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In response to comment by puls on Fight Zero-Sum Bias
Comment author: daedalus2u 25 July 2010 01:14:24AM 1 point [-]

I think the 416,000 US military dead and their families would disagree that the war made them better off.

Comment author: puls 25 July 2010 03:22:28AM 0 points [-]

Of course I agree with you. I am merely thinking in dollars and cents here, since that is the primary measure of value in the "civilized" world.

In response to comment by puls on Fight Zero-Sum Bias
Comment author: SilasBarta 25 July 2010 02:55:52AM *  3 points [-]

I still think that counts as lose-lose, though not for the reason daedulus2u gives in the sibling comment. WWII destroyed the productive capacity of several nations and diverted huge amounts of resources to swords instead of plowshares.

Had there been no war, these resources could have been committed to making more plowshares, including for the people of the US. Don't mistake a recovery in plowshare production capability, for a higher absolute capability.

Comment author: puls 25 July 2010 03:19:26AM 0 points [-]

Ah, okay. I must admit that the depth of my knowledge on the economic history of my country is rather skin-deep. I do know, however, that we squander unbelievable amounts of money on war, so I think you may easily have a point.

In response to Fight Zero-Sum Bias
Comment author: daedalus2u 20 July 2010 10:45:42PM 3 points [-]

You have neglected the negative-sum lose-lose situation being mislabled as win-lose.

War is the classic lose-lose situation that is mislabeled as win-lose. No one "wins" a war. After a war, everyone is worse off, just some are more worse off than others.

I think the problem is that the zero-point shifts, where if you survive a war, you feel like you have won something where in reality you just didn't lose your life.

Comment author: puls 25 July 2010 01:05:29AM 1 point [-]

How about WWII? At the end of WWII, the USA was certainly better off. The economic boom we experienced following the war was quite large, not to mention the baby boom.

In response to comment by puls on An Alien God
Comment author: Larks 18 June 2010 05:22:14PM 1 point [-]

Alternatively, maybe the buzz attracts attention away from the head of the snake, making it easier to attack.

In response to comment by Larks on An Alien God
Comment author: puls 25 June 2010 03:36:34AM 1 point [-]

Yes, and it would sustain less critical damage. I'm sure that both benefits contribute to the preservation of tail-rattling traits.

In response to An Alien God
Comment author: Jannia 02 November 2007 08:07:29AM 7 points [-]

Maybe predators are wary of rattles and don't step on the snake. Or maybe the rattle diverts attention from the snake's head.

The point of a rattle, as I understand it, is that it's metabolically expensive, and time consuming, to produce poison. A snake that can chase off a dozen threats a day by wagging its tail is much better off probability-of-producing-offspring-wise than one that can only bite and poison three threats before being left defenseless for a few days.

It does leave me wondering what benefits the intermediate mutations provide though, since going from a normal snake tail to a rattle seems like it would take more than one step.

In response to comment by Jannia on An Alien God
Comment author: puls 18 June 2010 05:12:07PM 5 points [-]

I have observed that more ordinary snakes that have not developed a rattle often vibrate their tail in a similar manner, which often makes a warning buzz that is merely somewhat quieter than a rattlesnake's rattle. So incremental improvements to this rattling mechanism, which started with a regular tail, would just slowly increase the loudness, and thus warning ability, of a snake's tail.