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Comment Re:Accept the fact that technology moves on. (Score 1) 904

People stopped being farmers because their manual labor got automated. They could still use their brain and other hard to automate stuff like their hands and eyes to make money, though. Nowadays, we're starting to automate not just hands and eyes, but increasingly the brain too. There will be just one "skill" left and that is being human. This skill is rather important in entertainment, arts, horeca, health care and medical stuff. Do you see your average factory worker or truck driver work in these sectors? I don't. There will NOT be more than enough to be done that requires humans and we're already starting to see that today. This will happen to loads of people that do not posess any skill that hasn't been automated or are not quick or flexible enough to learn new skills. These "useless people" will not "find other stuff to do". We will therefore need to find alternative means to keep them busy. Basic income sounds like quite a nice - if not the only - solution. We should, however, make haste, because there's only one alternative to basic income and that's an unescapable oligarchy, where all production and transport capacity is owned by a handful of people. That's something that should be prevented anyway so basic income should probably be set up in such a way that the people are effectively the shareholders of the planet, which is in fact really not that difficult to get right. The alternative is that the vast majority of our posterity will be born into effective slavery.

And it would be quite ridiculously sad if that were to happen because you believe that "people will find other stuff to do because they did so in the past". We already today have many people that are incapable of any contribution. As we raise the bar, this group will grow and it really isn't that difficult to understand that there are limits to this, simply because there are limits to human (brain) capacity.

Comment Re:Define "work" (Score 1) 160

I personally have not exercised properly for a long time but have never even given my calorie intake a thought. I have not gained any weight (except for the muscles in my arms that grew as my kids got heavier:p). Now I'm probably a lucky bastard, but gaining weight really doesn't require artifical restraint. It just requires eating normal stuff instead of artifical food-like products of the chemical industry and drinking water instead of liquid sugar. From what I've heard that's somewhat difficult in some countries, but that's more of a cultural problem than a problem intrinsic to the homo office body.

Also, increasing exercise output doesn't really have to be that artifical. Just ride your bike to work or walk if you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk somewhere to eat lunch and you're pretty much there. Unfortunately, many countries have been built around elevators, escalators, cars and public transportation, often making this impossible because distances are too large or non-car-infrastructure is absent, but that's not a universal problem either, it's a problem with public space design some countries have.

And, no, activity trackers aren't going to change that. The solution is to be found in public space design and office design. Designing for pedestrians and bicylists instead of cars and publically transported meat bags can.

Comment Re:The carbon cycle (Score 1) 159

Obviously it's a matter of perspective, but I think you'd have to go to great lengths to consider CO2 not bad in itself. Look at any random planet that has a a lot of CO2 in its atmosphere. Venus comes to mind. It rains lead over there. Only very little CO2 is needed to turn our planet into an oven. The problem is not just that the equilibrium is disturbed; the problem is that humanity totally depends on an equilibrium that's almost indistuinguishable from there being no CO2 at all; even 400ppm (0.04%!) is a minute amount. We don't need an equilibrium, we need a lot less CO2.

And while it is true that all biomass you mention is part of a balance that used to be, that balance is no longer. And we do not need a balance, we need to get rid of a humungous shitload of CO2. The simple fact that the particular CO2 that comes out of those reservoirs used to be part of a balance is completely irrelevant. Also, a LOT of the CO2 that used to be part of the biosphere anyway used to be in solid plant matter. And the thing is, it matters a lot where that C is. Carbon in plants is not a problem. CO2 in the atmosphere IS a problem. And while about 90% of the problematic CO2 levels is due to adding fossil C to the atmosphere, that's only part of the problem. The other 10% (or perhaps 20%, it's difficult to get a good number) of the problem is the conversion of biomass into CO2 by destroying what used to be nature. Chopping down forests is a good example and the the construction of reservoirs is another. Not only are we releasing lots of CO2 from the biomass that used to be somewhat locked in, we're also removing capacity for converting CO2 back into C.

So I think you're wrong. Burning wood, rotting vegetation, farting animals and bubblings reservoirs are a major part of the problem. The balance you talk about used to involve not destroying nature. Now that we have destroyed a big part of nature, we cannot just go and claim that the extra atmosphere carbon that used to be locked in biomass is not a problem because it didn't come from deep underground.

The sunrays that warm up our planet really do not care what the origin of the CO2 molecule that absorbed them was.

Comment Re: I think that they are missing the point (Score 1) 210

Even that would be nonsense since muscles weigh more than fat tissue and people that properly exercise are likely to gain muscles and thus weight. For that reason, weight loss is not a meaningful indication of anything except for people that have the physique of a big sea mammal and thus are mostly fat anyway. Proper research should include diet and body fat percentage. Also, in general exercising more without losing much weight is already a big win for the health of most people. Stupid research like this only demotivates them because it fails to include all factors that are relevant to their health.

Comment Re:Increase employment rate? WTF? (Score 3, Interesting) 630

That's your explanation. In my world, basic income is a means of fairly distributing the fruits of our planet amongst its rightful shareholders, the people. While basic income comes in handy as a solution for unemployment resulting from increased automation, simply providing it because we cannot come up with a better solution would be stupid, unfair an unsustainable. We should not do that.

I'd rather turn it around: as the productivity increases, the value of our planet increases and we can expect its rightful shareholders to receive more money. That's exactly the reason basic income is starting to become economically feasible in the first place. However, in order for it to work properly in the long run, it should to a large extent be funded from taxes that directly relate to the use of the planet itself, for example through Land Value Taxes, taxes on the profit of mining and fossil fuel production and taxes on the use of the atmosphere (by dumping crap in it). This approach is fair and sustainable and could actually lead us to the unlimited leisure time utopia we were promised, if needed supported by a bit of helicopter money.

Comment Re:Does it work better than a tree? (Score 1) 195

It's pretty damn difficult to achieve efficiencies as low as photosynthesis in the wild so it probably does. Then again, it's pretty damn difficult to achieve efficiencies as high as photovoltaics so it is very unlikely for this technique to ever match that.

(Note the inevitable consequence: growing crops indoors under photovoltaic powered lamps that emit frequencies that are actually usable for photosynthesis is more energy efficient and sustainable, today already. The future of agriculture is not very pretty: we need to replace our agricultural lands with solar cells and move food production indoors...)

Comment ATM's are unsafe anyway (Score 4, Interesting) 105

Even without this technology, your fingers will leave a heat mark on the ATM keys long enough for a malicious person to take a picture of it with a thermal camera. Therefore, when I use an ATM machine, I always hold my fingers over a subset of keys to warm them up while waiting for the excruciatingly slow computer in the thing to do its job. That probably sufficiently masks the thermal print left by actually entering my PIN. Furthermore, I have developed a habit of pressing on the keypad frame as if pressing a key on the pad to fool lurkers. That would probably also protect against the smartwatch appraoch. It's rather easy to protect against such attacks, just introduce sufficient noise.

Note that most ATM machines allow pressing random keys while they're not ready for input. You might also want to press random keys during that time.

Comment What's the alternative (Score 1) 262

If given the choice between my medical data being on a server in a hospital or whatever managed by a grumpy sysadmin who also needs to take care of peoples desktops or stored on a server that happens not to be in a hospital, managed by people that do only that, I'd go for the cloud hands down.

However, one should be picky about the country and jurisdiction of your cloud. I suggest not to store your medical data on a US server (or a US company server) if you're not in the US.

Fear of the cloud is a bit like fear of flying. "OMG I'M NOT IN CONTROL", totally ignoring reality.

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