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Everything posted by Area54

  1. I have noticed that a high proportion of posts and threads in the Science forum are only marginally about science. Members seem to take more pleasure out of arguing politics, or maybe its just about arguing. At any rate, I've resolved to upvote every thread OP that is science oriented and you are the first recipient of this decision.:) The post is independently worthy of an upvote anyway, since it is quite fascinating. The size alone is remarkable, but the insights into the evolution of eukaryotes provided by its "membranous pouch" containng the organisms DNA are intriguing. I look forward to more revelations following further study.
  2. Two disparate points to be made here: You mention "political, philosophical ideolgy (sic)" and later talk about my version of "political philosophy", with the implication that I have been promoting such and you have a low opinion of them. If that was your aim I am perplexed, as I have neither promoted, nor even mentioned such a philosphy/ideology. My point has been that you take too narrow a view of victims, focusing only on the immediate situation and disregarding the consequences of actions taken to deal with it. Your supposedly pragmatic approach can and does lead to more victims in future. I have explained a couple of times, but not - it seems - with sufficient clarity. I'll try again: If, in attempting to combat the acts of criminals and terrorists we employ methods that we would condemn when perpetrated by them, then we: Lose the moral high ground Give tacit acceptance to their use of those methods and in the case of terrorism, act as recruiting agents for the terrorists You argue that torturing a suspect, even though it stands little chance of success, is worth doing since it might just prevent the act of terrorism. I argue that torturing a supsect will recruit new terrorists, thereby exposing even more people to risk. Your argument is well intentioned, but limited in scope and therey by flawed. Your approach may, with a large element of luck, produce the greatest good for a small group today, but increases the harm to a much larger number in the future. This is not what you want, but it is what your approach ensures.
  3. That is a superficially neat way of avoding my observation that your attitude contributes to the expansion of terrorism. The consequences of the war on terror demonstrates those consequences. I shall be happy to answer your question once you have addressed my assertion. In the meantime, declaring a war on terror was a short term, rhetorical victory, and a long term, ignorant disaster. That is a remarkable admission. You feel qualified to pontificate on terrorism without having the background knowledge to understand the source and maintenance of the most prominent form of terrorism, at least in regard to its impact on the West. The emotive tone of several of your posts gives the impression that you have been moved by the horror of terrorism and have latched on to a simplistic solution to one aspect of it. The desire to combat it is understandable, but disregarding its inherent immorality, its demonstrated ineffectiveness, and its long term effect of expanding terrorism, makes it a very poor choice. One that exacerbates the problem you wish to eliminate.
  4. I think you are correct. That is what most people would do. However, in my experience most people lack the strategic perspective, which I think essential, in making such decisions. I choose not to condone an action that has a high probability of spawning an expansion of terror and corrupt behaviour. It is this attitude that has contributed to the continuation and expansion of terrorist organisations. @Peterkin has addressed this concisely.
  5. You are limiting your consideration of the consequences of the torture to the immediate problem. I understand their is considerable evidence that many recruits to terrorist organisation have been motivated by what they consider to be maltreament of relatives/frieds/etc. Even if the torture results in saving lives it may prolong, or extend the conditions that prompted that immediate threat, leading to more deaths and suffering in the long term. When we couple that with the very low probability of extracting useful information from the torture then the act becomes doubtful in the extreme. Not my counter argument. If you think otherwise please point where I have indulged in an absolute. (I awlays avoid them like the plague.) You will be familiar with the saying, "Today's terrorist is tomorrow's freedom fighter." And, "near positive guilt"? You are saying you were not using an absolute? So, to clarify, you are arguing that despite the uncertain guilt, the highly questionable results of torture and its illegality, you would remain in favour of torturing the suspect? Please not that a request for clarification is not the equivalent of affirmation of a contrary view, so let's not go down that rabbit hole.
  6. You appear to deal in absolutes: There is a presumption that you can (absolutely) determine the relative "evil" of an action. That you can, therefore, absolutely distinguish which is worse. That you can absolutely be sure that a chosen action will produce only the intended consequence. And that the action you are seeking to prevent would, without doubt, have had exactly the consequences you predicted. If I had that level of certainty about events I would make a fortune at the bookmakers. These absolutes are far removed from the real world. Real world moral decisions are, I suggest, rarely as simplistic. A complex situation requires careful and nuanced contemplation, not gung-ho, absolutist action. History suggests that approach rarely has a good outcome.
