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Comment Re:Dice Strikes Again... (Score 1) 184

The problem isn't that we find ways to do things without people it's that we're starting to run out of ideas about what people should do instead.

That's the interesting point -- will we ever reach a threshold where we say, "great! another boring job has been replaced! that's one less person that needs to work." Or will that sense never change so long as profit is based off the ownership of the company?

Comment Oh, the world of data-driven risk-abatement (Score 1) 420

I'm not sure he used the term "outlier" purposefully, but it is telling in our era of data-driven everything. We will always have middle-of-the-curve people if we live only by data-driven metrics. It will allow us to make safe decisions, but it sure seems to be a waste of human resources.

Comment Re:As an amnesiac, I found this interesting (Score 1) 180

I'll have to look up some of those phrases so that I can see how well they apply. I do try to make as many associations as I can. And I try to imagine how else I might use the information so that I can also think about how it might be referenced. But a lot of my life is working through configurations of associations until one triggers a memory (or I simply conclude that it is the most reasonable conclusion even if it didn't trigger a memory.)

Comment As an amnesiac, I found this interesting (Score 5, Interesting) 180

I like to follow these types of stories. I lost all of my memory one morning when I was 19. The cause isn't clear. I was in an underdeveloped country at the time, so the medical facilities didn't exist to determine what had happened. (It might have been a delayed effect of a car accident I was in two years earlier.) It's also probably important to note that my ability to form new memories was also severely impeded.

I wonder a little bit about what "moving" a memory means. At least in my amateur study, memories aren't complete entities (like a file, database, etc). They are mixes of memories, the awareness of what has occurred, and associations, our integration of what we already know with what we are remembering. That's part of the reason people can have such differing memories of a shared experience. Some of that is about how memories are retrieved. In my study and experience, they are retrieved by these associations we make. That's why memory tricks involve making varied associations -- to song, to a mental or physical image, etc. For people who haven't learned those tricks, an association can be as simple as "I remember we met in a bar..." then the rest of the picture is pieced together.

I wonder sometimes if my having to learn different ways of "remembering" things will allow me to maintain a higher level of memory functioning into my elder years. I have to be very aware and purposeful about what I remember. I was in college when I lost my memory, so I had to learn very quickly how to perform in school without being able to learn in the conventional sense (I could not remember the beginning of a semester by the time it ended). So I focused much more on the integration of memories into my existing awareness (aka forming associations between new experiences and prior knowledge.) I still have a very poor memory retrieval in the classic sense, but I can still learn lessons well. It has just required a much higher level of sentience with regards to how memories are stored and what I hope to gain from a memory in the long term.


Doctors Seeing a Rise In "Google-itis" 368

It's one of the fastest-growing health issues that doctors now face: "Google-itis." Everyone from concerned mothers to businessmen on their lunch break are typing in symptoms and coming up with rare diseases or just plain wrong information. Many doctors are bringing computers into examination rooms now so they can search along with patients to alleviate their fears. "I'm not looking for a relationship where the patient accepts my word as the gospel truth," says Dr. James Valek. "I just feel the Internet brings so much misinformation to the (exam) room that we have to fight through all that before we can get to the problem at hand."

Comment Re:But who verified it was really her?! (Score 5, Insightful) 248

Yes, but in court you have to provide evidence. And you can refute that evidence. So it becomes rational. Groupthink is not rational. And very very dangerous. And you can't remove the 100 people who are outliers (people who would be taken off a jury because they are prejudiced). Those might be the people who use the information to harass someone they don't like.

For instance, what if a group decided to "out" all the gay people in a town? They'd start their investigations and post the names online. That's wrong in and of itself. But an outlier might then decide to use that information for violence.

And that's why we have a judicial system.

Comment Re:like trying to offer proof to a Birther (Score 2, Insightful) 1093

It isn't about gutting the current economy. It's about providing incentive structures for developing green technology.

Businesses don't develop new methods and technologies unless they have a reason to. Sometimes that reason is that an entrepreneur saw that the future would be different and had a product that would advance us towards that new paradigm.

Sometimes external factors, usually the government, create such incentives. For instance, look how much technology has been developed for military purposes. All of those were provided by the government.

And the government can provide non-war incentives. Like carbon credits. That proposal has been the green-technology version of micro-loans, a private-sector way to assist a public-sector problem. Make it make sense to find ways to lower emission so you can sell your credits to another company and businesses will find ways.

The GP said that China has become a leader in green technology. It has because the government realizes (all too well) that it can't keep down the same path forever. For many, standards of living have increased to the point where the cost of living can no longer be met by low-level factory jobs. Those jobs are moving to Vietnam and elsewhere. So China has focused on higher-level jobs.

In the same way, it's realized that its water pollution and other problems like that can only be ignored so long. That they will slap them in the face (like pollution during the Olympics almost did) if they don't start addressing it. The big question will be, as the GP suggested, whether we (US), or other countries that eventually provide green incentives, will be buying Chinese technology and hiring Chinese contractors to pursue such incentives or if we will be on the cutting edge enough to use our own resources. The longer we wait to "jump on the bandwagon," the more likely that scenario is.

