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Comment: Re:What does this mean...? (Score 1) 56

by Arterion (#48640885) Attached to: Scientists Discover That Exercise Changes Your DNA

I just read the wikipedia article about DNA methylation, and while much of it is over my head, the pedant in me seems to accept that the accept the language that the DNA is "changed". It doesn't change the sequence of the DNA, but it seems to change the composition of the individual nucleotides.

Comment: Journalism Rant (Score 2) 137

by Arterion (#48346401) Attached to: CERN May Not Have Discovered Higgs Boson After All

This article really makes me think that journalism need to be laid to rest. In the case of physics specifically, there are some brilliant communicators. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, I'll even throw in Bill Nye (though he's a Mechanical Engineer) are all great examples of people who actually (this is the kicker) UNDERSTAND THE TOPIC they're talking about. I think if a "journalist" wants to report on something they aren't personally an expert on, or at least understand well, the whole article should be framed as in interview. An article like this just compromises the integrity of the journalist and journalism at large.

*editing note* The section below is me going off on a tangential rant. Thank you amphetamines.

I somewhat blame how writing is taught in schools and universities. It's nearly an essential requirement that you integrate quotations into your writing as if they were naturally part of your sentences. A question/response formation is forbidden, and while there is a special rule for including a block quotation, I've very rarely seen it used in practice. I understand a English 102 research paper is quite different from news piece like this, but that it is deeply ingrained not only into writers, but also readers (since we mostly did papers at least in high school) to expect that kind of quotation, mostly to the detriment of communication.

I think it's because there is an academic obsession with attribution, where you are given scary warning about PLAGIARISM and being banished from the university, should you fail to properly attribute! Yeah, if you pull a paper off the internet and present it as your own, that's clearly cheating. The academics are so obsessed, I suppose, because being published is some required right of passage. So then students spent half again the cost of tuition on textbooks every year, and then hardly use them. Why isn't Elizabeth Warren posing hard questions to the wealthy textbook barons and the academics who support their industry? I suspect that a non-trivial amount of student loan debt was acquired buying textbooks. Yes is complicated, but at the end of the day, we're collectively paying to prop up this system, and the end result is crappy journalism like this. (editing note: surprised I managed to bring that full circle.)

Comment: Ad absurdum. (Score 1) 140

by Arterion (#48339273) Attached to: Robot Makes People Feel Like a Ghost Is Nearby

Correlation is not causation.

How can we be sure that Blanke's original electrical stimulation discovery in 2006 and the later the robot poking experiments didn't actually summon malevolent entities that then caused the spooky sensation (at a distance?) the participants experienced?

On a more serious note, I'd like to see some follow-up interviews with the participants to rate how they felt after the experiment. Subjectively, did they feel like they had more "creepy" experiences following the experiment? I'd like to know if the people felt "creeped out" more than usual after the experiment. Of course you'd need a control group who always had the pokes in sync and never "sensed" the "ghost".

Comment: Re:Discover life? (Score 1) 221

I want to split a hair here. Say we mastered biological science completely. And we could manufacture some means to alter our DNA arbitrarily, and then "adapt" ourselves however we saw fit without the need to grow a new self. Would we perhaps consider each successive alteration a "generation"? Or perhaps the more familiar theme of growing a new body in a lab, then transferring consciousness into it (either by brain transplant, computers, or some kind of fully organic nervous system interface, idk.)

Of course it sounds entirely like science fiction, but it seems like being able to intelligently alter ones own genetic composition as needed would be an incredible boon for survival. I guess it really makes me wonder if technological development isn't somehow the endgame for evolutionary processes. Of course you go far enough with technology and you can then do whatever you want with it.

Comment: Re: We can do that thing you like (Score 1) 230

by Arterion (#48266593) Attached to: Windows 10 Gets a Package Manager For the Command Line

Are you seriously complaining because they aren't implementing a new proprietary package management system? Holy smokes, Microsoft just can't catch a break!

