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Comment Re:Phase 2 testing (Score 1) 151

Cool. Now do the same thing 6 more times, without resurfacing.

If he can do it for two months straight around the clock without snapping, my money would be on him doing two years too if he had to/wanted to. Elizabeth Fritzl did 24 years trapped in a cell in the basement, eventually no matter how bad the situation is it eventually just is. Same goes for people with severe disabilities and such, if I ended up in a wheelchair I'd get very depressed right away. But if I live through that first phase I don't see myself saying I've lived a year in a wheelchair but a year and a day is too much. I'd either have found a reason to live - or not - long before that.

Comment Can we just get rid of it? (Score 3, Interesting) 76

The only bias I see is that for some reason, Facebook seems to think I'm in any way interested in celebrity gossip, because that's about all that ever shows up in the "Trending" section for me.

I'm interested in science and technology, but every "trending" topic I seem to see is something about what Britney Spears ate for breakfast, or whose dress Catelyn Jenner wore to the mall, or some other equally banal and useless piece of "news" about some celebrity that I don't give a crap about.

I'm not even exaggerating. My current "trending" topics include:

  • - What's coming up on Netflix next month (US Netflix, that is. I'm Canadian and watch Canadian Netflix, and we don't get the same new movies the US does, so it's even more useless)
  • - "Go topless day"
  • - Some sort of conspiracy theory about Herman Cain and Epi Pens
  • - Some nonsense about whether or not some pastor endorsed Donald Trump or not
  • - Something about some guy I've never heard of who got roasted by Twitter due to his hairstyle
  • - Five reasons to see some movie I've never heard of
  • - The 77th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz
  • - Something about Britney Spears doing karaoke

As you can see, my "trending" doesn't have a Liberal or Conservative slant -- it just has a inanely stupid slant.

"Trending" is the least useful part of Facebook, and personally I wish they'd just get rid of it altogether.


Comment Re: social experiments (Score 1) 315

Really? Because I find that most talking about the three "R's" are actually seeking to minimize public education and thus their financial contribution to it and are usually especially anti-science. Even where this is not the case they want to minimize other forms of math like music and art which nurture the type of creative thinking required for engineering, science, and higher math. Most of their arguments tend to be attempts to disguise their negative anti-team player self serving philosophy into arguments proposing practical schooling. They usually fall pretty flat when someone argues for purely practical schooling that would require more funding than is present now rather than less. Oddly, these people don't argue for cutting physical education and sports which have absolutely no educational benefit.

Comment Re: Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 682

"Indeed. But tell me, exactly how many humans are out there today, competing against other animals with only their bare hands? Making force amplifying tools is such an inherent part of what we do, that your completly unarmed human doesn't exist - at leaast as far as I know."

This seems an odd thing to say in response to "Without technology man would be more of a scavenger than a predator but this is all fantasy because where other creatures evolved other strengths man evolved tool usage and some level of organization." Or is it just that you are fond of beating down strawmen? Misconstruing my statements by ignoring context or their entirity might be an effective way to dupe a third party into thinking you've won an argument but nobody else is listening at this point and there is no value to be gained with rheotoric here.

"You don't produce intelligent beings by using teh reproduction strategy of locusts or coral."

You could actually argue that is exactly how you produce intelligent beings. You could just as easily view us as neuron nests rather than as singular intelligent beings. Sure you need all the components to work together but the same is true of a bee hive or ant colony. We used to think our neurons were more static and the brain was a fixed structure but in reality brain cells die, new ones are born, and just as we pass information from generation to generation they behave in a way that does the same on a smaller scale.

"That's because your assessment is just wrong. You take the ultimate end of living things, and make the process that degernerate them and return their building blocks to nature the alpha predators."

