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Comment Re: Change the law (Score 1) 1430

If it was Hitler (R - authoritarian nationalist) vs. Stalin (D - communist), most would still cling to the idea that a third-party candidate was a wasted vote and choose their candidate by party.

This! The really scary thing about this election was that it was such an ordinary election despite extraordinary candidates. About 90% of traditional republicans voted for Trump and about 90% of democrats for Hillary.

Voting for a third candidate IS a waste because of the way your system is constructed. Why didn't Trump go as an independent? Because the right wing votes would have been split between him and the republicans and basically given the democrats the presidency. He would never have won as an independent despite having the same ideas, policies and interesting retorics.

There are so many things wrong with the system. The electoral college is one but the presidency itself is another. The presidency is a winner-takes-all competition where voting for a third party only increases the chance that your worst enemy becomes president instead of the dude you just dislike.

Switching to popular vote isn't enough. Candidates should be allowed to form coalitions after the vote is cast. That is, let all candidates run and if no one gets more than 50%, they can join forces and whatever group gets a majority decides on the presidency. Third, fourth and fifth candidates are not actively discouraged and all votes count. Having only two choices, isn't much of a choice at all. Especially when choosing between Stalin and Hitler.

  A two party system is only one party away from being a dictatorship.

Comment Re:FTFY (Score 1) 87

How is this different from a Google search? Google spends a lot of time trying to figure out how sites and searches are related to one another. Mozilla thinks they can do it better because they can "harvest" data directly from the browser? I doubt it. And, that's ignoring the privacy issue of sending my full time stamped browsing history to a private company...

Comment Re:100 (Score 1) 249

That was precisely my thought. It is of course a bullshit article but it raises so many interesting questions:

Where did they get country based IQ data? Is it normalised to 100 over the entire sample?

Why do most countries in their scatterplot have an IQ less than 100? The only counterweight of significance is China.

Who did they test? China has higher IQ than pretty much the entire western world. I very much doubt that since china is HUGE and mostly rural.

What IQ test did they use? Note that five countries have scores of about 70 or below. Are they really suggesting about 90 million people in Nigeria (NGA) are mentally retarded? There's 180M people in Nigeria, half should be above 70 and half below, i.e. mental retardation (assuming normal distribution).

Comment Re:Cool! (Score 1) 460

- GR breaks down when you go to quantum levels

Could you be more specific? There are plenty of successful marriages of GR and QM. For example quantum field theories such as QED, QCD etc.

- GR does not fully describe black holes (particularly their horizon and the singularity)

No one has seen the event horizon or the inside of a black hole so we don't know if the GR predictions matches reality or not. (And, if GR is correct, nothing beyond the horizon can be studied). The things we have checked (like gravitational waves) matches.

- GR is incomplete with regards to explaining the expansion of the universe (the discrepancy is called Dark Energy)

Dark Energy is a proposed solution to make the observations match the predictions. So, if dark energy is found there is no conflict with GR. Calling GR incomplete is a bit unfair since it isn't a theory of everything (and isn't supposed to be), just a theory of the interaction between matter/energy and spacetime. It makes no predictions of how much or which type of matter should exist.

I'd say the original statement holds. No cracks have been found yet.

Comment Re:Nerver try to predict the future (Score 1) 250

I was surprised to see Apple on the list. Most of their revenue (69%) comes from one product single line, the iPhone. People change phones every couple of years and if it goes out of fashion, the fall of Apple could be very quick. They would probably lose a lot on all their other sales as well since the main point of buying a Mac/iPad is the common ecosystem/vendor lock-in. Apple has basically put all eggs in one basket and if it breaks, they could be of no importance in no time.

Really, the more I think of it, Apple has nothing that could not be replaced in a couple of years. Compare that to Microsoft. People are still buying their stuff despite Microsofts best efforts at stopping them (W8 and 10, ribbons etc).

Comment Re:Responsible party? (Score 4, Interesting) 129

In the thread you linked to, John Layt (KDE dude near the bottom of the thread) explains how the Outreach Program for Women actually worked. No money was "blown" on the program. It was just a timing mismatch of the cash flows from the sponsors to the interns which Gnome used it's own money to cover. So, a "cost" one year should be matched by a "income" next year (as long as the sponsor pays up).

The problem was that the program got too popular for the foundation to handle with their existing routines (see some of Sri's posts). It seems the cash flow problem had nothing to do with Karen but with inadequate administration.

Comment UCLA News (Score 3, Informative) 71

Haven't found any scientific article yet but here is the news page from UCLA:

In short, they found graphite in a crystal and the graphite has a carbon 12 to carbon 13 ratio which indicates biological origin.

So, the current status is "plausible" but if someone comes up with another explanation it is "busted".

Comment Re:Best Keyboard (Score 1) 459

I wish I had mod points! That's one of the simplest solutions I've heard of yet and I will give it a try. I have a slight case of emacs pinkie and would even consider switching the left and right hands to get all the important keys in the middle (asdf on right hand, jkl on left). That would of course require some serious mental gymnastics to get used to though...

Do you have any examples of small keyboards with GOOD keys?

Thanks for the suggestions!

Comment Re:Information (Score 1) 242

I thought the main point of the copenhagen interpretation was the instrumentalist approach. That is, the mathematical description should not be considered a description of reality but just a tool for calculating probabilities of real events. So, these supposed issues with 'conscious observers' do not apply. There is no real wavefunction and no real collapse. It's just a mathematical description.

But, even if you take a realist approach to the standard QM theory and argue that the wavefunction is real, conscious observers are still not required. It is a well known and tested fact that you do not need a conscious observer to collapse a wavefunction. Take your classical double slit experiment, put a measuring device by one of the slits to force a collapse of the wavefunction (and thus no interference pattern). Now, put a piece of tape over your measuring devices display so no conscious observer can see it. The result doesn't change.

Yes, a philosopher or someone taking the collapse notion a bit too seriously would argue that the entire system (detector, double slits, measuring device etc) is in a mixed state until the observer checks the output on the detector but that is quite a stretch. (See the whole Schrodingers Cat debate)

All measuring devices are huge from a quantum mechanical standpoint. We can barely make calculations on large objects like molecules (and that with rather heavy approximations) and measuring devices typically consist of lots and lots of molecules. It is currently quite impossible to write down a quantum mechanical description of even a simple experiment with a simple measuring device. If we could, maybe we would see that the that the addition of a measuring device causes a mixed state to evolve into a pure state, just by the laws of QM. No conscious observers would then be necessary and the 'collapse' would be just a consequence of the theory. However, making those calculations is way too complicated and far from what we can currently do.

So, neither the instrumentalist or realist interpretation of standard QM theory requires conscious observers.

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