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Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

Derec01 Re:u can rite any way u want (428 comments)

I don't think you need to be torn between the two. Even though in many cases strict grammar isn't necessary, where would we be without formal rules to provide a sliding scale?

If I fail to communicate effectively in some context, grammar provides a clear standard I can return to in order to iteratively improve my communication. If everyone had conflicting standards, I'd have no shared toolbox to use. Two mathematicians may be perfectly able to talk about their work in common vernacular; if it starts getting miscommunicated, though, they have a shared formal grammar of logic within which to make things clearer.

2 days ago
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Doctors Say New Pain Pill Is "Genuinely Frightening"

Derec01 Re:It's just a tool I guess (294 comments)

This seems a little better than that, if I'm understanding it correctly. The drug would never be mass-produced if its approval is revoked, and it's doubtful that the company would let its production method out AND that it would come to someone with the capabilities of producing it illicitly.

It's hard to have a black market if no one makes the drug for any legal use.

about 1 month ago
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How Voter Shortsightedness Skews Elections

Derec01 Not to defend shortsightedness (269 comments)

Let me play devil's advocate here. While we can ascribe that to "dumb voter shortsightedness", wouldn't it also be true to say that if you can ascribe economic performance to a president at all, their effect on things would be much more heavily weighted towards the recent past anyway?

Early term performance would likely be out of their hands, and my assumption would be that they want to get reelected and would try hard to eke out some benefit before election season. If you can't bring out the big performance before the election, perhaps you don't have anything to offer.

Of course, imagining that your choice of president has a greater effect on your wellbeing than state and local elections or larger economic trends is a bit weird to me anyway.

about 2 months ago
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How Farming Reshaped Our Genomes

Derec01 Re:At the time .... (144 comments)

This is just my take. The average intake of the American consumer has increased steadily, I believe. However, weight gain happens at the margins. If you eat 2200 calories a day and burn 2000, you are gaining weight twice as fast as someone who averages 2100 with the same burn rate, even though your intake is less than 5% higher.

As the average intake passes the burn rate, a little exercise helps. However, with a small percentage-wise increase in your intake, you can double or triple the amount of exercise required to get back to equilibrium. My guess is that in the 60s and 70s, adding exercise worked for many people. Now, the necessary exercise is much, much higher and caloric restriction is necessary in a way it wasn't for the average person 30 years ago.

about 3 months ago
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The "Triple Package" Explains Why Some Cultural Groups Are More Successful

Derec01 Re:What a bunch of baloney! Sample bias buddy. (397 comments)

What you described at the end is exactly sample bias, so I'm confused that you don't consider it so. The claim is roughly that you can look at "successful groups" and determine what makes them culturally superior by assuming their differences account for their success.

Yet if you included a full sample size of that culture from the origin country, the distribution may be (and probably is) no different than a randomly chosen cultural group in the U.S. while still sharing the cultural traits that were assumed to make them superior. Thus an incorrect correlation has been made from a biased sample.

about 3 months ago
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Who Makes the Best Hard Disk Drives?

Derec01 Re:Ignorant to their own research (444 comments)

If they are fairly fault tolerant, a reasonable Seagate discount percentage would overcome that higher failure rate, even allowing for installation costs. They can spread that failure out. An individual cannot, therefore I appreciate that they released the statistics.

about 3 months ago
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Why We Think There's a Multiverse, Not Just Our Universe

Derec01 Re:Words, words (458 comments)

I disagree that he's only defined causally disconnected regions; this story actually has a definition of multiverse beyond regions outside of our lightcone. Note one of his later images: a single level 1 universe contained multiple regions which are not causally connected yet are part of the same clump that moved from the false vacuum to dumping energy into matter and radiation.

