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Comment Re:Our amazing bodies - amazingly FLAWED (Score 1) 73

"Bilateral symmetry is great for this: You have an advantage over predators since it's equally likely you'll go one way vs. the other, rather than having an obvious preference for, say, left turns."

I'm pretty sure that it's very common for prey animals like fish to actually prefer turning one direction over the other to escape and that many predators have actually adapted to this behavior, preferring to strike from a position where the prey animal will flee closer to them.

"The brain is rather bilaterally symmetric itself, and quite redundant. You might have noticed the slot in the middle?"

The brain is actually divided into two parts doing different kinds of work for the sake of efficiency. Experiments have shown that doing so results in a quicker response for prey animals reacting to danger. When the brain halves are not so specialized/divided the prey animal spends far more time frozen in position when confronted by danger.

Interestingly the same design also causes the directional preference in fleeing behavior, meaning that it's better for survival to be fast rather than random.

Comment Great Article (Score 1) 108

Sometimes we rag on bad articles here and say things like "I go to /. for the comments" but as someone who is trying to kick video game addiction I found the article quite fascinating and even handed, the plasticity of our minds is quite amazing.

Comment Re:It's not just drugs. Sometimes it's culture, to (Score 2) 333

So punishing students for cheating and giving the next batch fair warning (due to the rampant cheating the previous year) is being a douche?

So a student facing a penalty for not doing the required work in order to take an exam is a douche move? Granted the description is theatrical but it's not like the stated policy implied the exam would ever be accepted in the first place.

Comment Re:the main problem with things like television (Score 1) 210

"it trains your mind to be led by something other than your mind itself."

Total BS. TV does not do this any more than any other kind of media does.

Say someone is presenting an argument about taxation. As long as the content of the argument is the same it doesn't matter whether or not it's in book form, TV form, radio form, or in-person form. There is nothing intrinsically evil about TV in particular that would turn you stupid by listening and watching him because his argument has the same substance no matter where it happens to be.

No, there is nothing wrong with any particular medium of communication. When people want to they argue in any medium and it has always been up to the observer to seek the truth. After all (no disrespect intended) both Glenn Beck and Clifford Stoll want *you* to believer *their* point of view when you encounter their arguments. They want your mind, as you put it, to be led by theirs, and no matter what medium they chose you are completely free to disregard anything they say if you don't like it.

Comment Re:Excellent (Score 3, Insightful) 111

As a pro-lifer I'd just like to chime in that I didn't look at the word cloning and then make up my mind to outlaw it.

While I'm far more socially conservative.than most people here for sure I like doing research into how this kind of thing is done before I reach any kind of moral decision, especially in the complicated world of stem cells and stem cell research.

Comment Re:Why has it taken 50 years? (Score 2) 585

Your example from the Bible is fallacious because nowhere in the Bible (your passage included) does it promise that every believer will be able to perform miracles let alone some percentage of believers from every human generation. In fact many believers consider miracles to be a thing entirely of the past reserved only for the special instances already mentioned in the Bible.

Moreover, you can't possibly disprove those miracles unless you can prove that their result never happened *historically* (e.g. prove that Jesus never rose from the dead) because of their nature as one-shot miracles defying the scientific method. Even then the most difficult stories to justify are often considered allegorical (though you can also take the Creationist approach and just deny the modern understanding of history).

The Bible, as many believers believe it, is extremely slippery. It goes so far as to say that God resists being tested in this manner. If you're going to disprove it you're going to have to work a lot harder than the cursory work you did.

Your Daoist argument also has a logical hole: perhaps what you thought you were supposed to do wasn't what you were supposed to do. Chances are in Daoism there's no other way to know for certain what you're supposed to do than if you achieve that power, and so the circle is closed and you can't disprove it with the method you described.

Comment Re:urbansurvival? (Score 1) 121

Except that while TFA is simply obvious hindsight science (with an unimpressive graph) the site you linked to is taking seriously somone managing web crawling bots who predictis some kind of vague doomsday in ~72 hours (such that the manager has been saying goodbye to friends), and who also predicted that summer 2010 there would be floods of US refugees heading to Canada and has made many such (failed) predictions repeatedly.

Real internet crackpots. Almost as funny as the guys trying to correlate random number generators to real world events and the other dude who claimed the earth was hollow and had a neutron star inside it.

Comment Re:Posted Anonymously (Score 1) 237

There's a bit of a problem with that though. For instance it gets really tiring arguing with conspiracy theorists because most people don't have the expertise to argue that it's completely impossible for evil US government overlords to have destroyed their own world trade center for nefarious purposes. The average person doesn't have the expertise to argue about melting point this, temperature of that, or explain exactly how the conspiracy theorist's "common sense" logic is misapplied.

In such cases argument from authority provides two very real and useful shortcuts. It helps you to identify the idiots expounding these theories (since they're often consistently unreliable) as well as the experts who don't always have the time to respond to every nutcase (since they're often consistently reliable).

Obviously argument from authority is not always accurate and is never sound in a strict logical sense, but the fact is that it's something that's impossible for us to completely live without in the day to day.

Comment Re:not uncommon (Score 1) 376

Except that these attacks can be orchestrated by one person who gave money to some goon with a large botnet for loan, while protests are the physical presences of many people gathered at a location to fight for a cause.

Because of this these have little power. They are not personal enough to be meaningful and don't involve the movement or commitment of enough outraged individuals.

Comment Re:yeah (Score 1) 376

It's too bad angry sheep modded you up. The GP never said protests inspired by MLK were legal, in fact, he stated the opposite. But if you can't tell the difference between the sit-ins of the civil rights era and revenge DDOS ATTACKS I'm not sure you really are one to talk about anything, especially history.

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