Which part of my brown recluse example is consistent with your argument? There is also validity in my contention that true death occurs when the information the composes the being becomes irretrievable even though my argument for insects and microbes does not depend on it, only the argument for a small subclass of them. Since the idea that clinical death is a moving arbitrary line we continue to push blows your mind I'm willing to set that aside altogether. A tiger lies hidden in the jungle, pounces when you walk by, and starts eating chunks of you or feeds those chunks to its young, it breaks those chunks down into component nutrients and uses them to build new cells. The "returning to nature" bit is really just the waste product in all the cases we've mentioned. A brown recluse does much the same thing. Granted, we mostly survive brown recluse bites but in this case death is beside the point, we are brown recluse food and not the other way around. Therefore they are the alpha predator. They are just one example.

"an actual predator must be reclassified as something else, because predators do not gain their nutrients that way"

A predator is really just a being that uses the body of another being as it's food source. HIV does this very effectively and is one of the top 10 causes of death. It would seem that we aren't particularly alpha relative to HIV as a predator either. Remind me again, what is the utility of the current definition of predator other than to draw a useless distinction between some lifeforms that consume the bodies of other lifeforms and others? The problem with isolating micro and macro scales is that the model is not uniform. The macro scale classifications were drawn before we knew much about the micro scale and understood that macro things are actually nothing more than the interactions of much simpler components. As we learn more and more about the pieces that actually make a lifeform tick the macro definitions become more and more abitrary rather than based on relevant pieces of information.

Super predator vs apex predator, it's most a distinction that is only useful for young boys arguing whose favorite beast is cooler. These things only serve to throw up mental obstacles to useful classification that draws equivalence to all lifeforms and looks at the various things they consume for nutrients as simple data points useful for building a balanced system or finding the imbalance in one. It leads us to draw false conclusions like that some lifeforms are more benign than others when all lifeforms consume coldly and greedily so they might live.

Comment Re:social experiments (Score 2) 315

Your reading, writing, and math list is pretty dated unless you are talking about the lower portion of grade school. A purely practical program needs to include science, engineering, and computer programming. Without those things a school curriculum would be pretty useless today. About the only thing you'd be qualified for would be pumping gas or management.

Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 682

I'll respond to myself to clarify. A lot of people are arguing the merits the specific examples I choose. I think maybe the timelines, 50's vs now are too long for people to relate to. My point boils down to this, if the real cost of goods has dropped to 1/5th of what it was at a given point, being able to afford 4 of them now might mean a better quality of life but still means you are worse off economically vs those who could afford one before that reduction in costs because you'd need to be able to afford 5 and not 4 to be equally well off economically. For the purpose of determining how we are doing economically it doesn't matter if the things have more bells and whistles, it doesn't matter that people who couldn't afford one before can afford one now, etc. All those things just mean technology has progressed and improved the quality of life for those worse off economically, it doesn't mean they have more raw purchasing power.

Let me take it closer. In the late 80's and early 90's my parents were pizza hut store managers, my father the actual manager and my mother head assistant manager. We had a large 50-60" tv (massive thing) that cost $6k+, we had exotic birds and lizards that cost at least $10k, we had a tanning bed that cost $5k+, we had a telescope that cost about $3k, and a computer that cost $5k+, not to mention thousands of dollars for water beds, funiture, jewelry, the latest games and consoles as they came out, over 2000 movies, etc and two new cars. We could and did get any dental, vision, medical work we needed without substantial issue. My parents were shipped around a lot so we never owned the home but owning is cheaper than renting and they had no issues with credit so they could have afforded to own if it had made sense for them.

Do you think pizza hut managers at the store level could afford that today? No, no they couldn't. I've knew a store manager about 7 years ago who went at least a year with a plastic bag taped over the window of his beater because he couldn't afford to have it fixed. You couldn't afford these goods on that kind of salary today even if the numbers all matched because those goods die and have to replaced every few years, it isn't the cost of the goods, it's the burn rate required to maintain it. You'd need an income of double what my parents made to maintain an equivalent lifestyle today.

Consider the computer for a moment. A modern desktop computer is far more powerful of course and far cheaper. A modern replacement might be as little as $400. So you could buy 12 of them for what our computer cost. Do you think a chain restaurant manager can afford to have and maintain 12 reasonably current computers today? The only way they are even going to come close is if they maintain a high end gaming system and that is all they spend their money on like a mmo addict and even then they aren't going to be able to keep that up forever. We basically just used the thing to keep a list of our movies and track some finances. Someone touched it maybe once a month to update those things.

Comment Re: Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 682

"Having used a heavy old push mower I can assure that whilst on small areas it is no slower than an electric it's much more effort and so on large areas, especially in hot weather, it takes longer."

I should have stated mechanical push mowers but I think your comments are based on that. I would agree that it is more effort and I won't comment on over 60 because I'm not there yet but I think despite being "harder" if you check the clock it still takes roughly the same amount of time relative to modern electric and gas push mowers. Larger commercial mowers and rider mowers are a whole different story as they are a different class of solution that isn't suitable on normal size lawns and are the right answer for large lawns. That said there are certainly lawns that fall inbetween.

I tried to give an example of what a mechanical push mower might look like if we applied modern engineering. The blades would be incredibly sharp and strong and we could engineer them to have flexible joints so they tend to deflect rather than break or chip. The whole thing would actually be too light for the job even built with the same durability and just like you need some weight on a safety razor or to keep a ship upright you'd need some mass strategically added. Since you have to do that anyway you can use a carbon fiber flywheel to be that weight. Modern carbon fiber flywheels can retain energy for years. In the same manner that electric cars use breaking to charge the batteries every time you stop or hit a snag or change direction the momentum can be absorbed by the flywheel and then released to make the pushing easier. You could even design them to charge the flywheel on breaking and steep enough downgrades only engage the flywheel when going uphill. Since a flywheel stores mechanical rotary energy it would actually be far more efficient in this application than the applications most people are looking to use them for where electrical energy is converted to mechancial and back again. This mower would require dramatically less effort to use than the old mechanical push mowers while having the same reliability. Using dry lubricants means the thing wouldn't clog up with in the same way the old ones did with all that oil and that grime also added quite a bit of resistance you had to overcome.

My underlying point wasn't really about the merits of the mower though. My point was that we've progressively moved toward cheaper goods, whether you think that is good or bad, and we've been so successful that having more goods today doesn't mean we are economically better off than those with fewer goods yesterday. The raw steel and hours of human life that go into producing those goods are the bottom line of your spending power, if a factory worker (just picking it because it's roughly the same effort and skill level today as in the 50's) can't purchase goods that amount to the same number of raw resources and labor hours as he could then, he actually isn't as well off economically because his purchasing power has been reduced.

Comment Re:Getting There (Score 1) 379

I have two optical media readers in my world.

#1- computer at work has a reader. I don't know if it works, I've never used is 3 years old.

#2- my Xbox 360 has a reader. About 4 years ago one of my kids broke it, and it has caused me zero inconvenience since then. Occasionally I will get new games, but it is always a download.

The last time I thought about optical media was when my mom came to visit. She wanted to show me some pictures, or a movie, or something and she held up a DVD like it was a prize. "Where is your DVD player?" I was very happy to tell her that I didn't have one.

DVDs had a very short lifespan in my world. Probably the shortest of all media, other than those small Sony...Minidiscs? I had one of those players that I thought was awesome, for like two months.

Comment Re: Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 682

"I consider them as alpha predators, just as I wrote, an opinion shared by many. If you domake a distinction between super predators and alpha predators, it is usually based on whether you define it as what a human does without the technology, we have developed, or with it."

Without technology we are actually pretty low on the food chain altogether. That would mean no rocks, pointy sticks, or traps. There are numerous predators in every climate on Earth that could kill us in that case. For that matter most large prey creatures could. We aren't particularly strong, we have no claws, and no teeth. We don't even reproduce quickly enough to have the advantage of being disposable individually and numbers. Without tool usage and organization aka technology the only advantage we really have is that in almost every other species being our size would indicate something far stronger than we are so predators would be inclined to go after what they think would be easier prey but I think that advantage would quickly disappear as predators discovered how weak and easy prey we are (without tools). Further we aren't fast enough or strong enough to catch much in the way of prey. Without technology man would be more of a scavenger than a predator but this is all fantasy because where other creatures evolved other strengths man evolved tool usage and some level of organization.

