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Comment: Re:bitter chocolate (Score 1) 225

by HiThere (#49794227) Attached to: How a Scientist Fooled Millions With Bizarre Chocolate Diet Claims

A possibility is that you had a very bad early experience with a bitter food. (Food poisoning?) You wouldn't necessarily remember it, which makes this hard to validate, but your attitude towards bitter foods could, essentially, be a phobia. It probably isn't worth treating even if this is true. (No idea how plausible this is, but it's just an explanation that occurred off the top of my head.)

Comment: Re:Because I did not read the original article... (Score 1) 225

by HiThere (#49794151) Attached to: How a Scientist Fooled Millions With Bizarre Chocolate Diet Claims

To be fair, while dark chocolate may not help you to lose weight, it's not all that bad a thing to add to your diet. You just need to remember to count the calories in it as a part. (My preference is unsweetened cocoa powder, which may not really be chocolate, I've never been sure.)

And I rather like chicken mole (my recipie, as I have a requirement that neither the chicken nor the sauce have added salt).

The problem is the people who think that chocolate flavored bars of fat are a weight loss aid. (Check out the carbs of unsweetened cocoa power, though. It's quite low.)

Also, I believe that, as with coffee, chocolate contains useful phytochemicals. Just as do kale, chard, and other dark green leavy vegetables. (I'm not so sure about most beans, as nobody seems to have been pushing them. Probably, however, kidney beans have them, as they are generally found in darkly colored vegetable foods...like broccoli and brussel sprouts.)

Comment: Re:Scientists are generally trusted (Score 2) 225

by HiThere (#49793989) Attached to: How a Scientist Fooled Millions With Bizarre Chocolate Diet Claims

The problem here is thinking of trust as a binary choice rather than as a probability (float). Everybody, when they stop to think about it, realize that trust isn't all or nothing, but somewhere intermediate. But people often take shortcuts, and one easy shortcut is deciding trust as binary.

So, no, you shouldn't blindly trust an authority, but neither should you blindly distrust them. Each case needs to be evaluated separately based on the evidence you have on hand, and then given a temporary weight...which is subject to being changed when more evidence arrives. Unfortunately, this is not a good model for convincing people that you are correct, because you don't have the emotionally driving certainty. But even though that certainty is a great tool for convincing people, it's quite dangerous. You should immediately doubt whenever you hear someone being certain. This is a matter of self-protection, it's not that they are always wrong, or always malicious, often they aren't. But their goals are quite likely to differ from yours. And certainty is driven not be evidence, but rather by emotions, which are almost always self-serving in either a narrow or in an extended sense. (OTOH, life isn't a zero sum game, so their being self-serving doesn't mean that they are necessarily detrimental to you, your purposes, or your goals.)

Comment: Re:a microscopic black hole won't hurt you (Score 1) 146

Yes, it would be much lower. But that "much lower" would still be expected to be well above escape velocity. I mean the difference between 0.999...c (say 290,000 km/s) and 12 km/s is HUGE. (And I rounded the speed of the particle down, and escape velocity up.)
Even a 99.99% cancellation of velocities would still be well above escape velocity. It's true, though, a 99.999% cancellation would be below escape velocity. That kind of efficiency after a collision seems (to me) unlikely.

Comment: Re:Russian rocket motors (Score 1) 61

by Bruce Perens (#49787045) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

Russia would like for us to continue gifting them with cash for 40-year-old missle motors, it's our own government that doesn't want them any longer. For good reason. That did not cause SpaceX to enter the competitive process, they want the U.S. military as a customer. But it probably did make it go faster.

Also, ULA is flying 1960 technology, stuff that Mercury astronauts used, and only recently came up with concept drawings for something new due to competitive pressure from SpaceX. So, I am sure that folks within the Air Force wished for a better vendor but had no choice.

Comment: Re:a microscopic black hole won't hurt you (Score 1) 146

by HiThere (#49787035) Attached to: Prospects and Limits For the LHC's Capabilities To Test String Theory

Are you sure? ISTM that it would initially prefer either electrons or protons, and when it had swallowed a couple of them it would repell any more. (Electrons are smaller, so it might prefer them, but they are also more uncertain as to their position, so it might prefer a proton.)

So say it swallowed an iron nucleus. This would give it a strong positive charge, so it would repell any additional nucleus. The question is could it also swallow electrons, or would they go into orbit around it?

*My* guess says that it would need to be sufficiently larger that gravitational effects would dominate over electromagnetic effects. OTOH, since 6 picometers is around 1000 times the size of an iron nucleus perhaps I'm overestimating the problem. That said, what's going to slow it down? This is an accelerator, so even if it created something with the mass of Mt. Everest, it wouldn't be at rest, and would, in fact, be moving far above escape velocity.

Comment: Re:View from a patent holder ... (Score 1) 77

by HiThere (#49785645) Attached to: Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Patent Troll

Given how bad many issued patents are, I feel that it's the presumption of validity that is the mistake. And that the baby being thrown out is a baby predator...which we would be vastly better off if it were killed.

There actually *is* a good case to be made for certain patents, but for such a small percentage that with the current system even eliminating all patents would be a net gain.

Comment: Re:Creationism (Score 1) 436

by HiThere (#49785413) Attached to: Creationists Manipulating Search Results

Sorry, but you fall afoul of the problem of "What constitutes reasonable proof?" This is a serious problem, as if we are Bayesian reasoners, then what consititues reasonable proof is highly sensitive to our priors. It is also provable that for certain sets of priors there is *NO* evidence that could possibly switch one from one set of beliefs to the other.

You outline what you are currently considering a set of proofs, but that means that you think they would suffice to convince anyone. This is not true. And "Creationist" is not a single set of priors, but rather several such sets, so even if an argument would suffice to convince one particular "Creationist" it might well fail on others. Now flip this around. Would you really change your opinions if they produced what they considered was good evidence? I truly doubt that. You are just certain that they can't produce what *YOU* consider good evidence. But be aware that you, also, cannot produce what they consider as good evidence.

What we call "reality" isn't what we sense, it's what we believe about what we sense. And that's all the reality we can ever know. And this is mathematically provable if you assume that we are Bayesian reasoners. (It's probably true anyway, but you can't prove it without the assumption.)

Comment: Context (Score 3, Informative) 61

by Bruce Perens (#49782349) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

This ends a situation in which two companies that would otherwise have been competitive bidders decided that it would cost them less to be a monopoly, and created their own cartel. Since they were a sole provider, they persuaded the government to pay them a Billion dollars a year simply so that they would retain the capability to manufacture rockets to government requirements.

Yes, there will be at least that Billion in savings and SpaceX so far seems more than competitive with the prices United Launch Alliance was charging. There will be other bidders eventually, as well.

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