Comment Re:I don't think so (Score 4, Interesting) 459

Though the Chinese government has its faults, I don't think your statement, "a nation's Government is the single largest institution that decides its prosperity," disqualifies China from continuing its rise. The government is very aware of what will allow China's continued economics rise. This can be seen with some of the long-term partnerships China has developed with countries around the world. It is slowly learning how to implement a civil society without ensuring its own destruction.

But I disagree with your statement more generally, too. As ElectricTurtle said, East Asia, especially China, was on top of the world for about a millennium. And they didn't do it under a democracy. They did it because China has the world's oldest tradition of a meritocracy. Since Confucius, the way you made it up in the world was through passing an exam. That's why China has been able to rise so quickly -- the people value education, and are willing to sacrifice everything so that their children might have more.

I wanted to add one more example to ElectricTurtle's list. China had ships that could carry 15x the tonnage as Christopher Columbus' ships almost a century before he "discovered" America. And they were much harder to sink because they had separate compartments around the base of the ship. If one was punctured and flooded, they could keep sailing. Why didn't they become the great explorers then? Two reasons. One, China was the center of the world and so they weren't so interested in exploring. And two, the internal culture just happened to become xenophobic just as Zhenghe's (the admiral of the ships described above) era of exploration was coming to an end. (And, under the next dynasty, run by the Mongols, there was an effort to appease the Chinese by sticking to their traditions. This impeded progress. Sort of like if the U.S. all became Amish.)

To further cast doubt on the manifest destiny that "inevitably" lead to Europe's rise, consider this. The Europeans were brutal to those they colonized. They demanded submission and subservience. During Zhenghe's day, the Chinese didn't. They created trade pacts, but let the people be. So what might have happened if the wheels of development had been a little more favorably aligned for the Chinese (and all other non-Europeans?) What if Zhenghe had been alive at the time of Columbus? Do you think the people of the world would have rather dealt with the European colonizers or partnered with the must more respectful Chinese?

Note: a fun model comparing Zhenghe's treasure ships to Columbus'. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/10/Zheng_He's_ship_compared_to_Columbus's.JPG.jpg/800px-Zheng_He's_ship_compared_to_Columbus's.JPG.jpg

Comment I see one opportunity, and lots of problems (Score 1) 425

Since reading (and disagreeing with) Walter Issacson's Time magazine article on this topic (http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1877191,00.html), I have spent a good amount of time thinking about the topic. I think that a pay-per-read system could work if managed better than I expect it would be. I think it would require an agreement among major content providers to use the same micro-payment system, sort of like OpenID. It would have to have zero monthly/basic payment/deposit. And the rate for articles would have to be flat (and low), like 1-5 cents and article. Finally, I think think they would have to only charge your card after you had accumulated some amount of charges (like $5-$10) so you wouldn't have to have money deposited in the account.

Now, the problems. For one, it's hard to take away what people have been used to. Two, there isn't much of a value for "real" news, so most would probably happily find their "journalism" elsewhere. And three, no major reporting service could opt out (in hopes of getting all the viewers who bail on the newspapers that implement this), which would make orchestrating it especially difficult.

Personally, I think newspapers might have to adopt an endowment method. Or a private/public endowment/fund. There also probably has to be more discussion on what "real" journalists can provide that is unique so they can focus on that and spend less money on the "common" news (like who one the Oscars or following the inauguration. There will be little difference between what AP/ NYT/ WP/ WSJ, etc say about those events.)

Social Networks

Journal SPAM: Big Wigs on Twitter 1

Paul Dunny has an extensive set of links to the twitter accounts of C.x.O. level executives. He also gives links to feeds that break down CEO, CMO and CTO/CIO twitter posts. A very nice resource if you are interested in what many top business leaders are saying.

Submission + - Version 0.50 (sourceforge.net)

SF:oxy86 writes: SocNetV is half-way to become stable! This new release brings small world creation, clustering coefficient calculation, PDF exporting, printing and more!

Submission + - talklock: pre_alpha-008 snapshot release (sourceforge.net)

SF:ldso writes: Well, I\'ve done some hacking since the last release in October. But the code is very in-between right now. If you install it it won\'t do much. It\'s more work toward putting all of the pieces together. A power outage took down my home server yesterday, and so I decided that it was a good time to put up a snapshot, rather than risk losing the last few months of hacking. Share and enjoy :)

Feed Science Daily: Marijuana Use Linked To Increased Risk Of Testicular Cancer (sciencedaily.com)

Frequent and/or long-term marijuana use may significantly increase a man's risk of developing the most aggressive type of testicular cancer. Being a marijuana smoker at the time of diagnosis was associated with a 70 percent increased risk of testicular cancer. The risk was particularly elevated (about twice that of those who never smoked marijuana) for those who used marijuana at least weekly and/or who had long-term exposure to the substance, beginning in adolescence.

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