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Comment Compromises (Score 1) 1081

Our constitution was created as a series of compromises without which there would never have been a United States. Chief among these was the Connecticut Compromise – one that blended the Virginia Plan (a legislature determined by population) with a Senate where representation would be equal for each state (2 senators per state). The smaller states – Connecticut and Rhode Island – would not have joined the United States without it, because they felt that the Virginia Plan would mean that the larger states (New York and Virginia) would have all the control. This principle is also embodied in the Electoral College – a popular vote for President and Vice President was proposed and discussed, but the Electoral College was adopted to remove a difficulty with the South (that of slavery) and a difficulty of the smaller states (the fear that the larger states would effectively always elect the President). In James Madison’s Federalist Papers (No 39) he explained that the Constitution was designed to be a mixture of State-based and population-based government. Yes, the U.S. system is unique, but so was the problem of States rights – without a solution to that problem there would never have been a United States in the first place. So the question is, should the Presidential election always be decided by small pockets of highly populated places (i.e. the cities), and thus ignore the sentiment of the rural areas of the country? Or does the electoral college create that balance that our founding fathers actually intended it to have, created a situation where there is greater chance for everyone’s voice to be heard? It’s always easy to say it’s wrong when it’s your desire that is ignored, but it’s only happened 5 times out of 56 so what do we really gain by removing this aspect of the original compromise?

Comment All the food we eat (Score 1) 758

All food that is produced by humans through agriculture and farming has been genetically modified in some way, even though much of it happened in ancient times. Corn would cease to exist without humans. Almonds would all be poisonous. Cattle would not be docile. Wheat would scatter it's seeds before we could collect them. Man has been genetically modifying its food for thousands of years - even if we didn't always understand that's what we were doing. We actually understand the consequences of what we are doing far better than we ever did - because we are doing it consciously with science. This is what he discovered.

Comment Right to privacy? (Score 1) 195

It surprises me that no one has pointed out that in the U.S. at least, there is no explicit right to privacy. You only have to pick up a copy of the Constitution - it's not a very long document (even with the amendments) - and no where does it mention any right to privacy. What legal scholars say about this is that the right to privacy is *implied* in the Constitution by the nature of the rights enumerated there - for example, the right to be free from most search and seizure implies there is a right to privacy in the home. But there is no explicit right to privacy. The *implied* right was the basis for the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in the U.S. (simplified, a woman's implied right to privacy gives her the right to terminate a pregnancy). This is not to say that there isn't an assault on privacy, but understanding the right is the first step to combating those trying to take it away.

Comment Maybe it's not only politics (Score 1) 538

All too often IT organizations spend all their effort telling the business managers what they cannot do rather than what they can - so getting a new project off the ground with in house resources becomes increasingly frustration. "We do not have enough resources to support that...", "Your project doesn't confirm to our standards...", "We'll 'agree' to support it as long as you make these changes...". Contrast this with a cloud provider that actually wants your business. True they may not be truthful about what they provide and you very well may be better off in house, but a new project in house can be very hard to start. IT managers who are flexible and 'influence' rather than 'dictate' are worth their weight...

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."

Supermassive Black Hole Is Thrown Out of Galaxy 167

DarkKnightRadick writes "An undergrad student at the University of Utrecht, Marianne Heida, has found evidence of a supermassive black hole being tossed out of its galaxy. According to the article, the black hole — which has a mass equivalent to one billion suns — is possibly the culmination of two galaxies merging (or colliding, depending on how you like to look at it) and their black holes merging, creating one supermassive beast. The black hole was found using the Chandra Source Catalog (from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory). The direction of the expulsion is also possibly indicative of the direction of rotation of the two black holes as they circled each other before merging."

Handling Money Brings Pain Relief 103

Psychologists at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management have found that handling money can alleviate both physical and emotional pain. In one experiment, test subjects were found to feel less pain when their hands were dipped into scalding water after counting money. Lead author Kathleen Vohs said, "When people are reminded of money in a subtle manner by counting out hard currency, they experience painful situations as being not very painful. You could think about being able to charge yourself up before you encounter pain. When I used to run marathons, I would've maybe wanted to be reminded of money first."

