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Comment: Re:Different subjects (Score 1) 408

Doctors will also be told to warn patients of possible interactions between alternative and conventional medicines.

Obviously not talking about homeopathy anymore. Water won't interact with real medicine.

Not all homeopathic remedies are diluted down to zero concentration. Also, most homeopathic practicioners also use a variety of other alternative treatments, including herbs, vitamins, juices of various kinds of tropical berries, foot reflexology, mineral supplements, chakra alignment, herbal baths, salt from Tibet, and other things.

Comment: Placebo [Re:The spokesman for the AHA said...] (Score 1) 408

I did not know that medicine was about believing...

It's called the placebo effect, and it's quite unreasonably effective.

So, I'll start believing that i do not have the flu. Let's see if this works.

It will! That's an effect called regression to the mean.

Firmly believing you don't have the flu will, in all likelihood, cure your flu in two days to two weeks!

Comment: Jupiter is hard [Re:What's been the hold up????] (Score 1) 100

by Geoffrey.landis (#46686807) Attached to: NASA Laying Foundation For Jupiter Moon Space Mission

Exactly. Why has NASA been dragging their feet? They have been studying this mission for 10 years at least without funding it.

It gets proposed, but every time a proposal takes a serious look at how expensive it would be, the funding isn't there, and they are asked to scale back.

Jupiter is hard. Jupiter is nearly a billion kilometers away-- Mars is hard, but even at its furthest, it's only a quarter billion kilometers distant. Compared to Jupiter, Mars is easy. Jupiter also has a huge gravitational potential (which makes it hard to stop when you get there), and that doesn't even get to the issue of landing on Europa once you get there (no aerobraking nor parachutes for Europa!) and the difficulty of penetrating the ice.

Clearly the first thing needed is just a probe that can take a deep penetrating radar to the system and find out just how thick the ice over the interior ocean of Europa is, and whether there are places that are thinner than others, and whether cracks go down all the way to make an easier route to the interior. That would be a lot easier than actually trying to land, much less access the ocean... but even that is not at all easy. When you're in Jupiter orbit you're having to operate in a ferocious radiation environment.

Comment: Re:No problem! (Score 4, Informative) 163

by Geoffrey.landis (#46678119) Attached to: It's Time To Plug the Loopholes In Pipeline Regulation

The system is running fine, now that the hangover from regulation has cleared.

The system is running fine, now that Enron is out of business and the top con men put in jail or (in the case of Lay) dead. (Not for defrauding the people of California-- that's not a crime-- but for defrauding their own company as well, resulting in crash of value of the stock.

Comment: Thus I refute Berkeley [Re:Computable? Simulat...] (Score 1) 199

I remember one of the smart but more humanities oriented friends of mine tried to engage the AP Physics teacher in a debate about whether the world really exists or could be a simulation/fantasy/etc. At the first posing of the question, the teacher immediately turned and flung himself bodily against the wall and exclaimed that it seemed pretty real to him.

The physics teacher was quoting Samuel Johnson, who kicked a rock and stated "Thus I refute Berkeley" (who had argued that we can't know whether any material objects actually exist) :

It's not clear what Johnson thought he'd proved by that.

Comment: Re:!P is not NP and NP-Hard is not NP-Complete (Score 5, Interesting) 199

Yes, the paper is meaningless. A very well-argued brand of meaningless-- but still. "Efficiency" of computation doesn't matter. It's also a slick glide from saying that a problem is soluble in polynomial time to saying it's easy. No. That's computer speak. Polynomial time is not defined as "easy;" it's not even necessarily fast. (It deals more with the scale-up than with the actual difficulty).

The Schrödinger equation is a differential equation-- that means, the solution at any given point in time and space depends on the fields and wave function, and the derivatives of the fields and wave function at that point-- it's local. So, the universe doesn't have to "solve" the Schrödinger equation; it only has to solve the equation for time t + epsilon, given the initial condition of the solution at time t. This is NOT a polynomial-time problem. If the universe is twice as big, it has twice as many calculations to do... and twice as much "stuff" to do it with. It's local.

The difficulty is that wave-function collapse is not local. This is inherent in the mathematical logic of quantum mechanics. It's not a matter of how hard it is to compute.

Comment: Re:WTF? (Score 4, Interesting) 277

To be useful, the system still needs to be able to tell whether a single user password is correct (and needs to do so reasonably efficiently). So if someone has a 6 character password (which is dumb) you can just try all possible passwords (there isn't that many possible 6 realistic character passwords). Either lots of them work (which would a problem) or you found the password.

No, as I understand it from the article, you can't tell if a single user password is correct, because you don't have a measure for "correct"-- all that you check whether that password points to the same place (in a multidimensional phase space) that other passwords project to. (It does seems to only work is you can assuming that all, or at least "most," of the other passwords people enter are correct).

Comment: Renegotiation [Re:USAID is not a NGO (Score 2, Interesting) 173

it seems to say that the USAID helped set up social networks in Cuba that weren't controlled by the government. That sounds like a good thing to me. I'm puzzled why any /. readers would object to this.

Because the goal isn't to set up social networks, it's to start a violent coup and ultimately reinstall a U.S. puppet government in Cuba. These social networks are just a means to a slimy end.

Why do I care about the purported goal-- what we should care about is what they were actually doing, which was setting up a social network independent of the Cuban government. That's a good thing.

The stated goal, in any case, was not "to start a violent coup." I don't know if the US government even knows what it wants (Cuban policy seems to nearly zero priority in the US, outside of south Florida)-- but the quote from the article was "its stated goal was 'renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society' ".

Rephrasing that to make it say "let's start a violent coup" is rather distorting. "Renegotating the balance of power between state and society" sounds like a good thing-- in the US, too.

Comment: USAID is not a NGO (Score 1) 173

USAID is suppose to be an aide organization.

Like many U.S. NGO's, it's a front...

NGO stands for "Non Government Organization". USAID is not a NGO.

As I read the article, it seems to say that the USAID helped set up social networks in Cuba that weren't controlled by the government. That sounds like a good thing to me. I'm puzzled why any /. readers would object to this.

Comment: Different power sources have differences (Score 2) 179

by Geoffrey.landis (#46639333) Attached to: Vermont Nuclear Plant Seeks Decommission But Lacks Funds

It turns out that natural gas and renewable energy are making a lot of nuclear plants uneconomic.

Not really. Nuclear and renewable cover different portions of the demand curve. Nuclear is good for baseline power-- 24 hours a day. Renewable (other than hydro) tends to be a variable power source. Solar, in particular, is a good source for daytime peaking power, particularly in summer. Valuable-- but a different portion of the demand curve

Natural gas is indeed changing the structure of the electrical power market. One significant reason it's changing it is because gas turbines can vary output rapidly. They're good for load variations, where nuclear is best for baseline.

Different power sources have different characteristics, and serve different segments of the market.

Comment: Negative subsidy [Re:subsidy] (Score 4, Informative) 179

by Geoffrey.landis (#46639269) Attached to: Vermont Nuclear Plant Seeks Decommission But Lacks Funds

Neither to the extent, nor in the manner of nuclear. Other industries get tax breaks, free use of government research, etc.

It's worth pointing out that nuclear power actually gets a negative subsidy. They have been charged a fee for nuclear waste disposal... but the nuclear waste disposal program was cancelled, and there is no replacement plan.

The fee was suspended by court order last November... but the money collected has not been refunded.

Lend money to a bad debtor and he will hate you.