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Comment This is why we use rem, not rad. (Score 1) 923

That is why you analyze things in rem (or Sv) not rads. Google ALI (annual limit on intake) and you will get a chart for each nuclide. It will tell you how many rem you get over your lifetime (50 years) from inhaling or ingesting a radionuclide. 1 rem gotten from an external gamma emmitter is the same as 1 rem from ingesting an alpha emmitter. There are some subtle nuances beyond that, but this is an accurate way to conservatively assess your health risk.

Comment Re:Eminent Domain, land rights etc. (Score 1) 569

Surely, you are being a little dramatic with he gun thing. If some evil corporation sent out guys to lay pipes in my yard and I threatened them with a shotgun, I don't think a judge would be impressed by my story.

However, I am interested in hearing you out on the idea of right of ways and monopolies. But do you mean 'legal' or 'natural' monopolies. You used both terms and they seem different to me. I would like it if you slowed it all down for me and explain how what you mean works in the typical US jurisdiction.

Comment The myth of the natural monopoly. (Score 1) 569

The idea of a natural monopoly *sounds* great. But I don't think it holds up under scrutiny. See the myth of the natural monopoly.

Considering what google is doing with fiber, I think the 'natural' monopoly of telcos is as natural as the car dealership problem Tesla is facing in Texas.

If it was truly a scarce resource that one company had monopolized. Then that company should be broken up into competitors and seperated from the businesses that depend on it (so the few companies that control it, don't also own the businesses that depend on it).

Comment Preferential voting is a step in the right directi (Score 2) 343

Preferential voting is a step in the right direction, but there are problems. Arrow's impossibility theorem shows that with any ranked system there is certain desirable qualities that will always be mutually exculsive. So, mathematically IRV will always have that weakness (although first past the post is categorically worse). Some even argue that IRV pathologies makes it not as effective at nuturing more than two parties compared to other systems.

However, with range voting, you don't *order* the candidates, you score them and multiple candidates can have the same score. It works this way: score as many candidates as you want to 1 - 10 and the highest average wins.

This system has lots of benefits over IRV. Also, check out the analysis of IRV during Australia's 2007 elections.

Comment Have you heard of range voting? It could fix this. (Score 1) 343

Have you heard of range voting? It could solve some of these problems.

Range voting is a system where you score as many candidates as you want to 1 - 10 and the highest average wins. It is nice for several reasons.

There are fewer spoiled ballots: Since candidates can be ranked the same value or not at all, ballots aren't spoiled as often as in other systems

No benefit from betraying your favorite: You can *always* rank your true favorite with the highest mark without causing an undesirable outcome. You will never cause a candidate you don't want to win to do better by voting for your true favorite.

There are other benefits, but since we are talking about Australia. Check out the article about range voting vs IRV.

Comment I cannot let you slide with this... (Score 1) 440

First, let me agree with some of your points before I tell you why you are wrong. Children do need to be socialized. They need to know how to interact with others. They need to interact with society. If you homeschool, you need to be acutely aware of this and be certain that your child is getting lots of this. There are many sports teams and hobby clubs out in the world that are a good place to lay this foundation. I also agree that children do need to be taught to be independent, however, public school is not *necessarily* the place where things like that are taught.

Second, I assume you must come from a well to do school district because of your view of the public school. Even the worst parent could put together a better program for their child than the schools in my area. I say that having seen some homeschool disasters, but they pale in comparison to the volume and magnitude of the public school disasters. How dare you paint all those who would homeschool their children as cult wannabes! You would guilt a parent into sending their child to an institution which has a large percentage of drop outs, arrests, and low "achievement" scores just so you can grind your axe against a religious bogeyman?

Third, I believe you are suffering from an observation bias. You see homeschool weirdos. You either confirm they are homeschooled, or assume so, then add that to your pile of evidence. However, you will never add observations of normal well adjusted homeschooled children precisely because they do not stick out! There is no way to avoid this sort of bias without a well designed, well controlled, properly evaluated statistical analysis.

