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Comment Re:totally government spin (Score 1) 668

the story was leaked by a government minister that there was a lot of welsh people getting measles when in reality there was no epidemic at all. its all scare tactics by the newspapers and the government who in reality want you to be scared of breathing so that you do what they want you to do.

In related news, polls find 7% believe the moon landing was a hoax.

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Comment Re:You .... (Score 1) 668

Modern society counteracts evolution by protecting the weak and stupid.

Ironically, this is also exactly what vaccinations do.

Actually no. What vaccinations does is modify selections pressures for us to survive in an environment which includes vaccinations. Specifically it has two effects. (1) It lowers the selection pressure for an immune system which can inherently avoid/survive infection by these particular diseases, and (2) it adding a selection pressure for immune systems which strongly respond to vaccinations. In our modern society an immune system with a strong and generalized response to vaccinations has HUGE evolutionary value. It means an immune systems which is powerfully equipped to leverage external technology (vaccine development) to defeat novel deadly threats in the future. The evolutionary value of fighting off a specific disease is peanuts compared to the evolutionary value of strong mehcnisms to defeat generalized future threats.

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Comment Re:You .... (Score 1) 668

Modern society counteracts evolution by protecting the weak and stupid.

No, it doesn't. And this is a meme that needs to be killed off.

Modern Society certainly alters the Natural Selection criteria, but altering what is selected does not diminish the process of evolution. Scientists have identified recent and current positive evolutionary selection in humans in a wide range of genes. This includes genes for metabolism, sensory perception, immune system, reproduction, neural development, and more.

For example multiple different genes for lactose tolerance arose in various parts of the world, they have been spreading for a few thousand years, and they continue to experiencing positive selection today. Another notable example is that scientists have detected that genes for bipolar disorder and related mental illnesses are currently experiencing positive selection. People with bipolar or similar disorders are more likely to engage in unprotected sex, to leave the resulting child to be raised by the other person or by family members, and go on to repeat the process with multiple partners. And I deliberately raise this particular example to make a point - if you fall out a 4th floor window the laws of physics don't care whether you think broken bones are a good thing or a bad thing. Just like Evolution and other laws of nature don't care whether you think bipolar disorder is a good thing or a bad thing. Human evolution has not stopped. Humans are evolving to better survive and reproduce with our modern milk-grain-highfructose-highfat-highsodium based diets. Humans are evolving to better survive and reproduce with our high-technology highly-complex highly-diverse high-mobility society. And yes, that includes evolutionary exploration of mental illness as a means of increasing reproductive rates. A strategy which is working at least in the short term, and with an unknown long term outcome. The human species has achieved the success it has due in large part to the strategy of parents placing a huge investment in producing a small number of highly successful children. And regardless of our opinion on things, evolution is still going to blindly explore the high-risk-high-payoff strategy of trading quality-of-offspring and care-of-offspring in exchange for quantity-of-offspring. Because humans are still actively undergoing evolution. Any and all genetically-influenced traits expressed by humans are subject to positive or negative evolutionary selections if those traits have any direct or indirect impact on the number of long term descendants we leave behind.

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Comment Re:This news is about 3600 years late (Score 2) 384

Aside: Something that has occurred to me of late (while watching discussion about the Zimmerman trial, actually), is that I think humans have a tendency to fit real-world events into neat, narrative structures that have the same three-act form as good stories. I'm wondering if any news story that achieves really broad penetration of a large population's collective psyche doesn't end up getting "adjusted" until it fits a smooth, memorable narrative arc. This became apparent to me in the case of the Zimmerman trial when I realized that those who argued for guilty and not-guilty verdicts were discussing two rather different versions of the narrative, each of which followed a traditional storytelling arc, and neither of which was overly concerned about including facts that didn't fit the arc. The whole sequence of events, especially when the focus is on the actual evidence, makes a rather lumpy, disjointed tale with false starts and inconvenient edges, but the pro- and anti-Zimmerman stories are both much smoother.

Not "humans", but "Westerners", primarily because we're so used to that three-act structure in Western media. Asian movies frequently show a four-act structure - see Kishotenketsu.

Comment Re:Fundamental issues (Score 2) 92

I think the patent office shouldn't get the money for patent applications. They should have a budget independent of the number of applications they process with a minimum goal for each year to get through that's reasonable.

Sure we'll have a backlog, but when you can't get everything through and the patent office doesn't have a financial incentive to rubber stamp patents anymore it might cause change.

Another idea, give patent reviewers an incentive (bonus) when they find prior art for a patent.

The patent office makes money off of rejections, and therefore has a financial incentive to reject applications and have people re-file new ones. This explains why, for example, they initially rubber-stamp 85% of patent applications "REJECTED". This is as opposed to your implication that they allow everything.

Also, patent examiners are graded on a point system, and they receive points for rejecting applications. It seems like your suggestions are all already implemented, and therefore may not actually address the problem.

Comment Re:Fundamental issues (Score 1) 92

Patenting software is not a fundamental problem. Patent trolls are not a fundamental problem. Instead, these are the results and effects of the true fundamental problem, which is that the patent system itself is patenting anything that comes along that has no obvious conflicts, if even that. It considers its duty to be simply to record the patent ... and take all the money.

If true, you would expect to see 99% of patent applications immediately allowed. Instead, 85% are initially rejected. Apparently, the system considers its duty to reject patent applications until they're properly narrowed.

If something is truly innovative, then without the inventor having done it, it is likely to not have been done at all for many years (when based to genius thought), or for a substantial investment into the work needed to come up with it (when based on a huge amount of work).

I disagree with that definition. "Truly innovative" things may be due to a spark of insight, and then not require significant work. For example, I bet most any engineer now could draw a schematic for a working internal combustion engine on a napkin. Does that mean it wasn't truly innovative when it first appeared?

This "truly innovative" definition of yours has no support in the patent statutes, nor in case law. As a purely subjective definition, it also creates a tyranny of intellectualism, in which inventions may be judged unworthy simply because we dislike their field. Maybe we see a new cancer drug as "truly innovative", but not a new children's toy, regardless of the actual invention.

The vast majority of patents are not true innovation. Most of them are just broad brushes of things they see as inevitable and coming, anyway.

In hindsight, everything looks obvious. The difficulty is in proving that something is inevitable before it's already here.

Comment Re:Beware what you ask for... (Score 1) 92

In the second case one of three things can happen. He can file and be awarded an overly broad patent which is clearly just a rewrite of prior art at which point he sells it to a patent troll or he can file and be awarded a small patent on something unique but unfortunately can't do anything with it because a patent troll already laid claim to the industry standard stuff he built it on top of.

The third thing that could happen is that the guy realizes he's screwed and his idea will never make it past the startup phase - so he gives up and goes back to work to a corporate gig.

The fourth thing that can happen is he gets a patent on his invention of a "unique quality" and then sell that to a patent troll or a large corporation manufacturing the relevant device. Your second point seems to ignore this possibility.

Comment Re:Smart guns... (Score 1) 814

A baseball bat in the hands of a mad man is most certainly a deadly weapon and without adequate resistance can easily kill a goodly number of people in a relatively short period of time. Longer than a gun perhaps but that really depends on the targets and environment.

The distinction is in what constitutes "adequate resistance". For someone with a gun, that may require killing them. For someone with a baseball bat, it may require simply immobilizing them or even getting into such close range that they can't swing the bat.
Specifically, in the grandparent post, the poster hypothesized about a kid walking into a teacher's lounge. The "adequate resistance" required to stop a kid with a baseball bat is very different from the "adequate resistance" required to stop a kid with a gun.

As an aside:

While you're mentioning the evil uses of the canceling properties it seems highly disingenuous not to mention the practically infinitely more common instances:
The 90 pound woman defending herself against a rapist.

Though unrelated, this trope needs to be addressed since it's raised so frequently. The majority of rapes are not caused by strangers leaping out of bushes, but acquaintances, family friends, ex-boyfriends, predatory guy at a party, etc. Having a gun in those situations is useless, because there are very few people would shoot someone they know, particularly when that someone has not previously shown any violent tendencies. Suggesting that women should carry guns to protect themselves from rape is usually irrelevant, and leads to the false implication that if a woman was raped and didn't carry a gun, then she failed to take steps to protect herself and is therefore somewhat culpable.

Comment Re:overblown (Score 2) 272

The real issue here is stupid patents. People patenting round corners and touch to open and the wheel or whatever other stupidity the patent office lets pass by.

The real issue is stupid journalism that leads people to believe that the patent office is letting patents through on "round corners" and "touch to open" and "the wheel".

Comment My fellow legislators... (Score 1) 165

My fellow legislators, this situation is an outrage. I have been receiving letters from my constituents angry that this legislative body has placed itself above the law, and that we are not subject to paying traffic fines like everyone else. I have promised my constituents that I will IMMEDIATELY take action on this issue. As such, I hereby move that my bill, Equality Under Law Act (EULA), be scheduled for a floor vote at the beginning of the next legislative session. Thank You. God Bless America.

Let the record show that this motion has passed unanimously. The Equality Under Law Act is hereby scheduled for a vote at the beginning of the next legislative session, subject of course to the standard legislative rules for indefinite postponement in the event that any legislator makes a motion to address urgent legislation, and that motion is seconded. We now move on to the pressing matter of a bill to rename local Post Office #128 as "Veterans Memorial Post Office".

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Comment Sing along! (Score 1) 193

78a7ecf065324604540ad3c41c3bb8fe1d084c50 78a7ecf065324604540ad3c41c3bb8fe1d084c50 (repeat x6)
Mushroom mushroom!
78a7ecf065324604540ad3c41c3bb8fe1d084c50 78a7ecf065324604540ad3c41c3bb8fe1d084c50 (repeat x6)
A snake a snake! Snake a snake ohhh it's a snake...

The damn Slashdot Lameness Filter won't let me fully write it out without the (repeat x6). Grrrr.

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