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Comment Re:Great. Why not six years ago? (Score 1) 174

Can't do it all in a month; who'd a thunk it?

He was able to take 3 vacations and golf six times in a month, and nobody thought that was possible. Considering passing and signing legislation is their one fucking job, you'd think they'd be able to fit a single bill outlawing warrantless wiretaps into their busy schedule. But wait, Congress is on recess, meeting with their "constituents" (donors).

Comment Re:The kids are alright (Score 1) 123

Everyone is impressive when they are unburdened (or unaware) of regulations, red tape, laws, administrative paperwork, and a host of other headaches. And have the blessing of time, no domestic obligations, and a supportive 'go for it' environment & friends. And I am appreciative of this invention.

Oh, fuck off. Do you have any idea how many technological and scientific advancements were made over the past few decades, when we were told there was, "too much regulation"?

Comment Re:Bullshit isn't the same as "lie". (Score 1) 371

You have not described a "phenomenon", you made a false claim. Instead of admitting you are wrong, and caught in the act, you attempt to play word games. Cowardice at it's finest.

So you are saying that people only ever use language to establish stable beliefs in propositions, and that they never say anything purely to achieve emotional effect?

As for cowardice, well if it makes you feel less insecure I suppose there's nothing I can do about it. But it's bullshit -- in the epistemic sense of the word -- and it reflects on you more than me.

Comment Endocrine hacking has a long history. (Score 2) 128

A long history of not working particularly well. And testosterone hacking is the grand-daddy of them all. You know all those steampunk-y horror stories about rich Victorian eccentrics who go mad because they implanted monkey testicles into themselves in a bid to achieve eternal youth? People actually did that.

There's a thin line... or rather let's say a fork in the road between pseudoscience and science. I think they both start in the same, non-scientific place. And that place is a kind of magical thinking. It's what happens after the initial inspiration that makes the difference between science and pseudoscience.

Testosterone is higher in men than women, an in particular higher in young men, and higher in men who achieve social dominance. It also rises after sexual intercourse. So by magical thinking testosterone must be the "manliness" hormone; it makes you young, vigorous, dominant and sexually potent.

There's nothing wrong with that as a starting point, but in the long history of testosterone hacking it hasn't worked out, except for gaining muscle mass in conjunction with resistance training. Sure if you treat men with a testosterone blocker they'll eventually lose interest in sex, men generally have less sex as they get older, and at the same time their testosterone levels decrease. So it's natural to jump to the conclusion of a chain of causality: worn out old glands put out less testosterone, and that causes a reduction in interest in sex. But if you actually test that hypothesis, it doesn't work out: individuals with least decline in testosterone levels actually have less sex than their normal counterparts. The normal decline isn't large enough to produce on its own any measurable effect in interest in sex. So if your interest in sex is dropping as you get older, look elsewhere for the cause.

This is the danger of calling testosterone "the male sex hormone", as if God had a punch list of features He wanted and implemented each feature with a single steroid compound that works in isolation from everything else. Yes, testosterone is involved in masculinization of adolescents, but it's not as simple as the more testosterone you are, the more male you are. The endocrine system is complex and dynamic, responding to internal and external changes -- including aging. Both men and women have and need testosterone and estrogen, in ways we don't fully understand yet.

If you want to get the most out of your life, eat a variety of real food in moderation, exercise, sleep, and in general alternate stress with rest. The ancient Greeks could have told you that, and in thousands of years we have not been able yet to improve on that as far as lifestyle advice is concerned. Go to your doctor if you're sick or injured, or even for a testosterone treatement if you have abnormally low testosterone for your age. But don't go to the doctor for a magic pill that will make you youthful, manly, sexy and dynamic. All that's up to you.

Comment Isn't this kind of obvious? (Score 1) 423

Sure catastrophe is great for establishing equality. It's also great for establishing dictatorship, or oligarchy.

Consider Japan. Japan is a major industrial power with no energy resources (other than renewables) of its own, so it got 30% of its energy from nuclear power, and it was on its way to making that 40%. Then there was the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe and now nuclear is essentially dead in Japan.

Is that good? Bad? Either way the indisputable thing is that Fukushima made a difference. Catastrophe is practically the only thing that makes people undertake drastic change; absent disaster people will simply tweak things until they seem to more or less work.

Comment Re:Yup (Score 1) 423

The position where slaves didn't count towards representation was just as good a default, which makes 3/5 looks like a compromise to me. Which wouldn't be surprising; the framers had a real knack for that.

Note also because of the limited, means-tested franchise in many states, the higher property ownership disparity in slave states (because of the plantation economy) concentrated enormously disproportionate power in the hands of planters.

Democracy in the early US wouldn't look very familiar. In 1824 just 4% of all Americans voted.

Comment Re:Rose tinted glasses (Score 3, Interesting) 423

Another thing you had was a huge body of men who'd been through a massive, life-changing experience together. One that took immense risk and sacrifice but ultimately ended in victory (at least for us Americans).

If you believe that people are capable at all of learning from experience, they must have brought something away from that.

Comment The kids are alright (Score 3, Funny) 123

Young people today are impressive. When I was a senior in college, I was turning milk bottles into bongs.

They were sweet bongs, though.

When I got to grad school, that all changed because I was suddenly surrounded by people smarter than me and I had to actually work. But those first seven years of college were a lot of fun.

Comment Re:Bullshit isn't the same as "lie". (Score 1) 371

Well, you are ignoring polysemy here; yes "bullshit" can refer to tall tales like your drinking fifty gallons of beer. However there are other senses of the word, including topics of serious inquiry in the field of epistemics.

I refer you to Professor H.G. Frankfurt's seminal work, On Bullshit (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-691-12294-6.) for more information.

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