensible course will be to monitor an accurate database of effects and make sure all the participants are following correct recording procedures, along with assuring purity of products. If you follow through this logic, you will quickly realize it calls into question the current system of patents. Where an entity has a financial interest is promoting a particular drug, it also has an interest in suppressing negative information and promoting positive. Under such circumstances it isn’t strongly in anyone personal interest, other than an illegal cartel, to promote inappropriate uses of a particular drug. Obviously some system of financial rewards/incentives need to be applied, and of course no can work for free. But just as the open source software movement hasn’t killed off software companies, nor will making a space for open source medicine kill of drug companies. Indeed the free flow of ideas has only enhanced technological progress. I hope I have convinced some of you to embrace a move to open source medicine.