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Everything posted by dstebbins

  1. Well, it's clear that you've already made up your mind on this matter ... which means you're no more qualified to discuss the objective facts of this matter than the cops themselves. Tell me, Mr. Cuthber: Do you actually know for a fact that no scientific studies have been conducted, or do you simply assume that none have been conducted based solely on the fact that you personally have yet to hear about any?
  2. Numerous police departments have come under public scrutiny in recent years after use of lethal force in cases that, to many people, did not appear to require lethal force (the keyword being "lethal"). The Mesa, Arizona police department after the shooting of Daniel Shaver, and the Sacramento Police Department after the shooting of Steffon Clark are two examples that come immediately to mind. Police and their sympathizers tend to argue that their improvident use of lethal force is a necessary evil by arguing that, if a cop waits until he's actually being shot at before he opens fire himself, he's probably already dead before he even gets the chance to defend himself. This video right here documents the most publicized case of a civilian being invited to see things from the cops' perspective: However, just on the summary glance of police training that this video shows, I'm seeing a huge problem in the way the training is structured. It seems to be based more on paranoia than objective fact. Think about it this way: Let's play devil's advocate for a minute here. Let's temporarily concede that a person who's hands disappear behind a car could, in theory, result in a gun being fired faster than the cop can draw his own weapon. Well, I'm less interested in what could, in theory, potentially happen, and more interested in what is realistically likely to actually happen. Thing about it this way: This training exercise was intentionally manufactured by police trainers for the express purpose of ingraining a specific mindset into cops-in-training (or CITs, for short). In doing so, the trainers are able to create literally whatever circumstances they want, no matter how implausible or unlikely the scenario. The fake perp in that scenario fires his gun at the CIT literally every time a new CIT goes through that exercise. Imagine if that fake perp actually had a chance of shooting the CIT with his blank bullet. The chance of him doing so accurately reflected the odds of the perp in an otherwise identical situation out in the real world doing the same. So if the odds of a similar situation in real life escalating to the point of being fired upon was ... say ... 1 in 721,563, then the fake perp in this training exercise would be told - via his hidden earpiece - to fire at the CIT only if a computerized RNG rolled a 1 out of a range of 1-721,563. I highly doubt very many cops would be converted over to the mindset of "It's best if we shoot now and not take chances." If the guys who killed Steffon Clark or Daniel Shaver were forced to admit out loud (e.g. through cross-examination) that the OBJECTIVE ODDS of them being killed if they didn't use lethal force - or if they waited even a few seconds to analyze the situation further - were about one in a million, then cops around the nation would probably realize just how wrong they are with their current police training. So now we come to the title of this thread, and the main reason I'm posting this in a science message board, rather than a politics one: Is there any objective scientific evidence showing that training police to act so irrationally is actually necessary to protect cops? By "necessary," I don't simply mean that preventing 1 cop death per year justifies the most extreme use of force policies. By "necessary," I mean ... would the relaxing of use of force result in a disproportionate increase of cop deaths to the reduction of civilian deaths? For example, if objective scientific evidence showed that a re-working of police use of force training and policies resulted in a 50% reduction in innocent civilians being killed by cops per year, but also resulted in a 5,000% increase in cops being killed by civilians per year, then that would certainly create a strong case for such extreme use of force policies being a necessary evil. But the key word there is "objective." I'm not interested in hearing the biased opinions of cops who have been trained to be paranoid and therefore are too scared for their own lives (the fear may be in good faith, even though it is totally baseless and delusional, because of the paranoid training they receive) to even give this theory a chance. No, I'd like these studies to be based on sound, objective, scientific observations. Preferably double-blind, if not triple blind. Are there any studies out there like that? For example, in 2017 (the most recent year for which full statistics were available), 149 unarmed civilians were killed by cops ... https://policeviolencereport.org/ ... while only 46 cops were murdered by gunfire in that same time period ... https://www.odmp.org/search/year/2017 ... So imagine if, in late 2017, Congress passed a nationwide law restricting police use of force, which took effect on January 1, 2018. This restriction indeed reduced the number of unarmed civilians killed by cops in 2018 down to 49, about a third of what they were before. But now, because cops are more restricted in the use of force, thugs they are trying to apprehend feel a lot bolder than they used to and are more willing to use lethal force against the cops, knowing that the cops are going to be more hesitant to use lethal force in turn until it's too late. So in the same time period the use of unarmed civilian deaths drops, the number of cops killed by civilians in that same time period goes up to an astonishing 4,600 cop deaths, instead of the mere 46 from the year before. So although we've saved 100 civilians' lives, we've cost ourselves 4,554 cops' lives, a net increase in 4,454 needless deaths overall. Obviously, this is what the cops themselves would want you to believe would happen if use of force policies were tightened up even slightly, but is there any objective scientific data showing that this is, in fact, what would happen?
