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Everything posted by Helix

  1. That’s a good question; and in that area I think the line between the colloquial definition of ‘love’ and the biochemical begins to blur. From an evolutionary standpoint, you only 'love' humans and thus you build a bond with them to either become unified (as in with parents or close friends) or reproduce (as in wives/husbands or people you meet in a bar). So can you, biochemically speaking, love inanimate objects or animals? So, in saying you 'love math' do you mean you are biochemically stimulated through the PEA pathway? Or is it just a common definition -- an extreme like of something? I guess the real question is that use of 'love' a bit corrupted from the real sense of the word? And I'm inclined to think yes. I think in loving things as pets or numbers, it's not biochemical but rather the 'love' is just saying you like it a whole lot. You can only ‘love’ things which would better the species – lovers, friends, family and the. Unless you're into animals, which raises some other questions...
  2. That's an interesting review, and it's something I, at least in part, agree with. It says that we need to expand our definition of war to give Congress back the power to have the say in when we fight, and I agree with that: Republicans (and democrats) shouldn't be allowed to use euphemisms to side-step Congress. But the thing is, Bush succeeded in pulling a fast one over people so in his case, it isn't a war. I agree that we should broaden our definition - but we can't do that for events in the past. Thus, the Iraq conflict wasn't a war (though it should have been declared as one), so Bush doesn't receive wartime powers. No matter what should have been done in 2003, what did happen was Bush used the authority under the AUMF to invade Iraq. But the invasion was not a war, so he doesn't have wartime powers. Similarly, though he has the authorization to use force on terrorists, he just doesn't have wartime powers. With no wartime powers, he can't suspend the constitution. As an aside, do you think the Iraq war was justified?
  3. Helix


    Maybe I'm just a flaming left-winger but wouldn't forced sterilizations be illegal?
  4. Jim, Oh the distinction between the AUMF and a formal declaration of war? The distinction is completely legal, they’re two different things. Maybe you mean is the distinction relevant? To that, I think it’s somewhat relevant. In a time of all-out war, barring companies from publishing certain books in foreign countries would be allowed, as there literally would be a war raging on. But the AUMF isn’t a declaration of war; it’s far too general. It only gives Bush permission to ‘use force’ against terrorist organizations or those who aid terrorists. The difference between ‘war’ and ‘force’ is totally a legal issue; I would argue that the Vietnam ‘War’ was in fact a war, although no war was declared, as you said. I would also say the same for Korea and Iraq I. But from a legal perspective the distinction is very important. If there’s no ‘war’, just the isolated ‘use of force’ (as in surgical strikes against terrorist compounds), Bush simply doesn’t have wartime powers. That’s the issue: we are in peacetime so no matter how many ‘police conflicts’ or ‘interventions’ the U.S. wages, all of which I would argue are wars in the traditional sense, because they are not declared by Congress, Bush doesn’t have the associated powers of espionage and sanctions on corporations. I do agree that the gap between what the AUMF allows and a ‘real’ war is slight; but that gap is what bars Bush from using those wartime powers. So, again, Bush just doesn’t have authority over U.S. companies overseas while there isn’t a war.
  5. The distinction of war-time versus peace-time? Yes, I do. During a time of war the powers of the president are greatly expanded, for example invading other countries and spying anywhere. I hope we can agree on that. So, what I am saying is that we are not in a time of war as one has not been declared by Congress. Therefore, the gov't simply cannot do the things it's doing. The wiretapping debacle, this post's topic and other events are all illegal because we are not at war. If this were a wartime, many things Bush has done would be completely legal; such as this topic of using sanctions to quell dissenting expression (that’s legal but highly immoral, in my view). But it’s not wartime! The distinction of wartime/peacetime not only is legal, it’s the crux of the argument.
  6. Helix


