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Comment: Re:WWJD? (Score 5, Insightful) 958

I have a serious problem with gay marriage, as marriage is a religious ceremony, so the state should stay out of it. Civil union is the state sponsored joining, and should be the proper avenue for the state to allow something that religion indicates is wrong.

The problem is, the state can't recognize marraige without defining it. If you agree that the religious ceremony has no legal significance (that is, married couples also need to get a civil union if they want the state to respect their union), then fine; but if you want your marriage ot mean anything to the state itself, the state can't avoid deciding what it considers a valid marriage - and then carrying the moral and legal responsibility for that decision, if it would happen to put citizens into different categories based on religious beliefs. Indeed, it would be forced to recognize an official religion that gets to choose.

So, the only way to get the state out of marriage is to go pure civil union route and ignore whatever religious or other ceremony anyone feels fit to add on their own time.

Comment: Re:WWJD? (Score 1) 958

Sincerely I cannot understand how this is modded informative. There is absolutely no factual data that supports what you just said. Sure, the bible implies what you described, but well, it's the bible, and the day we'll start to take the bible as "factual data" in Slashdot will be the day logic gets shattered to pieces.

The Bible gives data about the behaviour of biblical characters that is factual in the context of how these characters, as described in the Bible, would behave in a given situation. The grandparent was modded informative for making one such analysis.

In other words, Bible is a factual description of the World of Bible, which may or may not resemble the World of Average Slashdotter or World of Average American in some important ways. The same is true of all literary descriptions, whether meant as factual in the context of WoAA or not.

Comment: Re:Still photos (Score 1) 440

by ultranova (#49364835) Attached to: Why the Final Moments Inside a Cockpit Are Heard But Not Seen

You are assuming we have to pander to pilots preferences. Just TELL them, "you will be videoed or alternatively you can choose another profession".

And some percentage of them will, which makes the available pool of pilots at a given price smaller, resulting in either lower quality or higher prices or both.

Comment: Re:WIMPs (Score 1) 234

by ultranova (#49364229) Attached to: Dark Matter Is Even More of a Mystery Than Expected

Could you elaborate on what you mean by "alter orbital structure and energy levels"?

I mean part of the electrostatic attraction between atomic nucleus and orbiting electrons should be countered by expansion of space between them, which in turn affects stable electron orbits. In fact all forces should get weaker with distance faster in an expanding space than in flat space.

Electromagnetic force is mediated by virtual photons, who's wavelength gets longer as space expands, thus sapping electromagnetism of some of its native strength and somewhat altering the lowest-energy point of all structures held together by it.

Comment: Re:The important bits (Score 2) 81

by ultranova (#49364033) Attached to: Citizen Scientists Develop Eye Drops That Provide Night Vision

I was a little confused when I saw that wording in the story, and now that I'm hearing this wording is the important part, I'm getting a little concerned. Are we not all citizens? Have we been divided into citizens and ruling class, now?

We've always been divided into serfs and lords. Human spirit simply doesn't have the strength to resist using power to get more. The lords, blinded by the seeming invincibility of their position and the system which grants it then end up draining that very system to the point of collapse and revolution, and the cycle repeats.

Whether it can be broken is anyone's guess. Democracy has slowed and complicated the gravitational collapse of current system somewhat, but it couldn't alter the end result, since all manifestations of power in our societies are not under democratic control, and are thus free to join biggest existing masses of power and make them even bigger.

I'm all for popularizing science among all citizens, but I'd rather we word that as "science for the masses" or something.

That very desire should already answer your question. As our masters keep telling us: if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide.

Comment: Re:WIMPs (Score 1) 234

by ultranova (#49360023) Attached to: Dark Matter Is Even More of a Mystery Than Expected

That the thing about dark matter... it has a perfectly reasonable explanation (WIMPs). It's not that weird of a "thing".