  3. Yeah, we have water all over the place here on earth. Poles and mountaintops usually contain the highest concentrations of solid water. That wasn't the point. Mars' poles don't just have the highest concentration of solid water on the planet. They're the only places on the planet where more than trace amounts of water can be found at all. For example, at the end of this video ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbhqHCqjoZ0 ... this guy explains how, when the Sun engorges in a billion years, the poles on earth will be the only places where liquid water (and, by proxy, life) will continue to exist. That, of course, makes sense. There will still be water elsewhere on earth, but it will be gas. Mars isn't like that. The poles are the only sources of water on Mars, period. Not just any specific state.
  4. If you really think about it, it doesn't make sense. If the air coming from the fan is moving faster than the other air in the room (which is the whole point of a fan), doesn't that mean the air from the fan has more kinetic energy than the still air? And isn't kinetic energy basically just a fancy word for "heat?" So by making the air move faster, shouldn't that make the air feel hotter than the still air?
  5. Couldn't that also be due to the fact that the loser in a boxing match necessarily took a much bigger pounding than the winner? In a race, if the losers lose the race, isn't that also because they're less conditioned than the winner? So obviously running the same distance is going to take a much greater toll on the loser than the winner. If I were to run a 26-mile marathon, I'd probably drop dead before I even finished Mile 3 ... and that's because I'm not conditioned for running at all.
  6. As we all know just from reading 5th-grade level astronomy books, the only known sources of water on Mars are A) permanently frozen solid, and B) located in the north and soul poles of those planets. Now, the frozen part makes perfect sense. But why the poles? Why that location in particular that caused the water to gravitate towards it? Does it have to do with the polar magnetic fields? If so, why don't the poles here on Earth also boast the planet's largest congregation of water? In fact, here in Earth, your likelihood of finding water seems to be primarily determined by altitude, rather than latitude and longitude. Water congregates to areas that are "below sea level," and that makes perfect sense ... because ... well ... gravity! So why does Mars have its water congregate at the poles? And why isn't that phenomenon also observed here on earth?
  7. Well, you still look for new and creative recipes, don't you? Like I said in my OP, food is a fine art as well as a bonding ritual. Essentially, it's more than just a means of survival for most humans; it is an important part of many societies' cultural identities.
  8. Because he's clearly trolling. He's saying that, because he, personally, doesn't usually use the dinner table, that alone means that these ritual tropes are not in fact tradition in any way.
  9. This seems like a blatant contradiction to your last post. You say devloping rituals requires consciousness (aka self-awareness, aka sentience). Well, setting aside the fact that you offer no evidence that sentience is a pre-requisite to developing rituals, you still make the implication that, because animals lack this consciousness, they are incapable of developing rituals. Your 2-sentence arguments rests on the unspoken assumption that animals lack sentience. Otherwise, you don't actually address the matter because, by our own admission, animals are still capable of the prerequisite you say is lacking. But now you say that they do have rituals ... just not when it comes to mealtime. So they must have at least some primitive form of self-awareness. Are they eating them for food, or hygeine?
  10. Ok ... that just seems like the arbitrary determinations of some philosopher (such as a religious zealout) rather than well-researched theory that actually has any backing in science. Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. But then again, the way you convey your thoughts to me in only two sentences suggests that you consider this to be a cut-and-dry case. It almost seems like there should have been a third sentence in your message, considering of only a single word: "Period." That's definitely how your message comes off as. Science is never cut and dry. For 90% of human history, everyone just assumed that heavy objects fall faster than lightweight ones ... because of course they do! But then Galileo went and actually tested that belief, and lo and behold, it ended up being false.
  11. Ok, that sounds like it could be ritualistic. But is that really done for the sake of community bonding, or just to ensure that the pride's alpha male gets preferential treatment simply because he's the leader? Like how, when there's a catastrophe in human society, the head of state is always the first to be evacuated. For example, at a wedding, the bride and groom are usually entitled the first slice of cake ... because it's their special day. Same with a birthday boy at his birthday party. These are both instances of social gatherings where one person or a small group of people are given preferential treatment to eat first, but that has nothing to do with sovereignty. It's a ritual thing. Are wolves/lions order of eating done out of ritualness, or is it just "Me first because I'm in charge?" Like these:
  12. That's quite a far cry from turning food into an art-form or family/community bonding ritual. Still not quite the same thing as fine art or family/community bonding. Playing with one's food doesn't usually have a procedure to it. The cat whatever you want with the food until you're ready to chow down. A family sitting at the dinner table, meanwhile, has a set of rules to it. It's not as strictly enforced as, say, a jury trial in a courtroom, but there is still some formalities that need to be observed. Everyone sits down before anyone takes a bite. Everyone usually says grace before they begin eating. You keep your lips closed when chewing, and don't reach across the table for a plate, but instead ask someone to pass it to you. Now, if cats had a set procedure for playing with their food - e.g. they usually began by swinging it around by the tail, then gave it a chance to run away before catching it again, and usually in that exact order - that would constitute a ritual.
