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Comment Re:Killing Politicians (Score 1) 134

Actually I'm trolling. I'm trying to get some members of the biologic research community to do a little self-examination. I don't know much about the subject, but here is what I do know (now that I have been pushed into articulating it):

1. We are doing more biological research with what are basically 19th century approaches involving the death, pain, and mutilation of animals than we need to be doing. We do not know how much more (which is covered in greater detail in point 3)

I'd really like you to back up that "19th century approaches" claim.

2. To do this, we are training grad students, lab techs, and sometimes undergrads who need a biology credit in the intensive use of the ego defense mechanisms of "clinical objectivity" or "clinical detachment." Which is also the conscious suppression of normal human empathy. There is little to no screening done beforehand to determine if these persons have the emotional maturity and self-insight to limit the use of these mechanisms to the biology lab. There is no follow-up of these individuals; not even the ones who are given their walking papers because they are too unbalanced to do the work properly. Yet the clinical detachment that is needed to handle lab animals creates serious problems when it is used inappropriately in relationships, with children, in an office setting, among colleagues, etc.

You obviously shouldn't get emotionally attached to lab animals for a variety of reasons (not all bad ones). But people are good at compartmentalizing. As for your accusations about clinical detachment do you have any evidence for these claims?

3. No one in the biology research field is even seeing this as a problem. Despite the mass murders of the last few years, where the mechanisms of "clinical detachment" are taken to the pathological extreme. There is no discussion of whether it is time to start limiting training in these techniques, no discussion about how to reduce the number of individuals affected, there is not even an attempt to determine the scope of the problem. The closest is the USDA figures on the number of selected lab animals in active use in the USA: that is 1.3 million. But it excludes rats and mice and animals being bred for scientific use but not yet put to that use. The number of lab animals that lab techs and grad students are exposed to in this country has been estimated at between 10 and 50 million. But even with the 1.3 million figure, that is a large pool of persons being trained in the skills of clinical objectivity (with nothing being done to assure that they are capable of appropriately using those skills, or prevented from maybe obtaining a fully automatic rifle if they are not capable of policing their own psyches).

What seems to be necessary is to push the individuals in the biology research community into confronting the absurdity of their rationales and deliberate blindnesses, and get them looking for ways to move the research animal labs out of the 19th century and into the 21st century. Agitating for laws that would enforce limits upon the research communities seems to be necessary, just to get their attention.

Whether such laws are needed is a topic that is open for discussion. That the research community must be pushed into doing a scientific study on the effects of its practices on the psyches of its minions is definitely necessary.

Again all you've done is speculate, you've shown absolutely no evidence for psychological damage among researchers, you haven't even found an anecdote of some spree shooter being a biologist. People can eat meat without being sociopaths, they can look at cows in a field without being sociopaths, why are you assuming they can't deal with lab animals and avoid emotional attachment without incurring a mental illness?

Comment Re:impossible (Score 1) 297

Don't you know? As part of a collective you can steal from the rest and give yourself a nice subsidy. You can force an obligation upon the rest of the people and give yourself a nice entitlement.

That's what 'civil rights' are there is no such thing, there are only individual rights.

There are no 'women rights', there are no 'gay rights', there are no 'children rights', there are no 'minority rights', there are no 'disabled rights', there are no 'worker rights', etc.etc.

There are only individual rights and when some group (any group) is given what the modern collectivist state likes to call 'civil right' what it actually does it puts an obligation upon some people to provide entitlements to some group. This is the exact opposite of the meaning of the concept of 'right'.

A right is only a meaningful concept in the context of a relationship between an individual and the State, not 2 individuals, not an individual and a business. A right is limitation of authority of the collective to destroy rights of an individual.

'Civil right' is the exact opposite of an actual right, 'civil right' relies on destruction of actual real individual rights, it's Orwellian doublespeak.


No right is absolute, rights are an emergent property of our society, they're something we agreed on to help each other get along.

Individual rights are the most basic and the most important of these, but they' re not the only ones. Civil rights are an important infringement on individual rights if we want to live in a civil society. The loss of individual liberty suffered from a civil right is minimal (you can't fire that guy because he's gay), but the amount of welfare gained is huge (the gay guy doesn't have to lie).

