top How Birds Lost Their Teeth
Every member of a species is an in-between stage. You carry with you mutations in your genes. Yes, useless. Doesn't prevent you from procreating. If you do, your genes will end up in another individual who happens to get another mutation. Perhaps that does something; perhaps it does and it tweaks a protein's specificity. Mutations that don't have an effect now may have one in the future when more mutations build up. Mutations are not directed, occur without purpose (selection is directed: you get offspring or not).
Glucose oxidase (GO) oxidises glucose. That's what it does, in every organism that has it. Glucose oxidase (GO) of a human and a chimp are very similar. Those of a rose and a dandelion to each other too. As their purpose is just to oxidise glucose, it would have been the death of the theory of evolution if a human's GO and one of the plant GO were more similar than that of the chimp's. But that's not the way it is. It is just one of the powerful tests that the theory of evolution passed, and even better provides an explanation for. There certainly is a lack of knowledge how everything evolved; but that's not a problem. The only problem the theory of evolution suffers from is people's lack of understanding, or willingness to take the effort to understand.
Butterflies? They didn't evolve in one generation. The earth is very very old. Insects are the most popular animals. Lots and lots and lots of mutations resulted in a plethora of different species. Amazing, yes. God of any particular flavour required? No.
top Apple Antitrust Case Finds New Consumer Plaintiff
To reap their planned benefits, the law firm representing the plaintiffs could easily handsomely *pay* the volunteer because if the suit were fall through because of the lack of a plaintiff, then there is no victory and only financial loss.
top Gilbert, AZ Censors Biology Books the Old-Fashioned Way
“I’m Catholic; we do not contracept,” Ms. Smith said. “It is a grave sin.” By including those pages in the curriculum, she added, “you have violated my religious rights.”
Assuming that contraception is a sin, is reading about how it works a sin?
Killing is a sin. Reading about killing is a sin?
What is a sin and what is not is not up to Ms. Smith to decide for others, just for herself. The page didn't put her on contraception, so her rights don't appear to have been violated.
Religion is a hobby; something you do in your spare time. Your hobby shouldn't interfere with other people's lives.
top Washington Dancers Sue To Prevent Identity Disclosure
If your deity has all the info already?
If your deity doesn't want to divulge the information, you shouldn't be asking the government for it, should you?
You can always pray for Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2 etc. Your deity will know for whom the prayers are meant and will change his plan, just for you.
top Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology
"Consider the pictures that I link below --- to the Conservatives they are totally inexcusable. On the other hand, to the Liberals, those are consider *MEAT*"
Which is a slight. Just like the pictures in the study, this sentence reveals your political orientation. Plus your (lack of) mental capabilities and lack of honesty. You don't have data on how well liberals agree with this (I doubt the number of liberals in favour of 24 week term abortions is very high). Also, the background of the pictures is lacking. They could be foetuses died in the womb for all we know.
Having said that, it is conservatives that are responsible for the relatively high number of abortions in the US. In many other countries, teens have access to (oral) contraceptives. Religion (a form of delusion more prevalent among conservatives) keeps people from making a rational decision and keeps the abortion rates high.
about a month and a half ago
top Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease
It would be quite disrespectful to people with an open mind, willingness to change that mind in view of facts and solid reasoning, and honestly discuss their own and the other persons view if the same courtesy were extended to those that (like Ham) are not willing to let themselves be reasoned with (Ham said that there was nothing that could convince him that he was wrong).
top High Speed Evolution
Perhaps because people like you refer to them as "nuts" and dismiss their views as "ridiculous", when you clearly don't even understand what their views are.
Their views are not hard to understand. It is hard to understand why they are held, failing the reality check (comparison with what we find in nature).
Christian (and Muslim) fundamentalists do not deny that evolution occurs. There is clear and obvious evidence that it does, and they accept that. What they do NOT accept is that evolution can lead to the emergence of new species, and (more importantly) is the sole explanation for the existence of humans. There is strong evidence that they are wrong,
There is none. Feel free to come up with it instead of remaining silent on it.
I'll give you evidence that what christian/muslim fundamentalist say is wrong: ERVs (endogenous retro virus). Viruses that end up in the DNA of germ lines are passed on from generation to generation. As it turns out, chimps have them at exactly the same location as we humans have. Chance of that occurring by chance: zero. Simple explanation? Animals procreate. You can learn more about it here:
There are no black people and white people and yellow people because some god wanted a colourful species. We evolve, like any other animal. Those living in the Andes/Tibet have mutations helping them to deal with low oxygen levels, and they're not the only humans genetically adapted to the place they live.
There is tons of evidence for evolution, independent that scientists have it right (e.g. the fossil record says the same thing as the DNA record. Geological evidence shows the earth is old, so there is time for evolution).
There is fossil evidence, and genetic evidence, for "macro-evolution", but we have never actually observed the emergence of a new species except in the case of bacteria, and even in that case it was due to artificial human-applied selective pressure. There is nothing that we know "beyond the shadow of a doubt". You don't convince people that appeal to absolutes by appealing to them yourself. There is at least a shadow of a doubt that the Sun will come up tomorrow morning.
Yes, but then my bet is that the sun will be there tomorrow when I wake up, and those books are rubbish as you can find out by reading them (Koran: allah tells the sun when to rise? Earth is a rotating sphere: the sun rises at any moment, there is nothing the sun can do about that. No god would claim authorship of those books.
top No Nobel For Nick Holonyak Jr, Father of the LED
Correction: The Peace prize is awarded by a Norwegian committee, not by the committee that awards the other Nobel prizes.
top Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk
Imagine we live in the stone age, (major) religion not having been invented yet. The two of us are out in the wild.
You have found an apple and think, that would be nice for breakfast. In the morning, you wake up, and the apple is gone. You feel hungry, but I don't.
The next night you wake me up and say, let's go hunting. I notice that the firestone axe I worked on for over 2 weeks is in your belt. When I ask you for it, you won't give it back.
I develop a new insight: Taking stuff from another person isn't a good thing.
Back at the tribe, someone irks me. I plant my (spare) axe deeply into that person's body and toss him outside the camp to avoid stench. Problem solved. I'm the last one to go to sleep. When I go to my fur rug, I hit someone's foot. That person wakes up grumpily, grabs his axe and tries to kill me.
I develop a new insight: Arbitrarily killing another person is not a good thing. It could happen to me.
This suggests that morals develop as soon as brain functions develop, possible future consequences can be understood, and future actions of others can be predicted and controlled. Religion isn't the source of those morals. Religion certainly helps to maintain them. If I'm strong and you're weak, religion gives you some control over me: Don't kill me, or the god Faket will punish you for it. Hmmm, I could easily crush you, and while I don't mind crushing you, I don't want to be crushed by Faket. So, I leave you alone and you get to reproduce.
Here's a fairness study for monkeys
http://www.upworthy.com/2-monk... ... ext?c=upw1
Here's another article on altruistic behaviour in monkeys
http://www.madisonmonkeys.com/... starting with this; "Previous work in our laboratory(1) had demonstrat- ed that most rhesus monkeys refrained form operating a device for securing food if this caused another monkey to suffer an electric shock.".
Morals are not a feature exclusive to humans, and with the above stone age scenarios, the 'god-tells-human(s) about what is moral and what is not' hypothesis remains unsubstantiated speculation. And if your source is a religious book that says that people should be stoned for wearing cloth made of two types of fiber, how much time do you need to realise that book (and that god) is a human fabrication?
top Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk
Atheists are lazy/efficient. It doesn't take much to show that a religious book contains an error, something that can be proven wrong without doubt. Combine that with the premise of the religious followers for that book that everything in that book is true and the word of their god, and the conclusion is that the religion is BS. After you've done that for a couple of religions, you get the picture and don't bother with checking each and every further religion. If there's news of evidence for a god, it will make the news. Do you think that Vatican would hide it if there were a new message from god, after 2000 years that the boss of the Vatican didn't show up?
An atheist will take your word for it that you had a ham/cheese sandwich for lunch. For an atheist to believe something extraordinary, it takes extraordinary evidence. If not even a shred of evidence, is offered, yes, the atheist draws his conclusion. The number of possible unsupported assertions is probably infinite; who'd bother to waste his time on that?
top Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk
When a relative dies, christians (etc.) cry That would be illogical. They should be happy, their relative has gone to heaven! And while it may take a couple of years, they'll be seeing that relative again, right? Then why the tears? The coping mechanism (delusion) doesn't work very well in the beginning.
top Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?
No need to tap, nor to look. The phone vibrates when you have to move direction, different for left and right.
top Put A Red Cross PSA In Front Of the ISIS Beheading Video
Non sequitur. (If you believed your post was of such good quality, why did you post anonymously).
The killing of Foley was propaganda. What I proposed was a similar yet different angle as the Main Topic, which in my case is: just make their propaganda backlash. Come to think of it, it would be quite easy to put the scene (cropped. Top of jumpsuit with Foley and the nutter with a shawl next to him) on a T-shirt with the two labels hero and nutcase on it. With the colours (blue sky, orange jumpsuit, black nutter), it could easily be not very graphic yet quite recognisable. I would like it if a boatload of such T-shirts were produced and worn. It would be a great protest.
The T-shirt could have a QR label on it. If a conversion on the T-shirt is started, it would be easy to get people to a website with the explanation.
top Put A Red Cross PSA In Front Of the ISIS Beheading Video
Put a text label next to the guy on the left reading "hero". Explain why: A man facing his death like Foley did; I don't think I could have handled it like that.
Put a text label to the guy on the right reading "nutcase who believes in nonsense, I'll explain why now". - Explain that the sun is 150 million kilometers from the sun, and that the sun doesn't sink in a mud pool. - Explain that the earth rotates about the sun, how this causes the sun to rise at some place on earth at any time. So, there is no deity that tells the sun when to rise.
Point out the surahs in the koran where the two stupid assertions are made.
Then point out that the guy who wrote surahs in the koran wasn't aware of this knowledge, so the koran is not the word of god (and no, it is not misinterpretation. The koran itself says it is clear and unambiguous).
I don't think IS would like to see Foley labeled as hero and explained why the anonymous coward (why hide your face if you believe you're doing something noble?) is nuts in an easy to understand and verify manner.
As a bonus, you could point out that the knife did what you expect from a knife handled that way. Personally I'd be impressed if he'd prayed him to death. They don't try that. Doesn't work. The deity doesn't exist.
top Magnitude 6.0 Quake Hits Northern California, Causing Injuries and Outages
Join the Quake catcher network of Stanford. You can order a sensor, but your laptop can detect them too.
The detected earthquake
top Knocking Down the Great Firewall of China
Lantern has a crowd funding project running on Indiegogo:
top Patents That Kill
Of course, the people in the country A without patents could read the patents of the people in the other country B (or could copy the patented products themselves because their inventors didn't take their inventions to the grave because they were not willing to let others parasite on their effort). It would be a better comparison if you'd looked at the situation where the people of country A couldn't do that. Oh, wait.
Applicants for patents pay serious money for having a patent application drafted. It gets published after 18 months, usually before the applicant knows before he will be able to secure a patent. Yet, society gets all this information. And you can find it on espacenet.com. With mechanical translator, if you can't read the language. You can download PDFs of it. You can use all the information in there to learn even use it (if the patent has lapsed, or was never applied for in your country). The cost to you, or any company? FREE.
Let me turn this around, the ones who don't use this free information are bad for the economy. I wonder whether that was part of the study.
Anecdotal evidence. I'm a patent attorney and a client wanted to use particular technology but a competitor had a valid patent on it. My client came up with something better. Wouldn't have happened if the other patent hadn't been there. A patent was applied for and society learned about something better.
For software, there shouldn't be patents. I can argue why.
top The NSA's New Partner In Spying: Saudi Arabia's Brutal State Police
What is there to negotiate? Stop shooting and the Israelis will do it too (their excuse is gone too). Near instant peace. Near instant stop of collateral damage.
And the palestinians can spend the money now spent on rockets on more fruitful things like water, food, housing, and their fishermen can spend time fishing etc. After behaving well for a time, the borders with Egypt can be opened and a further improvement of life can be looked forward to.
The above is all easy.
All that has to be done is stop religious nut cases from yelling that allah is on their side (then why do you need rockets; just pray the Israelis to death overnight) and make them realise that allah doesn't exist (given a choice, no soldier will take his favourite religious book to battle over his gun. There are only atheists in foxholes). That is the hard part. Especially in view of this silly idea that the opinion called religion should be treated with respect.
top MIT Combines Carbon Foam and Graphite Flakes For Efficient Solar Steam Generati
"Interesting, but not revolutionary by any means."
To the contrary, it is fucking brilliant.
1) Instead of having to heat up bulk of water (like what you do if you use a boiler), they only heat up the water that is actually going to be converted into steam. So, the start-up time is greatly improved. 2) The steam generated passes through the foam up, where the foam is even hotter. The steam gets heated to a higher temperature, making it more useful to generate power. Another way of looking at the foam, is recognising that it flows in counter current with the heat source, just exactly what you want if you want to transfer heat in the best way.
And the questions you pose? They're more of the engineering type. The direction is determined by the above principle.
As an aside: Instead of water you can use another liquid, such as hexane or something. Reaching high pressures with that should not be a problem.
top Tibetans Inherited High-Altitude Gene From Ancient Human
1. Is a sleight that's not worthy of a reply. Just a glance at TFA shows how much research went into it. And you think you can wave it away without any evidence.
2. Solve it by a process called thinking. Try this: Humans are spread all over the planet (Africa etc.). They'd all have to lose that very gene, except the Tibetans. Odds of that? Probably in the same order of magnitude as the likelihood that a person making statements of this caliber is convinced by reason.