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Comment: Doctors always know best (Score 1) 47 47

While it is true that there are doctors working while they themselves are not feeling well, you guys gotta understand that doctors have to face sick people ALL THE TIME, which means they have higher chance of getting infected with diseases, which means they have to spend more times feeling unwell

It is always so easy to criticize someone of doing something but why is it there is no mention of what makes that someone do that something in the first place?

Because doing so implies that it's OK because it has a justification. "Hey, it's OK for doctors putting us at risk, because they have a really good reason".

This is a clear-cut example of that "needs of the many" thing. Yes, doctors encounter sickness more often then average. Yes, that probably means they get sick more often. Yes, their work is really hard.

Does the inconvenience of one doctor outweigh the inconvenience of 5 patients catching what he's got?

I once read a study where doctors refuse to use checklists, despite abundant evidence that doing so would reduce the incidence of hospital errors.

The reason? Doctors simply didn't want to use them - they felt that they were good enough not to need them.

(That was awhile ago - now checklists are starting to catch on.)

Comment: Re:So does this qualify as 'organic'? (Score 5, Interesting) 255 255

So, I'm all for grow local, but when there's sun shining right outside - this doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense to me... unless you are a company that sells grow lights.

You have a point, but you also have to consider the context of comparison.

Plants grown outdoors face an array of problems that the farmer has to account for. Keeping insects off, keeping weeds at bay, keeping the plants watered and fertilized - all this comes at a cost to the farmer.

Indoor farming requires a more expensive infrastructure (the building, trays, and plumbing) but has great savings in some of the other areas. It's easier to keep weeds and insects out, for instance.

Of particular note, outdoors you can't recycle unused water or fertilizer, but this can be done indoors. Collect any unused water after the plants have drunk their fill, remove waste products, top off the fertilizer, and reuse.

So the economic question is this: is the extra money/effort spent on generating light compensated for by the savings in insecticides, roundup, fertilizer, and water?

I think the answer is probably "yes", given that LED lights are incredibly efficient. (Also of note: less of the environment is damaged by excess fertilizer and water drainage. Damaging the environment indirectly costs money.)

Then the next question is with the building: does it make sense to have big windows and use mostly solar light, and adjust as needed with indoor lighting?

Windows cost more than walls, they require extra heating and/or air conditioning, they're not as structurally sound, and the light isn't used efficiently in the 3-d volume; meaning, you can't grow corn on each story of a 5-story building, because the first layer will shade the ones below it. (And windows break, they have to be cleaned, they tend to leak, &c.)

It may be more economically sensible to grow corn in a 5-story warehouse close to a city simply because it reduces the transport costs. It also reduces the amount of land used - allowing more plots to go back to the wild.

And on top of all of this, researchers I've talked to are doing clever things with the light recipe they're giving to plants.

Some plants detect the reddening of the sun and "go to sleep" at sunset. By adjusting the light color, you can keep the plants growing 18 hours a day and then blast them with excess red light to get them to quickly go into night mode. This increases yield by reducing the growing period of their crops.

(A bunch of other experiments are really interesting, such as: hitting the crops with a particular frequency of light to cause their ripening flavors to go into overdrive, making a crop that is inordinately tasty.)

So in summary, we should do the economic experiment and see if it's viable, but in toto there's a lot to recommend indoor industrial gardening.

Comment: You don't understand the universe (Score 1) 233 233

True wisdom requires the humility to see the universe for what it is... a step beyond our reason... always and forever.

I heartily endorse that statement, and encourage you to teach it to your children.

(My children, on the other hand, will be competing with yours in the global society and I want to give them the best chance of success.)

Comment: This affects you personally, yes? (Score 1) 145 145

[... long rambling personal attack against Assange...]

He's a douche, so much a douche that even France thinks he's a douche. How sad do you have to be when even France doesn't capitulate?

Apropos of nothing, where are you getting your information?

Your post reads almost like one of those sock puppet things, you know? Paid to promote a particular point of view, without regard to truth or logic.

I'm not saying you're a sock puppet, mind you. It just that your post was a little one-sided, overly emotional and outspoken for the scope of the incident.

Sort of like the "say it loud enough and often enough" propaganda type of post.

How has this incident personally affected you, that you get so riled up about it?

Comment: Not a Federal priority (Score 4, Interesting) 36 36

As many people have pointed out, it's straightforward to set up a honeypot that triggers the exploit, pay the ransom, and then follow the money.

Many people are affected by ransomware. If the US made fixing this problem a priority, many *people* would be relieved of anguish and suffering.

Instead, the feds look into crimes against corporations. How's that investigation into fiber cutting in San Francisco coming along?

Or crimes against authority. What was the cost versus benefit of the Silk Road investigation?

If the US made *people* a priority, it would get done.

(And for the record, Bitcoin is not anonymous and we have agreements with other countries for criminal activity. )

Comment: No, it won't (Score 4, Interesting) 75 75

The problem arises when you make bad associations over the years.

Your brain is an association engine - it silently catalogs all the feelings you get when doing something, and uses this information for prediction in the planning [brain] section.

