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Comment: Re:What exactly is Transhumanism ? (Score 1) 54

by jdagius (#48945947) Attached to: R.U. Sirius Co-Authors New Book On Transhumanism
Think of it as "brain implant", i.e. humans will, in effect, guide their own evolution by integrating relatively "low-tech" capabilities such as Googling for information or sending/receiving messages/emails directly into the human brain, where it then becomes very, very "high-tech". So it requires some advanced techniques in neural surgery (which are already becoming available) with computer technology that has existed for decades.

But, of course, such "transhumans" will be genetically identical sans surgery to us ordinary folk, but will appear to be omniscient and telepathic.

Comment: Re:I thought the point of the charge ... (Score 2) 42

by jdagius (#48930953) Attached to: Spider Spins Electrically Charged Silk
No, the charge makes the fibers "stand up", like what happens to your hair when you put your hand on a Van deGraff machine. Otherwise the fibers would tend to coalesce into a single cable.

It also makes the web more 'visible' to the prey, so they are statistically less likely to be ensnared, but some of the snare efficiency is regained because birds and other larger insects are also less likely to collide and require a rebuild.

Comment: Phylogenetic Puzzle: Electrostatic BioGenerators (Score 1) 42

by jdagius (#48930847) Attached to: Spider Spins Electrically Charged Silk
The article states that Uloborus plumipes is the only known species of spider to exploit dry electostatics, all of the others spin damp 'sticky glue' webs (even though the uluborid web fluid is less viscous and remains wet outside the body until it is hackled). The linked paper has several micrographs of the spider's spinner gland (with curious stalks that resemble electrical insulators) but surprisingly no diagrams of the uluborid hackling pods (note that it is also the only spider that lacks venom glands)

Are there any other creatures with similar electrostatic generation capabilities? Although electrostatic phenomena are often seen in nature, it seems remarkable that this capability could have evolved through natural selection. The paper doesn't shed much light on this, except for some hand-waving:

"...it is obvious that Uloborus is able to spin nano-scale filaments of great length and it may be assumed that the animal also somehow manages to electrostatically charge them. "

IMHO it somehow suggests intelligent design.

+ - Asteroid which passed near Earth had its own satellite->

Submitted by jdagius
jdagius (589920) writes "Asteroid 2004-BL86, which passed within 1.2 million kilometers from Earth on 27 January, was 500 meters long, the largest ever observed that close to our planet. Discovered in 2004, it drew the interest of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory because its orbit was close to Earth.

While analyzing the radar data on the day after the fly-by, JPL realized it was two objects, not one. A 70-meter companion was in orbit around the asteroid. http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnnne...

Such asteroid pairings are not uncommon. Approximately 16% of the asteroids examined by NASA in nearby space with 200 meter diameters or greater were found to have their own 'mini-moon'.

If you missed BL86 you might have to wait a bit to see it again. It won't return to Earth until 200 years from now. But another asteroid 1999-AN10, 800 meters in diameter, will pass by Earth in August of 2027."

Link to Original Source

Comment: AliBaba's online outlet is called AliExpress. (Score 5, Informative) 115

http://www.aliexpress.com/cate...

I've found it to be very friendly, with free shipping to the States on almost every purchase. Downside is that the free shipping goes through Singapore Post and takes a month or two to arrive here.

But the prices are really cheap, and customer support surprisingly good. Amazon had better watch out!

Comment: Re:What? (Score 1) 250

| Lead has been linked to civil violence.... distribution of wealth

The violence I've read about most frequently seems to be motivated by greed, personal revenge or jihadism. I don't recall any lead-poisoned or desperately poor criminals involved. Can you list some specific examples?

But assuming you're right, does it make sense that civil violence is steadily increasing, while lead in the environment has almost disappeared?

When I was a kid we lead pipes and lead paint in our houses and the air was filled with tetra-ethyl lead from leaded gasoline. Also a lot of lead solder in those ancient TV's and radios (before integrated circuits). So the 50's and 60's should have been more violent because of all the lead in the environment.

Comment: Re:What? (Score 1) 250

Ok, please add 'graphically realistic and violent Hollywood movies' to the list of variables.

What other variables, spanning the past 50 years or so, are relevant in explaining the increase in civil violence over the years?

Cellphones, Wikipedia, microprocessors, yoghurt, micro-wave ovens? These all became popular in the last 50 years. Are these the culprits?

Guns? I really don't think so. There are more far restrictions on the sale and use of firearms today than there were a half-century ago. It's just that it's somehow "easier" (or maybe even "desirable") to pull the trigger these days. We see it all the time in the movie and video games. Right?

What say you? If it's not movies or games, what are the true causal factors here?

Comment: Re:What? (Score 2) 250

> ... assumption must be that no correlation exists.

No, that's not how statistical tests of significance are interpreted. Failure to reject the null hypothesis does not prove the null hypothesis is true.
http://www.statisticalmisconce...
For example, consider the null hypothesis is "all guns shoot bullets". Then if my test sample happens to contain only bullet-shooting guns, then I cannot reject the hypothesis. But it doesn't prove it either, because my sample may have overlooked legitimate counter examples. Even if the sample was drawn honestly and with no biases. But a single counter-example would be sufficient to disprove the hyposthesis.

Personally, I think the study is flawed because there is no valid control group. I would suggest comparing violence today with 50 years ago.
I grew up in the 50's and 60's. There was a lot less civil violence then. Why is that? There were nothing like "video games" then (except maybe 'cowboys and Indians'). Guns were freely available. In fact much less restricted then now. Movies and TV were much less violent and gory then now. Society had much less civil violence then.
I recall that movies started getting more 'realistic' in the 70's. I remember being at first impressed by the increasingly "realistic" violence portrayed in movies.Up to then it was all theatrics, the good guy shot the bad guy, who clutched his chest and said "you got me" and then slowly slumped over. No blood showing at all usually. Or maybe a little ketchup for 'realism'.

Now I'm no longer impressed with this realism. It sickens me. What have we gained by seeing blood and flesh ripped apart? I think it has made us much less 'emotionally sensitive' to killing. It has never taken much effort to pull a trigger. But there has always been an 'emotional resistance' which traditionally made it difficult to pull the trigger when pointing a gun at a human. That resistance now seems to be wearing off. It's 'easier' now to pull the trigger. Has nothing to do with the design or availability of guns, more with Hollywood and the game industry. IMHO.

Now get off my lawn before I call the cops.

Comment: Re:Makes perfect sense, sort of, ... (Score 0) 423

by jdagius (#48074289) Attached to: Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming
> Wow, another right wing sheep spouting off about the 18-year > thing your masters keep telling you about.
FYI, most climatologists accept the "18-year thing" you speak of. They call it the "Pause", which is definitely not a term coined by skeptics.

The rest of your comment is irrelevant to the point I was trying to make. Typical of the warmist AC's who blindly follow what their leaders tell them. It is also customary, BTW, for warmists to accuse skeptics of the very things they themselves do wrong.

Skeptics have a tradition of _not_ swallowing whatever is fed to them (even though it seems to cost us mod points. Free speech?)

Comment: Re:Say "No more!" to Climate Posts (Score 1) 423

by jdagius (#48072173) Attached to: Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming
> Just because something is not 100% does not mean we should not protect against it.

True. But you're overlooking the cost-benefit analysis.

"Buckling up" has little or no adverse cost associated with it. Yes, it slightly increases the chance you'll be trapped in a flaming wreck. But that is probably less likely than your skull crashing through the windshield in a head-on collision. So the benefits outweigh the costs.

So, if we could just wear some simple appliance like a seat belt that would mitigate, without penalty, even the most farfetched climate catastrophes (e.g. sharknado), then, yeah, why not do it? Same as 'affordable insurance', right?

But the economic and political consequences of rushing in to replace our fossil-fuel-based infrastructure with wind and solar are substantial, with threats to our political and military stability. And the benefits are negligible in the sense that the proposed replacement systems will not come close to fixing the problem as it is being described. So, not an effective 'insurance policy' at all.

[Unless you think the rabble-rousers who will benefit from our self-destruction are the "good guys".]

Comment: Makes perfect sense, sort of, ... (Score 0) 423

by jdagius (#48072045) Attached to: Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming
... manmade CO2 warms the atmosphere. But atmosphere has not warmed as much as climate models have predicted over the past 18 years.

So there must be some 'missing' heat lurking about somewhere. If we believe the models.

Oh look at all the heat in the ocean that we have been observing for many years without really 'noticing'. (But now we really 'need' this heat, because it confirms our favorite theory of catastrophic manmade global destruction)

Hmm. Problem is that the models make the assumption that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is true. How does flow from a cooler body to a warmer place?

It's best to remain skeptical of reports like this until reliable mechanisms and models are presented to explain and predict it (in the past and in the future).

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner

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