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Comment Re:That's stupid. (Score 1) 36

The winner will retire, one productive scientist less.

Very few scientists are in it for the money. Many would love $10M to invest in a lab or fund their Nobel dream research. Many scientists love their work. It is like the Iowa farmer who won five million in the lottery. A reporter asked him what he would do with the money. His answer was "I'll probably just keep farming till it is gone."

Comment Re:As usual. (Score 1) 622

As an addendum, judging by the linked graph, you get almost all of the intelligence boost to your population with 15% atheism

The graph was only the data for one study out of 53 that found a negative correlation between religiosity and IQ, and as a "country-to-country" comparison, it was not the most interesting. Better were the studies that looked at individuals, and found, on average, an almost 6 point gap between atheists and people that adhered to "dogmatic religious beliefs".

Comment Re:As usual. (Score 5, Interesting) 622

That forgets that childhood poverty and subsequent poor educational environment are highly negatively correlated with IQ

The standard deviation for IQ is about 15 points. Fraternal twins, even when raised apart, have a SD of about about six. Identical twins, even when raised apart, have a SD of about three. So your IQ is about 80% inherited. Of course it can be affected by other things, but overall, IQ is more strongly inherited than height. Height can certainly be affected by environmental factors like nutrition, but the overwhelming factor is the height of your parents.

Comment Re:As usual. (Score 5, Insightful) 622

One of the oldest rules of survival - STUPID ANIMALS DIE!!!!

Only up to a point. Natural selection works both ways. Stupid animals may die because they make stupid mistakes. But smart animals may also be under a disadvantage because their more active brain consumes more energy, and the curiosity that comes with intelligence may get them in trouble. If wild animals, such as rats, are captured, selectively bred to improve their intelligence, and then released, they will regress to their original level. So you want to be smart, but not too smart.

Comment Re:It's only creepy if you speculate. (Score 1) 154

I think for her it's more the principle of the matter.

You have a good understanding of the feminine mind. Years ago I built a toilet seat lowering mechanism out of an old hydraulic hinge. I would raise it to pee, and then just walk away. The toilet seat would lower on it's own over the next five minutes. I expected my wife to be happy about it, but instead she was upset. To her, the point was not that the toilet seat was lowered, but that *I* lowered it, as a conscious and deliberate act of love and commitment.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 333

Until the insurance companies and the government conspire to make manually-driven cars illegal.

Fine with me. The sooner the better.

If you want to actually control your own car, you should go to a private closed circuit track. The public roads are not the place for that.

Comment Re: Good (Score 1) 333

Once a road is at capacity, no amount of 'perfect' driving is going to prevent the addition of more cars from causing traffic slowdowns and eventually traffic jams.

What you are missing is that the "capacity" is not a constant. Self-driving cars can drive much closer together, and can react much faster to changing conditions. They will also operate with more information about traffic conditions ahead. Google has estimated that their cars can increase the capacity of a lane of highway by at least a factor of five.

Comment Re:Here we go... (Score 4, Insightful) 918

we will be damned for isolationism and disregard for human suffering if we do not act

Yes, it is too bad we were ordained by God to police the world. It would be so much better if there was some sort of organization that could represent the collective will of the nations of the world in situations like this. Maybe we could set up something like that. New York City might be a good place.

Comment Re:Kind of a warning sign actually (Score 2) 362

why? a few decades ago banks would ask you for character references when you applied for a loan. cheap computing tech gave rise to credit scores

Because personal references were a terrible way to judge credit worthiness. Credit scores based on your actual credit history are far more reliable.

Comment Re:Dubious Credit Criteria (Score 1) 362

Dubious credit criteria and validation got us into a huge subprime mortgage mess

1. This is not "dubious". It is based on plenty of solid evidence.
2. The subprime mess was caused (in part) by government pressure to ignore proven credit criteria, along with incentives for banks to not care about the default rate because the risk was borne by quasi-governmental institutions like Fannie Mae, that had an implicit guarantee of a taxpayer bailout.

Comment Re:Kind of a warning sign actually (Score 5, Informative) 362

There was a much better article about this in the Economist a few months back. The banks don't ask you for a list of your Facebook friends. It doesn't work like that. They get the information as part of your score from credit agencies. You will never even know it is happening. But I don't see why this is worse than other things they consider, like your zipcode or marital status. You are judged by the company you keep. Deal with it.

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