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About PhDP

  • Rank
    Formerly Phil

Profile Information

  • Location
  • Interests
    Listening to classical, reading, board games :P...
  • College Major/Degree
    UQ, Mathematics & Biology
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Evolutionary theory, Theoretical population genetics, Bioinformatics, Computational Chemistry
  • Occupation
    Grad Student
  1. It's hard to blame anti-gun lobbyists for blaming guns, especially since it's far from being an anecdote, and a 9-year-old just died. Just for once, the gun fanatics should have some decency and shut up, people just died, and they won't lose access their precious firearms anyway.
  2. While Ubuntu is improving a lot, I wouldn't say it's better than the other OS (yet), but for science and programming it is. Several scientific libraries just won't work on Windows, or are such a pain to install. I don't want to spend hours trying to install plplot or doxygen when I can do it with a simple click on Ubuntu (and pretty much any Linux distribution). Fair enough. I really hope that Ubuntu, or some other open-source operating system, will eventually replace Windows. I use proprietary software every day (on Linux) and I don't believe in the supremacy of open-source over
  3. I don't know if it's easier, but it's certainly improving faster than any other OS. I tried all versions of Ubuntu since 7.10 and, especially since 10.04, it has been improving very quickly. In 10.10 it's possible to get flash/mp3 support by clicking an option in the installer, and the Ubuntu Software Center can do pretty much everything (installing deb files, packages, ...). It's true that Windows support more software, but in science it's not true, especially in physics and scientific computing. Even 'R' doesn't work 100% on Windows, and I get to use the free Intel compiler
  4. IMHO, we should really stop focusing (and spending millions) on cute animals (most often mammals or birds).
  5. I think it's irrelevant to the present discussion. If banks feel they can't tolerate the burqa for legitimate safety reasons, they can ban it. It's a simple as that. But if a women want to wear a burqa on the street, honestly I doubt it poses a serious threat to anybody. There is often a trade-off between freedom X and freedom Y (of course, not always, I can't see how, for example, banning gay marriages or prostitution increase any freedom). IMO, banning nukes (and guns) is a very minor inconvenient, and significantly increase freedom. I'm very happy to live in a town where I can let
  6. About point #2, credibility and popularity and two very distinct thing. Creationists are far more popular than evolutionary scientists, they're certainly not more credible, and they arguably have more impact on politicians. A so-called "news network" can easily become big, popular enough to scare politicians, and have litte merit as a news organization, even if they get a good story from time to time. Fox isn't a legitimate news network if it doesn't do its job, which is to inform (the "news" part). I'm not sure they do that very well, I'm not sure people who watch Fox news comes out better in
  7. I don't like this part, and the penalty is too high (up to 30 000 euro + 1 year in prison). I agree 100% with ParanoiA here, it's too subjective, and if the husband is threatening to kill his wife if she doesn't wear the burqa, well, it's already illegal. But I must say the thing that infuriates me the most in this law is the "citizenship class" for offending women. It's just incredible to see this kind of thing in the so called "free world".
  8. France bans the burqa... Switzerland bans Minarets... Belgium, Italy and the Netherland are going the same road (some cities in Netherland are trying to cut social benefits from women wearing burqas...)... In Quebec, you can't received government services if your face is covered (yep, a new law). It's ridiculous, in part because it's a clear violation of individual rights, but also because it's completely counterproductive. It's the best way to make Muslims feel unwelcome, and I'm sure it will only slow down the inevitable downfall of the niqad/burqa. Quebec's new law have done nothing
  9. PhDP

    Death Penalty

    To have my support, capital punishment would have to satisfy two conditions; (1): I would only support death penalty if it could be justified on rational grounds, i.e.: if it was a very effective deterrent. Killing someone simply because his/her crimes are disgusting is, in my opinion, quite disgusting as well, especially since we always run the risk of executing an innocent, or someone mentally unstable. In short, we run the risk of killing a perfectly innocent person, to save absolutely nobody. (2): It would have to be fair. For example; for the same crime, minorities shouldn't get d
  10. Fair enough. P.S.: No blades ? Not even a Katana ? You're a softie.
  11. What are you doing here then ? It's a science discussion forum, not McVeigh's fanclub. A quick look at your last posts (and your signature) seem to indicate you're done with the "discussion" part, and pretty much everybody here fits in your definition of "tyrant/statist cowards afraid to be free" (I know I am). You certainly have the right to say what you want, but I'm curious about your motives.
  12. You're sure you want to have as prime minister ? ;P
  13. "The creator, if he exists*, has an inordinate fondness for beetles".- attributed to Haldane. As for the subject of the discussion... Many have pointed out the basic flaw in Tripolation's reasoning, but I think nobody mentioned this: one of the first discovery of population genetics was that natural selection is much, much more effective in large populations. To put it another way; if a given allele decreases fitness, it is of course less likely to reach fixation than a beneficial allele... that's basically what selection is about. By the way; allele = the particular form a gene, and f
  14. First of all, if you're looking for the C-value of several organisms, there are entire databases devoted to this; Animals: http://www.genomesize.com/ Plants: http://data.kew.org/cvalues/homepage.html ... The term "C-value paradox" is quite misleading, "C-value enigma" makes more sense. It's not a paradox in the sense that we very well know what mechanisms could generate such pattern. It was a paradox only until we discovered that so much DNA is noncoding, "junk". In short, again, if the concept of C-value and junk DNA are so difficult to understand for some people, it's becaus
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