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Comment: Humanities not science? (Score 1) 564

by DaPhil (#44109757) Attached to: Why Engineering Freshmen Should Take Humanities Courses

The article seems to imply that the humanities are not science, but helping the real science (and lists engineering, of all things). I completely disagree!

Science is a way of thinking, an approach --- you can and must apply it to everything: Humanities as well as Natural Sciences as well as Engineering. It includes rigorous work, sceptical thinking, an open mind, etc. --- and it is necessary for ALL scientists to follow, regardless of their field.

Comment: Re:Fraud (Score 4, Insightful) 240

by DaPhil (#43244225) Attached to: Most UK GPs Have Prescribed Placebos

Here's the rub. A lot of people show up at the doctor for things which will take n days to go away - with or without treatment. The common cold, for example. They won't accept NOT getting any prescription and will hop from doctor to doctor until they get one.

Now the best thing would be educating the public about this issue. This is very, very hard to do. Barring that, it is actually better for the patients and cheaper to just prescribe placebos - they DO work in this case! (up to the placebo effect, as any other medicine would).

Unfortunately there is another issue involved: Most placebos (at least in Germany) are homeopatic. This lends credibility to the whole homeopatic industry, and THEY are nothing but quacks. And THAT is a bad thing.

So - either way you lose.

Comment: Re:Please read "2052" (Score 3, Interesting) 462

by DaPhil (#40771051) Attached to: Is There Still a Ray of Hope On Climate Change?

Apparently, not so bad:

I have not read the 1972 book, but I think the main point was that economic growth has to stop at some point (because the planet won't support it) and we have to go for a steady-state economy. The problem with that is, while it is perfectly possible to do, it apparently still just doesn't fit into the heads of the people responsible.

Comment: Please read "2052" (Score 3, Interesting) 462

by DaPhil (#40769645) Attached to: Is There Still a Ray of Hope On Climate Change?

I recommend reading "2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years" (

It is written by the same guy who co-wrote the 1972 report "The Limits Of Growth" and deals with what humanity will likely do (globally) in the next 40 years (not what we SHOULD do, but what we will most likely do).

It is very interesting (and actually quite easy) to read and deals among other things with the expected results of climate change.

Comment: Keeping away the teens - with light (Score 4, Interesting) 353

by DaPhil (#39033209) Attached to: Mozart and Bach Handel Subway Station Crime
I read about a clever piece of work by some town officials in a German town to drive away teens hanging around a certain area at night (drinking and harrassing people).

What they did was install a light usually used by dermatologists which highlights unclean skin -- pimples and the like.

The teens stayed away.

Comment: Re:Same atoms (Score 5, Informative) 75

by DaPhil (#38889609) Attached to: NASA Finds Interstellar Matter From Beyond Our Solar System
It seems the point is that "matter outside our solar system [...] seems to be deficient in oxygen compared to neon." (from TFA). The newly found matter seems to be distributed differently: 74 oxygen atoms for every 20 neon atoms compared to 111 oxygen atoms for every 20 neon atoms within the solar system. I still don't understand the "material what we're mad from" part...

+ - Dunbar's Number: We're Limited to 150 Friendships->

Submitted by joshuarrrr
joshuarrrr writes: The odd reality is that we are actually not capable of managing more friendships than you typically see on Facebook now. Across the primate order as a whole, there is a general relationship between the size of the brain's neocortex and the size of the average social group, and this relationship predicts a group size for humans of 150. This value is now known as Dunbar's Number, because I was the first to point it out, in 1992. The number pops up surprisingly often in human organizational life, not least in the military, where it defines the key unit on which everything else is structured, namely the company. It is also the average size of a personal social network—the number of people with whom you have some kind of reciprocated relationship.
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If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing on my shoulders. -- Hal Abelson