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Comment: Re:mythbusters (Score 1) 351

by wormBait (#31930526) Attached to: New Speed Cameras Catch You From Space

All experiments are approximations. You can never account for every variable, but they are clear on how they are framing the experiments, so they are being honest and provide a test for the situation, given a well-described set of parameters (which might be different that what some fans want tested). They also have many more tests that they perform, but are available online and not aired. If viewers complain about the parameters enough, they will often re-test them (almost like peer review).

http://xkcd.com/397/

Comment: Re:Politicians and the public are.. (Score 1) 404

by wormBait (#31382372) Attached to: California To Create Public Animal Abuser Registry

Sorry about getting the state wrong, I was thinking it was California due to a previous, unrelated post. I am only familiar with the details of California's ecosystem and cannot intelligently comment on New Jersey or most other areas.

In California, there are a fair number of mountain lions, but the bear issue is a human-caused one. California Grizzlies were native to California and were a top predator. Once hunted to extinction, they were then artificially replaced with the Black Bear, which does not hunt large game like deer. They are much smaller bears and have a completely different role in the ecosystem. So the fact that there are more is unsurprising, since they are effectively an invasive species. The mountain lions are currently taking on the role of hunting from both wolves and grizzlies, so it would make sense if there are more needed for deer control.

With rattlesnakes, I was referring to California alone, where the California Ground Squirrel is extremely overpopulated. In California, the rattlesnakes are one of the primary predators of ground squirrel young (they eat a lot of babies, relatively fewer adults). Though the total population of rattlesnakes is fine, often where human populations and wildlife meet, the rattlesnakes are locally underpopulated and there is an explosion of ground squirrels. While this is not a threat for rattlesnake extinction, there then exist extremely high densities of squirrels which are more likely to carry nasty diseases right next to where people live.

Regarding livestock, I feel there is a difference between actively protecting a herd and using guard dogs and shepherds and just simply slaughtering any predators (and deer/bison/etc. that carry diseases and compete for resources) that cross over onto your property. Many grazing animals today are not well herded due to myriad factors, and overall I feel that is irresponsible. One outlandish solution is getting rid of all the non-dairy cattle and their feed crops in places where bison were native, and instead let the bison deal with the predators on their own and we simply sustainably hunt the bison.

Comment: Re:Politicians and the public are.. (Score 3, Insightful) 404

by wormBait (#31379358) Attached to: California To Create Public Animal Abuser Registry

The simplest solution is to stop hunting the mountain lions in California, since they are the primary deer predator. They would have the deer populations in check in just a few years. But that would cut into the profits of the developers who keep destroying natural habitats and insist we kill all the dangerous wildlife (since if you buy your multi-million dollar home on the edge of the wilderness you don't actually want any dangerous wildlife to visit). And all the ranchers who aren't willing to take the time and effort to actually manage and protect their herds would object too.

It is a similar problem with people killing all the rattlesnakes and then complaining about ground squirrel overpopulation and the more significant threat of bubonic plague and hantavirus.

Comment: Re:I'll stay in my sofa (Score 1) 376

by wormBait (#30836084) Attached to: Sitting Down Too Long Is Bad Even If You Exercise

Keep in mind that there is most likely a very large selection bias (and thus a very big catch) with any group of people who are close to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Most adults might not get sick, but the majority of people don't live past adolescence. You know how in a typical workplace, there are a few people who are always getting sick and a few people who never get sick? With the hunter-gatherers, the always sick people (along with probably most of the populace who wears glasses) would probably be dead before they hit puberty. The average people who only occasionally get sick would be the ones who barely survive as hunter-gatherers and might manage to have a kid (who might not die before 2). Those people in the office who never get sick, even when they go out drinking all night and eat crap all day, would be the successful hunter-gatherers.

Our feet are like our eyesight (and many other aspects of our health): strong evolutionary selective pressure have provided us with amazingly refined engineering (like feet that can run barefoot for many miles daily and eyes that see 20/20). However, whenever we remove the selection (killing off everyone who has a bad trait and all their children), we allow enough variation that many people today can't see and just as many probably can't run.

Comment: Re:slashdot poll? (Score 3, Interesting) 395

by wormBait (#30802356) Attached to: Truth Or Dare — What Is the Best US Cell Company?

I still have Sprint sort of indirectly because of all the billing issues. They kept messing up my bill and I kept calling to correct it right up until they got fed up with me calling in and changed my plan so that though I still have the same benefits, I pay far less than I could with any other carrier (and less than any of their advertised plans). Sure the coverage is rather poor compared to other carriers, but it is effectively a discount carrier in my case, where I get what I pay for.

Comment: Re:And to kickstart the celebrations (Score 2, Interesting) 119

by wormBait (#26471173) Attached to: Earth's Radio Telescopes Combining Forces

Depending on where the light pollution is, the effects vary.

2. Some research suggests it messes with people's circadian rhythms (which can lead to insomnia and possible long-term health effects)
3. It can prevent numerous plants from flowering (they think it is always summer)
4. Sea turtles may migrate in the wrong direction when they hatch
5. Predator-prey relations may be skewed
6. Giant mutant spiders that eat all the insects attracted to the lights

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

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