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Everything posted by bombus

  1. bombus

    Blair resigns

    People so easily forget the Tory years. Let me remind you... 4 million unemployed 2 recessions Thousands of small businesses going bust Thousands of people losing their homes Destruction of a perfectly viable coal industry Closed wards in hospitals because the NHS had so little funding Riots in Brixton and Toxteth The IRA still active with no hope of peace, and bombs in mainland UK. Nelson mandela being branded a Terrorist! Black Wednesday Interest rates at 15% Schools not being able to afford books (I was in school at the time!) Never again!! If the Tories are the answer it was a very stupid question!
  2. bombus

    Blair resigns

    Inheritance tax has been around for decades - over 50 years! Gordon Brown is the first chancellor to raise the ceiling ( a good thing!). And stealth taxes were not invented by Gordon Brown you know, they've been around forever. At least he never increased VAT from 8 to 17.5% like the Tories did!! I'm not a fan of New Labour, but get your facts right please!
  3. bombus

    Blair resigns

    Broke the NHS? You are young so perhaps don't remember how bad the NHS was under the Conservatives. It was Labour who invented the NHS, and the Conservatives will destroy it if they get in as it is against their political ideology - they've always hated the NHS. Blair has been too right-wing with the NHS (PFI etc) but to say he broke it is a gross misunderstanding, and plain wrong. And while I'm on the subject, to blame Gordon Brown for the 'raid on pensions' is nonsense. Big businesses were getting a free ride, and money was needed for improving public services so he closed a loophole. The companies were supposed to make up the shortfall (and had ten years to do so) but chose to make huge profits instead. The tax changes Gordon Brown brought is actually only a small part of the pensions story anyway. The whole 'raid on pensions' thing is just Tory spin.
  4. Is there not a well established argument that consciousness cannot be replicated by a computer programme however complex? Something to do with a chap called Godel? However, I think the human mind is equivalent to many computers all networked and monitoring each other, so maybe Godel's theory doesn't apply anyway.
  5. I was wrong, but my gist was correct. Fusion does produce some nuclear waste, but as one is combining rather than splitting atoms, the waste is less dangerous: Waste management The large flux of high-energy neutrons in a reactor will make the structural materials radioactive. The radioactive inventory at shut-down may be comparable to that of a fission reactor, but there are important differences. The half-life of the radioisotopes produced by fusion tend to be less than those from fission, so that the inventory decreases more rapidly. Furthermore, there are fewer unique species, and they tend to be non-volatile and biologically less active. Unlike fission reactors, whose waste remains dangerous for thousands of years, most of the radioactive material in a fusion reactor would be the reactor core itself, which would be dangerous for about 50 years, and low-level waste another 100. By 300 years the material would have the same radioactivity as coal ash. [2]. Some material will remain in current designs with longer half-lives. [3] Additionally, the materials used in a fusion reactor are more "flexible" than in a fission design, where many materials are required for their specific neutron cross-sections. This allows a fusion reactor to be designed using materials that are selected specifically to be "low activation", materials that do not easily become radioactive. Vanadium, for example, would become much less radioactive than stainless steel. Carbon fibre materials are also low-activation, as well as being strong and light, and are a promising area of study for laser-inertial reactors where a magnetic field is not required. In general terms, fusion reactors would create far less radioactive material than a fission reactor, the material it would create is less damaging biologically, and the radioactivity "burns off" within a time period that is well within existing engineering capabilities.
  6. What about mutation? No. 2 is not always required. The challenges of the abiotic environment is just as good.
  7. Consciousness might be part of space-time. It has been suggested that brains merely utilize consciousness in the same way that eyes utilize light, ears utilize sound etc. It may not come from within at all! The last time I lost consciousness was like the posts above. Coming round was not at all like waking from sleep. It was like my mind came back online. Like reality condensing from chaos. Really really wierd, and interesting!
  8. They may have all emerged at about the same time from the ubiquitous Homo erectus. This is the alternative to the 'out of Africa' theory. Although the most 'primative' physical design of human can still be seen in the Ainu of Japan, the Australian Aborigines and a group of people from the Urals (don't know they're name). What!??? That's one theory. It could just be a neotenic trait resulting from the other adaptations. Mongaloid people are probably the most neotenic humans - one could say the most advanced (physically). Already been answered. Not really, but the bushmen of the Kalahari and the Zulus are relatively tall and slim. It may be due to heat loss adaptations, but it could be due to lots of things. Pygmies and Hottentots are forest floor dwellers, and presumably, being small was advantageous. They may be taller than Inuits and other mongaloids but Laplanders may well be shorter than Danes. The classical Nordics might not be the original humans and may have arrived from, say, Germany relatively recently (or at least, tall genes did at a time when the environment was less of a selector). Also, there may be other things going on selecting for height (competition from more southerly neighbours - who knows?). Norway/Scandanavia is also quite different from Mongolia/Siberia remember.
  9. Evolution by natural selection applies to species really, but the principle is applicable to the formation of life itself. It just depends what you consider life to be - at what point do chemicals become alive. Are prions alive? What about viruses? Life began when certain chemicals began to self replicate. That's all life is really.
  10. I think there are no problems with fusion as it creates non-radioactive waste. Correct me if I am wrong!
  11. Actually its wealth, but education tends to increase wealth. If you are really poor your children are your only asset, so you have as many as you can. As wealth increases the need for lots of children decreases in general.
  12. I think the basic problem is containing such high temperatures. You can't contain the stuff in conventional materials because it would just melt the container. There are ideas of containing it in magnetic fields, but currently the energy needed to do this is more than the energy created by the fusion reaction itself. If we could crack fusion we would have (more or less) unlimited energy. Energy is what life is all about. We are just starlight and stardust. Energy is the limiting factor. Unlimited energy means no limiting factor...
  13. Cloning? Great idea. I'd love a spare me I can take bits from when I need them.
  14. bombus

