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Posts posted by SH3RL0CK

  1. Does courtroom experience matter for judgeship?


    If not, I gotta support a fellow New York Jew


    Why would no experience as a judge be a concern regarding a candidate for the very top judge in the nation? Indeed, having a well over a year experience in arguing court cases should have prepared Ms. Kagan for any conceivable issue that might be presented before the supreme court [/sarcasm] Without question experience is important, and there are many others who are more qualified candidates.


    That said, I do very much like her academic experience. And the President is Constitutionally permitted to appoint anyone he pleases. As per my previous post, I am optimistically looking forward to the confirmation hearings as I'd like to know more about her. With the virtual supermajority of democrats in the Senate, I'd say she is a shoo-in unless the media decides to 'bork' her (which they clearly aren't going to do).

  2. I'm a bit concerned because I think she lacks experience...it seems to me to be like the Harriet Miers nomination by GW Bush. Note in particular from the article

    she has never been a judge. Indeed, before becoming solicitor general in March 2009, Ms Kagan had never argued a case in court.
    I don't mean to say that her other experience counts for nothing, but clearly this should be at least a concern.


    I would think there are candidates with more relevant experience...and I would expect the Senators to question this aspect. However, given a near super-majority in the Senate and what seems to me to be a favorable press, I don't doubt she will be confirmed.


    I'll wait until the confirmation hearings before forming an opinion on her however.

  3. that and most migration appears to have been away from africa.


    But why should this be? Why wouldn't there be migrations in both directions?


    However, looking at the evidence, it does appear to be the case. Maybe the Sahara desert is a large enough obstacle that it couldn't be crossed by a substantial number of people (though I'm fairly certain it wasn't always a desert- and besides the Nile River and the oceans provide paths around it)? :confused:


    The theory that modern Homo sapiens drove away Neanderthals (hence none in Africa) doesn't seem to fit given I think there must have been significant interbreeding to add even 1% to the genome of a population.

  4. the validity of the science demonstrating vaccines to be safe, effective, and also unrelated to autism and autistic spectrum disorders.


    While this is true, many of the parents of children are understandably asking, are we sure the studies are correct? Have the studies considered all the possibilities? Probably not - I don't know that this is even possible.


    FWIW, I agree with you. But the solution to this issue is to solve the autism question.


    The Pharmacutical companies and the government should also recognize that people will naturally view them with suspicion...these rightfully lack public trust because they HAVE performed things like the Tuskegee experiments.




    from the article:

    The Tuskegee syphilis experiment[1] (also known as the Tuskegee syphilis study or Public Health Service syphilis study) was a clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972...researchers failed to treat patients appropriately after the 1940s validation of penicillin as an effective cure for the disease...By 1947 penicillin had become the standard treatment for syphilis. Choices might have included treating all syphilitic subjects and closing the study, or splitting off a control group for testing with penicillin. Instead, the Tuskegee scientists continued the study, withholding penicillin and information about it from the patients. In addition, scientists prevented participants from accessing syphilis treatment programs available to others in the area. The study continued, under numerous supervisors, until 1972, when a leak to the press resulted in its termination. Victims included numerous men who died of syphilis, wives who contracted the disease, and children born with congenital syphilis.[4]







    considering the vast heat capacity of the oceans, I have to wonder why these dinosaurs are still not around.


    I now know these were not dinosaurs, but I still have to ask why these animals went extinct. Consider also




    which is nearly identical to today's dolphin. So why do we have dolphins swimming in the ocean and not Ichythyosaurs? I can't imagine the ocean temperature dropping by enough to cause extinction...

  6. But I think these decisions are made with objective inputs, aren't they? Advice from people who don't have an iron in the fire, as opposed to the study authors who proposed it or the drug company that stands to profit. If that's the case it would seem to be well-handled.


    If only this were the case, I can't quickly find what Rick Perry used to scientifically decide this vaccine was warranted. However see the following...




    ...Apparent financial connections between Merck and Rick Perry have been reported by news outlets, such as a $6,000 campaign contribution, as well as Merck's hiring of former Perry Chief of Staff Mike Toomey to handle its Texas lobbying work.[30]


    Adding to the criticism of Perry's order is what is viewed by some as a high price of the vaccine which is approximately $US360 in Texas.[31] Gardasil is a patent-restricted vaccine and Merck is the sole producer.


