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Comment Re:RISK vs CHANCE (Score 1) 175

I don't recall The Origin of Species speculating much about how humans can modify the environment to compensate for their very limited ability to evolve quickly and how long that strategy would be viable. As I recall, it focused on organisms evolving to adapt to the environment rather than some select organisms figuring out how to change the environment to adapt to that organism's feeble evolutionary abilities.

My money is on single celled organisms being around long after humans are gone no matter how we attempt to delay or prevent that outcome. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to collect on that bet (if I'm right, by definition neither I nor any heirs will be around to collect and neither the person I made the bet with or their heirs will be around to pay off).

Comment Re:RISK vs CHANCE (Score 1) 175


I'm just someone who understands something about science, including evolution, and who isn't blinded by a notion that I'm somehow special because some book (choose one from the religious institution of your choice) purports to claim that humans are somehow unique from ants, spiders, beavers, sea gulls, sloths, lizards and the like in some way beyond simple differentiating attributes that evolution has yielded. And, I'm intelligent enough to be completely comfortable and unalarmed by that reality.

If humans think it will somehow benefit the universe (perhaps because of a belief that Earth is only celestial body in the universe that has any form of meaningful life?) to preserve life beyond the natural extinction of humans on Earth, it probably makes little sense to send humans out to distant reaches of the solar system, let alone beyond. It likely makes much more sense to spread a diverse selection of "lower" forms (single celled probably) of life to as many celestial bodies throughout the universe as often as we can. Then, hope that evolution causes a species to survive, prosper and advance just as happened on Earth. Humans are fragile and require complex and expensive support systems in foreign environments. Society is also unwilling to put humans at great risk in such endeavors and that adds immensely to the cost. Single celled life forms share none of these problems. Humans evolve so slowly that they will require complex support systems for, probably, many hundreds of thousands of years or more before they could hope to evolve to live w/o such support systems - and it's likely that would never happen as those systems would eventually fail or the few humans who could be supported by them would die for other reasons such as an epidemic.

Single celled organisms are much better equipped to evolve quickly and adapt to the surrounding environment and, in the process, eventually end up with self sustaining life (perhaps beyond current human intelligence) at distant locations in the universe (although, that probably already exists -- in which case the whole discussion is a waste of time as our efforts are not needed in this endeavour).

Comment Re:RISK vs CHANCE (Score 2) 175

I'm just being realistic.

In my view, it's extremely likely that there are many intelligent "species" (by some definition of species/life) who are "superior" (obviously a subjective evaluation) to humans elsewhere in the universe. Although, there's no realistic chance that humans living today (or perhaps ever) will encounter them because the search space is so large and it's entirely possible that those species see no reason to look for us. Humans, as a species, are very important on Earth (from a selfish standpoint as well as because we are the apex species on Earth with the unique ability to consciously make measurable, albeit modest in a geological scale, alterations to the Earth). However, I think humans, as a species or as an individual, are very likely insignificant in the universe as a whole.

Seriously, does anyone believe that humans will be around in 100 billion years or that they are likely to disappear in the next 10,000 years (over 300 generations from now)? In fact, I am much more interested in spending resources to ameliorate the human condition today and in the next few hundred years -- even if it were to slightly increase the risk of accelerating the extinction of the species (since that's going to happen anyway). For example, my goal isn't to create as many humans as possible if they are to live an uncomfortable life -- better to have 1 billion content and fulfilled people on Earth than 10 billion unhappy, starving, non-productive, and unfulfilled people on the planet.

(As you probably could guess, I'm an atheist so I don't attach any scientific importance to conflicting fairy tales promoted by various religions.)

Comment Re:RISK vs CHANCE (Score 3, Interesting) 175

One has to weigh the cost of preventing something from happening vs. the benefit of preventing it.

Humans will obviously become extinct on Earth at some point. We are a young species and we adapt slowly. It takes us over 10 years to reach sexual maturity, we have few births per woman/year, each member of the species requires substantial resources which severely limits the number of humans that can be on the Earth at any one point in time. This all leaves comparatively few opportunities for genetic alterations as opposed to, say, cockroaches. To make matters worse (although, as civilization declines, this will no longer happen so it's a temporary impediment), we interfere with natural selection via medical procedures and social programs so resources are consumed on "survival of the weakest" rather than on "promoting the strongest".

So, it's only useful to consider the chances of a catastrophic asteroid strike before we become extinct via other mechanisms. An asteroid strike 100 million years from now is completely irrelevant to humans as there will be no humans to experience it (or to maintain the infrastructure to prevent it). More adaptable species will survive it anyway.

Not as relevant to this specific case, but to be considered in discussions about extinction of the human species in general. Extinction of the human species is not necessarily the worst thing that can happen to humans (esp. since it's going to happen anyway). If the cost of delaying human extinction by N years is so high that all humans live in substantially less "comfort" for the remaining M years of human existence and N << M, it's likely incurring the cost of delaying extinction makes no sense (esp. to someone whose lifespan is much, much less than M or N).

Its analogous to, hypothetically, offering a healthy 30 year old two options. The first option is eating a distasteful, but extremely healthy, calorie restricted diet which will leave them feeling weak all the time but they will live, on the average, to be 87 years old. The second option is to eat pretty much whatever they want to enjoy and maintain a caloric count that does not interfere with their daily life or motivation or pleasure but they will live, on the average, to be only 86.75 years. A rational person would, I think, choose to live in comfort for their remaining 56.75 years rather than to live another three months but at the cost of being in discomfort and too weak to do much for their remaining 57 years.

Comment Re:Don't we (the US) already have that... (Score 1) 1291

Just significantly reduce the benefit for every minor child someone already has.

If DNA tests later show that a recipient failed to report a child, they are immediately cut off completely, forever ineligible for the program, and required to pay back every penny they received (of course, in practice, the latter would likely be hard to collect).

Anyone who 'turns in' someone who is/has accepted the offer and is disqualified for lying about not having children gets 50% of what the liar would have, based on actuarial stats, received. Lots of mothers in some cultures would suddenly have much improved memories regarding who each of their kid's father's was!

Comment Re:How is this paid for? (Score 1) 1291

The linked site promotes a scheme where every adult gets the basic income. It doesn't propose 'need based' criteria so your 33% assumption is wrong. Only about 23% of the American population is under 18 so you should be using a number of 77%.

Basic Income Action is a new national organization dedicated to winning a basic income for every American. A basic income is money provided to every adult -- enough to cover basic needs, independent of a job, with everyone getting the same amount. Imagine a world where everyone has enough money to make ends meet, as a human right.

(BTW, before criticizing others for not reading the articles, you might want to read them yourself).

Comment Re:Anecdotal evidence FTW (Score 1) 696

We are talking about one SPECIFIC violation class (failure to stop at stop signs or not respecting red lights). When you add all possible traffic laws, you must evaluate both bicyclists and automobile drivers for ALL possible law violations.

For example, it's very rare to see bicyclists in traffic signalling that they are stopping (usually requiring gesturing with their left hand down since they rarely have brake lights). Most automobile drivers signal their impending stop because brake systems on all modern cars (50 years old at least) that are functioning correctly do that automatically. With turns, it's MUCH more common to see a driver in traffic signal their intent to turn (usually w/blinkers) than to see a cyclist do it.

Yes, almost 100% of the automobile drivers and almost 100% of the bicyclists have violated a traffic law.

It's true that automobiles probably exceed speed limits more frequently than bicyclists because they can easily do so. However, bicyclists more often violate the rules (depending on your state) that require a vehicle (including a bicycle) to pull over if it's moving more slowly and three or more vehicles are delayed behind them.

Comment Re:Anecdotal evidence FTW (Score 2) 696

I would consider a 21% failure to comply with an unambiguous traffic law about intersections controlled by traffic signals to constitute it as "common" failure. Think about this for a minute -- if more than 1 in 5 automobiles failed to stop at red lights, would you consider it not to be a "common" occurrence? Anyway, in the area I live in, the failure rate is MUCH higher than this - it's true that I live in an area with a lot of bicyclists so they may feel a bit more self entitled than those in some other areas.

(Of course, you cherry picked - the actual violation rate seems to be over 30% if one doesn't exclude things that, for some reason, "don't count" even though everyone knows the law and expects others to follow them.)

Comment Re:Naw, it's Doctors (Score 2) 696

You must live somewhere quite different than where I do. Where I live, the vast majority of cars stop or slow almost to a complete stop (slower than a walking speed) at stop signs and an even larger percentage respect red lights and don't proceed until they turn green. However, it's quite rare to see a bicyclist come to a complete stop (usually when I do see it, it's a young child or a parent out with their small child teaching them how to ride and being careful to "set a good example") or even slow to walking speed at a stop sign and it's common to see them blow through red lights without even slowing down significantly.

Comment Re: WTF (Score 1) 337

So, any data about any piece of property you own should be available to the government - such as your computer and all the data on it?

Remember, the Federal Government is one of limited powers. The only thing they are allowed to do is detailed in the United States Constitution. In that document, the people granted the Federal Government certain limited powers.

However, that matters little -- Corporations are state entities. The Constitution grants the Federal Government no power whatsoever over them beyond what may follow on from the powers that the Constitution may have relinquished to the Federal Government over the owners of those corporations. A corporation is as much an "effect" of the individual owners ("The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects...") as a computer owned by such a person is.

Comment Re: WTF (Score 1) 337

A corporation always has owners who are human -- sometimes they are indirect. How many corporations other than ones owned by the government or entirely by an entity like a pension fund (who, has parties they have obligations to, but not real "owners") who is not owned, directly or indirectly, by one or more humans? That list certainly does not include hardly any of the entities referenced in this /. article.

When an owner dies, another owner ends up with their share. When a corporation dies, the owners are either compensated in some way (such as in a merger) or their property becomes valueless (such as after some forms of bankruptcy - no different if your car, which you own, becomes valueless after it burns to a crisp).

For example, an owner of a house, like an owner of a corporation, has the right not to have their property (house or shares of stock) seized without just compensation (at least in theory, although the government sometimes stretches that - such as in the case of GM and forfeiture laws).

"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." -- Bakunin [ed. note - I would say: The urge to destroy may sometimes be a creative urge.]