Comment Re:"benefit the survival of the species" (Score 1) 134

Which species?

And that is a strange phrase. I cannot think of any research that helps the survival of either Humans or Chimps.

My reading is that most of the research on chimps is either some kind of basic research or direct efforts to improve human health. This is the research this rule would eliminate.

But if some disease starts wiping out wild chimpanzee populations the researchers are still allowed to experiment on them to save other chimps.

Comment Re:Killing Politicians (Score 1) 134

WRT using chimps in testing, that is now so bogus. The automobile has replaced the horse and buggy and freed horses for their rightful place as pampered pets (there are now more horses in the USA than there were in 1899-- hoowoodathunkit?) The MRI and computer simulations are now replacing the old fashioned use of chimps in the laboratory. There is no question that sooner or later the nasty old ways of doing biological research are going to become history, just like the horse and buggy, replaced by technology that can do the job faster, better, and without exploiting some other species. The only question is when do we pass the laws that will force today's buggy whip manufacturers to find some better source of employment?

This will cause a shake-up in the research and development industry, as the employment opportunities of persons who have spent their careers developing skills in carving up the brains of primates will be out of work and unemployable. Along with a host of other specialists in supporting roles. A lot of these people are quite likely incapable of finding other work. It requires a certain kind of blockage of normal human empathy to slice and dice a chimpanzee, and without that a lot of job opportunities will be closed to these individuals with their self-inflicted damage to their psyches.

I don't know much about the people doing research on chimps (though found it fascinating that you couldn't resist essentially calling them sociopaths) but I do a little computational neuroscience. MRI has some serious limitations, and our simulations aren't anywhere close to replacing the need for live subjects and they probably won't be until we're post-singularity.

If you want to argue that the science isn't worth the cost then make that argument, but don't claim the same science can be done without the cost.

Comment More useless than useless (Score 1) 293

I'm sure a lot of pirated dev kits are floating around already, as for the source code, who cares? Another game company isn't going to go near it, I guess in the worst case if everything is there a bunch of devs could get together, strip out all the drm, and release a really good pirated version, but I just don't see this being a big risk for the game companies.

Oh yeah,

Recently, Kotaku reported that SuperDaE, a 17 year-old minor, was facing an array of eight legal charges, including "possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia", "possession of a prohibited weapon", "possession of identification material with intent to commit an offence", and "possessing and copying an indecent or obscene article, possession of child exploitation material".

So an Australian, being charged by Australian police for crimes that have nothing to do with computers, apparently thinks a bunch of American and Japanese game companies can protect him if he blackmails them?

Good luck with that...

Comment Re:But why? (Score 1) 860

What exactly does it help if the world does know his name?

I guess the NSA already knew his name, and he figured that he'd be safer if the public knows it, too. If a person with a name nobody has ever heard of disappears somewhere in Hong Kong, nobody will care too much. If the person who is known to have leaked the NSA documents disappears, it might make the media notice.

I don't see why he'd get disappeared, it doesn't matter how ruthless the NSA is killing him has no upside. If anyone ever found out it would be a major black eye for the NSA, and it can't be a deterrent since nobody knows they got him! It would be brutal optics since all the outside world would see is that the leaker got away!

Best case for them is to catch him, discredit him, and put him in jail for a long time as a warning to anyone else.

If they got close Edward Snowden outting himself is a brilliant more, he has the first chance to write the narrative and take the moral highground.

He's just gone from a hidden figure being hunted by law enforcement to a concerned citizen giving public interviews and ready to face the music, he's framing the discussion as a political one instead of a criminal one. He's made it a lot harder politically for the Feds to throw the book at him.

Comment Hands up if you used it (Score 1) 229

Has anyone actually ever used the functionality? I haven't and I can't see myself changing. It could be they removed it with some malicious intent, or it could be someone said 'why are we supporting feature X that no body ever uses'. If I posted a lot I could see myself downloading an archive and doing some analysis of the content for fun, but for the most part the only people I see wanting an archive is people who use it as a micro-blogging service. On principal I like the idea of having it, I'm just curious if anyone here has ever used it.

