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Comment: Re:Obvious (Score 1) 51

by Vellmont (#48261431) Attached to: Getting Lost In the Scientific Woods Is Good For You

That's pretty much the definition of what science is. I'm not even clear what they think the alternative might be that would still qualify as science.

Well, there's lost, and then there's LOST. I can get a little in lost my own city for a few moments, then drive around, see a familiar landmark and get my bearings rather quickly. But getting totally lost in somewhere that's completely unexplorered is a very different experience.

The author is talking about the latter experience. Getting a little more concrete, he's talking about going off somewhere where science hasn't mapped any landmarks. The frontier of science is very different from the parts we're more familiar with. When you're in familiar territory people nod and agree with you, and you aren't saying much that's controversial. The frontier is a wild and crazy place where radical new ideas are born (and most of the time horribly wrong, like in his cautionary tales).

The best example I can think of someone that's that's a bit lost in "the woods" happens is physicist Lawrence Kraus and his Universe from nothing, who at times skirts the edge between science and philosophy. Another would be m-theory, and brain-theory, which propose alternate universes. Clearly something really out there and strange and unfamiliar.

You're right, that science is always about the unknown. The author is talking about the comfort level people have with the field they're in. For contrast, an example of in-town, back of your hand science would be something like confirming another aspect of relatviity. Very important work, but still largely familiar.

Comment: Re:888 bytes is a pretty fair amount. (Score 1) 142

With the exception of the SS#, most of that data is publicly available on the internet for most people. If you know someones name, it's very easy to find someones phone#, address, birth date, relatives, former addresses, etc.

We don't live in as private a world as you're assuming.

Comment: Re:No Worries (Score 2) 73

by Vellmont (#48256969) Attached to: Location of Spilled Oil From 2010 Deepwater Horizon Event Found

Yup, just like adding up all the blood Americans lose to papercuts ever year. Assume 1 drop of blood is lost per papercut, or .06 ml. A highly conservative guess is 1/1000 americans get papercuts in a year. (300,000,000/1000)*.06=18 liters of blood. So obviously it wouldn't hurt you if you suddenly lost 18 liters of blood, since that amount is lost in minor little papercuts every year.

Scale matters, and concentrating a huge amount of oil, (or in the above example blood loss) makes a big difference.

Comment: Re:Why is he worried (Score 1) 583

by Vellmont (#48241351) Attached to: Elon Musk Warns Against Unleashing Artificial Intelligence "Demon"


He obviously must see and be directly involved in some aspects of AI that are causing him to be concerned.

You're assuming a rational person. The fact that he used the metaphor of freaking demons, pentagrams, and holy water is evidence that's not true. Obviously he doesn't think they're actual demons, but you can see where his mind is when he brings up the horror genre. That doesn't smack of people programming cars to making life/death decisions.

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 1) 283

by Vellmont (#48230111) Attached to: Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

Umm.. OK.

Lest you forget, Microsoft was ruled both a monopoly in 2000, and ruled they miss-used their monopoly power. They were going to be split into multiple companies until the 2000 election changed the political landscape and the Federal government dropped the suit.

What makes you think Microsoft STILL doesn't hold monopoly power over the PC business? They don't hold as much of a stranglehold anymore, but I'd say it's still very much a monopoly.

Comment: Re:my thoughts (Score 4, Insightful) 372

by Vellmont (#48218597) Attached to: NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

*sigh*

The guy in Texas who had Ebola transmitted it to exactly two people, both of which were caring for him while sick. He didn't transmit it to ANY of his family members. I'd say that's a good indicator that the virus really is very hard to catch.

As far as your "idiot" theory goes, smart people screw up, and constant vigilance is hard, especially in an environment like in west Africa. At the moment, you're thinking with the fear generating part of your brain, not the thinking part of your brain. That's very bad, and causes more harm than good. Health officials are telling you it's hard to get because it IS hard to get. The average number of people that Ebola is transmitted to is about 2. That's a very low number. AIDS, which is also hard to catch is transmitted to an average of 4 people. Measles, which is very contagious is 18.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/healt...

So please stop with the conspiracy theory. It's a disease, not a government secret. You can't keep a tight lid the real facts about a disease that people study and publish papers about in medical journals.

Also, consider there's thousands of health care workers in west Africa. There's been a handful of American healthcare workers who've caught the disease, but MANY OTHERS who haven't.

Comment: Re:Summary (Score 1) 124

by Vellmont (#48216903) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues


Actually the problems are the potential side effects of new vaccines, and not if it works or not...

If they're comfortable enough to give it to 10s of thousands of health care workers, who are wearing protective clothing, trained to deal with the exposure, and are highly monitored and controlled who they come into contact with, why wouldn't they give it to people at high risk of developing ebola?

If the risk is so high from the vaccine, then you sure as hell shouldn't expose 24,000 healthy people to it.

Comment: Re:Summary (Score 1) 124

by Vellmont (#48216885) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues


That's what you do if you already have a proven vaccine, yes.

And also what you should consider doing when you have a worldwide pandemic in a country that threatens to kill millions of people.

Doing this doesn't tell you what trials need to tell you:

That's why you do it with a small amount of the available vaccine. Note I said use a portion, not abandon the clinical trial. There's absolutely no reason why you can't use SOME of the vaccine to combait the disease. It might not work at all, but it's a decent gamble.

Comment: Re:Summary (Score 1) 124

by Vellmont (#48216151) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues


  If someone can think of alternative which delivers a better result, then I'm all ears

Simple. Use a portion of the 24,000 doses (a few thousand?) to spot vaccinate anyone who's had close contact with someone with Ebola, say all immediate family members. Those peoople are arguably at risk or at greater risk than health care workers. That's how polio is being eradicated. The WHO comes in and vaccinates an entire community when a poliio case is detected.

Comment: Re:We have more but we USE more. (Score 4, Informative) 170

by Vellmont (#48214529) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Smarter Disk Space Monitoring In the Age of Cheap Storage?

Exactly. The question is strange (and the attitude of the poster is odd too... 20 years ago is "days of yore", and "olden days"?) Methinks dusting off the word "whippersnapper" might be appropriate here.

Oddly enough, a similar question fell through a wormhole in the space time continuum from Usenet, circa 1994. "Now that we have massive HDs of 100s of megabytes, and not the dinky little ones of several megabytes from the Reagan era, do we still have to worry about having 95% usage alarms?"

The truth being, if you got to 95% usage somehow, what makes you think that you're not going to get to 100% sometime soon? Maybe you won't, but you can't know unless you understand how and why your usage increases. That's not going to be solved by a magic algorithm alone, it involves understanding where your data comes from, and who or what is adding to it. This isn't new. The heuristics and usage question, and estimating when action needs to be taken is just as relevant now as it was 20 years ago.

Comment: Re:holy cr*p look out the window. You'll be so hap (Score 1) 291

by Vellmont (#48210333) Attached to: Will Fiber-To-the-Home Create a New Digital Divide?

Interesting. The world population is about 7 billion now. 1% of that population is 70 mllion. So you think only 70 million people in the world have access to computers?

That's very easy to show you're way the hell off. The US population is 300 million, of which 75% have internet access at home. So that's 225 million people in the US ALONE that have access to a computer and internet access.

You also might want to update your view of the 3rd world from 50+ years ago. It's not simply a mass of people that are all farmers anymore. That exists in much of the world, but it's very quickly changing. Many people have computer access. I wouldn't venture a guess as to how many, but your view is clearly incredibly wrong just from a cursory examination.

Comment: Re:How hard is it to recognize a stoplight? (Score 1) 287

by Vellmont (#48209389) Attached to: Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?


  If I was walking across an intersection, I would trust a Google SDC far more than someone late for an appointment, driving a Chevy Tahoe with a cellphone in one hand, a Starbucks latte in the other, and two screaming kids in the back seat.

If you think that's supposed to instill confidence, you might want to re-think that. Your're compairing a computer to a severely distrtacted human. A human, I might add that's breaking the law. Distracted driving is illegal.

You need to compare the SDC to a fully aware human being, not a fully distracted one. You sound like someone that might have inside knowledge. So listen carefully. EVERYONE thinks they're an above average drive that's fully aware. THAT'S your standard, not a distracted latte sipping soccer mom with kids yelling in the back seat. If this think is ever going to succeed it has to be better than an actual good driver, since everyone thinks they're that.

Comment: Re:Why is shitload spelled sh*#load? (Score 1) 387

by Vellmont (#48168939) Attached to: Torvalds: I Made Community-Building Mistakes With Linux

So the rest of us have to be censored because a small minority read at a library, or have infantile filtering software at work? If you, your employer, your school, or your nanny want to do that, fine. But if major sites started using real lanaugage that people use, there'd be more pressure on the infantile filtering software to allow people to view sites that use "forbidden words".

Also, there's other methods to fool the filtering software. That's even a better option. Turn it into a cat/mouse game, which would increase the costs for the filter writers.

If mathematically you end up with the wrong answer, try multiplying by the page number.

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