I dunno. Usually when a theory requires more and more unseen entities over time it's a sign that it's time to replace the theory. We know General Relativity is incomplete, both because it doesn't take into account quantum effects and because it has internal contradictions - specifically, it assumes a continuous spacetime geometry but predicts non-continuous points (black hole singularities). Most likely Einstein simply missed some observer-specific assumption - for example, GR assumes mass-energy has an exact distribution rather than probabilistic one - and thus GR is not completely general.

A question I've had for a while... if space itself is being inflated (or any sort of mathematically equivalent scenario) - everything inflating in all directions at all scales - wouldn't there be some sort of weak radiation signal from electrons expanding into a higher energy state due to dark energy and then collapsing back down?

No, because a continuous force wouldn't drag electrons up and then let them drop back down. What it would do is alter orbital structure and energy levels. But how they'd be altered depends on how quantum mechanics and GR combine, which we don't currently know.

Comment: Re:Ummmm ... duh? (Score 4, Insightful) 378

by ultranova (#49356307) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

It appears this German guy knew that, and was hiding his problems from his employer and the regulatory agencies that license his operation of giant passenger aircraft.

So what happens when you remove doctor patient confidentiality? The other depressed people will not see them and will still fly, only without having received psychiatric help or medication. That makes the risk larger, not smaller.

Comment: Re:Bummer (Score 1) 326

by ultranova (#49354987) Attached to: RSA Conference Bans "Booth Babes"

"Esp. of a woman: sexually promiscuous or provocative, esp. in a manner regarded as vulgar or distasteful.". So you're injecting your subjective views into what looks mean and attaching a value judgement into that.

That description is what whoever picked the booth babe "uniform" probably went for. It's catering to a specific fantasy: "You're a pimp and these are your bitches, if only you buy our product." You know, the exact one a cynical - though not necessarily very smart - marketer would use to sell to a stereotypical nerd.

Comment: Re:You are missing the obvious point! (Score 2) 346

No it doesn't. It means more demand. Read up on Jevon's Paradox. As a resource (including labor) is used more efficiently, demand for it goes up, not down, because of greater opportunities. It would only go down if the Lump of Labor Fallacy wasn't a fallacy.

The problem is, people aren't coal. A coal seam can sit unused for a hundred million year with no ill effects. An unemployed laborer can't. He either gets a job fast or falls into poverty. Supply of labour cannot go down in response to market situation; the only thing that can go down is the price. And as price of labour falls, demand for products falls, because people who get paid less can't afford as much. As demand for products falls, more people get unemployed, and you have a nice little vicious circle going.

It's what's happening now. Cheap credit kept a fundamentally broken system going for a while, but now that well has ran dry and it's collapsing. Keeping it going forever would require citizen pay, or credit without expectation of repayment. But I doubt the rich and powerful will accept the economic independence this would bring to lower classes, but will continue fighting tooth and nail to retain their power all the way to another bloody revolution.

As a side note, economy is full of "fallacies" that only apply with certain preconditions, for example that the resource can go unused with no ill effects. Ignoring those preconditions makes them a fine way to explain away any need to change. The problem is, reality won't go away just because you ignore it, and reality is that lots of people are unemployed, those still employed are living under constant pressure and fear, national and personal debts are sky-high, and nobody seriously expects any of this to get better in the foreseeable future, at least outside official speeches.

Comment: Re:You are missing the obvious point! (Score 1) 346

Then explain why an American worker today can be more productive than his or her predecessors, yet paid a substantially smaller fraction of the proceeds from his or her labors?

Greater productivity per worker means less demand for workers. Less demand means lower price. Thus, more productive workforce means worse-paid workforce.

Yay capitalism.

Comment: Re:it could have been an accident (Score 1) 736

by ultranova (#49346317) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

Except when there is a terrorist threatening the pilot outside, asking him to enter the code...

But that terrorist will be bum rushed by everyone on board and beaten to the ground. Even the hostage knows his best bet is to take the knife between ribs - better odds surviving that than the destruction of the plane.

Terrorists - or anyone - stopped hijacking airplanes the second such hijackings stopped meaning a delay and started meaning everyone aboard dying.

Single tasking: Just Say No.