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Comment: Smarter or not, I choose rats. (Score 2) 154

by Flatwater (#48162421) Attached to: Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important

Having worked in labs with both mice and rats, I'll take a nice Sprague-Dawley any day. They're like little dogs: they hang out, they like to be petted, they're clean and smell nice.

On the other hand, as soon as you lift the lid off the mouse cage, one of those little buggers levitates three feet in the air and rockets off in a random direction, probably sinking their teeth into someone's earlobe. No thanks.

Comment: Help him understand computers from the ground up! (Score 2) 85

The Elements of Computing Systems is a great book if he really wants to get a grasp of computers from the level of logic gates on up.

Working through the exercises in each chapter, you use HDL to design your own logic gates, build them into more advanced circuits (DFF, adder, ALU, etc.), and then a full-fledged Von Neumann computer.

After that, you move into software mode, starting with machine language, then assembly, and finally a high-level Java-like language. Along the way your write your own symbolic assembler and compiler!

It's really unique - kind of like Petzold's Code, except you really create the stuff you're learning about.

Comment: Re:Open to what? (Score 2) 103

by Flatwater (#40789617) Attached to: "Bomb Threat" Tweet Conviction Overturned By UK Appeals Court
I found this challenging too. I think (caveat: filtered by my middle-American interpretation of English) the "it" refers to the Crown Court.

As in, "The Crown Court made a decision it had no objective reason to make."

It made a decision that was not open to it.

Corrections from across the pond?

Comment: DX? (Score 1) 521

by Flatwater (#37545864) Attached to: Amazon Kindle Fire Surfaces
Any word on whether a new DX is on the horizon? The Amazon website almost acts like it doesn't exist any more!

I really like reading on the larger screen, but when I compare the weight to my SO's regular Kindle, the DX feels like a brick.

The Fire doesn't really appeal to me, I'd rather stick with eInk.

Comment: Study Design (Score 1) 286

by Flatwater (#36166926) Attached to: Coffee Wards Off Cancer
Note that this was an observational study, not an experimental study, and so the risk of counfounders is high. For example, it is conceivable that people who develop prostate cancer then lose their taste for coffee even before being diagnosed. For years, the cigarette industry took advantage of the limitations of observational studies by arguing that an unidentified genetic factor made people want to smoke, and also put them at risk for developing lung cancer, but that the smoking and the cancer weren't related. A well-designed experimental study could randomly assign people to drink or not drink coffee, and then determine the incidence of prostate cancer in each group. Obviously, designing a similar study for cigarettes would be unethical given the weight of evidence that smoking is bad for you.

The longer the title, the less important the job.