    Now maybe all the above is coincidence and the decision was the right decision, though poorly handled. But given the above reference, I have to believe that financial gain for both Gov. Perry and Merck was some factor in this decision.

  7. ... there were no known aquatic dinosaurs.


    Really? How about:








    considering the vast heat capacity of the oceans, I have to wonder why these dinosaurs are still not around.


    Edit: Ah, I see the rest of your post where these are now not considered dinosaurs...I did not realize the scientific consensus had changed regarding these animals.

  8. I'll have to watch it when I get more time.


    But I do have a concern about getting a vaccine for every little possible germ. At some point the costs to society outweigh the benefits to society (but not the benefits, or should I say profits at our expense, to Big Pharma). I'd rather have the sniffles for a day than get a vaccine shot with my arm sore for the next week and worrying about getting one of the "rare" side effects with "minor" complications (at least rare and minor as defined by the pharmacutical companies).


    After all, pharmacutical companies do make money on vaccines, and from a business perspective they will push as many as they can. Of couse they will claim that the vaccine is necessary. And, they will use government to help them make their profit, which IIRC was a concern (albeit I think unwarranted in this case) about gardasil in Texas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardasil


    The governor of Texas, Rick Perry, issued an executive order mandating vaccination against HPV which was later overturned by the Texas legislature. Through lobbying efforts, Merck has suggested that governments make vaccination with Gardasil mandatory for school attendance, which has upset some conservative groups and libertarian groups
    (emphasis mine)


    Who can say that in the future Merck won't want our government to mandate (for a profit to them of course) a vaccine with serious side effects to prevent diseases which nobody would ever realistically get anyway?


    Anyway I'll try to take a look at this tonight if I get time.

  9. But in a multi-round game you can make it clear that you reject "unfair" proposals, logic be damned. In the end, this sense of fairness can benefit you, as others fear to offer you an unfair proposal.


    This is a good observation. While being "fair" and "irrational" may lose you the $1 you may have otherwise gained, it also forces the others to offer more than the $1 because they do need your participation (or at least the participation of a majority).


    If you are the top guy and a majority of the others won't settle for $1, wouldn't you offer, say $100k each so that you can get perhaps $400k instead of nothing?


    If you aren't playing "fair" and are being entirely rational, all you will get is the $1 if you are not the top guy. Why settle for that when by being irrational you can get more?

    Merged post follows:

    Consecutive posts merged
    Indeed. In fact, that's probably the whole function of anger. Being spiteful is self-harming pretty much by definition, but the threat of spite warns others not to mess with you.


    And then sometimes you have to play it out so that others know you aren't just bluffing. So what if you, as exec # 7, lose $1? Its not a big deal because on the next time everyone else knows they have to offer more, perhaps considerably more, to get your participation.

  10. ...I don't get why that isn't a coherent definition.


    Ok. So something that benefits only a handful of people is pork. Something that benefits everyone is not pork. At what percentage of the population does a pork project become not pork? 51%? 33%? 0.01%?


    Probably someone will bring in the collective cost associated with such percentages...in other words, maybe I don't mind 0.01% of the population getting a benefit if it costs me $0.0000000000000001, but maybe it bothers me if it costs me $1000. Or maybe not, depending on what specifically it is. I'm really pointing out that one person's pork is another persons necessary program, it is subjective and cannot be easily defined.


    The original post asked where to cut spending? I would suggest we look instead at what NOT to cut first and break things listed there (in post # 1) up into three groups:


    1) What functions are absolutely necessary by the government? These I will contend are by definition not pork and cannot be eliminated. Maybe reduced, but we still need them.


    My list would be National Defense, Basic Scientific Research, possibly Foreign Aid.


    2) What functions are not necessary by the government - but are either more cost-effective or more efficient when run by the federal government than run by the states or private enterprises? These I will also contend are not pork as the benefits outweigh the costs to society as a whole. Possibly these programs can be cut, but should not be eliminated.


    My list would include Transportation, Mass Transit.


