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Comment: Re:"Ethical" microtransactions? (Score 1) 177

by PHCOSci (#45555229) Attached to: Game Review: <em>Path of Exile</em> (Video)
On top of being a rather sour sounding person ("You all suck. I hope Slashdot dies soon." " Fuck modern gaming. It's all about taking advantage of as many naive kids as possible") you also don't appear to come equipped with the powers of logic and reasoning.

You paid for, or at least were expected to pay for, the original Neverwinter Nights software. The individuals providing you with content then also purchased this game and generated extra fringe products for you to enjoy. Thus, to enjoy those small cosmetic niceties you had to drop ~$40 for the actual game. Or at least, you were expected to, you're probably also the sort of person who pirates games and then bemoans the gaming industry.

Now to the Path of Exile model. You can play a full, rich game experience for zero dollars. If you'd like to spend 1/10th the money you spent on Neverwinter Nights you can also enjoy some cosmetic upgrades. The idea behind this is that the developers are going to continue to make a GOOD game to keep your interest. They don't grab your money and run. They actually need to provide for their customers post-release. By keeping your interest and the quality of the game high you are likely to, in the life-time of your time playing the game, drop a few dollars on it. In my mind this is an ideal game platform.

Comment: How Much Storage? (Score 1) 491

He's claiming all traffic, from all sources, is saved in some indexed form. Three days worth. Thoughts on the amount of data that is likely to be? Every image? Every communication/call? Knowing what I know about data storage / data writing / data access I find it VERY hard to believe such a facility exists. Even if it was billions and billions of dollars of SSDs that could be rapidly written as the information streamed in...

Either that or they have a couple million RAM buffering the influx and writing it to hard disk.

Comment: Is it legal to ignore your own research findings? (Score 1) 379

by PHCOSci (#42569955) Attached to: Crowd Funding For Crank Physics
Quoted directly from their website (http://z-torque.com/Video.aspx):

Results: Participants achieved similar maximal oxygen consumption, peak power outputs and gross efficiencies with the Z-Torque and normal crank configurations (Table 1). In addition, ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) at 150 and 200 W, heart rate (HR) at peak power output, 150, and 200 W, and cadence at 150 and 200 W were not significantly different. However, participants perceived their effort to be significantly lower at peak power output with the Z-Torque crank.

--

So it's a placebo. Or Nocebo, depending. You believe the pedals make it easeir, so it feels easier, but it's exactly the same.

Comment: Digital Size Watermarking? (Score 2) 284

by PHCOSci (#41973665) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Catch Photoshop Plagiarism?
Couldn't she simply slip a large amount of bit information into one of the layers? Put a high resolution photograph in a background layer at 100% transparency. This will substantially increase the file size beyond what the students would be producing. Then when she gets the assignments, sort by file size, and pick the ones off the top that are a few MBs too large.

Comment: Re:Chemistry vs. Biology (Score 2) 40

by PHCOSci (#41613355) Attached to: American Scientists Win Nobel Prize In Chemistry
The committee wouldn't award the same individuals for the same work in two different disciplines.

They were given the Chemistry Nobel because the chief effort and original determination of the existence of these receptors was a chemistry-heavy endeavor. We call it "Biochemistry", but really it's just the application of precise and exhaustive principles of chemistry to a biological system.

Even now, most of the individuals working to understand these receptors are chiefly chemists and biochemists. First order rate constants, reaction equilibrium calculations, binding constants, and more.

Comment: Well Earned and Long Deserved! (Score 2) 40

by PHCOSci (#41613265) Attached to: American Scientists Win Nobel Prize In Chemistry
Well. That was an unfortunate first post. But disregarding that, these two were long past due on earning the Nobel for this work. It has been the foundation for nearly 30% of all therapeutic pharmaceuticals worldwide. I've had the opportunity to meet and work with those trained by Lefkowitz and his impact in the sciences, and in particular pharmacology, will be felt for generations.

Congratulations to them both!

Comment: Time to Read! (Score 0) 356

by PHCOSci (#41390947) Attached to: Roundup Tolerant GM Maize Linked To Tumor Development
Again, here is the PRIMARY ARTICLE that the articles reference:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637

I'd like to point out the Herald Article is a press release written by the "Sustainable Food Trust"- which is an organic foods movement group:
http://www.sustainablefoodtrust.org/

So, let's assume the Press Release is fairly biased and that those that wrote it have modest scientific literacy.

On to the paper!

Compressing the whole thing into a few digestible sentences isn't doing anyone favors, but that's what I'll try to do. I'd encourage people to read the actual article.
I think the idea of growing corn, spraying it, and feeding animals diets consisting of 11, 22, and 33% of that corn is gimmicky. If the hypothesis is: "Round-up is cytotoxic and carcinogenic at currently consumed levels" then you feed them controlled doses of Round-up and an identical balanced diet - which they did in addition to the silly corn experiments, which don't account for the difference in nutrient intake over 2 years.

So anyhow, I think that part of the study is uncontrolled. They also looked at "200 rats", but broken into 10 rats / group, where group is feed-type and sex split. So for any given treatment they only have 10 rats to gain statistics on, which anyone with a relative statistical background can tell you is insufficient for any analysis if your control group is also presenting with effects (untreated rats died and acquired tumors during the study). Also if you look REAL CLOSE you'll realize that they only actually tested 10 rats of each sex for the "no treatment" subgroup. It's the same "0" treatment data on each graph. So in total they looked at 20 rats for the null treatment to compare to 180 rats of various other treatment types. Bummer.

So if we discount that any given dose-set is the sum of 10 animals of the same sex, and want to get anything out of this study, we want to look at the animals fed water laced with Round-Up. That's where the data is useful. So let's look at that.

Group A: Water + .00000001% Round-Up [amount found in some tap waters]
Group B: Water + .09% Round-Up [amount found in some US feed]
Group C: Water + .5% Round-Up [working dilution used to spray crops directly]


I'm not crazy about the idea of feeding animals straight from the crop-duster dilutions for two years to prove a point (group C), but I see where they're going with A and B. I'm not sure that Group C has any real-world relevance, unless some farmer is getting really thirsty out in the field. Also, this brings me to an aside regarding controls. Untreated is great, but positive and negative controls are also informative. I imagine feeding rats Water + 0.5% mineral oil for 2 years would cause oncogenic phenotypes. The best experiment would have been to feed mice known environmental carcinogens or inert substances at the same doses and compared the relative carcinogenic index of Round-Up.

For males there's no real effect. Straight off the plane pesticide for two years caused metastasis in 1-2 rats. Not sure what the spontaneous metastasis rate in these rats is, would need more untreated control mice to know if that's even relevant. Something odd to note. Figure 1 shows 1 rat in Group A needing to be put down due to huge tumor growth, but in Figure 2 none of the Group A mice were documented as acquiring anything apart from small internal tumors. So there's a data disconnect there.

The female rats are weird. Even untreated rats acquired tumors so large they had to be put down before the 2 year period was up. This isn't exactly the "control" group I'd want to use to prove carcinogenicity of a substance. Even so, there's no real difference between trace amounts of Round-Up and 100,000x that amount, some metastasis in the Group C - but again I'm unaware of whether that's a spontaneous occurrence in the normal mice.

The same statistical and analysis problems arise in the organ and tissue studies. Not enough numbers, too few metrics, not enough divergence between extreme dose ranges to presume it's the Round-Up.

- The experiment should be repeated.
- A cohort of at least 25 animals per condition should be tested (200 animals total), though I'd rather cut out condition C and test 50 animals per condition.
- I'd pick a less tumor susceptible background strain.
- The water intake should be controlled such that each mouse takes in the same total amount of treatment per day.
- Positive and negative controls should be used to demonstrate degree of significance of Round-Up and sensitivity of the animals to tumor acquisition.

Comment: Mental Exercise Time! (Score 2) 347

by PHCOSci (#40724287) Attached to: Google Says Some Apple Inventions Are So Great They Should Be Shared
As always, primary source citing is generally best when discussing vague and complex topics. Here is the actual quote from Google's legal filing:

"Indeed, many of the same interoperability benefits that the FTC and others have touted in the SSO context also occur when one firm publishes information about an otherwise proprietary standard and other firms then independently decide (whether by choice or of necessity) to make complementary investments to support that standard in their products. Because proprietary or de facto standards can have just as important effects on consumer welfare, the Committee’s concern regarding the abuse of SEPs should encompass them as well."

