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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) 666 666

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.)

Comment: Re:Microfluidics? (Score 3, Informative) 67 67

Microfluidic channels are fairly easy to produce using traditional lithography, and a simple water pump produces all of the motion necessary. It's difficult to see how this really improves upon that model.

You have a valid point, but I thought it was an interesting approach(*).

In his paper, Dr. PraKash notes that microfluidics requires pumps, valves, and other controlling hardware to route the chemicals to the required places.

His system moves microsamples around using magnetic fields, eliminating the need for pumps and valves.

Check out his dancing droplets video on YouTube. There's really a lot going on at the atomic level with these micro droplets.

(*) I submitted the article

+ - The world's first water computer->

Okian Warrior writes: Stanford's Manu Prakash created a computer clock made of water droplets trapped in a magnetic field that could have biological and chemical applications, as well as change the way scientists think about computation.

Check out the video of the computer in action.

[[You guys keep complaining that no one submits good videos to the feed, well here's one. Check out the video accompanying the article:

[[Also not the video technique. People talking, but interspersed with interesting images of their system in action. Still scenes are made more interesting by camera movement.]]

Link to Original Source

Comment: Wait... what? (Score 1) 205 205

It's an embarrassment to have a ask Slashdot featuring Kim Dotcom.

And why is that?

We're supposed to be the smart crowd in the internet, and pride ourselves in having open minds and hearing both sides.

Is it important to get information that wasn't delivered by the news outlets?

Is it important to give both sides a chance to tell their story?

Is it effective to make judgements based on arrest claims, and not on convictions?

The GP has it dead-on: these posted questions are an embarrassment to our community. You could fault sock puppets and spammers, but our moderation system is supposed to let us suppress the junk and let our true natures shine forth.

I am astonished at the crass and low-born nature of the posted questions.

I thought we were better than that - I honestly did.

+ - Rare 9-way kidney swap a success->

Okian Warrior writes: Doctors at UCSF and California Pacific Medical Center finished the final of 18 surgeries in a rare nine-way, two-day kidney transplant swap at the two San Francisco hospitals.

A computer software program made domino-like kidney transplants chains possible by connecting willing donors with compatible recipients, even if their kidney does not match their intended recipient. The donor’s kidney is paired with a matching recipient and, in exchange, the donor’s loved one will receive a kidney from a compatible donor in the same chain.

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:I agree somewhat... (Score 1) 108 108

the Darpa grand challenge led to Google's self-driving car, which is poised to put 3 million truck drivers out of work.

"Poised" my lily white ass.

You panting, drooling idiots who think this will be reality soon are deluding yourselves.

Google is on the cusp of having some demonstration technology which will be perpetually 10 years away due to legal issues, corner cases, and the myriad of ways in which it will almost work as an idea, but fail in practice.

Um... OK. Fair point.

If it's not Google, then how about Daimler Chrysler?

Can they do it? Or am I still a drooling, panting idiot?

Comment: Absolutely (Score 1) 108 108

It won't happen next year, or even 5 years from now... but at some point... all those drivers, from taxis to trucks, will become unemployable through no fault of their own. They simply will not be able to compete with the cost of a robot.

Oh, I agree with you and that sentiment completely.

To be specific, take a look at Manna, by Marshall Brain. It's an easy read, and it shows in frighteningly clear steps the two different ways the economy can go.

I'm all for automation, and I've worked on automation projects before. By and large, automation takes away those jobs that humans don't really want to do. Boring, repetitive, dehumanizing things like crop harvesting or long-haul driving.

While I recognize that automated production is the way of the future, I'm not quite sure how to get there. If there were some clear path, I'd be advocating it.

The best I can come up with at the moment is to point out how we're going to be in tough straits when 3 million people find themselves without a job in the next 5 years (and 2 1/2 million after that when short-haul driving is mostly automated, automated drone delivery of packages and mail and such.)

Pointing out the problems might nudge us into rethinking how economics works. That's all I can think of at the moment.

Do you have any ideas on how we can be part of that transition?

Work smarter, not harder, and be careful of your speling.