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Comment 39% without secondary false-positives. (Score 3, Informative) 239

If you have 100 studies you are replicating, by sheer chance you are likely still going to have a few who you successfully replicate but aren't real. So the problem may be worse than that (slightly). Psychology isn't the only field with these issues. There have been a lot of problems in medicine also. See https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21528826-000-is-medical-science-built-on-shaky-foundations/. Part of the problem is one of incentives: the incentives to do a study which simply replicates a pre-existing study is low, and many journals won't even publish them. This also combines in bad ways with post-hoc analysis where you look at your data and find a pattern in it that is worth publishing; the worst offender here is medicine where people use different statistical tests and different subgroup analysis until they get a positive result.

Comment Re:Autism claims appear to have been lawsuit fraud (Score 1) 94

Jeebus, check your facts. Wakefield, as is normal for a doctor, didn't have a PhD, but a bachelorship in surgery and medicine. He did have a fellowship of the royal college of surgeons, but that's not an academic qualification.

What happened to Wakefield - for his fraud and ethical lapses - was that he was struck off the medical register, and so was no longer able to practice medicine in the UK.

I'm not entirely sure that there is any procedure by which an earned PhD can be removed from someone. Honorary doctorates on the other hand, can be retracted, and have been. but that's not the case here.

Sure, Wakefield was - and presumably remains - a sleazebag and is practising medicine in the USA as I understand things. But to the best of my knowledge he retains his PhD. I would be very surprised if the RCS had allowed him to remain a fellow, and it's possible that his proposer and seconder could have had a bollocking over not spotting that he was an unprincipled bounder and a cad and an unfit mother. But with 13 years between joining and going into the fraud business, they're probably not really deserving of blame.

Comment Re:Lots of experts, infact (Score 1) 138

Where in the Bible does it state that the Universe is six thousand years old?

The methodology that Archbishop Ussher adopted was to tally up the ages of the various patriarchs listed in the Old Testament, then tie them to the historical record at about the Babylonian captivity and more recent events.

They may have been working from ridiculous premises, with ludicrously limited data sources, but they were actually perfectly serious scholars.

Comment Re:Alcohol-free Whiskey (Score 1) 67

So they could set up a container with two chambers separated by an RO filter and an air chamber, put it out in space, and let the vacuum of space draw out the non-alcohol whiskey.

You would need a semi-permeable membrane which passed everything except (ethyl) alcohol. In particular, the higher alcohols and poly-alcohols which are major components of the flavours of whiskeys (real ones, or Japanese ones). That is actually a pretty severe requirement, because most semi-permeable membranes achieve their separating effects by physical mechanisms, frequently passing molecules of only a set range of sizes. That's not a lot of use if you want to pass, say, propan-2-ol but not pass ethanol.

Carrying out low-temperature distillation with the abundant vacuum of space and good fractionation would be simpler, if for some incomprehensible reason you wanted to produce (ethyl) alcohol-free whiskey. But to be honest, I suspect it'd taste pretty bowfing (Scottish for "vomit-inducing").

Comment Re:Unfortunately (Score 1) 467

What makes you think that your American solution would be acceptable in Europe?

(Oh, and as the actual news reporting points out, while two off-duty US marines were involved, there were at least as many civilians involved in tackling the gunman too. Of the two classes of people, I'd posit that it took more balls for the non-military personnel to go to the attack, precisely because they aren't trained how to kill people with their todgers and a rubber band.)

Comment Re:Do You Have Any Idea What This Means?! (Score 1) 60

How great to know that at some date ahead, we can announce that a specific patient was the last such loss to occur.

How are you going to know that? I have a patient here, with septic shock. My patient dies. I announce the patient was the last who will ever die of septic shock. What is there to prevent another patient from dieing of septic shock the next day in Ulan Bataar?

If it were a recordable disease (like TB, some STIs, typhoid, and not many others I can think of off the top of my head), then you might have a point, but I'm not aware of septic shock ever having been enough of a threat to public health to be considered a reportable disease. After all, it's not transmissable.

Comment Old, old news - this has been done for years. (Score 1) 258

It's bad enough that some places have outfitted their police vehicles with automated license plate scanners,

Many police patrol vehicles have ANPR (Automated Number Plate Recognition) for over a decade now. Along with average-speed cameras (read the number plate at one location ; read it 10 miles down the road ; divide distance by time and issue ticket appropriately ; yes, they are generally installed just after and before major junctions) spreading across the nation's roads.

Obviously petrol stations and parking garages have been deploying the technology for years too, to locate and discourage theft (of fuel, of parking service). This is just not news, and hasn't been for years.

If it's collected repeatedly over a long period of time, it can reveal intimate data about you like attending a religious service or a gay bar.

Don't drive to the bar - how difficult was that? Many countries have laws against driving while shagging, or driving while drunk, so isn't that what taxis are for? Unless you don't trust Uber.

I'm moderately amused by the idea of holding a religious service in a gay bar.

Of course you can't flap your arms and fly to the moon. After a while you'd run out of air to push against.

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