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CharonY

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Everything posted by CharonY

  1. ! Moderator Note OP seems more about outrage about a CEO's pitch rather than engineering. As it does not seem to foster any interesting discussions either, it is locked.
  2. I think his presentation always comes up o this topic as it strongly challenges many false and simplified notions. Also relevant are his other talks related to gapminder, dismantling many global misconceptions. It is not a coincidence that folk lamenting about overpopulation rarely make the case to first reduce the population that is overconsuming resources.
  3. Just an add on to earlier comments regarding pharna investments https://arstechnica.com/science/2024/02/big-pharma-spends-billions-more-on-executives-and-stockholders-than-on-rd/
  4. the argument seems a bit backwards as without NASA SpaceX would likely have failed https://arstechnica.com/science/2016/04/without-nasa-there-would-be-no-spacex-and-its-brilliant-boat-landing/ Moreover, much of the funding is still government contracts. I.e. whatever limitation of government money you see, it also applies to SpaceX.
  5. ! Moderator Note Off-topic discussion split to new topic.
  6. In Alberta, Canada, there is legislation in play that aim to legislate care for children. A big issue is that it sets hard limits rather than providing the breathing space youths, parents and medical professionals need to make proper individual assessments. While on its face it might seem that quite a bit is inconsequential (e.g. genital surgery is already age limited) it raises the question regarding the legality of other types of surgeries (e.g. breast surgery related to cancer or pain). Attempting to legislate health care is always an issue, especially when guidelines become very specific and are done without a strong consensus from the medical community (and even then there are issues) as human health and biology does not conform to simple rules that could be addressed by checklists adequately. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/danielle-smith-unveils-sweeping-changes-to-alberta-s-student-gender-identity-sports-and-surgery-policies-1.7101053
  7. That is very true. The gap is the steepest for the poor, as there is no means to create or amplify wealth. The only resource available is labour and most money will be used to survive, leaving no space to invest. Entrepreneurship is difficult if you have no assets to leverage or if taking risks means to be be living on the streets. In contrast, even middle class folks can invest some modest amount after taking care of the essentials. And perversely, the ultra rich do not require income, they can just leverage their wealth.
  8. That is one of the reasons why I am extremely suspicious of the "tech will save us" narrative, especially if they are in the hands of select few individuals. They have all the answers, without even understanding the question. That is why the definition has shifted from specific diagnoses to a broader range of descriptive syndromes, from what I understand. So basically instead of having the categories associated with pervasive developmental disorder, as the conditions are called, like autistic disorder, Aseperger's disorder and childhood disintegrative disorder (and maybe more) it is now organized in a spectrum. This new categorization has decreased diagnoses, IIRC. But reading ability or body coordination are I believe not part of it- the focus is in persistent deficits in social communication and limited but repetitive patterns of behaviour, for example.
  9. Oh yes, I am sure they do. I am not entirely sure on which level, though and whether there is ongoing trend or just the pendulum swing (due to undoing of some existing Gerrymandering). But yes, as a whole there is no (AFAIK) fundamental aversion against it among Dems (or at least I think there isn't).
  10. Several issues with the argument. The first, not all traits are under selection. In fact, most are likely not. Second, many traits, including autism, are not fully genetic, and even if under negative selection are not expected to be vanish entirely. Third, whatever advantages autism confers, is highly situation dependent and especially on the more extreme end, the negatives vastly outlast the positives. Conversely, psychopaths are becoming CEOs https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackmccullough/2019/12/09/the-psychopathic-ceo/?sh=7dfff38d791e
  11. I think it is part of the issue but not the cause. I vaguely recall also that both sides are not quite the same, on the state level some papers have argued that the GOP is doing significantly more, and in congress a swing to the Democrats was apparently due to court decisions striking down GOP Gerrymandering. But I do not really recall much detail.
  12. It really only depends on how the swing states decide. Popular vote still remains close for the most part. But honestly, I suspect your first mistake is to assume that folks are making informed decisions. Hasn't the pandemic taught you anything?
  13. ! Moderator Note There is no invitation to discuss anything here. Locked.
  14. I mean, they will still vote for him and say that he is the only to fix it. You can draw your own conclusions from there.
  15. In part, certainly. But especially when it comes to sexuality and associated identity, things are bit more different than other identity traits. Both appear to be formed early on and generally do not change through life, in contrast to other forms of identity. What might change is how you express a given identity (e.g. what society considers to be masculine or feminine at any given point). And you might be correct that folks have become less prescriptive (or at least specific) in that regard. But on the other hand things have been changing forever, (e.g. whether heels are for men or women switched entirely more than once).
  16. I mostly did not know what the point of that argument was. It seemed to try to suggest that the ability (or inability) to address a condition would have some sort of inherent meaning. But obviously there are a lot of procedures developed that are done because folks are willing to pay for it (e.g. plastic surgery). I don't think anyone is looking for a cure in autism, despite in some cases the conditions can make life very difficult. Rather, folks want to understand the condition itself (as it is not very well defined), potential causes and behavioral management options. There are some folks using animal models to look into molecular mechanisms of autism and some think that this could lead to a cure, but I think that is mostly sales (like having a cancer treatment every week). This research has also shifted the perception on autism, especially in what was previously considered "Asperger's syndrome" which is now more considered to be within a more normative range (if at the extremes) for example. If your question is whether there are genetics based treatment, AFAIK there is only few, in part also because many genetic challenges are not caused by a single locus. Besides certain uses in cancer I am only aware of a gene therapy to treat a retinal disease. Larger chromosomal changes are not feasible targets.
  17. In this context I would like to add that aberrations is also a social construct. In nature, these variations simply exist and, if harmful generally do not spread. But based on what originally constituted life on Earth, everything but the simplest bacteria are aberrations. Whether we want to change certain conditions or not, does not make them normal or abnormal. For example, originally humans become lactose intolerant as they mature. Addressing this issue does not make it an aberration. But since the ample availability of dairy can make it problematic, it can be considered a syndrome to be treated or at least managed.
  18. Well, not only that, it also takes time and genetic isolation between populations. Even extreme inbreeding would not result in genetic isolation within a generation (or at least I cannot think of a scenario at the top of my head).
  19. And also a function of nutrient availability. This is another example why focusing on a seemingly fixed (genetic or other biological interpretation) of a presumed normalcy is inherently flawed. Nature just is creates all kinds of variations. Otherwise we would still be superoptimized unicellular organisms.
  20. In this context I think it is important to highlight that definitions like disease/syndromes etc. are context-driven and are not something that is ultimately biological per se, despite having biological origins. A crude example includes forms of sickle cell anemia, which in isolation is harmful, but in the context of high malaria risk, becomes beneficial. Ultimately, any variation that exists in nature simply exists, regardless of frequency and any "norm" we associate with it, is almost entirely context-driven. For practical purposes, we consider mutations a deviation from something (i.e. the wild-type), but given the fact that everything we see is the result of one mutation or another, it is obviously not something that is really not normal in nature. So obviously the association with genotype and sex is specific to a number of species (including humans), but is clearly not universal. And even within these, a number of variations exist. As SJ mentioned before, whether we call them a syndrome is related to whether they cause issue in their daily lives, which obviously is very specific to the human condition and society and should not be mixed with biological interpretation.
  21. As I alluded to earlier, it is related to how funding (for teaching and research) is allocated, and in the US (but also Canada, and I believe UK) there is marked disparity in what universities get. Also in many publicly funded universities in Europe you lack many amenities (and sports teams), but in return you can study without getting into debt.
  22. No, that is perfectly fine. I just want to make it clear as some folks assume that this is an universal biological thing, whereas in reality biology is more complicated (and weirder) than we see in humans.
  23. I want to add that this is a human-centered view, and not really applicable in the broader field of biology. In terms of sexual reproduction a distinction in male and female is made based on anisogamy (i.e. if they create different forms of gametes). In some species one organism can do both, in others, the role can change during their life cycle. But there is also sexual reproduction where we find isogamy (i.e. gametes with same morphology), which is a form of sexual reproduction that cannot be classified into different sexes. And some do really weird switches, especially when they can change between uni- to multicellular life styles. In short, biology of sex is weird and everyone is a pervert.
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