    3) What functions are not necessary by the government nor are more cost effective or efficient than either the states or private enterprise? I would suggest that these programs be cut drastically if not eliminated outright given the current budget deficit. Should the budget deficit shrink due to either an economic recovery or budget cuts, then we can consider refunding these programs.


    My list would include agriculture (basic research excepted) and housing.


    I'm not sure where to rank social security, medicare, unemployment benefits and some others. Social security CAN, without a doubt, be done more efficiently by private individuals, but that does not mean it WILL be done more efficiently. Likewise with medicare, unemployment benefits, etc. Also, these programs provide a benefit which may outweight their costs...


    Where would others rank these items? Other thoughts?

  11. I don't think so, no. Under that definition, absolutely everything could be considered pork, and it becomes meaningless. The purpose of pork is to enrich a politician's constituency at the expense of the collective whole. The elderly do not have their own congressmen.


    So then what is the difference between enriching a specific politicians constituency politician and the constituency of a specific political party? Either one could be at the expense of the collective whole?


    Social security in its current form gives those over 60ish money from those under 40ish. National defense on the other hand, simply protects all citizens in the US.


    Now don't misunderstand, I'm not suggesting social security is necessarily pork...just trying to figure out what is, and isn't pork spending.

  12. I suggest: spending with the primary purpose of bringing money into a particular locality.


    Would not a particular segment of society (such as the African-American community, Hispanics, the young, seniors, etc.) be similar? Consider that national political parties (such as the democrats or republicans) would obviously not be restricted to any particular locality regarding where the money is spent.


    Social security is primarily spent on a particular segment of society, the elderly and therefore I contend it could be considered pork. A politican cannot overlook the votes from the seniors... Now I'm sure the motivations are more than just to garner votes, and that in a sense even national defense could probably be considered pork...

  13. ... While pork barrel spending is indeed ugly, getting rid of every bit of it won't make a dent in the budget...


    Perhaps a serious discussion here of what is meant by pork would be appropriate, granted that you provided a legitimate source with a definition. Some people would say that social security (one of FDR's pet projects) is pork as it will benefit only a small segment of the US population (those currently over the age of 50 or so). Social security is not at all insignificant...


    But considering that I, and everyone under age 50 or so, will almost certainly receive back very considerably less in social security benefits than I pay in, at some point the question of why do we have this program at all will be seriously asked. And to be honest, I really don't know which is worse (and I'm going to exagerate a bit here), screwing the elderly by leaving them destitute or screwing the young by stealing their money...but the way we are currently heading will result in both.

  14. IMO, the problem isn't whether or not these tax cuts are maintained. Regardless, the root problem isn't fixed. The problem is that government cannot stop spending.


    I think both Democrats and Republicans have yet to learn that big government spending on pork doesn't buy as many votes as they think. With the possible exception of the new Health Care Bill (as we have yet to see how that will play out), when was the last time you voted for a particular candidate because they supported a new spending program (I cannot think of any for myself)? Any instances of when you voted against a candidate because of this (I can think of several)?


    Perhaps true fiscal conservatism would serve well whichever party actually adopts it (but I won't be holding my breath for this to happen).

  15. Scandanavia is not separated from the continent and since 2 July 2000 the Oresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark has been opened for public traffic.


    "The Øresund or Öresund Bridge (Danish: Øresundsbroen, Swedish: Öresundsbron, joint hybrid name: Øresundsbron) is a combined two-track rail and four-lane road bridge-tunnel across the Öresund strait. It is the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe and connects the two metropolitan areas of the Öresund Region: the Danish capital of Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmö. The international European route E20 runs across the bridge and through the tunnel via the two lane motorway, as does the Öresund Railway Line. The construction of the Great Belt Fixed Link and the Øresund have connected mainland Europe to Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia."




    I was not aware of this bridge (thanks!), though I did know about the chunnel between England and France. Still, there is a limit that a single bridge or tunnel can transport as opposed to multiple routes which exist on the continent...I don't know whether these, plus ferries, would be sufficient to meet the transportation needs of England and Scandanavia or not. We might soon find out.

  16. Since the eruption has been going on for a while, and historically can last for years, I'm wondering if this will result in a temporary global cooling? I haven't heard any estimates on this though, so maybe its not enough ash (or maybe the media is only focusing on the travel disruptions).


    Regarding travel, if this continues for a long time the Europeans will need to utilize their excellent train network for inter-European travel and to send passengers to whichever airports are open for global travel. Fortunately for them, their train system is probably flexible enough to do so IMO (with possible exceptions being England, Ireland and Scandanavia which are separated from the continent).

  17. If you use a furnace to heat your greenhouse, just dump the CO2 from the furnace into the greenhouse. If your house is nearby too, you could pipe the CO2 from your furnace as well. Aerobic decomposition of organic material will also produce CO2. Or you could burn something extra.


    I think that may be dangerous if anyone will be entering the greenhouse as furnaces might exhaust CO rather than CO2. Yes, it would be cheap, but proper precautions should be taken if doing this. And you don't want to be running the furnace in the summertime.


    There are several chemical reactions which could be done relatively cheaply that would be safer. I would suggest looking into this instead of using the furnace or at least during the warmer months.


    It probably within the realm of google to find out where these greenhouses that input CO2 get their supply. I'd suggest starting there first.

  18. What of the politician who says they support school prayer or teaching creationism, in a situation similar to this? i.e. to a camera, not as part of legislation. ...those are two issues that the courts have found to be unconstitutional. Isn't support for them the same as repudiating one's oath? Or is there a loophole,


    Of course one could support an UNCONSTITUTIONAL item and not violate their oath, nor be a hypocrite, if this support is qualified by stating that you intend to change the constitution accordingly (while abiding with it until such change is implemented). It is designed to be modified provided a sufficient supermajority agrees. An example of this very thing happening would be Prohibition.


    The constitution isn't the absolute final say on the law considering it can be changed.

  19. a nuclear explosion ... heat(s) one side of the asteroid to cause outgassing which will push like thousands of tiny rocket engines.


    But if the asteroid rotates, as is almost certainly the case, then the outgassing will essentially be balanced due to the rotation. I suppose it would be possible to ignite the nuke along the rotational axis...which I presume would accomplish the objective of altering the solar orbital trajectory.


    The composition of the asteroid would be critical. If it did not contain water or other volatile compounds, I doubt much would be accomplished by doing this as there would be no outgassing. Unless the explosion was close enough to vaporize the stone or metal, in which case I think there is a definite risk of breaking the asteroid up into multiple peices, each of which would pose a significant threat (turning one problem asteroid into many).


    Not that I am really opposed to this type of research (I would say we should do this provided we can afford it), I'm just reinforcing my opinion that other techniques such as gravity tractors appear more promising to me.

  20. Considering the varied nature of asteroids, from a single solid rock to a rubble pile, also containing a widely varying amount of water and other ices and/or metal and/or carbon, there is going to be a vastly different response to a nuclear explosion on the surface which would be difficult to accurately model, even if we could catagorize the composition of an asteroid likely to impact the earth. If the asteroid is either very fragile or a pile of rubble, exploding nukes on it will likely not alter its path because there is nothing really to push against. So instead of a pile of rubble falling to earth we could wind up with a radioactive pile of rubble falling to earth.


    Also, as happens on occasion, launch rockets fail. I doubt a launch failure would cause the bomb to go nuclear. However, I'm concerned by the possibility of radioactive material (such as used in a nuclear bomb) falling across a very large portion of the earth in an uncontrolled fashion. Couldn't this be an environmental catastrophe?


    I'd prefer to spend the money on other asteroid pushing possibilities (such as the gravity tractor). Some of these possibilities don't depend at all on the composition of the asteroid and need only the trajectory (very easy to determine) to be known to be effective.

  21. I think what this poll is really saying is that the American people don't think they are getting their moneys worth out of the taxes paid. So why send more money down the rathole for further waste?


    That said, I think this poll also indicates the public recognizes the usefulness of government and government programs, hence the hesitation to cut back on any program.


    I actually would favor a freeze in the overall budget (i.e. no increase in money at all) perhaps even setting the budget at 2005 levels, until such time as revenues catch up via economic growth and the deficit is gone. But I realize the US government should keep its promises to social security, etc. (or shouldn't have promised what we can't afford - though thats for another thread) so this won't happen.

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