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Comment Re:From TFA: bit-exact or not? (Score 1) 138

There used to be a web page called "Your Eyes Suck at Blue". You might find it on the Wayback machine.

You can tell the luminance of each individual channel more precisely than you can perceive differences in mixed color. This is due to the difference between rod and cone cells. Your perception of the color gamut is, sorry, imprecise. I'm sure that you really can't discriminate 256 bits of blue in the presence of other, varying, colors.

Comment Re:From TFA: bit-exact or not? (Score 5, Insightful) 138

Rather than abuse every commenter who has not joined your specialty on Slashdot, please take the source and write about what you find.

Given that CPU and memory get less expensive over time, it is no surprise that algorithms work practically today that would not have when various standards groups started meeting. Ultimately, someone like you can state what the trade-offs are in clear English, and indeed whether they work at all, which is more productive than trading naah-naahs.

Comment Re:A simple test is in order (Score 1) 379

Well, this is a bit like parents who take their kids to get vaccinated and a few hours later that kid exhibits the first signs of autism. It's an immensely compelling coincidence. You'd have to (a) know that autism symptoms often have a rapid onset and (b) realize that when they do they can follow any commonplace childhood event. Even if you did it'd still be hard to shake the suspicion if it happened to your kid.

Somebody points a IR remote at your friend; he gets up and has a brief moment of orthostatic hypotension -- also known as a "dizzy spell" brought on by a sudden drop in blood pressure -- just at the moment the guy pushes the button. Orthostatic hypotension can happen to anyone, but if your friend isn't otherwise prone to it that can be a very compelling coincidence; and many of the symptoms of hypotension can be reproduced by psychological stress.

If something like that happens to you people will say, "oh, it's all in your head," but the thing is that all suffering is inside peoples' heads. One of the worst kinds of pain you can have is passing a kidney stone, but if you happen to be in a coma at the time you won't feel a thing. Distress produced within the brain is indistinguishable to the subject from distress produced outside the brain. Having an external explanation for that distress can make someone feel like they have some control over what is a disturbing experience, and shooting holes in that explanation isn't going to help unless you can offer them a better handle on it.

Sometimes I think we'd be better off if we just brought back shamans and witch doctors.

Comment Re:So then the question becomes (Score 1) 440

There's no persuasive evidence to indicate that Ashely Madison didn't fake female profiles. There IS evidence they faked profiles. Assuming they were only female seems a bit biased, no?

Note that your objection about fake profiles not chatting doesn't really hold up. Fake female profiles also don't chat. The idea is to keep presenting pictures and profiles that you like, to keep the hope alive.

I'm not sure if I'm being particularly unclear, or if you haven't looked at the original article and so are unfamiliar with the context for my remarks.

One of the flags that the analysis used to estimate relative proportions of "real" to "fake" accounts were a couple of data fields that were maintained in AM's private data but not accessible from the public-facing side of the site. These fields included information on when an account holder last checked his or her messages (if ever), when an account holder last used the AM chat system (if ever), and when an account account holder last replied to a message (if ever).

The number of male accounts which had carried out at least some of these activities at least once was on the same order as the total number of male accounts. (Of 30 million male accounts, about 20 million had checked their messages.) The number of female accounts which had carried out at least some of these activities was only a minuscule fraction of the total number of female accounts. (Of about 5 million female accounts, a few thousand had checked or sent messages.)

Do the data we have support the notion that fake females vastly outnumbered real females? Yep. It it possible that there were faked male profiles as well? Sure. Do the data we have support the notion that fake males make up any but a minority of male accounts? Nope.

Comment Re:Mirrors (Score 2) 117

I don't think you could make the reflective surface perfect enough to make the drone positively laser-proof, but I think a reflective coating would certainly reduce the laser's effective range. Analogously you can't nuke-proof an aircraft, but in the Cold War they were often painted "anti-flash white" to help them survive a bit closer to a detonation.

Comment Re:Which is why (Score 1) 240

Well, as far as Atkins is concerned, diet research is really, really hard and expensive to do right. I know because when I was an MIT student one of my jobs was office boy in the Food and Nutrition group, and I saw how hard it was. In one of the studies, research subjects were given a duffle bag from which all the input to their digest systems came, and into which all the output from the same went, for six bloody months.

Of course not every study needs to be that rigorous, but diet is one of those areas where the public needs lots of informed opinion but the funding for research is grossly inadequate to meet that need.

By the way, the current state of research seems to be that carbohydrate restricted diets work well in the short term but have only modest success in the long term.

Comment Which is why (Score 2) 240

... you don't make any important decisions based on a single paper. That's true for hard sciences as well as social sciences.

Science by its very nature deals in contradictory evidence. I'd argue that openness to contradictory evidence is the distinguishing characteristic of science. A and not A cannot be true at the same time, but their can be, and normally is, evidence for both positions. So that means science often generates contradictory papers.

What you need to do is read the literature in a field widely so you can see the pattern of evidence, not just a single point. Or, if you aren't willing to invest the time for that you can find what's called a review paper in a high-impact factor journal. A review paper is supposed to be a fair summary of recent evidence on a question by someone working in the field. For bonus points read follow-up letters to that paper. Review papers are not infallible, but they're a heck of a lot more comprehensive than any other source of information.

Comment Re:So then the question becomes (Score 1) 440

There are reasons to fake male profiles. Having lots of male profiles with nice pictures and soothing, non psychopathic text helps with recruiting females and maybe getting them to stick around.

Sure, that's a hypothetical possibility.

In practice, though, there's nothing about the evidence at hand to suggest that that has happened. And you haven't presented a particularly persuasive case (or any case) to suggest why the fake male accounts would log in to read and reply to messages, where the female fake accounts would not. On its face, one would tend to expect the opposite behavior--AM would have benefitted directly (financially speaking) from encouraging the men to keep chatting with the fake women.

Comment Re:That would be penny wise and pound foolish (Score 1) 358

Well, a lot depends on how your actions fit into your long term vision, if anything. "We'll just rebuild this neighborhood and everything will be hunky-dory" is obviously not a long term plan.

The reason the Netherlands flood control makes sense is that the value of 25% of their country's land area far outweighs the cost of reclaiming it, as simple as that. When the net present value of keeping the flood waters off a piece ofland exceeds the net present value of the use you'll get from it, then it's time to abandon piece of land.

Comment Re:Exaggeration is not Necessary (Score 1) 358

Well, if you *insist* on being pedantic, what they mean is "It's not going to stop before it causes a degree havoc most people would find inconceivable."

I think they kind of expect people to understand they're not claiming that the water levels will rise, drowning the Moon, inundating the Sun, and eventually filling up the entire universe.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury

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