    I'm sorry but I'd like you to back up that 'eugenics is a good concept.' How is eugenics, at any level, a good idea? The essence of eugenics is that ‘we’ (‘we’ being those in charge) can decide who is worthy to live and reproduce. I, for one, view this as a horrible idea. How can humans hold such power? I honestly cannot fathom how anyone can justify this, that certain individuals are actually worthless and should not be allowed to 1. live or 2. reproduce. No human life is worthless; it just isn’t. From both a moral and evolutionary point of view, people are valuable. We all have a birthright to be able to live and reproduce, thus leaving our mark on the Earth. No government, no institution no amount of rhetoric can void this. From time to time people have been convinced that the ‘feeble-minded’ and ‘weak’ do not deserve to live. Infamously, the Nazis undertook a harsh program of ‘cleansing’ that left 6 million humans dead and ‘sterilized’. The United States, so-called bastion of freedom, even allowed eugenics to invade the shores of America, neutering those deemed to be ‘worthless.’ Carrie Buck was, in the ‘20’s, deemed “feeble-minded” and after her case went before the Supreme Court, the view was upheld that she should be sterilized and thus, she was. After that, until the 1970’s, 60,000 American citizens were sterilized. How is that a good idea? Quelling the spirit of those who, arbitrarily, are seen to be ‘unfit’ is a direct blow to human freedom. Maybe I misinterpreted your statement, and I hope I did, but in any case, eugenics is, and will always be, a tool of evil to further the idea of purity in whatever form that takes: racial, mental or otherwise.
  7. Why don't you just use some GFP and make the room glow? That would be pretty cool and put the physics class to shame.
  8. Helix


    To answer your question: No. The German Socialist Party (better known as the Nazi Party) used in the '40's with unspeakable results. The whole premise is that some humans are better than others and therefore should be the only ones who reproduce. That's completely unethical. If I weren't tired I'd say more. But I am. Nap time.
  9. "They" just figured out how to do the same thing with sharks. Seems as if the CIA/NSA wants to use them to spy on vessels undetected. As if pushing back gov't authority wasn't hard enough without Fido working for the other side...
  10. No, you just said 'in war'. In war we are bombing foreign countries, therefore I think spying is pretty tame in comparison. I'm speaking about peacetime operations, such as the ones we have now. We are not in war time. The War on Terror isn't actually a real war as it hasn't been declared by Congress. All they have done is approved the AUMF, giving Bush permission to 'use force' against terrorists/terror advocates. Not a war.
  11. The gene responsible for florescence in animals, GFP (Green fluorescent protein) is found naturally in certain types of jellyfish. To make other organisms glow, like a human or a hamster for example, the gene would have to be inserted into the organism through a vector making that organism transgenic. Then, hopefully, the gene would be expressed and cause the mouse or person to glow. It's actually quite cool to see the effects of GFP: Here you see the feet and toes of newborn baby mice. Here are cells from (presumably) the same mice. You can see that the expression of GFP is universal in the mice. Seeing GFP on the cellular level then on the macroscopic really shows how amazing the protein is.
  12. This is absurd. Not only does this violate the 1st Amendment, it disregards the sovereignty of foreign nations to make their own decisions regarding dissidents. The U.S., one, has little say in the matters involving publishing but in another country?? We have NO say in what companies do abroad. The VP of GeneriCO Inc can burn the flag in Anytown, Iran if he so desires because the US gov't has no authority. This all speaks to the trend of the United States government expanding its power unilaterally and disregarding the basic rights of other nations. The wiretapping incident was also similar to this, but not in a way most people would think. Most Americans view this as an affront on civil liberties, as they should. It was blatant misconduct, in violation of both the 4th Amendment and FISA. But many tend to forget the other half: that the gov't was spying on people abroad. They were monitoring calls in which one party wasn't in the US. That's illegal. The US has no jurisdiction overseas. Plain and simple. It's sad in this turbulent time the ones we (supposedly) look to for aid turn out to be the ones causing most of the problems.
  13. Bird flu was discovered in Germany in a housecat, I read. That's a nightmare scenario: the deadly 'pandemic flu' right smack-dab in western Europe.... But all of this doomsaying rests on the crux that the flu will morph, by whatever means, to become pathogenic to humans. That's no small feat, but I suppose it pays to be safe.
  14. As aj47 said, the main chemical with the initial stages of love - 'head over heels' type of thing - is b-phenylethylamine norepinephrine. This breaks down certain types of sugars which give the body a boost of enegry - that sort of 'butterflies in your stomach' feeling is partly due to this active breakdown. As all of this is happening b-PEA norepinephrine binds to liver cells and signals a cascade that results in general good feelings. One study found that PEA (which induces this cycle) relieved depression in 60% of the participants in the study. But obviously there is more to it than that; we don't need Shakespeare and Halmark to tell us love is odd. There are probably more secrets involving love in the brain.
  15. I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "cellular memory." If you mean the experiences a cell has are passed down from generation to generation, that's highly unlikely. The example you cited occur for different reasons than "Cellular Memory." Wild animals tend not to be afraid of humans because we are new and aren't known to be a threat. It is thought birds have an internal compass to orient themselves and past lives...pretty much made up. There was a scientist in the earlier part of the century who advocated a similar theory; Jean Baptiste de Lamarck. He believed a person's experiences and skills were passed down through family trees, that's why, he asserted, giraffes have long necks. Communists used his ideas as one of their central scientific dogmas because it fit nicely into their political ideals. But this theory of "cellular memory" doesn't make much sense. Where is the memory kept? DNA? Special Organelles? How are they passed down if not through germ line DNA? Interesting theory but there are quite a few holes.
  16. Helix

