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Comment Re: You have to do better than this. (Score 1) 225

(hit submit on this just before leaving this morning, didn't see till I got back there was an error.)

The Alhambra Decree etc weren't part of the Inquisition itself; that's changing the topic. There weren't 100,000 prisoners who died in the Inquisition; that's roughly the total number of cases they heard. Estimates vary but all the ones actually based on the historical data say less than 10,000.

Anyhow, I'm certainly not saying that the existence of Mao means the treatment of Jews in Spain over the centuries wasn't a problem.

I am saying your perspective is skewed. The data really don't show that the share of violent behavior that's associated with religion is large compared to the share of total social behavior associated with religion.

The result of this study says that people reporting a positive religious experience really have areas in their brain active that are active in other experiences people report as positive.

There's no more justification in history or in these studies for claims that religion is a disease that causes violence than there is for saying the same of commerce or love or any of a number of other basic human behaviors.

Comment Re:You have to do better than this. (Score 3, Interesting) 225

Ultimately, the pairing of classical reward responses when hearing music with learning a smattering of music theory may indicate a brain mechanism for greater music appreciation. So what?

That's not "bypassing rational centers of the brain and creating a loop." It's simply "these people had a positive experience and there were ideas that were associated with that positive experience." If anything, the fact that brain regions which are active in moral reasoning were especially active in these people suggests the opposite of "bypassing rational centers."

You've conveniently ignored the actual data and results of their study entirely and instead taken a couple of speculative comments ("here's an idea, please fund us") out of context and twisted them.

The old baloney about religion being a primary cause of violence is a ridiculous urban legend. Ultimately you can trace the exaggerations back to centuries-old partisan tracts. Actual historians (e.g. Encyclopedia of Wars) find religiously motivated wars to be roughly 2% of the total death count.

If what you get out of the Shoah is that Hitler was right on both counts - Judaism is a disease, as is Christianity - there's something fundamentally wrong, not just with your understanding of history but with you.

The Inquisition killed about 3,000 people over the course of 350 years. (Secular courts, of course, killed people at a much faster rate.) For some perspective, the Great Leap Forward killed 30,000,000 people in 3 years.

Comment You have to do better than this. (Score 1) 225

That conclusion can no more come out of this research than could the idea that listening to music is an illness.

The research simply said that people reporting a positive experience showed activity in the reward centers of their brains. Big surprise! Hey, going outside in the sunshine activates the reward center of my brain, maybe that's an illness too.

The slashdot headline is there because people who are irrational and partisan want to ignore what the research actually said and use lies about it to bludgeon others. Your silly attempt to join the dogpile amounts to using your fame to act as a bully. It's shameful.

Comment Re:Can't wait to get one in my watch. (Score 1) 154

Yeah, I was thinking more in terms of 'end user does something stupid, now somebody gets to collect the plutonium dust' type problems. I suppose that the major advantage is that people are somewhat less likely to do dumb things to electronics that they'd need to cut open their abdomens to get at.

It's really the end-user/disposal problem that makes me nervous about nuclear batteries, not the 'will the engineers screw it up?' aspect. 'Sealed sources', containing various isotopes neatly packaged as radiation sources, are even simpler to implement than nuclear batteries; and generally aren't an engineering problem; but the DoE has gone to a lot of trouble hunting down 'orphan sources' that have left responsible supervision for one reason or another; and it's hardly unheard of for those to end up in some 3rd world junkyard being crowbared open by people who have no idea what a mistake they are making.

Pacemakers have the advantage of a more or less automatic paper trail(since the diagnosis of cardiac abnormality and implantation surgery tend not to be handled in cash and off the books) and people don't tend to cut through their own bodies in order to do stupid things to their gadgets; but I'd be rather pessimistic about the possibility of sound lifecycle management for nuclear batteries in broader application.

It's too bad; because they'd be extremely useful for a variety of low power off-grid stuff; but when people can't even be bothered to separate their trash from their recyclables; it's hard to be optimistic about their safe disposal of nuclear batteries.

Comment Re:Electoral college does reflect the popular vote (Score 1) 1424

The situation you're describing could still have happened if a few people in Wisconsin/Michigan/Pennsylvania cities had bothered to vote. The main reason why the electoral college might not be such a bad idea in general is what happens in case of a recount. Recounting Florida is already not fun, but recounting the entire country would be *really* annoying.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 278

At a population level, farming is close to automated. When ~2% of the population is farming and the rest of us aren't starving you know that we've wrung serious gains in efficiency out of the process.

As with many areas, though, it gets harder to justify once you pick off the low hanging fruit. If you absolutely must have your tech demo, robotics can probably provide something that at least doesn't have any visible humans except when techs are on site dealing with failures; but you'd have to be replacing some pretty expensive farmers to have it make any sense.

Comment Re:wait... (Score 1) 87

My understanding is that, outside of the worst areas(the reactor complex itself and some areas that were most heavily exposed to fallout during the accident) the level of ionizing radiation isn't particularly high. The main area of concern is that some of the more persistent isotopes in the soil could become a serious problem if people were to live there or grow food there. Alpha emitters, in particular, are essentially harmless unless taken internally; but quite nasty if they are(and some of them have the unpleasant property of being chemically similiar to biologically relevant elements in safer areas of the periodic table).

It is true that radiation is bad for semiconductors(though worse for ones where details matter, like microchips; and merely accelerated aging for things like PV panels) but if you take care to avoid disturbing the soil too much, it's not as though the whole place is bathed in gamma rays.

Comment Re:Restricted zone (Score 1) 87

I don't know if the design calls for this; but it wouldn't be rocket surgery to lay out a PV generating facility such that it doesn't disturb the soil much(possibly some posts driven into the earth if there is a risk of high winds) mostly just a frame laid on top; raised walkways between all the areas that will need to be serviced periodically; and a parking lot where you can check people coming in and out.

You certainly don't want people coming home from work coated with strontium; but, especially at scale, it's probably cheaper to take a few protective measures than it is to buy real estate that somebody actually wants. As 'brownfield' sites go, the zone of alienation is pretty seriously brown.

Comment I don't get it. (Score 2) 23

It's not exactly news that Twitter is in need of ways to wring more cash out of their operation; and it's not news that these sorts of compromises and temporarily having your precious brand mouthpiece go off the rails can make customers a bit jumpy, so why don't they offer some appropriately overpriced enhanced authentication setup for the relatively deep pocketed users?

You've got a variety of solid options(RSA fobs, FIDO tokens, PIVs, etc.) for authentication; and could also add some options for delegation/limited roles to suit accounts where multiple people are generating tweets; without just having everyone share credentials in an egregious breach of sensible practice.

It'd hardly be free to implement; but when dealing with customers who routinely buy things like TV advertising time, you could probably get away with charging a fairly decent price for it.

Comment Re:Amazing Disconnect (Score 2) 667

What do you think are the odds of voting illegally and getting away with it? Considering there's only a handful of cases that get detected for any particular election, and that you need a couple hundred thousand illegal votes to reliably rig an election, it would mean a party would have to devise a way to get people to vote illegally with only one chance in 100,000 of getting caught. And on top of that, you have to make it impossible to trace the fraud back to the party. That's just insanely hard. It's much easier to influence the results instead. Just hack a few servers and you're good.

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