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Comment: Re:Why is bitcoin popular again? (Score 5, Insightful) 254

by evanbd (#49284053) Attached to: Evolution Market's Admins Are Gone, Along With $12M In Bitcoin
Fortunately, bitcoin allows multi-signature escrow. That permits the escrow service to decide who gets the bitcoins (buyer or seller), but doesn't let them run off with them. It's not perfect, as it can't prevent collusion between escrow agent and either party against the other party, but it does prevent the simpler forms of "just run off with the money". Why it isn't in more widespread use yet, I have no idea.

Comment: Re:well.. (Score 2) 760

Except most speed limits are complete bullshit, at least in the US.

There are highways in NYC that have a 40mph minimum and a 45 mph maximum. Think that has anything to do with the ability to fine pretty much anyone at any time?

Roads have pretty natural speed limits regardless of the imposed limit, and it would be trivial to figure them out by simply taking an average over the course of a few days. I would venture a guess for the majority of the highways it would be substantially higher than the posted limit.

Remember - speed doesn't kill... a line of courteous drivers, observing correct leading distance and allowing free merges can probably go 100+ on a modern road in modern cars. Recklessness, carelessness, and needless maneuvers is what kills, not to mention distraction and intoxication. Observe Germany's autobahns for an example,

Comment: It's about results (Score 1) 320

I think it is laughable, when viewed against the net of human history, to say that there is a problem with science. The world is increasingly wealthy overall. However, there is a problem in complexity. There is a misunderstanding even among scientists about the fundamental mathematical underpinnings of information. The butterfly effect and the P=NP problem essentially say that, as far as math goes, we don't know what initial dependency might have some severe effect downstream, and that, if there are too many variables, we can't do much anyway.

Yet, politicians of certain political stripes and some scientists themselves are enamored of the idea that we should have "science based" policy making. Policy making is about masses of people, and too many variables. Thus, even though science can say, "these people are less meat based upon and were be better off", science cannot say "everyone will be better off if we eat less meat so let's make it a law". Indeed, there's a baked in butterfly effect that says any public policy has winners and losers. When we make laws that say, 90% of the people will be better off, well, those 10% are going to be irritated. At some point, as a civilization wanders through its history, it accumulates more and more of those people that were screwed by the law. People being what they are, they don't care about how they might have benefited through being in the 90% groups, but how they were in the 10%. If new science proves that the people in the 10% were actually -right-, then, it only makes matters worse.

From a government perspective, we've actually picked the worst things to apply science to. In most people's lives, it is their diet that matters most and the science underpinning FDA recommendations and recommendations from other food authorities has been fabulously and publicly wrong. Many Americans have grown up hearing that first, butter was bad, then, butter was good, then, corn syrup was better than sugar, then sugar is better. First, its clogging of the arteries caused by cholesterol caused by diet, then, just as every middle aged american devours statins, we find out it is a combination of stress and lifestyle. It doesn't help that the public lumps doctors in with scientists - to them, scientists just means "smart people", and they see doctors screw up enough that every family has the story of the loved one that doctors wronged.

The mistrust of the medical establishment when it comes to diet is epidemic and bipartisan. There's plenty of both tree hugging liberals and gun toting conservatives reading about various health food supplement and other weird nonsense about diet and health and even medicine on the internet. The FDA and the food industry alike are seen as corrupt in the minds of both conservatives and liberals is telling. Granted, they filter that corruption into their own political worldview, but that they don't trust these institutions at all suggests a real problem.

From there, it is easy to see, that if the public doesn't believe any of the science about the thing most common in its life, and the institutions designed to protect that science, then, it is going to be a hard sell for the public to genuinely trust science in anything beyond the latest breakthrough to make their consumer products better.

Comment: I'd take the Samsung check (Score 1) 192

by tjstork (#48854129) Attached to: Samsung's Advanced Chips Give Its Cameras a Big Boost

So a well funded player rolls out a new camera missing a feature its established and highly regarded competitors have, and a web site gives them a great review. Dang, why didn't I have that domain name! I should write bad reviews of the new Samsung and wait for the next model and ask for a reviewers copy. I ought to get some spending cash then!

Comment: So what (Score 1) 160

by tjstork (#48853339) Attached to: A State-By-State Guide To Restrictive Community Broadband Laws

I think that could, in the modern American political discourse, be the refrain. Have a look at a map. Generally speaking, urban areas vote blue and in favor of some sort of a national vision, whereas rural areas consistently lap up a steady diet of misinformation that says they are supporting the cities when every outlay from the state capitals to even the federal government suggests the opposite is true. The rural areas say they hate government and redistribution of wealth - fine - then let them do without the wealth redistributed to them and maybe cities, unshackled by them, can begin to turn their own finances around.

Comment: Enough of the anti-city agenda (Score 5, Insightful) 160

by tjstork (#48852587) Attached to: A State-By-State Guide To Restrictive Community Broadband Laws

Laws prohibiting municipal broadband are entirely anti-city. In a country where politics is such that cities are routinely decried (while ironically states redistribute their tax revenues to rural areas and suburbs), I think it is time to frame broadband rights as a freedom from government for cities.

Cities should be allowed to be more independent from the states that hold them. They should not be stripped of the competitive advantages that localized economies of scale provide. They should be allowed to offer their own utilities, to toll the interstates that cut through them, and they shouldn't have to pay a gasoline tax that largely serves rural interests, and above all, part of that independence should be to allow them to offer broadband.

Comment: There's no such thing as externalities. (Score 1) 441

by tjstork (#48851151) Attached to: Why We Have To Kiss Off Big Carbon Now

You invent externalities as if there is some kind of mandate that "Society has to bear the solution to some problem." Here's the reality. I absolutely do not. You can't argue in generalized terms about the affairs of humans in a digital age where everyone is perfectly capable of understanding their economic interests. If I live on a big hill, I don't have to care if your beachfront sinks. If it is cheaper for me to burn coal to heat with, I'm going to burn coal. It's that simple. Raising the taxes on my energy is really, to me, you screwing up my life so that you can have your fancy beachfront house. It's equally not fair, either way, and there's not so much as the notion of external costs as it is you are looking to raise a rent on the poor to preserve your beach property and fancy solar sailboats while the rest of us try and buy bread. We don't need you. We don't need your coasts. There's too many people already, as your side is fond of saying!

Comment: Bring it. (Score 1) 441

by tjstork (#48851101) Attached to: Why We Have To Kiss Off Big Carbon Now

Your theory of damages is entirely ridiculous. If I burn a mount of coal in Kentucky, then the best you can say is that technically, perhaps, I helped make global sea levels rise. That would suck if you were living in New York or on the coast.

But, let's review the science:

a) CO2 is making sea levels rise and warming the planet and changing the climate. But no mathematical or climate model has been remotely accurate. The models do NOT actually predict climate, and that's really a huge problem. So you can't remove my burning coal mountain, then re-add it, and hold me culpable for anything, with any degree of certainty at all other than your lunatic religion.

b) Any contemplated action proposed by the environmental left, from carbon taxes to transaction taxes, has the effect of creating an enormous economic problem for the poor and middle class. If I 'm poor, I don't care if the coastlines sink. I don't own my building. Landlords do. So screw them! I'll move! Why should I care about your solar panel house in New Jersey with your scenic rich yardwork, when I'm poor in Kentucky? Answer is, I don't. All I see is that you want to make my fuel more expensive, my food more expensive, everything more expensive, when I'm trying to get the basics, and that cuts into whatever savings I have... makes me poorer, and having your cronies take those taxes to build a library for "me" doesn't cut the rusk as some kind of compensation.

