Search found 46 matches

by Abgrund
Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:54 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Traffic congestion
Replies: 72
Views: 9345

Re: Traffic congestion

LaserGuy wrote:An alternative measure that has proven to be extremely effective and is considered to be more fair (in the sense that tolls tend to be a regressive tax)...


What kind of a moron would consider that a regressive tax is fair? It's the exact opposite of fair.
by Abgrund
Sat May 28, 2011 1:39 am UTC
Forum: News & Articles
Topic: Rape legal in NYC if the victim is sufficiently drunk...
Replies: 236
Views: 15825

Re: Rape legal in NYC if the victim is sufficiently drunk...

About 90% of rape complaints are eventually proven false. A lot of them are just like this: a woman gets drunk, has sex, and later regrets it. Weeks or even years later she makes an accusation. This can make it very difficult for the defendant to prove his innocence. The two defendants in this case...
by Abgrund
Sat May 28, 2011 12:07 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Representative Democracy and the voting criteria
Replies: 19
Views: 7314

Re: Representative Democracy and the voting criteria

By the time it comes to a popular election, the real questions are already quite settled. The voter does not get to choose who they want to vote for; they get to choose among two or three carefully pre-selected masks for the plutocracy to wear.
by Abgrund
Sat May 28, 2011 12:02 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Simulated Consciousness & Free Will (Merge)
Replies: 81
Views: 8189

Re: Simulated Consciousness & Free Will (Merge)

I've read about Libet's experiments, and I think the consensus is that they were fatally flawed. I'm not familiar with the more recent work. There is one study I read about using dual-brain individuals (I'm sorry, I can't remember who did it or when) that was supposed to demonstrate a similar point....
by Abgrund
Fri May 27, 2011 10:57 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Simulated Consciousness & Free Will (Merge)
Replies: 81
Views: 8189

Re: Simulated Consciousness & Free Will (Merge)

So the sequence is Readiness Potential > Choice > Action ?

The question then follows: can this sequence be interrupted? Once the Readiness Potential appears, can the action still be aborted, with or without conscious choice?
by Abgrund
Fri May 27, 2011 10:48 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Transhumanism
Replies: 145
Views: 14771

Re: Transhumanism

A situation where the total amount of "intelligence" on the planed doubles every 2 years quickly goes away from any reasonable prediction of what could happen. Depends on how long that rate is sustained; in real life, of course, nothing is ever that pure and simple. But your point about b...
by Abgrund
Fri May 27, 2011 8:37 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Simulated Consciousness & Free Will (Merge)
Replies: 81
Views: 8189

Re: Simulated Consciousness & Free Will (Merge)

Basically, our brain initiates actions before we're even counscious that we want to perform them. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. It's just reflexes. When you hear an unexpected loud noise, you jump or turn your head without ever thinking about it. The interesting thing is that people can r...
by Abgrund
Fri May 27, 2011 8:09 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Transhumanism
Replies: 145
Views: 14771

Re: Transhumanism

Well for starters i was commenting on a topic they started and at this point ourselves are the only good example of a sentient intelligence anyways, so we have to model AI off of ourselves. And secondly, the human brain is by far the most powerful processor in the world. It is perfectly capable of ...
by Abgrund
Fri May 27, 2011 4:28 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Colonialism and Education
Replies: 23
Views: 3133

Re: Colonialism and Education

Re South Africa, the whites were actually there first in much of the country. The migrating Bantu arrived a bit later. The original inhabitants were Capoid (black, but not Negro) (see Hottentot) and pretty much got exterminated by Caucasian and Negro alike.
by Abgrund
Fri May 27, 2011 4:23 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Simulated Consciousness & Free Will (Merge)
Replies: 81
Views: 8189

Re: Simulated Consciousness & Free Will (Merge)

"Free Will" is a term without meaning; it cannot be defined in any way which is not purely self-referential. All that exists, or can exist, or need exist, is the experience of choice . "Consciousness" is a term with very little meaning. It is an act of supreme arrogance to think ...
by Abgrund
Thu May 26, 2011 9:29 am UTC
Forum: General
Topic: AOL, where are you now?
Replies: 4
Views: 1008

AOL, where are you now?

God DAMN it, I need a new coaster. It's been years, AOL... is there no more love?
by Abgrund
Wed May 25, 2011 8:32 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Transhumanism
Replies: 145
Views: 14771

Re: Transhumanism

SecondTalon wrote:If you can't explain something to your grandmother and a 5 year old, you don't understand it.

I have little doubt that you don't know anything you can't explain to your grandmother and a 5 year old.
by Abgrund
Wed May 25, 2011 4:08 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Transhumanism
Replies: 145
Views: 14771

Re: Transhumanism

What is your basis for this? Smarter humans are just that: smarter humans. Being smarter doesn't suddenly make you nonhuman, just as human geniuses are no less human than the average person. Why should that change beyond a certain threshold? I should think this would be obvious. Making humans smart...
by Abgrund
Wed May 25, 2011 2:12 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Surviving the rapture (hypothetical)
Replies: 190
Views: 10957

Re: Surviving the rapture (hypothetical)

Dark567 wrote:Peter Singer is right there with him claiming utility is "the one true basis of morals".

