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Comment Re: Islam's relationship to modern science (Score 1) 330

Yes, one of them was 'Separation of Church and State'. They carefully chose the word "Church" because they did not wast a 'Separation of God and State.' The wanted all to believe in God, but at the same time, they wanted no organized religion, or church, to have a hold of the government. And even though this meme didn't make it into the constitution, or in even in the Amendment people assume has this meme, the Judicial system has most recently been interpreting laws as if 'Separation of God and State' were in the constitution.

Don't be messing with TJ my friend. Jefferson was interested in the Unitarians, he liked their ideas. But keep that very much in mind, he was an idea man, and his head was exploding with ideas. One of the ideas he struggled with was the difference between the need for a system that protects people (he was the man who wrote the Bill of Rights for the Virginia state constitution, which was the model for the Bill of rights in the US constitution) and the idea of a pure democracy based on the Athenian model (basically white male property owners could govern and vote) which is what his idea of the Constitution was. (I'm not saying he wrote it, most of it was written by James Madison, one of his closest friends in Virginia)

However to describe TJ as a "man of God" or anything like that would be very mistaken. He was a scientist and was very skeptical of the religious practices of his day, which was why he was interested in the unitarians: they seemed to focus on morality and ethical behavior that was supported by religions in general. He could support that.

Comment Re:Islam's relationship to modern science (Score 1) 330

I teach Saudi students. One of them was explaining to me that everything that science discovers is already in the Koran. Her example (And she, BTW, was divorced from her husband, working on /finishing her Masters in math and came from a wealthy family: she was not a fool, but she was indoctrinated) was that recently (IDK how recently, just recently) scientists have discovered that ant exoskeletons are made of silicon dioxide, which, being sand, is the primary ingredient of glass. This was already made clear in the Koran. How? Well when someone steps on an ant in the Koran the word for the sound of the ant being crushed is the same word for the sound of glass breaking. QED

Comment Re:GM producers are shooting themselves in the foo (Score 1) 514

While I am in general supportive of anything that has scientific grounding, as in empirical data for support, I also grew up in the modern world of scientific manipulation of data.
Eg 1: Exxon just admitted that they hid their own evidence of global warming that they discovered in the 70s/80s. Now, I want to know who did the testing on the salmon, what were they testing for and what safeguards are in place to keep gene jumping into the wild (not hocus-pocus jumping genes, but a simple escape of fish into the wild and cross-breeding with wild salmon creating a fish that has genetic problems that allow it to become an invasive species.
Eg 2: The tobacco companies knew about the correlation between cigarette smoking and cancer, as well as knowing that the manipulation of cigarette recipes (all the extra crap they began to put into cigarettes when they added filters) would probably increase that correlation effect (as in give more people a chance of cancer). Yet they battled that knowledge, using their head start to recognize their risk and game how to beat the "crazy, unscientific fools" who kept insisting that correlation was possible causation and therefore still a major risk. 20 years and more stupid greed driving people into their graves, just to make more money off cigarettes.

I work in a research university, and have tremendous respect for the work we do. BUT, the researchers I know are the most skeptical people I know, they are skeptical of their results as well as others. They are especially skeptical of research for and about something that already has commercial force behind it. While I don't speak for them, what I hear is that the original GM research was brought to market too quickly (in order to be first, of course) and that once there was a market behind it, it became suspect and unreliable.

Comment Re:Wait, is this drawing conclusions (Score 1) 82

Agreed, my mom was, well, high-performing in many things most of her life as was her mother before her. Both of them had dementia late in their life and it was so similar that I can guess where my sister at least is headed. She is also an insanely high-performing person and as she ages she can't help but search for the writing on the wall. While I am just five years older... my sister has to worry about dementia a lot too, did I tell you about my mother? She.....

Yeah, it is reaslly frustrating to try to stay in a repetitive loop with someone that used to be razor sharp. (not that I ever was as sharp as the women in my family) it is painful and depressing. Anything that can help slow or alleviate any of the symptoms would make a huge quality of life improvement for caregivers.

Comment Re:editorialize much? (Score 1) 71

the OS X kernal was/is called Mach, which was a derivative of BSD. Linux, while considered by most to be a Unix variant, has taken the Unix base and built and built and built on it so that it now has evolved in many different directions. Yes, correct. This is good. Apple has also evolved OS X. Also good. But neither are adequate to meet the high standards you and I set for "innovation." My comment had to do with the "App Store" and the fact that it is just a repo with a price for the downloads. It is considered by many in the Apple world as the "innovation" that is making Apple rich. I dispute the use of the word innovation in this context. Both of the OSs are evolutions of Unix, but called the App Store an innovation is wrong.

Sorry, but I can't bring myself to rise to your level of vitriol, I have a life and things to do today.