Any grouping like that is fundamentally isolated because the boundary region that remains in the false vacuum continues to exponentially expand, quickly isolating the clump. Even if the clump itself triggers a conversion of the false vacuum around it, it sounds like the isolation proceeds so much faster that it will be forever isolated by expanding false vacuum regions. With time, we could reach places that are not currently causally connected. It doesn't sound like we could overcome this expansion so easily.

about 3 months ago
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Metal-Free 'Rhubarb' Battery Could Store Renewable Grid Energy

Derec01 Re:If it can be scaled up? (131 comments)

I think the reality is that "renewable" is a code word for many things to many people. To some it means local, to others it just means creating an economic incentive for cleaner power *somewhere*, as the credit system would.

For instance, I wouldn't support the allowance for hydroelectric power most of the time because of the tendency to screw up ecosystems more than some solar panels will, but it's still renewable.

about 3 months ago
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Oil Train Explosion Triggers Evacuation In North Dakota

Derec01 Re:Thanks Obama... (199 comments)

That's not true at all. If you are considering *passenger* rail, then yes, it's terrible. But we don't really use much passenger rail. That chicken and egg problem aside, US freight rail is pretty good.

For instance: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21576136-quiet-success-americas-freight-railways-back-track

"Even the American Society of Civil Engineers, which howls incessantly (and predictably) about the awful state of the nation’s infrastructure, shows grudging respect for goods railways in a recent report."

about 3 months ago
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Oil Train Explosion Triggers Evacuation In North Dakota

Derec01 Re:Shouldn't have to run oil by rail (199 comments)

Given your experience, I actually had a question about the pipelines. It would seem most of the failures are caused by a combination of pressure and time. Assuming that you have to operate on a sliding scale of perfect safety for infinite cost and reasonable safety for much lower cost*, is there a way to build pipelines with specific failure points such that you avoid failures at costly points? Something like a fuse in an electrical circuit; you certainly don't want it to blow, but it's there to blow so that worse places don't burn. I've always been a little surprised that discussion of running pipeline through sensitive areas didn't involve a compromise where you just build in a costly but agreed upon sigma of reliability into the region at issue by shunting the risk to an area you're prepared to clean up.

*A possibly erroneous assumption.

about 3 months ago
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Researchers Claim Facebook Is 'Dead and Buried' To Many Young Users

Derec01 Re:The REAL cool kids are all using IRC (457 comments)

I'd imagine the lack of social networking elements is the draw. People assume that today's kids don't care about privacy, but I get the sense that most of them want their social connections to be more ephemeral than Facebook encourages. With Facebook, defriending someone could be slightly embarrassing, so I just accumulate a pile of people I used to know and may not identify with anymore, with potentially added stress if I delete them. With a messaging app, I message you, or I don't. You can add all the privacy features you want to Facebook, but the possibly preferable alternative is not putting all the effort into maintaining a profile.

about 4 months ago
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Researchers Claim Facebook Is 'Dead and Buried' To Many Young Users

Derec01 Re:Too complicated (457 comments)

Whoa, footnote [1] is a little too egregious for me to let it pass unremarked. Why in the world could the insurance company see the picture? How long was it from posting to reaction? Which company was this? (I'm not inclined to reward this kind of behavior)

For one, the logical leap they made is huge, and for another, that's some serious monitoring of online traffic for this to be true. I have to admit I'm a bit skeptical, not that I'm sure they wouldn't love to do this.

about 4 months ago
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Researchers Claim Facebook Is 'Dead and Buried' To Many Young Users

Derec01 Re: Who would believe it? (457 comments)

I think the inefficiency is part of the point, honestly. I personally dislike Facebook exactly because it has tried to be where you contact everyone you know, regardless of the context, and I simply don't want to spend the time to curate a stark divide between sharing with coworkers and friends when I don't share that much on Facebook in the first place. At this point in my life, it's like my contact list, except that it posts cat videos.