    Boris Yeltsin

    He was a fool who fooled a niaive soviet public. They shouldhave stuck with Gorbachov, he was a good leader and would have ended communism slowly and steadily to the benefit of all. Now we have Putin who has to be autocratic to fix the mess left by Boris.
  15. Found this... http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/04_00/cat_humans.shtml
  16. I am sure I heard it recently, I am sure it was on one of the Radio 4 science programmes and it made me sit up. I think the gist was that we share more genes with cats than anything else (other than primates of course) but apparently this doesn't mean we are necessarily closer (evolutionarily speaking) to them. As I said, it's apparently a quirk of fate. However, it may have been April 1st! If there are no references to it anywhere, it's probably nonsense...
  17. Alledgedly it's cats by some strange quirk of fate. They are not as close to us as some other animals (cladistically speaking) but for some reason have more of the same genes than anything else. Can't remember how I know this - I heard it somewhere recently, BBC Radio 4 maybe??? It wasn't in a tabloid newspaper! 'Tis true I tell you!
  18. bombus

    Killing a tree

    if you cut it down, it can carry on living as a coppiced tree and could live another 1,000 years. Don't kill it!
  19. As far as an individual is concerned, once you die a whole universe dies with you. When I die, you will all disappear from existence too, and the universe will end - and you won't be able to prove me wrong! Unless there is an afterlife of course...
  20. Just did. I can't really comment on it as I don't know enough about it, but I'm sure Penrose and Hammeroff have answers. I think the criticism misses the point anyway. I don't actually believe that the ORCHOR theory is necessarily correct, and I don't think the microtubule idea is needed anyway. The thing is that the brain works using, among other things, electronic impulses. It would seem that by 'thinking' we are able to affect the pathways of these impulses - which is supposed to be impossible! However the double slit experiment and all that stuff suggests that conscious observation can affect reality. Well, maybe that's the point of conciousness - that's what it does! Yes, you could be right. However, I think that there is something 'wierd' about consciousness and it is fundamentally linked to the structure of the universe/reality/spacetime. It would make sense and would be an example of the pure simple beauty of nature. However, I cannot explain this in human words! Its more of a gut feeling - but don't get me into all that buddhist stuff about knowledge being available from within!
  21. It depends on what the carrying capacity actually is! Intensive agriculture increased k far above what Malthus thought possible, but there will be a limit - unless we crack fusion. Its all energy really. We are just energy. With unlimited energy there will be unlimited humans. What a horrible thought!
  22. It has been considered. Higher temperatures means more water vapour which means more clouds which means more reflection of light. BUT, its very complex as the higher the temp the less water vapour condenses - so less clouds (confused yet?). Also, the melting of the ice caps and tundra means that land that was very reflective becomes less reflective, so temps increase, and as more carbon is released as frozen ground starts to decompose temperatures increase even more. It'll be the carboniferous revisited! If we're really unlucky it will be the Permian revisited... Although, I recently spoke to a very very clever Prof. from Oxford Uni who told me that it appears that our oceans appear to be cooling overall. Not sure what's going on there as corals are dying 'cos they get too hot. He wasn't sure either!
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