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Comment Life imitating art (Score 1) 264

Firefly's backstory contains an element about the US and China being the powers that drove into space:

"The show blended elements from the space opera and Western genres, depicting humanity's future in a manner different from most contemporary science fiction programs in that there are no large space battles. Firefly takes place in a multi-cultural future, primarily a fusion of Western and East Asian cultures, where there is a significant division between the rich and poor. As a result of the Sino-American Alliance, Mandarin Chinese is a common second language; it is used in advertisements, and characters in the show frequently use Chinese words as curses. According to the DVD commentary on the episode "Serenity", this was explained as being the result of China and the United States being the two superpowers that expanded into space."

-- Wikipedia on Firefly

Comment Re:Rediculous (Score 3, Insightful) 209

"Tech giants have been particularly successful in getting their voices heard. They were originally reluctant to play the lobbying game, but soon realised that was a mistake: Microsoft’s prolonged legal battle with the Department of Justice over whether its was abusing its dominant position in the software market, which was finally settled in 2001, persuaded the whole industry that it pays to have friends in Washington. Since then tech companies have turned into some of America’s most assiduous lobbyists and most enthusiastic employers of Washington insiders." -- The Economist, "Dark Arts", September 17th, 2016

It was comical, really.

Submission + - Cells can choose burning fat over burning glucose when sick (

Beeftopia writes: A recent paper published in the journal Cell finds cells can preferentially choose burning either fat or glucose depending on the nature of the infection (viral or bacterial). This seems to have implications for obesity research, if cells can be chemically prodded into preferentially burning fat.

The saying, "Feed a cold, starve a fever" was somewhat borne out by this study. The article states, "mice with bacterial infections that were fed glucose died. But infected mice fed a version of glucose that they could not metabolise lived. Again, those results were nearly reversed in mice suffering from a viral infection... [In bacterial infection] burning fat protected infected mice... Most animals instinctively respond to infection by cutting back on food."

Comment This is why the polls might not be accurate (Score 3, Interesting) 523

Trump supporters are absolutely vilified online and in the main stream media ("deplorables"). Yet a sizable segment does support Trump. This might suggest the polls are not accurate because people don't want to be publicly state they support Trump, when in fact they actually do.

The Brexit polling was an example. And this is just one factor. Another factor could be that with increased use of social media, people are getting their RDA of human interaction, and are less inclined to speak with anonymous callers on the telephone, thus skewing polls again.

Comment Protect their IP? (Score 2) 81

From the link: "HP said it will continue to use security features that "protect our IP..."

What IP is being protected exactly, by preventing consumers from using cheaper, third party ink?

They (again) got caught with their hand in the cookie jar and are dropping buzzwords to draw attention away from their anti-competitive practices.

Comment Maybe if we can outlaw bribery (Score 1) 33

The way politicians work is via quid pro quos. A large donor gives them (specifically a shell organization) money or other enticements, and they provide favorable legislation for the donor. I don't think there were entities large enough to rival countries back in the days of the Constituion, so this threat to the republic is a new one. There was that Oxfam study earlier this year which stated 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world. WalMart has more revenue than Norway's GDP, for example.

So, I don't think the Founders saw this coming. Might need a carefully crafted amendment to deal with this issue.

Comment Re:Not a nice way to die (Score 5, Informative) 429

Asphyxiation via C02 is an absolutely HORRIBLE way to die, regardless of the creature. There's a reason Carbogen (C02/Oxygen mix) is used to induce anxiety to test out anxiolytics. I mean I get that they need to solve the infestation problem but can't we choose a method that isn't also a completely inhumane method?

This is just not true. Low concentrations of CO2 can cause distress. High concentrations are fast and painless.

There have been lake and volcanic outgassing events which release massive amounts of CO2 and it kills people and animals where they stand, in seconds.

See the Lake Nyos incident to see how CO2 kills.

And here's the final report on the incident from the USGS (PDF): "In this incident, asphyxia resulted from the displacement of normal atmosphere (approximately 21 percent oxygen) by a cloud of carbon dioxide gas. Under such circumstances, victims will literally "drop in their tracks" after taking a few breaths and experience no feeling of suffocation. The actual mechanism of death is believed to be a paralysis of the respiratory centers in the brain by very high concentrations of carbon dioxide. Lethal levels of carbon dioxide are in the range of 8 to 10 percent (Sittig, 1985)." - pp. 18-19

Also: "Additionally, many victims were found in their beds still covered by bed clothing. Victims found outside appeared to have collapsed suddenly without substantial movement. Animals were described as "dead in their tracks" in herds rather than dispersed." - page 17

An accepted humane way to kill lab animals is with high concentrations of CO2. The key is "high concentrations."

This concept, of dry ice generating carbon dioxide which flows down into holes at high concentrations, is actually brilliant and humane.

Comment Let me be honest (Score 1, Troll) 343

I don't really care about more surveillance if it means people's lives will be saved. I've concluded the people who have the most to lose from increased surveillance are drug users, pedophiles and those paranoid of the government. I'm willing to be inconvenienced if it saves someone else's life.

Yeah, I get the typical standard response of wrapping oneself in the 13-starred early American flag wearing a 3 pointed hat, and shouting, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety!" I'm not giving up any freedom. I'm still covered by the Constitution.

If there is a compelling national security interest to tap my phone or monitor my communications - I won't like it (obviously) but I'm okay with it. But there isn't so I feel comfortable communicating embarrassing information and even communicating thoughtcrime from time to time. But if someone did get on the government's national security radar, I'd want the government to be able to surveil them in the hope that it might save lives. And in saying I'm okay with it for another means I must accept that risk/inconvenience for myself. Because, like I said, I'm willing to be inconvenienced if it saves someone else's life.

Having said all that, I do respect Edward Snowden for his courage and for bringing this out into the light, and not letting the program run away. I wouldn't want to see NSA employees using the infrastructure to gather LOVEINT, i.e. stalk ex-girlfriends, or politicians using the infrastructure to gather opposition research and the like. On the other hand I personally wouldn't hire Snowden because I get the impression if he saw something that went against his grain, he'd divulge company secrets in a heartbeat.

Comment Re:Won't work in America (Score 1) 630

I have an acquaintance - an engineer with an engineering degree - who married a woman from a poor background. His big complaint? While he was working and saving, she'd (marginally employed) spend money continuously on idiotic trinkets. He tried to teach her the importance of saving and fiscal prudence but it was lost on her. They eventually divorced.

Comment Re:Pile it on.. (Score 2) 306

it creates a chilling effect on dissent and discourse

What creates chilling effect on dissent and discourse is tyranny and political correctness. When Dissent is chanted down by the Mob crying "racism" or "Bigotry" or "sexist" or any number of other terms that are designed for ONE thing, to quell the voices of those opposed to the march towards tyranny. ONLY Approved voices need to speak, all others will be punished mercilessly.

Agreed. However, posting PII/PHI of private citizens should be illegal. Just as shouting "Fire" in a crowded theater is illegal. Because the social and personal cost is greater than any conceivable benefit.

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I'm still waiting for the advent of the computer science groupie.