The old Facebook dismissal is that if you want share something with your real friends, you pick up the phone. I think that's the slightly wrong way to look at it, but it has a point. It's a bit of signaling, actually, that is accomplished by using the phone or any more involved means of contact. If I take the time to learn your details in a completely new or inefficient contact system, it means that messages from me are more likely to be significant because there's a greater barrier to me contacting you and I clearly put more effort into it that pulling up your profile on Facebook.

about 4 months ago
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Rise of the Super-High-Res Notebook Display

Derec01 Because text size need not be defined by px number (333 comments)

The summary makes the same ridiculous assumption I see repeatedly, which is that a desire for higher resolutions means that I want the text to remain tied to a number of pixels. Of course I don't want the text to get arbitrarily smaller; I just want it to get sharper. And I definitely notice. Every time I take a look at my boss's MacBook Pro I feel my eyes relax a bit compared to the jagged fonts on my Air.

The real problem is that the OSes are terrible at rescaling to take advantage of the increased ppi. OSX is unfortunately bitmap based and many parts look pretty terrible if you turn the HiDef monitor option on. Windows is actually a little better with arbitrary % scaling, but many third party programs will still look awful.

about 4 months ago
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Goodbye, California? Tim Draper Proposes a 6-Way Split

Derec01 Re:Lets to the opposite and merge (489 comments)

Ridiculous. Imagine you were subject to a national government that did those things. At least this way, if a state does something really shitty, you can freely MOVE TO ANOTHER STATE! As states face that kind of backlash they change their laws, and a federal law usually only arises after testing and consensus at the state level.

It's not perfect, but it's not a bad system, because it allows experimentation and slow but definite change. Unless you figure that pooling together the governments will lead to representatives that are somehow more deliberative and considerate, I don't understand the desire to eliminate it.

about 4 months ago
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Goodbye, California? Tim Draper Proposes a 6-Way Split

Derec01 Re:Huh? (489 comments)

Because they are organizationally distinct, with separate laws, populations, and modes of living. If you can't make a law at the federal level that most states are happy with, you shouldn't make it! Imagine a law that restricted certain things you could do on your property, such as hunting. That is perfectly reasonable and probably desired in Delaware and Rhode Island. It's incredibly unreasonable in Montana.

If it passed because of coastal states, it is the tyranny of the majority over Montana, and is a reflection that those laws should just be made at the state level in the first place, not the federal level.

about 4 months ago
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Mark Zuckerberg Gives $990 Million To Charity

Derec01 Re:oh boy... (230 comments)

Okay, honestly, I not interested in arguing that point.

I am legitimately curious about Gates foundation stipulations. Can you provide a link? I know nothing about these contracts, so I would be interested in seeing what you're talking about.

about 4 months ago
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Mark Zuckerberg Gives $990 Million To Charity

Derec01 Re:oh boy... (230 comments)

His wealth has continued to grow irrespective of any of that, I'm sure, due to a massive spread of investments.

However, I can't find any reference to these contracts stipulating restrictions on food growth or the alleged unsafe vaccines. Do you have a source for either of those? I'd like to follow that up.

In any place receiving these vaccines, wouldn't it be a headache to enforce that kind of contract anyway given the state of the local judicial system?

about 4 months ago
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Police Pull Over More Drivers For DNA Tests

Derec01 Re:Um.... (562 comments)

That's not what he said. He said people with something to hide will be in that category, not that everyone in that category has something to hide. And he's right; this can't be considered an unbiased sample set.

about 4 months ago
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Bitcoin Exchange Value Halves After Chinese Ban

Derec01 Re:profit (475 comments)

The Coinbase service based in the US works well for just buying and selling (not trading). I didn't buy way back in the day, I bought a dozen or so over the course of the summer, and sold about half at various points (usually not at the peak, sadly).

Of the exchanges I've tried, BTC-e is frankly the most stable. It's got a mild air of sketchiness from being Russian and spartan, but I've seen some of the other exchanges (Cryptsy, etc.) crap out or become unusable under load. Mt. Gox is a bit pointless given the difficulty of getting dollars out, and usually trades higher since speculators want a higher dollar return in exchange for the risk.

Sad to see BTC dropping right now, but I've already cashed out the initial speculation and a profit, so anything else is just gravy. I'll probably take out a bit more and just hold the rest indefinitely.

about 4 months ago

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