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Comment What is current contribution of Sahara to planet? (Score 1) 386

When you can precisely demonstrate _that_, then you can clearly quantify the impact of such a project. Until then, you are guessing at the repercussions ... and that is just a bit sociopathic, no? This really looks like an exercise in profiting on the gullibility of people ... "We'll build a monorail!'

Comment Sadly promotes the Flaws in Today's Reporting (Score 2) 27

The SQL tutorial looks at the numbers but doesn't emphasize two kind of glaring omissions in the WSJ article:

a) Dr Weaver is charging for a procedure _labeled_ 'cardiac', but there is no mention of what the procedure is, it's relevance to cardiology (if the label is accurate), or it's relevance to internal medicine (Dr Weaver's _labeled_ current specialty). For all we know, Dr Weaver is an ex-cardiologist, now practicing internal medicine for which he has found this procedure to be extremely useful in the patients he treats. For all we know, the procedure was mislabeled (esp. since it is pointed out that the data is noisy incl. spelling errors, multiple labels for same thing, etc.)

b) At one point, Dr. Weaver's _statistical_ use of the procedure (99.5%) is compared to a raw numerical value (6) by Cleveland Clinic cardiologists. For all we know, the clinic cardiologists only saw 6 patients for whom the procedure was relevant, or they never use the procedure because they have other more relevant/current techniques, or patients who are seen by the clinic are at a point where the procedure isn't required.

While the SQL tutorial is an interesting look at how to verify the accuracy of the statistics in an article, it tacitly provided validation for what is still poor reporting ie. the statistics need explanation and validation beyond simple numbers.

If you assume that most people are pretty honest (statistically they are), then the SQL queries are a neat way to highlight that the billing system (not the practioners) is in need of a second or third look.

Comment "Dogma" overturned ? We never learn ... (Score 1) 31

For decades and decades the consensus was that neurons don't change. The overwhelming MAJORITY of researchers believed that to be true. If it had mattered, government policies would have been aligned with that overwhelmingly supported belief. Because that's what all the science and scientists said was the truth.

But it wasn't ...

Funny thing about 'dogma', nobody realises it's dogma while it's happening.

We the lay public, see this announcement as science progressing. Three decades ago, well we would not even have been treated to the idea. So what ideas are being suppressed now?

Comment There was _no_ "muzzle" (Score 1) 197

Take _any_ institution that has employees, or limit it to say, IBM or NASA. Any media queries to each of those comes through a media relations department. The Canadian government doesn't really have one at the scientific levels so the responsibility is for supervisors at those levels to play the role. Was it "muzzling" for a person to need to let their supervisors (and on up the chain) know that they would be speaking to media? No. Simple reason: the publication of what those persons say, is taken to represent the opinion of the institutions they work in. Don't the leaders and senior leaders of that institution have a right to know about the activity then?

Try this: go to IBM and try to get a media statement from one of their scientists, just a one-on-one, no supervisors involved. Do the same for NASA. It's not going to happen.

Yeah, the Canadian scientists were not muzzled. This must have been a symptom for another issue they had with the government.

Comment Economic forecasting _AND_ Climate Forecasting? (Score 1) 249

Indicating there is no shame whatsoever in the quest for research funding and the quest for political power.

For the demographic that can't be scared by the 'war on terror', or swayed by the 'war on drugs', we brought you the 'war on climate change'.

And for those who aren't scared by any of those, well, scare them where it hurts ... the pocketbook.

YES! Climate change will make you POOR!!! Are you scared now?

Climate change proponents have shown their true colours.

Comment Too little to be serious ... put up real money! (Score 3, Interesting) 112

Presumably a prototype has to be built, right? Because no one would be stupid enough to give a prize for a plan on paper, right?

So how many decent prototypes would an inventor have to go through before there's a decent working model?

And if each prototype costs $10-20k, the actual reward for the inventor gets smaller and smaller ... so small that only garage builders are likely to give it a try. A bona fide company with resources, say engineers/techs at $60K a year, machine shops, taxes, are unlikely to give the matter any thought. A university might, but then you will have to wait several years.

TL:DR - you get what you pay for. Put up a $1 million dollar prize and you might see some serious interest.

Comment 30 miles up 19,000 km/hr... Saturn Descending (Score 1, Funny) 65

is 30 miles even within the margin of error for the trajectory calculations?

just seems like an extreme risk for a fully functioning probe ... UNLESS ... it's all been an elaborate hoax that JPL is tired of perpetrating so to end it, the probe will be 'lost' in a crash on the moon. The graphics artists who have been involved in the ruse will be 'taken care of', the file will be closed ... until it's discovered one of the artists somehow survived and has decided to go public ... Tom Cruise starring role in Saturn Descending

Comment Top Universities Attract Top Talent = No Worries (Score 1) 137

Ask anyone trying to get any academic position at a top tier university, the competition is fierce. At best, the universities are losing established talent only temporarily. The people who left will return, and with their newly acquired industry experience and networks, they will make academic positions even harder to get.

tl;dr - the universities aren't the victims here, new grads and prospective academics are.

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