So yes, essentially, they are saying that proprietary practices that become the economic standard should de facto lose their proprietary status.

If this viewpoint was made precedent that would also mean that other technologies that benefit from lopsided market advantages due to their ingenuity, and thus consumer appeal, would lose their patent protection.

+ Invent a car with 200MPG fuel efficiency using a proprietary engine and corner the market? Your engine design becomes free domain.

+ Develop a new MOBO arrangement that drastically increases speed while reducing energy consumption? Sorry, but once you start replacing all standard server MOBO's you lose your ability to maintain exclusivity.

The problem then becomes obvious. It wouldn't make financial sense to invest in R&D, the most successful companies would have the means of production and wait for an industry leading technology to hit the market. They would then just sue via the "industry standard" precedent and function as a copy cat company, making the newest and most desirable products for less than the inventors.

In the end it would benefit consumers but crush technology development.

Comment: Re:Manmade climate change is centuries old (Score 1) 786

by PHCOSci (#40619255) Attached to: Nature: Global Temperatures Are a Falling Trend
The calculable predictions ceiling around 18 million. 100 million is an interesting number - twice that of the modern day UK? Those numbers wouldn't be supported by a minimal agrarian society without major roads. Perhaps if huge Native American cities were built up and down rivers. But they weren't.

The UPI article is a summation of research done on examining the impact of Native Americans to their local environment. I never said they didn't modify their environment, they had large impacts on their local environments. That's been recorded. I'm fairly certain no human population has moved to an area without eventually modify

What's important is that Native Americans never cleared enough hectares of forest to result in a correlated drop in average temperature due to rapid re-growth after the Native American population was reduced.

Comment: Re:Manmade climate change is centuries old (Score 1, Interesting) 786

by PHCOSci (#40617019) Attached to: Nature: Global Temperatures Are a Falling Trend
...

This is the most illogical argument I've ever heard. I'm all for data, of which you provide none. But that's a neat theory! Let's talk it out.

1-18 million Native Americans spread over all North America, from Canada to Mexico, cleared enough forest to "heat" the earth? With stone axes? Most of the farmsteads of Native American culture were along rivers, bayous, or on the plains. No tribe clear cut forests. They cleared small areas to make camps and small communities. The amount of forest, and thus CO2 debt, one would need to clear to account for the "Little Ice Age" wouldn't match up. Even if the Native American's had been wholesale burning every North American forest from sea to shining sea. Which we know they didn't do.

Feel free to insert any data or logic you have to dispute the above, I'm interested!

Comment: Does anyone even read primary articles? (Score 5, Informative) 786

by PHCOSci (#40616695) Attached to: Nature: Global Temperatures Are a Falling Trend
This retarded press release was written by someone that can't even GRASP the science, or purpose, of the published paper. Please, for the love of god, stop posting science topics on /. based on what some ingrate with a word processor posts up to some off-beat web periodical with a political agenda. The "graph" given by the press release article doesn't even appear in the paper and is missing a lot of annotations and descriptions necessary to properly evaluate the data. Important things. Like a Y-axis. And the method used to develop the data- surprise, most of it's modeled/reconstructed. Which is FINE if you grasp what they were trying to do with this publication.

And before I jump into the paper can we clearly define what journal an article is published in? Saying "Nature" is misleading. It's "Nature: Climate Change". Not similar, at all.

The paper is a methods paper. It's outlining a very interesting way to get at fine-resolution temperature fluctuations on a not-so-far-back time scale. Additionally, the moving average rise in temperature isn't suggesting it was HOTTER back then than now (as this submission and the press release indicate) but that instead our ESTIMATES of how hot it was are off.. SLIGHTLY. How far off? Here, let me copy primary literature for you. I hear that's good journalistic practice.