    Science Magazines

    Scientific American is a great magazine, a little dry but really detailed. I prefer New Scientist, because if I really want details, I'll go to Nature. New Scientist has really great articles on subjects that would interest most people. For example, this week's cover story is about human hibernation and putting life on pause; scientific yet interesting to a general audience. So, yeah, I'd go with that.
  17. Well, there are some tests you could do. You could run an MRI and see which regions of the brain are active at certain times; that could tell you if there's a problem. Or, this is much easier, just see if this lack of memory is constant and prolonged. Neurodisorders don't just go away, but a lack of concentration will.
  18. Your same arguement can be said for ESP and aliens. There is no conclusive proof against either but at the same time most scientists don't believe in them (and by aliens I mean E.T., not the extraterrestial version of yeast). People, many people, have claimed to have seen/experienced both. But still, they go the way of pseudoscience, just like Bigfoot should. And, come to think of it, this thread.
  19. Most of what we say is speculation because I highly doubt Bush will be completely forthcoming with what exactly happend the motivations behind it. But what I can say is that it was an ill thought out move by the U.S. First, as has been said, why not ask for approval? It's not like this was Saudi Arabia or Iran; Pakistan is an ally of the U.S (one of the few left, actually). We could have gotten permission to storm the mountain or simply surround it and then work our way in. Bad thinking... On the moral hand, why are we bombing villages? We can't say how good the intel. the U.S. had was, as I doubt they'll tell us. But if we are "Champions of Democracy" and the "Ambassadors to Jesus" as the Bush admin. is so quick to say, why would we take the risk with the lives of people? They weren't terrorists, they were children. Where are the terrorists? It seems this "War on Terror" is a War for Terror. On the whole, the event was embarrasment and more specifically, it shows how unconcerned Bush is with people's lives and how ineffective this Smart War really is.
  20. In microbiology? Not unless you're with a biotech. That goes for anything in biology. But most scientists love the work and don't care about the size of their paychecks.
  21. Actually, 2xinfinity planets through infinite space would still yield the same results because of the infinite space part. Space goes on forever and so do the evenly spaced planets. So you can't double either, doubling implies you have an end from which to double (i.e. 1+1=2. 1.345334565436878....+1 = you don't know because the answer is varible on what lies after the last digit).
  22. Then I would have no Earthly need for underwear. What if avian flu is sick of all the hype and goes away?
  23. Helix


    I believe in life elsewhere to the extent that somewhere billions of lightyears away, there are few bacteria. No aliens, no E.T. Just the ET version of E.Coli. There was one story I heard, though, that is fairly compelling. Many people were gathered one night, I think to view a comet (so they weren't paranormal hunters) when there was this bright red light of some sort and/or some odd aircraft. No one could explain it. Personally, I think it was probably a prototype jet. But still...
  24. Family Guy, Curb your Enthusiasm, The Daily Show, Futurama
  25. I wrote a thesis paper on Nature vs. Nurute, and I think it's a complex issue. First off, neither side wins. Nature and Nurture both exert a force on an individual and can shape who they are. As far as homosexuality, your class discussion topic, I believe it is a genetic trait. Dispite what the Christian Wrong would lead you to believe, homosexuals are not deviants, just different. In the example your class is using, Nature holds sway but in general, they act together. Homosexuality is just one aspect of the debate. The general arguement is which holds more influence on the whole. Like I said, they both do. Matt Ridely explores this in his book The Agile Gene . If you're interested in this debate, it's a good read. Dean Hamer has proven, to his standards, that homosexuality is indeed genetic. He also wrote a book about if religion has a genetic basis, The God Gene. Hope that helps, but to understand the bulk to the debate, you'd have to do research on some of the methods involved in the dabte like twin studies.
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