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Comment Snobbery? (Score 1) 149

He praises the lack of "snobbery" about books, and then goes on to declare books to be superior to e-books.

I love books, I have 1400 or so, and I only buy e-books that I don't really care much about (like Microsoft books that will be out of date in 1 year). But that is my preference. I can't make an objective case that books are superior to e-books, and neither can Gaiman.

Comment Re:Reversed in America? (Score 3, Insightful) 758

No, American conservatives are very fearful. They fear terrorists, and demand the government protect them, even if that means loss of rights. They fear criminals, and demand guns to defend themselves, even though statistics clearly show that having a gun in your home puts you at greater risk. They fear gays and Muslims and commies and immigrants and regulations. They're not bad people, they just like life as it is, and are fearful of anything that might cause changes in their current life style.

What I can't disagree with anything you said, it is incomplete. In addition, "liberals" are fearful of personal responsibility and a free market.

Both sides are based on fear of freedom.

Comment Re:How does this account for those who change part (Score 1) 758

This is probably correct. I went from Republican, to Libertarian, to anarchist, over about 8 years. It's not that my views changed all that much (they did change a little), but mostly I just realized that not only were Republicans not the party of freedom, but that there was no party of freedom, or rather, that freedom doesn't come from government. My core desire (to be allowed to act according to my own reason) remained the same.

Comment Only Locally (Score 1) 372

This "niceness" requires physical interaction (the ability to evaluate the person's physiological response, through mirror neurons and such). Most of us are hesitant to shove a gun in someone's face and tell them they can't smoke that joint, or they have to pay someone else's medical bills, or they can't marry that guy. However, we are perfectly happy to send government to do those same things. Just as long as we can't see it. Out of sight, out of mind.

United States

US Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition 630

Hugh Pickens writes "Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist Deborah Blum has an article in Slate about the US government's mostly forgotten policy in the 1920s and 1930s of poisoning industrial alcohols manufactured in the US to scare people into giving up illicit drinking during Prohibition. Known as the 'chemist's war of Prohibition,' the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, killed at least 10,000 people between 1926 and 1933. The story begins with ratification of the 18th Amendment in 1919, which banned sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the US. By the mid-1920s, when the government saw that its 'noble experiment' was in danger of failing, it decided that the problem was that readily available methyl (industrial) alcohol — itself a poison — didn't taste nasty enough. The government put its chemists to work designing ever more unpalatable toxins — adding such chemicals as kerosene, brucine (a plant alkaloid closely related to strychnine), gasoline, benzene, cadmium, iodine, zinc, mercury salts, nicotine, ether, formaldehyde, chloroform, camphor, carbolic acid, quinine, and acetone. In 1926, in New York City, 1,200 were sickened by poisonous alcohol; 400 died. The following year, deaths climbed to 700. These numbers were repeated in cities around the country as public-health officials nationwide joined in the angry clamor to stop the poisoning program. But an official sense of higher purpose kept it in place, while lawmakers opposed to the plan were accused of being in cahoots with criminals and bootleggers. The chief medical examiner of New York City during the 1920s, one of the poisoning program's most outspoken opponents, liked to call it 'our national experiment in extermination.'"

LG Launches Watch Phone In India 109

roh2cool writes "If you are a watch freak and also happen to be a fan of ultra rare (and expensive) gadgets, this might just interest you. The LG GD910 watch phone looks like a normal watch – except for the fact that it can double up as your mobile phone when needed. 'It is quite thin at just 13.9mm and packs in 3G and Video Calling capabilities as well. The phone is quite stylish and the front fascia is covered by scratch-proof tempered glass. It comes with a Bluetooth headset so you don’t have to keep talking like David Hasselhoff talked to his super-car KITT in the “Knight Rider” series.'"
The Almighty Buck

Scientists Develop Financial Turing Test 184

KentuckyFC writes writes to share a new online test that is being touted as the "financial Turing test." The web-based exercise asks users to distinguish between real and randomly generated financial data. "Various economists argue that the efficiency of a market ought to be clearly evident in the returns it produces. They say that the more efficient it is, the more random its returns will be and a perfect market should be completely random. That would appear to give the lie to the widespread belief that humans are unable to tell the difference between financial market returns and, say, a sequence of coin tosses. However, there is good evidence that financial markets are not random (although they do not appear to be predictable either). Now a group of scientists have developed a financial Turing test to find out whether humans can distinguish real financial data from the same data randomly rearranged. Anybody can take the test and the results indicate that humans are actually rather good at this kind of pattern recognition."

Swiss Geologist On Trial For Causing Earthquakes 258

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that Markus Haering's company had been working with the authorities in Basel, Switzerland to try to convert the heat in deep-seated rocks into electricity, but the project was suspended in 2006 when drilling triggered earthquakes, one of them with a magnitude of 3.4, leading Haering's company to pay out $9M in damages. Haering's team planned to drill a series of holes penetrating up to 3 miles (4.8 km) underground with water being pumped onto rocks with a temperature of more than 195C. Basel's location on top of a fault line – the upper Rhine trench – had been deliberately chosen because the heat was closer to the Earth's surface. A risk assessment has since shown that the prospect of further quakes is too high to continue drilling in the city. Haering faces up to five years in prison if the judge finds he intentionally damaged property. Haering has admitted the 3.4 magnitude earthquake was stronger than he had expected and that his team 'had very little knowledge of seismicity' before starting to drill, but called the quakes 'a learning process for everyone involved.' Despite Haering's trial, the Swiss appetite for geothermal projects has not diminished. Engineers are beginning preliminary drilling in Zurich to see whether that area was suitable for a similar scheme, and St. Gallen, in eastern Switzerland, plans to start work on its own geothermal project next year. Drilling efforts are being closely watched in the US, where the energy department is sponsoring more than 120 geothermal energy projects in several states."

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