For the rest. Has it ever occurred to you that I am not ignorant and that I simply disagree with the common assessment and find it to be ignorant and dated? That your definition of death may simply be a bit unimaginative in my assessment? This concept is old, it views the world on a very macro scale and further arrogantly assumes that macro is more important than micro simply because we've largely dominated macro. Who are we to assume that being beneath (too small for) somethings notice makes one less significant than being above (too large for) somethings notice? Eating is nothing more than breaking down the components of a thing and if a thing is not broken down that thing is not truely dead as it may well be possible to revive it... at least it likely would be without the organisms you assess as being at the bottom of the food chain eating them first. To say they are not killing those creatures, including humans, is akin to saying you aren't killing if you take the life of someone who is unconcious or could survive with medical attention. These organisms are doing just that and it is they who deal the true death blow and they do it to eat which is predatory.

More so, you are ignoring the fact that many microbes and insects are in fact lethal even by common and unimaginative definitions of death. Often killing the host, consuming it in various ways in order to use its resources to multiply and reproduce. We use concerted efforts to take down some prey in addition to technology, you can't count that and fail to count the collective activity of a collection of smaller organisms which work as a community to kill and eat. Man has definitely failed to dominate on the insect scale let alone the microscopic scale. If you disagree then you won't have a problem with me taking some time to get a brown recluse colony well established in the walls of your home. Perhaps you'll be suprised when the exterminators only have a small chance of getting them out and you are forced to flee or die, especially when the females go looking for a warm host to plant their next crop of offspring in but I won't be surprised.

Comment Re:How does that work? (Score 1) 106

"Most other countries don't have a constitution that has as many explicit clauses as the US one, and some, such as England, don't even have one. So a constitution per se is not inherently more legally binding than anything else simply because its a constitution."

Other countries have little bearing on the legal system of the United States. In the United States the people fought a rebellion to take power, that power is reserved to the people, a small grant of power was given by the people to establish a central government via the Constititution and to grant the power that state governments derive from (although only in a very token sense because colony/state representatives were the actual authors more so than the people they were supposed to represent). It is the founding document and only source of legal authority for the central government. The only exception is within the judicial where a framework was needed for interpreting law and for this the previously English population turned to "common law" largely based on the magna carta.

The system has been heavily corrupted and the central government does many things beyond the scope of Constitutional authority, many of them with the blessing of blatantly incorrect rulings by the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court can still toss these things out on the basis that they are not within Constitutional authority because that IS the highest law in this country. As for the teeth behind it, there is more than just civil uprising, the military of this nation is sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution.

Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 682

"The definition of a hero or a saint is someone who sacrifices themselves for the greater good. History is full of these people."

The definition of a hero or a saint is someone who sacrifices themselves because they think it is their best chance for lasting personal glory (self interest), to benefit their children in some way (self interest), due to a foolish belief it will benefit them in the more important after death end game (self interest), or due to plain old mental illness (strange incomprehendable self interest).

Comment Re:Pierson's Puppeteers (Score 1) 682

True but that wasn't really what I was getting at. To be equivalent economically a factory worker would need to be able to buy as many man hours and raw resources worth of "stuff" as the 50's/60's counterpart. They can't. The stuff has simply gotten cheaper, due technological advancement, efficiency, and lowering quality standards. So while that worker likely has more stuff today, it doesn't represent as much labor/raw materials and therefore that worker actually has less purchasing power.

Also, the goods we purchase today are not domestic. Each time you pay $20 for $0.20 worth of disposable razor cartridges you are donating $19.80 to improving the living conditions in China while subtracting $19.80 from the living conditions in the US. The rich in the US are likely taking $15 of it, and the rich in China are probably taking 80% of the rest, that is the screwing the poor part but we'd still be screwing the poor in much the same ways if it were all domestic. Every bit of economic power that China gains comes at the expense of US economic power.

But who knows, maybe I'm the short term thinker. In a few hundred years between our completely unutilized mines and our landfills stuffed with foreign raw resources maybe we'll be the most resource rich nation in the world.

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