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Comment Re:Words, Not Communication (Score 2) 225

Irene Pepperberg (the linguist that trained Alex, among others) talks about it extensively, and uses it predominantly. Wikipedia has some articles on it, and The Alex Studies (which is a collection of papers on her parrots, how they were trained, what linguistic skills they demonstrated in particular tests) talks about it in significant detail. It's a great book if you're into that sort of thing... ;)

Comment Re:what happens if you drive without car insurance (Score 1) 2424

"Good health care" isn't a boolean value. It's a tradeoff. You can pay for this one extra test, and maybe detect something, maybe not. If the likely-hood & severity & immediate and long term cost all have the "correct" ratio, then it's a good idea to have the test.

With this brave new world, the balance is shifted dramatically, which means usage will increase dramatically, which means costs will skyrocket.

If you're too short sighted to see that - well, you're in the company of a lot of people that are in the process of bankrupting our country....

Comment Re:Just in case... (Score 3, Interesting) 371

I agree with your 1 or 2. But the writer's point about vast technological differences is really true, probably more-so than he realizes. And I do agree with the writer that alien contact will be such a HUGE deal to society as a whole, that it very well could be the sort of year 0 thing he suggests.

And I totally agree that they'll know we're sentient, and odds are good they'll be able to have perfect translators pretty damn quickly once they've come into contact with our radio transmissions, if they're able to fly around the galaxy...

Comment Re:Successful???? (Score 1) 479

You are correct, there are boom-bust cycles outside of government intervention. But who has more ability to incite them, who has more ability to make them continue.

Even in the article you cite, it questions how big a bubble the "tulip mania" really was. How does any existing government structure limit how much I want my Pokemon, or Care Bear or Cabbage Patch doll, and how much I'm willing to throw at it? Those are speculative bubbles just the same, and some people take a hit from them, and some people don't. Should the government somehow prevent those?

And how long did it take society to recover from the bubbles before the government started intervening? Typically not very long. Do you think tulip mania caused a great depression in Holland?

What does lowering interest rates do? It makes more money available, to be applied to less-valuable or more risky ventures. (i.e. if you only have a small amount of capital, you'll be cautious were you spend it, and you'll spend it where you'll minimize risk and maximize reward. If you have a second small amount of capital, you'll use that on the next best, and so on.) We should be raising interest rates, to reduce the amount of risk we're taking on as a society.

What about subsidies? The government is a giant layer of "management". Any dollar that's funneled through it, gets a large hunk shaved off, before it's spent on anything. And in order to get that dollar, the government either has to take it from someone else who'd be perfectly happy to invest it or spend it, or it needs to take it in the form of a loan. The loan is just taking it from a citizen later on, and with interest. Again someone who'd much rather have that dollar, and spend it or invest it themselves.

Given the recent situation, should the government have let the banks collapse? I don't know. Should the gov't have let the automakers collapse? Absolutely (and helped other companies purchase the assets, smoothly, and helped with retraining).

Comment Re:Successful???? (Score 2, Informative) 479

Be aware, not every economist agrees that _capitalism_ has a natural boom-bust cycle, and I expect few believe a lack of government subsidies _caused_ the Great Depression.... Some economists believe that government intervention in the market (through fiat currencies, through manipulations of the interest rates, through many complex and interacting regulations (with a variety of tax consequences) of commerce that have unpredictable consequences) cause the boom-bust cycles.

Comment Re:Common sense? (Score 1) 73

Fine, I won't argue the specifics of that case, but the point is, which I think still stands, is that you don't know whether or not there are more details without investigation. If there are none, then of course one can come to a simple conclusion because there isn't anything else to consider, but if a judge spends time on it... maybe there is more to it that they are at least considering.

Sometimes the simplest path happens to be correct, but it's more coincidence than good practice...

Comment Re:Common sense? (Score 3, Insightful) 73

You are being simplistic. Just because you don't understand any of the details behind a case, doesn't mean the case is really "obvious".

It's easy to only have a couple of details of a case, and come to a snap decision, and claim that it's "obvious" and groan about how if only someone would apply "common sense"...

Reality is often more complicated. Case in point. Woman burns herself with coffee from McD. If you only have that information, maybe you blame the woman, but it turns out there are more details that escape the 7 word summary. Turns out the coffee was kept near boiling, turns out McD corporate policy was to keep it much cooler (but still hot), turns out they had multiple complaints regarding the temperature but ignored them... To be fair, I haven't looked into that case in detail, but it should be clear that it's possible that there is more to the case than the summary.

And there are plenty of situations where, once the judge hears a complaint, he tells one of the parties to "get lost". If they don't, then perhaps there is something more to it... Oh, and it seems like the judge did exactly that in this case.

Comment Re:Naybe MS is anticipating Pixel Qi? (Score 1) 175

While that is some excellent technology, they are just a _display technology company_. They don't make computers. And a good chunk of the discussion by Mary Lou is about wanting to be a _drop in replacement_ for the existing screen technology...

So I don't see how this is a wrench at all, if anything, it'll be a big wrench in the works of e-ink readers, such as, say, the Kindle... that's their big selling point, the image quality (and battery life) and if the Pixel Qi screens can be run without a backlight (which they talk about in the first part of the interview), that'll increase the runtime dramatically.

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