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Comment Re:This is excellent news! (Score 1) 185

Perhaps we can come to a compromise. We can pay for women who otherwise would have had an abortion to pop their fetuses into these artificial wombs. Everyone is happy at this point I assume. Then we can all get on with our lives, charitably or otherwise. Sarcasm aside, I assume you already know that the hateful conservatives you are deriding are actually more likely to adopt children than the loving liberals you are defending.

At some point we can ask these post-birth fetuses whether they would like to continue living or if they would rather be aborted. I imagine around the age of 12 years the fetus would know whether their adopted/foster/gulag living arrangement is sufficiently pleasant to make further life worth while. If the answer is no they can be easily aborted at that stage.

Comment Re:An Artificial Womb Successfully Grew Baby Sheep (Score 1) 185

You are conflating two different things. A fetus is just a baby in a certain stage in prenatal development that starts around 11 weeks and ends at birth. I assume that when you worry about the slippery slope you are against the forced use of this technology to save a life that would otherwise be aborted at the sole discretion of the mother. The current legal line between a baby with no rights and a baby with the right to life independent of the mothers wishes is the moment of birth. The majority of states require only a second physician to either consent or be present at the procedure even after 20 weeks.

No technology is required to blur that line. I don't see how anyone can argue from a biological perspective that the moment of birth is a biologically trans-formative event. I'm not sure how the moment of birth is an ethically trans-formative event either. In what way is the baby 1 day pre-birth different from an ethical perspective than a baby 1 day post birth? A physician can freely kill that baby the day or the second before birth, but if he/she were to kill the baby after birth it would legally be murder.

For the 18 or so states that have a viability test for the increased rights of the unborn, this technology may indeed blur the legal line, but the ethical and biological line is already pretty murky.

Comment Re:Goodbye Karma (Score 1) 470

That question is equivalent to
"What charges should be brought against hospice centers when terminal cancer patients die under their care?"

To which the obvious answer is none.

We don't charge parents when their child dies of natural causes, and charging them in accidental death is a cruelty fit for only the most vindictive societies imaginable. Charging parents for death caused directly by neglect is defensible.

Your argument is a good one if you are in favor of defining person-hood using the test of viability. In that case mothers who miscarry are safe from prosecution. Third trimester abortions on the other hand would often fail that test. If we as a society were to define a fetus as a person at the moment of viability we would need to outlaw abortions of healthy babies that reasonable physicians might conclude are viable outside the womb.

Comment Re:It's obviously not that. (Score 1) 470

And yet words do mean things independent of the imagined motivation of the opposition. Arguments are not invalidated by the life choices of the arguer. You might almost imagine an argument as a means of arriving at a truth that is independent of political or societal norms.

The courts have ruled that the fetus is not a person. It may be killed for any reason up to the arbitrary line of the end of the second trimester. It may be killed after that point up to the moment of birth if the state with jurisdiction decides not to forbid it.

Once the baby is born, sticking sharp objects into its brain for the purposes of ending its life is murder under the law. And yet it is not necessarily murder if you do it five minutes earlier.

Is it so hard to imagine that even reasonable people with no desire to cause harm to anyone might have ethical questions about whether this current legal regime is ethically sound?

Comment Re:Some privacy is more equal than other (Score 1) 470

Ad-hominem attacks are where it's at. I'm with you there. But I can't help but think you might have missed the point of the debate. Person-hood trumps privacy. The only way to argue that killing a fetus is OK in order to protect a woman's privacy is to also argue that the fetus is not a person under the law. And that is absolutely what the law says. The debate is about whether that is the right thing ethically.

The fetus is obviously human, and it is alive. At what point is it a person? I can see several stages of development being the deciding factor myself. Brain activity might be one, heartbeat might be one, viability might be another. You'll have to be careful about viability though because that keeps creeping back earlier and earlier. I'm not sure where to draw the line, but I'm pretty sure it's not the instant before birth.

You don't have to be a Christian, or white, or male to wonder about when a fetus becomes a person. Ranting about the motivations of the other side doesn't invalidate the basic question.

Submission + - SpaceX sticks the landing! (

bryanandaimee writes: SpaceX has successfully landed their first stage on an autonomous platform in the ocean for the first time. Congratulations to the team over at SpaceX!

Comment K-2nd grade (Score 1) 700

In my opinion the first few years of school are a decent time to homeschool. There is no way to say what's best for any one kid/family, but there is a very small skill set taught in the first few years. The major subject is reading. This is a subject where one on one time is highly productive and group activities tend to be not as effective. As an example I have an aunt that didn't learn to read till she was in 4th or 5th grade. She got by through memorization of the story books as they were read to the class. When it came time for her 5 minutes with the teacher she could spout the story back and pretend to be reading. If it was a book that she hadn't seen she would look at the pictures and guess. None of her teachers figured out she couldn't read till she was almost done with elementary school. This doesn't happen if mom is spending hours per day, one on one with her child.

As for socialization, I can't tell you how many times my bully avoidance skills have saved me from a near certain pounding at the office. I went to public school and ended up as a physicist, so obviously there is absolutely no socialization benefit to attending public school. (How's that for anecdote.)

Submission + - Cell Tower Jammer Created From Cheap Phone Using Open Source Firmware (

bryanandaimee writes: A few years ago the baseband code for the Vitelcom TSM30 was leaked to the public. From that leaked code others have written open source GSM firmware firmware for the baseband processor. Using that code researchers in Berlin have created firmware to intercept the cell tower to cell phone handshake and block calls and text messages from getting through. A single hacked cell phone can bring down a cell.

Submission + - RoboSavvy & GrabCAD Launch Humanoid Robot Design Challenge (

An anonymous reader writes: Our objective is to launch a new open-source Humanoid Robot that will be agile and smart at an affordable cost. Similar Humanoid Robots used for Education and Research can cost over $10,000 due to the cost their plastic molding exterior shell, costly actuators and closed-source business approach. RoboSavvy is looking forward to an open-source robot design that will outperform its rivals while maintaining the price of materials to only about $1,000.

Submission + - NIST Ytterbium Atomic Clocks Set Record for Stability (

bryanandaimee writes: An optical lattice clock like the one discussed earlier on slashdot has broken the stability record. Comparing two OLC's using trapped atoms of Ytterbium, the stability of the clocks was measured to 2 parts per quintillion (10^18). While the previously reported OLC used strontium, these clocks, built by another group, use Ytterbium. Interestingly, while the stability of the clocks is now the best in the world, the accuracy has yet to be measured.

Comment Re:Or both? (Score 1) 174

I dissagree. Altruism itself is by definition not a profit motive, but only a very simple robot or a computer could possibly be driven by a single pure motivation (seek light, or some such.). I am always motivated by multiple things. Greed, desire to do good, desire to be seen doing good, laziness, boredom, desire to learn something new, fun seeking, thrill seeking, etc. all play a part in what I choose to do at any one moment. Even if it's 90% profit motive and 10% charitable motive, perhaps the project would have been ignored without that other 10%. And even that is too simplistic. If they are even remotely human I would guess you could easily add in, desire to be admired, desire to solve a difficult problem, ego, adventure, and a long list of other motivations for this single project alone.

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