Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:They already have (Score 1) 667

by TooManyNames (#48871117) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax
What evidence would convince you that the Earth revolves around the Sun?

It's just like those "scientific" crazies to attempt to convince good, skeptical geocentrists that the Earth actually revolves around the sun, right? I mean, there's tons of evidence to support a geocentric view, and Captain Janeway even narrated a documentary about it. Given the community of geocentrists thriving in the face of supposed evidence to the contrary, clearly, the "science" of heliocentrism is really just another religion in disguise.

Seriously, why was this marked insightful? Maybe the mods confused insight with incite?

Comment: Re:Wishful Thinking (Score 1) 571

by TooManyNames (#38474214) Attached to: New Study Confirms Safety of GM Crops

Ok, a few points:

1) "overwhelming scientific evidence" applies to my mention of vaccines and evolution. My point, obviously lost on you, is that people who reject such knowledge despite mountains of data and cross validation will dismiss a study regarding genetic modification outright; the substance of the study will be rejected without even any examination.

2) "impossible to prove a negative" applies in any scenario, not just safety regarding genetically modified crops. For example, you can't prove with absolute certainty that there isn't a link between vaccines and autism, but you can show, through widespread observation and statistical analysis, that such a link appears to be incredibly unlikely.

The point of the article, which you seem to have ignored, is that ingestion of genetically modified crops has been studied for quite some time, across multiple generations of livestock, by multiple independent groups (24 of them) with no apparent ill effects. This situation is very similar to vaccines in that there is a significant benefit of genetically modified crops (e.g. increased yields and pest resistance), and little in the way of substantial drawbacks (besides being politically incorrect, of course). Being that you seem to fall into the category of "I don't care what's said, I'm right you're wrong" I know this point probably means nothing to you, but you're welcome to scrutinize the 24 studies mentioned.

3) I know you're just trying to troll, but I'm always up for more education. Since you know so much about what I do or do not know, could you please point me at the peer reviewed articles that fill in my knowledge gaps? I'm especially interested in those articles which dispassionately enumerate the observed and measured (not just theoretical) risks associated with genetically engineered crops, and which examine the projected costs of such risks (not just monetarily, of course) relative to benefits. Thanks.

Comment: Wishful Thinking (Score 2, Insightful) 571

by TooManyNames (#38471122) Attached to: New Study Confirms Safety of GM Crops

perhaps this study will help to ease the fears of genetically engineered food and foster a more scientific discussion on the role of agricultural biotechnology

Yeah, because people who reject vaccines and evolution despite overwhelming scientific evidence are going to suddenly embrace reason concerning genetically modified crops. If anything, this study will somehow reinforce their views. Already, I see others on /. -- people who really should know better -- cooking up conspiracy theories.

Comment: Re:Google is hiding their patents (Score 1) 121

by TooManyNames (#38380470) Attached to: Google Awarded Driverless Vehicle Patent
The bounds of a patent are determined by what is claimed in the claims, not the summary. Now, the summary should describe the gist of the patented invention, and the claims should be supported by the written description and other portions of the patent but, when it comes to infringement, it is what is claimed that counts.

Comment: Re:Obligatory turd in punchbowl (Score 1) 521

by TooManyNames (#38219520) Attached to: Fighting Mosquitoes With GM Mosquitoes

So, I can assume that you'll be volunteering to be spayed/neutered and, if you already have kids, volunteering them as well, right? Can I also assume that you'll be forgoing vaccinations and any medical treatments developed in the past 100 years? Regarding population control, every little bit counts. Do your part.

I know that you were half-joking with your statement, but only half, and, like most everyone else making such statements, probably believe that you're somehow entitled to propagation and a comfortable lifestyle while the rest of us are not. They have a word (well several, actually) for people making statements like yours.

Comment: Re:what about harmony (Score 1) 166

by TooManyNames (#36368270) Attached to: Dispute Damages Would Exceed Android Revenues
For patents, it doesn't really matter if you come up with the idea independently; if your process, machine, manufacture, or composition is a subset of what is claimed in an existing patent (and what you did isn't eligible as prior art) and you're profiting from it, then you're infringing. Think about it like this: if you come up with a new motor or something, patent it, and then someone else sees your general idea, implements the same thing and sells it, but does so without delving into the details of how your motor is constructed, would you accuse them of infringing? Answer honestly now. Granted, this example doesn't touch on the validity of software patents or transferred IP, but I think that the underlying reasoning concerning infringement is pretty sound.

Comment: Re:Heretics are burned; So Are AGW "Deniers" (Score 1) 1486

by TooManyNames (#35746602) Attached to: Is Science Just a Matter of Faith?

I wasn't aware that the entertainment industry was a scientific establishment.

As has been said, science doesn't presume absolute truth; if a scientific theory is questionable, one can always attempt to disprove it and offer a different explanation. Scientists understand this and, though they may initially view your competing explanation with serious skepticism, they will accept it if it does indeed agree with reality more than a prior theory.

I'd suspect that most of those in the entertainment industry are more politically motivated than scientifically motivated. On this particular subject (global warming), they may be on the more scientifically accepted side than you, but that doesn't make their stance or arguments scientific.

Comment: Re:Ah, the Republican Party ... (Score 1) 884

by TooManyNames (#35681258) Attached to: Congressman Wants YouTube Video Covered Up

How dare you make an accurate assessment of the state of the government and public!

