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Comment: Re:Science != Biomedical Research (Score 1) 349

by Roger W Moore (#49778769) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

I don't mean easier as in effort- just in the scientific sense of having hypothesis or theories that are provable experimentally.

...and again I would say that while the challenge is different there is no reason to assume that medicine has it any more challenging that other fields. In medicine the data is relatively easy to collect but very hard to analyze because of all the interwoven factors. In particle physics the data is exceedingly hard to collect because of the conditions required to produce it but probably easier to analyze.

Building detectors and accelerators requires just as much scientific input as analysis: it is not just a question of effort. New approaches and technologies have to be developed to meet ever increasing performance requirements.

Comment: Re:30 years ago.... (Score 1) 207

by Jeremi (#49778387) Attached to: Amtrak Installing Cameras To Watch Train Engineers

So yeah, it's not as easy as just throwing a GPS on your locomotive and calling it good.

Still, even a partial solution (e.g. one that matches the train's GPS location, if known, against a table of specified maximum-safe-under-any-circumstances speed limits for that location) would prevent a train wreck in certain cases (such as the recent one that prompted this article). I'm all for full PTC, but I don't think the perfect needs to be made the enemy of the good here.

Comment: Re:Time to find better engineers (Score 2) 207

by Jeremi (#49778353) Attached to: Amtrak Installing Cameras To Watch Train Engineers

If the engineers' concentration is so fragile that they are going to be distracted by a camera, they are obviously not the right people to be operating complex machinery.

They suffer from a condition called "being human". It causes occasional failures in an otherwise operational controller-human, some very small percentage of the time. Even the highest-quality controller-humans have a non-zero failure rate.

Maybe we should just replace them with automation and run the trains remotely. They could keep one engineer per train to engage the manual override in the event that someone hacks the control infrastructure and tries to do Bad Things(tm) to the trains.

That is actually a pretty good idea, and it's more or less what PTC is intended to do, at least as far as the "avoid accidents" part of the job is concerned. Automating things further than that is also possible, although probably not really necessary.

Comment: Re:Science != Biomedical Research (Score 1) 349

by Roger W Moore (#49776221) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?
I disagree. The ATLAS detector took 3,000 physicists well over a decade to design, build and test and that's before we even consider the similar effort which went into the LHC accelerator and the other large, multipurpose experiment, CMS. The challenges in other fields are different to those biomedical science but that does not in any way mean that it is easier.

Every bit of important, interesting research, regardless of field, has difficult challenges to overcome because if it did not someone would already have done it. You cannot just throw up your hands, say it is hard and then lower your standards until it becomes easy because at that point it is questionable whether the research you are doing has any value at all and, in some cases, even brings into question whether it actually counts as scientific research.

Comment: Re:Science != Biomedical Research (Score 1) 349

by Roger W Moore (#49776083) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

I don't know if your post is a very subtle slur against psychology or not

It was not intended to be a slur against any field. It was intended to correct the slur that the author made on science in general and refocus it back to the specific field which the article itself referred to and which is the only one about which the author seems to be in any position to judge.

Comment: Re:Science != Biomedical Research (Score 2) 349

by Roger W Moore (#49776011) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?
Research being hard is not an excuse. The difficulty and assumptions should be made clear and the analysis should take this into account. I'd agree that have a 3 sigma evidence and 5 sigma discovery threshold probably will not work in other fields where it is hard to quantify the statistics accurately. I'd also say that medical research has far more of a problem with the media sensationalizing their results.

We had some similar problems in particle physics with claims being made and then retracted which is what lead to the 3 sigma/5 sigma rule. So medical researchers need to come up with standards for the medical field that are appropriate along with guidelines on how to present results so that it is hard for the media to sensationalize them. This might be a hard challenge to meet but this is research. If you are doing it because you think it should be easy you are in the wrong field.

Comment: Re:The faster than light neutrino claim was very s (Score 1) 349

by Roger W Moore (#49775881) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

If I remember correctly, the scientists were saying that they MEASURED faster than light neutrinos, and were soliciting community aid in figuring out what was going on.

Not quite. They claimed evidence of FTL neutrinos and then tried to hedge their bet by asking for external experts to come and investigate to confirm. In fact a good proportional of the collaboration refused to sign the paper which is a very sure sign that you are on incredibly dodgy ground: if you cannot convince the vast majority of your fellow collaborators that the result is right you are unlikely to convince others and it should be a very clear message that you need to do more checks and get more data.

Comment: No guarantee on the Leader (Score 1) 107

That's moot. They vote for the party, which is a vote for the leader of the party.

There is no guarantee that the leader of the party will remain the same. In the past the prime minister has changed between elections e.g. Thatcher, Blair etc. In fact even during the election there is no guarantee that the party leader will actually be elected: it is theoretically possible for a party to win the election and then have to find a new leader because the one they had lost their local seat. This certainly happens with the smaller parties: UKIP's leader did not get elected in the recent election even though others of his party did.

Comment: Re:Well there's the problem... (Score 1) 180

by ultranova (#49775209) Attached to: Court Orders UberPop Use To Be Banned In All of Italy

If licenses weren't numbered, the proliferation of taxis would render city streets unnavigable.

...Taxis carrying who? The same people who are now using their own cars? Why would that make things any worse? If anything, they should get better when more drivers are professionals.

That said, if the license system is abolished, then the government should reimburse the current license holders. After all, having had to pay for a license when newcomers don't puts them at an unfair competitive disadvantage due to opportunity costs.

Comment: Re:To be more precise, Amazon will collect on taxe (Score 1) 241

by ultranova (#49774847) Attached to: Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

Spoken just like someone who doesn't actually have to deal with that situation...

Okay, time for the facts of life: I, who work for a living, pay taxes too. For all intents and purposes that's an investment of time and effort, rather than money. So what happens if I'm not satisfied with my level of return and choose to cease investing - that is, quit? Why, I don't get paid, of course.

Perhaps you've never had to deal with that situation. Good for you. But don't except those who do to have much sympathy for your plight.

Comment: Science != Biomedical Research (Score 5, Insightful) 349

by Roger W Moore (#49774583) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?
Actually there is not a problem with science there is a problem with biomedical research which the author of the article keeps confusing with all science despite actually referring to fields such as particle physics which does not have this problem. That's not to say that we do not have mistakes but these tend to get caught quickly and retracted e.g. faster than light neutrinos.

Except for medical research, I'd say most of science is the same way as particle physics: the odd mistakes which tend to get caught quickly. I don't hear of frequent retractions or contradictions by chemists, mathematicians, computer scientists, geologists or even non-medical biologists like you do frequently for medical studies. In fact it is incredibly ironic that an article written by a medical researcher criticizing the poor practices in his field is so inaccurately and carelessly written. This aptly illustrates at least part of their problem.

Comment: Re:Okay... (Score 1) 432

by RDW (#49774407) Attached to: D.C. Police Detonate Man's 'Suspicious' Pressure Cooker

To the list of excellent pressure-cooker related kitchen gadgets I'd like to add the Bialetti Brikka moka pot: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bialet... . It's one of those Italian stove top coffee makers with the addition of a weighted valve like an old-school pressure cooker. This raises the pressure beyond what you get with the conventional design, making a drink that's closer to a real espresso with a bit of crema. No terrorist applications have yet been reported, though coffee use is allegedly endemic amongst senior members of ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the FSF.

Recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-Man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. -- C.N. Parkinson