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Desert Farming Experiment Yields Good Initial Results

246o1 Re:Economics (178 comments)

I guess the excessive per-capita economic output in rich countries can be correspondingly reduced?

We don't create more natural resources, oil, pH-balanced seawater, or clean air in rich countries. We are just (generally) more effective at turning the resources we have into desirable things. Which makes it easier for us to consume more resources. Your implication is completely wrongheaded.

about 10 months ago
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President Obama To Nominate Cable and Wireless Lobbyist To Head FCC

246o1 Re:The revolving door continues to spin (304 comments)

adding that she has "no doubt that Tom will have an open door and an open mind, and that ultimately his decisions will be based on what he genuinely believes is best for the public interest, not any particular industry."

Seriously?

Yes, seriously. Of course, he can't help it if his opinions have been formed by working as a professional wheel-greaser for one specific industry. That is, of course, the most insidious danger to a good government - people of good faith who are overwhelmingly biased in favor of economic elite interests (which is why a randomly selected Senate, like juries, might be interesting). Since having jobs like his look like a positive mark for government jobs, and corporations tend to hire people who like corporations or are willing to become sympathetic, it's a tough, systemic problem.

about a year ago
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Facebook Knows If You're Gay, Use Drugs, Or Are a Republican

246o1 Re:Turns out (473 comments)

I'd like to see a page about me that says, "Here's the information you've provided, and here's the information we're inferring from what we know about you." I suppose they'd never do that because it might very well creep people out too much, but then, it might get people whose inferences are wrong to directly supply the information to them.

BlueKai does something similar (except it's for a wide range of display advertising, not just facebook) - they infer things about you based on your browsing history and use that to target ads at you. They are all over the web, so they have a good amount of information, but the surprising thing to me is that they let you look at your profile on their website - http://www.bluekai.com/registry/ is the place to find it.

I don't work for BlueKai, or even for a company that uses them.

about a year and a half ago
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Indiana Nurses Fired After Refusing Flu Shots On Religious Grounds

246o1 Re:Good (851 comments)

That's a different category of belief - it's belief in a moral imperative, not a fact, and as such doesn't have a factual right/wrong which is demonstrable. Believing wrong facts is sometimes harmless, but believing wrong facts as a policy will lead almost exclusively to worse decisions.

about a year and a half ago
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Indiana Nurses Fired After Refusing Flu Shots On Religious Grounds

246o1 Re:It's employers rights (851 comments)

The point is that nurses are purportedly a greater risk to patients if they have not received immunisation.

Except that there is no evidence that this is the case. The evidence suggests that maintaining proper hygiene is as effective at reducing the transmission of the flu virus as having the entire staff get the flu vaccine. There is one important difference, having the entire staff get the flu vaccine reduces the transmission rate of the flu virus while maintaining proper hygiene reduces the transmission rate of every communicable disease.

Another important difference is that getting the flu vaccine (along with other vaccines) is enforceable and only has to be done right once per employee per year, not thousands of times without error.

about a year and a half ago
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Indiana Nurses Fired After Refusing Flu Shots On Religious Grounds

246o1 Re:Good (851 comments)

Religion is no more dangerous than any other belief, well-founded or not

I agree that religion is no more dangerous than other classes of unfounded beliefs, but surely no one thinks that unfounded beliefs are no more dangerous than well-founded beliefs, right?

about a year and a half ago
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Indiana Nurses Fired After Refusing Flu Shots On Religious Grounds

246o1 Re:Good (851 comments)

They are largley a way to shift personal responsibility to the Big Sky Man.

Spoken in true ignorance.

Aside from the plethora of religions with NO deity, Christianity (one of the biggest religions) see the problem as being oneself-- that is, the responsibility is being shifted nowhere but inward.

That's an optimistic view - often this translates means they see the problem as being oneself - that is, the responsibility of the person that particular Christian is judging to be inferior.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Richard Stallman Anything

246o1 Re:Capitalism and You (573 comments)

People who are not participating in the negotiations do not always come out ahead, and the net social benefit might be negative. Here are some two-party deals that are bad for society (some more extreme than others, but I think they illustrate the need for laws and social rules outside of property protection):

1. You pay me $1200/oz for gold, and I open a gold mine. The gold mine leaks poison into a nearby river, killing tens of thousands of fish, reducing life expectancy in surrounding communities by 5 years, and not being my problem.

2. I am a congressman and you are a pharmaceutical company CEO. You pay me $10 million, directly and in jobs to my underqualified relatives (and me as soon as I retire from Congress), to sponsor a bill which makes competing drugs illegal by extending your intellectual property rights another 5 years. I win, you win, and consumers get screwed with higher prices for a longer time, competing firms go out of business, and the generic version of your drug appearing 5 years later results in 50,000 avoidable deaths among the under-insured.

3. I am a hitman. You pay me to kill your wife, only $20,000, and receive $10 million of her assets that you would have lost in the coming divorce. I win, you win, she loses.

4. I go to a futures market and make bets/investments relying on a 4-degree temperature rise in the next 4 decades, open shipping lanes at the north pole, a dwindling supply of ocean-based food, etc. These are highly leveraged and worth approximately $50 Billion dollars. I then pay you to put CO2 and methane in the atmosphere as quickly as possible, investing $2 Billion in this scheme and improving the likelihood of my payoff by over 10%, making the investment an easy decision. You make tons of money, and so do I. A win for unrestricted capitalism!

These examples are crude, but meant to illustrate certain anti-social impulses inherent in unrestricted deal-making in a capitalist framework. Property rights are not as important as other human rights.

about 2 years ago
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Open Compute Developing Wider Rack Standard

246o1 Re:metric? (237 comments)

It doesn't matter what we call them, but it does matter how many sets of competing standards we have. You are skipping steps in your argument, and your claim that 'a human is going to fuck it up anyways' is just negative bullshit. There are clearly ways to reduce the chance of that - one is to move away from having two competing systems.

more than 2 years ago
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Open Compute Developing Wider Rack Standard

246o1 Re:metric? (237 comments)

And your argument in turn implies that there's no point in ever trying to be systematically consistent to reduce errors, because .... What? The frequency and severity of human error is going to be constant regardless of the systems people are forced to work within?

People will continue to make mistakes. In some cases, the existence of confusing doubles standards increases the chances of that happening, as well as introducing pointless costs. Measurement is a wonderful example of a natural monopoly, and we should prefer (open) standards.

Logically false. You are saying that the existence of a different measuring system is the cause of the human failure to differentiate. It was a human failure, what you are asking for is to dumb it down so humans cant fail in that way anymore. I assure you, humans will find some other way to foul it up, no matter how many rubber bumpers you put on things.

more than 2 years ago
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Analytic Thinking Can Decrease Religious Belief

246o1 Re:Whoever is responsible for this article (1258 comments)

By thwarting Satan's plan God enabled a pure bloodline from Adam to Christ to remain, providing free salvation for everyone who accepts Christ's sacrifice for their sin.

Racial purity, the most important of all the virtues!

more than 2 years ago
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Analytic Thinking Can Decrease Religious Belief

246o1 Re:Whoever is responsible for this article (1258 comments)

And killing a bunch of children is certainly more reasonable than just using your God-like powers to spirit the slaves away to the land of milk and honey . . . .

This sort of thing is why the Old Testament is fun to read and makes for good movies, but is an unreliable source of moral guidance.

more than 2 years ago
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Zuckerberg Made Instagram Deal Alone

246o1 Re:SPECIAL FILTERS! (307 comments)

Where do get me some of this! Can they deliver it to my house via Webvan?

No, but I think Kozmo.com carries Instagram, and will bring it on a bike with some free ice cream....

more than 2 years ago
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What Does Google Get Out of Voice?

246o1 Re:I do not know and do not care! (119 comments)

I'm betting those who use Google Voice never see one of those "You need to add your mobile phone number to your Google account" intersitials (with a tiny line under it that basically says "I do not want to add my number"). Sure, ostensibly it's to "protect your account", but it's a real number.

