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Sony Pictures Leak Reveals Quashed Plan To Upload Phony Torrents

PeterM from Berkeley Seems like honeypots would work (130 comments)

For credit cards anyway. Put a bunch of "fake" credit cards out there. Some of them "work" but are actually traces. Users of these CC numbers get investigated and arrested immediately, because there are NO authorized users.

--PM

5 days ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

PeterM from Berkeley The draft (1049 comments)

If I can be forced into military service and be made to go fight and die, why can't I be forced, for the greater good, to get a jab in the arm that protects me (and everyone else) from getting some REALLY nasty diseases?

Or would you argue that compulsory military service is unconscionable too?

--PeterM

about a week ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

PeterM from Berkeley Military service? (1049 comments)

Sir,

    If I can be made to join the military, be ordered to go fight and die, (for the greater good) by the Government, then I do NOT see why I can't be made to take a shot!

--PeterM

about a week ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

PeterM from Berkeley Cough medicine in general doesn't really work (1049 comments)

Hate to tell you, but most OTC cough medicines don't really work very well at all, according to some studies that have come out recently.

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-...

There *is* a study that says that dark chocolate, of all things, is pretty good at suppressing coughs.

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-...

I welcome it if you cite sources to refute the credibility of either of the links I gave. At least you're thinking about the subject then. Myself, I'm actually not sure that cough medicines DON'T work and I'm not sure that chocolate does. But I sure like chocolate.

--PM

about a week ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

PeterM from Berkeley The Government can force you to FIGHT and DIE (1049 comments)

In military service. I figure if I can be drafted, and be made to fight and quite possibly die to protect this country, I can be forced to get stuck with a needle to protect this country too!

Military service is FAR more invasive and dangerous, by many orders of magnitude, than a vaccination.

By that standard, forcing EVERYONE in this country to GET VACCINATED for the COMMON GOOD is about the most resounding slam dunk I've ever considered.

--PeterM

about a week ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

PeterM from Berkeley Arsenic is NOT added to the water supply! EVER (1049 comments)

And certainly not to kill rats! Any level of arsenic in the water supply that would kill rats would kill every PERSON who drinks it in short order!

In fact, the standard for "potable" water, at least in the USA, says that effort should be made to drive the concentration of arsenic in tap water to ZERO.

--PM

about a week ago
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Trains May Soon Come Equipped With Debris-Zapping Lasers

PeterM from Berkeley How do you not fry people's eyes? (194 comments)

Laser laboratories take rather elaborate precautions to avoid having a laser beam go into someone's eye. If there's much power in the laser, having it hit someone's eye is VERY bad--blindness can result. (And post signs that say 'do not look into laser with remaining eye'.)

Do we really want high power laser beams possibly bouncing off shiny rails going who knows where, where some poor bastard might be looking the wrong way?

I mean, even if these lasers aren't in the visible range, I still don't want a beam in my eye.

about two weeks ago
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New Virus Means Deadlier Flu Season Is Possible

PeterM from Berkeley CDC needs more funding than the DoD (163 comments)

Hello,

    I think the CDC has a LOT more grounds to ring the "danger bell" than the people supporting Department of Defense spending. How many US people did terrorists kill in the last 10 years? Probably flu deaths are in the 100,000's? We also lose about 30k people/year to antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, however, do we even have $10B/year going into new antibiotic research?

    By *that* measure, which is pretty rational, the CDC and NIH ought to be funded at a higher level than the DoD.

    I mean, does USA *really* need to be spending more next 10 nations combined on its national defense, as opposed to spending more to control diseases which could quite conceivably mutate and become major killers, or combat already existing credible threats like ebola? How about spending more to assure the food supply is continuous? There are diseases wiping out food crops like bananas, citrus, chocolate, coffee, and there are credible disease threats against wheat. Yet USA is spending a pittiance to combat *that* risk, which, rationally, is a bigger risk than the risks mitigated by USA's DoD spending.

--PeterM

about two weeks ago
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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

PeterM from Berkeley Technological progress is NOT linear (455 comments)

People drive technology and the number of people has been going up exponentially, so techincal prograss is NOT linear.

And the whole point of "singularity" is that once we create an intelligence smarter than us, it will (in theory) in turn create an intelligence smarter and faster than it, and so on. That's not linear progress.

--PM

about a month ago
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Your Incompetent Boss Is Making You Unhappy

PeterM from Berkeley Representation by lottery (204 comments)

>I am pretty sure this is how we will (if ever) get a good government, too. The government has to be "us" not "them" yet almost none of us are willing to let it be "me."

How about representation by lottery? Every eligible adult (I guess I mean everyone except those currently serving a prison sentence) is entered into a lottery. The winners go serve in state or federal legislatures as representatives.

They are beholden to NO ONE to get "elected", so don't show up corrupted. And they're far more representative a sample of the population. You'd get homeless people, teachers, blue collar workers, not just the rich privileged bastards we have now. Decriminalizing marijuana would already be accomplished nationwide under this scheme.

My one fear is that the state/federal bureaucracy would end up all-powerful, because the legislators would be unskilled enough to push back vs. the bureaucracy.

--PM

about a month ago
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Your Incompetent Boss Is Making You Unhappy

PeterM from Berkeley How about rotating the boss hat? (204 comments)

Have a culture of rotating people in and out of management to "lower" positions. Like department heads at universities, the job lasts a year or two then you're back as a normal faculty.

I rotated in and out of a money management job, now I'm back doing technical stuff. As a result I have a very good understanding of that end of the business as well as the techical end.

--PM

about a month ago
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Your Incompetent Boss Is Making You Unhappy

PeterM from Berkeley How do you get good people to step up? (204 comments)

Many people don't want to manage other people. It's a tough job, often thankless, and in the words of a co-worker who quit being a boss and went back to technical work, it's like managing a bunch of four-year-olds who can't get along.

If you want good bosses, step up to the plate and make the sacrifice and do the job. Also, be a good employee, good employees can attract good bosses.

Also, in a random digression, I don't think a good technical boss necessarily HAS to be good technically. S/he just has to be able to listen effectively to the people who ARE good technically--which is something s/he should be doing even if s/he IS good technically. A boss who doesn't listen is in my opinion worse than a boss who is ignorant, knows it, and respects the experts s/he supervises.

--PeterM

about a month ago
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Scotland Builds Power Farms of the Future Under the Sea

PeterM from Berkeley That Scientific American figure doesn't help (216 comments)

You point to that figure and say that solar panels are terrible for the environment. Yes, apparently solar panels need more silver (and other metals) than other generation techniques, however, that doesn't mean that an ABSOLUTELY LARGE amount of silver is going to have to be provided.

Most power generation techniques don't need silver barely at all, so "relative to the current mix",yes, solar is going to need lots. That DOES NOT necessarily mean that supplying that amount of silver is going to cause widespread environmental degradation in the same way that coal DOES.

Also, solar power, once in place, doesn't require megatonnes of fuel like coal, oil, and gas do. (In that order, I guess.)

That figure doesn't DIRECTLY give insight into what energy mix is best for the environment, you can't have any hope of that unless you also compare fuel inputs per kwh generated as well, and other factors.

about a month and a half ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

PeterM from Berkeley Re:The middle/low classes have taken real harm (551 comments)

Cool! You got my point! Not only the middle class and lower class would have more disposable income and less trouble affording things, the extra economic activity would enrich the 1% too.

And yes, absolutely the middle class and lower classes would spend more money if they had it. That's part of the argument. GIving money to the rich dosen't generate demand in the economy very much.

And all by letting the middle class/lower class have a greater share of corporate productivity.

In fact, I would argue that the 1% hogging all the wealth to the top has a similar damaging effect to the economy as deflation. We should combat it just as vigorously.

Bravo!

--PM

about a month and a half ago
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In this year's US mid-term elections ...

PeterM from Berkeley The middle/low classes have taken real harm (551 comments)

If the workforce in this country (the lower and middle classes) got the same fraction of corporate income that they got BEFORE Reagan, everyone would be making DOUBLE in real income per hour than they do now (except perhaps the upper class.)

Imagine what it would DO to the world economy to have a middle/low class in the US that had double the purchasing power, or, maybe 5x the disposable income.

For one thing, affording health care would probably not be so much of an issue for many US people. However, by hogging all the productivity gains up to the upper class, the virtuous cycle has been broken and the economy is largely stagnating. Ironically, this limits the absolute wealth of the upper class.

--PM

about a month and a half ago
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How Google Can Get the Flu Right

PeterM from Berkeley But the flu IS a big deal (31 comments)

You're often sick for a week, pretty commonly you get a secondary bacterial infection (like pneumonia or a sinus infection), and then you're sick for more than a week, and you might well be left with a lingering cough.

And BTW, "throw up a couple times" is NOT that common a flu symptom, though it CAN happen with flu. Typical symptoms are:
body aches
fever/chills
coughing
runny nose, sore throat, headach, pain around eyes

Vomiting/diarrhea is more common amongst children.

--PM

about a month and a half ago
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Black Swan Author: Genetically Modified Organisms Risk Global Ruin

PeterM from Berkeley Valid point (432 comments)

Which is why i think GMO's ought to be done by universities and governments for the public benefit, not by corporations for profit, and one of the goals should be genetic diversity for exactly the reason you state.

Also, I'm uncomfortable with a corporation having so much influence over the world's food supply.

Last, the profit motive would compel a company to attempt to sweep problems under the rug more than publicly funded development would.

So, I'm pro-GMO, but I think it should be done by the public for the public.

--PM

about a month and a half ago
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Black Swan Author: Genetically Modified Organisms Risk Global Ruin

PeterM from Berkeley I think you nailed it there (432 comments)

I think the proposition that NOT using GMOs risks global catastrophe might have more odds in its favor than using GMOs.

Consider:
Bananas, citrus, chocolate, coffee are all threatened by pathogens or climate change. There are some credible pathogen threats to wheat as well.

In the case of citrus, the ONLY (**ONLY**) resistant variety to citrus greening disease, out of ALL the citrus varieties on the plant, is a GMO variety that has genes from spinach spliced in.

So we have a case of, worldwide collapse of citrus production, OR GMO citrus.

I think I'll take the GMO citrus, thank you very much. If I were a Florida planter, and I weren't worried about anti-GMO hysteria, I'd be replacing my citrus orchards (as they die) with GMO plants.

As I referred to above, similar threats are either now or are poised to decimate bananas, coffee, chocolate, and wheat, though I'm not so sure that the naturally resistant variety situation is so dire in those cases.

Best,

-PeterM

about 2 months ago
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Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

PeterM from Berkeley Re:Jurisdiction be damned (463 comments)

Why said anything about lawlessness? What *law* would stop a bunch of CDC experts from showing up at the hospital and saying to the admins, "Here we are, this is a very serious situation, and we've brought X and Y and Z resources to help. Let us help you please."

I *know* that if I'm a hospital admin, and there are these guys in my office offering that class of help, I'm not going to be saying "no".

So what laws would be broken, exactly? If the CDC offered that level of help (quite legally) and the hospital (also legally) told them to go take a hike, we'd know EXACTLY who to blame. Furthermore, the CDC would be on the spot in force able to cope with the screw up.

--PM

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Magnetic monopoles observed as emergent property

PeterM from Berkeley PeterM from Berkeley writes  |  more than 5 years ago

PeterM from Berkeley writes " This brief from Science Daily reports the claimed detection of magnetic monopoles an emergent property in a crystalline lattice of Dysprosium Titanate at temperatures between .6K and 2K. According to the article, these magnetic monopoles interact similarly to electrically charged particles. These are not isolated magnetic monopoles in the same sense that electrons are isolated, mobile charges: instead these monopoles appear at the end of tubes of magnetic flux called "Dirac strings". These were theorized in 1931 by Dirac, but have only just now been observed."
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First ever application of string theory

PeterM from Berkeley PeterM from Berkeley writes  |  more than 5 years ago

PeterM from Berkeley writes "Scientists are claiming to have made the first practical application of string theory to the problem of high temperature superconductivity, a physical phenomenon no one has previously been able to explain. This brief from Science Daily presents an overview of an article published in Science. String theory has come under fire for producing no testable predictions. This would represent a first application of string theory to a practical problem and one where other theories have provided no explanation."

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