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Comment Re:More likely medical practice, not evolution (Score 1) 273

There are reasons why that's a poor idea. E.g., wider hips pose mobility issues. The system really needs a thorough redesign so that birth doesn't need to fit through the pelvic girdle, but that's far beyond us. The current system was designed for creatures with horizontal body position and small head size. For that it works fine. As it is... it puts strong constraints on development.

Don't think that this is the only place where history impacts evolution, though. Spiders have to drink their dinner because their brain is in a circle around their esophagus (or whatever you call that part of a spider). This worked out fine originally, but spiders became successful, and started growing and getting smarter, so their brains got larger, and now they need a liquid diet. If they get any smarter they won't be able to eat at all.

And speaking of the esophagus, consider the human trachea. Ever have something "go down the wrong pipe"? That's because of a very old design decision that's now apparently impossible to evolve a solution for. The lungs share the plumbing with the gut in the neck and head. There are lots of other similar features calling for a re-factoring of the design, but evolution doesn't work that way. All the intermediates must we not only working, but competitive WRT the prior model. No intermediate regressions allowed. (Except, of course, at times like after a major extinction event, when the selection pressure temporarily becomes quite low.)

Comment The original article (Score 1) 98

Makes no claims that the NSA was intercepting calls made by those people in the US, nor GCHQ in the UK. Since Air France was targeted they may have been intercepting calls made anywhere in the world.

This is, by the way, what NSA and GCHQ are supposed to be doing. Intercepting foreign (to the US and UK respectively) communications.

Comment Re:Warranty Support? (Score 4, Informative) 185

The original "Pebble" was "assigned" to an "Assignee" corporation, which sounds a lot like a bankruptcy trustee. It appears this is the way it's done in California. (I would be happy to hear from someone who knows more about this.) So, no, Fitbit is not obligated to do anything. They bought _some_ IP from the assignee which allows the assignee to pay off some of the creditors.

Comment Re:You know what? (Score 1) 572

You are correct that it is already too late to prevent global warming. It's been happening to some degree since we started farming rice. OTOH, a mild global warming has been advantageous. Without it we'd be entering an ice age. The ramped-up-on-steroids global warming that we've been pushing since the start of the industrial revolution, however, is something else again. We don't know just how bad it's going to get, but I do know that the actual projections have had the higher ends trimmed to avoid political repercussions. (Were the lower ends also trimmed? If so I haven't heard so.) Some of the model results that were excluded actually DO have Antarctica melting, and not just around the edges. Well, that's a lot worse than the mean projections, but the mean projection is that its going to be more than the 2 degrees Celsius that people talk about, probably closer to 4 degrees. That's nearly 8 degrees Fahrenheit. And that's going to mean LOTS of ice melting, and lots of deserts where there used to be farmland. It means that Canada will probably become good farmland...if it can get enough water. Oh, yes. It also means that the temperatures are going to get so high that we can't rely on any of the current models, because wind and ocean currents will shift too much. So we can't be sure where it's going to be wet, where it's going to be dry, or how wet or how dry.

My personal expectation (I'm no specialist, and a bit of a pessimist) is that we'll see over a meter sea level rise before the end of the century. Please note that this is not more extreme than some of the models predict, as some of them talk about 10's of meters, though I'm not sure of the timeline for that. I'm sort of expecting the Tethy's sea to form again for the first time since the Jurassic, but it would be a pretty shallow sea, I'm guessing less than a meter deep in most places...but how deep, of course, depends on the actual rise in sea levels. Maybe some genetic engineer will recreate the pleasiasaur to swim in it.

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