Utilitarianism is baloney. But what are you goons doing here babbling about "morals"? The Rapture was like, day before yesterday. Are you posting from Heaven, or not?
by Abgrund
Wed May 25, 2011 2:02 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Transhumanism
Replies: 145
Views: 14771

Re: Transhumanism

Even emulating a human brain requires theoretical breakthroughs, at least in understanding all the fine details of how the human brain works at a hardware level so that you can emulate it. Not to mention emulating all of the interactions between the emulated brain and its environment, if you want a...
by Abgrund
Wed May 25, 2011 1:47 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Transhumanism
Replies: 145
Views: 14771

Re: Transhumanism

The key mistake made by Transhumanists is the assumption that the "Transhuman" will still share purely human values - indeed, they seem generally to assume that the Ttranshuman will be specifically bound to the values of late twentieth-century western civilization. To the Transhuman entity...
by Abgrund
Mon May 23, 2011 2:41 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Nuclear energy
Replies: 545
Views: 79160

Re: Nuclear energy

I mean, does steel really have a huge difference in properties between say -10 and 30 degrees C? Potentially, yes. The shield building probably uses post-tensioned steel tendons, and a large change in temperature could substantially affect the tensile stress in the tendons and also the compressive ...
by Abgrund
Sat May 21, 2011 12:56 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Colonialism and Education
Replies: 23
Views: 3133

Re: Colonialism and Education

Prakash Tandon's "Punjabi Century" is a superb examination of the late nineteenth-century colonial era in India - if you were interested in real history from the viewpoint of a native, and not just a review of politically-known "atrocities".
by Abgrund
Thu May 19, 2011 11:04 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Incorruptible Saints prove God exists - help debunking?
Replies: 28
Views: 6433

Re: Incorruptible Saints prove God exists - help debunking?

I think some Buddist sects look for them, so there's a debunking right there, why would the God of the Catholics preserve a Buddist monk? Why would God want to preserve corpses, in general? Necrophilia? Why not some clear miracle like making a palm tree sprout from the saint's head? God works in my...
by Abgrund
Thu May 19, 2011 10:58 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Earnings Taxes
Replies: 32
Views: 3905

Re: Earnings Taxes

People who work in the city but live outside are still benefiting from the city's services, especially roads. 1% of income may be an excessive tax for this purpose, but the principle is valid.
by Abgrund
Wed May 18, 2011 10:44 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Let's Talk About Energy Production
Replies: 872
Views: 79481

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

If Minerva is correct, the dust would be silicon carbide, and non-flammable. Even if it was straight-up C, it would be carried away along with the cooling gas (He or N2) in the event of any massive intrusion of O2.
by Abgrund
Wed May 18, 2011 10:38 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Nuclear energy
Replies: 545
Views: 79160

Re: Nuclear energy

You won't get 1/3 energy conversion from D-T fusion. About 80% of the fusion energy, IIRC, is carried away by neutrons and is very difficult to recover. So if all global energy came from D-T fusion, and you multiply that 231 kg by as much as 5... There are other ways of enhancing the helium output. ...
by Abgrund
Sat May 14, 2011 6:40 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0896: "ZOmbeis"
Replies: 125
Views: 26712

Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

So while it's entirely possible to have role models of a different gender, race, etc., role models are most effective when they have overcome similar barriers to the ones you're facing. That is precisely the kind of subtle deception that makes this kind of Basic Human Decency an undesirable form of...
by Abgrund
Fri May 13, 2011 9:58 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Alternative Medicine, Psuedoscience, etc.
Replies: 255
Views: 31302

Re: Alternative Medicine, Psuedoscience, etc.

90% of "alternative" medicine is hocus. However, if you try twenty different things, there's an excellent chance that something will help, and in spite of the outrageous price of most of these things you may still be better off than if you went to an allopathic (i.e., real) doctor. However...
by Abgrund
Wed May 11, 2011 9:15 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: About steering human evolution
Replies: 94
Views: 7372

Re: About steering human evolution

... There are various very expensive disorders like cerebral palsy that used to kill people in childhood, or even in infancy, but they now live long enough to not only cost a lot but to pass the genes on. I don't understand why anyone would have an objection to sterilizing people who carry these ge...
by Abgrund
Tue May 10, 2011 10:45 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: What do you think of this quote about "evil"?
Replies: 75
Views: 20789

Re: What do you think of this quote about "evil"?

"All that is essential for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" -Edmund Burke
by Abgrund
Tue May 10, 2011 10:42 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Nuclear energy
Replies: 545
Views: 79160

Re: Nuclear energy

The unique thermodynamic properties of helium make it an ideal medium for turning heat into work. It's perfect for a gas-cooled nuclear reactor (e.g. pebble bed) because it is also transparent to neutrons, chemically inert, and has some effect as a moderator. Unfortunately this would be a quite high...
by Abgrund
Tue May 10, 2011 10:32 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: About steering human evolution
Replies: 94
Views: 7372

Re: About steering human evolution

This will result to point where medical treatment of the broad population is technically and financially impossible and threatening our current lifestyle... It already is. There are various very expensive disorders like cerebral palsy that used to kill people in childhood, or even in infancy, but t...
by Abgrund
Mon May 09, 2011 11:32 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0896: "ZOmbeis"
Replies: 125
Views: 26712

Re: 0896: "Marie Curie"

Interesting that women are only supposed to have female role models, and men are only supposed to have male role models. For that matter, black and white role models are strictly segregated too, at least for men. Basic Human Decency always seeks to widen the divisions between groups - and calls this...
by Abgrund
Mon May 09, 2011 11:20 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: It costs an arm and a leg..or kidney: legalizing organ sales
Replies: 94
Views: 8482

Re: It costs an arm and a leg..or kidney: legalizing organ s

So you'd have to override family consent to have any real impact, and I don't think that would go down very well. I think it would be better than actively harming vendors, but it's still not an easy solution. I have no problem with overriding family consent. It's not like my relatives own my friggi...
by Abgrund
Mon May 09, 2011 12:41 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: It costs an arm and a leg..or kidney: legalizing organ sales
Replies: 94
Views: 8482

Re: It costs an arm and a leg..or kidney: legalizing organ s

What if people were offered a financial incentive to opt-in? No one would be compromising their health by selling their organs, and it wouldn't be limited to kidneys. The majority of people would still live long enough to wear out their own organs and would be a write-off, but the payment needn't be...
by Abgrund
Sun May 08, 2011 9:17 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Women in Academia
Replies: 49
Views: 9135

Re: Women in Academia

Women have all kinds of advantages, both in school and at work, especially if they are good looking, which most young women are. If you think life is hard when you are 20, just wait until 40 - you'll be expected to pull just as hard as a man and your faults are no longer automatically forgiven when ...
by Abgrund
Sun May 08, 2011 7:40 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Let's Talk About Energy Production
Replies: 872
Views: 79481

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

I was under the impression that when the results came in from the first test pebble bed it didn't live up to the promises by a wide margin and was really somewhat disappointing. the idea of wrapping small quantities of the fuel in small really hardy containers seems good though I'm curious if there...
by Abgrund
Sat May 07, 2011 10:52 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Looking for evidence - Male/female differences
Replies: 266
Views: 27917

Re: Looking for evidence - Male/female differences

You're talking by now about the fact that men are generally expected to initiate relationships. That hasn't been the case since the days of patriarchy and arranged marriages. In any relationship arising from the volition of the partners - i.e., for the last couple hundred years or so - initiation h...
by Abgrund
Sat May 07, 2011 10:11 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Nuclear energy
Replies: 545
Views: 79160

Re: Nuclear energy

If we don't use fission technology any more, where will we get technetium from? What about helium? There are four potential sources of helium, all of which are connected to energy production. (Natural gas, uranium fission, hydrogen fusion, and helium-3 fusion) Fusion and mining the moon are a long ...
by Abgrund
Sat May 07, 2011 10:03 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Let's Talk About Energy Production
Replies: 872
Views: 79481

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

I point to pebble bed reactors, which absolutely cannot melt down. Plus, radioactive waste can be used in other forms of reactors as well. Prompt criticality concerns a different kind of safety. Pebble bed reactors are secure against that, provided they don't melt. Some thorium reactor types (liqui...
by Abgrund
Sat May 07, 2011 3:34 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Looking for evidence - Male/female differences
Replies: 266
Views: 27917

Re: Looking for evidence - Male/female differences

If you give someone privileges and special treatment merely because of the circumstances of their birth, they will expect it as a right. In fact, some will inevitably come to believe that they deserve even more. Because they are not completely relieved of all burdens, not completely absolved of all ...
by Abgrund
Sat May 07, 2011 2:54 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Looking for evidence - Male/female differences
Replies: 266
Views: 27917

Re: Looking for evidence - Male/female differences

podbaydoor wrote:Exposed to math courses...and also the social pressures of being women in a traditionally male field.

Absolute nonsense of the most absolute and nonsensical sort. There is nothing male engineering students like better than girls in their classes.
by Abgrund
Sat May 07, 2011 1:12 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Looking for evidence - Male/female differences
Replies: 266
Views: 27917

Re: Looking for evidence - Male/female differences

It's actually easier now for a woman to become an engineer (in that there are organizations, such as the Society for Women Engineers, that exist solely to advocate for and help women become engineers). However, the vast majority of engineering students are still men. Care to explain that, other the...
by Abgrund
Fri May 06, 2011 11:11 pm UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Let's Talk About Energy Production
Replies: 872
Views: 79481

Re: Let's Talk About Energy Production

The biggest advantage of thorium is not its abundance, but the fact that breeding of fissile material can be achieved with a thermal neutron spectrum. This makes it easier to control the chain reaction and to design a reactor that is secure against prompt criticality; in other words, it's safer. The...

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