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Comment: Re:kids are worried ... (Score 0) 491

by Cobble (#39993709) Attached to: High School Students Sue Federal Gov't Over Global Warming
Nothing happened? We came very, very close to a nuclear war with the Russians, and atomic proliferation is in such a state that rogue nations and terrorists are increasingly likely to use a nuke. We are already in the midst of the greatest extinction of life since the end of the Cretaceous, when the dinosaurs went extinct. That is a measurable fact, and it's also human caused.

Comment: A few thoughts (Score 1) 408

by Cobble (#39966545) Attached to: Positive Bias Could Erode Public Trust In Science
1) This is all part of the process, and shouldn't be too much cause for concern. Interesting results will be re-tested for confirmation. If these results can't be replicated, it casts doubt on the original study and the reputation of the authors. Negative results are rarely published except when they challenge a prior paper with a positive result. 2) The citation index is another way that bad data gets ignored. The average citation for a paper is less than 1. This means that most papers are never cited and a few good ones are cited heavily. It is true that if wrong ideas become generally accepted, they may remain in the literature unchallenged for some time and can be hard to root out. 3) I suspect that research in biomedical and other highly profitable fields bias these results, since whenever there is huge money to be made, there is pressure for a positive finding. Many of these studies are even bankrolled by the drug companies who want to show that they have the next promising cure or, better yet, treatment--since if you cure someone, you lose your market ;) It's always good to look at who's funding the work.

Comment: Time Travel forward is already possible (Score 1) 903

by Cobble (#29380189) Attached to: Which Breakthrough Is Most Likely?
Time travel forward at 1 second per second is a no brainer. Time travel faster than 1 sec/sec is theoretically possible. All you have to do is get in a spaceship and go very fast for a while (sublight speed is ok). When you return to Earth, you will have aged less than everyone back home. And World Peace will happen after the next World War, when everyone is dead.

Comment: We'll never live in zero g (Score 2, Insightful) 534

by Cobble (#26863627) Attached to: On my spaceship, I'd like artificial gravity ....
Humans don't adapt to their environment. They modify their environment to suit their physiology. That's why we use fire for warmth, started wearing clothes, built shelter, etc. Why do we think we can adapt to zero gravity? We didn't evolve lungs to explore underwater. We didn't evolve fur to explore the poles. As in those examples, we won't colonize space until we develop artificial gravity by spinning large objects and living inside them. Sure, a short foray into zero g is no big deal, much like a dip in the pool, but we won't live there.

Comment: Re:Blackboard was hated before the patent issue (Score 1) 130

by Cobble (#22911504) Attached to: All 44 Blackboard Patent Claims Invalidated
Blackboard has been working harder on their monopoly building practices than on their software...they bought and then promptly shut down a small up-and-coming competitor called Prometheus, they bought their biggest competitor, WebCT, and managed to squeak by the anti-trust investigation. Then they sue Desire2Learn for infringing on their silly patents, mostly to drain this small innovative company's resources and weaken them. Even when they develop new products, the primary goal seems to be ripping off the intellectual property of others...Bb Scholar is a ripoff and SafeAssign gives away for free what the company TurnItIn has worked hard to develop. There have also been veiled threats made to the open source alternatives like Moodle and Sakai, crappy as they are. Blackboard is using Micro$oft tactics and never really expected to win these patents but rather to spread FUD among their competitors.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_