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Comment: Re:The problem is not enough science. (Score 1) 958

by chad_r (#48969439) Attached to: Science's Biggest Failure: Everything About Diet and Fitness

Now that there's finally research coming out about the effects of multivitamins, the studies are proving that in many cases multivitamins at best have no effect on health.

"... the authors concluded that there was no clear evidence of a beneficial effect of supplements on all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, or cancer."

No effect on mortality is very far from "no effect on health". Vitamins may in fact be useful for some aspects of health or quality of life that aren't correlated to mortality, but their research does not address that. They really tried to oversell the importance of their research by calling it "Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements". And of course the media lapped that headline right up, the same way they blindly reported that Oreos are more addictive than cocaine.

Comment: Re:Stop, just stop (Score 2) 75

by chad_r (#48849947) Attached to: Scientists Discover Compound In Baby Diapers Can Enlarge Brain Cells

...Or every news site regurgitating the sound bite that "the same chemical in yoga mats is in Subway sandwiches" (which is actually in most bread, and it's hard to find bread without it). What the heck, this is also from foodbabe? Ugh, I just went to her website and I feel gross.

Comment: Re:a few drops of idiocy (Score 1) 245

by chad_r (#48801665) Attached to: PHP vs. Node.js: the Battle For Developer Mind Share

"Where Node wins: Service calls are thinner than HTML-fat PHP calls"

Now I understand why browsing the web became impossible on my cellphone in 2014. Displaying a page is no longer about html + css. Now it's a stub page which needs a dozen more ajax calls before anything gets displayed. And good luck reading the article through the tangled mess if one of them doesn't get loaded. Oh well, it's just the current phase in the 10-year thin client sucks/thick client sucks cyclic history repeating itself.

Black Friday '14: E-commerce Pages Far Slower Than They Were in 2013 - Slashdot

Comment: Re:Charlene don't like it (Score 1) 244

by chad_r (#48575231) Attached to: Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy: The Science of Misheard Song Lyrics

At the time I first heard "Rock the Casbah" I didn't know the word "sharif" so there was no chance at all that I would not mishear that lyric.

She really don't like it (rock the casbah, rock the casbah)
Fundamental retardation! (rock the casbah, rock the casbah)

I still have no idea what the second line is supposed to be. But I'd rather leave it as a lifelong puzzle than to cheat and look up the lyrics.

Comment: Re:Fuck that thief. Ebola is here. (Score 1) 64

by chad_r (#48219627) Attached to: Tracking a Bitcoin Thief

Oh my God! Ebola hysteria is imfecting other Slashdot threads! Why are they telling us it's so hard to spread! The only sensible solution is to prevent people from posting in other discussions after being in the daily Ebola discussion thread! Shame on the Slashdot administrators for not implementing such a trivial solution that would be guaranteed to stop the spread of Ebola hysteria to unrelated discussions!

Comment: Re:Only very best survive, and they like it that w (Score 1) 283

by chad_r (#48091221) Attached to: Glut of Postdoc Researchers Stirs Quiet Crisis In Science

>The bad part is that we've lead a huge number of people down a very challenging path without telling them that their odds of success

I'll be charitable and assume you're joking. These are *Ph.Ds*, they know damned well what the situation is and they chose to take a chance.

Not every Olympic entrance wins a medal either.

*After* their PhD, of course they know their job prospects. But as bright-eyed undergrads choosing advanced science as a career, students tend not to worry that far down the road. In theory, as students are told, you should "do what you love" and not just choose a career based solely on how much money you can make from it. It's only near the end of their PhD program that they start to realize that their assumptions of a cushy tenure-track job might not be all they imagined. Could this have been avoided before investing four years of their life toward something that may be a dead end? Who could have told them?

  • Their research advisor? A career academic with limit awareness of the job market
  • University Admissions? Their mission of being a "world-class" university relies on the sheer number of PhD candidates they can attract. It would be malpractice to do anything to discourage you
  • The industry? The larger and more desparate the labor pool is, the better it is for them
  • The media? Sure, they just did in TFA. Other than discovering something that has existed for 20 years, at least it's helpful.

