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Comment Puritans. (Score 1) 399

Anti-vax, anti-gmo, and anti-promiscuity, are all driven by the same moral imperative of "bodily purity". If you are the kind of person who puts a high value on purity (a puritan) then you are likely to subscribe to one or more of those views. People on the left are drawn to anti-gmo because it fits in with the environmental movement, people on the right are drawn to anti-promiscuity because of its religious links. Anti-vax tend to be from the left because it fits the "big pharma" narrative but the politics is not as clear cut as the other two forms of puritanical nonsense since anti-vax and some religious beliefs go together like ham and cheese..

Comment Re:Duh! (Score 1) 399

Excellent post, may I add that Science is not an axiomatic system, the closest thing to an axiom in science are the fundamental forces and space-time. We can describe their behaviour in exquisite detail but have no idea why these things exists or what they are, you just have to accept they exist and are part of the universe.

That's what happens when you follow the "why" questions all the way to the bottom (reductionism), you end up at a point where you just have to accept some things exist on face value because nobody has a clue as to why they exist. Finding such a rare and valuable clue will not help with the philosophical problem for the same reason "finding god" won't help, it will just push the "why" question one level deeper.

Comment Re:Emotion vs Logic (Score 1) 399

I like the comparison to a neural net. Experience is the accumulated summary of events we have processed over time, we don't remember the entire event we remember tiny snapshots that leave us with an impression. The snapshots we remember are those things that triggered a release of adrenaline (I read it and my blood boiled) or endomorphs (I heard the news and was so happy I could cry). None of this means our impressions are wrong, it just means they are not as reliable as we would like to think.

As for FB, one of the greatest benefits of modern social media is that politicians are now finding it extremely difficult to get away with telling different groups different stories in different locations. For example they cannot tell farmers they are anti-fracking and tell miners they are pro-fracking, these groups are now easily able to compare notes and spot the sycophantic contradictions before someone is elected.

Comment Re:Hurray! (Score 1) 27

Never nice to see another conspiratorial daydream posted on slashdot, but it's not unexpected these days. There's nothing new about these laws, in fact most of the planet have been bound to them for decades by international treaties, refusing to cooperate with NGOs working on international anti-trafficking efforts would attract unwanted scrutiny from dozens of different governments.

Comment Re: Widely used != popular (Score 1) 241

If you are using c to solve trivial problems that have zero performance requirements then you are not a good engineer and are wasting your time and your employer's money.

Yes different, C is very "robust" because a native binary is insensitive to machine environments, no need to rely on the client's environment to change, which implies minimal install/"getting started" documentation, etc.

Coding in C is no more difficult than coding in js or any other language once you know what you're doing, it's just the extra build step in the test-debug cycle that chews up the development time.

Like every other choice we make in life there is a cost benefit equation as to what language is "best", also the tools used by the chain of coders and testers in a software house will significantly narrow your choices. For example where I am now the coders all develop for specific versions of visual studio and gcc, if someone handed me an eclipse project it would take an unreasonable amount of time (money) to reconfigure the overnight build environment/scripts.

Comment Re:Consciousness is not the same thing as free wil (Score 1) 285

It's only in the last decade or so that experiments have shown our thoughts can and do have a strong influence on of the dna that builds and maintains the brain and nervous system. In other words our thoughts can turn our genes on and off, when it gets the switches stuck in a self-destructive combination it drives us towards extreme behaviours which we call "mental illness". Philosophically I think Hofstadter's "I am a strange loop" and "Godel, Escher, Bach" present the most convincing model of consciousness as an emergent property of the mind boggling complexity of the feedback mechanisms in a living organism. He also makes a very strong case for the impossibility of a mind that's even theoretically capable of fully understanding itself.

Comment Re:Somebody didn't get the memo... (Score 1) 285

Well said, I would actually be more concerned if radiologists never found any systematic errors in their models. From the summary it sounds like a very interesting experiment, I think the "free will" angle is just click bait. What they appear to have done is use a clever mental trick to help them understand how the brain responds to and controls the two big optical sensors hanging off the front of it

Comment Re: So what is YOUR plan? (Score 4, Insightful) 406

Hopefully the desire to usher in the apocalypse is not shared by mainstream Republicans.

Unfortunately the same desire is shared by more than a few republicans, they call it "the rapture". Their christian god lifts them to heaven while everyone else burns, apparently the same god told muslims a different story.

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