Over the years, you've built up associations between programming and discomfort in various forms. Now, when you consider going to do some program, your brain automatically recalls all the pain and discomfort that this brings.

The planning section uses the risk/reward equation, and there's usually other values to consider. Normally, the "value" you get from programming is enough to outweigh the discomfort you get. You get rewards for doing it, like interacting with people, figuring out problems, and so on. Getting money is more of an intellectual reward - there's no "feeling" associated with money per-se. (Unless you're Scrooge McDuck and feel joy over just having money. Most people aren't like that.)

Over time, the negative value of the discomfort has grown, relative to the positive value you get from completing goals, learning new things, or social interactions.

It's the same as a lathe operator who gets back pain from stooping over all day long. He'll eventually get tired of doing something he once loved, even if he doesn't remember the pain.

It's *very* difficult to reverse this. You have to build up positive associations, and enough of these to compensate for the negative history.

You can try adjusting your work environment ergonomically: make it more physically comfortable to type, for instance.

You can try getting into a new field: switch from web work to microcontrollers, for instance.

You can try switching to a new environment: shop your resume around, and join a small company with a manager/people you really like.

You can try rewarding yourself for completing goals: promise yourself a slice of pie if you complete such-and-so task today. (Make sure you realize "this pie is because I completed such-and-so" task while you're eating it.)

You can try taking a vacation, but that won't fix the underlying problem.

Good luck!

Comment: Stubbing your toe (Score 1) 52 52

Stubbing one's toe is a potentially life-threatening incident.

Did the paper address this? I would think that the risk of stubbing one's toe would be much higher while wearing AR glasses.

We need more papers like this one. The complete and total characterization of all potential safety issues should be a reasonable goal before anyone is allowed to sell (or wear) one of these devices.

Maybe the FDA should issue a ban while it considers common-sense regulation (like the FAA did for drones).

Comment: Re:Wiki-Enquirer? (Score 0) 100 100

How is this at all what Wikileaks is supposed to be for? At this point it seems more like crass voyeurism than any type of serious attempt to shine a light on corporate misconduct.

Sony has done a lot of evil in the past (remember rootkits?). By dumping this dataset, Wikileaks is doing two things:

1) Airing Sony's misdeeds, with the possibility of bringing them to justice. Possibly getting tried in the court of public opinion.

2) Encouraging other companies to not be evil. If everyone knows that their illegal activities might come to light, it'll act as a deterrent.

Note that the 4K stuff was picked up by Apple Insider, and consider their mandate.

Hold off a bit before passing judgement. If a more journalistic outlet finds something newsworthy, it might paint the data dump as worthwhile.

Comment: Snake oil is everywhere (Score 1, Informative) 668 668

There's a lot of snake oil outside of traditional medicine, but there's a lot of it *within* traditional medicine as well.

One of the really obvious low-hanging fruit that I've seen is the Burzynski Clinic.

To summarize, Stanislaw Burzynski (a doctor in Texas) claims to have invented a new cancer treatment that's better than Chemo. Someone made a movie "Cancer is serious business" which shows lots and lots of case file evidence that this is true.

We have a claim, and we have evidence. Is this bunkum or a scientific breakthrough?

It's usually easy to figure this out: interview the patients, see if they were treated, if they got better (or not), and if they are happy with the treatment. Examine the evidence and see if it's consistent with the claims.

In most cases of "bunkum", you'll find that the patients feel they were cheated, the treatment had no effect, they were also on traditional treatments, and so on and so on. It's pretty easy to separate the wheat from the chaff by examining the evidence.

In the case of Stanislaw Burzynski, no one does this. Read up on the reports and find that no one addresses the evidence directly: it's all ad-hominem attacks ("he's not a real doctor, he's not a cancer researcher"), indirect rationalizations ("it can't work because it doesn't fit my model", he doesn't have an explanation for *why* it works, it must be bunkum because it's too good), administrative accusations, and so on and so on.

One particularly salient point, brought up by many, is that the treatment is "untested". His treatment doesn't work because there are no studies to confirm this.

No one addresses the evidence.

I think what medical science, and science at large, have to realize is that people are starting to wise up to these "absence of evidence" statements. Just having a doctor say "there are no studies showing it's effective" won't cut it any more - it's seen as a verbal hand-waving to support schools of thought. It's "absence of evidence is evidence of absence".

This is what happened with Homeopathy. People had a rationalization for *why* it works and there was some historical evidence. Add in some first-hand accounts, and suddenly you've got a miracle cure that science can't explain (but really works!).

Not every crazy theory needs a full-fledged study, but I suspect a lot of good could be done by taking the top "fad" populist beliefs and making simple, definitive studies. I'd feel a lot more comfortable if a doctor could say "we studied it and there's no effect" instead of "there's no evidence that this has any effect".

The prior shows a logical certainty, the latter is rationalization.

Comment: Scientists move the world (Score 1) 305 305

Scientists have eliminated smallpox from the world, and we're about 5 years shy of eliminating polio. I read about new strategies for malaria each year (making stronger mosquitos that resist the malaria infection, for instance).

