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Comment Re: Children and bathwaters (Score 2) 120

IQ tests are problematic, and are at best general indicators. And seeing as socio-economic conditions can and do influence IQ scores (see the Flynn Effect), trying to use IQ averages in populations to justify claims "whites are smarter thank blacks" makes IQ tests even more problematic.

Probably the best way to up general IQ scores in a population is to assure children get proper nutrition in infancy and childhood. So the real observation here is that IQ scores are probably measuring other phenomenon other than intelligence, making claims that some ethnic or racial groups are smarter than others pretty iffy at best.

Whatever the factuality of the Bell Curve, the Flynn Effect seems to counter it. Intelligence certainly has a genetic component, but it's probable that you won't really determine just how genetics influences intelligence so long as you have large segments of any given population who lack both academic avenues and basic requirements for academic and cognitive performance like decent food.

But hey, I get it, it's the age of the alt-right, where saying "Blacks are dumber than whites" is now apparently some sort of unassailable dogma, and where a previous generation's debunked or at least heavily questioned claims are brought back and again asserted to be absolute truth.

Comment Re:yes and no (Score 2) 89

The first computer I remember using in school was an Apple II, I think it was in fifth grade. I remember playing Lemonade Stand and Oregon Trail. When I got into high school, they had computer labs that were made up of Apple IIs, Apple IIEs and some Apple II clones. Didn't see an PCs until a few years later when I took data processing (basically dBase III) and "office procedures" classes.

My actual first introduction to computers was my uncle, who had a Commodore 64, and between playing with that and in Apple BASIC at school, I pretty much begged and pleaded with anyone would listen to get me a computer.

Comment Yeah, you do... but no, we don't. (Score 1) 248

I drive on highways with 55-65 MPH speed limits, just like everyone for the last 50 years, with cars built for those speeds.

From time to time, I drive a 2016 corvette on Montana highways with 80 mph speed limits. It is fair to say that the car loafs along. It was absolutely built for these speeds, and speeds considerably higher. I often reach those higher speeds. [Um. Allegedly. Cough.] Many other models are built with similar capabilities. The highways here are well designed for those speeds. Even many of the secondary roads here are pretty good for them, though not as good.

Methinks you are thinking well inside your own box. Poorly. Which makes me raise my eyebrows at your assertion that you are a physicist. That may be unfair; many people are notably vertical in their strengths. But still, my eyebrows are raised. :)

We can also (if we are honest) observe that progress, and the potential it unleashes in many cases, is not all that closely linked with what's commercially available or common around the time of the fundamental invention. In the first decade after lasers were invented, for instance, there was no significant commercial application. When the integrated circuit was invented, it wasn't much to look at and functionally speaking, for decades, it was outright pitiful compared to ICs today. We're still dealing with developing a full understanding of how neurons do what they do. In laser parlance, in 2017 we are yet pre-laser, and anyone who tries to tell us that lasers can't do X at this point should be considered, at most, a hand-waver in the grips of a fit of profound hubris.

WRT the subject at hand - intelligence and consciousness resulting from information processing - nature has, fortunately enough, provided numerous models at various levels. So we know it can be done at least one way - neural-like systems. Sure, it's obviously not easy. Brains use very small, very complicated, and very difficult to understand computing elements.

But achieving a manufactured intelligence is also obviously highly interesting and to many, highly desirable. Assuming only that our technological progress doesn't actually halt due to some unrelated factor (war, asteroid, runaway climate, alien invasion, etc.), there are many reasons, all supporting one another very, very well, to assume that we will "get there from here." Not the least of which is there are many (sub-)reasons to presume that will be a great deal of economic leverage in such technology.

And, perhaps most relevant to you, there are no known physics related reasons to presume that we won't get there eventually. As you should know very well. If one is (or multiple are) discovered - for instance, should it be determined at some point in the future that brains use some heretofore unknown physics mechanism(s) to do what they do - then we may quite suddenly be on different grounds in terms of ultimate practicality. But there isn't even a hint of this as yet. It definitely appears to be chemistry, electricity, and topology all the way down as far as brains go. That stuff, we can do. Larger and clumsier and perhaps even slower... perhaps even only as emulation... yet we can do it. We just don't know exactly what to do. Yet.

Comment Re:EBooks (Score 1) 145

The way it was explained to me is that printing, particularly in an age of "just in time printing" is not the most significant cost in publishing. Whether you distribute a book in physical form or electronic, the process is much the same, in that you have to take a manuscript, edit it, and put it into a publishable form. Now while an epub file (which is just a glorified bunch of HTML, image and meta files zipped together) doesn't require the kind of typesetting that a print book does, it still has to work off of the final copy produced.

Now that doesn't explain all of an ebook's costs, and I do think there's some gouging going on, but it's not as high as we think.

Comment Re: Children and bathwaters (Score 2) 120

Because public schools are run by morons who are still stuck in 1950s in regards to assessing students. As it is, even with standardized IQ tests, the numbers have been rising in many populations, including African-Americans for decades, suggesting that what IQ measures isn't really raw cognitive capacity at all (ie. the Flynn Effect).

One of the biggest reasons for lower cognitive ability isn't genetic at all, but poor nutrition during the developmental years, and that's one of the reasons that socio-economic status has been viewed as a significant player in general and specific cognitive abilities. There's no doubt there's a genetic component, but like anything, genetics sets general parameters, and it is environment that takes over after conception. Considering that many ethno-racial groups in the Americas have not been equal beneficiaries of over all socio-economic improvements, that would strike me as a good reason for why we see phenomena like the Flynn Effect. But that's a rather dull explanation, and not one that allows some Neo-nazi to declare he's superior to African-Americans.

Comment Re:ebooks are friggin expensive (Score 3, Interesting) 145

I agree there's not really any cost savings, but I read ebooks largely for convenience. As to DRM, the only place it really fucks me up is graphic novels, which I have yet to figure out how to unlock, but for anything I buy off of Google Play, thus far a combination of Adobe Digital Editions 4 and ePUBee seems to do the trick. I appreciate that at some point that won't work any more, and then I may have to reconsider how I consume books (at the moment I buy a book, immediately rip out the DRM and then archive the epub).

Comment Re:EBooks (Score 2) 145

I like them for convenience. I've got an ereader on my tablet that syncs with the one on my phone. When I'm at home I'll read on the tablet, which has a much bigger display, but when I'm out, I can read the book on my phone. I find it convenient, and don't really read any fiction in real book form anymore.

Comment Re:Not going to work (Score 1) 120

Oh fuck off you blithering moron. Advertisers have been pushing around their weight for fucking ever. Jesus fucking Christ, you couldn't even show an interracial kiss on TV in the 1960s without most of a network's southern affiliates refusing to broadcast the fucking episode, because their advertisers would freak out and pull their ads.

It's like people like you have lived in some weird bubble where you know absolutely fuck all about how the actual world fucking works. In an advertiser-supported platform, the advertisers are God, and if they decide that a topic is going to harm their brand, then they, as God, have the power to yank the advertising. Sometimes they do it for evil, such as trying to keep interracial kisses off the air half a century ago, and sometimes for good, as when they don't want their products associated with ISIS beheading videos or Neo-nazi fruitcakes. But they have the absolute authority to it, for better and for worse, and if you don't like it, start up your own video sharing service.

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