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Comment: Re:Zergling Speed upgrade (Score 2) 59

by PatrickThomson (#37759352) Attached to: Winged Robots Hint At the Origins of Flight

There are two kinds of incremental change - small changes in gene expression/abundance/variation that give small outward changes, and small mutations that have big outward effects, e.g. six fingers on one hand, downs syndrome, sickle cell anemia. All those originally came from a single genetic misfire during replication. Who's to say wings didn't start from a physical step change that was a single base pair?

Comment: Re:When they fix something they should tell people (Score 0) 149

by PatrickThomson (#37438672) Attached to: Gamers Piece Together Retrovirus Enzyme Structure

Quit your whining. They have X number of people, and I'd rather they develop software for protein folding than email back individual people who complained about things probably already on a to-do list. For most software projects I'd consider my response a little harsh, but you're advocating an approach where resources used to CURE AIDS are being diverted to "not offending trovingslosh". The least you can do is forgive them, discard your own pettiness, and re-harness your natural ability to spend your gaming time productively. It's a rare skill you have and that project needs people like you.

Comment: Re:Asperger's syndrome can cause the uncanny valle (Score 1) 172

by PatrickThomson (#36892444) Attached to: The Uncanny Valley Explained

Hey, nice to see someone open about ASD who isn't a whiny internet shutin - Those guys have negatively stereotyped us to the point where I never talk about it any more. You raise an important point, which is that we are essentially learning how to win friends and influence people, not subconsciously as part of our character, but as a learned discipline. It scares me sometimes. Is this what sociopaths do also? I learn to smile and laugh with someone as they talk because I want to express the inner feelings that normal people can do with laughing and smiling - it doesn't matter if the impression I'm trying to force is an accurate picture of my own mental state, but it's still manipulation. Is this something we're worthy and responsible enough to wield?

Comment: Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (Score 1) 108

by PatrickThomson (#36538994) Attached to: Google's Bangalore Streetview Project Stalled

Not that it undermines the main thrust of your argument, but I feel that sloppy investigating on your part makes you look weak - Specifically:

Google's the world leader in face recognition technology. It uses this technology to identify faces in streetview and blur them out. The best you can rant about is that Google themselves may have a private database of times when people who've been tagged elsewhere in Google have wandered past a streetview car at a particular time. For the rest of us, there's always "that's blatantly your shirt in streetview!"

Comment: Re:Not news (Score 1) 251

by PatrickThomson (#35993846) Attached to: Sony: 10 Million Credit Cards May Have Been Exposed

The best thing that comes out of all these breaches is the consequences of assuming the worst - Gary McKinnon, looks for UFOs, causes 6-figure damages because any machine he was within 1000 miles of pinging got tossed into a shredder. Likewise, with this, you know there's some hacker out there who's all like "shit, I missed that database, I was only in there for info on the PS4"

Comment: Re:Profile guided? (Score 1) 306

I was always under the impression that -Os made sense in a lot of contexts because of the smaller binary size fitting into the CPU cache more easily and speeding up some kind of switching process that apparently happens a lot during execution and not just when you launch the program - but I'm obviously far from an expert on these matters.

Comment: Re:Error in, error out (Score 1) 212

by PatrickThomson (#35988004) Attached to: Blue Gene/P Reaches Sixty-Trillionth of Pi Squared

It sounds like you think that's a statement about the pi they've calculated here, where the words immediately preceeding your quote, found at the top of this page, are "pi to 40 digits". Any of us could comfortably calculate that on paper in a day, or half an hour with a 10-digit solar powered calculator. I fear you may be guilty of slashdot-itis - an impulse to try and prove yourself smart by demolishing a strawman built from the headline, or the summary if we're lucky. Sometimes, the fail is too epic not to rebuke.

Science

Is Science Just a Matter of Faith? 1486

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-can't-test-faith dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Pastabagel writes that the actual scientific answers to the questions of the origins of the universe, the evolution of man, and the fundamental nature of the cosmos involve things like wave equations and quantum electrodynamics and molecular biology that very few non-scientists can ever hope to understand and that if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that we accept the incredibly complex scientific phenomena in physics, astronomy, and biology through the process of belief, not through reason. When Richard Fenyman wrote, 'I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics,' he was including himself which is disconcerting given how many books he wrote on that very subject. The fact is that it takes years of dedicated study before scientific truth in its truest, mathematical and symbolic forms can be understood. The rest of us rely on experts to explain it, someone who has seen and understood the truth and can dumb it down for us in a language we can understand. And therein lies the big problem for science and scientists. For most people, science is really a matter of trusting the expert who tells it to us and believing what they tell us. Trust and belief. Faith. Not understanding. How can we understand science, if we can't understand the language of science? 'We don't learn science by doing science, we learn science by reading and memorizing. The same way we learn history. Do you really know what an atom is, or that a Higgs boson is a rather important thing, or did you simply accept they were what someone told you they were?'"

Comment: Re:The elephant in the room (Score 1) 570

by PatrickThomson (#35569626) Attached to: A Look At the World's Dwindling Food Supply

Oh internet, how short your memory. Hans Rosling has already comprehensively debunked fears of a population explosion, all we need to do is elevate the third world out of poverty and the population will stabilise permanently at 9-12 billion.

http://www.gapminder.org/videos/hans-rosling-ted-2006-debunking-myths-about-the-third-world/

Comment: Re:Enjoy. (Score 1) 607

by PatrickThomson (#35442042) Attached to: US House Subcommittee Votes To Kill Net Neutrality

The problem with earth-arians in politics is the same with openly-religious parties. There's always an unpleasant undertone of connection/endorsement of extremist views. If the party ignores the extremists, everyone continues to whisper. If they openly distance themselves from the extremists, they're adrift and directionless. Lose/lose.

Specifically, enviromentalism/animal rights/veganism all point to the extreme viewpoint that human lives are *not* the pinnacle of importance, and that killing 80% of all humans would do a lot of good for the ecosystem. With that pallor hanging over the Greens, the mere suggestion that a family goes from 3 cars to 2 is seen as a slippery slope to death camps.

To understand a program you must become both the machine and the program.

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