There's always msiexec if you want a Microsoft way to do command line package management. While it may seem arcane, it's totally functional. You can do a lot with group policies and logon scripts. There's even a way to add a repository of sorts for desktops using active directory. And to be clear on this, you can literally download a ".msi" file and it's not wildly different from a rpm or deb package. Most exe installers just are just wrappers for an msi anyway.

And then there's there's the app store in Windows 8, too.

Comment: Re: Am I missing the point? (Score 1) 124

You think that would be a standard feature, but apparently it bears special mention.

I miss the older Foldershare then Live Mesh for that very reason. I think it might have been before "cloud" was a buzzword, and folks still thought about networks and file storage in a traditional way.

Skydive came out and I was fine with the giveth, but then was the taketh away. I remember being excited about the Live Framework developer API. The ideas presented don't seem especially innovative at the end of 2014, but they were at the time.

Still, implementation of those ideas is lacking. I can't use my phone apps on my computer, and my tablet and my phone can have the same app, but individual copies of local data. It's rather inconvenient and at times humorous.

Comment: Am I missing the point? (Score 5, Insightful) 124

They copied some data across a local network. Then they compared it how long it took to transfer the same data to remote servers across their internet connection? 1.36 GB in 41 seconds is 33 MB/s, which is either extremely underwhelming for local network performance (I suspect a magnetic hard drive bottleneck), or extremely impressive for a fat internet pipe, neither having to do with the software in question.

Comment: Re:yep (Score 4, Interesting) 671

by Arterion (#45000943) Attached to: Obamacare Could Help Fuel a Tech Start-Up Boom

The idea of your employer being in any way connected to your health care is just vile. I am sorry to hear about your personal situation, most of the analysis I've done shows that the exchanges are competitive with employer-provided health care, and in many cases cheaper with subsidies. If it turns out at the end of the year your employer insurance over-charged, I believe they have to refund you some of your premiums. They can't just pocket the difference and call it a day anymore. This is totally new. How well it will work remains to be seen. There is also the somewhat shady option of just paying the penalty for no insurance, and if something major happens, sign up then since you can't be denied for pre-existing conditions now...

As for the poor, the law was written so that anyone making 138% FPL or less would get Medicaid. From there up to 400% would get subsidies. But half the states aren't doing the Medicaid expansion. This is a pretty big wrench in the cogs, and it remains to be see how it plays out. The idea was to get people with no insurance out of the ER and into preventative medicine, which is much cheaper to provide. Plus the moral arguments about helping the poor and sick, etc.

I've been saying the same thing about the Republicans. If Obamacare is so awful, why not just sit back with a smug grin and let it fail for two years, then rake up in 2016? I have this suspicion they're afraid it might actually work. If all the poor, white people that voted for them suddenly can do see a doctor and get medicine and take care of nagging ailments under the auspices of "Obamacare", that's gonna devastate them at the polls with that demographic.

As it stands for my family, there is myself, my brother, and my nephew who I know off the top of my head could get in on the Medicaid expansion. We currently have no health insurance. My brother actually has diabetes, so he needs it pretty badly. As it stands here in Tennessee, Obama is still evil and those damn liberals, etc., since we STILL won't have coverage in 2014. But if the expansion had went in, the three of us would have Obamacare, and it would be a hard argument for any of us (or my parents) to say Obamacare is bad when we're suddenly getting medical treatment we've needed for a while.

Comment: Re:Hard work is the best teacher (Score 1) 273

by Arterion (#44859283) Attached to: Study Shows Professors With Tenure Are Worse Teachers

Here again, this is a problem the administration has forced onto the students. My university implemented two policies just recently that really made me ill. The first: you are limited to 4 drops your whole undergraduate career. Why? Cause too many students were dropping classes, they thought. Why were these students dropping? Oh, we don't know, but we are going to call it "class sampling". Did you offer these students a syllabus before registration, so they could see what they were registering for? Oh of course not, there's not possible way we could get professors to do that!

The second issue also had to do with registration. Since the advent of online registration, there has been this thing called a "waitlist" where you put your name down to get into a class should a seat become available. Just what you might expect from something called a waitlist. In times past, you could waitlist for multiple sections of a course. This was smart, because as soon as you got into one, your spot on the other lists was cleared for the next student waiting. You really weren't causing any inconvenience by doing this. However they have banned multiple section waitlists. But the worst thing is that before, should you register for one section (say, with a professor you don't know or perhaps have had before and know you don't like), you can no longer waitlist a different section with a professor you know is good.

The administration wants to act like a seat in a class is a commodity and they are all equal. They definitely are not. The professor makes a huge difference, and most students know that. We found ways to use their system to get the professors we wanted, and we have now been punished for it. This isn't that say it's always a case of good vs. bad professors, I have found I like professors that many others didn't like, and vice versa. It's really a learning style issue. I like classes with a minimum of interaction, optional lecture attendance, rigorous tests, and that's mostly it. Some students like a lot of interaction, attendance grades, online homework assignments, etc.

Though let me add, all of the lectures with optional attendance, I have made every possible effort to show up for. Every lecture with required attendance, I have wanted to kill myself the whole time. Why? Because just like the administration's efforts, if you find yourself in the position of having to force students to do something they ought to be doing of their their free-will, you have a bigger problem you need to fix.

Comment: Re:Blind Faith (Score 1) 535

by Arterion (#44717821) Attached to: Pastafarian Wins Battle To Wear Colander In License Photo

Yes! I remember being in a religious studies class I had to take because "liberal arts education". And one of the first things was putting Science on one board and Religion on the other, then listing qualities of each. Well, the instructor's point was to try and illustrate that any qualities of one could apply to the other. He took some liberties I didn't agree with in his reasoning on some of the items students wrote, but nothing egregious.

Except for the one item I had quietly asked to be listed under the "science" side, which was falsifiability. He ended up marking off everything except that, and circled it. I hoped he would address it specifically, but he just glossed over it. Obviously it threw a wrench into the idea he was trying to push on us, but I at least felt a little bit proud of myself.

To be a little bit more philosophical about it, there IS something you could call "faith" that I accept I have, even as an atheist. What it comes down to is I expect that reality will be consistent over time. If we observe there are natural laws, and that they have functioned without fail as far back as we can reckon, then we expect they will continue to function into the foreseeable future. But I really can't know that. I can't be sure that I won't fall off the Earth one day, or that three lefts will make another left instead of a right, or that tomorrow will come before yesterday, that I will exist in two places at once, or that water will stop being wet. But it's never happened as far as I know, so I don't expect it ever will happen, but I don't necessarily preclude the possibility. I don't know why the natural laws work, so I can't really be sure they will never stop working. I just don't think it's very likely.

Comment: Re:Beliefs (Score 1) 931

Err, according to the Bible, that's totally wrong. Of COURSE Adam and Eve believed in god -- they walked with him in Eden. They saw him face-to-face, real life, in a tangible way. If I could see god like that, I would believe in him, too.

No, all death and suffering came into this world because they ate an apple they weren't supposed to. That's pretty evil, if you ask me. To punish generations and generations of people with some of the worst human suffering imaginable just because some guy ate your special apple a long time ago.

And then the only solution to forgive them is to let your only son be heinously murdered? You couldn't just say, "Hey guys, that was a long time ago. Ya know what, let's just call it even."

And no, "most" bad things do NOT happen because people make bad choices. As far as bad things go, at the top of the list is disease, famine, and death. Those two things are just a quality of being human. 99% of the time, they happen cause life sucks sometimes, not because people made bad choices. It's nice to blame the victim so that your flimsy belief system doesn't seem so foolish, but tell that to the starving kids that Jesus supposedly loves, or all the people terminally ill, or coping with chronic pain and suffering because of some inherited disorder. Don't tell me they made "bad choices" to end up there. If your god is real, then he's a total jerk.

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