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Comment Re:bloody colonials (Score 1) 697

I grew up literally an ocean away from the Washington monument and yet I speak and write considerably better than most of those who grew up near it.

It's so brave of you to admit this out in the open, but just because you managed to overcome your disability, it's tempting to mock those who are more severely affected. It's best to resist this urge.

Comment Re:You're overthinking this (Score 1) 697

By what, a turnstile? If one group can migrate Northward the other can migrate Southward.

The groups didn't migrate out of Africa. There are still people living in Africa, as you may have noticed. People expanded out of Africa. Species don't easily expand into an ecosystem where its niche is already occupied. Neanderthals had a population that was under stress and shrinking, in the face of a severe ice age and disappearing food sources, so there was no expanding for them.

Anyway, this all took place over the space of some 20 to 30 thousands years, and involved populations that were very small to begin with. One species can out compete and replace another species over that timescale, without the two even seeing each other very often, as long as they're after the same food.

Comment Re:Pretty sure we know (Score 1) 697

Did you have a stroke while writing that?

You all keep forgetting about the non-native-speaker syndrome. A severe and debilitating developmental defect, caused by growing up too far away from the Washington monument, which often results in a speech impediment that makes the victim unintelligible to unaffected individuals. There is no cure, but with the right therapy, patients may learn to speak later in life, though rarely very fluently or coherently. It is downright insensitive to make fun of this terrible condition. It's better for their fragile self esteem to just repeat what they say, without the mistakes, and then answer, as though something was said that makes sense.

Comment You're overthinking this (Score 1) 697

Being intelligent don't ensure your survival. You needed a lot of intelligence to build atomic bombs, and see what could had happened.

Anyway, intelligence is just part of the equation. Culture is another, an important one. How much different should be a neanderthal intelligence to be distinguished from one of us if grows with our culture? And maybe more important, if with our culture is more or less like us, at least in the way of thinking, will be falling in the same kind of moral problems like growing kids on labs?

I agree intelligence doesn't seem to be that important for survival. Dinosaurs lasted for 150 million years without brains to speak of, until they were nuked from orbit, an end which our superior intellect would not have protected us from either, at least not in the first few hundred thousand years of our existence as modern humans.

As for the demise of the Neanderthal: no need to look at culture or intelligence, simple environmental factors will do. The last ice age was particularly long and brutal. The Eurasian mega fauna, which the Neanderthals depended on for food, died out. Modern humans in Eurasia could be replenished from their habitat in Africa, with much more favorable conditions, while the Neanderthal was trapped in Europe and western Asia.

Comment Re:Belgians drilling a hole in the ocean?? (Score 1) 242

for shallow waters the oil companies use the same design but rather build a concrete cylinder that is connected to bedrock, (...)this seems a simpler solution then trying to build a sand island.

There is a small flaw in your plan, as far as it applies to that part of the world. The bedrock is hundreds of meters down below the sediment. Building a sand island just means using the materials at hand, rather than having to ship them in from scandinavia. Dredging sand is a relatively easy and cheap method for building structures off the coast, and there is ample experience with this.

Comment Re:Belgians drilling a hole in the ocean?? (Score 2) 242

First, i'm Dutch, the northern neighbor of the Belgians, and we like to make jokes of each other.

This is a misunderstanding. The Dutch may like to joke about Belgians, but don't really mean it. Belgians are deadly serious when they call the Dutch nasty, greedy, unreliable, uncultured, rude and stupid. There is no joking involved.

Comment Re:We USED TO burn biofuels and look what happened (Score 3, Insightful) 419

You're comparing burning old growth forests that take decades or centuries to grow to burning grasses that can grow 10 ft tall in a single season?

I'm saying you are either underestimating how much energy we use today, or overestimating how much net energy you can grow per area unit of land. Switchgrass may be a way of making areas productive that are now too dry for agriculture other than low intensity cattle farming. This means turning land that is now essentially wilderness into mono culture farmland, which is just another form of the same ecological disaster I described earlier.

Bio fuels should not be mistaken for the green, organic, nature lover's wet dream. It will require an awful lot of land to cover the energy needs of our current standard of living. As we will still want to eat food as well, this extra land will have to come from wilderness or forests, rather than from existing farm land. This is not a happy solution for bears, deer and buffalo. The only ones cheering will be people who bought prairie land wilderness for a dollar per acre.

Comment We USED TO burn biofuels and look what happened (Score 5, Informative) 419

That sounds like a load of bullshit to me. ....
- How was the total US energy 'budget' calculated? Note the word 'budget' not 'usage' .. which is indicative of an estimate, not a fact

Up to the industrial revolution, our main source of fuel used to be biomass: wood (charcoal). Keep in mind that this was when the population size and total energy use of western civilization were tiny by today's standards. Nevertheless, we managed to run out of wood.

Britain and Ireland were almost completely stripped of trees. Even today, the only trees you'll find older than the industrial revolution are in places that were some noble family's private hunting ground at the time. The eastern mediterranean was stripped of trees as far back as ancient times, and still hasn't recovered. In the low countries, after they ran out of wood, they started burning the soil (peat), turning their land into lakes, which they later had to drain to turn it back into land, which is why they now live below sea level. They did however make a fortune importing timber from the sparsely populated Baltic. Yes, wood had to come from as far as Russia and Finland, because western Europe had run out.

Believe it or not, burning biofuels was an environmental disaster, and switching to coal allowed forests and wildlife to recover.

Now, turning agricultural waste into fuel sounds like a good idea to me (that's what they do in Brazil with the leftovers from the sugar production), but when you're thinking of growing crops with the express purpose of making fuel, you have to consider the fact that modern, high-yield agriculture is effectively our way of using land to turn fossil fuel and sunlight into food. Tilling, sowing, fertilizing, pest control, harvesting, processing and transport together have to use substantially less energy than the fuel you are making will yield.

Clearly, land + fuel + sunlight -> food -> fuel -> energy is an inefficient process. Why not eliminate a couple of conversion steps from the process, and use solar cells to generate electricity? The process land + sunlight -> energy has fewer inefficient conversion steps.

Comment Well Hurray for Mud! (Score 1) 100

The place I live has an abundance of mud. The mud here is heavy and pitch black, and absolutely everywhere some 9 months of the year. It would probably be good for growing food if temperatures ever rose over 65 degrees. If only it were as useful as that rare Jamaican mud, this place would be rich.

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