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Comment Re:Civic society implies civil rights (Score 1) 369

Well, depending on how much you believe the rhetoric, anyone who isn't a white male might feel safer in China. I'm hoping that almost all of it is just rhetoric, but I don't feel any certainty about it. In fact if you believe *some* of the rhetoric anyone who isn't a rich white male might feel safer in China. This strikes me as unlikely, but remembering how a prior German democracy fell it's not beyond the bounds of possibility.

OTOH, there are a lot of signs that Trump is not an actual racial bigot, but merely someone who feels right in taking advantage of any power he can get his hands on. I'd feel happier with this interpretation if his cabinet picks were different.

Comment Re:No Innovation in China (Score 1) 369

It NEVER made sense. Not ever. In the early days it took inventors and coerced them into chasing around the country looking for people who might be infringing on their patents. As companies took over it became more and more about getting patents so vague that nobody could tell for sure what what infringing, and getting the legal decisions that meant that was a case that would be found in favor of the patent holder.

The basic idea was reasonable, but the implementation was flawed from the beginning, and my guess is that the grant of a monopoly was the basic flaw. Perhaps instead it should have been a law that the government would only buy from the holder, or a licensee, of the patent.

Comment Re:Mandate reporting when antibiotics are prescrib (Score 1) 72

Yes. But we need to be aware that man is not the only source of antibiotics. They naturally occur. We get a good lot of them from plants and bacteria, starting of course with penicilin which we got from mold, and which was already present on salted food and damp environments. What we did was to make antibiotics present in organisms other than their natural sources.

Comment Everything Old is New Again (Score 2) 72

The Andromeda Strain was published in 1969.

The United States has some disease reporting, it started at least 75 years ago before the antibiotic bubble. This CDC Report summarizes the present state of disease reporting, in two pages. We need higher standards of reporting and legal penalties for failure to report.

Comment Re:What danger ? (Score 1) 362

If you try to punch through a car window, all you can expect is broken knuckles. The right tool is a glass cutter, but a sharp piece of hard metal should do in a pinch, provided there's only one layer of glass, and not two layers with a layer of glue between them. I vaguely remember seeing that configuration in some broken car glass, and if that's the case you'd need to first score the layer closest to you, and then strike the delineated area with enough force to not only detach it, but also to shatter the second layer.

OTOH, car glass is all tempered (unless it's an antique, in which case the doors won't lock themselves), so you don't need to worry about sharp edges.

Comment Re: Dangerous (Score 1) 362

It's not that simple. I personally prefer the mechanical roll-down windows...and my wife strongly prefers a station wagon the size of a mini. So we go looking for a new car...nobody we looked at had mechanical roll-down windows, but the onlly mini-sized station wagon we could find was a used car. Only one instance, too. It's been a decent car in most ways, but I'd still rather be able to roll down the window when the battery is dead or the engine's turned off.

Later I heard about the Volkswagen Rabbit, so there was probably actually a choice if we'd kept looking, but my bet would be that the windows are electrically operated.

Comment Re:Read the first volume (Score 1) 373

Not really. One should read the first part of the first volume, but it's general use is as a reference book(s). I have frequently gone back to parts of volume 2, but I've rarely needed the other volumes. For awhile I was planning to learn MIX but instead I only skimmed over it...and instead learned CDC 6400 assembler, which I had a practical need for. But the first part of volume 1 should be considered mandatory. Read it, know it, and build it into yourself so deeply you forget it...the knowledge is just implicitly there.

Comment Re:All the passengers fault.. (Score 1) 167

That was my first thought. My second thought was..."I wonder how hard it is to recover your laptop when you get back from your trip?" The TSA as a reputation as quite light-fingered, so maybe these are just the ones nobody wanted, because they'd already acquired all they need. Unless you think they are selling them, in which case this is hard to explain.

Comment Re:What is the carbon footprint? (Score 1) 119

You can be pretty sure that the process will use lots of energy (relative to, say, grass). So it's unlikely to be competitive even if there are decent sources of energy available (say you steal chloroplasts from some algae, the way some [were they bacteria] do). I'm quite willing to accept that they've found a more efficient carbohydrate synthesis mechanism, but that's a long way from something that's capable of competition with microbes that have been evolving for 4 billion years (plus or minus a bit). That said, if they were to genegineer it into an existing microbe it might be successful in some environments. And that could be a problem. So when they get ready to do that in 15-40 years be sure they've filled out all their environmental impact reports properly. Including recovery strategies in case of a mistake.

Comment Re:What is the carbon footprint? (Score 1) 119

Just as catalysts usually get poisoned and need to be regenerated, so enzymes usually suffer degradation in use. In living organisms they're usually they're digested and rebuilt rather than just reconditioned.

So the cost of the enzymes is likely to be a real factor. It's also likely to be a small one...but you can't be really sure without knowing how they are acquired/synthesized/reconditioned.

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