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Comment Re:Logic and Reason, or lack thereof (Score 1) 191

The problem with people like you who belittle the Constitution as written, and who belittle people who believe that it was intended as written, is that you ignore all of the history that goes with the Constitution.

The problem with people like you who worship the Constitution as written ignore all the history that goes with the Constitution - and make up shit from whole cloth to support your nutjob notions. You're no different from the airheads who believe that Nostrodamus could see the future and constantly 'discover' evidence to support it.

Comment Re:Gut flora and artificial sweeteners (Score 1) 5

This is probably the most recent, well-cited article on the topic. The authors looked at the effects of saccharin in mice, and were able to determine that there was a significant elevation in blood-glucose level for the mice that were fed saccharin instead of actual glucose over the course of nine weeks. This suggests a mechanism for previous findings that suggest artificial sweeteners cause insulin insensitivity, weight gain, type II diabetes, et cetera. The difference between the two diets went away when both groups were raised with antibiotics, strongly suggesting the underlying cause was gut microbiota. They also found evidence that the saccharin diet led to changes in gut microbiome composition:

In agreement with the experiments with antibiotics, next generation sequencing of the microbiome indicated that mice drinking saccharin had distinct compositions from controls. This distinct microbiome was characterized by enrichment of taxa belonging to the Bacteroides genus or the Clostridiales order, with under-representation of Lactobacilli and other members of the Clostridiales. Several of the bacterial taxa that changed following saccharin consumption were previously associated with type 2 diabetes in humans.

Keep in mind that everyone has different gut flora, so in general these impacts will vary from person to person, which is why the effect is inconsistent, as with obesity and type II diabetes in general. I can't say for certain that these results would directly transfer into humans, but since the bacteria are the same, it's unreasonable to assume they wouldn't. Less clear is whether this effect transfers to other sweeteners; the paper includes a table showing a number of studies pertaining to a diversity of chemicals, some of which found an effect, and some of which didn't.

Non-professionally, my advice would be to avoid artificial sweeteners, and ideally all liquid candy. Some people find that drinking normal, sugary soda produces a state of lethargy, and I'm pretty sure this is a result of the long-term exposure to sucralose. It's sort of a trap!

Comment Re:Price caps cause market distortions. (Score 2) 256

As a business owner I could not possibly care less how much your life decisions cost you. My only concern is whether the cost of employing a person is justified by the value they will provide, either now or eventually.

I'm not saying that as a business owner you should do otherwise. I am, however, suggesting that if your business model doesn't support everyone involved, it would be reasonable for such a grossly exploitative business plan to be forbidden by law. I'm a capitalist, not a libertarian.

Is it not obvious I am talking about a worker's output and not their value as a human being?

No, it is not obvious, and in discussions about minimum wage laws, it rarely is.

Please take note of all the restaurants in California that have closed in the last few months that found out what happened when they tried to raise prices to accommodate the increased minimum wage.

Perhaps, then, their business was not actually sustainable, and it's right for them to close. Why is a business closing such a horrible thing, but an employee starving isn't? There is an argument that the employee now doesn't even have their minimal income, but they do now have time to find a higher-paying job or relocate.

See above.

I'm not sure exactly what I'm supposed to see. You haven't argued against marketing at all. If, for example, a restaurant can't afford to pay their wait staff living wages, then why is it unreasonable to expect the restaurant owner to start an ad campaign promoting their "premium" sandwiches that conveniently carry a 600% profit margin, rather than their cheaper items at a 10% profit?

How about the machines that replace workers altogether so their wage goes to the true minimum wage of zero?

Ah, yes... The weavers and buggy-whip makers will be destitute. Historically, though, this argument has never held true. Rather, new technology has brought an increase in jobs, as the technology opens markets making previously-unsustainable businesses profitable. In time, advances in food-handling technology might very well make those California restaurants viable again.

Who says they are locked in? Right to work goes both ways.

In theory, yes, but the reality is that changing jobs is expensive (as I mentioned earlier in the thread), and it's very common for low-earning employees to find themselves in a situation where they can't afford to get a better job. The first major expense is time. It takes time to prepare a resume, apply, and interview. If someone is already working all of their available hours just to meet expenses, they can't take the time out to find a better-paying job. There are also financial expenses in job-hunting. There are plenty of emotional appeals involving giving a homeless person a haircut and a suit, and seeing them get a good-paying job... but there aren't enough suit giveaways for everyone. If an employee is barely (or not) meeting expenses, finding the money to get a suit, pay a babysitter, or even take a bus or taxi to an interview can be a significant hardship.

As social services exist today, there is some assistance available for these difficulties, but they often don't apply if you quit your job, no matter how bad it was.

Whoever said society is supposed to benefit from anything a business owner does?

Nobody. Society is supposed to benefit from its laws, which is how this whole conversation started. My complaint is that whenever there is such a conversation, somebody (the AC first, then you) always brings up the argument that minimum wages stop new businesses and raise costs on existing businesses. The unspoken assumption is that it's good to have new businesses start and for existing businesses to make more money, but there's never any evidence of that.

Comment Re:Price caps cause market distortions. (Score 2) 256

Please define "underpay."

Let's go with a nice capitalist version: A worker is underpaid when his or her regular expenses are higher than what they make in net income during the same average period. Note that the definition isn't a particular dollar amount, but rather depends heavily on one's expenses, which in turn are defined mostly by societal and local norms. An intended side effect of this definition is that someone with high expenses can still be underpaid if those expenses aren't covered.

A worker is worth less than the value he or she creates, period.

A worker is a human life whose value is independent of what they are able to produce, period.

If the work a person does only generates $5.00 an hour in value, are you making the case that the worker should be paid more anyway?


How long do [you] expect that employer to continue employing that worker when the revenue generated doesn't cover said employee's cost?

No time at all.

Is it okay to "screw over" the employer by making that person pay more to the employee than he/she generates in profit?


If the worker's output is not profitable for the company, the business should raise its prices so it can be profitable while still supporting its workers for their time. If the market does not support such prices, the business model should not be considered viable.

Rather than say "this worker produces $5/hour of output", let's phrase it as "this worker produces output for which the market now pays $5/hour". That leaves open the options to increase the rate the market will pay (marketing), increase the worker's output (automation), or to accept that the business as it exists now is not viable (reorganization). In the latter case, it may be as simple as firing the worker and hiring one who can produce more, or it may involve restructuring the whole company to produce a different product, for which the market will pay more.

I have yet to see an argument for why "business" is a good reason to lock people into a job that doesn't cover their expenses. Bearing in mind that changing jobs is an expense in itself (for time spent applying, interviewing, a clean suit, etc.), I fail to see how it is beneficial to society to essentially enslave people so an entrepreneur can pitch a product to a market that won't sustain it.

Comment Re:Price caps cause market distortions. (Score 4, Insightful) 256

You know... you make a coherent enough argument that I don't actually think you're trolling. Unfortunately, it's a weak argument.

Let's take rent control as a simple example. Imposing these distortions removes the incentive for landlords to maintain and improve their properties. When this happens, the wealthier people eventually move away to better properties, leaving only the impoverished who can't move.

That's half of the problem, but what about the alternative? If rent prices rise, the impoverished still can't move to more affordable places (who also would be removing rent control, and thus becoming less affordable every year). Instead, they get evicted and become homeless, in the process usually losing most investments (furniture, clothes, and other personal items) they've managed to accumulate. Once homeless, they are extremely vulnerable, and crime against the homeless typically runs rampant. The end result is that your low-income community has turned into a high-rent development that looks shiny, but sits vacant because of the crime and housing problem... and in turn, the landlords still don't get paid.

Another example is minimum wage floors. These make it prohibitive for businesses to start, and make it harder for existing businesses to continue remaining viable.

What makes starting a business such a special event that it requires employees to live in poverty? If your business model is so bad and your business so unsuccessful that you have to underpay your workforce, perhaps you shouldn't be starting a business. I know it's the Great American Dream to own a business, but perhaps we should ensure nobody else gets screwed over in the process?

Comment Re:Which type of graft is best? (Score 1) 5

That's fairly straightforward; as this summary article explains, a synthetic allograph (or xenograph; the terms overlap) that maintains bone mineral density is ideal, as it means no harvesting from elsewhere on your body (eek), no risk of rejection, and good bone density. I'd say start a conversation with your dentist about hydrogel-hydroxyapatite composites and mention you're concerned about sustaining bone density long-term.

Comment Re: Release it with source code unde GPL (Score 1, Informative) 237

The GPL enforces freedom, while MIT/BSD licenses do not.

I've often used the term "careless licenses" to describe MIT and BSD, because the authors of software under such licenses don't care how it's used. With the GPL, in contrast, they are requiring that you keep derivatives open-source as well.

That is the main freedom the GPL is concerned about: the freedom to view, modify, and use the source code for the software you run. Not only does the GPL require the author to release source code, but it requires redistributors to do the same, ensuring that that very specific freedom endures. On the other hand, MIT/BSD licenses are little more than a disclaimer of warranty, allowing unscrupulous enterprises to rebuild the software and sell it as a commercial product, effectively taking credit for the original author's work - which the SCOTUS has found to be of significant economic value.

In short, it's a matter of perspective. The GPL protects the users and original author by adding restrictions, while the MIT/BSD licenses protect nothing while requiring nothing. To an author, it is a matter of preference what they care about most.

Comment Re:No. (Score 5, Informative) 198

A whole interview rarely carries over. I was asked if I thought Apple would be around in 100 years. My reply even referred to IBM, along the lines of what you can do and how many restarts you can get when you are that big. I facetiously jabbed at the idea of Trump seeking advice from today's huge internet companies by telling the reporter that they would all ask for lower taxes and become larger yet.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Biology Help Desk: Volume 3^3 5

As requested by the world's greatest masked mystery person, Anonymous Coward, it may or may not be time for yet another biology help desk thread, after a surprisingly long hiatus of about four years. Feel free to contribute both questions and answers.

Comment Re: In Other News (Score 1) 477

It was a quaint archaism over a century ago. British English used it in the 18th century, and it arrived in India alongside the British. Many quirks of Indian English have similarly ancient roots, although some are innovations and most are the product of people learning the language (e.g. Hindi speakers conflate "softly" and "slowly" as Sanskrit had only one word for both.)

Comment And the amazing consequences... (Score 5, Funny) 606

Two words: Wikipedia vandalism.

According to Wikipedia, the Whopper is a bugger consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100% medium-sized child with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cyanide, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise, served on a sesame seed bun.

Comment Re: oh no (Score 5, Funny) 420

All. Almost all. Slashdot is the unpleasant-smelling uncle at the Thanksgiving dinner table who was laid off during the dot-com bubble, decided to retire early, and spends the rest of his days complaining about how new-fangled touch-screen smartphones don't support vi keybindings the way God and Ken Thompson intended, how systemd would never have happened under a Libertarian president, and that global warming is a feminist conspiracy.

The rest of us come here because it's mildly more entertaining than going to an actual zoo.

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