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Comment Re:Rule of thumb (Score 2) 122

Not quite true. The article likens this to GM bricking a Corvette for losing the keys, but that's exactly what happens to a modern Toyota computer if you lose the last key (cost of replacing a key for my Prius $175. Cost of replacing key + computer $1,275, I checked and that convinced me to spend the $175 for a second key for my used Prius).

Comment Re:Actually I think this ability is extraordinary (Score 1) 5

For contracting, it helps immensely. But something must have changed in the past week. I went from 5 recruiter contacts a week to 35 in the past week. I no longer look for jobs- jobs look for me. (I estimate, from the request numbers, that those 35 contacts represent 18 jobs at 5 companies, including the one I'm currently working at).

Comment Re: A fool and their money (Score 0, Troll) 266

It's very fashionable to decry things we don't understand. Dowsing clearly works; my father called the local dowser in for his house in a remote part of SW Ireland. I watched him walk back and forth across the land, rods twitching, and eventually he hacked his heel down and said to "drill here" and we'd get "water for a family of five and to spare". Drill he did, we dropped down a remote-control DanFoss pump, and sucked on an aquifer that never failed, even in the drought years.

OK, they guy knew all the land thereabouts: he lived locally. Maybe he just knew the exact path of every underground watercourse in the neighborhood, but I doubt it. As a scientist, I want replicability of the observation (no problem here: he and several others do this for a living: no charge unless the water flows), and I'd like an explanation of why (none yet)...but equally I refuse to dismiss a phenomenon simply because it has no explanation yet. If we did that we'd still be living in the dark because we couldn't explain sunlight.


Drought Inspires a Boom In Pseudoscience, From Rain Machines To 'Water Witches' 266

merbs (2708203) writes Across drought-stricken California, farmers are desperate for water. Now, many of them are calling dowsers. These "water witches," draped in dubious pseudoscience or self-assembled mythologies—or both—typically use divining rods and some sort of practiced intuition to "find" water. The professional variety do so for a fee. And business is booming. They're just part of a storied tradition of pseudoscientific hucksters exploiting our thirst for water, with everything from cloudbusters to rainmachines to New Age rituals.

Comment Re:Interesting. (Score 1) 126

The question of how and why ideas, 'culture', religions, new scientific hypotheses, etc. are transmitted and compete with one another is really a very long standing one. [. . .]

Cultural transmission is a very solid social science topic, and internet memes have the dual virtues of both potentially being novel(they might actually follow some traditional propagation pattern, might be something new, either way would be interesting to know) and being amenable to large-scale analysis because the internet is just so conveniently searchable and heavily cached in various places.

While a bit dated and somewhat intellectually renegade, Marshall McLuhan has done much to talk about how print fostered literacy (duh) and the transmission of ideas in a stable form across human cultures in The Gutenberg Galaxy (i.e. Gutenberg Bible and the enablement of Christianity as a proselytizing religion with a relatively stable population of "practicing" Christians all "reading" the same text). However, his writing style is a bit mimetic of the illuminated manuscript and he communicates his point in a way that makes sense to scholars of literature and critical theory. McLuhan's work is not your usual dry, codified sociocultural study of the effects of media!

But the above was only a momentary detour on the way to the work of Susan Blackmore who is interested in the evolution of life on Earth and the question of whether life on Earth will make it to the point where it can successfully leave its planet of origin. Her talk is entitled "Memes and 'temes' " (yes, it's a TED talk) and is fascinating in terms of how she thinks about memes and the transmission of ideas in a Darwinian model.

I wonder if the researchers in Indiana have any interest in the area Blackmore stakes out in her talk. Would be great if they did.

Comment the purpose is tracking cars (Score 1, Insightful) 261

Forget the happy horseshit about super-safe robot cars. We don't have those, and they won't work when we do. This is about the ability to track all the vehicles in the world, either by private entities who will backdoor the info to government and political groups, or straight-up security force tracking. Not just here, but all over the world. We are building turnkey police state infrastructure. If you can't grasp this, you might want to contemplate how privileged you are not to ever feel endangered by cops or polical opponents like Scientology or the Moonies. Do not give the monkeys the key to the banana plantation. Once you are in a worldwide prison, there is no escape.

Comment Re:Impacts (Score 1) 708

Well, we could still work to try to lessen/minimize the damage and instability.

Like, if you had gangrene on your arm, and the doctor announces, "I'm sorry, but we can't save the arm, the damage is irreversible," you wouldn't go, "Ah, well. It's impossible to save the arm. Time to wait it out and adapt."

At least, I'd hope you wouldn't. That's when you have an operation, try to save as much of your arm as you can. And then you think about what caused the gangrene in the first place, and try to not do that ever again.


Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report 708

New submitter SomeoneFromBelgium (3420851) writes According to Bloomberg a leaked climate report from the IPPC speaks of "Irreversible Damage." The warnings in the report are, as such, not new but the tone of voice is more urgent and more direct than ever. It states among other things that global warming already is affecting "all continents and across the oceans," and that "risks from mitigation can be substantial, but they do not involve the same possibility of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts as risks from climate change, increasing the benefits from near-term mitigation action."

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