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Comment: Re: "Drama of mental illness" (Score 2) 331

I went to a library the other day, and all the kids stared at their books the entire time, never looking at or talking to anyone around them.

At least the kids on phones were constantly chatting with friends elsewhere via texts & IM. Sounds much healthier than hiding from the world with your nose in a book..

Or maybe I should just learn to stop judging them by my own preconceived notions.

Comment: Re: Ha (Score 1) 45

by Namarrgon (#49142025) Attached to: The Believers: Behind the Rise of Neural Nets

it's just a semantic matching algorithm with a really big computer to power it

And it achieved a milestone of human-scale lookup and response that we'd never seen before. It's still an impressive feat, even as a powered-up refinement of existing techniques and just another step on the road.

As for the brain, while the complexity gets huger the deeper we look, there's an excellent chance we simply don't need to build that level of detail ourselves to get useful results. We already have useful AI with much less, and it's getting more impressive every day.

I'm guessing we'll have non-sentient AI that can do human-level tasks and interaction long before we emulate the whole brain completely, just like we have useful and cheap flight without needing to build a whole bird.

Comment: Re:Thimerosal != toxic mercury (Score 1) 580

by Namarrgon (#49070285) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

The paper mentions studies done with metallic mercury vapour, radioactive mercuric oxide, mercury selenide, and (more relevantly) demethylated methylmercury. I imagine you should see the studies themselves for more detail.

And sure, I'm no medical professional, and Slashdot is hardly the place for sound medical advice. Any links provided are for information only. As always, see your local qualified professional before trusting anything you read on the internet, including my posts.

Comment: Re:Thimerosal != toxic mercury (Score 1) 580

by Namarrgon (#49063313) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

You're right, of course; safer would have been a better word. Inorganic mercury can certainly still be neurotoxic in sufficient concentrations, but is less bioavailable than organic mercury compounds - and it does get excreted over time. The biological half-time of inorganic mercury compounds has been measured at between 19 and 64 days.

Comment: Thimerosal != toxic mercury (Score 4, Informative) 580

by Namarrgon (#49043171) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

Thimerosal (thiomersal) is metabolised into ethylmercury, which is far less toxic than the methylmercury commonly found in e.g. tuna, and breaks down into safe inorganic mercury a lot quicker. This has been a source of confusion to laymen (and the Italian court), who have incorrectly compared the levels of ethylmercury from a vaccine dose against WHO health guidelines on methylmercury.

Many studies have been done on the actual toxicity of thimerosal, and the results still come up as "safe for use" at the doses involved. No link with autism has been found, despite many years of looking.

Comment: Or not - the data is not up-to-date (Score 5, Informative) 580

by Namarrgon (#49042941) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities

From the Wired article:

But Google has a simple explanation—a representative chalked it up to old data. “In 2013-2014, these two childcare facilities had immunization rates of 98 percent and 81 percent,” says a Google spokesperson, emphasizing that immunization is important to the company. “The reported numbers for the current year are lower simply because many parents have not yet provided updated immunization records. We’ve asked them all to do this, so we can update the figures.”

So it looks low right now only because the parents who have not yet updated their records are being counted as "unvaccinated".

Comment: Re: jessh (Score 1) 397

by Namarrgon (#48918615) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

- There is a snowstorm and the officials shut the city down. Everyone complains that shutting the city down was unnecessary, I mean sure we got a few feet of snow & all, but it wasn't like it was an emergency or anything, nobody even got killed or stranded..

As any sysadmin will tell you, when your job involves preventing disasters, do it too well and people will wonder why they needed you at all.

Comment: Attack surface (Score 4, Insightful) 181

by Namarrgon (#48909783) Attached to: Windows 10 IE With Spartan Engine Performance Vs. Chrome and Firefox

More speed is great, I'm sure users will be happy.

The dual rendering engine, less so. I know backwards compatibility is pretty important to Microsoft, but now they have twice as much web-facing code to maintain - all the legacy IE MSHTML stuff as well as the new EdgeHTML code - and thus twice the zero-days to cope with. Perhaps this is the lesser of two evils, but it's certainly not ideal.

Comment: Re:Does not contradict (Score 1) 273

by Namarrgon (#48808775) Attached to: Silicon Valley's Quest To Extend Life 'Well Beyond 120'

Sorry, I didn't imagine responding with an informative link would be assumed to be a direct insult, even if you may have read it before (others may not have, and this is a public discussion). I also don't see how linking to valid information is considered an "appeal to authority", failed or otherwise. Should I have decorated the link more?

As far as I can tell, from the wikipedia article, Nature article, and Blackburn's Nobel presentation, telomerase actually rebuilds short or damaged telomeres, which would seem to make them not so much of a "hard" limit. Obviously there is far more to the ageing process than telomere shortening, and naturally errors in the process will accumulate and eventually defeat this (as with cellular replication in general), so nobody is claiming this is the key to immortality or anything - but it's certainly a significant piece of the puzzle.

If my understanding is incorrect, please do enlighten me (even with a simple, undecorated link). Your responses so far have left me none the wiser.

You know you've landed gear-up when it takes full power to taxi.