Comment Re:Bugged? (Score 2) 247

So, let me get this straight. He didn't surreptitiously gain access to any area any random member of the public wouldn't have access to. He didn't plant any recording device to record in his absence. He stood outside a door and with a cel phone recorded what any passerby would have heard had they stopped to listen. Is that correct?

That doesn't even sound particularly unethical to me. A bit sleazy, but then if McConnell's careless enough to have that kind of discussion where anyone in the hallway can overhear the problem doesn't lie with the people in the hallway listening.

I think this is where the phrase 'reasonable expectation of privacy' comes into play. If I'm behind a closed door in my campaign HQ I think I have a reasonable expectation of privacy, I could do more, but most people would think me paranoid.

Now we usually think of bugging as recording something we can't hear ourselves, either because we can't be in the right location (ie planting a bug), or our hearing isn't sensitive enough (ie a parabolic mike), so ethically I don't think this is bugging. But the fact he recorded it makes it worse than eavesdropping, and as political dirty tricks go I'm comfortable with it being prosecuted.

Comment Re:What I would like from the next series (Score 1) 375

(Same AC here)

I agree on that it would be nice with more philosophical dilemmas. However, do give the Hartnell years a go, he was wonderful; just imagine a grumpy, absentminded, xenophobic doctor that mainly wants to show his granddaughter the universe at all points in time :)

And yes, I agree on Star Trek, it has gone too much mission-of-the-week rather than mystery-of-the-week, and all of the missions are with cameras that are handled like they would explode if they were stationary for more than five seconds...
Sad that one basically had to get rid of what made SciFi good in order to make it popular

I think the mistake with Star Trek was going to movies. In a series you can go philosophical but it's going to be a bit hit and miss (one of the reasons the old Star Trek movies had such a reputation for inconsistency) but you can lock into a core audience. With a movie you only get one shot so if you have the money and a built in audience it's a safer bet to just make an action flick.

For Doctor Who I do really like the idea of an old doctor. It seems all the current versions of brilliant eccentrics have some form of ADD, all the Sherlock Holmes versions (incl. House), and all the doctors getting more energetic as the age decreases. I'd love to see John Hurt as an older more ponderous doctor forced to deal with some philosophical dilemmas.

Comment Re:What I would like from the next series (Score 2) 375

I'm not familiar with the original series so that may be true but I don't really want to mess with the current Dr Who too much. It doesn't educate and the science is completely laughable, but he's smart, and saves the day without using violence. In any other show where you're trying to save the world it's almost a given that the hero is simply the good guy who's the best at killing people. That we have a show that's immensely popular and has as its hero a pacifist nerd is pretty awesome, I'd like if they played with philosophical questions a bit more (I think most shows overdo character drama) but I'm happy enough with what we got that I don't want to mess with it.

Star Trek on the other hand has become a joke, what's one more action flick set in space?

Comment Re:What I would like from the next series (Score 1) 375

Was Dr Who ever particularly smart? I've guess they've moved a bit more towards character drama as opposed to philosophical storylines, but never do I remember them ever anything remotely realistically scientific or a legitimate detective puzzle. It's always been crazy smart doctor figures out mystery only he has the knowledge to understand, then does a sciency solution that only he's smart enough to do. I figure the joy of Doctor Who is that it's like a nerd's action series. Except instead of saving the day with unrealistic fighting ability he saves it with unrealistic smartness and snappy dialogue.

Star Trek on the other hand has gone regularly exploring philosophical concepts in the first series to being a dumb action movie with the latest films.

Comment Re:Associations, tribalism (Score 1) 559

I also think there's also a malfunctioning heuristic too.

Take organic foods. People think they're healthier, better for the environment, tastier, and are harder to grow, therefore people pay a premium.

I'm actually a bit skeptical about the first two claims, so if I see something labelled organic my main thought is it costs more than its non-organic counterpart, or if the cost is the same they cut some other corner to bring the prices in line. I'm basically assuming there's no free lunch, that the feature I don't really care about came at the price of something I do care about. This makes me less likely to buy organic.

I suspect that's what's happening here. Conservatives expect that something labelled 'green' gained that feature at a cost, if it's not in the sticker price then maybe in the reliability or the quality of light. Since they don't care about being green and they're not sure what the hidden cost might be they figure it's a better deal to get something else.

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