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Comment Re:Similarity to Quantum Mechanics (Score 1) 292

It only seems that way to you because you know nothing about economics.

Then why does economics fail to predict so many economic problems before they happen? You do not have to be a scientist to see that science can make predictions that work consistently. If economics is a science then it too should be capable of making clear predictions which work consistently. You do not need to be an economist to see that this is not the case.

Comment Similarity to Quantum Mechanics (Score 1) 292

Well it does have a passing similarity to quantum mechanics in that the very act of making an observation of the financial system will change it because people try to use the observation to make money. The difference is that in quantum mechanics the effect of the observation is based on certain fundamental rules which cannot be changed and you can use these to calculate the probability distribution of outcomes. In economics it seems that there are no fundamental rules or at least if there are nobody has yet found them given the total inability of economics to predict the economy.

Comment Not necessarily irrational (Score 1) 351

we will instinctively protect the in-group even when it makes no rational sense to do so.

I'm not so sure that it is entirely true. The problem is that the "in-group" make it very much in the rational, self-interest of whomever gets into power to support that in-group. What you need are politicians in power who are willing to go against their own self-interest and act in the interests of the people they represent. These are a rare breed and getting rarer since, when one appears, the "in-group" do all they can to stop them getting into power and/or corrupt them.

The result is a choice between politicians who will not act against the in-group and, because of the huge power and influence of that group, very little chance of that ever changing unless something severely damaged the in-group's power which, in our case, would probably need to be something like an economic collapse of biblical proportions.

Comment No protection but still a dilemma (Score 1) 340

As a male university professor, my answer to this is very clear. We should not protect them.

I completely agree...but we need to be careful that these accusations have evidence to back them up. If you just rely on a handful of students to make accusations then you risk scenarios where students can threaten false accusations for better grades. I think the real dilemma is when is the evidence strong enough to act on so that the guilty do not go free and the innocent do not get punished? Set the the threshold too high and you protect the guilty, set it too low and you can't effectively teach and do research.

Comment Re:Why would anyone be shocked? (Score 3) 210

It's indeed a science

No, it's not a science in the same way that political science is not science. Economics may borrow some scientific methods and use them to study the field but the ultimate aim is to predict what will happen not to understand why (although knowing why may help with predicting) whereas the ultimate goal of science is to understand how and why things work with the ability to predict being a good signal that we got the how and why right.

...put don't take my word for it have a look at how many university science faculties have an economics department. There may be some but I honestly can't think of any.

Comment You have failure backwards (Score 5, Informative) 210

This is not unique to economics. Most scientific fields have problems with replication. Journals are strongly biased toward publishing positive results, and nobody gets tenure for negative results or replication.

Economics is not a scientific field and the fields which seems to have the most problems with this seem to be medical, not scientific ones and "nobody gets tenure for negative results" is simply not true because I did! Indeed it is common in particle physics where we search for evidence of new physics beyond the Standard Model and, with only one exception so far, keep coming up empty handed. As for the most recent Nobel for a "failed" experiment try the one of two days ago: this was awarded to two experiments which failed to show that the Standard Model description of neutrinos was correct.

I think your definition of "failed experiment" needs almost completely reversing. Michelson-Morley was a stunning success: it completely destroyed the luminiferous aether model for light. It was not the result that was expected but that does not make it a failure. The same applies to neutrino oscillations. Not getting a result you expect from an experiment is the thing every scientist hopes for it because means that you have learnt something new about the universe which is why these experiments often win Nobel prizes. If anything is a failed experiment it is those that just end up confirming existing theories because you were hoping you might learn something new and instead just ended up confirming what you already knew.

Comment Different Job Descriptions (Score 1) 92

Speaking as a university professor this is not really correct. As a physicist I can certainly do scientific research but that is not the same as investigating human behaviour since humans, and especially politicians, have been known to lie, hide information, behave irrationally etc. You also run into ethical issues if try to run experiments on them. This is why you do not see many scientists moonlighting as police detectives or, indeed, as journalists.

In addition we are not particularly skilled at writing things down in a way which draws the reader in and captivates their attention. Have you ever read a scientific paper? It's designed to impart a great deal of precise information not entertain and inform the reader.

Comment As a Canadian Particle Physicist (Score 5, Informative) 58

While it is physics beyond the Standard Model it is really easy to incorporate it into the model. In fact it makes the leptons more like the quarks in that they now both have a mixing matrix.

It's fantastic to hear that Art finally won the Nobel though - many of us were wondering how long it would be before he did! It's very well deserved for a discovery which was at least as significant, and far more surprising, than the Higgs.

Comment Same pipes (Score 1) 570

It is completely intellectually dishonest to the point of a LIE to assert that water delivered via a sterile, new, plastic container is the equivalent of what runs through the often old, sometimes lead, sometimes infused with bacteria and sediments stuff tossed through underground lines prone to breakage and then on premise, subject to the neglectful landlord's, and cheap ass developer's habits.

How do you think the tap water got to the company who put it in the bottles? It goes through those exact same pipes.

Comment Re:hu-person-made surely? (Score 4, Interesting) 64

No, that's not it.

Sorry but you are wrong. In old english 'man' meant person without any gender specification because 'wer' meant male human where is where "werewolf" comes from: literally "male person-wolf". However because we started to use the word 'man' to mean male human this interpretation has now been retroactively applied to words which were derived when the meaning was gender neutral.

And for what it's worth, for all of the complaints given about the US, the US is perhaps one of the least male-dominated societies out there.

Seriously? So how many female government leaders have you had? Your congress has under 20% women compared to ~25% for Canada, UK and Australia and 30% for New Zealand. Even Saudia Arabia has a 1% higher proportion of women in its national parliament than the US. In many European countries the ratio is in the upper thirties to forty percent.

Comment hu-person-made surely? (Score 4, Insightful) 64

Not in the politically correct portions of Northern Europe.

Which is ironic since the use of 'man' to mean 'person' in English comes from German where 'man' means 'one' and 'Mann' means man. So man-made actually means 'person-made' not made by a male. So instead of making the language clunky perhaps we should just educate people as to what it really means otherwise next we'll end up having to use 'huperson' instead of 'human'.

Comment Re:Failure modes (Score 1) 147

We use capacitors all over the place and most of the failures of them are demonstrably not from catastrophic discharge.

Large capacitors which store significant amounts of energy or the tiny ones in circuits? Particle physics bubble chamber experiments in the 1960/70s used to have magnets which were pulsed by capacitor when the beam hit them. The stories I've heard older colleagues tell about accidents involving the massive capacitor banks suggest that sudden, catastrophic failures can and do occur. With a small capacitors you get a puff of smoke, with massive capacitor banks you get people blown across rooms and seriously injured.

Comment Not the only fraud... (Score 0) 323

Here, fraud presents itself quite naturally and they can't seem to find it.

Perhaps they are worried that the US government could be charged with fraud too since it seems they passed an act which they said would make it illegal for car manufacturers to make highly polluting cars but which, it appears, does nothing of the sort.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan