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Comment People don't *want* a universal solution (Score 1) 456

It's like saying it makes no sense to have a house way across town when you could rent a living space at your work. People don't want to live at work. They want natural barriers between the different aspects of their life and the groups of people associated with them.

For those who keep active Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter accounts, etc., one of those will be how they casually chat with close friends, one will be how they keep in touch with family and work friends, one will be where they flirt, one will be where they post about their political concerns, etc. Having distinct non-interoperable services suits them just fine.

Comment Re:Bohr Model (Score 1) 57

The Bohr model does have its usefulness, and I am certainly with you that those of us in the sciences need a lot more humility in how we approach the general public with what we think they should know and care about.

But it is also overextended and the cause of a great deal of frustration for people who want to genuinely understand the bizarre quantum phenomenally we nerds keep excitedly touting, but instead find out that they have hinged their understanding on a lie that is nearly useless outside the narrow scope of things like spectroscopy.

IMHO if we want to invite the layfolk in to the quantum domain we really need to emphasize teaching people about waves more. QM is much more intuitive as a topic of wave phenomena. (Plus, the wave picture will serve to understand classical optics, E&M, acoustics, etc.)

Teaching people QM without the wave part is like trying to each people economics without the calculus part. In theory it is "simpler" but ask just about any student who has learned about integration and they will say that they find the explanations invoking calculus much more comprehensible.

Comment "heavy costs of cloud video storage" (Score 2) 167

A 256 GB micro SD card weights 0.4g, is less than 2cm in width, and costs around $40. I have 1080p movies on my computer that are about 1 hr/GB. So I'm quite sure that one of these body cam devices could record a couple weeks of continuous footage and probably much, much more. That's plenty of time for legal action to initiate and the data to be uploaded if there is any debate over what has happened during an arrest. Privacy is not an issue if the data is stored encrypted. You just require that a judge has to sign off on it before the decryption key can be accessed by anyone (including the cop).

Comment Re:Um... they haven't really done any of that (Score 1) 1069

We don't need federalism. The federal gov't were the ones that put a stop to the farce that was "Separate but Equal". They broke up the Trusts. They enabled the Unions that created the middle class. They bring in real and effective disaster relief and keep our shipping ports open.

The judicial body which struck down "seperate but equal" is the same one that made the Dred Scott decision. The federal government has committed Indian genocide. They've locked up Japanese in internment camps. They built Gitmo and secret offshore prisons. They've pushed No Child Left Behind, the drug war, Mccarthyism and any number of other bad policies.

Where the federal government has been successful is in implementing at a national level policies which have been proven effective and desirable in an increasing number of states. If you're only going to look at the tipping point then it's easy to blame the states which are still holding out as the enemies of progress. But what you're forgetting is that under a single national government the more progressive states would also have been prevented from being progressive up unto that point. Vermont ended slavery in 1777, and the other northern states by 1804. It would been an awful long time before there were any free blacks in the United States if it had to wait for nation-wide concurrence.

Look at Flint, Mi's Water supply (that Gov Snyder is still fighter the cleanup of) and the complete breakdown in Democracy it represented.

You're going cite one of the fifty states having a major problem as proof against federalism? So how many of the 43 presidents behaving badly do I need to cite in response? How does the Flint debacle compare with the EPA spill in Colorado?

Any government is prone to good and bad, whether at the state or national level. The advantage of a federalist system is compartmentalizing the bad while allowing the good to gradually increase its purchase. For that matter, if we had not been conferring so much power on the national government in recent years, the prospect of putting Trump in charge of it would be far less ominous.

Comment Re:Electoral college does reflect the popular vote (Score 4, Insightful) 1430

There's no reason that amount of total area won should mean anything at all. Moreover, there's no reason you can reasonably object to cities dominating simply because they happen to be dense areas. Disagreeing with a group doesn't mean you get to use essentially arbitrary criteria to decide you'd like to ignore their wishes.

Social and political interests tend to have a heavy coincidence with geography. If you are on the coasts you care way more about the fishing industry than people in the heartland. If you are in a desert you care more about water conservation. If you are near oil and natural gas your livelihood or the livelihood of your neighbors probably depends on the energy industry. By virtue of being in a population dense area, you automatically have a powerful voting block on various area specific issues. What's more, the people in other areas are not your neighbors, you have much less incentive to protect their interests, and are much less likely to hear their anger and complaints when you don't. By and large people from Wisconsin are not going to be able to come and protest march down the streets of LA if California -- 8 x the population of Wisconsin -- decides corn should be taxed to subsidize making action movies.

The electoral college helps protect various minority populations from being exploited by a tyrannous majority. And that is the main point of our republic, why it is based on constitutional rights, competing branches of government (one of which is not voted on), an electoral college, etc., and super majorities are required to enact any substantial changes. Our government is not a mechanism for enacting the will of the 51% (or even the 60%) on every issue, it is built as a balance of interests which makes the government accountable to the people while also making it fairly difficult for any one group of people to use the government as a cudgel against another group.

Comment Re:It's the transition team, people. (Score 5, Informative) 820

mandate that families hold funerals for miscarried or aborted fetuses

This was so crazy that I had to look it up. Turns out "hold a funeral" is "dispose of remains properly" -- the bill required that fetal remains be either interred or incinerated. Generally speaking that would be the responsibility of the healthcare facility in custody of the remains.

Tell me straight, is "require families to hold a funeral" truly the most accurate and reasonable way you could come up with to indicate the nature of the bill, or is it a purposeful deception?

Comment Re: Legal? (Score 2) 285

Surely it is very clearly marked "will release noxious gas if cut" and is therefore not a boobytrap? As far as I'm aware you can, e.g., electrify a fence, you just have to put up appropriate signage. It is cheaper and more effective to deter thieves from trying the lock in the first place than to actually release the gas.

Comment Re:Stupid (Score 1) 1042

That depends on how the simulation is implemented. If it's implemented as an electrical current that requires a constant voltage, then sure, you can flip an off switch and at the speed of light it will blink out of existence. But if you were simulating a town by 3D printing it, that would have persistence, and certainly the little towns people, if they were animated, could walk outside the bounds on their village and continue to exist and interact with things outside the simulation.

Since we have no idea what the governing physics might be of the "next level" there is no reason to suppose one or the other. Honestly, what guarantee do we have that our meat-based calculation organs are even physically capable of contemplating its properties?

Comment Re:"it was used for children's writing exercises" (Score 1) 235

The quantity of self-described religious adherents who don't go to church, don't pray, and don't think much about the afterlife (until the due date visibly approaches) is frankly quite large. Belief != fervor. And, proportionally, there's quite a few places dedicated to bringing atheists together and promulgating their beliefs (tax exempt by the way).

As humans, we seek explanations, stake our identity in our beliefs, and pursue fellowship with those who share them. I know of at least one secular group in my city that explicitly claims to be a church ("The Church of Beethoven"). There are definitely distinctions between believing in historically established religion and believing in some form of modern secularism. But atheists like to phrase it as "We don't have any of the pitfalls of religion because we don't have religion" and it sounds an awful lot like monotheists claiming they don't have any of the pitfalls of being pagan.

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