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Comment Re:How are microbes heritable? (Score 1) 297

Cruditys aside there are more reasons than basic nutrition that breast milk is preferable to formula. For instance the mother is eating food from the local environment so the baby slowly builds tolerance and taste for food they will later survive on. Newer studies have shown that peanut and shellfish allergies can be overcome in this way.

Comment Re:I'm not so sure. (Score 3, Insightful) 392

In that case Ireland wasn't a true country for 800 of the last 900 years and yet we have one of the most unique and vibrant cultures in the world and we are not losing that anytime soon. Your rationale of a "true country" is wrong. Yyou are confusing economics and power with culture and patriotism. Most EU citizens still have huge national pride but they can understand the power of a single economic bloc.
The US economic federation is not logically separated from patriotic ideology in the same way. Citizens of different US states have ideologies that they believe to be more valid than their compatriots and more worthy of being described as the American way. Europeans have a sense of Europeanness but they identify more strongly with their country/unit.
300 or so million people is just too large a population to share a culture with and homogenizing statistics that are geographical in nature is meaningless.

Comment Re:Education (Score 5, Insightful) 169

This reminds me of the Kurt Vonnegut bit in Slaughterhouse Five about Americans attitude towards esteem and money.

"America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, “It ain’t no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.” It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: “if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” There will also be an American flag no larger than a child’s hand – glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register."

Comment Re:observing a lack is not proof (Score 1) 645

Different cultures don't necessarily have different priorities. They just manifest the expression of their culture through their choices. In my country both basketball and hockey are minor sports and it's not for money or climate reasons. My country (conveniently?) is a small island and thus the culture is geographically delineated. I believe that in the US you have a geographically homogeneous meta-culture (e.g. stars and stripes and hamburgers) overarching slowly coalescing traditional cultures (e.g. Irish-Italian, Jewish-Catholic). It's important to remember that and to celebrate the differences. The really important thing is not to confuse all of this with people's individual ability to carry out a particular function or role,

Comment Re:Government failure? (Score 2) 451

I'm curious. I work for an American corporation and in any problem that arises that requires collaboration the first priority seems to be proving it's not your fault as quickly as possible.Recent software engineering methodologies try to emphasize that a problem belongs to a team or even to a team of teams but the onus is to get the issue solved not show it's somebody elses problem. Am I wrong? I blame the fact that it's so easy to get fired in the US.

Comment Re:OH, Goodie! (Score 1) 363

I would love to be a fly on the wall at the meetings where Big Oil decide the viability of drilling / mining in the Arctic based on the ability to efficiently transport resources south; based on predicting if the NE Passage will remain open and using evidence of human accelerated Global Warming as relevant business data for the decision.

Comment Re:Oh yes indeed.... (Score 1) 289

If I was a reasonably unkempt young guy living independently, without dependents and with a job I wasn't too concerned about (or no job) I might find it expedient to claim I was homeless. A homeless person might not have a drivers license or social security card or credit card and might have an obscure back story making it difficult to associate them with an identity. I could then accept the charges for a low level white collar crime and just do the jail time or accept the terms of release, sign what I had to as John Doe or Joe Bloggs or whatever and then go back to my real life. The more "Anonymous" I made myself the easier it might be for me to avoid having my real record associated with a criminal conviction.

Comment Re:The thin veneer of civilisation (Score 3, Informative) 682

Have you been following the London riots at all? I suggest looking at some of the links marked #londonriots on Twitter. You don't need an account. These kids are not fighting the power. They are smashing up and looting locally owned stores in their community and setting fire to buildings with people asleep upstairs in them and then actively preventing fire fighters from putting out the fires.
I'm not sure what that has to do with labor union demos?

Comment Re:Oh I'm sorry (Score 1) 378

Of course it is true that girls with whom you have a positive social rapport do not mind sexual jokes and often find them funny. However this joke was made "about" girls in a male dominated forum. That is absolutely not the same thing. I totally agree with your point about respect and that's why you should be careful about language. For instance you often talk "to" a child or a pet but you talk "with" a person.

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