  13. Food is necessary to sustain life. I get it. Killing livestock and crops is a necessary evil if you want to survive. But humans tend to take food to another level. For us, food isn't just a means of survival. It's a fine-art. Culinary art, to be exact. There are artists - known as "chefs" - who specialize in finding new and creative ways to make food. Mealtime is usually treated as a family bonding ritual; the archetypal image of a wholesome family is one who is sitting around the dinner table with food covered all over the table! This is actually a rare - if not completely unique - trait of food consumption. Most animals will kill their prey (and yes, vegetation counts as prey) and eat the food right then and there. Blood, bones, skin and all. No cooking; no saying grace. Just eat it and move on. Are there any other animals in the world who treat food with any degree of ritual-ness, like we do? Obviously, it won't be nearly as elaborate as we do, seeing as how they can't control fire and therefore have no means of cooking food, let alone the elaborate recipes that our chefs come up with. But are there any animals that treat dining with any degree of artistic or ritualistic importance?
  14. Everyone just ASSUMES that there's got to be life on other planets, right? I mean ... how rare can Earth actually be that it's the only planet in the whole universe with complex life on it? Also, whenever a planet is discovered that's inside its star's "habitable zone," astromers wet their pants in excitement over the possibility oflife existing on that planet. Here's something most people never really think about when they think about life on other planets: Even if there may be life on other planets, what makes you think they have the MEANS to travel through space like we do? Astronomers often consider liquid water on other planets to be the holy grail of extra-terrestrial life. However, there is a difference between "life" and "civilization." Life is certainly prerequisite to civilization, but other than that, they are two completely different concepts. For life to be sustained, we need a variety of nutrients, including liquid water, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and various other elements. However, there are plenty of other elements on our planet that are not edible, yet are nevertheless essential to making humans the advanced civilization we are today: Natural resources! Resources like iron and various other metals. Combustible resources like coal and petroleum which give us a source of energy. These natural resources are not needed to support life, per se, but are all crucial to making the tools which make us the advanced civilization we are today. Speaking of fossil feuls, that's another thing that may very well be unique to earth. Remember that fossil fuels are created from the compressed and modified corpses of dinosaurs over millions of years. That's why they're called "fossil" fuels! In other words ... no dinosaurs, no fossil fuels! See, here on earth, we consider humans' intelligence to be the primary factor that made us into the advanced civilization that we are. That's because, compared to every other species we've discovered up to this point, our intelligence WAS the deciding factor! The other animals on this planet had access to the same natural resources that we did, but we are the first species to figure out how to use them. But we have no reason to assume that other planets with life on them would have the same or similar natural resources as we did to jumpstart their civilizations. Who's to say that other alien lifeforms might exist out there that have the same brainpower as us, but are still reduced to straw huts and crude stone tools because they simply lack the natural resources to do anything more advanced? Heck, we have guys like that here on earth! They're called "third world countries." So there's definitely a precedent for life forms having the brainpower to make advanced civilizations but not having the natural resources needed to fully tap into that brainpower. Fossil fuels alone pose a huge question mark on the ability of alien lifeforms to create civilization. Remember that the dinosaurs on our planet are not merely extinct, but were killed off in one fell swoop by an asteroid strike, giving our planet a head start on the creation of fossil fuels. Who's to say that other planets may have life on them, but they are still waiting for their dinosaurs to go extinct the old fashioned way, and THEn wait millions of years for their carcasses to be converted into fossil fuels?! That alone gives Earth a huge head start when it comes to developing a civilization, unless other planets had undergone a similar mass extinction event that killed off billions of tons of lifeforms in a very short period of time ... and did so millions of years ago, giving their carcasses enough time to be covnerted into fossil fuels for the current generation of intelligent life forms! That, ladies and gentlemen, is just the tip of the iceberg for things that had to go almost perfectly right right down to the millimeter for this planet to not only have life, but civilization so advanced that it even CARES whether there are aliens out there! So hold your horses, guys. Just because there's liquid water on a planet doesn't mean we should get all excited about opening up new trade routes with aliens and getting new technology and cuisine from them. So what do you guys think?
