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Startups: the Crazy Ones, the Misfits, the Rebels ... the Dumb Ones

dasunt 100th idiot (33 comments)

The only way I can see these people getting their crazy plans funded is through the 100th idiot effect amidst venture capitalists.

From _Matter_ by Iain M. Banks: "100 idiots make idiotic plans, and carry them out. All but one justly fail. The hundredth idiot whose plans succeeded through pure luck, is immediately convinced he's a genius."

11 hours ago
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Russian Hackers Stole Millions From Banks, ATMs

dasunt Re:Races are different (49 comments)

Now the elephant in the room is, do all the races have exactly the same IQ distribution amongst their population? Test results say no. Need citation? Just look up anything, SAT, GRE, MCAT, police dept entrance exams, fireman exams, military exams, straight IQ tests, anything. The body of evidence is overwhelming.

The body of evidence is overwhelming. IQs have been steadily rising over the past century. The phenomenon even has it's own name: The Flynn Effect.

It seems that for the population as a whole, nurture and not nature has a strong effect on IQ. We have some indications of what that "nurture" may be - nutrition, education, household stability, etc.

So lets not jump on the "some races are naturally dumb" bandwagon quite yet, until we even out the nurture part.of the equation. Until we eliminate food insecurity in poor households, until an inner city school is just as good as a private school, until we've brought livable incomes to all, we should not and can not excuse the problem by saying some races just don't have what it takes.

We need to fix our society, because as it happens, we've set up a class of people (which partially correlates to some racial groups) to more likely fail than succeed. And that's a drain on the present and the future.

11 hours ago
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Virtual Reality Experiment Wants To Put White People In Black Bodies

dasunt Re:Tired of this shit (448 comments)

I just think it would be interesting to see how it affects you psychologically when you are a treated differently by society.

Don't bath or shave for a few days, throw on some dirty tattered clothes and a hat, and otherwise look like a homeless person.

I suspect you'll get some different views of people.

about two weeks ago
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Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

dasunt Re:How is that startling? (413 comments)

Why not include a census question asking people what neighbors they feel they are closest to?

That way, with a few simple rules, it's possible to calculate census areas which are culturally distinct. So a major urban area won't dilute a rural area, a black majority-area won't be diluted by being split up into multiple districts, etc.

about a month ago
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Bicycle Bottle System Condenses Humidity From Air Into Drinkable Water

dasunt Re:Hmmm ... (167 comments)

Agreed. I'm a cyclist, both short and long distance.

I've never had a problem with getting water. A cyclist can easily travel 10 miles an hour, even fully loaded. Its easy enough to refill every few hours. Even if I was in the boondocks, I could carry a water filter and fill up from streams.

I suppose there are places without sources of water for tens of miles, but it's a very rare corner case.

about a month ago
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The Downside to Low Gas Prices

dasunt Re:Stupid, trucks cause the problem (554 comments)

Average snowfall where I'm at is 45.3" (115cm), with 100 days of an inch or more of snow on the ground.

Average high for January is 24F (-4C), average low is 7F (-14C).

about a month ago
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The Downside to Low Gas Prices

dasunt Re:Stupid, trucks cause the problem (554 comments)

It's a huge chicken/egg problem. People don't feel biking is safe, so people don't bike, and thus we don't get safe infrastructure.

about a month ago
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The Downside to Low Gas Prices

dasunt Re:Stupid, trucks cause the problem (554 comments)

I have done the same, in Germany though. None of your mentioned problems whatsoever.

I commute to work, by bike, from an affordable house that's technically in the suburbs (less than a quarter mile from the main city). My commute is 5 to 8 miles (say 8 to 13 km).

This is in the US, in the north where it's snowy. It was a fun week last week, that's for sure. It was below 10F (-10C for everyone else), which wasn't bad - easy enough to dress for. However, for the most part, we're automobile-centric enough that we don't really dress for the weather around here.

That isn't the major issue. Here's the issue. Most of our infrastructure is very auto-centric. I have a few major limited access highways to cross on my commute, and all of them have severely impaired bikeability/walkability. The remaining streets that transverse these highways are optimized to move vehicle traffic quickly. All of which is rather unfriendly to cyclists. In addition, since there's such few streets that transverse the highways, they tend to be used for all traffic - bus routes, delivery trucks, etc.

Now I can cut over to side streets for part of my route, and I've done so, but there's the remaining issue - all these vehicle-optimized roads have encouraged fast driving and the idea that roads are for cars. At every intersection, I must slow down, regardless if I have a stop sign or not, because people will tend to try to roll through the stops, and in winter conditions, they can't stop in time. If they ever do kill me, odds are that won't face any legal repercussions.

Add in the occasional bit of road rage with drivers literally threatening to mow you down with their cars, and you may understand that the United States isn't that bike friendly.

about a month ago
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The Downside to Low Gas Prices

dasunt Re:The Highway Trust Fund (554 comments)

If the money was used as originally intended - to fund building and maintenance of the Interstate highway system - it would be brimming with cash. Instead, it's also being used for lots of other projects, like mass transit, bicycle paths, and landscaping for roads. About a quarter of the income from the HTF goes to non-highway projects.

What's your source for this?

I'm not seeing the numbers adding up. According to the Washington Post " In 2013, the trust fund disbursed $50 billion to states â" $43 billion for roads and $7 billion for mass transit, reports the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)."

But what was the revenue? This claims $30 billion from the gas tax in 2013.

That's a $13 billion shortfall.

State and local spending on roads is even worse.

You may want to do more research in this area. The 4th power rule for vehicle weight/damage to roads seems to indicate that cyclists cause negligible wear to the roads. Induced demand will explain why building more roads won't necessarily make traffic better. And the externalities of vehicle pollution, if you look into that, should be considered yet another subsidy to motor vehicle travel.

about a month ago
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A Smart Electric Bike: Taking the Copenhagen Wheel Out For a Spin

dasunt Re:Doesn't solve the problem (136 comments)

Also bikes are quite light and do not have the weight on the wheels needed to get a good grip.

Technology has marched on. Right now, you can buy an off-the-shelf bike with 4" or 5" tires that will run at 8 PSI. Studded versions are available.

Trust me, traction ain't the problem.

about 2 months ago
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A Smart Electric Bike: Taking the Copenhagen Wheel Out For a Spin

dasunt Re:Doesn't solve the problem (136 comments)

Being someone who rides a motorcycle, weather has a very large part of how stress free a ride might be. Bicycle? same thing; as the temperature hits 45 degrees or so - you just get cold. That's it.

Minnesotan here. Lowest temp so far I've faced on my morning commute is 26F. I still haven't broken out the heavy winter gear.

A lot of it is how you dress. A wicking underlayer, an insulating middle layer, and a wind-blocking outer layer goes pretty far.

Unlike a motorcycle, a bicyclist has two advantages - less speed, and more energy output. Both help contribute to staying warmer.

about 2 months ago
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Imagining the Future History of Climate Change

dasunt Re:History is written by the victors (495 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.

about 2 months ago
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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 3 months ago
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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 3 months ago
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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 3 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago
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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 4 months ago

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