I use Google Voice and still get that interstitial.

more than 2 years ago
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Growth of Pseudoscience Harming Australian Universities

246o1 Re:Counter-argument... (566 comments)

Presently, US law outright forbids scientific study of these remedies. I believe they need to be studied so that there's conclusive evidence of what works and what doesn't work. And what we discover does work should be allowed in practice. The world of academia can help tremendously with that.

Bullshit. The NIH has been giving away enormous sums of money to study this crap, with the result that we now understand much better than we need to exactly how people come to convince themselves and others of the efficacy of specific placebos with magical and/or pseudoscience window-dressing.

more than 2 years ago
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Obama Pushes For Cheaper Pennies

246o1 Re:You can't eliminate them (825 comments)

"Just as likely" that retailers will cut prices? You're kidding, right?

If shops could raise prices without any effect on sales, they would do that constantly. While I admire your cynicism, I despise your naivete.

more than 2 years ago
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US Supreme Court Upholds Removal of Works From Public Domain

246o1 Re:Well that's only a little shit (380 comments)

I'm sorry, but that didn't make sense to me. The point of copyright is to allow the creator control so as to make a living. That's the further encouragement. First time you starve, everyone understands that. Subsequent iterations should get progressively easier if your work is desirable.

That's not true. The point of granting exclusive rights through copyrights and patents is to encourage the creation of works which contribute to the overall good of society. We don't care about individual creators past the need to encourage their creations, and further, due to the transferability of intellectual property, any post-creation changes to copyright law would not only provide no additional incentive for creation, but would benefit copyright OWNERS, not copyrighted material's CREATORS (though I concede significant overlap).

Think of it like this: intellectual property is a bonus you receive at the creation of a good which is very cheap to copy. Changing the value of this bonus UP, retroactively, costs society for no societal goal. Changing it down is similar to breach of contract. There are strong arguments for fixing the length of the term at the time of copyright.

more than 2 years ago
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Is Climate Change the New Evolution?

246o1 Re:Yah for undermining USA science education! (1055 comments)

Thank you nutcases, for under undermining America science education! Since after enjoying the 200 years of prosperity, economic and military might that science has provided to the USA, it is very generous they now start undermining it, by insuring that future generations don't properly learn that pesky science, so that many other countries can advance and overtake the USA.

If I was a Chinese official, I would be actively funding the National Center for Science Education, since they are the ones that benefit most from American stupidity.

Hopefully the National Center for Science Education can now start attacking math, since transfinite numbers and arithmetic can be use to justify that there are infinities bigger than god:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transfinite_number

Is it so much easy to teach kids that 1+1 = whatever god tells them. Welcome to the new American Taliban.

I love your enthusiasm, but I think you misunderstood - the National Center for Science Education is actually appropriately named, and supports the teaching of science. A forgivable error, since so many lobbying groups take deceptive names these days.

more than 2 years ago
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Flu + La Nina = Pandemic?

246o1 Re:It’s inevitable (105 comments)

A World Pandemic is eventual, and probably will be worse than previous Pandemics. With Climate Change increasing rapidly, Polution getting worse, and Population on the rise, I'm surprised a global virus hasn't killed millions of people yet.

Perhaps you're unfamiliar with HIV?

more than 2 years ago
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Amazon To Collect Indiana Sales Tax In 2014

246o1 Re:Stock up while you can (413 comments)

Wow you know this country's in the toilet when you see comments expecting the government to ruin a good thing. 200 years ago we fought for lower taxes with representation. The irony is that now we don't have proper representation and we have some of the highest taxes in the world.

I didn't do anything 200 years ago. And your second (most wrong) part needs a citation, perhaps something from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_revenue_as_percentage_of_GDP

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Anti-Wikileaks Smear Campaign Details Emerge

246o1 246o1 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

246o1 (914193) writes "Glenn Greenwald over at Salon has a good roundup about the smear campaign planned by HBGary Federal, Palantir, and Berico to discredit Wikileaks. Greenwald is quite reasonably interested in this issue, as it seems he was listed among potential targets in communications between the companies, apparently working for Hunton & Williams, a law firm retained by Bank of America. For those who just love the Wikileaks drama, any lawsuits coming out of this could be very entertaining, not to mention informative. At the very least, this should further cement the image of Wikileaks as a persecuted underdog."
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