So the bottom line is that. If you really want to save the planet, then go right ahead and invest your money in whatever it takes to make green stuff. If it is cheaper, I'll buy it. But if you are going to spend your life making my life miserable to save your beachfront property, when I don't even have property worth saving other than a burning pile of coal and a rifle, then show up claiming you are coming after me, then you're gonna get the rifle, and deserve it!

Comment: Re:Anyone else concerned? (Score 3) 164

by TheMeuge (#48811983) Attached to: Man Saves Wife's Sight By 3D Printing Her Tumor

Is ist just me or is anyone else actually concerned that a have-a-go engineer can apparently quite easily achieve significantly bettr results than a team of so-called expert doctors in their own field?

RTFA please.
The description does indeed try to imply that the above is the case. But it's far from the truth, as much as internet armchair experts would like to believe.

The article itself appears to state that the problem was that 1) the initial advice was to wait, which after (appropriately) consulting with a number of experts they had done, and a followup showed progression. Even the first advice was not totally misplaced. Then what happened was that he suggested that the neurosurgeons basically invent a procedure specifically for him, and used 3D printing to create a model for them. The result was he did find someone willing to try (my guess is they refused the conventional approach) a less invasive procedure that removed 95% of the tumor. Now that may sound revolutionary, but neurosurgery is a tricky business, and depending on the tumor 95% may be equivalent to buying a little time while doing nothing at all, especially since they already knew that the tumor was growing aggressively. If the conventional approach would have had more of a chance of removing more of the tumor, possibly all of it with negative margins, that would be a far more definitive approach. Doctors aren't always right, but if you get a sufficiently experienced expert opinion, it'll usually reflect what is possible to do currently, with a reasonable margin of both safety and success.

Comment: Re: No control experiment (Score 1) 132

by tjstork (#48788545) Attached to: Short-Term Exposure To Diesel Fumes Causes Changes In Gene Expression

Not everyone has the same harm vs benefit outlook. You might want a perfect green earth but I like cheap energy today and can live with the health risks. We are all going to die someday and at least I want to be warm. So the short answer is, I don't care about your genes and you don't care if people freeze. To each his own. There is no "we".

Comment: Re:Goodhart's Law (Score 0) 185

by TheMeuge (#48333049) Attached to: Big Data Knows When You Are About To Quit Your Job

When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

So, yeah, as soon as people figure out what it is that is being measured, expect them to alter their behavior to make that measure useless.

Tell that to Obamacare.
MDs and institutions now get less money when they take care of sicker patients whose socioeconomic status causes them to be less compliant and have more adverse outcomes. Congratulations, now no one wants those patients doubly. Oh, and they still can't pay for health insurance.

Comment: Re:How about... (Score 1) 349

by TheMeuge (#48292715) Attached to: Suspected Ebola carriers in the U.S. ...

It is a FACT that ebola is ONLY CONTAGIOUS when symptoms are present.

Only if you ignore the last fifteen years of established science. Many people get Ebola and never show symptoms at all. We know this because they test positive for the antibodies to Ebola. Those people are believed to have had the virus in their blood at some point during the course of the disease. Therefore, under the right circumstances, it is possible for someone not showing symptoms of Ebola to spread the disease. It is highly unlikely, and has not been documented to occur in the wild so far (that we know of), but claiming that it is impossible based solely on limited anecdotal evidence is downright terrifyingly bad science.

I'd be happy to dig up the citations again if you really want me to, or you can just Google it yourself.

That's just patently wrong. Having antibodies to Ebola doesn't mean you had the disease, it means you were exposed to the virus. There was a study in 2000 Lancet which looked at seroconversion in close contacts of individuals ill with ebola, which showed that 11/24 people seroconverted in the absence of symptoms. However, the scientists were unable to isolate virus from these patients. This suggests that there are people who have either a defect in the ability of Ebola to infect them, or their innate immune response is able to deal with Ebola. There is no evidence from the last 30 years that there any asymptomatic individual acts as a carrier.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.

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