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Imagining the Future History of Climate Change

dasunt Re:History is written by the victors (477 comments)

That reminds me of the reason humanity goes extinct in Charles Stross's "Saturn's Children".

Humanity went extinct because of superstimuli, among other reasons. Our slaves (robots) didn't realize it until nearly the end, and then were made so they couldn't do anything about it.

2 days ago

Chimpanzee "Personhood" Is Back In Court

dasunt Re:Does that mean they'll get to vote? (385 comments)

The law seems to fail here. We have the concept of "human", and the concept of "animal", but nothing between.

The great apes (excluding ourselves, of course), as well as some other species seem intelligent enough that we should consider them a special class of creature. Of course they lack human sophistication and intelligence, but they have the ability to think above and beyond most creatures. They seem to be able to crudely communicate using sign language (although they have great difficulty with grammar). They can pass a mirror self-recognition test. They are capable of tool use. If I had to hazard a human analogy, they are somewhat like a young human child, but lacking human's preprogrammed neural pathways for proper language.

about three weeks ago

US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

dasunt Re:chest thumping... planet of the apes (342 comments)

The world has gone insane!!! Why would anyone threaten or rationally consider using nuclear weapons against any country all over the political leanings and chest thumping of the leadership of some other country?! It's insanity.

Because threatening a nuclear war raises the cost of the war.

Take Ukraine currently. Russia's slowly nibbling away at its territory. If Ukraine was a nuclear power, it could very well raise that as a deterrent and perhaps Russia would decide the increased cost of destabilizing Ukraine wasn't worth it. On the other hand, Russia is a nuclear power, which raises the cost to anyone who wants to interfere with Russia's expansion.

Is it ideal? No. But a nuclear threat does give a nation bargaining power.

Another example would be Pakistan/India. Both nuclear powers, both with a history of pointless border conflict (they hold the record for the highest battleground - they've actual fought over a mountain glacier that was so inhospitable that only a tiny fraction of the casualties were due to combat and not the environment). Being nuclear powers, even the pointless border wars have a strong incentive not to spiral out of control, because if vast amounts of territory were lost, the nuclear option would be considered.

Is this insane? To a degree, yes. Has it worked so far? To a degree, yes. Hopefully someone doesn't screw things up.

about a month ago

California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

dasunt Re:Can we please cann these companies what they ar (288 comments)

Who cares if Uber _is_ a cab company? What moral authority does the state have to stop consenting adults from forming their own contracts and doing business with each other?

As an adult and a cyclist, I would prefer that any vehicle that hits me have the insurance to cover my injuries. Since Uber only has 50k/individual/accident if the driver is between trips, and since Uber has denied liability in similar circumstances, I consider them a risk.

about a month and a half ago

Restoring Salmon To Their Original Habitat -- With a Cannon

dasunt Re:But it's safe! (147 comments)

The dam failures that you linked to were primarily caused by a typhoon that dumped over a meter of water in the area in less than 24 hours. It was pretty clearly a natural disaster that they weren't prepared for.

If a nuclear plant failed due to a natural event that caused a massive amount of water to accumulate in one area, people would be calling for all nuclear plants of every design to be dismantled, and would be saying that nuclear is unsafe.

I'm pointing out the hypocrisy. Banqaio was a massive disaster, killing an estimated 171,000 people, and making millions homeless. Yet we don't see calls to dismantle all dams, or that dams are inherently unsafe.

about 2 months ago

Whole Organ Grown In Animal For First Time

dasunt Re:Wouldn't it be rejected? (77 comments)

I suppose, now that I think about it, they might even be able to eventually grow you a new heart while your body ran on an artificial heart for a bit.

Would you need an artificial heart? Could it be possible to grow another heart somewhere else in the body?

As the new organ matures, then it could be transplanted to replace the existing one.

about 2 months ago

The Evolution of Diet

dasunt Re:Correlation Does Not Imply Causation (281 comments)

Speaking of the idea that we haven't evolved for the modern diet, what about modern exercise, or lack thereof? It's only been in the past few generations that a large percentage of the population have had a mostly inactive lifestyle. We sure didn't evolve under these conditions.

about 2 months ago

Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

dasunt Re:But (191 comments)

Yes, but people still seem to drive like idiots the first time it snows each fall.

about 2 months ago

Daimler's Solution For Annoying Out-of-office Email: Delete It

dasunt Re:Defeats the purpose (232 comments)

Email's strength is that it is asynchronous.

That's the theory. In practice, people seem to treat it like instant messaging.

about 2 months ago

Tesla Removes Mileage Limits On Drive Unit Warranty Program

dasunt Re:So there is a problem... (174 comments)

In Minnesota? Insulated garage doors is $10 of styrofoam. And I've seen lots of detached garages, in warmer climes. But in the cold areas, people don't like to have to run outside to get something from the garage. Everyone would insulate the garage walls as if it were a house wall, and the door would be insulated with PS foam at a minimum.

Currently in Minnesota. My house has a detached garage, and the garage door is not insulated.

Walking around my neighborhood, detached garages are the norm. Most appear to be uninsulated.

about 2 months ago

FCC Mandates Text-to-911 From All US Wireless Carriers

dasunt Re:Changing nature of 911 (80 comments)

911 calls are by nature a conversation, a two-way exchange of details from the caller and suggestions from the operator as the situation unfolds. That will (likely) be lost in a text exchange - what parent will keep texting 'she's not breathing, she's turning blue' to 911 when they are standing by their choking child?

On the other hand, a bystander may be more likely to text than call 911, especially if it's a situation where they don't want their actions known.

about 3 months ago

35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

dasunt Re:Lies and statistics... (570 comments)

I had a lien against my state tax return briefly. It concerned a few grand.

Luckily, I wasn't living in the state at the time, and I could show that I paid the bill off years before. It got worked out rather quickly.

But if they couldn't find me, I'd have had that "debt" for the next several years (until the seven year rule kicked in) completely unaware of it.

about 3 months ago

Greenpeace: Amazon Fire Burns More Coal and Gas Than It Should

dasunt Re:It's a shame (288 comments)

"important things" like walking three miles to and from work and the grocery store instead of spending time on the lake fishing and developing a deeper friendship with my fishing partners?

Or, of course, you could just use this amazing, cheap invention called a bicycle and do the route in an easy 15 minutes.

If you did it twice a day, to and from work, that would be 30 minutes of exercise. Depending on the traffic, it could take very little additional time for your commute.

And since driving a car tends to be a lot more expensive per mile than most people realize, you'd save a decent chunk of change.

about 3 months ago

Report: Nuclear Plants Should Focus On Risks Posed By External Events

dasunt Re:Stylized (133 comments)

Accounted for that.

Do you understand how this works?

18 * 400 = 7,200 reactor-years per accident.

Not too far away from the 10,000 figure.

about 3 months ago

Russia Wants To Replace US Computer Chips With Local Processors

dasunt Re:No, that means it is still being used (340 comments)

Elon Musk is, in the eyes of Energia, a reckless cowboy calling for accidents to happen.

Elon Musk, in the eyes of Energia, is a competitor.

about 4 months ago

2 US Senators Propose 12-Cent Gas Tax Increase

dasunt Re:Good! (619 comments)

So because it's "more expensive in pretty much every other country." One should follow that example to screw "everyone else over." As a point it's $1.42/L($5.32/Gal) Canadian where I am right now, and businesses are already jacking up the prices on everything else.

Where I'm at, it's about US$3.50/Gallon. About $0.50 of that is tax. Also, in my area, that tax (and other taxes and user fees specific to automobile drivers) pay for about a quarter of the cost of roads. The rest is subsidized from non-transportation taxes & fees.

As you can see, if the gasoline tax was increased to cover the full share of the cost of roads, it would make the final cost of gas about $5.00/gallon. That is without figuring out any externalities - such as the 34,000 deaths directly caused each year by automobiles in my country. Or the additional estimated 53,000 early deaths caused by transportation pollution. And that pesky cost of military involvement to reduce oil supply disruptions - while most of our oil comes from Canada, oil is a fungible good, which means any major disruption worldwide will cause gas price shocks.

So while you may think $5.32/gallon is screwing automobile drivers over, I suspect it's too cheap to cover even most of the cost of oil.

about 4 months ago

Google Fit To Curate Steps, Calories, Heart Rate, Other Biometric Data

dasunt Re:Oh yeah - that sounds like a great idea... (53 comments)

There are websites like "" that do the same thing - integrate with various devices, such as Fitbit trackers, Strava, etc.

Rather useful for some people, but also a little worrisome for privacy concerns.

about 5 months ago

Bug In DOS-Based Voting Machines Disrupts Belgian Election

dasunt Re:Paper trail (193 comments)

In the elections I vote in, we have a paper ballot. We then put that ballot through a machine, which either accepts it or rejects it as invalid.

We have the advantages of a paper trail, and the advantages of extremely quick counting.

about 5 months ago

Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

dasunt Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (490 comments)

I'm in Minnesota here, and the bicycle paths, which are used year-round, seem to be holding up a lot better than roads that we repaved at the same time.

In the last year, we've had a low in my area of below -20F (-30C), and a high of around 100F (40C).

The damage to the roads may be accelerated by the freeze/thaw cycle, but don't discount what automobiles do to roads.

about 6 months ago

Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

dasunt Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (490 comments)

OK. Rule 1 - you don't pay road taxes, you don't get to use the road.

In my state, gasoline taxes and related automobile driving fees only pays for a part of road construction, repair, and maintenance.

The rest comes from the general fund for state expenditures, and property taxes seem to fund the majority of local expenditures.

Since damage done to roads is dependent on the weight of the vehicle, it ends up that cyclists actually save the government money, while drivers are effectively subsidized to use their automobiles.

So, since you don't want others to be a leech on society, I expect you'll do the right thing and start cycling, right? Unless you're just a dumb internet troll who can dish it out but can't take it.

about 6 months ago


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