Comment I love my convertable (Score 1) 143

Use, but not over use. This is what a lot of hardware manufacturers do not comprehend. Tablets are great for a certain, limited set of tasks. Mice are great, keyboards are greatâ¦but also only for limited things. Having a fusion of them all is liberating and very functional.

When I taught, a convertible tablet + OneNote + a wireless projector was AMAZING. It 100% replaces paper and the blackboard. It decimates a smartboard. I could walk around anywhere in my room, using it as a tablet, making notes for my students. Notes were forever saved and searchable and editable. But, handwriting can never, ever, hope to replace the functionality and efficiency of typing for anything that consists mostly of words. So, when I needed to put down some serious text, or write a test - boom - I had a laptop. Need to Google something for class - boom - keyboard. On screen keyboards may as well be a death sentence and handwriting is way slower even for the worst typist. However, if you need to write an equation, Windows has a math input screen. You handwrite the equation and it converts it to a typed equation. You cannot type an equation that fast even if you knew every keyboard shortcut.

The convertible allows you to pick the tools for the job, so you don't have to hammer in screws. Sure, you can hammer in screws in a pinch, but who wants to do that? Use, but not overuse.

You might say, "just get two machines". That is inconvenient. Should I have a desktop everywhere I might work? Should I sync all my documents to the cloud so I can always have them? Should I sync my bookmarks also?

I cannot wait for apple to make a convertible. That way the popular opinion will change and everyone can appreciate how sweet these computers are.

Comment Anything can be used to justify violence... (Score 1) 470

Sure religion can, but what about economics or evolution? Just a little bit of thought applied to those and you can justify whatever violence you want. The REAL point is that there are evil people. They can and will use any philosophy, science, religion or technology to do bad things.

It saddens me greatly too see people on the internet blindly jumping on the 'religion is the problem' bandwagon. It's just as bad as any of the 'videogames, guns, books, dancing...etc' is the problem thinking.

Can we just accept there are bad people and bad people do bad things with anything? Can we jail just those people without the need to take away everyone else's freedoms?

Comment It still is meaningful. (Score 3, Informative) 167

Yes, eating certain radioisotopes is dangerous. Some isotopes concentrate in areas of the body and emit radiation that is much more harmful when it is in the body (alpha radiation).

However, The chart is given in Sv. Sv takes into account that some radiation is more harmful than others. So, the biological effects from 1 mSv should be the same whether it came from an alpha emmiter or a beta emmiter.

Again, some radionuclides concentrate in parts of the body (others are eliminated quickly - see effective halflife which combines radiological halflife and biological halflife). So, how can we know how many mSv we might get from ingesting one isotope or another? You want to look at commited dose. This is a calculation of how much dose (mSv) you recieve from ingesting some radioisotope. You then use that figure, in mSv, to compare against the chart on xkcd. What you might be interested in is ALI (annual limit on intake). This will give you an amount of a radionuclide (measured in activity or mass) that, if ingested, will give you the highest allowable dose (measured in mSv).

So, you can compare the damage done by various radioisotopes done to you in various ways if you are comparing them in the right units, mSv. But you couldn't compare them just by giving the amount of substance (without considering what kind of radiation and what in the body was irradiated). But, those calculations can be done, and the answer is given in mSv or mrem. This is why the xkcd chart uses mSv for the units, so that a meaningful comparison can be made.

Comment Natural consequence of a complicated tax code (Score 1) 678

It seems like it is almost inevitable that someone "won't be paying their fair share" when we have a complicated tax code. We have numerous incentives and exceptions. We have reasons for them.

Personally, I'd like to see a simplified tax code. One with no exemptions or exceptions. But even then, some would still think others aren't paying their fair share.

If any country ever does manage to make a decent and simple tax code, they might find they have a worse problem: large numbers of suddenly unemployed lawyers looking for "work".

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