Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Note: You can take 10% off all Slashdot Deals with coupon code "slashdot10off." ×

Comment Re:All bullshit (Score 1) 204

1) you're assuming that the argument is based on shame. My actual argument was based on potential economic cost. The shame concept could work either way. (It can be pretty expensive to raise a kid, though. And not only in direct costs.)

2) you're assuming that I'm contemplating only official complaints. I have a very hard time imagining a teen going to the police and saying she was raped unless coerced by her family.

That said, I still expect that the official claim of rape would be quite rare wrt even actual rape (especially if you count sexual contact induced by sufficient alcohol [etc.] to render acquiescence illegitimate). I believe that such statistics as are available (poor) validate my belief. Look up "date rape". Also "rohypnol".

Comment Re:All bullshit (Score 1) 204

To be fair, girls have more reason to lie afterwards than boys do. I would guess that they deny having been willing much more often than boys do, whether or not the population sampled was willing.

That said, in a "he said, she said" argument, you shouldn't believe either of them. You need additional evidence. Which is what the jury decided.

Comment Re:This seems to give FTL communication (Score 1) 190

No, you can't detect whether an electron is entangled or not. More correctly, you can't detect what it is entangled with since, IIUC it's always entangled with SOMETHING. This is actually one of the things that makes it difficult to do the experiment, as keeping the electron from shifting what its entangled with is difficult. (Actually, different characteristics of the electron can be entangled with different targets.)

Every interaction between particles yields an entanglement, you just can't usually figure out what is entangled with what along what characteristic. So we treat known entanglement as something special. What's special is not the entanglement, it's that we know.

OTOH, I am not a physicist. If I have this wrong, perhaps someone more knowledgeable will correct me.

Comment Re:Is quantum mechanics a theory? (Score 1) 190

Actually I worked for awhile on a variation of that, but it depends on the presence of mass slowing time, so that particles experience a slight preference to end up in slower time than in faster time. You've got to rewrite the equations to describe space as flat, and all the bending to be handled by variations in the speed of time (WHAT???, but yes). I was assured that this was a reasonable and valid thing to do. I never did learn enough quantum theory to try to convert this into a general theory of gravity, but I think it would work.

But that's just mechanism. Mechanism can't answer "why?". Why demands an agent with a purpose. So the real answer is that English doesn't properly describe the universe, and implicitly attributes to various things characteristics that they don't have. (It may not just be English, perhaps it's a part of the essential human thought process. That kind of assumption could be an asset in detecting a lurking predator.)

Comment Re:Is quantum mechanics a theory? (Score 1) 190

There *are* interpretations of quantum mechanics which *do* explain the "meaning" of the equations. (I'm guessing that's what you mean by "why".) Unfortunately there are several different interpretations that are consistent with the math. My favorite is the Everett-Graham-Wheeler multiworld model, but it's not the only alternative, and so far there seems to be no way to choose between them. But there are only a few interpretations, so most possible ideas of how things could work, and what it all means, are incorrect.

E.g., if you hypothesize that some god is running things, you need to presume that he's systematically interfering with the experiments (or that he just created the universe 3 seconds ago complete with all internal evidence of consistency). If you do, that is consistent with quantum theory. But it's not a very useful interpretation, as it doesn't allow you to make any predictions. Another useless theory is "When the universe happened to come into being, it was set with a series of values that specify everything that is ever going to happen down the the sub-atomic level from the first instant of existence until the final end. That can be made consistent. (Actually, that one is useful if you combine it with a theory that the simplest possible set of constraints was used.)

The multiworld hypothesis basically says that the universe splits with every quantum interaction, and you move forwards into all of the results with a probability density that reflects the probability of the quantum events involved. At the high level that we interact with things that translates into "an honest die has a 1/6 chance of coming up with a 6". So it's one of the useful interpretations. And the Copenhagen interpretation basically says "Shut up and calculate. No explanation is possible.". Most working physicists prefer the Copenhagen interpretation, because it makes things simpler (without changing the math). There are others. Look up "implicate order" for example.

Comment Re:Wait, physics doesn't work either? (Score 1) 190

I'm not sure I consider those replications, as they are all using the same equipment, and if there were a systematic problem, then there might well be a systematic effect.

OTOH, this is, essentially, a replication of experiments done previously, with a couple of added features, and it's results are consistent with those prior experiments. *THAT* I do consider a replication.

Given the nature of publishing, the study that confirms this one will also need to have some changes. It shouldn't be that way, but journals won't print *mere* replications, you've got to have some extension.

Comment Re:Comparison? (Score 1) 243

Not absolutely not true, but overstated version of an actual effect.

If the new drug is a combination of two drugs that have previously been approved, the testing required is quite minimal. AND it's deemed worthy of a brand new patent. Witness all the combination drugs that used to come as a mixture of aspirin and something, but are not either acetaminophen and something or ibuprofen and something. The trick is to time things so that you introduce the new drug slightly before the patent runs out on the old drug, and then you remove the old drug from the market, so nobody can buy it anymore (and yet, no competitor can make it). This really annoys me because acetaminophen does me almost no good.

Comment Re:Comparison? (Score 1) 243

If you place CS under business administration, don't be surprised if the results are flakey. Usually, however, CS is placed under Math, and occasionally under Electrical Engineering. Those CS departments usually do a good job and produce real results.

If you place CS under the school of business, blame the school, not the discipline, for the results you get.

Comment Re:Comparison? (Score 1) 243

There are different kinds of experiment on groups with different definitions. Sometimes (usually) it is appropriate to view the results as only applicable to some "cohort" (meaning 2). The question is "how broad is that cohort?".
coÂhort ËkÅËOEhÃrt/ noun
noun: cohort; plural noun: cohorts
        1. an ancient Roman military unit, comprising six centuries, equal to one tenth of a legion.
        synonyms: unit, force, corps, division, brigade, battalion, regiment, squadron, company, troop, contingent, legion, phalanx
        "a Roman army cohort"
        2. a group of people banded together or treated as a group.
        "a cohort of civil servants patiently drafting legislation"

Comment Re:Priorities (Score 1) 83

Some hams who were present to aid communication with families outside the area reported that their antennas were destroyed without reasonable explanation. So one may guess that aiding communication was not their priority. Also, IIRC, some doctors were shot at by law enforcement while attempting to provide medical assistance, so that probably wasn't their priority either.

Comment Re:Katrina should be a learning experience (Score 1) 83

Whether the things they did were wrong or not often depends on what you assume their goals to be. I believe that much of the land has moved from those who are impoverished to those who are wealthy. One can guess whether actions with this result were a mistake.

Comment Re:Rampant Crime (Score 1) 83

You can't really reasonably blame that on Bush. The Scientific American had an article about New Orleans and subsidence that had basically left much of the city below sea level.

Now one *could* blame the Army Corps of Engineers for not doing a better job supporting the levees...but that's not the only place in the country that has decaying infrastructure. They've only got so much time and money. And local businesses (almost) always object to their construction projects.

For that matter, this is predicted to be a record El Nino year, and IIRC the levees on the Sacramento river need a LOT of work. Which they aren't getting. We're in the middle of a drought, so why shore up the levees?

All that said, the Corps of Engineers has made some rather striking mistakes, also, so they tend to be a bit careful about work when there isn't a real emergency.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold