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Comment Re:umm... (Score 1) 115

OK now you are dismissive AND arrogant. Good work, I am more concerned about you and your field of endeavor than I was when this started.

The fact that genomic research HAS enabled the ability to engineer organisms that can be extremely dangerous, and can potentially be dangerous to only targetted groups is intensely intertwined with all the beneficial advances in the field. You simply can't separate the two and pretend the dark side isn't there.

Genomics is simply a very dangeorus field. Its given an ethically challenged species the ability to play god and tamper with life itself. Its just a matter of time until someone will tamper with it and it wont end well.

"Yes, I singled out rednecks and skinheadsâ¦"

There wasn't even a tinge of humor in it, not sure why you are claiming there was.

You are engaging in the very kind of stereotyping and targeting of groups you've been preaching against and dismissing. And to pile on you just added a bunch more groups you hold in contempt and would probably just as soon seen wiped off the face of the earth.

Its the kind of bigotry a well educated, probably liberal, affluent person such as yourself would refuse to accept as bigotry. It doesn't really bother me that you are doing it. It bothers me you don't seem to even realize you are doing it.

Comment Re:umm... (Score 1) 115

" What do *you* think should be done to address the problem(s) that concerns you? What is your contribution?"

Not really sure there is anything that can be done. The genie is already out of the bottle. You can pass laws and try to suppress it which will slow beneficial use and do nothing to hamper malevolent use.

There are already people actively trying to alter organisms in their garage and on kickstarter. I assure you there are nation states like North Korea who have the capacity to do malevolent work. It is also well with in the range of well funded extremist groups.

Probably the best thing I can contribute is the thing I did contribute. Remind everyone that this technology is extremely powerful, if you are going to dwell on the upside you should at least remain aware of the downside. Since you seem to be actively involved in the field your dismissive attitude towards the dangers makes me more concerned, not less.

Your assertion that no one will ever try eugenics again is delusional. There are groups and people who are fully committed to it today, all they need is the power to implement it. Hungary for example is already drifting towards an anti semitic neo nazi state in the heart of Europe. As Greece plunges in to an economic abyss, a fascist state is a highly possible outcome. Genomics would have been a boon to the final solution and breeding a master race.

Claiming your commitment to "wisdom of civilization and culture" while you sling epithets like "redneck" and "skinhead" doesn't put you or your cause in a positive light. Labeling people as "rednecks" indicates you have a tendency to stereotype people the same way eugenicists do.

Comment Re:umm... (Score 1) 115

"A. Are you saying just because a technology can be used for harm it should be abandoned or suppressed?"

Actually, no I didn't say anything remotely resembling that. I think I pointed out if you are going to tote up the upside you should probably at least keep it in your mind there is a down side to most technologies. Their cost can be extremely steep, especially when you whistle past the grave yard and ignore them.

Fossil fuels for example have been a boon to the energy input equation driving civilization, as long as they don't start a run away greenhouse effect and wipe out life as we know it.

You seem to be a poster child for "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".

"Just because the technology makes it more feasible doesn't mean we are reckless enough to flirt with it again"

Keep telling yourself that, and hope you have good genes.

"this stuff is not so easy to do accidentally"

Yea, its so tough there are DIY home geneticists "using the Synthetic Biology Parts Registry to engineer yogurt bacteria to produce prozac"

Comment Re:umm... (Score 1) 115

Its a little one side to think genomics will be all upside. The flip side...

A. What will be the costs if someone designs genetically targetted weapons, i.e. biological weapons that only target certain races or even individual people. I read an article a while back that the Secret Service strives to minimize access to the President's DNA, for example skin cells left in sheets, to prevent someone from targetting his genome with a biological weapon.

B. What will the cost be when people or nation states try to genetically engineer for superior intelligence, strength and speed to create an actual master race. It might be a win for them if they succeed, not so much for everyone else.

C. What will the cost be if eugenics returns and people who are considered genetically inferior are sterilized and their genome is wiped out. Reference B.

D. What will be the cost be when someone tries to genetical engineer a virus, bacteria, plant or animal, it goes horribly wrong and results in a global threat.

Comment Re:Linux needs more desktop forks (Score 1) 185

That was funny⦠"Not Really" and then you vividly demonstrate that its becoming relatively difficult for a a Linux fanatic to even describe all the GUI/Desktop/Window Manager forks.

