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Comment Re:Mirrors (Score 2) 98

I don't think you could make the reflective surface perfect enough to make the drone positively laser-proof, but I think a reflective coating would certainly reduce the laser's effective range. Analogously you can't nuke-proof an aircraft, but in the Cold War they were often painted "anti-flash white" to help them survive a bit closer to a detonation.

Comment Re:Which is why (Score 1) 172

Well, as far as Atkins is concerned, diet research is really, really hard and expensive to do right. I know because when I was an MIT student one of my jobs was office boy in the Food and Nutrition group, and I saw how hard it was. In one of the studies, research subjects were given a duffle bag from which all the input to their digest systems came, and into which all the output from the same went, for six bloody months.

Of course not every study needs to be that rigorous, but diet is one of those areas where the public needs lots of informed opinion but the funding for research is grossly inadequate to meet that need.

By the way, the current state of research seems to be that carbohydrate restricted diets work well in the short term but have only modest success in the long term.

Comment Which is why (Score 1) 172

... you don't make any important decisions based on a single paper. That's true for hard sciences as well as social sciences.

Science by its very nature deals in contradictory evidence. I'd argue that openness to contradictory evidence is the distinguishing characteristic of science. A and not A cannot be true at the same time, but their can be, and normally is, evidence for both positions. So that means science often generates contradictory papers.

What you need to do is read the literature in a field widely so you can see the pattern of evidence, not just a single point. Or, if you aren't willing to invest the time for that you can find what's called a review paper in a high-impact factor journal. A review paper is supposed to be a fair summary of recent evidence on a question by someone working in the field. For bonus points read follow-up letters to that paper. Review papers are not infallible, but they're a heck of a lot more comprehensive than any other source of information.

Comment Re:As it's been said, it is like bailing out a bat (Score 4, Interesting) 66

Actually, comments like yours are the kind of "media hype" they've been getting... It seems to consist of more unsupported criticism than anything else. And more to the point, all the criticisms have been soundly addressed, in a nice convenient list, LAST YEAR:

You'll find a lot of the crap you're spouting is already in there, and already debunked.

Comment Re:That would be penny wise and pound foolish (Score 1) 314

Well, a lot depends on how your actions fit into your long term vision, if anything. "We'll just rebuild this neighborhood and everything will be hunky-dory" is obviously not a long term plan.

The reason the Netherlands flood control makes sense is that the value of 25% of their country's land area far outweighs the cost of reclaiming it, as simple as that. When the net present value of keeping the flood waters off a piece ofland exceeds the net present value of the use you'll get from it, then it's time to abandon piece of land.

Comment Re:Exaggeration is not Necessary (Score 1) 314

Well, if you *insist* on being pedantic, what they mean is "It's not going to stop before it causes a degree havoc most people would find inconceivable."

I think they kind of expect people to understand they're not claiming that the water levels will rise, drowning the Moon, inundating the Sun, and eventually filling up the entire universe.

Comment Re:"...need to be prepared..." (Score 4, Insightful) 314

Sure. Or sooner if you are economically tied to businesses or people near the coast; or businesses or people not near the coast; or businesses or people not near the coast but dependant on others that are. That's the downside of living in a modern economy. I didn't hold any toxic mortgage backed financial instruments, but I sure felt the pain when the capital markets went tits up in 08.

Comment Re:Problem with the solution? (Score 1) 191

Jesus. Sometimes "on the plane" means you're on a fucking plane, and can't do some things.

I can see where the confusion comes from... Packed-in together with a bunch of people, an extremely noisy environment. Hell, an airplane is a slight improvement over many office spaces. And if you couldn't be engrossed with work, you might have to think about how you've crammed-in a noisy metal tube like sardines, with no personal space, no leg-room, no comfort to speak of at all.

And don't call me "Jesus".

Comment Re:Problem with the solution? (Score 1) 191

VNC is an essential part of my job, in that I cannot run the sims on a puny IT issued laptop, and need my desktop

VNC sucks. You'd get vastly better performance out of ANY OTHER remote display protocol... Try NX, Citrix, or RDP if you must, but get rid of VNC if at all possible.

VNC is useful on KVMs and other dumb devices that don't have any idea what they're going to display, but locally, on a computer, it makes no sense unless nothing better is available.

Comment Re: No one should *ever* wonder why... (Score 1) 272

The lack of understanding what a conservative is on slashdot never ceases to amaze me. Its called smaller government and enforce laws that are already on the books instead of creating new ones.

There you go, you explained your own mystification away. You define the conservative program by what conservatives want. Everyone else defines it by what the people conservatives vote for do when they get into office, which is spend money and make government even more intrusive.

Comment I propose a solution. (Score 1) 234

Any time the cops stop an autonomous car they have to pay the owner of that car $1000, no matter what the reason for the stop. Compared to the legal costs of what comes after a legitimate stop, that's nothing. But it would dissuade police from developing a pattern of frivolous stops.

Comment Re:No one should *ever* wonder why... (Score 3, Interesting) 272

Well, I agree government is dangerous -- so is anything that is powerful. Max Weber defined the state as the organization that has a monopoly on violence.

But the blame isn't with the liberals, or the conservative libertarians, neither of whom want this kind of data collection. It's with the conservative authoritarians who want to expand the power of the police.

Comment Re:Clickbait title ? (Score 2) 233

Well, I think it's more complicated than that. People are not just ignorant of the limitations of knowledge, they're ignorant of the limitations of ignorance.

In fact, I'd say faulty appeals to ignorance are much more common here than faulty appeals to knowledge. People will say "How can we know X when we don't know Y?" when in fact it's quite possible to know X without Y, and in any case we actually know a lot more about Y than the poster thinks.

Comment Re:n=6? Seriously? (Score 1) 94

This is exactly what I was going to say. It's often a mistake to big early with an experiment because you risk finding statistically significant results that are practically significant. People expect BIG effects from a vaccine. When you take a vaccine it's like you're a sample of one: you want a very high chance of it making a practical difference to you. Nobody would take flu shot that reduced their chance of contracting flu by 20%.

But "effective" is only half the story. You have to show "safe" as well, and that's where you need huge trials.

"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows." -- Robert G. Ingersoll