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Comment: Re:Why (Score 1) 521

by dmatos (#48206721) Attached to: Shooting At Canadian Parliament

Terrorism: n

the use of violence and intimidation, intended to cause fear, in the pursuit of political aims. Note the lack of any definition of targets.

Not terrorism: n

Just about every fucking thing that's reported as such by the US media.

The word is misused as much as "literally" these days. So much so that I can't even.

Comment: Re:blackberries in seattle? I'm Shocked. Shocked (Score 1) 290

by dmatos (#47092199) Attached to: Should We Eat Invasive Species?

Probably not. The native habitat for lionfish is the Indo-Pacific oceans. They are not threatened in those locations. They are invasive in the Caribbean especially.

In the Caribbean, they have no natural predators. Additionally, they are voracious eaters, and scarf up hundreds of immature reef fish each day. The quantity of native reef fish has dropped precipitously in the Caribbean due to invasive lionfish. Being able to _actually_ eliminate them from the Caribbean would be a fantastic coup, and allow the reefs to regenerate back to something of their former glory.

As a side note, though, how many people actually pay attention to what the extremists in Greenpeace tell them to do? Have you stopped driving your car? Eating beef? Shut down your nuclear power plants?

Comment: I use the internets! (Score 1) 983

by dmatos (#46463301) Attached to: How Do You Backup 20TB of Data?

20TB of music and movies? How many of those could be downloaded again tomorrow? My guess is "most." The only thing that's really "mine" on my computers, and not backed up, is my own pictures. I upload those to image sharing sites on the internet. Most docs are done on Google Docs for portability reasons, and other things I've created are already on Dropbox.

I experienced a catastrophic hard drive failure a year or so ago. After replacing the hard drive, and about one day of downloading and installing the programs I needed, I was up and running again. It took 24 hours to download enough of the series that I was watching to pick up where I left off again. And if I ever get a hankering for watching something I've seen before, well, I can get it from the internet again in a matter of hours or days.

Comment: Re:Updates always come at the wrong moment (Score 1) 305

by dmatos (#46306593) Attached to: Why Your Phone Gets OTA Updates But Your Car Doesn't

"Your car requires a mandatory update. This update will take 1h 16m, and must be installed within 7 days. Please click "OK" to install this update now. Click "DELAY" to defer the update to a later time. Note that after 7 days, the update will install automatically, with no further opportunities for you to delay it."

Comment: Can something be "scientific" even if it's wrong? (Score 1) 625

by dmatos (#46229971) Attached to: Majority of Young American Adults Think Astrology Is a Science

Would you guys contest that "light is transmitted by fluctuations in the ether" is a scientific theory? It was believed by many scientists, and for a long time. The answer to the question posed in the survey depends not just on the definition of "astrology," but also on the definition of "scientific."

One of the things that I keep parroting to the creationist crowd is that a scientific theory must explain past events, and predict future events in a way that is testable. Nothing in here says that it has to be true. In fact, many theories that we now use are expressly not true at certain limits. Nope - explanation of past events, and prediction of future events in a testable manner. Those are the qualifications.

So let's apply this to astrology. Does it explain past events? Well, it certainly tries to. Does it predict future events? Check. Does it predict future events in a manner that is testable and falsifiable? I think that a controlled experiment would certainly do so. The controlled experiment would fail, and that would prove the theory of astrology false, but that doesn't make it "not a scientific theory."

Given that logic, I'd have to answer "sort of scientific" to this question. But if I were asked "do you believe that the position of stars and planets govern our day to day lives," that would get a resounding "no."

Comment: Re:Energy density. (Score 5, Insightful) 734

by dmatos (#46048995) Attached to: Will Electric Cars and Solar Power Make Gasoline and Utilities Obsolete?

I don't understand this kind of argument. What would have happened when automobiles were first invented if someone said:

Show me a car that can reproduce by itself, and only needs to be fuelled with grass that I grow on my own fields for free, and then maybe we'll talk.

An electric car does not need to match all of the performance specifications of a gasoline-powered car. All it has to do is meet the needs of the consumers. And if you sat down and thought about it, you probably don't _need_ the things you listed. Those are specifications derived from your actual requirements, under the assumption that a car is gasoline-powered.

Comment: Re:Humans are ignorant. Critical thinking IS king! (Score 1) 770

by dmatos (#45988945) Attached to: Creationism In Texas Public Schools

Abiogenesis is the proper term for the beginnings of life. The scientific theory of evolution does not apply there at all. Abiogenesis is a completely different field of study than evolution.

As far a species to species evolution (what I would call "speciation", rather than "macro-evolution") _has_ been observed in laboratory conditions and in the field. And even more than that, the scientific theory of evolution predicts that it would happen.

What's that, you say? A scientific theory made a prediction, and that prediction was found to be true? Damn.

And not only does the theory of evolution make predictions about future speciation events, it makes predictions about those that happened in the past as well. There has not been a single case of transitional fossils found that contradicts the theory of evolution.

Please take your tired, ad-hominem rhetoric home.

Comment: Re:Humans are ignorant. Critical thinking IS king! (Score 4, Insightful) 770

by dmatos (#45986635) Attached to: Creationism In Texas Public Schools

Scientific Theory: Something that describes the current state of the world in a way that makes testable predictions about the future. Useful in furthering our knowledge. Should be taught in science classes.

Colloquial "Theory": Any explanation that potentially describes the current state of the world. Not testable. Makes no predictions about the future. Potentially useful in exploring moral or ethical quandaries. Should be taught in philosophy classes.

Please learn the difference. Teach creationism if you want, I don't give a rat's ass. But don't teach it in a science classroom. It is not science. It never will be science.

Comment: . . . in Social and Biological Sciences (Score 1) 312

by dmatos (#45970665) Attached to: Why Standard Deviation Should Be Retired From Scientific Use

That's what he concludes at the bottom of the article. He starts the article by saying that standard deviation should only be used by physicists, mathematicians, and mathematical statisticians. If I'm not mistaken, "physics" and "math" covers a whole lot of different fields, including most of the STEM fields that (largely) define the users of this site.

I know in my particular field (physics based), standard deviation is a hell of a lot more useful than mean average deviation. And easier to use.

Bah. I call poor summary.

Comment: Bah, I say (Score 3, Interesting) 299

The Ampere was only chosen as an SI fundamental unit because it was easier to measure than a Coulomb. To me, an Ampere will always be 1 Coulomb per second.

And since the electric charge is 1.602E-19 Coulombs, we can just invert that number to find the number of electric charges (ie, electrons) in a Coulomb.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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