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Comment Open Access (Score 1) 189

There is a trend to publish on Open Access jurnals, such as PloS One, which charge the authors (about 2K) to cover the publishing costs. Then the access for anyone is free. Even Nature offers the choice to publish as open access.
It may be argued that 2K is too expensive and that if the author pays for the publication costs there is a conflict of interests. But the trend is clear. It's now a matter of adjusting the costs.

Comment Re:Nature uses life friendly.. (Score 4, Informative) 128

Actually, a good part of the chemistry occurs in or around oil based membranes.
And biological toxins are all around us. I am not talking just about toxic fungi, pathogenic bacteria or poisonous animals. The very potato chips she mentions are toxic if eaten uncooked, as well as soya beans and many others. Those compounds prevent the plants from being eaten. So we cook our foods to inactivate toxic compounds (and kill pathogens). There exists an arms race out there in the wild, and she's a biologist, she knows how it works.

Comment Re:"Natural" manufacturing is material-limited (Score 1) 128

You speak so 20th century...
Current trends in materials use carbon nanotubes and proteins which make lighter and stronger structures, and also have some interesting electrical properties. But of course, these can't stand very hight temperatures.
For computing power there are neural networks and even some processes using RNA molecules. But of course silicon based computers are still very efficient at what they do, and quantum computers will be even better.
So in the end, the best is to develop the both worlds, organic and inorganic based chemistry.

Comment Re:Well... (Score 1) 770

It's actually related to different evolutionary strategies. Men are "parasites" and the real cost of reproduction is paid by the females. A male's genes (actually alleles) will increase in frequence in the population if it "parasites" as many females as possible. A female's alleles will increase in frequence in the population if can produce as many kids as possible, but with having sex a few times a year is enough. The main difference in behavior is due to different reproduction costs for males and females.
This is an oversimplification, of course. Females also have sex to bond with the male and get protection, food, shelter, etc. Individuals who do not reproduce can help raise their relatives. In current societies the real cost is in money for raising each kid, and that is shared between both parents, but OTOH our brains have not adapted yet...

Comment Re:Statistical power (Score 1) 113

I completely agree. Actually, I made a very similar post (post no. 6 "misleading statistics", score:0) but got buried and nobody modded it up. This and the quality of the comments shows how ./ has changed over the years.
Back to the study, the number of people who behaved socially per group were less than 5 in most cases, so doing any form of test of fit is just plainly wrong. And I blame Plos ONE for publishing it, as their criteria for acceptance is "Experiments must have been conducted rigorously, with appropriate controls and replication. Sample sizes must be large enough to produce robust results, where applicable." (http://www.plosone.org/static/publication#technical)
They define prosocial behavior as handing a pen that has fallen, based on a published paper about mimicry (http://pss.sagepub.com/content/15/1/71). The thing is that the researcher waits for up to 5 seconds. Count them, it's really long when confronted face to face. I'm not saying it's wrong, but that they could be measuring submission instead.
And finally, they did not test for increased violent behavior which should be the most obvious consequence of playing violent games.
So failing to find a difference when testing for something not completely related with violence using a an underpowered experimental design... to me, that's propaganda for the gaming industry.

  an increase in prosocial behaviour is misleading to say the least, or propaganda for the gaming industry.

Comment Re:3D printing was interesting last year. (Score 1) 91

You are missing it's main niche: fast prototyping, that shortens design time. The objects are not intended to be used, but to see an approximation of their shape.
And there is the matter of printing cost: ABS/PLA is cheap.
Sure, flying cars will be much better than ground going ones, and wheeled vehicles are a dead end. Maybe, but not it 5 years.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

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