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Comment: And this is why burning Uranium is stupid... (Score 1) 112

by gweihir (#48950229) Attached to: NASA Looking At Nuclear Thermal Rockets To Explore the Solar System

The nuclear fuel we have on this planet is our entry-ticket for exploring and colonizing the solar system. The most stupid thing that can be done with it is using it to generate electricity, because that can be done in a number of other ways. At the same time, until fusion takes off (if ever...), fissionable material is irreplaceable and cannot be made artificially.


Can Students Have Too Much Tech? 119

Posted by Soulskill
from the maybe-4th-graders-don't-need-weaponized-roombas dept.
theodp writes: In a NY Times Op Ed, developmental psychologist Susan Pinker goes against the conventional White House wisdom about the importance of Internet connectivity for schoolchildren and instead argues that students can have too much tech. "More technology in the classroom has long been a policy-making panacea," Pinker writes. "But mounting evidence shows that showering students, especially those from struggling families, with networked devices will not shrink the class divide in education. If anything, it will widen it." Tech can help the progress of children, Pinker acknowledges, but proper use is the rub. As a cautionary tale, Pinker cites a study by Duke economists that tracked the academic progress of nearly one million disadvantaged middle-school students against the dates they were given networked computers. The news was not good. "Students who gain access to a home computer between the 5th and 8th grades tend to witness a persistent decline in reading and math scores," the economists wrote, adding that license to surf the Internet was also linked to lower grades in younger children.

Comment: Re:Physicalist nil-whits at work again (Score 1) 201

by gweihir (#48948053) Attached to: There Is No "You" In a Parallel Universe

The only one here that said anything about "magic" is you. I am merely pointing out that there is pretty compelling evidence that the physicalist model is incomplete and that it is stupid to insists that it is actually complete and accurate, as are the conclusions drawn from it.

Sure, that is a meta-analysis I am doing here, an decidedly not beginner's stuff.

Comment: Re:Wrong, IMHO (Score 2) 80

by gweihir (#48947979) Attached to: ESA: No Conclusive Evidence of Big Bang Gravitational Waves

Or in other words: There are a lot of bad scientists around that cling to the little part of science that they thought they had mastered. When it turns out they did not, they turn irrational. Good scientists do not regard it as a loss if a theory they have worked on turns out to be invalid. They are intrigued, applaud the advancement of knowledge, regard their working on the failed theory as getting more insight and skill, and move on.

The sad thing is that Sturgeon's Law applies to scientists as well. It also matches my experience as a scientist, and especially as a peer-reviewer: Good researchers and good research is rare, most do small incremental and usually irrelevant stuff, because they do not have what it takes. Many of these researchers also excel at hindering, sabotaging, ridiculing and stealing from researchers that are actually good at it.

Comment: Re:It's called self-interest (Score 1) 179

by gweihir (#48947389) Attached to: Mathematicians Uncomfortable With Ties To NSA, But Not Pulling Back

So for a question of personal comfort ("doing research as you see fit") you are willing to throw the human race under the bus? I call that exceptionally selfish. It is quite enough if those exceptionally gifted are allowed to do self-directed research, an there are enough academic positions for those.

Comment: Re:Physicalist nil-whits at work again (Score 1) 201

by gweihir (#48947371) Attached to: There Is No "You" In a Parallel Universe

And hence you support my argument. Living matter is the other thing we do not know whether it is even physically possible as, as you rightfully point out, there is no theory explaining it that is purely physics-based. And all attempts to create from non-living matter have failed. Sure, doing it is just a decade or a few away, but has been so for a long time and consistently fails to materialize. Sounds awfully like true AI. But you are wrong again: We do _not_ know that living matter follows the laws of physics. That is a pure assumption, and about as valid as the assumption that "there is a god". In other words ridiculous. The only thing we know is that living matter, once killed, does follow the laws of physics. You cannot even measure that with the required precision in a living organism, because doing so kills it. What we also know is that living matter mostly seems to follow the laws of physics, but there is a rather large margin of uncertainty that we cannot reduce.

What you seem to miss here is that the laws of physics are absolutes. Have even a tiny deviation from them and you have something extra-physical. We even know where this may come in: Quantum effects are "true random" (a scientific form of saying "we have no clue, just some statistics"), and the human brain has an exceptionally large amount of them influencing its working in the synapses. That does look like an interface like nothing else does. Even tiny deviations in the probabilities, applied in many places at once, would be enough to control the whole thing.

Comment: Re:Physicalist nil-whits at work again (Score 1) 201

by gweihir (#48947279) Attached to: There Is No "You" In a Parallel Universe

Thanks, apparently some people here have a working mind. You are right of course, that making theoretical, mathematical models for the human mind has bee ongoing for a long, long time and has consistently failed for all this time. AI research is just the latest discipline to deliver absolutely nothing in that regard.

"Paul Lynde to block..." -- a contestant on "Hollywood Squares"