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Comment: Re: Some people never learn. (Score 1) 329

by bmacs27 (#48489021) Attached to: Taxi Medallion Prices Plummet Under Pressure From Uber
Right. Since that choice has been made, I look at the poor blokes and I don't begrudge them their mortgage. I'd rather be in suffocating debt than get eaten in the concrete jungle. Ideally the people complaining about the economic consequences of subsidizing the debt would come up with a better substitute than 'let them die and imprison their children.' For now, that's all I'm hearing from the 'fiscal conservatives' on this side of the pond.

Incidentally, if loaning money that is unlikely to be paid back is really a bad idea someone ought to talk to the folks buying up those t-bills.

Comment: Re: Some people never learn. (Score 1) 329

by bmacs27 (#48486303) Attached to: Taxi Medallion Prices Plummet Under Pressure From Uber
You have a very suburban mentality about all of this. 'A little hard work' doesn't do the trick for everybody. That's a myth. Where can you purchase a $2000 property while living without your own transportation and find steady paying work? Now pretend you don't know how to program computers and do the math again. You simply aren't allowing in your world view room for someone who just CAN'T. Refusing to believe they exist won't make them go away.

Comment: Re: Some people never learn. (Score 1) 329

by bmacs27 (#48485659) Attached to: Taxi Medallion Prices Plummet Under Pressure From Uber
You didn't answer my question. What are the borrowers supposed to do? They've been priced out of the economy. They cannot compete. The debt model was a compromise welfare scheme. The thought was, with some skin in the game at least people might try and get on their feet. Else, can we go back the more hayekian 'just give them the money?' Otherwise, someone needs to foot the bill to clean up their carcasses.

Comment: Re: I'm sick of this thread and sick of all of yo (Score 1) 330

by bmacs27 (#48307403) Attached to: Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology
I'd add that I actually personally like both the anchors, Peter Dayan (modeler) and Read Montague (imager). Given that Dayan stamped his name on the math, I'm sure it is fine. That said... I can imagine the laugh they had at SfN when they decided to run this study. It's click bait. Someone was going to do it. Why not be the ones getting the press?

Comment: Re: I'm sick of this thread and sick of all of yo (Score 1) 330

by bmacs27 (#48307299) Attached to: Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology
First, I'd contest your claim that fMRI experiments are inexpensive. For any new faculty working with a magnet, hours on the magnet is almost always a point of negotiation. Typically the facility charges substantial fees to recoup costs associated with purchasing and maintaining the magnet. Bills as high as 10,000 a hour are not unheard of. I've seen them myself, and they were not surprising to seasoned MRI researchers. When there is clinical use of the magnet, often times the cost of operation is passed on to patients. True. However most researchers much prefer dedicated research magnets for obvious logistical reasons (like not running subjects at night).

This may build on existing literature. Skin conductance, and startle responses seem more valuable frankly. I'm not sure what this adds. Either way, I'm not sure where the value in predicting political ideology comes from. Maybe we could lesion some folks to do some social engineering?

Third... Yes I meant what I said. I really think we have no idea what regions outside sensory and motor cortical areas are doing. Hell, we don't even fully know what the retina is doing. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. For example, memories are stored all over your brain in every synapse. What would you call the "memory" area? My problem with "middleware" research is that it is all very dependent on the definitions of your terms. For example... What makes an image pleasant as opposed to neutral? People have agreed upon data sets and so forth, but that's just like standard social psychology. Using correlations with old surveys to validate your new surveys. Around and around we go. There are things you can do, but it all depends on how much squish you're comfortable with. I'm not comfortable spending lots of money on lots of squish. Fmri is a bubble that needs to pop. In the last round of cuts they gutted pure behavior (entire study sections at the nih) in favor of few more pretty pictures. That's a travesty. Don't even get me started on the genetic lines of mice for studying "vision." Stupid things can't even see.

Comment: Re: I'm sick of this thread and sick of all of yo (Score 1) 330

by bmacs27 (#48306045) Attached to: Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology
Suppose they had found a result for pleasant images. That's what the paper would have been about. I already mentioned that they "probably" cross validated (see my replies to other replies). I'm being a little harsh, only because of the extraordinary expense necessary to run the study. Even if the results generalize in the way that they claim, the study is of limited scientific utility. It's fluff meant to generate clicks. We can't get at circuits. They have no mechanistic model. This kind of work doesn't really buy us much. It certainly isn't particularly "interesting science." If you had the effect behaviorally that might be more interesting. Then you could at least inform the pollsters. Those of us serious about understanding the brain tend to stick close to a sensory input or a motor output. At least responses in those areas are closely related in predictable ways to objectively measurable phenomena. These guys are kinda all "let's jump in the middle and see what happens." It leaves you with no valid basis for generating a hypothesis. You can spin your results however you choose. For all we know democrats get laid more and that explains the difference in responses.

Comment: Re: I'm sick of this thread and sick of all of yo (Score 1) 330

by bmacs27 (#48295475) Attached to: Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology
That's the idea. I'm sure they did some cross validation, although it was most likely jack knifing (leave one out). That's a fairly low bar. They still got it wrong on 4 subjects. Kinda dumb. Waste of money. Well... That's not true. It paid for a healthy chunk of someone's research magnet. So that's good... I guess... But the stupid things mostly just encourage bad science with pretty pictures. I'd rather fund 1000 social psychologists running surveys, let alone 500 behavioral psychophysicists or a handful of monkey labs. We'd learn so much more. Depressing, but that's what happens when fads take hold.

Comment: Re: I'm sick of this thread and sick of all of you (Score 5, Informative) 330

by bmacs27 (#48294401) Attached to: Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology
I'm a neuroscientist. Unfortunately this is most likely sensationalist BS, not interesting science. I haven't read the paper. Typically these sorts of "I did fMRI and can predict stuff" papers are of very little scientific utility. Their predictive model almost certainly involves coefficients applied to responses in various voxels or regions of interest. Dollars to donuts they have almost as many coefficients as participants. Even with just a 5 or 6 d space it is not surprising one could find a means of categorizing 83 participants into two categories with relative accuracy. These mind reading studies are a huge waste of public resources in order to make headlines for researchers. Often, these studies cost on the order of 10k per subject. Thus, this study likely cost on the order of a million dollars, and we learned very little other than it's easy to find accurate linear discriminates in large dimensional spaces. Still feel worth it?

Comment: Re: One crap audio brand battling with another (Score 1) 328

by bmacs27 (#48179135) Attached to: Despite Patent Settlement, Apple Pulls Bose Merchandise From Its Stores
My understanding was that there was basically a built in EQ which inverts the transfer of the speaker. This in effect, "boosts the bass" in order to obtain a flat response. You might lose some step size, but, loudness perception is crap down there anyway.

Comment: Re: One crap audio brand battling with another (Score 1) 328

by bmacs27 (#48179109) Attached to: Despite Patent Settlement, Apple Pulls Bose Merchandise From Its Stores
My understanding was that there was basically a built-in EQ which inverts the transfer of the speaker. The EQ "boosts the bass" in order to obtain a flat response. I don't know what it does to distortion. Certainly you'd lose dynamic range for the low frequencies, but I think loudness discrimination is pretty crappy down there anyway. Dunno. Could be clever.

Comment: Re: In the retina? (Score 1) 60

It depends on what you mean. They are probably talking about the center-surround filtering in the retina (because that is about the only thing the retina does that anyone understands). It's a pretty simplistic view, and most people wouldn't call them "line" filters unless you were talking about something more like the oriented band pass filters of V1.

Dumb pop sciencey article is dumb and pop sciencey.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

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