Comment: Re:avoiding doing a postdoc isn't possible (Score 1) 283

by chad_r (#48090921) Attached to: Glut of Postdoc Researchers Stirs Quiet Crisis In Science

This exact situation has been in existence since the early 90's when I was a grad student. It was possibly even worse. Around 1993 there were stories of 400 qualified PhDs applying for non-tenure lecture positions at community colleges. At that time, post-docs were basically a holding pattern, waiting for the chance at a job. It was made worse by a political attitude at the time that we needed STEM researchers to compete in the global economy, so the atmosphere was to go into a PhD program in pure science, and assume there will be a job at the end of it. If you got a Master's you were seen as a quitter and a failure, even though you ended up being much more marketable by avoiding overqualification.

I guess the Boston Globe forgot to interview anyone except current post-docs.

Comment: Re:Sigh. (Score 2) 102

by chad_r (#47496209) Attached to: "Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

That sums up my impression of the state of airports that have adopted the machines wholesale. The machines are just scattered around, and there is no clear "line" to either check your bags or speak to a human. You just need to trace the ropes to find a gap, and hope that the line you started is the place where the lone counter person is looking for the next person to serve. If it's especially busy, there may be two people at the counter, but anyone else on staff will be wandering around to help people with machines (basically just pushing the buttons for them) or actively discouraging people from waiting on line instead of starting with the machines.

But the machines aren't flawless. I've never been able to get through the check-in for an international flight with an entire family. I make it through the initial steps of identifying myself and the flight, but when it comes to scanning the passports it will randomly reject one of them. It's likely because one of the family has a foreign passport. If that's the issue, why can't they just tell those cases to go directly to the counter? Three attempts at this is 10 minutes wasted (including for the staff watching over my shoulder telling me to try it again) that I could have spent waiting in line.

The problem isn't with the software, it's with a lack of care for the customer experience. It's as if the airline management never use an airport to realize ways in which the system is inefficient, confusing, or unpleasant. That's what think is the real reason for designing an avatar kiosk: throw money at software developers to magically solve the problem instead of understanding or addressing the real issues.

Comment: Re:Is it possible? (Score 4, Insightful) 212

by chad_r (#47092913) Attached to: Games That Make Players Act Like Psychopaths

How is it possible to be a psychopath in a game? This and other research are based on the premise that video games contain real violence. No game has ever contained true violence in this sense, which is why violent video gaming behavior doesn't lead to the harm that real psychopaths cause in society.

The only way to act psychopathic--doing actual harm to another human being with true apathy--in a video game would seem to be through communications between players inside the game, where feelings could be hurt. It would be hard of course to separate psychopathic communicative behavior from other common factors like immaturity, inebriation, gaming cultures, etc. That should probably be the real focus of these kinds of studies. Another interesting study might be to study actual psychopaths, pulled from corporate environments or the like, and seeing if/how they play games differently from non-psychos.

This is why murder in games as a measure of sociopathy is a red herring. The real crazies are the griefers, the ones who gain enjoyment, with no other tangible benefit, from knowing they are doing harm to real people in the form of wasted time or belittling. It's hardly limited to gaming. Look at Wikipedia. Sometimes people vandalize because they have a petty axe to grind, but other vandalism is just totally pointless, like replacing entire paragraphs with the word "penis". I would even consider some graffiti, like the Chinese teenager writing "Ding Jinhao was here" at the Luxor Temple, to be sociopathic.

Comment: KeePass + will (Score 2) 381

by chad_r (#45896687) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Protect Your Passwords From Amnesia?

I would probably give a master password and a copy of my password safe to my lawyer, along with my will and other legal paperwork that she should have just in case something should happen to me.

I was in the midst of posting something similar. I hadn't thought of encryption, but that would be a good idea.

  • 1) Stored all my passwords in KeePass Password Safe, and protected the database with a single password
  • 2) Attached the password for it, along with other important instructions (like a local password for the computer with the database), with my will. I also added a list of important contacts and bank accounts my family might not know about
  • 3) Sealed the documents in an envelope, and let my family know about the documents (or left it with them, before an overseas trip)
  • 4) Upon my timely death or loss of memory, my family will have all it needs to delete my embarrassing online photos

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst