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Comment: the real scandal is fraudulent returns (Score 1) 465

by DrProton (#47261701) Attached to: IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

This focus on Lois Lerner is a republican red herring. The real scandal at the IRS is the billions in fraudulent return payouts they make every year. The Republican-led congress has cut the IRS budget by a $billion, but it's a net loss when one factors in the loss due to the fraudulent return payouts (identity theft) and the reduced take from collections (about $8 billion). Read the article at the Boston Globe website. The IRS budget cut increased the deficit.

Comment: Re:Five hundred years? (Score 1) 869

How does a 500 year data set apply to a 4.5 billion year old planet?

This is absurd. Do seconds not matter, because, days, months, years? Earthquakes occur in about a minute or so, right? Seconds, even. How can they apply to a 4.5 billion year old planet? The mass of the earth is about 6E24 kg. Does a scale measuring micrograms not function on the earth? Do single cells of your body not matter because, you know, there are trillions of them?

Here's a page with the basic science and statistics. Educate yourself.

Comment: Re:more pseudo science (Score 1) 869

I would recommend a book called 'How to lie with statistics.'

Yes, it is easy to lie with statistics. And it is nearly impossible to tell the (scientific) truth without statistics. I recommend a book with the title Statistical Methods in the Atmospheric Sciences by Daniel S. Wilks to you. It's pretty dense, but, you know, science is hard. It's not for weak brains.

Comment: the RFC is horrible (Score 4, Interesting) 301

by DrProton (#46715593) Attached to: Theo De Raadt's Small Rant On OpenSSL
Let's not miss the opportunity to point a finger of blame at the RFC, which says " to make the extension as versatile as possible, an arbitrary payload and a random padding is preferred, ". https://tools.ietf.org/html/rf... Arbitrary payload and a random padding for a heartbeat instead of a specified sequence of bits? This is very suspicious.

Comment: Re:Sorry (Score 1) 192

by DrProton (#46119503) Attached to: Peanut Allergy Treatment Trial In UK "A Success"

Well, the posting system stripped off my carefully inserted links. WTF, slashdot? I'd post the code to illustrate, but it just gets stripped out. Here are some URLS to go with my post:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01... Jane Brody on the hygiene hypothesis
http://www.slate.com/articles/... Broussard article on slate.com

Comment: Re:Sorry (Score 2) 192

by DrProton (#46119449) Attached to: Peanut Allergy Treatment Trial In UK "A Success"

The actual "disease" here is affluenza, or perhaps it's anxiety that overprotective mothers project onto their children. I grew up in a small town, had pets, played in the dirt every day. Nut allergies were unheard of. It's also very interesting that farmers and dirt poor people in 3d world countries don't get these allergies. This is a problem that city dwellers construct. It's called the hygiene hypothesis.

It is very suspicious that neither the BBC article nor the Lancet abstract report a mortality statistic. Is there some problem counting bodies of people who drop dead after nut ingestion? Please don't quote me the stupid 150 deaths/year number one sees in peanut allergy articles here in America. That number was an extrapolation from a single study done of farmers in a county in Minnesota. There were no deaths from anaphylactic shock identified in the study. Somehow, the authors waved their hands and estimated 150 deaths/yr in the entire US. Meredith Broussard covered this in an article published in Harper's in Jan 2008, "Everyone's Gone Nuts." It's behind a paywall, unfortunately. I recall that the article quoted a statistician at the CDC who said there was no more than a handful of deaths in the US from anaphylactic shock in a year. Of course, the food allergist nut cases (pun intended) attacked her in droves.

There is an article by Broussard online. It covers the money trail and details how some people profit from the nut allergy scare.

I think the nut allergies are a bit like the terrorism scare. It is massively overblown. Falls in bathtubs and lightning strikes are far greater threats.

Comment: Re:I get what he's saying here (Score 1) 438

by DrProton (#45132999) Attached to: <em>Gravity</em>: Can Film Ever Get the Science Right?

The only physics bit that bugged me was the tether scene.

spoiler alert:

What bugged me far more were the "point and shoot" orbital transfers. To descend, you decelerate, and vice versa. Your average audience member has never heard of a Hohmann transfer orbit, after all. The transfer to the Chinese station was almost as bad as the star trek TNG where a radioactive space barge is towed (apparently radially) straight from a planet, through an asteroid belt, into its sun. Of course, it is difficult to imagine Bullock's character working out the burns for orbital insertions in zero g with no prior experience. She would need an app for that.

Despite these groaners, I greatly enjoyed the movie. It is far better than most anything Hollywood has done in this genre.

Comment: Re:Moderators asleep at the job (Score 1) 243

by DrProton (#44314985) Attached to: The City Where People Are Afraid To Breathe

I can confirm this. I had coccidioidomycosis years ago and recovered on my own with no medical treatment. I have had no symptoms for more than 20 years. It was pretty bad when it hit me, I was weakened. The immediate effect is weakness. It laid me low for about two weeks. But then I recovered, and it faded away.

Comment: what is the vulnerability? (Score 1) 256

Crowds can be so ignorant.

What is this vulnerability of a dam? Other than earthquakes, volcanoes, erosion, design errors, and tons of dynamite, I mean. I'm reading speculation about how control systems and whatnot might be exposed to nefarious internet packets from China. Dams are generally rather sturdy constructions. That's why they hold back all those cubic kilometers of water. Is the worry that floodgates will be opened and downstream havoc will result? Surely there must be interlocks in place to prevent that.

Dams can fail. According to Wikipedia, the biggest dam failure in history was in China.

Comment: Re:Those who would trade a bit of freedom... (Score 1) 140

by DrProton (#43600337) Attached to: Study: Limiting Bidding On Spectrum Could Cost Billions

Surely y'all aren't naive enough to believe that whomever acquires the spectrum *isn't* going to do the same. They still need to be competitive, which means they still need to make money, and so they're still going to charge rates that are within the ballpark of AT&T and Verizon.

Have you heard of Ting mobile? I have a plan in Illinois with two smartphones on it. My last monthly bill, with voice, text, and data, totaled $34.97. I'm not a heavy data user (only 79 megabytes), but still. You think AT&T or Verizon can beat that? I don't.

Comment: Re:Newton? (Score 4, Informative) 231

by DrProton (#43600125) Attached to: Physicists Attempting To Test 'Time Crystals'

From the article: "How can something move, and keep moving forever, without expending energy? It seemed an absurd idea — a major break from the accepted laws of physics. "

This is a real groaner to a physicist. Is there any solid matter near you right now? Matter does seem to be real, doesn't it? In the classical regime, accelerating electrons radiate energy. According to Newton, matter should collapse into itself. The electrons should spiral in until they hit the nucleus.

Electrons in atomic orbits move without losing energy. The orbits are stable. Negatively charged electrons are attracted to the positive nucleus, yet they don't combine. Matter does not collapse on itself. It's not Newton, it's quantum mechanics, in particular, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Heisenberg uncertainty explains the solidity of matter.

What is different here is the size and mass scale has been upped by orders of magnitude from electron orbits in atoms and molecules in this supercooled atom trap. It remains to be seen if the experiment will produce results. The scientific jury is out.

Comment: Re:I thought this was over and done already? (Score 1) 335

Seriously, any part of physics that isn't significantly affected by quantum effects yields much more accurate predictions, as does chemistry.

Nonsense. You got that backwards. Ever heard of an atomic clock, the most accurate timepiece? It is quantum mechanical. Chemistry is quantum mechanics. How does chemistry work without atoms and electrons, which are quantum objects? I think you confuse Heisenberg uncertainty with measurement accuracy.

The most accurate measured quantities are quantum mechanical, e.g. the spin-flip transition of the 1s ground state of hydrogen, "hyperfine" frequencies, or maser frequencies. You think you can specify ballistic results to a part in 10^12 or better? Using an atomic fountain, measurements accurate to a few parts in 10^15 have been performed. This extends the results of Norman Ramsey, who won the Nobel Prize for his research.

Optimism is the content of small men in high places. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack Up"

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