Muhammad Yunus is a PhD scientist who started the Grameen Bank, in 1999 had reduced poverty by 40% worldwide(*). His TED talk is interesting.

Everybody is working towards new energy sources: wind and wave, solar (in various forms), and even nuclear. There's a Hackaday prize on the theme of "save the world, build something that matters" with over 500 entries.

We're putting up cell phone towers in Africa, giving clean water to the Bangladeshi, inventing pot-in-pot refrigerators, and helping people use propane instead of charcoal (with attendant improvements in health).

I don't hear scientists talk like this, and that's fine, it's probably not their place. But evidence isn't enough to actually move people to action, you do actually have talk about right and wrong, and why this thing is wrong and must be stopped.

What the heck are you talking about?

Scientists move the world.

Clinging to some outdated religion is what holds us back.

(*) According to a Scientific American article that I am citing from memory, and my memory of the article may be flawed, and it's really old information.

Comment: What did Jesus say about...? (Score 0) 108 108

I'm curious: The bible recognizes, accepts, and at places condones slavery. What would Jesus have said about this subject? Also, should we take direction from the bible on this issue?

Also: Jesus himself got angry and tore up the bazaar in the temple. I'm trying to be like Jesus in all ways (not making that up), and I'm wondering if it's OK to do that? Is getting angry on occasion, and doing damage to public areas OK for the informed activist?

And finally: What does the bible have to say about homosexuality? Many *many* biblical scholars through history that have interpreted the bible as being four-square against homosexuality - should we accept their interpretations because they are scholars and have studied the field extensively?

Comment: Science reporting at its best! (Score 4, Informative) 59 59

Okay, nothing in the linked article (that I could find) points to the actual study. After some googling, people are apparently reporting on this paper.

The paper has these highlights:

A survey of nearly 7000 Internet users tested associations between personality traits, past behavior, and viewing cat-related media online.

The study also examined Internet users’ motivations for consuming cat-related content, including emotion regulation and procrastination.

Additionally, it explored effects of Internet cat consumption on emotional states and enjoyment of this type of digital media.

Results point to certain personality types being more strongly associated with Internet cat consumption.

Furthermore, results support a conceptual model arguing that the happiness gained from viewing Internet cats can moderate the relationship between procrastination motives, guilt, and enjoyment.

None of this, and nothing in the abstract, is anywhere close to what others and linked articles in the post summary claim.

However, taking an austere view of the highlights, note that 7,000 people were polled and *self reported* that they felt good after watching cat videos.

Also, what does "[viewing] can moderate the relationship between procrastination motives, guilt, and enjoyment" mean? What is this study reporting, and how does one use this information?

"Moderate the relationship between things" is complete non-content speech. It's the thing one would expect from a politician trying to dodge a question.

Also - papers have "highlights" sections now?

Comment: Re:I want one for non-prime searches (Score 2) 424 424

A lot of the time I am searching for something but there is a top search category that is NOT what I want and keeps showing up. the "-" tag simply doesn't help enough.

Here's a way to tell if your search engine is thinking for you.

Search for "Great Tits" (a type of bird) and check the results.

If your search engine is trying to think for you, it'll become obvious on the first page of search results.

Comment: Interesting hypothesis (Score 0) 409 409

the corn subsidies and the silly food pyramid.

We eat too much, we exercise too little, and we eat the wrong things.

More fruits, veg, and yes meat... and less starchy food.

As to getting people to move their fat asses every so often... good luck with that.

Out of curiosity, what observations would invalidate your hypothesis, Mr. "random some guy on the internet"?

If there were, for example, a rise in obesity in 6-month old babies - would that invalidate the hypothesis, or does it simple mean the 6-month old babies need to get out and exercise more?

How about lab animals? If lab animals grown with the same diet and same exercise regimens were getting progressively more obese over the last few decades, would that invalidate your views, or does it mean that the lab rats should just cut down on the calories?

A lot of people expound the virtues of this-or-that theory of obesity, there's thousands of miracle cure diets and theories of nutrition to choose from. Do I want the primitive diet? The all-meat diet? The vegetarian diet? The new fancy diet from some genuine charlatan interviewed on Oprah? (It's a diet made by a doctor... and it really works!!!)

How about basic thermodynamics? If I reduce my food intake, I'm guaranteed to lose weight... right? It's basic thermodynamics after all.

How about we all read up on the subject and look at some evidence. Nothing in people's diet - either type or amount - explains the rise of obesity in our culture, and neither does anything related to lifestyle.

If you have an alternate explanation, I'd like to hear it. Otherwise, stop shouting debunked views and commonly-held myths.

Modern obesity has nothing to do with diet, exercise, or lifestyle.

Comment: Aborted launch (Score 2) 419 419

What bollocks is that? What has an RTG in space to do with a nuclear (fission) reactor on earth?

No one cares how you power your satellites, space probes.

I think the fear was that if the system broke up on launch (exploded, perhaps) that it would strew radioactive materials over a wide swath of landscape.

(To be fair, we've had a couple of satellite launches screw up in the last decade, so the probability of failure isn't zero.)

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost