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Comment Re: One word (Score 1) 474

There also the point that large technological leaps from current tech are really, really hard. You could potentially improve usage of the same amount of silicon dramatically by switching to asynchronous processing, for example, but that's a very different paradigm. GPU and CPU manufacturers would have to relearn many of the things they have learned over the last few decades when it comes to building a high performance processor. It's just not possible to do that quickly, so if we get major tech changes like that, they'll first appear for small processors that don't need a whole lot of processing power.

Comment Re:Ridiculous (Score 1) 76

The BE-4 engine is in nowhere near the range that is likely required for manned spaceflight to the Moon.

With the BE-4, the Vulcan rocket is planned to have a max payload to low Earth orbit somewhere in the range of 49,000 kg. The Saturn V rockets which went to the Moon had a payload to low Earth orbit of 140,000kg.

And even if they think they have a workable plan to get humans to the Moon with far less weight, first flight in 2019 will not mean regular use in 2020.

Comment Re:Ridiculous (Score 3, Insightful) 76

It's the three year timeframe that makes it ridiculous.

I'm not saying anything about who makes the rockets, but rather who pays for the investment. There just aren't private groups who can realistically pay the likely hundreds of billions of dollars that such a project would cost, for essentially zero commercial benefit.

Comment Ridiculous (Score 1) 76

It may be technically possible to get to the Moon in three years, but it would take a truly massive investment to do so. I don't think that private entities exist that could put forward that kind of investment with little chance of return, and Republicans tend to balk at large spending increases unless they're military. I could see Trump wanting this due to his ego, but I don't think he could get congress on his side for this kind of massive endeavor.

Comment Re:Social media? (Score 1) 190

The fears of conservatives with regard to Obama were based on facts that were entirely fabricated. They weren't based upon anything Obama actually said or did, but were often the result of conservative commentators simply making up horrible things out of whole cloth. Witness the whole birth certificate scandal that lasted for years.

By contrast, the fears of liberals with regard to Trump are based on Trump's words and actions. If anything, many Liberals have given Trump far more of a benefit of a doubt than he deserves. For example, many believed that Trump would be okay on Transgender rights, and then this happens.

Trump is a serial liar, but he has always been very honest about his intentions (despite widespread beliefs, this honesty is the norm among politicians). Conservatives were afraid of Obama because they thought he was doing or was going to do things that he never said he'd do and never actually did. Liberals are afraid of Trump because he's doing exactly what he said he would do.

Comment Re:Umm (Score 1) 402

Yes, Obama deported many. But Lord Dampnut has promised to dramatically increase those deportations. He can't do that without having somewhere to house them temporarily (and "temporarily" may prove to be a bit longer if the deportations get tied up in court and/or conflict with Mexico or other countries).

Also, he can't increase deportations without massive and widespread violations of civil liberties, which will mostly be felt by non-white people.

Comment Re:Umm (Score 1) 402

The "Read My Lips" lie wasn't really a significant lie in the grand scheme of things. It was a campaign promise that turned out to not work so well when faced by the realities of government. These are pretty common, such as Obama's promise to close Guantanamo Bay. Lord Dampnut's promise to create a massive infrastructure spending plan may prove to be a similar lie (technically he still has time, I just don't think that even if implemented his plan has any chance at all of motivating $1T of new infrastructure spending. For now he hasn't even tried to get that plan off the ground).

I don't think there were any really significant policy-based lies in either the H.W. Bush, Clinton, or Obama administrations. W. Bush, however, fabricated evidence out of thin air to justify a war of aggression against Iraq. That was a truly massive lie, and one that wasn't really recognized by most people in the US as a lie until years later.

Lord Dampnut and his administration make lies that are similar in character to the Iraq WMD lies told by Bush on a daily basis. We don't yet know if he'll ever be as effective in policy as W. Bush was. I'm hoping beyond hope that he'll utterly fail in his signature issues, and that he'll also fail to get us involved in another war. But at this point we don't really know. Dampnut's lies are massive and constant, but we'll have to wait and see if any of them will be as disastrous to human life as Bush's Iraq WMD lies.

Comment Re:Umm (Score 1) 402

It's quite a bit more nuanced than that, unfortunately.

For one, purveyors of bullshit often get pretty good at hiding the fact that they lack solid sources for their information. Furthermore, for many politically controversial topics, it's quite easy to find authoritative sources to support any point of view. Climate change is a good example here: the scientific community has a near-unanimous consensus that global warming is happening, that it's primarily human-caused, and that its effects will be nasty. But it's not at all hard to find authoritative-sounding articles claiming otherwise, sometimes even from people with solid credentials who cite peer-reviewed research.

Sometimes there are very clear indications that something is bullshit, such as claiming a scientific result for non-scientific concepts (e.g. vital or life energy). Sometimes it's a topic I already know quite a lot about and have learned to notice the ridiculous claims from a mile away.

The really tricky situations, though, are when reading about something I know very little about. In those cases, I find it pays to first of all read different viewpoints. I first of all want to hear the viewpoints of relevant experts or people directly impacted by the topic. For example, if I want to learn about what fiscal stimulus means for the economy, I'm going to look up the opinions of different economists, primarily through blogs and op-eds (direct academic research is often too dense to be useful for somebody new to a field). Then the question becomes: how do I decide who is right? For the economics example, I'd want to look at who is using data to inform their opinions, and whether they are using sensible models to inform their conclusions. For other situations, such as racism, I'd want to look at who is paying attention to the people specifically impacted by racism, including a combination of empirical data and personal stories by those impacted.

Very often, the answers to these sorts of controversial political opinions are not at all easy to suss out by somebody who is ignorant of the relevant information. It's easy to write an article that will fool people who don't know other data that contradicts the article. That's why learning how to detect bullshit is really important.

Comment Not likely to help diagnosis (Score 1) 119

Autism has a prevalence of (very roughly) 2%. If the MRI test falsely diagnoses children without autism as being autistic 20% of the time, then roughly 90% of all people who test positive will not be autistic. You might be able to get a little bit better by only screening at-risk children (e.g. family history of autism), but this is still going to be wildly inaccurate and what would even be the point? It's not like parents have to do anything differently until the symptoms of autism present themselves.

But it is nice to see more evidence that autism is in evidence long before symptoms appear, because it makes nonsense of many of the claims of bullshit artists that vaccines cause autism.

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