Comment Re:Surface Pro vs iPad Pro (Score 1) 71

Well, hmmm, not to make too big a point about this cause I am not the "ordinary" user.... well does anybody remember the WeTab? It was a 12"tablet from a German company (Titoo? I think) who made a tablet that could run Win 7, or Linux (I put Fedora on mine) or any number of other OSs. I bought a bluetooth keyboard and a simple little stand for it and had a pretty decent little desktop for a small investment. Fedora had touch pretty quick (had to bash around a bit the first time I did it, then it was standard after a year or so). So, while I am very impressed by the surface, it wasn't news to me.

What it was was a nice piece of well put together kit. I don't suggest them to my students, because of the price, but students who do have them can work just as well or better than the ones toting macbooks. Even the Chinese ones with macbooks running winXP (yes, that is a real thing). So I have to say that the Surface is as good as a Macbook. Yes, I just damned it with faint praise, but for most people that sounded like a big up, so take it as you will.

Comment Re:editorialize much? (Score 1) 71

No, what Apple has always done is very good marketing, which is what they did with the iPad. The innovation had already come with the iPod and the music store innovation. An old, tired idea at the point where it became the "App Store." And really, they run repos for applications and charge you to buy them. That is innovation? No that is stealing the idea from linux and other unix derivatives and charging people for it. Charging people is not an innovation.

Comment Re:Naive question about Apple (Score 1) 578

As far as I can see, Apple is a highly successful marketing compnay that caters to ordinary people (who are willing to spend 2-3 times a reasonable price) rather than geeks like most of us.
Not only that, they are focused on maintaining control over anything they touch by claiming intellectual property rights and screwing people who don't accept their IP claims. It is this attitude about IP and closed source applications and kernels (when their kernel was sourced from an open project) that makes them the pariah of thinking people, geeks or not.

Comment Re:Comparison? (Score 1) 257

physics I don't know about, but 15+ years ago I was helping a PhD Biology student (working on a specific heart malfunction in humans, so bio-med or something) write his thesis/dissertation paper. I t turned out that while he thought he was studying the heart problem, his supervisor decided that the mouse that he was engineering to have to heart problem was such an achievement that he told him to write that up instead for the degree.

What does this have to do with the issue? The PhD student was the only one able to create the mouse. Four other groups around the world were trying, but had failed in the endeavor. Not only that, even people in the lab, with the same breeds of mice and the same equipment, under his supervision could not reproduce the mice. His mice could reproduce, so he just bred them and sent them out to other labs working on the heart problem, but no one, by the time I left, had reproduced the mouse. Sooooo.....

Comment Re:"...need to be prepared..." (Score 1) 382

Eg: I live in Tampa FL. About 1 mile from downtown and 13 ft above average sea level right now. If the sea rose two feet in the next few years it would wipe out the most valuable real estate in Tampa Bay, pretty much devastating the economy of the area. Davis and Harbor Islands were manufactured with rubble back a hundred years ago, just one hurricane with a 5 foot storm surge would wash everything out on the islands, including the hospital (Tampa General Hospital). Yeah, this is real, we jeust had a summer of good rains, not hurricanes or tropical storms, just rains, and six of the small towns in the bay area were evacuated at least once. The bayfront properties were all flooded. South Tampa was cut off a few times. And it is getting worse because it is still raining.

Comment Re:He's got company (Score 1) 442

Language is FUN!
Notice the use of the word "tribes." It was passed to us through our civics and history books, that explained why the uneducated, unskilled native American tribes could not compete with the highly skilled and educated European nations. Oh yes, the language tells it all.

"Notice the use of the word 'nations.' It was passed to us through our civics and history books that explained why the uneducated, unskilled native American nations could not compete with the highly skilled and educated European tribes. Oh yes, the language tells it all."

Comment Re:wish this existed in silicon valley (Score 1) 258

I have biked (motor, electric and leg-powered) in Europe, Asia and the US. The US is crazy about going fast, too fast. So fast they must lose everything they gain by going fast when they arrive, change clothes and shower. In other places people slow down, pay attention to the surroundings and don't get into crashes that require a helmet to hold your brainshit in place for the ride to the hospital. They also can walk into work, stress-free and happy from some really useful exercise.

By following the simple rule of going slower than all the Americans around me, I have had a single accident: when a Chinese woman was texting while pulling onto a busy highway and almost ran me over. I had time to jump off, drop my bike safely in front of her car and thereby get a new bike for her stupidity. She lost her license as well BTW.

Comment Re:What the fuck is the summary saying?! (Score 1) 258

I used to work as a copy editor for a very small publisher and could not agree more. Basically, in my experience anyway, the copy editor is the person who actually sets the style, the vocabulary, the syntax and the grammar, while the "author" slings ideas at a blank screen. As the hiring of editors has reduced and the skill of the editors hired has plummeted we are seeing the mess that is publication being sucked down into a miserable hell.

You think this is bad? This is free! Wired is worse and they charge money for it!

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing