Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:BBC - hammered by its own Political Correctness (Score 5, Insightful) 202 202

The whole thing boils down to Political Correctness

No. Not at all. Seriously, read what happened. Yeah, BBC has done plenty of bone-headed things in the name of PC. This, however, is not one of those things. Clarkson punched a staff member. He admitted to doing it.

If we call a spade a spade, Clarkson is basically a dick. The only bad thing about this is that he didn't get a solid smack in the face himself.

Comment Re:Would I eat it? (Score 1) 128 128

Do you take unnecessary car rides?

I thought about this for about 5 minutes, so that you would get a sincere and truthful answer. I'm a busy person, I don't get a chance to do unnecesary driving - fuck I wish I had the time for that. Additionally I've got cycling to work on my mind next so I don't have to drive there either and get additional exercise.

So sincerely, NO. I do not.

We both know why you are avoiding an answer. Because the answer is YES and in completely undermines your insistence that your choices are based on science and understanding.

Well, there again you would be wrong. Having a good understanding of the science is how I assess the risk.

In reality I didn't want to talk about a car analogy because I think only stupid people make car analogies. They are quite a simple machine compared to a Nuclear reactor which is simpler still compared to the fascinatingly complex and destructive way radioisotopes get into the foodchain and ultimately the body where it triggers cancer.

I don't blame you, most people cannot grasp such complexity, I'm still learning.

You are full of straw, man.

The question was *specifically* constructed not to qualify levels to expose you to the uncertainty. So we could see your glowing straw, man.

To answer both your questions, would I eat food from Fukushima with a defined amount of contamination, the answer is YES, if that level was measured to be below the safety thresholds set by Japan using the methods they established. So, YES, I would do so with no worries.

Your answer tells me you are ignorant of the facts and are unable to take personal responsibility for the risks.

With an understanding of the process of bio-accumulation and how radioisotope micronutrient analogues are deposited and accumulated in the body via metabolic processes you would conclude that it is a stupid risk not worth taking. However if ignorance of the risk and impact is your thing, go ahead.

What you are trying to do is make out there is something wrong with making a perfectly sane informed choice, quite an irresponsible, even sociopathic thing to do.

No, I'm not afraid of radiation before you start with that. My concern is radioisotope ingestion, a perfectly reasonable, rational, considered, informed, researched and valid thing to avoid to minimise exposure to a carcinogenic element.

Screening doesn't remove the uncertainty, it just reduces it.

With sufficient accumulation in the body a radioisotopes alpha, beta and gamma emissions maybe sufficiently energetic to damage either my person or my genome creating tendencies in future offspring for transgenic disease. I don't think there is a car analogy convoluted enough to describe that.

Actually there is. Imagine you took and unnecessary car ride everyday and suffered a collision enough to cause some minor damage. The only thing is first the damage only expressed itself after 6 years and second you keep suffering every impact, over and over. Eventually, your bodies ability to heal itself would be overwhelmed. Additionally, in the time it takes to manifest, potentially critical damage was done to any of your potential offspring as well.

You would introduce yourself to such a risk of that impact by making *exactly* the decision you would make, so don't complain that you weren't warned.

Comment Re:Would I eat it? (Score 1) 128 128

Ahh, I see you avoid responding to the unnecessary car riding. Do you never take an unnecessary car ride?

No, I said track racing. Last vehicle I took out was 300+hp on a dirt track. Ask me to get in a car with four teenagers though and I doubt I'd do it.

You say you are risk averse...I wonder how often and how evenly you apply that.

I said No - nothing wrong with my risk perception, nor am I risk adverse. which means I take risks - usually calculated.

So, no, you don't know what those levels are, but you do know they are below the threshold, which is a known level, and far below level show to have any negative health correlation.

No, the threshold is unknown. Looking at what is happening to insect species the probability is it is quite high. The athletes will be ok though, every bit of the food will be screened. As for those who this whole charade is about, the japanese consumer, this is a construct to put their mind at ease so they will be good little consumers.

We are all skewed by risk perception. Its OK. I am too.

My perception is based on the science and an understanding of the impact. The impact is so high it isn't worth the risk.

I notice you avoided my questions:

If I could guarantee the food had a radioistope load - would you eat it?

If I can't guarantee that it doesn't have a radioistope load - would you eat it?

Comment Re:Would I eat it? (Score 1) 128 128

You state eating the food is a stupid risk,

No, what I said was eating food from Fukushima that has potential radionuclide contamination is not necessary.

To be even more specific eating *any* food with a potential carcinogenic radioisotope load from the fallout of a nuclear reactor. Eating that is a stupid risk. I won't eat that food because I am not stupid.

Only a very stupid person would eat food from the Fukushima province due to the fact that the risk of radioisotope contamination is unknown.

That is what being stupid is.

you don't seem to really know what that risk is

However I understand that the impact is potentially serious cancer.

The fact that you use things like bungee jumping as a comparable risk tells me your risk perception is way out of whack with reality, which was my point. The fact that you subjectively qualify it as a 'stupid risk' is meaningless in this discussion, as you have no measure for that.

Due to the fact that there is no data available on how much radioisotopes are released I have no way to make an immediate assessment on which food is safe based on the type of food and I choose not to take that risk because the impact is cancer of some part of the body. It is an unknown risk that is unnecessary.

I also informed that bungee jumping exerts enough force at the bottom when sprung to increase the blood pressure enough to damage the nerve endings in the back of your eyes, so yeah, I think that is a stupid risk.

Skydiving, rock climbing, ju jitsu competition, body surfing a 3 metre + swell, track racing, soccer, rugby league and flirting with a hot woman however are calculated enough of a risk for an adrenalin rush.

No - nothing wrong with my risk perception, nor am I risk adverse.

The fact that you qualify it as 'unnecessary' and therefore just avoid it is your convenient method to ignore the actual risk and risk perception elements.

If I could guarantee the food had a radioistope load - would you eat it?

If I can't guarantee that it doesn't have a radioistope load - would you eat it?

It does not mean your advice to avoid is based on any practical measure.

My advice is to avoid eating food from any area where there is radioactive fallout because it is a stupid and pointless risk with serious health impacts if you are unfortunate enough to eat food with radioisotope contamination.

Comment Re:Would I eat it? (Score 1) 128 128

Eating is a necessary thing. We do it all the time.

However, eating food from Fukushima that has potential radionuclide contamination is not necessary.

And, we do have data that shows low level radioactive exposure risk.

I think you are confused. I am referring to how much and what type of radio isotopes were released from Fukushima nuclear plants. If you have that data, then you have been able to by-pass the Japanese government's censorship and I would urge you to share it.

The list is likely quite long of the things that qualify.

Surprisingly you managed to mention things I consider to be stupid risks that I make a specific effort to avoid. I consider eating food from Fukushima a stupid risk to take, relative to the impact. If you are prepared to take a stupid risk then go ahead.

Comment Lots of Rubbish code (Score 0) 352 352

What we are talking about here is not programmers using mac because they are a reasonable platform to develop on, but mac users trying to write code and actually trying to think differently and write code.

I wonder if it will be as fun for them as it is for an geeky nerd like me.

Comment Re:Would I eat it? (Score 1) 128 128

What you fail to include in your discussion of risk is probability. You only discuss potential consequence, but that is not enough to evaluate a risk. And in absence of knowing probability, risk perception is skewed, a central element to my point.

A discussion of probability is only possible when the quantities of radionuclide effluent from the Fukushima disaster is generally available. I will remind you that the Japanese government has a media blackout so hard data on what type and how much radionuclides were released is not available. You are welcome to contribute that data to the discussion so probability can be assessed.

It is pointless complaining to me about the lack of data as I would also like to see it. Until such data is made available then we will just have to deal with uncertainty. It is safe to say though it is more than nothing.

The data for exposure risk is known, it generally shows extremely low probability of negative health impacts. But most folks don't realize just how low that is compared to many of the things they do daily.

The point is not that it is low, it is that it exists at all and how much increase in risk we can expect as the radionuclide effluent is absorbed into the foodchain.

By not riding in a car, you are not exposing yourself to the risk of death or injury by car accident. But you do it anyhow.

A more honest comparison would be a risky activity like bungee jumping, an unnecessary risk that you choose as compared to driving car which is a necessary risk you control.

Until we get data on what and how much radionuclides were released we won't be able to quantify the risk. If you're happy to eat Fukushima food, go ahead, you'll probably be ok.

Comment Re:Just products, or services too? (Score 2) 97 97

I don't see why it wouldn't work to our advantage. The US has always been top notch in the tech sector, and hasn't depended on tariffs to do so. A lot of countries (especially ones in Europe) have tried using tariffs to try to counterbalance that, but it's never done anything other than make technology more expensive in those countries. If those trade barriers fall, then we'll see a LOT more money headed our way.