Seriously though, I don't understand why people drone on and on about Republicans/Democrats/politicians in general. As you said, we have the power to vote them out; we can replace them with people who have a genuine interest in the welfare of our nation and who don't fall into typical political patterns (and yes, people like that do exist and sometimes even get into office). We could even run for office ourselves and try to correct crap like that displayed in this article. However, that would require real effort on our part, and it's always a lot easier to whine than, you know, take any corrective action.

Comment: Re:dumb and dumber (Score 1) 362

by TooManyNames (#35648730) Attached to: China To Overtake US In Science In Two Years

Ok, one question: If the quality of the papers being published isn't very good, as you seem to be suggesting, then how does China's increase in scientific output help to enrich everyone? It would seem to me that science as an enriching process is contingent upon quality contribution; the contrapositive of that statement being that a lack of quality necessitates a lack of enrichment.

Might I also observe that the statement "quantity of papers isn't the same as quality" applies just as surely to the US as it does to China. You might counter that, given the current state of affairs, the US produces papers which are obviously of higher quality relative to China, but that's really beside the point. The article isn't really making claims about the current state of affairs in China or the US, rather, it's making a prediction based on current trends. To me, making the claim that the US will maintain its superiority in terms of quality relative to China is no less bold than making the claim that China will significantly narrow that gap or close it entirely in the very near future.

Might I also note one other point of interest concerning whether or not China's overtaking the US is a bad thing: it depends on your perspective. From the Chinese perspective or that of broader worldwide community, it's probably great that China is forging ahead; after all, this will potentially lead to beneficial discoveries and applications around the world. However, from the US perspective, things are less optimistic. Will the US benefit in some ways from China's scientific prowess? Yes, absolutely. Will the benefit to the US from China's new scientific lead outweigh the benefit to the US of having the lead? I'd argue that it won't. I say this because I believe that this will act to reduce the US's credibility as a worldwide innovator and producer. Once that credibility is diminished, things like foreign investment will (continue to) shift from the US to China. The US already has an image problem with much of the rest of the world believing that it will be overtaken by China or someone else sooner than later. If China surpasses the US in scientific output, this could snowball into broader doubt that the US can actually produce something of value that China cannot (at less cost as well). Also, let us not forget that the US carries an enormous debt, and that this debt is essentially an IOU promising some repayment eventually. How do you go about repaying that debt? The way this has been done before is through the manufacture of products or supply of resources that the rest of the world wants. So if you're a nation holding that debt, and you see that the US's capabilities to manufacture, or even invent new methods of manufacture, has been diminished, would you believe that the US's ability to repay that debt has been unaffected? Or, would you demand higher interest rates as the debt begins to look riskier? At some point, these debts will need to be addressed and the magnitude of the debts depend, in my opinion, on the capability of the US to out-innovate its competitors (and they are competitors). Since the US is loosing (apparently rapidly) that edge, I'd say that China assuming the lead in scientific output is indeed a bad thing for the US.

Comment: Re:First to file versus first to invent? (Score 2) 362

by TooManyNames (#35434520) Attached to: Senate Passes Landmark Patent Reform Bill
Nope. An inventor has up to a year after public use/offers for sale to patent. If, during that time, someone else files for patent before the inventor (say one of the purchasers), they'd get priority with first-to-file, not the actual inventor. Now, 102(f) is there to safeguard against fraudulent claims of inventorship, but if it can't be proven one way or the other, the inventor is SOL. Under the old system, the inventor could have used notebooks and other materials to prove his claim to the invention (being first to invent). Of course, it wouldn't be easy for the inventor to prove he was first to invent, and it would cost him to do so, but he would still have had the capability to prove he invented first even if 102(f) was unprovable. Now, the only hope for him is to prove beyond a doubt that 102(f) holds.

Comment: Re:The "b eyond the theoretical limits" thing (Score 2) 163

by TooManyNames (#35359538) Attached to: World's Most Powerful Optical Microscope
I was confused as well. I think, though, that the "beyond the theoretical limits" statement applies to typical microscopes which use an aperture for visible wavelengths (which would restrict viewing to objects far larger than 50nm). Somehow, this transparent microsphere that they use is a different structure that gets around the restrictions of a typical aperture, though I don't know how. So to answer your question more concisely, the theory isn't really wrong, instead they found a clever workaround (to which the theory doesn't really apply).

Comment: Re:WTF? (Score 1) 243

by TooManyNames (#35106832) Attached to: Senate Panel Backs Patent Overhaul Bill

So? Why should the second inventor get the patent?

The second inventor should get the patent because they disclose it to the public whereas the first tries to conceal it from the public. This is part of the basic foundation of the patent system: it's there to foster innovation by incentivising disclosure in exchange for essentially a legal monopoly for a limited amount of time. Thus patents are designed to avoid situations like a trade secret that is indefinitely concealed (with the thought that concealment is contrary to broader innovation -- the whole information wants to be free argument). If you have a problem with that aspect of the system, then don't use it.

And 'active concealment' is a non-starter. USPTO is not going to revoke patents if there was no publicized article or another use of the invention.

Of course the USPTO wouldn't revoke a patent in that situation. That's exactly what I've been saying. If the public is aware of your invention, somebody else can't just come along and get a patent on it. If the public is not aware of your invention, somebody else can get a patent on it (assuming they didn't steal it from you); after all, this is consistent with the USPTO's position that disclosure is a good thing. In any event, why should someone who independently comes up with something be barred from a patent because someone else came up with it first, but never shared it?

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming