TOM THE DANCING BUG: How the Ape Brain Assesses Risk




I’m not worried about ISIL . . . ebola will get them eventually.


You could have made it more clear that he was watching Fox"News" on the television.


More like CNN. Fox News would never admit that Climate Change is real


This artist is the web comic equivalent of John Oliver, just sayin’


The American Diabetes Association says on their website 29.1% of Americans have diabetes.


Bravo! You’ve quite succinctly summarized the cognitive dissonance rampant among the middle class (not just the US either).


I do not think that phrase means what you think it means.


Wouldn’t this be better categorized as the availability heuristic?

Even though orders of magnitude more people die from things like auto accidents and heart disease, we’re much more often presented with the exotic and rare disasters in the news and other media. Since those rare calamities are foremost in our minds we assign value to their risk disproportionately right?


But most of us know one or more people who have died in a car accident or had a heart attack. Very few of us know anybody who died in a terrorist attack. So availability isn’t the issue so much as some sort of weird tribalistic instinct that totally short circuits the rational brain.


I don’t know anyone who’s been the victim of an Islamic terrorist attack, but I know at least 3 people whose place of business was firebombed or shot at by anti-choice Christians.

For some reason, people get upset when I bring that up.


Cancer. Don’t forget cancer. Trump this one, al-Qaida.


this also explains why nuclear power, GMO’s, vaccines, flouride, etc etc are so reviled. humans suck at risk assessment without sc1ence to guide them


problem still is, “gmo” is too broad an umbrella. sure, some gmos would be helpful, but agribusiness owning yet more of our farm lands is bad.

nuclear power is the same story. even if it were safe as houses ( which you gotta grant is pretty unsafe ) who wants to feed big, centralized power plant industries?

both things give the same kinds of money and control to the same kinds of folks who already have it.


The metal-smelting plant next to the power plant? There are things that require a LOT of power. Aluminium electrolysis, arc furnaces for steelmaking…


even now some GMO’s are made by non profit organizations and universities and even small companies like arctic apples. As tech progresses I can forsee a future when even a local farmer’s cooperative can approach a small local GMO company and pay them a reasonable amount to make a GMO tailored to there needs and conditions and they retain the patent, analogous to them going to a local print shop which is a locally owned business and having them print a large tarpaulin sign or banner

So far there seem to be practical reasons for that not happening in nuclear power. But since both nuclear and renewables will most likely be the energy mix that replaces fossil fuels and it will deprive the oil producing countries of their monopoly, it will be an improvement over the status quo. But even if there was no improvement I would gladly accept that over the alternative which is: insistence on using only renewables leads to the retirement date of fossil fuels being delayed which results in climate change devastation


BTW, AFAIK big or at least medium sized business owns all those large windmills specially offshore windmills. And big business also owns those helisotat molten salt energy storage power towers since those dont scale down well


Until the Calorie Companies start engineering offensive capabilities.
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Cheap enough small enough DNA printers, like the kind with laser-switched synthetic enzymes on membrane with pores I am envisioning (todo: write a book of ideas for the future, or at least a blog), can make the enterpreneurs so atomized and the targets so small that the Calorie Companies will have the same position of worthless targets everywhere like the music industry has now.


All of the societies of the world will be an indeterminately shaded cube of grey goo, 7 miles to a side. Beating its wings in the wind of commerce and floating on an ocean of patents.