THIS IS REALLY SIMPLE. Linux will not succeed on the desktop with the current cluser f**k in desktop/GUI toolkits/window managers. Its getting worse every year, not better. Either have a giant encounter group and get on the same page or pack it in. Alternately pick one or two distros that are mostly getting it right and put ALL of the wood behind that arrow or arrows. Linux on the desktop is turning in to a total waste of time the way it is.

Only positive in it I can see is it gives large numbers of programmers something to do, and they will eventually learn one of the most important lessons of software development. Don't waste time on stuff that is never gonna fly.

Comment Re:Linux needs more desktop forks (Score 1) 185

I dont think I advocated "A" central authority, but when there is absolutely no consistency or continuity there is a fair chance it wont be good, it will take a miracle for it to excel, and a fair chance its going to suck.

You might not have to have a dictator but everyone needs to be working on the same code base, using the same frameworks, working to make those excel, and making some compromises. That is how the kernel works mostly. Instead on the desktop you get constant forking and the developer and user base is so diluted nothing is going to succeed.

Android is doing as well as it is because someone at Google is the central authority, despite efforts by Samsung and others to fragment it. Google also has the marketing clout to get people using it. If Android fragments as bad as the Linux desktop, the apps dont work right and a user wont be able to run two different versions because EVERYTHING is different.

For all of you who posted in this thread that GUI X.X works the way I want, well chances are you are one of those hardcore Linux types that want everything a certain way, wont tolerate anything else, not an average person looking for a computer that just works and they can use. You are as much the problem as the developers doing all the forks.

Comment Linux needs more desktop forks (Score 3, Interesting) 185

On the one hand it is great that Linux allows people to innovate, and fork when the need arises.

On the other hand the Linux desktop has reached the point that I simply don't want to choose between the myriad of desktops and window managers any more. Just reading Wikipedia on MATE and Cinnamon leaves me shaking my head.

Seems to me that the massive fragmentation of the Linux desktop probably does work for the hard core geeks who can pick the one that scratches their itch. It also gives every programmer who wants to develop a desktop or window manager their own private little place to do it.

On the other hand, Linux on the desktop is pretty much doomed when it comes to any ordinary person just wanting to install it, use it and have it work if the first question they have to deal with is which of 20 UI's and desktops they should pick.

Not sure how you are going to maintain a critical mass of developers and users for testing when resources are scattered across so many, mostly, mediocre UI's and desktops. If you don't have that critical mass, chances are every effort will come up short quality wise.

Developer's thinking about developing a serious app with a lot of UI and desktop integration must cringe at the prospect of doing QA across so many desktop variations and either only support one or give up on supporting Linux all together.

Who would have figured that Android, running a Java front end, would be the one and only place that Linux would have any chance of making it as a consumer OS.

Comment Re:Dang, Canada... (Score 1) 474

Ummm. . . all that stuff is happening because the Fed is printing money, lots and lots of money, not anything Obama is doing. Only contribution Obama is making is spending a lot of borrowed money in concert with Congress.

Printing money is a sure fired way to drive up a stock market. Its not really due to stocks going up as much as the currency being devalued. One reason the deficit is going down is all the capital gains rolling in from the artificially inflated stock market.

They are also engaging in financial repression, holding interest rates artificially low to punish savers while they save the butts of debtors, and this is stoking a new bubble in the housing market.

We are pretty much headed for twin bubbles in the stock market and housing market. When they pop its going to be 2008 all over again or probably worse. There is also an outside chance all this stimulus is going to provoke an inflation spike or hyperinflation if the bubble don't pop before the inflation really kicks in.

The one thing in the Fed's favor is the EU, Japan and China are printing money like there is no tomorrow too, so all the major world currencies are being devalued at the same time. The world is awash in electronic money generated out of thin air, or actually out of elections in a few central bank computers. Its not real wealth.

At least computers generating bitcoins have to work at it. The Fed is generating like $80 billion a month with absolutely no effort.

Comment Re:One teensy detail (Score 1) 393

"I wonder what it would look like if it explodes"

Nope, it was most definitely "I wonder what it will look like when it explodes" and I found thinking it that way to be jarring in its own right. Ten minutes later I had the answer. Large numbers of people were watching and it caused a level of intensity of emotion and feeling among large numbers of people that the intensity was enough to function at a different and atypical energy level.

"Perhaps you should consider studying in the field of neuroscience, or perhaps deep in to the fields of physics"

I'm too old to change career tracks, I have absolutely zero interest in working in the repressive hamster cage necessary to do research in those fields, living in an ivory tower or playing research paper games. Those fields require a lab, equipment and a lot of money. As soon as you hit string theory and multiverse we simply don't have any way to do experimental research because everything is at a level beyond our current ability to measure anything.

Probably the only ones doing viable research on the subject are Zen masters, though they may also be masters of self deception.

I'm just not opting in to the reductionism that thinks just because we have huge digital computers that they are the right tool to simulate biological intelligence. You might actually be able to fake some of the mechanics but its going to be wildly inefficient and contrived, and I think critical peices will be missing, probably the parts that we call "soul".

Comment Re:One teensy detail (Score 1) 393

"I think it's FAR more likely that your mind lied to you."

Ya know you actually don't have a clue what it was but you do seem to have that special kind of arrogance that makes you think can just fill in the blanks about something for which you have no actual information and make it fit your world view.

It was 10 minutes before the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded while watching the pre launch with no sound. The thought flashed through my head quite vividly, "I wonder what it will look like when it explodes". You could maybe explain it away that I'd deduced that conditions were ripe for it to explode but since I didn't really know anything about the O ring issues and cold at the time I had no basis for deducing that there was much of a chance it would explode beyond the fact that all launches have some chance of exploding.

It is a chronic characteristic of our species, especially the arrogant, intelligent ones like yourself that we think we have it all figured out and that everything falls to Occam's Razor. Time after time it turns out that we actually don't know it all, in fact we don't know much about a lot of things.

The people most likely to make the leaps of discovery are the ones who have no regard for "conventional wisdom". I wont be placing any bets on an AI, any time soon, to come up with an original insight on anything. You seem to have a lot in common with the brand of intelligence I would expect an AI to produce.

Comment Re:One teensy detail (Score 1) 393

You completely forgot my original point. I was not arguing for god or a "mystical presence". I am simply arguing that our understanding of our universe and existence is still primitive at best. Everytime we've thought we had it all figured out we've been proved wrong. We will most probably be proved wrong again and again.

" complex things are usually just made up of a LOT of very very simple things behaving in very very simple ways"

That is simply not true. We started out with fire, earth, air and water. We then moved to atoms, elements and molecules. Then to subatomic particles. Then to quantum mechanics which is decidely not simple. Now we are at dark matter, dark energy and string theory which are extreme increases in complexity if they prove out. Likewise we went from no understanding of mechanics to Newton and calculus to Relativity. Those are not simplifications either. Out understanding of physics today is vastly more complex than ever.

"While precognition may appear to stand at a different level to these sorts of changes,"

Precognition is completely different from a drug induced mystical experience. Precognition suggestions time doesn't operate on the simplistic level we think it does.

I used a lot of touch feely language in my first post not out of emotion but because its simply impossible for me to empirically prove my theory, I know it, and I'm admitting it. It would have been even worse if I'd sat there and tried to assert my theory as though it was a hard fact.

Comment Re:One teensy detail (Score 1) 393

I find the reductionist approach to be too simplistic to explain the wonderous magic that is life, intelligence and time. The reductionist approach may prove to be the winning answer, but it will certainly be disappointing if our existence is really that mechanized.

I once experienced a vivid instance of precognition and it permenently moved me out of the camp that our existence is as simple as the reductionists try to make it.

Comment Re:One teensy detail (Score 1) 393

I didn't say that it was limited to human brains, it is most probably in brains of other animals, it may even be in plants. Its quite possible you can manufacture an artificial brain with this spark. I just doubt you will be able to do it with a relatively crude simulation on a digital computer or accomplish it when we still have very little grasp of the mechanics of the dimensions in which we live.

I think the idea of creating intelligence with a digital computer is a variation on the law of the instrument. Just because you have powerful digital computers doesn't mean they are the right tool for at least part of this job.

Comment Re:One teensy detail (Score 1) 393

You may be able to simulate all the basic mechanics of a brain and an organism by modeling all the neurons and synapses, but I suspect that the soul and the spark of sentience probably rests in quantum mechanics, string theory, multiverses, or something similar that we presently don't understand. You can build a Watson, you may be able to pass a Turing test but it wont have intuition or inspiration. Nor will it be alive or a real intelligence. It certainly might pass for an "artificial" intelligence.

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