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Comment Re:Examples? (Score 3, Informative) 324

In my brief 40 years as an American, I was born into a world where we were supposed to be scared of Russians. To being told that the Russians weren't a threat. To being told that the Islamists that the CIA funded to fight the Russians were the threat. To now being told that the Russians and the disciples of those we trained to fight the Russians are a threat.

"We have always been at war with Eastasia." -- George Orwell, "1984"

Comment Oceans have life at different layers (Score 1) 67

Oceans have life at different layers, so why not gaseous atmospheres of varying densities?

Unless there is something magical about life, its seeds are embedded in the fabric of the universe. Earth coalesced out of a dust cloud and without any human intervention, life appeared and evolved to what we have today. This is a natural process. That it could occur in circumstances other than earthlike does not strike me as farfetched. OTOH, we still can't spontaneously make life in the lab so we don't know all its secrets, and perhaps in reality, our knowledge is very limited (you don't know what you don't know).

Comment Re:What about the primaries? (Score 2) 1430

Lessig's big TED talk was on "Lesterland" - about how big money in the primaries selects the two parties' candidates. His focus was reforming that process so that the will of the people would be the primary deciding factor.

Trump was opposed by the big money in the primaries.

I heard a Democrat complaining that Trump received a disproportionate share of favorable media coverage and a high volume of media coverage during the primaries. It is my sincere belief the big media was trying to help select the most unelectable candidate for the Republicans.

I am frankly baffled why Lessig is supporting Clinton. She is the epitomy of what he railed against. I guess he has unspoken views which are more important than his stated ones (money in politics).

Comment Controlling the flow of information (Score 1) 272

I've been reading/hearing about people wanting to gatekeep/curate the news for the masses for many years now. This latest election will push that effort into overdrive.

Educate people about what the Internet is, but don't allow greater controls on the flow of public information.

Comment Re:No. (Score 3, Interesting) 241

Anonymity is important on the web. Powerful political or business figures won't take kindly to Joe Average posting unflattering information about them. Anonymity facilitates the flow of information. Also it provides a modicum of protection from the unhinged or stalkers.

Now, must it be absolute? No. If someone is engaging in criminal activity, a warrant should be able to unseal the owner's name. Otherwise, I don't see a societal benefit from forcing domain name registrants to be public information.

There's going to be more howling to "curate" the news and muzzle the Internet as a result of the latest election. One side was the establishment candidate, and that candidate lost. Many very powerful people supported that candidate. They're not going to shrug and walk away from something they perceive thwarted their efforts. That's not how they became powerful.

Comment You can already work around this (Score 2) 241

"Perfect Privacy LLC" - if you look up, you'll see them. I've looked up various site owners and their name has popped up before. When you search for the owner of the domain, instead of the true registrant, you'll find this company. There are probably others like it.

"That doesn't sound good at all. Clinton's private email system added third parties into the equation, meaning that a hacker could effectively snoop on US government mail without directly hacking US government servers. Nielsen explained that the domain Clinton used for her private email service——is owned by a Florida company called "Perfect Privacy, LLC" and registered to another private company called Network Solutions. The relationship between the two companies is unclear since some details have been masked." -- Gizmodo

Comment Radiation is like shrapnel (Score 2) 182

I don't think people fully appreciate radiation (cloud chamber with uranium):


So now imagine being exposed to that in larger doses for an extended period of time. I have no idea what killed this fellow, but certainly playing with something that's constantly generating tiny, invisible shrapnel might have had something to do with it.

Comment Re: This is a good thing. (Score 1) 418

This may all be true. HOWEVER: The people who rise into power are not infrequently sociopaths, narcissistic and low empathy. Some cover it well, some cover it poorly. But in order to effectively lead a large organization, one cannot be too focused on the stresses felt by the machine's cogs.

THUS: allowing the grunts to have a say in their welfare may - MAY - limit the power of the leadership to engage in too much self-aggrandizement, which can sometimes take the form of empire-building. The grunts aren't very good at academics but they often are socially intelligent enough.

The grunts may vote themselves their chains - see large swaths of the Middle East and Asia. However, in modern times, with it's higher level of information and the evolutionary shaping by prior conflict in which large numbers of combatants were killed by industrial war machinery, it can likely also prevent large scale military adventures.

Comment Re:and yet... (Score 2) 418

There are two common threads running through politics:

1) Making the population easier to govern.
2) Retaining incumbent power.

  Focusing on divisive issues (important/necessary though they may be) makes the natives restless and more difficult to govern, thus undermining 1 above.
  Divisive issues forces incumbents to pick a side which might cause them to lose votes ("I was for it before I was against it"), thus undermining 2 above.

Comment Life imitating art (Score 1) 265

Firefly's backstory contains an element about the US and China being the powers that drove into space:

"The show blended elements from the space opera and Western genres, depicting humanity's future in a manner different from most contemporary science fiction programs in that there are no large space battles. Firefly takes place in a multi-cultural future, primarily a fusion of Western and East Asian cultures, where there is a significant division between the rich and poor. As a result of the Sino-American Alliance, Mandarin Chinese is a common second language; it is used in advertisements, and characters in the show frequently use Chinese words as curses. According to the DVD commentary on the episode "Serenity", this was explained as being the result of China and the United States being the two superpowers that expanded into space."

-- Wikipedia on Firefly

Comment Re:Rediculous (Score 3, Insightful) 209

"Tech giants have been particularly successful in getting their voices heard. They were originally reluctant to play the lobbying game, but soon realised that was a mistake: Microsoft’s prolonged legal battle with the Department of Justice over whether its was abusing its dominant position in the software market, which was finally settled in 2001, persuaded the whole industry that it pays to have friends in Washington. Since then tech companies have turned into some of America’s most assiduous lobbyists and most enthusiastic employers of Washington insiders." -- The Economist, "Dark Arts", September 17th, 2016

It was comical, really.

Submission + - Cells can choose burning fat over burning glucose when sick (

Beeftopia writes: A recent paper published in the journal Cell finds cells can preferentially choose burning either fat or glucose depending on the nature of the infection (viral or bacterial). This seems to have implications for obesity research, if cells can be chemically prodded into preferentially burning fat.

The saying, "Feed a cold, starve a fever" was somewhat borne out by this study. The article states, "mice with bacterial infections that were fed glucose died. But infected mice fed a version of glucose that they could not metabolise lived. Again, those results were nearly reversed in mice suffering from a viral infection... [In bacterial infection] burning fat protected infected mice... Most animals instinctively respond to infection by cutting back on food."

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