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Comment: Re: Motivated rejection of science (Score 0) 661

About as scientific as climate science. Meaning, each have theories at the micro level that have been tested using experimentation (ie. supply and demand, absorption of radiation by greenhouse gases, etc). But at the macro-level, each attempts to model extremely chaotic systems through (mostly) observation and pattern fitting.

So, don't be all smug about economics not being very scientific, because climatology isn't all that far ahead of it.

Comment: Re:Land of the Free! (Score 1) 370

by nharmon (#45845123) Attached to: Illinois Law Grounds PETA Drones Meant To Harass Hunters

You know how I can tell you've not done any real fishing or hunting in your life? Because you believe if PETA can't "monitor" sportsmen, that sportsmen will not be monitored. But in reality, wildlife and natural resources officers constantly monitor sportsmen.

But please, don't let facts get in the way of you bashing the gun lobby.

Comment: Re:Ungrateful krauts (Score 1) 606

by nharmon (#45716639) Attached to: Amazon Workers Strike In Germany As Christmas Orders Peak

I am thinking that most of those corporations measure productivity by hours spent in front of a computer, which means they see younger programmers working 80 hours a week spitting out the same code that would take an older programmer 40 hours to be "more productive".

But your point is well taken; perception of productivity is pretty messed up and I think that explains a big part of why these workers are striking.

Comment: Re:Ungrateful krauts (Score 1, Insightful) 606

by nharmon (#45713199) Attached to: Amazon Workers Strike In Germany As Christmas Orders Peak

OMG. If that is what Europe really wants, then they can keep it. Maybe they don't realize that workers don't magically become "productive" out of the womb. Nor do they when someone hands them a diploma. Productivity increases with experience.

By saying a nation should only employ productive workers and leave the unproductive unemployed, you are effectively saying that anyone young should just be a dependent of the state while older people get to reap the benefits of labor shortages.

So what happens when your older "productive" workers all retire? All of those "unproductive" young people you wanted to keep unemployed will still be unproductive. I suppose you could just import productive immigrants. But eventually nobody will want to come to your country because you're going to have to tax most of their pay in order to support the multitudes of unproductive people in your country.

No. I think I prefer America's way of doing things. We provide subsidies to our low-wage earners in the hopes that they increase their productivity through experience. It isn't perfect, but it is at least sustainable.

Comment: Re:The numbers don't add up (Score 3, Interesting) 567

By identifying the high risk teenaged drivers we can target them with additional training and restrictions that will reshape their driving behavior and make them lower risk. And we could mandate that the insurance companies pay for some of that additional training.

This would similar to health insurance companies being mandated to cover preventative health services.

Comment: My charity is more important than your charity... (Score 1) 247

by nharmon (#45304811) Attached to: Bill Gates: Internet Will Not Save the World

I'm not saying Gates is necessarily wrong, but it is awfully convenient that the most important issue for the world just happens to be the one his charity is involved in.

I question whether you can even know what will "save the world". Look at risks to human civilization. What is the impact of malaria on the population versus say, an asteroid crashing into our planet? The latter is more catastrophic to the survival of our species than the former, but the probability of occurrence is much lower.

What if the Internet becomes instrumental to the identification of an asteroid threat with sufficient time to mitigate its effects? Will the Internet have 'saved the world'?

Again, I'm not saying that curing disease isn't important, and I applaud Mr. Gates' efforts even if I may question his motives. But I don't think he can possibly know what will and will not "save the world".

Comment: Re:Americans doing the right thing (Score 4, Informative) 999

by nharmon (#45151509) Attached to: US Government Shutdown Ends

Carter and Clinton managed it just fine. They got the deficit to nothing and Clinton actually managed to pay the debt down a bit.

That isn't true. Under Carter and Clinton the public debt went up every single year. In fact, the last time we managed to actually pay down the debt was in 1957.

Or we could raise the taxes in the upper brackets to the levels maintained by that notorious lefty Eisenhower. :-)

Go ahead. Just be sure to add every loophole and tax deduction that was available during Eisenhower's times. Otherwise you're just advocating confiscation of wealth, which is not such a lovely road for us to go down. But hey, high tax rates with generous deductions would encourage spending, and that would be fine by me.

Comment: Re:Don't care (Score 4, Insightful) 438

by nharmon (#45125787) Attached to: <em>Gravity</em>: Can Film Ever Get the Science Right?

If they got the science perfectly right, there would be no film.

I disagree. Actual manned spaceflight is dangerous and damned scary as it is. The scenes with the remains of dead astronauts were just freaky. You didn't need a monolithic cloud of space debris, just a few pieces that cripple the shuttle's windows and heat shield. Then what do you do? Houston says they can't launch a rescue shuttle due to the unknown debris factors so your only choice is to chance a transfer orbit to the ISS using an experimental jetpack. Despite the differences in orbital shapes, IIRC the delta-V required isn't that obscene and probably easily written into the capabilities of an experimental jetpack.

You could cut out 90% of the drama in Gravity, and still have a beautiful, compelling, and downright terrifying movie. It's really too bad they felt the need to overdo it.

Comment: Re:Erroneous claims by the inventor of the net? (Score 0) 195

Al Gore's precise words: "I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

Gore didn't say his initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the internet. He didn't say he helped commercialize the Internet. Nor did he say anything about funding computer initiatives. He literally said that he "took the initiative in

  • creating

the Internet".

If you want to argue that he made important contributions, be my guest. I won't disagree. But it is amazing that anybody on Slashdot would defend a politician taking credit for decades of scientific achievement because said politician, towards the end, introduced some bills to fund it and commercialize it. The simplest and most reasonable explanation is that those who do are politically biased.

"Those who will be able to conquer software will be able to conquer the world." -- Tadahiro Sekimoto, president, NEC Corp.

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