People who understand quality pay for it, everyone else buys the rubbish that passes as merely a consumer item.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 483 483

Three great points, that I'll answer in kind.

Perhaps nuclear power should be a state function, rather than a private function.

Indeed, this would be a positive step forward for Nuclear power, however it is unlikely that the government would accept the liability.

The US Navy has a decent record of running nuclear power, perhaps we should simply ask them to do it.

It is unlikely that current reactors would meet the rigor of their safety criteria, considering that Naval reactors are under considerably stringent operating parameters.

Not everything translates into private companies. After all, my local water utility works very well and is government run.

For profit and Nuclear power seem to be incompatible. Properly managed they could provide a key economic input in time of financial downturn as an impetus for driving economic activity. Sadly, there a few politicians who would support such a long term vision at this time.

Comment Re:cue the nuclear fanbois (Score 1) 483 483

Both of the claims I list boil down to nuclear power is bad because there isn't enough nuclear power.

No they don't. The first fact is that the energy to extract the uranium in the first place to fuel the reactor over it's life time equates roughly a third of the reactors total output over it's lifetime.

The second is that the energy to decommission the reactor at the end of its service life equates to roughly another third of the total energy output.

This is what the science of examining the entire Nuclear fuel cycle has revealed.

How is that a fault with the energy source?

To begin with it is grossly inefficient (0.3%) compared to the energy potential of the uranium. Current technology cannot extract the full energetic potential of the uranium. There are ways to make it more efficient however it requires people like you to accept the faults of the industry and start to evaluate it in an honest way so the faults can be addressed and progress made.

Nuclear Power is a fantastic, technological innovation that is ultimately pointless if it does not provide the energy returns and leaves a radiological legacy for future generations the way a carbon legacy was left for our generation.

Nuclear Industry PR is extremely effective because it is a complex subject so I don't blame you for repeating it. However you can choose to accept the PR or you can challenge the assumptions it has created with the independent, formally peer reviewed science I have provided.

Comment Re:Aussie freedoms are inferior (Score 1) 337 337

the TTP probably violates a lot of our laws and rules as well. If it is what we fear, then there are going to be some fierce court challenges.

You might find that the only basis that exists for a challenge is that the TPP is not constitutional.

I'd like to know what other thing your politicians have done in the US's interests that violated your rights though? Just curious.

The most recent example is passing the data retention laws so that the movie industry can do speculative invoicing on Australians. The Free trade agreement signed over a decade ago started eroding our health care system, which is mostly free for all citizens with little benefit to Australians. I don't blame Americans themselves because from what I see they are suffering at the hands of the same, powerful, vested interests as we are.

Politicians don't respond to that sort of thing. Politics is about leverage.

I've founnd that addressing them directly with a letter is the single best way to have your voice heard. They may even write back. By letter I mean snail mail on paper, addressed to them. Nothing like a little one one one conversation.

There is very little actual compromise or common ground or anything of that nature at this point.

Which is unfortunate because co-operation and compromise is a key part of conducting a democracy.

That's how ugly the politics have gotten in the US. Discourse is pointless. Appeals to reason are pointless. Sound and rational arguments are pointless.

If it doesn't stop, we will destroy ourselves with our mutual loathing for each other and the system itself.

I couldn't agree more, we have followed a similar path here in Australia. It is like the politicians have given up and now the game is how blatantly they can deceive the electorate.

All we can do is our best to hold them accountable.


Study: Certain Vaccines Could Make Diseases More Deadly 195 195

sciencehabit writes: New research suggests that vaccines that don't make their hosts totally immune to a disease and incapable of spreading it to others might have a serious downside. According to a controversial study by Professor Andrew Read these so-called "imperfect" or "leaky" vaccines could sometimes teach pathogens to become more dangerous. Sciencemag reports: "The study is controversial. It was done in chickens, and some scientists say it has little relevance for human vaccination; they worry it will reinforce doubts about the merits or safety of vaccines. It shouldn't, says lead author Andrew Read, a biologist at Pennsylvania State University, University Park: The study provides no support whatsoever for the antivaccine movement. But it does suggest that some vaccines may have to be monitored more closely, he argues, or supported with extra measures to prevent unintended consequences."

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis