Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: ...and even more inaccurate than usual (Score 3, Interesting) 113

There are several mistakes in the article as well. Supersymmetry is not a consequence of String Theory. It was invented to explain the huge difference between the Higgs mass and the energy scale where gravity becomes important (the fine-tuning or hierarchy problem). It was only after its invention that String Theorists realized that they needed it to make their theories work. In fact it is entirely possible that Supersymmetry exists and String Theory does not whereas the reverse is far less likely so it is wrong to say that SUSY is a consequence of String Theory.

Similarly the use of String Theory to solve non-perturbative QCD is not some new, fundamental principle but is simply a result of applying the maths developed for String Theory to a different problem. Hence studying the quark-gluon plasma is, at best, a test of some of the maths developed for String Theory but really tells us nothing at all about the physics. For a simpler analogy if you demonstrate that calculus works this does not imply that Newton's Laws of Motion are correct even though calculus was co-invented by Newton so he could write down and apply his laws.

Comment: Re:Science != Biomedical Research (Score 2) 376

by Roger W Moore (#49778769) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

I don't mean easier as in effort- just in the scientific sense of having hypothesis or theories that are provable experimentally.

...and again I would say that while the challenge is different there is no reason to assume that medicine has it any more challenging that other fields. In medicine the data is relatively easy to collect but very hard to analyze because of all the interwoven factors. In particle physics the data is exceedingly hard to collect because of the conditions required to produce it but probably easier to analyze.

Building detectors and accelerators requires just as much scientific input as analysis: it is not just a question of effort. New approaches and technologies have to be developed to meet ever increasing performance requirements.

Comment: Re:Science != Biomedical Research (Score 1) 376

by Roger W Moore (#49776221) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?
I disagree. The ATLAS detector took 3,000 physicists well over a decade to design, build and test and that's before we even consider the similar effort which went into the LHC accelerator and the other large, multipurpose experiment, CMS. The challenges in other fields are different to those biomedical science but that does not in any way mean that it is easier.

Every bit of important, interesting research, regardless of field, has difficult challenges to overcome because if it did not someone would already have done it. You cannot just throw up your hands, say it is hard and then lower your standards until it becomes easy because at that point it is questionable whether the research you are doing has any value at all and, in some cases, even brings into question whether it actually counts as scientific research.

Comment: Re:Science != Biomedical Research (Score 1) 376

by Roger W Moore (#49776083) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

I don't know if your post is a very subtle slur against psychology or not

It was not intended to be a slur against any field. It was intended to correct the slur that the author made on science in general and refocus it back to the specific field which the article itself referred to and which is the only one about which the author seems to be in any position to judge.

Comment: Re:Science != Biomedical Research (Score 2) 376

by Roger W Moore (#49776011) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?
Research being hard is not an excuse. The difficulty and assumptions should be made clear and the analysis should take this into account. I'd agree that have a 3 sigma evidence and 5 sigma discovery threshold probably will not work in other fields where it is hard to quantify the statistics accurately. I'd also say that medical research has far more of a problem with the media sensationalizing their results.

We had some similar problems in particle physics with claims being made and then retracted which is what lead to the 3 sigma/5 sigma rule. So medical researchers need to come up with standards for the medical field that are appropriate along with guidelines on how to present results so that it is hard for the media to sensationalize them. This might be a hard challenge to meet but this is research. If you are doing it because you think it should be easy you are in the wrong field.

Comment: Re:The faster than light neutrino claim was very s (Score 1) 376

by Roger W Moore (#49775881) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

If I remember correctly, the scientists were saying that they MEASURED faster than light neutrinos, and were soliciting community aid in figuring out what was going on.

Not quite. They claimed evidence of FTL neutrinos and then tried to hedge their bet by asking for external experts to come and investigate to confirm. In fact a good proportional of the collaboration refused to sign the paper which is a very sure sign that you are on incredibly dodgy ground: if you cannot convince the vast majority of your fellow collaborators that the result is right you are unlikely to convince others and it should be a very clear message that you need to do more checks and get more data.

