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Comment Re:Learn to walk before you run... (Score 1) 285

You don't think trying to create an ecology on Mars (even without terraforming, building some kind of self-sustaining "biodome" there) would teach us valuable lessons that could help us here on Earth?

Why does one have to come before the other? Working on both problems in parallel can provide scientific boons shared across both.

Comment Re:Seems obvious now (Score 2) 214

I was just trying to make a joke about how California sucks, but sure, let's nerd fight.

Starfleet Headquarters is in San Francisco
The Federation Council is in San Francisco
President of the United Federation of Planets is in Paris, but everyone knows the Federation Council has all the real power and it's been suggested the Federation is a parliamentary type system with the Council electing the President
France is also coastal, and to the west of the bulk of the continent on which it resides, thus west coast.
We don't know where the Federation Supreme Court is, but probably someplace on a west coast.

I maintain that if Trekkies took over the world, they would put their capital on a west coast.

Comment Re:It's not about intelligence. (Score 1) 481

So any life that does not experience pain using the same cell types and signals that you do is not really pain, huh? And any life that doesn't have a centralized brain, it's okay to cause damage to their bodies and kill them?

You must be okay with eating octopuses, then, since their brains are distributed throughout their bodies, instead of being wholly centralized. You're okay with eating plants, for sure, even though they're capable of communication using thousands of chemical "words" and have demonstrated the ability to learn, despite having distributed neural-like cell structures. You must be okay with eating Albert Einstein as long as you inject him with a paralytic first, too.

Intelligence and pain are both irrelevant when it comes to eating. I don't apply ethics to what I eat, that's the difference between you and I. I'm just calling you a hypocrite for claiming animals are somehow special when you reject the notion that humans are somehow special. The reality is we're all just life forms trying to survive. All of us (all life throughout the entire universe, that is, not just humans) should eat/absorb anything that is capable of providing us with nutritional value and is not a danger. I don't eat humans or monkeys because they can be dangerous to eat. I don't eat poison berries, either.

I apply ethics only to killing and mutilation. That's a separate issue. The fact that vegans won't drink milk from a cow that didn't hurt the cow to get, but happily live in wood houses in formerly-forested areas, I just have to laugh and shake my head. Living a life, as any species, involves causing significant amounts of other living creatures to die. Just accept it, and then try not to destroy too many other life forms without purpose. Kill out of necessity, to protect yourself and feed yourself, then minimize the rest of the damage you do whenever possible. That's ethics. Wasting food at a restaurant because you realize after it's been served that there's a little bit of cheese on it, that's the opposite of ethical.

Comment Re:What has happened to Slashdot? (Score 1) 425

It was inevitable, really. Technology and science has become more and more fodder for political agendas, so technology and science is now political and attracts political comments. From there, you get stories that appeal to those political readers whether they are related to technology and science at all.

Comment Re:Just don't eat animals, period. (Score 1) 481

Before you spout your nonsense about the moral high ground of vegetarianism, you might want to actually investigate the science of plant intelligence and social behaviors.

Plants, animals, fungus, that protozoa swimming in my drinking water, who cares? My life requires the death of other living things to continue living. It may be immoral to kill without purpose, but to kill in order to sustain one's own life is just what all life does, yes even the plants murder other life forms to survive either through competition or direct action.

I value my life greater than I do the life of an octopus. Why shouldn't I? Why should his short little life take precedence to my own? That octopus may be inconvenienced, but his species will go on because I'm smart enough to build rocket ships that will someday take some of his relatives along with me to colonize and terraform other worlds, thus saving his species from eventual extinction when the sun burns out or there's some other disaster on Earth. Whatever you may say about human behavior towards the natural world, the fact that we can offer this eventual colonial symbiosis greatly tips the scales in our favor as righteous dudes.

Comment Re:On intelligence (Score 1) 481

It's a species that's adapted to getting at delicious seafood stored in hardened shells. A jar is just the same as a crab shell or clam shell, only manmade. It requires slightly different technique, perhaps, but it's not a stretch of the imagination that they'd be instinctually motivated to try to get a jar open, and be equipped physically to do so.

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It is contrary to reasoning to say that there is a vacuum or space in which there is absolutely nothing. -- Descartes