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Comment Re:Is 1% significant? (Score 5, Informative) 304

Their error, as stated in the linked abstract, is less than 0.3%. So, if you believe they're doing statistics correctly, yes, the signal is greater than the noise. More importantly, even, say 1.0 - 0.3 = 0.7% is HUGE: the common estimate of matter-antimatter asymmetry at the big bang was merely a billion-and-one to a billion. (linky: http://livefromcern.web.cern.ch/livefromcern/antimatter/academy/AM-travel02c.html). And that extra one in a billion is all the matter we have today.

Comment Glowing is cool, but the novelty is elsewhere (Score 5, Informative) 174

Biologists have been making this glow for a long time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_fluorescent_protein But the novelty is that now you can make green offspring with no extra effort! For those with journal access to nature, the source: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v459/n7246/full/nature08090.html

Comment Nitpick: 1st reading actually has the least weight (Score 1) 707

If I'm reading this right, the most recent reading is given a 50% weight: new_average = (latest_reading + previous_average)/2. That would actually give readings in the past less weight, in some convoluted way. This is better than giving the first reading the most weight, but yes, the "average" is still not an arithmetic average.

Comment That's nothing... (Score 1) 111

Check out the levitating jello at the end of this clip: http://gizmodo.com/5219724/sprintcam-v3-hd-shoots-breathtaking-full-hd-video-at-1000-fps :P Although, after some thought, it seems both goo and jello both possess some kind of internal vibration, so perhaps the phenomena are related. Any experts in nonlinear elasticity out there?

Comment mental imagery in practice (Score 5, Interesting) 165

It's been long suspected in sports training that mentally practicing a skill is often as useful and productive as doing the real thing. fMRI supports this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_Practice_of_Action The surprising thing to me is that she actually got relief from phantom-ly scratching herself. I suspect this is some placebo effect. Or related to why you can't tickle yourself.

Comment Social aspect of labs (Score 1) 571

I wholeheartedly agree with parent's points about the economies of scale, and of the need to level the field for disadvantaged students. I'd also like to argue that besides the technological benefits of computer labs, students as a whole gain from a common space in which to interact with their peers. The quad and the lunch hall are great, but when others are nearby, in a work environment, it's really easy to instantly ask questions and get feedback. In fact this may be as close as a university setting can get that of an open, collaborative workplace.

Comment It's like notetaking? (Score 1) 148

If he got feedback, that's obviously wrong, it would seem. But let's suppose it can be proven he didn't discuss, only post, i.e. he's sending out information, not receiving it. Then couldn't it be treated as if he was jotting down notes, or writing in a journal? IANAL, but I think there are regulations for when / if you are allowed to journal / take notes. He could just be trying to clear his thoughts by writing them down.

Comment The question: what are you trying to accomplish? (Score 2, Insightful) 1117

Is it "protecting kids from themselves"? Besides the fact of whether you want to do this or not, many kids will have access to their parents' or friends laptops anyway. Are you trying to cover your ass if they do something dumb? Just trust the damn students. Put the responsibility on them: if they accept the laptop, they accept that they have to decide what is "good, moral, proper" etc. to do on the laptop, with all the consequences of it. If you start policing, you're basically implicitly assuming responsibility for the kids, not allowing them to take responsibility, or for the parents to teach them responsibility. When you do screw up and let the kids download child porn, it'll be all on your head.

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang

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