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Comment Not meaningfully different from in-vitro (Score 1) 145

Yes, a lot of work went in, but ultimately, all of the *significant* genetic material came from two parents. Passing on your mitochondrial DNA doesn't do anything to really shape your offspring (unless your mitochondrial DNA is just *really* messed up). Now if the donor egg somehow had defective Mitocondrial DNA, ok, this is at least somewhat useful.

But pretending this offspring has three equally biological parents is disingenuous.

Comment Re:You keep using that word. 99% of musicians (Score 1) 257

No, it is rent-seeking. Music in the past was sold in terms of public performance and perhaps sheet music - nothing about which I have a beef with. Now they want to get paid for cost-free audio recording duplication without doing any of the work associated with it - they literally charge the costs back to the performer! It's pretty much the definition of rent-seeking.

Comment Dumb discussion (Score 1) 159

Here's why. None of it matters.

Let's talk about analogies. Remember the Manhattan Project? Probably the most significant intervention of geeks in all history. Started off with some busybody physicists and a letter from Einstein. They were convinced that they were doing a good for all mankind by contributing to the destruction of the Nazi state.

The problem was, Hitler was defeated before their bomb came to fruition. Then, some people started getting cold feet about the use of the device. Regretting their intervention in the first place, even.

General Groves' and Oppenheimer's recollections of the project talk quite a bit about prima donna scientists. What should be obvious is that they put up with the geeks for about as long as it took to get what they wanted, and then told them to go fuck themselves.

Leo Szliard found out that his opinion was worthless, as was the opinion of every one of the geeks. The politicians and military had firm control and weren't interested in power sharing or criticism. And the bombs got dropped on civilians.

The takeaway from this is that on climate change, the only time the geeks get listened to is when the politicians have a good reason to make common cause with them...mostly when the goals are congruent. The moment the congruence ends, the geeks get told to go fuck themselves. This mostly means election year pandering with no action. So, therefore, arguing about this is moot. Nothing is going to happen.

Comment stents and lithotripsy (Score 2) 120

Mine was a 8x7mm stone, not huge but large enough to block the ureter. The pain was excruciating. It's like nothing else - i've had women who went through multiple labors grade the kidney stone as worse. Dilaudid touched it nicely during the 4 days in the hospital, but I required dosing every few hours and I wouldn't have been able to do anything but sleep on that. When they tried percocet, it was taking 20mg every 4 hours and that wasn't touching it. I would arch my back above a bed because resting on the surface hurt.

Since the pain is caused by the blocked ureter, the solution for me was a urinary stent shoved up my urethra and then manipulated into the ureter. It keeps the urine flowing and instantly relieves the pain. But, you have a stick inside you, and you know it every time you urinate (or move). More uncomfortable than anything else. Also, if you have never pissed blood, it's very unsettling - every time they would mess with the stent or do a lithotripsy i'd piss blood for a day or two.

I required four lithotripsies (going under each time...my memory was for shit that summer) before the stone finally broke up and passed.

Do not recommend kidney stones.

Comment I'm just waiting for the endgame here (Score 3, Interesting) 257

A few facts:

1) The rent-seeking media licensing authorities aren't going to stop with their attempts to use their financial resources to defend their rents via litigation and buying politicians.
2) Geeks aren't going to stop writing tools that facilitate freedom in using media as people see fit
3) Ergo, the path of least resistance is to put such services that are ripe targets for litigation in countries where the licensing authorities do not have reach - ie. Eastern Europe, Asia, some parts of Africa.

Why a company would host a service that would become a target for litigation in Germany is beyond me.

Eventually, I can see a world where the services that the media rent-seekers hate are located in just the places they can't reach - we already see this in terms of torrent sites, and the rest will follow. Since they are very small potatoes in terms of the larger economy, I can't see anything like a war or even meaningful negotiation about the point. So, basically, I can't see any end result but the ultimate eclipse of the rent seekers.

Comment Re:This simply means we're succeeding. (Score 1) 223

Not so fast.

Passenger air travel is becoming ever more fuel efficient. Airlines are keenly interested in the lowest fuel used per passenger seats, especially the low cost airlines. EasyJet's fleet (a low cost European airline) is almost brand new, same with RyanAir (who are notorious for making everything as cheap as possible). Not only do the airlines want efficient planes, but they want them as full as possible. EasyJet's load factor is 90% for example (meaning on average at least 90% of the seats are filled).

EasyJet's A319-neo aircraft have an average fuel burn (no wind) of about 2L/100km per passenger seat (about 115 mpg (US)). Adjusting with a 90% load factor about 103mpg per passenger flown. This is roughly equivalent to a reasonably efficient mid-size car carrying 3 people (note: most cars most of the time only carry 1 person), but remember the plane is doing 500+ mph while getting this efficiency, whereas the car will only be doing about 60mph to get that efficiency per seat.

A well-loaded electric train can better this of course, but airline travel isn't as absurdly fuel thirsty as you presume - there have been very impressive efficiency gains over time.

Space

SpaceX Tests Its Raptor Engine For Future Mars Flights (techcrunch.com) 107

Thelasko writes: Elon Musk is preparing to unveil his plans to colonize Mars at the 67th annual International Astronautical Congress tomorrow. As a tease to his lecture, he has released some details about the Raptor engine on Twitter, including pictures. Mr. Musk states that, "Production Raptor coal is specific impulse of 382 seconds and thrust of 3 MN (~310 metric tons) at 300 bar." He goes on to note that the specific impulse spec is at Mars ambient pressure. The Raptor interplanetary engine is designed for use with Space X's Mars Colonial Transporter craft. Musk notes that the "chamber pressure runs three times what's present in the Merlin engine currently used to power Falcon 9," according to TechCrunch. "Merlin has specific impulse of 282 seconds (311 seconds in the vacuum of space), and a relatively paltry 654 kilonewton (0.6 MN) at sea level, or 716 kN (0.7 MN) in a vacuum. You can view a picture of the "Mach diamonds" here, which are visible in the engine's exhaust.

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I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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