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Comment I like both, thank you. (Score 3, Insightful) 409

I reject the premise of the article.

First, as has been said in a couple other posts, being interested in the Mars story and the Olympics are not mutually exclusive. I like space exploration stories, and I like sports. There is no reason to have to pick one over the other unless we are talking career choices. Recreational level interest is a completely different story.

Second, the sports guy in me (exercise physiology degree, and I've coached a college sport) doesn't buy the idea that the accuracy or endurance is more important or impressive in the Mars mission. More impressive endurance based on raw miles is just silly. There wasn't constant acceleration during the whole voyage. Shooting from the hip, I would imagine it was a whole lot more like a lot of initial acceleration and then months of coasting. Similarly the accuracy comparison is almost laughable. Sure, if you just look at the amount of significant digits on what bearing you're hitting a golf ball the comparison is appropriate, but the Mars mission wasn't exactly launched by someone manually adjusting angles with the same amount of fine tuning as someone with sausage fingers playing Angry Birds on an iPhone. Never mind that the Mars mission wasn't likely to have any unexpected external forces altering its trajectory, and it most likely had some means of course correcting in transit.

Beyond those absurdities, it is the standard media treatment of space exploration stories. It's a brief mention of what is happening that leaves more questions about technical details than it answers. Please leave the unnecessary comparison and competition of two noncompeting, unrelated events. Now, if you want to talk about the technological dark ages the NBC executives call home...

Comment GMO debate a symptom of a broken patent system? (Score 1) 334

This subject came up on facebook when my sister-in-law (who is convinced that vaccines caused autism in her sons, and kooky untested therapies can cure it) posted some image with some anti-GMO food propaganda pasted on. A discussion (and I use that term lightly) ensued about how bad GMO foods are. I broke the complaints down into three basic categories.

First there is the anti-GMO FUD that points out the sparse, sometimes solitary studies of how bad GMO foods are for human consumption. In true FUD fashion there were half-truths, distortions, and flat out lies. One notable comment brought up how the organism that makes the BT toxin is closely related to the organism that causes anthrax, so why would you want to eat corn that might be that dangerous. The second category was basically not being comfortable with the idea of GMO foods. I can't really complain about that. I'm not really comfortable with the idea of eating raw fish. Not a big deal. Not like I'm going to use that as the foundation for legislation, and it shouldn't be used for GMO foods. The third category was that Monsanto is evil. I'm not going to say they have nothing to be ashamed of, but I see their behavior as more of a symptom of what is wrong with patent law. They are defending their patent portfolio. They aren't necessarily doing things illegally, but they are doing a lot of douchebag things.

I would rather see some good patent reform take place than food labeling legislation. Putting a patent on a variant of corn with one gene thrown in to kill pests/reduce the need of pesticides makes about as much sense as software patents. The fact that patents are granted is, in my opinion, the real problem here, or at least in how it is being implemented. I can see something like the prescription drug model where the innovating company can sell the seed exclusively for a set amount of time before other companies can start selling generics. I can even see a licensing fee for the generics, but the draconian exclusivity and the silly don't save seeds contracts are the symptom (ranks up there with the RIAA's philosopy), the patents and how patent law is being interpreted are the sickness.

Comment Re:Something to ponder (Score 1) 167

I wonder if some of this is that there are so many therapies that are not well researched. My sister-in-law has multiple kids with ASD from mild/middle of the road Aspergers Syndrome to full blown can't speak Autism. She is one of the "vaccine caused" types and goes for all kinds of kooky therapies that I can completely understand not being covered. The therapies that are most researched and tested are ones she doesn't want, but are understandably covered therapies in her insurance. She would rather pay 100% out of pocket for stuff that she is convinced will help her kids, but won't use stuff her insurance will cover.

In our case, we have a son who is so mild a case of Aspergers Syndrome that it almost isn't worth mentioning. The amount of anecdotal support for a genetic link to ASD is so ubiquitous in our families that it is amazing she still hangs on to the vaccine "link".

Comment Re:AZ isn't anti-immigrant (Score 1) 835

All you've done is talk in circles around the fact that the law requires investigation of residency status in cases where it is entirely legal to not have any sort of ID.

How on Earth can a foreign national be a legal resident without any sort of ID? If they are here legally there is going to be a passport. If they are not a foreign national, they are going to have a driver's license. Apart from minors under 16 there isn't a reasonable example of someone who would be a legal resident without any sort of ID.

Comment Am I missing something here? (Score 1) 408

I always thought the point of a search engine is that I want to find something in particular. Filtering helps me get what I want, and this is degrading my experience somehow?

I hit up google to find information. I tend toward raw data, so I don't want any opposing viewpoints there. When my "vaccines caused my child's autism" sister-in-law spouts off some new claim, I look for stuff from studies. I don't really want to know what the opposing view is; my sister-in-law already let me know.

Comment Re:That is really it right there (Score 1) 401

Just to someone in the building industry, I can tell you that home inspectors suck ass; the market doesn't support a real quality inspection, plus the real estate agent doesn't have a whole lot of incentive to hire a home inspector who _will_ find all the problems, because damn near any home has something worth mentioning to the trained eye.

Also worth noting is that in a sense the real estate agent works for the seller. The realtor's commission is based on selling price. The higher the sale price, the higher the commission.

Comment Re:No! It is really, really bad. (Score 1) 2288

That is all well and good, but to the vast majority of Americans (or any other nationality on the planet for that matter) the only thing that matters is units of distance, temperature, weight, and volume. If they have a sense of how far away their destination, how much gas they need, how it will feel when they get there, and how much more they will weigh, they are golden. They don't do anything else with their measures. The scientists crave the elegance of the metric system, but they layman doesn't really care. They don't want their status quo changed, and don't see any compelling reason to do so. They also have a lot of voting power due to their numbers. It should absolutely happen, but there is going to be a whole lot of resistance if the idea gets any serious consideration. I can only imagine how the AARP might fight this. They don't want the seniors to get confused by all the changes, and they are a very powerful lobbying group.

Comment Re:It's the Analogy, Stupid... (Score 1) 127

Take my road bike, for example. At top gear, I have roughly a 5:1 gear ratio. The manufacturer's comparable mountain bike has roughly a 4:1 gear ratio. The bikes' weights aren't that far off, and I would imagine the weight would really come into play on very long and/or stage races. A bike of comparable weight is still going to be hamstrung by the gear ratio. Even in the unlikely event that I get the commuter bike lighter than the competetion's racing bikes, they are going to have a more favorable selection of gear ratios. I'll be at top gear and have to spin faster to go the same speed. To a point the faster cadence is going to be favorable for energy systems used, but after that point I'm hitting my lactate threshold and its bonk city.

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