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Comment Re:Illegal to experiment without a licenes (Score 2) 294

I can only speak for my experience in the UK... Animal experiments require a home office licence to comply with various parts on animal welfare regulation. Chemistry and physics experiments do not (as far as I'm aware, as a university researcher) require any licencing. But on a more practical level, chemical companies such as Sigma-Aldrich or Alfa-Aesar would be very reluctant to ship to a non university/company address, and I have had to sign declarations for certain specific chemicals promising not to synthesize drugs with them. Interestingly one of the most annoying things to deal with is buying ethanol, due to stupid customs and excise rules.

Comment Re:Just the UK? (Score 1) 161

Most (all?) countries now seem to have big problems with corruption, terrorism hysteria and growing state power. You only hear about the US and UK most on slashdot because the site is US based so it has every US story. It has UK stories to make them feel less bad about their own issues. It seems especially bad in the UK because slashdot reports any suggestion by a police chief, MP, or tabloid news paper as incontrvertable fact when its frequently just a suggestion.

Comment Re:A big deal (Score 2, Informative) 161

I think your view of history might be a little over simplified. The american revolution wasn't like hollywood, it was essentially one group of mainly british and irish people fighting another group of british and irish people. The colonists were fighting for their rights as englishmen, and many people in the british isles supported them in their struggle, at least until they invaded canada.

Parts of the empire that were settled by colonists (New Zealand, Austrailia, Canada) were gradually encouraged to become more and more independent by britain. Developed areas gradually conquered by the british such as india and egypt (or more accurately, by indians with a few british and irish commanders) were exploited and post war nationalist movements got them to leave. Undeveloped unsettled areas such as the afican colonies britain was eager to get rid of in the 1960's as they spent far more money developing infrastructure than they ever extracted. Most of the colonial wars they fought they won (Malaysia, Kenya) but they didn't want to hold on to the colony, they usually just wanted to stop it being communist after they left. Ireland was partitioned after a successful war of indenpendence after WWI as it was effectively half settled (North Ireland) and half exploited.

Comment Re:Turn the tables (Score 1) 1364

Lets skip the bullshit shall we?

If you were interested in skipping the "bullshit", you would stick to the topic instead of trying to equivocate my position to that of southern slave owners. How is that not attacking the person?

Marriage is not a right -- and certainly not like freedom or liberty. I think it's silly to make it a right, treat it like a right and get all upset when it's "revoked". I'd rather see business of marriage out of the hands of government entirely and solely a religious practice. Let governments issue civil domestic partnership contracts universally.

Comment Re:From what I've discovered... (Score 1) 579

So ask them politely to repeat the question and\or clarify what they mean, correcting people only annoys them. I used to do it a lot myself, it's only since I changed careers and had to force myself to stop did I realise how much of a prick I was being. Now I'm in a job that where if I correct some one, no matter how stupid the question I raise their hackles and can't help them.

Correcting someone is not being a prick. Correcting someone to subtly make them feel smaller under the _guise_ of helpfulness, or to score points while changing the subject, is being a prick. People often try to establish their value by comparison, which leads to a vested interest in seeing others brought down, since that's easier than the hastle of achieving admirable qualities, and achieving admirable qualities doesn't necessarily lead to people admiring you.

Nobody likes a person who takes shots at others, including the person doing it. Since we're surrounded by such people all the time that can make us extremely touchy toward interpreting things as put-downs. But you know if you are really being a prick or not. If you tell yourself "I'm just trying to be helpful" ask yourself if that's really how you feel about it, or whether, deep down, you were being an ass. You'll know.

Comment Re:Experience from academia (Score 1) 1259

Just as government contractors and consultants view federal government funds as a never-ending supply of money, colleges view it in a very similar way.

They are right; it is a never-ending supply of money in a perverse sort of way. It is important to remember that money is not the same thing as wealth or at least not when we are talking about the sort of paper fiat currency that passes for money just about everywhere these days. In principle, the Federal Government can create as much money as it wishes to by selling US Treasury bills (more paper) to eager buyers. Usually these T-bills are bought by foreign governments and private individuals both here in the US and abroad, but they can also be bought by the Federal Reserve as reserves to loan against (effectively creating money out of thin air...poof). At least in theory all of this is backed by the "the full faith and credit of the United States government" to pay you with...more paper. If at any point enough people decide that this system isn't working for them or isn't a good proxy for commodity exchange or barter then all of the paper becomes worthless (and we are heading in that direction rapidly with our record Federal deficits). Granted, this is a rather rough explanation of what is happening but surely we can all see the appeal of being the "first" to spend new money created by the Federal Government in the form of student loans before that money works its way through the economy and the inevitable inflation begins.

Comment burning cars (Score 1) 419

For the 20 years of my life in the US, I have never seen a car burning on the side of the road.

I've seen a car catch fire after an accident. I also knew someone who burned to death after the car she was in caught on fire, she was wearing her seat belt which became jambed. For this very reason I hate mandatory seatbelt laws, if there's the possibility someone will burn to death they should have the choice as to whether or not they will wear a seatbelt. The only thing worse than burning to death is surviving having your body burned.


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Artificial intelligence has the same relation to intelligence as artificial flowers have to flowers. -- David Parnas