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Comment Re:Market Forces (Score 2) 231

Truth be told, there is no need for work visas to make a knowledge transfer. The foreign employee can come by it's own accord, in a "vacation" and observe local operations, or selected US employees can be forced to tutor foreign colleagues in person or via the Internet. Those who refuse or do not produce results, are the first to go. Sure, the H1Bs streamlines the whole thing to the point where they've outsourced the knowledge transfer process itself.

Comment Yet one more reason (Score 4, Interesting) 43 colonize Mars. We probably have another 50 years of relative safety. But it's clear that the human body is a nightmare from a information security point of view: it will accept almost any rogue DNA and happily incorporate it in it's own cells and replicate it, like an Win98 autoruns any USB drive inserted. The attackers of such a system have a definite advantage, defenders cannot close the autorun functionality without dramatically re-engineer the human being. So all it takes is one mad genius with the right tools to create an unstoppable, airborne, deadly virus.

Comment Re:other market factors to adjust for (Score 1) 200

That's pretty much an established business strategy, to buy or subsidize your entry into a new market with profits from your existing cash cows. Google did it wih Youtube and Android, Apple did it with everything except the iPod and so on. It's certainly a gain for customers if profits, instead of being disbursed to stockholders, and invested in new products and increased competition.
What set Microsoft aside was it's complete ruthlessness in leveraging it's OS monopoly to crush competitors using anti-competitive tactics that made consumers poorer.

Comment Live free or die (Score 2) 186

Banning cars could save more lives - Does that mean we should ban cars?

What effects would that have on the economic productivity of the country ? In turn, how much poverty will that create ? How many extra people will die as a result of not affording medical care ?

And this is a simple utilitarian exercise where you compare lives lost with lives lost. What about more complex dilemmas (see title of post) ? Should a nation never send troops in any conflict and accept any onerous terms the adversary imposes, for the sake of preserving all lives ? Should we ban all individual choice and responsibility, ban all sugary drinks, impose a state-controlled healthy diet ?

The notion that "lives can be saved" is not and cannot be used as the sole deciding argument on a societal issue. We are free individuals, we associate in a community seeking to improve our perceived welfare - one cannot treat the welfare as a goal in itself segregated from what we as individuals want.

Comment Re:Except, of course, they have to prove you can (Score 1) 560

what makes a lawyer so special that he can talk to the cops? Are lawyers vaccinated against cop-tricks or something?

Anything dumb your lawyer says can't be used against you (since he cannot be witness against his client) or against himself (since he's not the suspect). A really really dumb lawyer can be charged with conspiracy and end up next to the defendant but it's exceptionally rare and the burden of proof is monumental (mafia lawyers involved in the same operation with their client).

You, on the other hand, are already a suspect, the tiniest slip ('I didn't like him, but I did not kill him !') can send you to the gauntlet ('Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the defendant despised the victim - by his own official testimony'). The greatest trick your lawyer has is that he isn't you.

Talking to the police while suspected of a crime is like performing brain surgery on yourself.

Comment Re:Castle Doctrine Defense (Score 4, Insightful) 358

he was acting in self defense to prevent an idiot driving while on a cell phone from causing an accident

"The signal is bad around these parts... let's switch to message chat !"

This is a prime example of why we have societies, laws and regulations - in this case those designed to stop mobile phone usage. Going for an individual solution quickly devolves into mayhem: thousands of bystanders affected, emergency calls interrupted, and probably not a single accident prevented.

Comment Re:HOPE to exploit it (Score 1) 106

More importantly, is this something fundamental to how gram-negative bacteria develop, or is it simply the current solution evolution has produced ? It would be nice to develop biotechnology that takes evolution into account and is ready to predict a few moves ahead and minimize the probability of a helpful mutation.

It seems to me that from a computer security point of view, the human biological computer has low entropy keys and we are dealing with a massively parallel adversary that tries trillions of keys every second (billions of people infected with thousands of strains of bacteria). Meanwhile, our current "cyber defenses" (drugs) are rather crude pattern match filters that look for things like <script>, SELECT *, and other static characteristics of what we consider to flag an attacker. Luckily, biology has endowed us with a key switch defense algorithm that ensures a "rooted" system does not compromise the whole network; unluckily, the mechanism will also take unrecoverable systems offline.

Comment Solutions to the wrong problems (Score 1) 396

Yeah, the actual argument used against this kind of GMO use is that it would cost the same to treat the root cause of the problem by teaching people to grow a wider range of crops and the importance of a balanced diet.

The "root cause" of malnutrition is societal dysfunction. We have more than enough food, energy, water, fertilizers or the potential to obtain them in every country on earth, enough to feed the world ten times over. Every person on earth prefers a balanced and diverse diet, if it's a available. When people starve or go sick it's because they are trapped in a low productivity economy, caused by corruption, war, mismanagement of public resources and usually enabled or instigated by some western power friendly to the local chieftain.

This is techie myopia at it's finest, from the "give laptops to the poor" or "internet balloons" to "vaccines via mosquitoes". We know how to make the internet work and we know how to deliver vaccines: just like we do it in the rich countries. Poor people don't need technical solutions designed to work in anarchy, they need societal reform and functional public services. While the intention behind these schemes is laudable, we should not believe for a moment they are more than bandaids in lieu of peace, democracy and working governments.

Comment Re: This reminds me of a great Simpsons episode (Score 5, Informative) 625

Yet, the vast majority of obese people have perfectly working thyroids. This is not about recognizing that some medical conditions can derail your metabolism, which I believe no one is arguing, and should be covered by existing disability laws.

This is about treating all obese people, the vast majority of which are so because of their own choices, as disabled. Inability to control your own actions becomes a valid form of disability. It's a slippery slope because it legitimizes self harm and forces society to take responsibility. If obesity is a form of disability, so is tobacco or gaming dependence. And if treating obesity is not about making people eat less, then clearly treating dependence is not about smoking or gambling, we as a society should hold together and provide comfort: smoking places and breaks, subsidies for food when all the person's paycheck is lost in the casino, job protection when the addiction interferes with work performance, free medical coverage for resulting problems etc.

BTW, I write the above as a 220 pound man, who use to be as large as 260 pounds, and knows full well how hard it is for an obese person to control her appetite and weigh. But I fully understand it's MY body and MY choices, I'm fat because I love food, it's one of the great pleasures of my life and I wouldn't dream to blame nature or society for my fate.

Comment Re:Yes, good idea. (Score 2) 322

Actually, the US is twice as efficient at GDP/ton of GHG, about the same as Canada, Australia, and Finland.

That's because a whole lot of that 15 trillion GDP is produced on Wall Street, Redmond and Hollywood - non tangible goods. As the GP said, per inhabitant USA produce far far more CO2 than China, and a CO2 tax would absolutely cripple US manufacturing and exports.

Comment Embryo (Score 2) 323

You don't have to print humans, just synthesize a memorized genome and throw it into an artificial womb. Done to death in SciFi literature and certainly within the means of 21th century technology. It's certainly interesting if a human raised entirely by a computer can really qualify as human.

And why do it ? Just to spread the human disease in the universe ? Why not simply send the artificial intelligence that is necessary anyway to make such a mission a success ?

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