  7. Perhaps you have already done this, but here is the result of a Google Scholar search for " resistance to leaf rust of isogenic wheat lines review" Google Scholar Result You could start sifting the 12, 600 (more, or less) results. Note: it might help if you said what level your study is at.
  8. For some of them you could almost certainly claim self-defence.
  9. I suppose trying to define life is entertaining. It probably also has some value in encouraging an appreciation of the inter-relationship of metabolic cycles and replication processes in organic life, or in nested sub-routines within y'our posited AIs. But ultimately the attempt seems based on the flawed belief that life is a binary expression: things are either life, or they are not life. No in between. The reality is surely more nuanced than that. There is a transition from non-life to life, a spectrum of the expresson of the aspects of life. Let's invest our effort in discerning the character of those aspects, rather than debating if there are enough to the right kind in place to consider the entity possessing them to be alive.
  10. Yes. It is disappointing, as he may well have a valid and valuable perspective, or at least one that is interesting and worthy of attention. But we both know that claims of excellence on this forum often fall foul of the Dunning-Kruger effect. A concise summary of his argument would bring clarity and encourage some to explore his thoughts in more detail. However, since he seems to have self-detonated, I imagine that will never happen.
  11. People buy from people they like. This is a generlisation, but you can readily find research articles confirming the tendency at your university library, or on Google Scholar. It is also true whether you are buying a new washing machine, a political argument, or a social thesis. With that in mind you may wish to reflect on how much your agressive, self-righteous, discourteous posts are making you popular. "Aha", I hear you say, "I am not here to be liked." But why are you here? Normally one makes an argument in the hope of persuading others of the value, or wisdom of that argument. Being rude and overbearing does not encourage the reader to read associated posts with an open mind - not when their author has shown so much evidence of having a closed one. The good news is that most of us grow out of teenage angst, but if you are already in your thirties I fear time may be running out for you. Now, back on the ranch, how about a concise exposition of your thesis?
  12. "Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." Sir Winston Churchill
  13. The indifference to the suffering of the Irish during the potato famine was reprehensible. Characterising that as genocide is arguably too strong. The same indifference to suffering was a commonplace attitude in that period. Rather than indifference it might be more accurate to describe it as acceptance that bad things happen. I refer you to the writings of the Reverend Thomas Malthus who felt overpopulation and subsequent widespread deaths, through disease, famine and war were inevitable aspects of life. His ideas were widely respected by the middle and upper classes of Georgian and Victorian England. Would we approve such indifference today? Supposedly not, but I suspect much of the anguish over the plight of the poor anywhere on the planet is superficial. Many people, of all races, creeds and nationalities, do outstanding work to support the downtrodden, but most of us are too focused on our own problems, be they large or small. Just out of interest, have the Swiss apologised to the world for facilitating the laundering of drug money through Swiss bank accounts? I think at least as many have died from drugs, as from the Irish potato famine. Perhaps you are familiar with the English saying, "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones". We might all get on a little better if we looked at how solve problems rather than finding the best way of condemning others. Something for you to think about and, perhaps, comment upon.
  14. You had best contact the BBC and explain they have been doing it incorrectly for more than half a century. Bob Mckenzie, renowned psephologist, must be turning in his grave. Or, perhaps more appropriately, swinging from side to side.
