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Comment Re:Old Joke (Score 1, Insightful) 270

Recall that DC voters re-elected Marion Barry.

DC voters don't like to get pushed around by the federal government, and they get pushed a lot. Marion Barry was a scoundrel, but he was sent to prison in what was a clear case of entrapment by federal agents. They were almost certainly targeting him because of his politics. How many other citizens have been handed free unsolicited cocaine by the US government? His reelection was just DC voters giving congress the finger.

Comment Re:IQ intellectuals (Score 2) 270

IQ tests are meaningless.

Baloney. IQ tests may not precisely measure "intelligence", but they are clearly measuring something. IQ scores are strongly correlated with economic success (higher salaries and lower unemployment), reduction in criminal behavior, and better health. Things that lead to higher IQ scores tend to raise these correlated factors as well, whether it is better nutrition, less lead exposure, or even coaching on the thinking skills required for the test (which seems to indicate that good "test taking skills" are actually broadly useful critical thinking skills).

Comment Re:derp.... (Score 4, Interesting) 270

It's also interesting that IQ scores tend to be spread that way as well.

IQ scores tend to be correlated with a history of urbanization and economic specialization. In a primitive society, innovation and original thinking are unlikely to lead to any benefit, and might lead to a disaster such as a crop failure or empty snares. But in an urbanized society with specialized jobs, successful ideas can be leveraged for disproportionate benefit. East Asia had large urban populations long before the West. In Europe, Jews were urbanized during the middle ages when almost everyone else was a rural serf. East Asians have average IQ scores about 5 points higher than Europeans, and Ashkenazi Jews are higher still.

Comment Re:Not the only public health benefit. (Score 5, Informative) 270

What kind of parasites, and why did they have more of them than damnyankees? Serious question.

A number of energy and grown sapping diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever, were common in the American South in the 19th century, but uncommon in the North. But the biggest culprit was probably hookworms, which cause "intellectual, cognitive and growth retardation". Average IQ in the South increased significantly as hookworms were eradicated in the early 20th century.

We might get another gain if we eradicate toxoplasmosis, a parasite spread by cats. It is believed by some to depress intelligence and novelty seeking behavior in humans.

Comment Re:derp.... (Score 4, Interesting) 270

excessive salt in the diet is NOT a problem for many/most people, but only those sensitive to it.

People with West African ancestory (as most African-Americans are) tend to be the most sensitive. East Asians tend to be the least sensitive. People of European descent tend to be in the middle. This correlates well with areas where salt was historically rare/common. In West Africa, salt was often brought in caravans across the Sahara, and was very expensive, and thus unavailable to common people. In China, for centuries, even peasants could afford to drench their food in salt-laden soy sauce.

Comment Re:Lots of fabs have closed (Score 1) 118

A lot of companies that used to maintain their own fabs have closed them over the years.

That is part of the "problem". But I think a bigger part is the rise of SOCs and FPGAs, which have become far more powerful, while falling in price. Many applications that would have required an ASIC in the past, can now be done by configuring a SOC or programming an FPGA.

Comment Re:But why? (Score 3, Interesting) 445

I need floodlights to keep the scavengers (as in metal recyclers) from coming into my yard to steal my table and chairs

But the lights don't need to be on all the time. Use motion sensors to trigger the lights. The "startle effect" when they come on makes them a better deterrent than always-on lights. Also, install a few of these fake cameras. I put several around my house. They look very realistic, and have blinking LEDs to make them more noticeable, but are a tiny fraction of the price of a real camera. Put up a "beware of dog" sign, whether you have a dog or not. Get a pair of used, and well worn, size 14 work boots, and leave them on the porch.

Comment Re:Here's an idea (Score 2) 1029

I think the real question is what changed?

What has changed is that special effects are now a commodity. They can no longer carry a movie on their own. Avatar had a silly predictable plot, but it was worth seeing just for the eye candy. That would be less true today. The special effects can still help if they are innovative, but when every action movie has a nearly identical generic car chase going the wrong way on a one-way street, no one is impressed.

Comment Re:And it's only going to get worse (Score 4, Insightful) 835

I remember a time when people where not so mistrusting of everyone..

What has changed is not "trust", but your naivete. Did you know that back before I turned 13, people didn't have sex?

Just looking back 15-20 years i remember things like..

You remember wrong. In the last 20 years, crime rates have fallen dramatically. Volunteerism is up. In almost every way our society has become both more trusting and more trustworthy. You are looking at the past with a rose tinted rear view mirror.

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