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Comment Re:Well duh .... (Score 1) 430

The point -- according to an Economist article last year that I am too lazy to look up -- is to make sure the transition from "cheap gas" to "no-way-I-can-afford-that" gas is gradual over a period of many years. That allows other technologies to go through the research, development, trial, and implementation phases in an economically feasible way. If gas stayed low and then went through the roof all of the sudden, the disruption in everyday life would be huge, as there would be no alternatives sitting on the shelf waiting for people to switch to.

Comment Idea! (Score 1) 183

At the risk of giving away a possibly lucrative idea, my plan is to patent the use of a gavel to bring order to courtrooms. Hopefully, this will allow me to collect royalties for every day of all the various trials I have to attend defending my patent: the more they fight, the more they pay.

Comment They're the same thing. (Score 2) 957

"The UN's Human Rights Charter mentions protection from "religious intolerance" but also in the same sentence "freedom of opinion and expression." "

They're not contradictory -- promoting blasphemy laws is a clear example of "religious intolerance" in my book, because it's not tolerant of someone's right to politely say that they think a given religion is incorrect.

Comment Re:Give them away (Score 1) 302

A modern high-school math calculator that is solar-powered and can run rings around the previous generations costs around $15 in any fall back-to-school sale, and even less when they're clearing out their school supplies for the Halloween stuff. Both my high-school kids have several old ones (borrowed from teachers when their was forgotten, or lost and then refound after purchasing a replacement) knocking around in their drawers. I've offered them to their friends and friend's parents, but every one just offers me back their old stuff.

Perfectly functional but unwanted electronics crap is everywhere these days: cell phones, DVD players, digital cameras, laptops, and high-school calculators will survive with the rats and cockroaches after we are long gone.

Comment Re:TUI ! (Score 1) 654

Turbovision (and all the Borland GUIs -- don't forget TurboProlog!) gets my vote.

All based on IBM's Systems Application Architecture / Common User Access (SAA/CUA) standard from the late '80s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Systems_Application_Architecture#Common_user_access_.28CUA.29 . I still have a virgin copy of the SAA/CUA Manual in my amateur computer museum.

Comment Re:France has a problem (Score 1) 1198

... scientists are in general agreement that race has no biological basis.

Poppycock!

If race isn't a biological manifestation, then what could it possibly be? Environmental? Chance? Of course there's a genetic difference between various groups of people who share certain distinctive features (e.g. skin colour, nose shapes, eye shapes, lactose intolerance). That doesn't mean that any of the groups are any better than another, that particular individuals always conform to their parent's genotype, or that these genes don't get endlessly mixed and remixed as time goes on.

It seems to me that "race" is just the informal word* we use to talk about these different groups. It's certainly a concept that has started a lot of wars throughout history, and perhaps for that reason it's becoming increasingly politically incorrect to use. But the word does mean something, and that meaning is inextricably entwined with biology.

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* Perhaps we use "race" for human beings because we would be offended if we used the same term that we use for other animals: breed. But that would definitely be politically incorrect!

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