Forgot your password?

Comment: Old News (Score 0) 854

by Etherwalk (#47898847) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

This argument has been around at least since the Victorian era. Basically, when you give up the certainty of Romanticism and Religion, you need to fill the void with something in order to give life meaning and direction, or else there'll be this big empty spot where your heart used to be.

Seriously, just read through the Norton Anthology from the era. Doesn't take that long.

Comment: Re:What Microsoft could do (Score 2) 208

by Etherwalk (#47891265) Attached to: Turning the Tables On "Phone Tech Support" Scammers

M$ won't care, it's more money for them when your computer gets screwed up and you have to (a) call M$ tech support (b) buy a new PC (c) buy another M$ license (d) take your pc to a repair shop.

I am going to go ahead and make an educated guess that Microsoft has done more to improve computer security for gullible people than you have.

I'm not saying it's perfect--but it's a lot more secure than it used to be, and they want it to be secure, and they spend a lot of money on making machines secure.

Comment: These are new systems... (Score 2) 111

by Etherwalk (#47859463) Attached to: Home Depot Confirms Breach of Its Payment Systems

Home Depot deployed new card readers at all their stores (of the ones I saw at least) almost overnight shortly after the target breach. I had guessed it was in response to the breach to beef up security...

But it looks like it was the new ones that were compromised... (or else it was coincidental).

Comment: Scaled property rights (Score 1, Interesting) 362

by Etherwalk (#47859447) Attached to: BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

The old saying "The Emperor has no clothes" applies here. Copyright law is a distorted abomination. The terms of copyright are outrageous, a work created today will not enter the public domain in my lifetime because the length of protection is so corrupted. Since I will die before Alien (1979) enters the public domain then that means copyright is effectively unlimited. "Expiry" is a lie. Sane copyright law would see works enter the public domain after a reasonable amount of time such as 14 (original term) to 20 years (what would be acceptable). Not only would those works then be able to be freely shared but also new works, with new sane protection terms, would be able to be created in those universes. A new Alien movie which does not need the blessing of the old creators. 20 years is long enough, long enough for Terminator 2 to now be public domain and Skynet to be a free literary construct. When it comes to copyright laws another saying applies "unjust laws serve to bring all laws into contempt." A primer on the subject can be found here as a freely downloadable PDF: The Public Domain.

Yes and no. A starving artist who makes nothing from his work should continue to receive his small royalty, if he gets any; a project that hasn't earned back its costs should have copyright extended for a *long* time--maybe 40 years or the lifetime of the artist, whichever is longer. But a project that has made its producers hundreds of millions should enter the public domain within five to ten years. There is no justification for copyright beyond that term when a project has been enormously successful.

Comment: Re:Wages (Score 1) 523

by Etherwalk (#47858089) Attached to: AT&T Says 10Mbps Is Too Fast For "Broadband," 4Mbps Is Enough

I think $200k top salary including bonuses far exceeds what many CEO's need for living a basic high quality life. Any more than that would just be wasted on blow and hookers.

Really just ignorantly untrue. Nice houses, second homes, good services, retirement portfolio, helping worse-off relatives, donations to charitable causes--there are many expenses that wealthy people have (or choose to have) which are perfectly legitimate and can easily go past the $200K/year mark.

Comment: Scientific Consensus can be challenged (Score 2) 761

by Etherwalk (#47854737) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

Scientific consensus is like "you cannot exceed the speed of light." If you happen to demonstrate that you exceeded the speed of light, you want to be careful about how you present it--e.g. "we have this interesting result and can someone help show what we did wrong?"--but the community will take notice if you actually show that the consensus is wrong. The more consensus there is, the better the evidence you need to posit the question, but the community still listens.

Comment: Re:Worse than that... (Score 1) 761

by Etherwalk (#47853275) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

I'm sorry, I got my negatives in the wrong place. It does say exactly what you're objecting to, doesn't it?

Well... shoot. I'm not going to defend what I said that was incorrect. But the intent is defending the frequency of causative studies in psychology.

That's fair. These are problems I've seen in a majority or at least large minority of the studies I've seen and that I have seen referenced, but I do not work in the field so may suffer from sample bias. :)

Comment: Re:Worse than that... (Score 1) 761

by Etherwalk (#47853133) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

Many studies in psychology and sociology do study correlation. There's nothing wrong with it, it just creates a limitation that it is difficult to reliably develop clinical tools from. You can call the studies "preliminary" if you want, but that doesn't make them invalid.

There are also causative experiments that are interesting and useful. They do not suffer from the same limitation, although others (e.g. common experimental populations) apply.

Comment: Re:Worse than that... (Score 2) 761

by Etherwalk (#47853091) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

Correlation or causation depends on the design of the study. When it comes to surveys, those would be correlational studies. When it comes to studying animal behavior, those would be causation.

Absolutely. Most of the studies I have seen discussed or come across in psychology have been correlation-based. While many people are good at saying they don't know for sure what the study means, most people looking at it interpret it to have meaning that fits with their preexisting biases.


Any study's results are only generalizable to the population from which the sample was derived. Thus if the sample was taken from a population of Ohio State university students, those results are only generalizable to that population.

Yes, hence the problem with conducting so many experiments on college students.

Your complaint is with the media and how they report the results no the study's principle investigator.

Not only them. You also see a lot of the same problems in psychology textbooks, for example, and among psychologists. Psychologists are not immune to the problems which plague non-psychologists looking at the research.

I have no problem with any study's principal investigator. I may have problems with their conclusions, but prefer to read a study before I critique it. A broad statement that I have seen certain problems in a field or two does not invalidate the work of any particular person, or even the field as a whole--it simply says that I have seen an issue that the field needs to work on. And it does, to some extent--while psychology is still bad at questioning some underlying tenets, it is much more focused on, for example, cross-cultural research than it was twenty years ago.

Comment: Worse than that... (Score 2, Insightful) 761

by Etherwalk (#47852517) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

It's actually much worse than that.

Studies in economics and psychology tend to suffer from certain problems which limit their real-world application and the likelihood that they actually mean what people think they mean.

First, they are often based on correlation rather than causation. This is especially true with psychology studies, and readily allows confirmation bias, incorrect interpretations of data, and interpretations of data which are heavily influenced by the perspective of the researcher.

Second, they are often done on western college students. This tends not to yield rules of general applicability.

Third, most economics (and psychology of economics) experiments are advertising experiments. They are done by corporations for financial gain and the results are generally kept secret because they are part of a company's IP and help the company sell its products, and because it simply saves the company money to not bother publishing.

There can be no twisted thought without a twisted molecule. -- R. W. Gerard