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Comment: Re:Holy Crap!!! (Score 1) 187

by apol (#45536229) Attached to: Art Makes Students Smart
Personally I believe in the stated causation. But if one wants to be skeptical, there is always a way:
  • The causation comes not from going to museums but from the feeling of being lucky.
  • The causation exists because of the negative effects induced by the alternative activity proposed to those who didn't go to the museums
  • In the museums the guide talked about tolerance and most of the students never had heard about this concept. So it was what was said not the contact with the art itself.

For me unfortunately a scientific claim made about humans is accepted if and only if it seems reasonable.

Comment: Re:I'm usually against military action. (Score 2) 918

by apol (#44685965) Attached to: US Forces Ready To Strike Syria If Ordered

I don't believe Syria gov't has used chemical weapons any more than that Sadam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction...

How long will it take for people to suspect on what the read/watch on mainstream media?

Isn't enough to remember that the last time the U.S. blamed the Syrian government for a chemical weapons attack, that claim was debunked?

Comment: Michael Prescott (Score 1) 386

by apol (#42739977) Attached to: Interviews: Ask James Randi About Investigating the Truth

You have exposed many theories on the psychology of superstitious people.

But do you have an explanation of what makes a self-described "full-fledged skeptic, atheist, and rationalist" come to the conclusion that you "come[s] across as a bullying figure, eager to attack and ridicule, willing to distort and even invent evidence - in short, the sort of person who will do anything to prevail in a debate, whether by fair means."


Comment: Re:A Mature Local Machine Product vs Immature Clou (Score 2) 346

by apol (#42403285) Attached to: Google Docs Vs. Microsoft Word: an Even Matchup?

I at least only have myself to blame for not having secured or backed them up

Of course you are not free from intrusion or backup failure if you put your files in your hard disk. It is a question of betting in your competence or in Google's. And it is reasonable to imagine that most people would consider Google more competent than themselves. And of course you can back up your gdoc data, see for instance:

I can't count on the availability of a constant internet connection

You can work offline, see:

Comment: unreasonable bashing (Score 1) 278

by apol (#42403207) Attached to: EFF Looks At How Blasphemy Laws Have Stifled Speech in 2012

Of course it is OK to criticize some decisions of Youtube, but bashing it like this seems childish, unfair to me. No other company has done as much for free speech (by far IMO).

I sincerely hope the EFF can one day have 10% of the impact Youtube has had to defend our rights worldwide.

In particular among the corporate world, no company is close to Google in the defence of freedom and openness. The fact that some times they give in to government pressure does not change that. I believe it is in our interest to recognize that fact, even when urging Google to do better.


+ - France to launch a national patent troll-> 2

Submitted by
zoobab writes "France is creating a state sponsored patent fund, FranceBrevets, which primary focus will be to sponsor, acquire and license patents in the ICT (read software patents) sector. The patent fund is at the initiative of the minister of Research, Valérie Pécresse, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and digital economy, Eric Besson. The primary target of the fund is to collect licenses on those patents, which is already seen in France as the biggest patent troll of the country. France is also supporting the European Unitary Patent, which is seen by many at the final attempt to validate software patents in Europe."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Homeopathic Medicine (Score 1) 430

by apol (#34674976) Attached to: Placebos Work -- Even Without Deception

There is nothing going on. No scientific study has demonstrated homeopathic preparations to have an effect greater than a placebo. Because they are placebos. So there's nothing which deserves investigation, except the placebo effect itself, which can easily be studied while completely ignoring the particular kind of placebo called homeopathy.

Nice example of two commonly used fallacies formulated by the so-called sceptics in the name of science.

  • No scientific evidence implies the claim is false or probably false.
  • If it is placebo, it is specificity can be ignored, placebo being something that can be isolated from the rest of the treatment.

It is amazing how often the self entitled sceptics fail to use the same standard of rationality depending on whether they are supporting or attacking their beliefs.


+ - "No Power for the Parliament" warns EPO examiners 2

Submitted by zoobab
zoobab (201383) writes "The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) sent a letter to the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, warning of risks for the European Parliament to be "circumvented" as a legislator when the EU will accede to the European Patent Convention (EPC). The European Patent Organisation is everything except a model of democracy: national patent offices are in power, there is no parliament involved in the decision making process, and diplomatic conferences are held behind closed doors. There are plans to create a central patent court in Europe, which would operate in a democratic vacuum, as it would not be counterbalanced by any legislative assembly, let alone the European Parliament. Such central patent court could also validate software patents via caselaw (as it was recently done with the Microsoft FAT patent by the German Supreme Court), and Microsoft, IBM or SAP are lobbying in Brussels not to reopen the software patent directive."

Ma Bell is a mean mother!