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Everything posted by Prometheus

  1. Neither is there evidence that torture will work 100% in the very particular scenarios given here. I'm starting to think no one followed the links to the abstracts i gave, because they include data other than from these circumstances. Again, incredulity is a poor substitute for evidence. Why not simply change the premise of the OP to include the assumption that the torture will certainly work as intended, or work with probability x. You already have one unrealistic constraint regarding certainty that no innocent person is tortured, why not add another to keep the hypothetical scenario 'pure'.
  2. Until someone shows me actual evidence of its efficacy there is no question to answer.
  3. That sums up this whole thread. Ethics is an applied art - ignore the real world and all we have are empty words. What seems obvious is irrelevant. We should look at the evidence.
  4. They simulated torture as best they could to gain empirical insights. It's the best they can do, and it accords with observational data. This is similar to many epidemiological studies, so i'm not sure what the problem is regarding methodology given the necessary limitations. Not true. The witches were sometimes guilty of the 'crimes' of which they were accused, it's just those crimes (and punishments) were ridiculous: having body deformations, practicing innocuous pagan rituals, killing their neighbour's cat etc... That they also confessed to whatever else their torturers accused them of shows how ineffective a method torture is. To bring it into our setting, if inflicted upon our imaginary paedophile he would have told us the location of every single child we asked about - one true positive among a forest of false positives. Maybe that is sufficient for you, but it raises practical issues of spending limited resources down (self-inflicted) false positives. Until you show me some evidence, whether empirical, observational or theoretical, i'll remain sceptical of its effectiveness beyond unrealistic practical constraints (i.e ignoring its limited effectiveness and the possibility of innocent people being tortured).
  5. That's true of much of the research, but not all. The paper using cold immersion as a surrogate for torture was on ordinary people and came to the same conclusion regarding its ineffectiveness. There was also the theoretical paper that took a game theoretic approach. It's quite an involved paper so i've delved into its rigor, but it bypasses the enriched sample problem. There's also a historical perspective that lends credence to the scientific literature: during the witch trials women would confess to anything that they thought their torturers wanted to hear. Truth was the second victim, after the 'witches'.
  6. The researchers didn't test that by undergoing torture themselves (although one paper did use cold emersion to simulate torture)- it's based primarily on observational data from different agencies that have found information obtained under torture is unreliable. There was a theoretical paper in there too. It's a sparse literature, but what evidence we have seems to suggest torture is an ineffective means of obtaining accurate information.
  7. This assumes torture actually works as a method for getting the truth. It's not an easily researchable topic, but what literature i could find suggests that it is ineffective. There is also the possibility that some of the people you torture will be innocent. You could put people through a full court trial to mitigate against this, but that would negate any usefulness if time is a factor and there would still be the occasional innocent person tortured for nothing.
  8. Turkey is a NATO member, the only one to have shot down a Russian jet in the last 6 years, opposes Russian actions in Syria, has condemned the Crimean annex and increasingly sells weapons to Ukraine - especially drones proven effective against Russian artillery. True that Turkey also cooperates with Russia on some fronts, even in Syria at times, but to present this situation as binary is an over-simplification.
  9. It rings a very loud bell which is why i'm keen to consider geopolitics from as many perspectives as possible. I'm not sure why considering whether the security concerns of Russia are legitimate, or the erosion of trust in international institutions due to past unilateral actions by the global superpower and allies is off topic.
  10. And do Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam ring bells? None of which, of course, justify what Russia is doing but just because Putin is a dictator out for himself and his boys, doesn't mean Russia doesn't have its own legitimate security concerns. It's also hard to make the (perfectly reasonable) case that Russia should pursue those concerns at the UN, when the USA and UK bypassed international institutions when they 'believed' Iraq was an imminent security threat. I doubt it. Every day gives the Ukraine more time to prepare, receive equipment and training from the West. Even with Russia's overwhelming forces, Ukraine should give Russia a bloody nose, and coffins coming home doesn't look good, even for dictators. My guess is weather and/or political manoeuvring.
  11. They have deep ideological divisions running back to the communist era and competing strategic interests in the post-Soviet states of central asia. The only reason to be friends is the enemy of my enemy...
  12. True (assuming my interpretation correct - i've not seen the details), but it does bring the interpretation much closer to programmes that try to detect and change potential terrorists thinking to something less extreme, like the UK's Prevent programme.
  13. You'd hope so, but you'd think the same for UK foreign secretaries, but Boris Johnson managed to extend a UK journalist's sentence in an Iranian prison due to his typical bumbling, bungling style. As for the the inappropriate thoughts - surprisingly hard to find the full, unedited transcript (do you know of one?), from what i could find he was explicitly referring to Islamist terrorists among the Uyghurs. From here:
  14. That's a Western problem not a Chinese one - mostly, i imagine, because we care about Chinese money coming our way. I'm all for calling out China, just call them out for things they said, not that we imagined. Granted i've not looked into this 'inappropriate thought' comment, but my first thought would be to check it's not a simple mistranslation - as was the case for the crack their heads and spill blood comment.
  15. Xi Jinping's speech stating any country trying to influence it would "crack their heads and spill blood", was widely reported in Western media as being a threat of violence. The actual words, from an ancient saying (chengyu), are 頭破血流 or 'Tóu pò xiě liú' - literally 'head break blood flow'. Sounds like a reasonable interpretation unless you understand the chengyu. Running into a brick wall or bashing one's head against a wall would be a closer interpretation - the saying explicitly refers to the futility of your actions - it's not the walls fault you ran into it. It's very clearly (to Chinese speakers) not a threat of aggression. Could he have picked more diplomatic words? Maybe, but he was talking to Chinese people in Chinese using a common proverb that is at several centuries years old. Communication is a two way process: the West should also make an effort rather than jump to worst interpretations.
  16. It's worth noting that the RCN is a trade union (and in my professional opinion (ex NHS nurse) a poor one - but that's another thread), not a medical body. They do not make decisions based on medical evidence any more than the RMT (transport) union does. Which is not to say their points may or may not be valid in regards to workers rights, only that they are not a medical authority.
  17. It's panspermia. The point is reproduction, not praise or blame. Many (most?) species on Earth reproduce by simply spreading their seed as far and wide as possible. Whether it's technically possible or ethical is another question.
  18. Is immune and hormonal response physical enough? This review has a nice little section on it. I think the line between psychological and physical is a little more blurred than our Western dualistic upbringing would suggest.
  19. We really know nothing about the effect of low gravity on the body. What research we have regards the micro-gravity environments of LEO. It would be folly to interpolate between these 1G and 0G environment data points. Another reason to go to the moon first, and get intermediate data points.
  20. That was from the 2015 study I gave. They didn't get those number themselves but provide these references to justify it: Seifritz W. Mirrors to halt global warming? Nature. 1989;340(6235):603. 10.Early JT. Space-based solar shield to offset greenhouse effect. Journal of British Interplanetary Society. 1989;42(567–569). 11.McInnes CR. Minimum mass solar shield for terrestrial climate control. JBIS. 2002;55(9–10):307–11.
  21. But it would threaten to knock the structure off the L1 point and so require a significant amount of fuel to keep it in place.
  22. Why the equator? I thought the Earth's tilt took it out of the ecliptic plane?
  23. Additionally geostationary orbit wouldn't work. This orbit means an object is always above the same point on Earth which means at night time its pointing away from the sun.
  24. I remember seeing a back of the envelope calculation that estimated the amount of mass needed for such a shade to be effective at cooling would require an orbital infrastructure of epic sci-fi proportions (and didn't even attempt to calculate the warming caused by building a launching all those rockets). I think it was a science communicator called Scott Manley if you want to have a google around to find it. Can't find it, but i have an envelope handy. Found this study that estimated the mass of a sun shield needs to be 10^7–10^8 tonnes. Let's take 10^7. That's 10^10 kg. The current cheapest vehicle per kilo is currently the Falcon 9 at $1400 per kilo. The cost of just launching this structure would be $14 trillion. Pretty expensive but economically possible i guess, if we ignore politics. A Falcon 9 can launch 22,800 kg per launch, which would require ~ 440000 launches. Space X have one of the best launch cadences in the world but only managed 31 last year. If we started now we might get it done in 30 years if we can increase the launches to 15000 a year. Apparently a Falcon 9 produces 360,000 kg of C02 per launch. So we'd be adding 10^11 kilos, or 10^8 tonnes, of C02 into the atmosphere by the end of the project. All this is based on costs to launch to LEO. L1, the most feasible place it could sit, would be far more expensive (both $ and C02) - but those numbers aren't so easy to get. I conclude that it's not feasible with current tech, and by the time it does become feasible it would be too late to significantly contribute i.e. the damage would be done. But feel free to check these numbers because i haven't.
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