"...These findings together with the trends revealed in long-term CGCM runs suggest that large-scale summer temperatures were some tenths of a degree Celsius warmer during Roman times than previously thought. It has been demonstrated4 that prominent, but shorter term climatic episodes, including the Medieval Warm Period and subsequent Little Ice Age, were influenced by solar output and (grouped) volcanic activity changes, and that the extent of warmth during medieval times varies considerably in space. Regression-based calculations over only the past millennium (including the twentieth century) are thus problematic as they effectively provide estimates of these forcings that typically act on shorter timescales. Accurate estimation of orbitally forced temperature signals in high-resolution proxy records therefore requires time series that extend beyond the Medieval Warm Period and preferably reach the past 2,000 years or longer6. Further uncertainty on estimating the effect of missing orbital signatures on hemispheric reconstructions is related to the spatial patterns of JJA orbital forcing and associated CGCM temperature trends. First, the simulated temperature trends, indicating substantial weakening of insolation signals towards the tropics, can at present be assessed in only two CGCMs (refs 7, 8). More long-term runs with GCMs to validate these hemispheric patterns are required. Whereas the large-scale patterns of temperature trends seem rather similar among the CGCMs, the magnitude of orbitally forced trends varies considerably among the simulations. Additional uncertainty stems from the weight of tree-ring data and varying seasonality of reconstructed temperatures in the large-scale compilations. Although some of the reconstructions are solely composed of tree-ring data, others include a multitude of proxies (including precipitation-sensitive time series) and may even include non-summer temperature signals. Some of these issues are difficult to tackle, as the weighting of individual proxies in several large-scale reconstructions is poorly quantified. The results presented here, however, indicate that a thorough assessment of the impact of potentially omitted orbital signatures is required as most large-scale temperature reconstructions include long-term tree-ring data from high-latitude environments. Further well-replicated MXD-based reconstructions are needed to better constrain the orbital forcing of millennial scale temperature trends and estimate the consequences to the ongoing evaluation of recent warming in a long-term context."

I wish I could just copy past the whole article into peoples brains and make them understand the difference between science and sensationalism.

Comment: Re:Political news polluting this site (Score 2) 2416

by PHCOSci (#40479697) Attached to: Supreme Court: Affordable Care Act Is Constitutional
While I understand your sentiment I think legal proceedings have been a focus on /. for quite some time. This is also highly relevant to all freelancers, contract workers, and those that are self-employed. Which I'd imagine is a good chunk of the reader base.

I'm actually shocked that the legality of the House to levee the tax passed. If anything I thought they'd walk it back and require that provision removed. It seems ill advised to apply more blanket tax burdens to support individuals without the means or forethought to prepare for the future. Given how these sorts of Government run systems balloon out of control.. I suspect this one might implode faster than Social Security.

Comment: Re:Parenting Shouldn't Require Societal Interventi (Score 1) 754

by PHCOSci (#40441875) Attached to: Are We Failing To Prepare Children For Leadership In the US?
I'd guess both Sweden and Switzerland have similar programs. But in fairness, you're right, I did make the mistake of thinking these events occurred in Sweden.

Regardless, to the more important content of the comment. I am not against public education. I want teachers versed in math, science, literature, and history to fill my children with knowledge. I also think it's important for teachers to challenge children and help them grow as critical thinkers. But I think a lot of that can be done without heading into the woods to play with saws. I also believe that such experiences should be provided by parents, I think it's their purview, and that part of growing up as an independent leader is having those unique experiences with your family and learning to establish relationships that have more content to them than being "required" to participate.

Comment: Parenting Shouldn't Require Societal Intervention (Score 3, Insightful) 754

by PHCOSci (#40438699) Attached to: Are We Failing To Prepare Children For Leadership In the US?
I'm not sure why "forest school" needs to exist. It shouldn't be the duty of any government funded agency to do this sort of thing. Take your kids camping. Teach them this stuff yourself. Just because the Swedes have these programs does not mean Americans don't also instruct their children this way.

Before I was 10 I'd taken a lawn mower apart and reassembled it, made furniture, could identify all the varieties of hardwood in the northeast, and fired a longbow. That was thanks to my Dad. Not my school teacher. I think that's appropriate!

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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