Why the First Cowboy To Draw Always Gets Shot 398

cremeglace writes "Have you ever noticed that the first cowboy to draw his gun in a Hollywood Western is invariably the one to get shot? Nobel-winning physicist Niels Bohr did, once arranging mock duels to test the validity of this cinematic curiosity. Researchers have now confirmed that people indeed move faster if they are reacting, rather than acting first."

Astronomers Discover the Coolest Known Sub-Stellar Body 60

Hugh Pickens writes "Science Daily reports that using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii, astronomers have discovered what may be the coolest sub-stellar body ever found outside our own solar system. Too small to be stars and with insufficient mass to maintain hydrogen-burning nuclear fusion reactions in their cores, 'brown dwarfs' have masses smaller than stars but larger than gas giant planets like Jupiter, with an upper limit in between 75 and 80 Jupiter masses. 'This looks like the fourth time in three years that the UKIRT has made a record breaking discovery of the coolest known brown dwarf, with an estimated temperature not far above 200 degrees Celsius,' says Dr. Philip Lucas at the University of Hertfordshire. Due to their low temperature these objects are very faint in visible light, and are detected by their glow at infrared wavelengths. The object known as SDSS1416+13B is in a wide orbit around a somewhat brighter and warmer brown dwarf, SDSS1416+13A, and the pair is located between 15 and 50 light years from the solar system, which is quite close in astronomical terms."

US Grants Home Schooling German Family Political Asylum 1324

A US judge has granted political asylum to a family who said they fled Germany to avoid persecution for home schooling their children. Uwe Romeike and his wife, Hannelore, moved to Tennessee after German authorities fined them for keeping their children out of school and sent police to escort them to classes. Mike Connelly, attorney for the Home School Legal Defence Association, argued the case. He says, "Home schoolers in Germany are a particular social group, which is one of the protected grounds under the asylum law. This judge looked at the evidence, he heard their testimony, and he felt that the way Germany is treating home schoolers is wrong. The rights being violated here are basic human rights."

Comment call me crazy, but... (Score 1) 244

When you get an opportunity to publicize it, try telling us what it does! Seems like that would be the best first step. FOSS is Darwin - you have to be confident that you are solving a problem, or at least solving it better than its been solved before. If you have, you'll be able tto defend against the inevitable cynicism.

Dinosaur Feather Color Discovered 219

anzha writes "Do you remember being a kid and told we'd never know what colors the dinosaurs were? For at least some, that's no longer true. Scientists working in the UK and China have closely examined the fossils of multiple theropods and actually found the colors and patterns that were present in the fossilized proto-feathers. So far, the answer is orange, black and white in banded and other patterns. The work also thoroughly thrashes the idea that fossils might not be feathers, but collagen fibers instead. If this holds up, Birds Are Dinosaurs. Period. And colorful!"

Political Affiliation Can Be Differentiated By Appearance 262

quaith writes "It's not the way they dress, but the appearance of their face. A study published in PLoS One by Nicholas O. Rule and Nalini Ambady of Tufts University used closely cropped greyscale photos of people's faces, standardized for size. Undergrads were asked to categorize each person as either a Democrat or Republican. In the first study, students were able to differentiate Republican from Democrat senate candidates. In the second, students were able to differentiate the political affiliation of other college students. Accuracy in both studies was about 60% — not perfect, but way better than chance."

Tower Switch-Off Embarrasses Electrosensitives 292

Sockatume writes "Residents in Craigavon, South Africa complained of '[h]eadaches, nausea, tinnitus, dry burning itchy skins, gastric imbalances and totally disrupted sleep patterns' after an iBurst communications tower was put up in a local park. Symptoms subsided when the residents left the area, often to stay with family and thus evade their suffering. At a public meeting with the afflicted locals, the tower's owners pledged to switch off the mast immediately to assess whether it was responsible for their ailments. One problem: the mast had already been switched off for six weeks. Lawyers representing the locals say their case against iBurst will continue on other grounds."

Man Uses Drake Equation To Explain Girlfriend Woes 538

artemis67 writes "A man studying in London has taken a mathematical equation that predicts the possibility of alien life in the universe to explain why he can't find a girlfriend. Peter Backus, a native of Seattle and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, in his paper, 'Why I don't have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK,' used math to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK. In describing the paper on the university Web site he wrote 'the results are not encouraging. The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy.'"

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