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Comment I lived in Nicaragua for five years... (Score 4, Insightful) 322

... and there was a broad consensus among both the ex-pats and the Nicaraguans I knew that a canal through Nicaragua would be an unqualified ecological disaster. It would cut a wide swath through the little remaining virgin forest there, not to mention clearing out many of the remaining indigenous communities. They apparently also want to build an airport, an oil pipeline, multiple "free-trade" zones, and a second deep-water port. I can't believe that surfing is considered more important than all this.

Comment I'm not convinced. (Score 3, Interesting) 629

We're hundreds of times smarter than the ancient Greeks and Romans -- and by "smarter," I mean we have vastly greater information available to us. And yet, I'd jump at the chance to go visit them in their time and place. Why? Because I think they were still pretty sharp, given their constraints. They did some pretty impressive stuff. Additionally, human nature makes for interesting drama, regardless of the level of technology. And that would map on reasonably well to any alien civilization capable of interstellar travel and communication with us. In other words, they'd have to have some order to their society, which we could learn in time. They'd likely have some form of metaphysical belief structure, and possibly several competing structures. They have to communicate somehow. They have to have advanced understandings of math and science. These are all things we could learn from them, or at least about them, just as an ancient Roman could learn to use a tablet computer, if they really wanted to. An advanced civilization would know that we are capable of advancing, and that would make us interesting to them.

Comment Re:Moot point (Score 5, Informative) 461

Selective breeding is not genetic modification, even if both take place at the genetic level. Selective breeding effectively makes humans an environmental factor that influences evolution. Genetic modification physically splices genes into cells -- genes that never could have made the leap across species, or even whole kingdoms. No amount of selective breeding is going to give a tomato a gene from a fish.

One is a semi-natural process, and the other is about as far from a natural process as could be imagined. One has been documented for as long as there have been documents, and the other is an experiment being conducted on all of us.

Comment All manner of problems with this. (Score 1) 1121

First, there are two not-entirely-congruent Creation stories, right there in Genesis. Second, creationists are known to be wily about fudging their interpretations of Scripture and data: "Did I say literal days? Well, literal days were different back then." "Oh, sure, there's a fossil record, but that's God testing us." "The mention of 'behemoth' in the Old Testament proves man coexisted with dinosaurs." "Who were Cain and Abel's wives? Uhh... er..." Third, I can't imagine who they would find to arbitrate such a bet.

On the off chance I've missed any, please pick up where I left off...

Comment Yes, a bossless workplace can work. (Score 5, Interesting) 522

There's an entire business model based on operating a business with no boss -- it's called a worker cooperative. As a founder and member of one, and a friend of dozens more, I'm here to say that it works.

The existence of one bossless model makes it easy to believe that others could exist. The presence of an authority figure, or of any kind of hierarchy, is not a requirement for business success. This isn't speculation -- there's proof in black and white.

Comment Re:©anoni©al won't work, they're still F (Score 1) 121

I think that if that were going to happen, it would have by now. Debian would have taken over, or Ubuntu, or Red Hat. But, instead, the success of each has had a ripple effect, as each works to imitate and/or provide alternatives to whatever bells and whistles are working for one of them this week. In other words, the GPL has provided a level playing field for competition, and there's no reason to think it won't continue to do so. The success of any given distro can't be entirely de-linked from the success of "Linux" generally, any more than the success of a particular microbrew can be de-linked from the success of microbrews generally, or a particular e-book from e-books generally, and so on.

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I think there's a world market for about five computers. -- attr. Thomas J. Watson (Chairman of the Board, IBM), 1943