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Science

Psychopathic Criminals Have "Empathy Switch" 347

Posted by timothy
from the why-some-people-think-I'm-nice dept.
dryriver writes "Psychopaths do not lack empathy, rather they can switch it on at will, according to new research. Placed in a brain scanner, psychopathic criminals watched videos of one person hurting another and were asked to empathise with the individual in pain. Only when asked to imagine how the pain receiver felt did the area of the brain related to pain light up. Scientists, reporting in Brain, say their research explains how psychopaths can be both callous and charming. The team proposes that with the right training, it could be possible to help psychopaths activate their 'empathy switch', which could bring them a step closer to rehabilitation. Criminals with psychopathy characteristically show a reduced ability to empathise with others, including their victims. Evidence suggests they are also more likely to reoffend upon release than criminals without the psychiatric condition."

Comment: Re:Dark != Far (Score 3, Insightful) 79

by Soft (#42325773) Attached to: Twin Probes Crash Into the Moon

...the rotation of the moon just about exactly matches the revolution around the Earth

I think we can say exactly, as it's not a coincidence that the rotations align like that, it's a stable configuration of two bodies in orbit

Yes but there's still libration. Although the Moon's rotation and revolution periods are indeed exactly the same, its orbital speed changes slightly over each orbit. So "just about exactly" is justified too.

Comment: Re:Quantum Physics @ Home (Score 1) 465

by Soft (#39792047) Attached to: Quantum Experiment Shows Effect Before Cause

What is different about the quantum case is that you can send, say electrons, through the slits *indivdually*, one at a time and they somehow interfere, that is what is intuitively strange.

Correct, but you can also send individual photons and have the same counter-intuitive result. It is not a different case, electrons and photons are both quantum particles.

Comment: Re:Applied particle physics? (Score 1) 98

by Soft (#37872564) Attached to: Superluminal Neutrinos, Take Two
Actually, there was a piece of news today, warning against possible blackouts next winter: although France does usually produce more electricity that it consumes, it imports power dto handle strong peak loads--especially from Germany, it was said. If Germany shuts down its own reactors, and the winter is again especially cold, there might be problems.

OTOH, next year is an election year in France, nuclear power is sure to be an issue, and the news I mentioned originates from the (pro-nuclear) government. Who knows how reliable it is?

Comment: Re:Questions... (Score 1) 127

by Soft (#36809586) Attached to: 7 Days With a Google Chromebook

How about a Let's Note R9 or J10 (...)?

Interesting, thanks. I couldn't find detailed specs in English, but they indeed seem lighter than the MacBook Air.

However, what I'd really been drooling about when checking out the Vaio X was the 0.7-kg weight without the extra battery. Even the R9 is over 0.9, and (to answer Anonymous' reply) so is the Eee PC X101. That's not light enough that I'd consider changing my current Eee PC.

Now, only tablets seem to be really lightweight, but they don't have a physical keyboard, and suffer more or less from the same problems as the ChromeBook in terms of usability. Though I could imagine working on an Android tablet if I could find a LaTeX distribution for it (not just an online compiler)...

Comment: Re:Questions... (Score 1) 127

by Soft (#36804824) Attached to: 7 Days With a Google Chromebook

The device sounds great for travelling with its light weight and long battery life.

It's still half again the weight of a Sony Vaio X + extra battery, which could last almost 10 hours.

Why don't they make them anymore? I was looking for a replacement for my Eee PC 901 (1.1 kg); the 2009-vintage Vaio X sounded great (0.7 kg, or 1 kg with the larger battery), but the best I found currently on the market was the MacBook Air (1 kg, half the battery life, not worth the change).

Comment: Re:Don't cancel it (Score 2) 226

by Soft (#36763240) Attached to: James Webb Space Telescope Closer To the Axe

Don't cancel it, just go through the project management and fire everyone who was mismanaging it causing it to go so far over-budget.

AFAICT, the reason why it's going so high over budget is that the budget itself was massively low-balled to begin with, so that the project would have a chance of being approved. In other words: lie about the true costs, they'll have to give you more later, when it's too high-profile to cancel.

The "mismanagement" here is that it wasn't spotted earlier. You can fire them, but you'll still have to either double the budget or cancel it all...

Comment: Re:For a new Android user (Score 2) 114

by Soft (#36723816) Attached to: New SMS Trojan Found In Android Markets

As someone who is about to get their first Android device, is there a good resource for practices for protecting it?

You may want to read this earlier Slashdot story, from which the suggestion that made the most sense to me was to install DroidWall and just not let applications access the network. Of course, they might not work then, and it can be difficult to single out a single app among, say, Google Services.

Comment: Re:Godspeed Atlantis (Score 1) 275

by Soft (#36695862) Attached to: Space Shuttle Atlantis Launches On Final Flight
Your comment resonates with what Arthur C. Clarke wrote in the post-Apollo preface to Prelude to Space:

Yet when, in 1947, I set this novel exactly thirty years in the future, I did not really believe that a lunar landing would be achieved even by that distant date [...] Still less could I have imagined that the first nation to reach the Moon would so swiftly abandon it again. ...

In one sense, the Apollo Project was indeed a Prelude to Space. Now there will be a short interlude; and sometime in the 1980s, the real story will begin.

The hiatus has been somewhat longer, but hopefully the rise of the commercial manned spaceflight will bootstrap a self-sustaining economic sector, which will no longer be at the mercy of the whims of governments and lobbies, and ossified agiencies crumbling under their own weight.

Only when spaceflight reaches that point, will that story begin.

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