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Comment Re:Let the market decide. (Score 1) 342 342

It is not efficient at all to move the whole fire department over to a house just to watch it burn and make sure it doesn't spread to neighbors.

Why is it not efficient? As long as they don't have to wear much equipment, nor spend much of the chemicals, nor risk lives and limb, the costs of such a move are negligible.

It's also a natural monopoly.

There is no such thing. "Natural monopoly" is a myth created by statists already in government to justify their control of our lives.

It wouldn't be efficient to have two competing fire departments in a small town.

Who said, they must limit themselves to one town? They don't — not any more than KFC does. On the contrary, the current situation, where each little town has its own department is inefficient. Multiple such companies could open shop in multiple places — competing with each other across town- and state-borders.

It's much better to have a larger one with better equipment.

Sure. But it does not have to be government-owned.

Submission + - Genetically modified rice makes more food, less greenhouse gas->

Applehu Akbar writes: A team of researchers at the Swedish University of AgriculturalSciences has engineered a barley gene into rice, producing a variety that yields 50% more grain while producing 90% less of the powerful greenhouse gas methane. The new rice pulls off this trick by putting more of its energy into top growth. In countries which depend on rice as a staple, this would add up to a really large amount of increased rice and foregone methane.
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Information wants to be free (Re:Embarrassment) (Score 1) 318 318

And that makes it OK?

I see nothing wrong with it, actually. People want — and have a perfect right — to know, who they are about to trust with powers over them and/or their businesses. And the higher the position, the greater the powers and, consequently, the greater the extent people might go in their investigations.

The "opposition research" is just another facet of this. If it is legitimate for all of us to study, how Donald Trump parted with his ex-wide 30 years ago before we hire him, it is certainly legitimate for a would-be employer to check criminal history of a candidate, or inquire, whether he has done something, which may betray certain things about his character or judgement. Did he torture animals? Is he prone to binge-drinking? Has he burned the national flag? Is he a racist, sexist, or communist?

So long as private employers' hiring decisions remain their own, they ought to remain free to base them on whatever considerations they please — with the specific (if regrettable) restrictions imposed by the law, of course.

Well clearly I'm not going to have such studies to hand, not sure how you would study such a thing

Well, you made a wide-reaching statement about a certain fact. If you can not cite anything to confirm the fact, your statement remains unsubstantiated and the "fact" — highly suspect.

there is inbuilt racism / nationalism in CV selection

I can believe that — and in my not-so-humble opinion, those concerns ought to remain up to the employer as well. Both from the principled standpoint — being free must imply freedom to be wrong, as well as practical — the war on thought-crimes, waged in this country since the 1960-ies, is even less winnable than the coterminous war on drugs.

Comment Re:If I could abort child, I can do ANYTHING (Score 1) 318 318

I don't agree with the murder of unborn children either.

Well, you may not, but the country's laws see nothing wrong with it — and it certainly is not considered "murder". And yet, what you do with that same child only a few years after he is born, is suddenly a matter of police concern. That's the inconsistency — in the general thinking, not yours — of which I'm trying to raise awareness here.

I am not trying to claim [...] I think

Wouldn't it be nice, if people applied their opinions on rearing children to their own children only?

Comment Information wants to be free (Re:Embarrassment) (Score 1) 318 318

And this is why we have privacy. That people have disconnected lives where they are one person at work and another with their friends

If, for whatever reasons, an employer wants to know, what sort of a person you are with your friends — and they all will, once the positions they are considering you for reach a certain height, they'll find out. With private investigators, if need be.

What you present to the employer being separate from your personal life is actually a really important part of how we function as a society.

Is it? How so? Can you cite any studies showing usefulness of such separation? Or how this separation changed over the years — for the betterment of society, or otherwise?

Comment Re:Embarrassment (Score 1) 318 318

The problem isn't embarrassment, it's judgemental people with the power to affect your live.

Oh, thank you for identifying "the problem". For a while here, I thought it was the irresponsible statements and other behaviour of certain people. Turns out, it is the other people's opinion of same...

Comment If I could abort child, I can do ANYTHING (Score 1) 318 318

there may be some issues there for good reason

If we, as a society, trust parents with the decision to abort their children before birth, what possible "good reason" can there be for us to intervene in the decision to let them wonder in the park until dinner after the umbilical cord is cut?

Submission + - Scientists identify possible new substance with highest melting point

JoshuaZ writes: "Researchers from Brown University have tentatively identified an alloy of hafnium, nitrogen and carbon as having an expected melting point of about 7,460 degrees Fahrenheit (4120 Celsius). This exceeds the previous record breaker tantalum hafnium carbide which melts at 7,128 F (3942 C) and had stood as the record holder for almost a century. However, at this point, the record setter is still hypothetical, based on simulations. The new record has not yet been confirmed by experiment. http://journals.aps.org/prb/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevB.92.020104 is the actual article while http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/07/28/behold-a-new-record-for-the-worlds-highest-melting-point/ is a lay summary. If the simulations turn out to be correct, the new alloy may be useful in parts like jet engines, and the door will be opened to using similar simulations to search for substances with even higher melting points or with other exotic properties.

Comment Free trade with non-free countries? (Score 5, Interesting) 97 97

I doubt, free trade with non-free countries is beneficial to humanity. Though one can argue, that it makes such non-free countries more free, it is not at all evident, that that's what happened to China, for example.

Meanwhile, the US is gradually losing freedoms as there appear more and more things we aren't allowed to do or even say, and the list of places requiring identification is growing.

Submission + - The Rise of Computer-Aided Explanation->

An anonymous reader writes: Imagine it’s the 1950s and you’re in charge of one of the world’s first electronic computers. A company approaches you and says: “We have 10 million words of French text that we’d like to translate into English. We could hire translators, but is there some way your computer could do the translation automatically?”

At this time, computers are still a novelty, and no one has ever done automated translation. But you decide to attempt it. You write a program that examines each sentence and tries to understand the grammatical structure. It looks for verbs, the nouns that go with the verbs, the adjectives modifying nouns, and so on. With the grammatical structure understood, your program converts the sentence structure into English and uses a French-English dictionary to translate individual words.

For several decades, most computer translation systems used ideas along these lines — long lists of rules expressing linguistic structure. But in the late 1980s, a team from IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., tried a radically different approach. They threw out almost everything we know about language — all the rules about verb tenses and noun placement — and instead created a statistical model.

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:I am shocked! (Score 1) 98 98

the sort of moralists who read HotAir

Seriously? You are going to attack a message based on who delivered it? Well, my first link was from CNN, is that Ok with you? I then went searching for any report on what happened to them — is it my fault, that the CNN had no attention span enough to follow-up on the story?

Comment Re:I am shocked! (Score 1) 98 98

Well, considering the fact, that they worked for SEC — and were supposed to watch for and prevent or, at least, soften the impact of, financial disaster that occurred, their dereliction of duty did prove rather dangerous.

You are comparing two very different things.

Point is, the actions are both highly outrageous and unimaginable to anybody — their bosses and critics alike — until both happened...

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