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Comment: Re:Laws that need to be made in secret (Score 5, Insightful) 169

Secret "trade agreements" written by lawyers for large multinational corporations... what could be wrong with that? I see no problems with other countries suing US regulatory agencies for lost revenue when their deadly products are taken off the market in the US.

Comment: Re:Congress is a bunch of fucking retards (Score 0) 133

Granted, but the Democrats are the other corrupt party, with almost as much baggage, who will gladly do whatever corporations or ALEC instruct them to do, or what legislation to pass. So the Democrats have been the lesser of evils for a very long time now. Voting for the other corporate-controlled, militaristic party doesn't seem like a viable plan for getting out of this mess. But I digress, Northrop Grumman is doing what all defense contractors do, screw up and charge the government more, because they can, but at least in this one case they are not making an unneeded weapon system with huge cost overruns.

Comment: Re:Because there's so much more of it (Score 4, Interesting) 320

As a publishing scientist, I can completely agree with your assessment. If you have followed anything in science recently, especially the life sciences, then you'll know that we are doing things routinely that were impossible just 10 to 15 years ago, with excellent reliability and reproducibility. Take whole genome sequencing as just one of many examples. There is a lot more science being done around the world now, and a lot more bad science along with it. I don't know of studies that have looked at trends on this, but my guess is that the percentage of bad science probably has not changed too much. But countries like China have entered basic research in a big way, and that means lots more scientists working at more projects. However, the squeeze on scientific funding in places like the US, which has become increasingly difficult to obtain even for very worthwhile projects, has certainly increased pressure on scientists, with negative results in terms of quality and reliability.

Comment: Re:Unfair comparison (Score 1) 447

If you doubt the effectiveness of placebos then you have not read anything from the pharmacology literature for the last 50 years. Antidepressants and other mood altering drugs are subject to significant placebo effects, and even surgical placebo effects have been well documented. Yes, it is psychosomatic, but how people feel after a treatment is undeniable. There is probably a large component of reduced stress after going through a treatment the person thinks is going to help. Less cortisol is released, and symptoms subside.


Comment: Re:Right now I am thinking... (Score 2) 169

It is easily within current capabilities to put accelerometers on helmets and have them record the impact forces, but this would spoil all the fun of people harming each other for sport and profit. Until the public turns away from head-injury sports, they will be with us, and the aftermath of all those head injuries will be with us and our health care system for years to come.

Comment: Re:Complexity is not a property of the observer (Score 1) 188

by The Real Dr John (#49205127) Attached to: The Origin of Life and the Hidden Role of Quantum Criticality

That's really easy to say, but hard to prove in fact. Biological systems are not based on simplicity. The "so-what" is that biological systems, even at the single protein level, are doing things with electron conductance that can't be done in non-biological systems. From the article: “biomolecules belong to an entirely new class of conductor that is not bound by the ordinary rules of electron transport,”

That is the "so what"?

Comment: Complexity is not a property of the observer (Score 2) 188

by The Real Dr John (#49204255) Attached to: The Origin of Life and the Hidden Role of Quantum Criticality

Complexity is a real property of natural systems. Biological systems are highly complex by any measurable standard. Proteins and protein complexes are nanomachines that operate on principles that have no counterpart in modern technology, such as computers. Take a look at detailed maps of protein complexes like the ribosome, proteosome or F1/F0 particle in mitochondria, and how they operate and are regulated. They are extremely complex despite being only nanometers in size.

Comment: Re:Just y'know... reconnect them spinal nerves (Score 1) 210

by The Real Dr John (#49146027) Attached to: Surgeon: First Human Head Transplant May Be Just Two Years Away

Agreed, the spinal nerves get where they are during fetal development, and slicing through them pretty thoroughly kills off the distal parts of the axons (Wallerian degeneration). If this could be done now, then there wouldn't be any paraplegic or quadriplegic people. And then what are they going to do about tissue rejection, when the tissue being rejected is the entire head?

You can fool all the people all of the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough. -- Joseph E. Levine