  15. In many sports, especially those done in front of live audiences, said audience members are encouraged to cheer loudly for their favorite teams. The idea here is that you're supposed to give the athletes a burst of adrenaline to help them land the big score to help them win the game. But is there any real science behind this phenomenon? Is it scientifically confirmed if cheers actually have a direct, measurable impact on a person's performance, particularly his athletic performance? There is certainly a different feeling when you're performing in front of a crowd rather than in practice. It might be more exciting to play in front of a crowd. But do the cheers themselves have a direct, measurable impact on your performance? Are there any studies suggesting an actual causal link between the two? Even if there is a correlation, is this increase in performance actually caused by the adrenaline that is caused by the cheers? Or could it just be the placebo effect?
  16. This has been posted for more than a month. Does nobody have an answer?
  17. Whenever there's a long period of time between the act a person commits that gets them punished, and the actual punishment itself, it seems that the punishment will have only a minimal deterrent effect on the acts. For example, if a person commits a crime on the streets, he is usually arrested immediately thereafter. But if he's already incarcerated to begin with, he can't be arrested again. So just adding a new charge doesn't have any immediate consequences. You have to convict him - a process which takes several months at the very least - before you can do anything tangible to him, such as extend his sentence. This definitely appears to heavily water down the deterrent effect of the punishment. However, that's only how it APPEARS to work! I haven't exactly examined the stats very closely. Has there actually been any double-blind studies testing this hypothesis?
  18. Ok, so that provides exactly ONE utility for it. Does that really justify it being worth a whopping $1,290 per troy ounce?
  19. Fair enough. But that doesn't answer the question of why gold, nowadays, is so valuable that it's actually more valuable than the fiat currency we actually use except in the largest denominations, even though it no longer serves as the foundation for our paper money. That doesn't mean gold has a utility to it. Gold plating is just decoration. It's just like jewelry; gold is used for decoration like that because it is seen as valuable, not the other way around. The use of gold as decoration does not give it value; it's a result of people seeing it as valuable.
  20. I provided a source showing that gold is currently worth about $1,290 per troy ounce. So shut up.
  21. In the 1970s, the USA switched to a fiat currency system. Today's U.S. dollar isn't backed by anything. So why is gold still valuable? The current price of gold is about $1,290 per troy ounce, according to this source: http://www.apmex.com/spotprices/gold-price Gold is so valuable that, unless you're dealing exclusively in $100 or $50 bills, the equivalent value in paper money would actually weight MORE than the equivalent value in gold! Each U.S. banknote weights 1 gram, and there are approximately 31.105 grams in a troy ounce, so if you were dealing in denominations of $20 or less, it would take at least 65 banknotes (or twice the weight of a troy ounce) to come out to $1,290. Bear in mind ... the only reason gold was used as currency for 99% of human history is because it wasn't useful for a whole lot else! That's why people stopped dealing in salt. Salt had universal value since it was used to preserve food before the invention of refrigerators (which is why the modern phrase "worth his salt" is often used interchangeably with "worth its weight in gold"), but that presented a conundrum for many people; do I rub the salt on some meat, and then I don't have the salt to spend on anything else anymore, or do I spend the salt on something else I need, and then I can't use it to preserve my food? To solve that conundrum, humanity switched to a currency that doesn't serve any other practical purpose, and they chose gold to fill that role. But nowadays, gold is right back to having no practical use! So why is gold so valuable? In the Fallout series of video games, people use bottlecaps as currency, but that's because a majority of people don't have much faith in the existing government's fiat currency. That doesn't apply here in the real world. I refuse to accept that people just have no faith in the U.S. government to back the value of their dollar. So what gives? Why is gold still so valuable?
  22. No, numbers have been around since the Big Bang. The only thing that's recent is applying names to those quantities (e.g. "five" for English or "cinco" in Spanish). A computer can recognize a quantity, and it couldn't care less what sounds the humans are making with their mouths to represent those quantities. Quantities ... numbers ... mathematics ... the laws of physics ... those things have always existed long before humans assigned words to them, and they'll continue to exist for all eternity, even after humans go extinct.
  23. Well, while cars might be a recent invention, people have always navigated, even if they did so on foot, wagon, or horseback. So navigation has been around as long as organisms have. While I don't know what the ancient cultures (e.g. Egypt & Mesopotamia) called their days of the week or their months of the year, I'm pretty sure they had some kind of names for them, rather than assigning numbers. How long have numbers systems been around? At least as long as Mesopotamia. They used a 60-digit numbers system, in contrast with the 10-digit numbers system we use today. That's why we have 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour.
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