  15. You seem to have missed my point. You indicated confusion, or uncertainty about pendulums, and left versus right. My observation - there are two kinds of people, those who understand the strength and weaknesses of dichotomies and those who don't - was intended to make an incisive point. Simplifying matters into an either-or choice can facilitate discussions; that is a strength of dichotomies. It can also mislead by over-simplifying and ignoring important collateral issues. And while I regret my message was not expressed clearly enough for you, I note that, as @dimreeprpoints out, you cannot reasonably deny the notion that some people may understand dichotomies and some may not. Perhaps you should re-read my post. These are the relevant words, with the key qualifier emboldened. "Something as complex as politics and government requires, in a democracy, to be simplified to the point where the majority of the electorate can understand the issues." Do you feel all people in a democracy are equally capable of understanding the complexities of government? Surely not? I've put the key words in your post in bold. Last time I looked at a pendulum, and all the many others time before then, the one distinguishing fearure of all of them was that they "went back and forth". As to accomplishing the same thing "with less expense and noise", I don't think I said anything that denied (or supported) that point of view. That would depend upon local, regional, national, continental and global concerns. It would depend upon past history, upon anticipated futures, upon current theories of government and of society. Surely you are aware of at least some of the positions adopted by the left, or the right, in your own context? Or, were you actually asking for a primer in basic (dare I say it?) political dichotomies? I'm sure people do ask what it means, from time to time. I've always thought the meaning clear and incisively delivered. Your first question in this quote does appear rhetorical. If it is not then a moment's reflection should provide you with the answer. If not, I'm here all week.
  16. There are two kinds of people: those who understand the strengths and weakbesses of dichotomies and those who don't. Something as complex as politics and government requires, in a democracy, to be simplified to the point where the majority of the electorate can understand the issues. In an adversarial form of government, such as that in the UK, the simplification falls naturally into identifying two sides. Left and right, conservative and liberal, for and against. The limitations of this approach are often apparent. I see little evidence that the "ultimate destination" lies any further ahead (for the most part) than the date of the next election. On the plus side, we may reflect on Churchill's words: "Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." The pendulum, representing the swing from left to right then back again, seems a pictorial way of reflecting the change of heart of a portion of the electorate when they realise the change didn't work out as they expected. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
  17. The blatant obfuscation and ambiguity in your posts points the troll detector in your direction. Those who wish to imply ethical failings in others have an obligation to be specifc and not adopt the pseudo-angst of an offended teen.
  18. You mention origami. There was an Institute of Origami in my home town, back in the 70s, but it folded.
  19. There seems to be an implicit suggestion in several posts that @WendyDarling is arguing in bad faith. Having read all the exchanges carefully it seems to me more a matter of lack of competence on the part of WendyDarling. There is an inability to offer clear definitions, to the extent that they seem to quite lack an understanding of the characteristics of definitions. Equally they appear to have a distorted picture of how science works and what some of its findings actually are. Despite their claim to be using logic their posts are replete with more wooly thinking than I've seen for a long time. It's a pity, because they might actually have something worthy of discussion, if only they could present it in a consistent and coherent way.
  20. Apology readily accepted. I found your post surprising, as it was quite out of character for you. Thanks.
  21. In the first example the author states "However there is too little information currently available to suggest that this site has any responsibility for the differential performance of skeletal muscles with age". I suggest that "differential performance" suggests a quantitative difference on some spectrum of performance. For example an aged muscle deliver 20% less power than a young muscle, or its twitch rate is reduced by 35%. A "different performance", in contrast, would suggest a qualitative difference. I know nothing about muscle physiology, so this example is by way of a guess - a qualitative difference might relate to appearance of different waste products. A similar argument seems applicable to the other examples. I offer this as a possible solution without being 100% convinced myself.
  22. OK. Thank you for the reply, though I could have done without the scathing sarcasm. I was interested in your comments and wanted to be sure I understood your thinking. Perhaps I'll take a remedial reading comprehension course.
  23. The article you have linked to is very poor quality. Why have you not at least gone to wikipedia, which is typically very reliable for basic facts like this? This would at least have answered half of your initial question. Since, I've now pointed you there I hope there is no harm in telling you what you will find. Proxima Centauri b and Proxima Centauri c are the names given to two planets that have been orbiting the star Proxima Centauri. @TheVathas not only given you hints to the second part of your question he has basically given you the answer - assuming you know basic trigonometry.
  24. My recollection is that research in the last decade has suggested the Earth may not be engulfed. This as a combination of two factors: the sun will not expand as much as earlier estimates suggested; Earth's orbit will increase slightly, as you noted for Mars, because of the reduced solar mass. I haven't located the relevant paper(s) yet, but will post if I can track it/them down.
  25. Would you restrict that to Piers? Or do you just see Jeremy as an outlier on a leftist spectrum? He was, after all generally consistent in his positions, which is not typically 'nuttish'.
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