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Comment: Re:Consipricy nuts, go! (Score 1) 96

Actually, the US sanctions are currently an ongoing joke in Russia. I saw someone post a photograph showing that some local gym was advertising that they were having sanctions against McCain and Harry Reid. The sanctions cover a few (very few) individuals. They are about as much "sanctions" as Obama's administration is "the most transparent in history." The Oligarchs managed to make their money in Russia in which every business, at the time, was ran the way the narco businesses are ran in the US (in complete absence of the law). Having a few accounts frozen is hardly a contingency they haven't anticipated.

Comment: Re:sounds like North Korea news (Score 1) 104

by ultranova (#47435159) Attached to: Google's Experimental Newsroom Avoids Negative Headlines

Worse than that. It's like Brave New World news. The only things fit to publish are the things that keep us happy(and thus amendable to advertisements in this case). It's not trying to make on specific entity look good, it's trying to engage in actual mind control via selection bias.

Ironically, this might actually end up giving a more accurate picture of the world, because disasters and scandals tend to be big and flashy, while good news come as constant stream of small things. Overall, the stream drowns out the flames - our civilization would had never gotten off the ground otherwise - but it's the odd flame that becomes ever so more newsworthy by its very rareness.

Politics of fear are based on and enabled by this very phenomenom, and we've all seen them cause completely irrational - and often very destructive - decisions. So feel-good popular newsfeed could very well end up undermining demagogues by acting as counterpoison to fearmongering.

Comment: Re:Hi speed chase, hum? (Score 1) 356

by ultranova (#47434957) Attached to: The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

Nature -- specifically evolution -- disagrees.

Evolution doesn't deal with life or death, it deals with the relative abundance of properties in populations. If anything, our innovation - cultural evolution - is such success precisely because it removes death from the equation. Now the main thrust is on the evolution of our various superorganisms - cultures - rather than our bodies, thus allowing adaptation at blitzkrieg speeds compared to even bacteria, much less any other complex organisms.

Comment: Re:Why is this news? (Score 1) 356

by ultranova (#47434641) Attached to: The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

In other words, even though the statement about cars kill a lot of people is true, the statement does NOT make the cyclist are menace to be false.

"Menace" is a subjective value judgement. "Cars kill a lot of people" does affect "cyclists are a menace" because both are statements about the dangers of various forms of locomotion. Locomotion itself is unavoidable, so the question becomes which form is safest, and "menace" implies cycling is far from it.

Comment: Re:Hi speed chase, hum? (Score 2) 356

Are you suggesting the police pursuit DIDN'T cause him to drive over 100 mph? Because I think the police chase still motivated him to drive that fast. Even if they pulled off at the end, that still doesn't explain why they had to do it in the first place. There was no threat of violence here except for the reckless driving that predictably occurs during a high-speed chase.

Comment: Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (Score 2) 164

by interkin3tic (#47432839) Attached to: Peer Review Ring Broken - 60 Articles Retracted
That's true for large clinical trials, but clinical trials aren't all or even most research. For basic research like what this journal seems to publish on, no. It's rare that you'd have an experiment which would take months, let alone 5 years, and it would only be at the very end that you'd get a yes or a no.

For example, a study in that journal is entitled "Predicting blast-induced ground vibration using general regression neural network." The abstract is

Blasting is still an economical and viable method for rock excavation in mining and civil works projects. Ground vibration generated due to blasting is an undesirable phenomenon which is harmful for the nearby inhabitants and dwellings and should be prevented. In this study, an attempt has been made to predict the blast-induced ground vibration and frequency by incorporating rock properties, blast design and explosive parameters using the general regression neural network (GRNN) technique. To validate this methodology, the predictions obtained were compared with those obtained using the artificial neural network (ANN) model as well as by multivariate regression analysis (MVRA). Among all the methods, GRNN provides excellent predictions with a high degree of correlation.

Emphasis mine: they're testing if they can predict how the ground will shake after an explosion.

They're not going to spend five years dreaming up a model for it completely on a dry-erase board, set off a stick of dynamite, realize they were wrong, and throw out five years of work. They get preliminary results that are positive and encourage the project to go forward. They make up a model based on data, then refine it with subsequent bombs. If one were completely unable to use the method they propose to figure out how the ground shakes during explosions, they'd likely find that out before months had gone by.

I don't know what the breakdown is between clinical trials and basic research. I'd bet there's more research money spent on clinical trials than basic research (necessary, given certain realities about clinical trials) but that there are more scientists in basic research. So I'd bet that most research out there is actually not really affected a whole lot by the negative results issue: if you get a negative result, you get it before you commit yourself to it, and you move your reserarch in a different direction.

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