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Comment Re:More likely medical practice, not evolution (Score 1) 273

There are reasons why that's a poor idea. E.g., wider hips pose mobility issues. The system really needs a thorough redesign so that birth doesn't need to fit through the pelvic girdle, but that's far beyond us. The current system was designed for creatures with horizontal body position and small head size. For that it works fine. As it is... it puts strong constraints on development.

Don't think that this is the only place where history impacts evolution, though. Spiders have to drink their dinner because their brain is in a circle around their esophagus (or whatever you call that part of a spider). This worked out fine originally, but spiders became successful, and started growing and getting smarter, so their brains got larger, and now they need a liquid diet. If they get any smarter they won't be able to eat at all.

And speaking of the esophagus, consider the human trachea. Ever have something "go down the wrong pipe"? That's because of a very old design decision that's now apparently impossible to evolve a solution for. The lungs share the plumbing with the gut in the neck and head. There are lots of other similar features calling for a re-factoring of the design, but evolution doesn't work that way. All the intermediates must we not only working, but competitive WRT the prior model. No intermediate regressions allowed. (Except, of course, at times like after a major extinction event, when the selection pressure temporarily becomes quite low.)

Comment Re:Great System (Score 1) 235

This is for two days. It's not likely even the ultra rich are going to buy a new Mercedes specifically to bypass this rule when the maximum in fines they'll suffer will be EUR35. Not unless Europe has seen some significant deflation lately and EUR34 is the cost of a brand new Mercedes.

Comment Re:Banish cars from the city center (Score 2) 235

I used to walk half way across Reading, in the UK, from Sainsburys in the city center to my flat, carrying four or more bags of groceries. Older people had little carts, resembling carry on bags (the type with a slide out handle and two wheels) you'd see in an airport, to do the job.

And in the event I really had too much weight in those bags to contemplate walking that distance, I'd take a bus.

Why would you think you'd need a magical transportation device for more than one grocery bag?

Comment Re:Way ahead of you (Score 1) 235

One issue with public transportation in the US (not so much in the EU) is that everyone assumes that the primary incentive to get people to use it must be cost. As a result, it's usually run on an absurdly low budget, given revenues are only a fraction of costs, and inevitably it ends up not being terribly useful. Which means few people ride it, at any cost.

If you want public transportation to be popular, you need to make it useful. Make it useful enough, and people will use it, even if the prices are similar to, or even higher than, other forms of transportation.

One Parisian above claims that it takes an hour and a half to cross the city to get from one suburb to another, while it takes 20 minutes by car. That, to me, is a sign that there aren't enough buses filling in the gaps. Here in Martin County, Florida the "bus system" appears to be designed to turn tax money into jobs, rather than provide a useful service, with buses spaced an hour apart, taking an inordinate length of time to cross the county, only offered during daylight hours, and providing no effective county to county service. If they ran every ten minutes, with express buses linking to nearby county systems, I'd probably use it, because I hate driving.

On a wider scale (yes, I know this isn't directly comparable, it's to demonstrate the point about usefulness vs price), Amtrak's Acela Express charges passengers orders of magnitude more per mile than, say, the Silver Meteor. It also carries 10-20x as many passengers. Why? Because it's useful. It links major population centers with an hourly service, rather than linking minor towns and cities with a once-a-day service. So people are willing to pay big money to travel on it. Which is why it makes double what it costs, as opposed to the Meteor which makes half of what it costs.

Build a useful service and they will come. You don't need to make it free. In fact, making it free is probably the worst possible thing you can do.

Comment Re:Bluetooth Headphones (Score 1) 334

Plus Bluetooth on Android (may be true of iOS too, no idea) is fairly bug ridden and crappy. I've seen three relatively recent Android phones that crash if they try to connect to our minivan's BT system. Googling for "bluetooth share has stopped" (the error message the phones give) show this is a common problem and has been for some years. Looks like the 4.x series was the last version of Android that had remotely stable Bluetooth support.

You'd think, at the very least, Samsung would hold off until Google can put out a half way stable Bluetooth stack.

Comment Re:You know what? (Score 1) 571

You are correct that it is already too late to prevent global warming. It's been happening to some degree since we started farming rice. OTOH, a mild global warming has been advantageous. Without it we'd be entering an ice age. The ramped-up-on-steroids global warming that we've been pushing since the start of the industrial revolution, however, is something else again. We don't know just how bad it's going to get, but I do know that the actual projections have had the higher ends trimmed to avoid political repercussions. (Were the lower ends also trimmed? If so I haven't heard so.) Some of the model results that were excluded actually DO have Antarctica melting, and not just around the edges. Well, that's a lot worse than the mean projections, but the mean projection is that its going to be more than the 2 degrees Celsius that people talk about, probably closer to 4 degrees. That's nearly 8 degrees Fahrenheit. And that's going to mean LOTS of ice melting, and lots of deserts where there used to be farmland. It means that Canada will probably become good farmland...if it can get enough water. Oh, yes. It also means that the temperatures are going to get so high that we can't rely on any of the current models, because wind and ocean currents will shift too much. So we can't be sure where it's going to be wet, where it's going to be dry, or how wet or how dry.

My personal expectation (I'm no specialist, and a bit of a pessimist) is that we'll see over a meter sea level rise before the end of the century. Please note that this is not more extreme than some of the models predict, as some of them talk about 10's of meters, though I'm not sure of the timeline for that. I'm sort of expecting the Tethy's sea to form again for the first time since the Jurassic, but it would be a pretty shallow sea, I'm guessing less than a meter deep in most places...but how deep, of course, depends on the actual rise in sea levels. Maybe some genetic engineer will recreate the pleasiasaur to swim in it.

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