Comment: No guarantee on the Leader (Score 1) 117

That's moot. They vote for the party, which is a vote for the leader of the party.

There is no guarantee that the leader of the party will remain the same. In the past the prime minister has changed between elections e.g. Thatcher, Blair etc. In fact even during the election there is no guarantee that the party leader will actually be elected: it is theoretically possible for a party to win the election and then have to find a new leader because the one they had lost their local seat. This certainly happens with the smaller parties: UKIP's leader did not get elected in the recent election even though others of his party did.

Comment: Science != Biomedical Research (Score 4, Insightful) 376

by Roger W Moore (#49774583) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?
Actually there is not a problem with science there is a problem with biomedical research which the author of the article keeps confusing with all science despite actually referring to fields such as particle physics which does not have this problem. That's not to say that we do not have mistakes but these tend to get caught quickly and retracted e.g. faster than light neutrinos.

Except for medical research, I'd say most of science is the same way as particle physics: the odd mistakes which tend to get caught quickly. I don't hear of frequent retractions or contradictions by chemists, mathematicians, computer scientists, geologists or even non-medical biologists like you do frequently for medical studies. In fact it is incredibly ironic that an article written by a medical researcher criticizing the poor practices in his field is so inaccurately and carelessly written. This aptly illustrates at least part of their problem.

Comment: Only stops devaluation (Score 1) 734

The Euro zone treaties made this situate inevitable. They prevent Greece from running a deficit or devaluing their currency in order to subsidize their economy during a down-turn.

Actually they only really stop Greece from devaluing their currency. If they stopped Greece from running a deficit there would not be this huge debt which is causing the greeks all these problems.

Comment: Market size not fixed (Score 1) 241

by Roger W Moore (#49763651) Attached to: Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

Only if the competition can avoid the taxes. If all of the players in the market get hit with the same taxes, then all of them absolutely can and will raise prices, and there will be no consequences.

You are making an assumption here that the size of the market is fixed which is not true. The problem businesses are trying to solve is to maximize their profit. If raising their prices by 10% to cover the tax on the profit from that product means that they sell 20% less of the product they would be stupid if they did that.

This can happen independent of competitors. For example if Amazon increases the cost of its ebooks people might just read less or use the library more. This could happen even if everyone selling books increased their prices by the same amount. There is not a fixed number of book purchases which happen every month.

Comment: Personal vs. Species Survival (Score 2) 233

by Roger W Moore (#49754363) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone
I think the thing which the article completely misses is the difference between survival of the species vs. survival of the individual. There are very few things which threaten the survival of the species: nuclear war, massive volcanic eruption and asteroid impact. Other things, such as disease, significant climate change etc. may kill a lot of people but they are unlikely to affect the survival of the species directly - even ebola has survivors.

People who worry about asteroids don't do it because of the risk to themselves personally since that risk is negligible. They do it because of the risk to the species. The risks of these sorts of events are incredibly low. However if you compare a "1 in 100 million" chance of an extinction-level asteroid impact with the similarly tiny (and probably larger) risk of a massive volcanic eruption then suddenly the odds become more relevant. The article completely misses that point.

Comment: Post Wrong and 100+ years Out of Date (Score 2, Insightful) 94

I think you're missing the point

Actually he has a very good point. The article is wrong: there is just as much mass "beneath your feet" since technically the entire planet is beneath your feet. The point is that the mass is, on average, located further from your feet near a mountain because of the thick crust which floats on, and displaces, the far denser mantle. The gravitational field depends not just on the mass but on the distance as well.

What I don't understand is how this counts as 'news'. The effect was discovered by the British Trigonometric Survey of India where they noticed a discrepancy in their measurements caused by the fact that the 'vertical' was not the same near the Himalayas. This was well over 100 years ago...hardly news.

Money doesn't talk, it swears. -- Bob Dylan

Working...