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Comment Re:Broken? More like fixed. (Score 1) 773

We need scientists analyzing data from space and designing lab experiments, not because they are superior human beings, but because they are well-informed and contained in their jurisdiction. Likewise, anyone making a decision that affects global economics, should be well-informed about global economics. The same goes with alternative energy and the need for scientists/engineers to be tightly knitted into the decision making process of this realm.

For the record, I do not consider myself informed enough to make almost any of the necessarily scrutable decisions we are tasked to make as a society. Utilizing our people's strengths is wise. Making uninformed people powerful, the opposite.

Comment Re:Broken? More like fixed. (Score 1) 773

It is far from aristocracy.

We need scientists analyzing data from space and designing lab experiments, not because they are superior human beings, but because they are well-informed and contained in their jurisdiction. Likewise, anyone making a decision that affects global economics, should be well-informed about global economics. The same goes with alternative energy and the need for scientists/engineers to be tightly knitted into the decision making process of this realm.

For the record, I do not consider myself informed enough to make almost any of the necessarily scrutable decisions we are tasked to make as a society. Utilizing our people's strengths is wise. Making uninformed people powerful is unwise.

Comment Re:Broken? More like fixed. (Score 4, Insightful) 773

I mostly agree, but local positions can vary unnacceptably. People of all sorts of dogma take over areas and try to handle their local "issues". There needs to be accounting for local variation and their needs/desires, but overarching, fair rules need to be handed down through the monolith that we call government.

How do we make sure the monolith is moral and fair to all? We need smart people making decisions. We need as much transparency as possible. The internet helps with transparency, but the plethora of info creates a burdensomely low signal to noise ratio. There are too many charlatans and agenda-driven salesmen telling us what the news is. What is the solution? Having smart, well-informed people make the important, big decisions. How do we make that happen?

Comment Go technology go! (Score 3, Insightful) 61

Feats like the Mars Rovers show us that our space-engineering prowess is not only continuing to mature, but indeed getting quite robust. From this one mission alone, how much have we learned about vehicle design for dealing with the Martian environment?

And with yesterday's announcement of the creation of synthetic life, we are obviously on the edge of new breath-taking scientific ability. When will we be able to start creating custom bacteria to begin terra-forming mars? I know there is no way to predict the future, but the potential for change in our life-times is mind-blowing. As an anxious futurist, all I can say is "Go technology go!"

Comment Progress!!! (Score 1) 468

I disagree strongly. I think we need a more open approach to genetic data-mining. People should be cautious with their private information, but we have a ridiculous amount of progress to be had in the world of understanding our genetics. Giving, ostensibly, a knee-jerk reaction to any sort of use of genetic understanding and widespread data collaboration is the opposite of help.

Privacy is important. Voluntary sharing is important as well.

Comment This research is phenomal! (Score 5, Informative) 145

My grandmother slowly died of Alzheimer's and it could not have been a sadder thing to witness. Bias fully admitted, I can't help but say... Alzheimer's is the 7th leading cause of death and it afflicts 19% of people aged 75-84 and over 40% of people over 84. If we care about our elders and we care about the shoes we will one day fill, we should all help raise awareness and put our spare money and time to good use.

The toll of Alzheimer's on America is estimated at about $100 billion per year. If only we could convince Congress of the simple truth, that this sort of basic research will completely pay for itself in the long run and do wonders for humanity. Unfortunately, we can't depend on someone else to pay for this knowledge and progress. We must all pitch in what we can and help keep this sort of research as well funded as possible.

www.alz.org is a great organization if you have money to donate. Or you can easily start a "Memory Walk" team to go out for a charity walk to raise money and awareness. Plus, can't we all use a good excuse to enjoy a nice day in the sun and have fun with friends and family?

Comment Government has nothing to do with Christianity... (Score 1) 857

To try to find connections between the Bible and modern government is ludicrous. Take this moment and read a random page out of Leviticus. Try not to laugh out of discomfort. Old Testament not your thing? The New Testament never condemns slavery and actually tells you how to keep slaves. The South was on the winning side of the theological argument for slavery.

Furthermore, to quote Sam Harris... "I've read the books. God is not a moderate. There's no place in the books where God says, 'You know, when you get to the New World and you develop your three branches of government and you have a civil society, you can just jettison all the barbarism I recommended in the first books.'"

Why do people still believe in Christianity? It is 2010. Must we propagate this insanity any further? All the sane people need to keep standing up and being heard.

Comment Philosophical Dilemma (Score 2, Interesting) 543

This reminds me of the philosophical dilemmas with the question of identity.

Consider a boat that is sailing around the world. Each time something on the boat needs replacing, it gets replaced, over a long period of time. Imagine that someone was following the boat around, collecting each and every piece that had gotten replaced. Now, that person rebuilds the entire boat out of all the old pieces. Which boat is THE boat?

All along, you would consider the real boat to be the one that had its parts slowly replaced, but is it? If you change even one thing about an item, is it something new and original? Does it have a new identity and starting point in time?

Comment We don't need any more priests!! (Score 2, Insightful) 286

I like this quote from Sam Harris... "I've read the books. God is not a moderate. There's no place in the books where God says, 'You know, when you get to the New World and you develop your three branches of government and you have a civil society, you can just jettison all the barbarism I recommended in the first books.'"

Why do people still believe in Christianity? It is 2010. Must we propagate this insanity any further?

Comment Re:I know people who work on weapons (Score 2, Insightful) 409

Just because there is a continuum does not mean that we cannot figure out a reasonable point to draw the ethical line. Your premises are (1) that engineers are involved in building stuff and (2) that stuff can hurt people. Your premises are valid. The logic you use to make your argument is not.

You might use the same style of argument to say that, when hitting babies, it is too hard to draw a line because some people are ok with it and some people are not and that there is a continuum of softly holding them to beating them to a pulp.

Still, you could in fact be right that engineers are without responsibility for how their products are used, but this is not clear from the logic you employed.

Comment Simply astounding! (Score 5, Insightful) 193

Despite it being 2010, it remains popular to attack science and medicine as though they do not have a significant mastery of reality or how the body works. Achievements like this demonstrate that the human body is not only understandable, but that it can be highly manipulated and changed with life-changing degrees of success.

For all the people who claim that our medical knowledge is seriously lacking or fraught with error, this fly's in your face. Prepare for an onslaught of biomedical advances that will change everything we know about health and longevity. While the human body may seem to work like black magic, perhaps like an infinitely complex analog circuit, advances in understanding are steadily being made. There are real achievers in these domains and they are standing on the shoulders of giants, accruing the tools to solve any physiological problem.

Comment Re:force is lack of moral authority (Score 1) 1224

If only everyone would employ basic logic and skepticism, and not be scared to talk about it, dogma could become a part of our history and naturally remove itself from the mainstream. Children could actually receive the honest answers to the difficult questions in life. Really... why follow a religion with all of its inconsistencies and human manipulation? You shouldn't. It is 2010 and none of the popular religions can even begin to serve as a useful algorithm with regard to moral decisions we routinely face (much less can these religions aid in the world of epistemology and they blatantly fail in the world of cosmology). As far as morality goes, it may truly be as simple as The Beatles put it: "All you need is love." Yet this is no simple task and everyone must reconcile the value of other's wellbeing and happiness within the context of their own ambition. "For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation."

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