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Comment Please note the subtle use of the word "model" (Score 1) 244

Just an observation on the subtle dishonesty at play ...

As happens regularly in the world of biological experimentation, the wording describing the achievement is chosen to remove the 'biology' from the experimental process. Here we see that the experimenters have created a 'brain model', not a brain ... even though it _is_ a brain, living cells, albeit in a very early stage of development. However, it is easier to speak of what you are doing to a 'model' (especially an animal 'model' like a mouse, rat, chimpanzee, dog, etc.,) with the lay public, because 'model' implies not living, feeling, etc. like say, a 'climate model'.

Why worry? Well, if someone feels the need to obfuscate what they are doing, perhaps what they are doing should be looked at a bit more closely.

Comment Ice age part of climate change predictions ... (Score 0) 185

... see? When Earth warms up the planet will exeperience all sorts of extreme weather. That's why no matter what happens, as a climate expert you can claim that whatever is happening weather-wise, is completely in line with your theory that the planet is heating up from man-made causes ('cause it wouldn't heat up naturally because things never change in the universe). So, mini-ice age? Well preposterous unless it really does look like it's going to happen, in which case, models can be adjusted so that it is a complete but _temporary_ manifestation of ... the planet heating up just as the models predict. Yeah! It's good to be a climate scientist because you're never wrong when you follow the party line and models.

Comment Instead of a convenient _plug_ on the monitor ?! (Score 1) 89

So instead of putting a convenient outlet on the monitor to efficiently charge your phone ... you now get an inefficient remote charging device spewing more RF in to the atmosphere to inefficiently charge your phone/device _if_ it has the remote charge capability?

In an era worried about the big bugaboo of 'climate change caused by man', we find yet more ways to inefficiently use resources and so contribute to the problem. How ridiculous. So screw it; saturate your home with remote chargers, leave appliances and lights on all the time, get a pool and run the pumps 24/7, turn your A/C on always, and let your car idle when you do your shopping ... and join the others wondering how we can combat climate change.

Comment If you don't feel some horror ... you should (Score 1) 190

Yeah, it's only mice. For now.

Clearly bigger brains would, in principle, allow more complex computations. And while it's animals, I guess we're all cool with that (?). But eventually, they might get to a life form that is less ... compliant. So what other options are there? Well, people can be made to do things they don't want.

But maybe this is all going to go away. Organic brains are slow, and maybe it will become apparent that silica (or black phosphorus) is better for high performance computation. Then the whole brainlet thing will be relegated to powering obedient cyborgs ... till they become less obedient.

Maybe that's it. The new dominant life-form will evolve from this. Animal brain collectives will outsmart the mono-brained monkey descendants, and rise as the dominant life-form that makes first contact with the aliens.

Comment " ... in a _Western_ factory" Wait, what? (Score 1) 342

From the post: "This is perhaps the first severe accident of this kind in a western factory, and is sparking debate about who is responsible for the accident, ..."

So this (and worse?) has happened in 'Eastern' factories but was just not worth mentioning until now? Likely this is proof of the continued usefulness of labour Unions.

Comment Bigger Question: Does Language Matter Anymore? (Score 1) 296

It seems like having to make a trip by car between two cities and trying to decide which type of car to use?

So does it really matter if you choose a Ford, Hyundai, Tesla, Ferrari, Saab, Toyota, etc.? In the final analysis, wouldn\t any of those vehicles get you there just fine? Why not go with what you're comfortable with?

Comment Story a Counterpoint to Earlier /. Article (Score 1) 100

I cannot find the link but in the past two weeks or so, there was an 'Ask Slashdot' by a person wanting to find a way of passing on the info contained in his email history before he left his company. His or her reasons were essentially to pass on his corporate knowledge. The person was mostly derided with "Who cares?" It seems however, that given the keen interest in every company email cull that gets left in Wikileaks (or with some reporter), that companies should have an interest in vetting the emails of departing employees to assess what those emails communicate about the company. It seems likely that those emails to give insights in to the explicit known, and implicit unknown, networks a company has established, as well as the 'view from within, at the employee level' of company health (eg. do the grass roots see the company as a sinking ship, _what_ problems did the employee perceive that went unreported, etc.).

Just deleting the email account of a departing employee, is blindly hoping there are no problems that will come up. Reviewing those emails, might proactively ensure there are no surprises in the company's future.

Comment Astrology posing as Science (Score 1) 310

Might as well use the Farmer's Almanac for all the value those predictions have; what models were used, what assumptions, what is the margin of error, what is worst case/best case?

The danger is that now, more than ever, political and policy decisions will be made that will significantly affect people, all based on a _guess_ of unknown quality. Too depressing for words.

The only people who will be happy with this are those who stand to profit.

Comment Models are for fear mongering, nothing more (Score 1) 193

Just wondering if the models came with a prediction score or some measure of their accuracy. As with climate predictions, the untold story is that the models are no more accurate than their inputs and the validity of the theories used to create them. You might expect models to come with warnings, but they don't, at least nothing that gets transmitted to the public.

As the world embraces 'big data' and the modeling it spawns, this should be a bit of a lesson. The worry should be: how many times can models be used to 'cry wolf' before people start ignoring them?

The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives. -- Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project