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Comment: Re:Xylitol to the rescue? (Score 1) 263

by bluefoxlucid (#49562413) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

It is, but it's an important consideration: if you drop a piece of xylitol gum, and your dog eats it, your dog will be dead in half an hour. Their body will massively store glucose, causing fatal hypoglycemia. Your dog won't get sick and die slowly; it will die quickly.

Mushroom poisoning can take several days to kill a human. A small amount introduced one time will make you sick for a week, during which time your liver and kidneys may fail. Xylitol poisoning will simply kill your dog, quickly, possibly before you can reach a vet to get an $800 glucose IV.

Comment: Also it is a lot of calories, and empty ones (Score 1) 263

by Sycraft-fu (#49562409) Attached to: Pepsi To Stop Using Aspartame

Soda has around 100 calories per 8 fluid ounces (varies slightly with type of soda). So you get a 32 ounce drink, that's 400 calories. That's a fair bit, even by fast food standards. Most fast food burgers are in the 800-1200 calorie range (a double quarter pounder with cheese is 740 calories for reference). So you are adding 33-50% more calories to a meal with a 32oz soda.

Well the thing is, the calories in that soda won't do much if anything to fill you up. Drink as much as you like, you still feel hungry. Not so with a hamburger. While it isn't high quality nutrition, it is still plenty of protein, fat, and carbs and your body is going to be satisfied by the consumption of it.

Thus cutting out the soda really can help. You reduce a non-trivial amount of calories and it isn't likely to make you feel less full. Ya, you are still eating fast food and it is not high quality nutrition, and it is high calorie for what you get, but it is better than just drinking sugar water which is more or less what soda is.

Weight loss and eating healthy isn't an all or nothing proposition. There is better and worse, and cutting out soda is doing better than leaving it in.

Comment: Re:Not enough resourcees (Score 1) 266

Plants actually consume LESS CO2 when it is in abundance...

Categorically false: the rapid propagation of poison ivy has been attributed to the increase in atmospheric CO2. Toxicodendron species grow 3x faster than they did in the 1500s due to CO2 availability.

Multiple studies find that CO2 greatly enhances plant growth in general, while also increasing the water demand for plants. Agriculture in a high-CO2 atmosphere will place higher demands on aquifers, but will produce higher yield. Higher temperatures also increase growing yield by rapid plant growth and growing season extension. This leads to the disturbing consideration that our society may depend on an unsustainable increase in atmospheric CO2.

Comment: Re:Not impressed - make food with water, CO2 & (Score 1) 266

Because storing hydrogen is ass-impossible. Hydrogen is a terrible fuel requiring 4000-10000 PSI storage at liquid-helium-cooled temperatures. Storing and transporting hydrogen is energy-hungry. If the tank ruptures, it detonates like several dozen pounds of dynamite--assuming none of the hydrogen actually ignites (it shouldn't, until it mixes with the atmosphere sufficiently and becomes a fuel-air bomb capable of taking out an entire city district).

Comment: Re:A short, speculative cautionary tale... (Score 1) 397

by bluefoxlucid (#49560531) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead

The great body of information on human expertise is driven by K. Anders Ericsson in Florida University, in the same way that relativistic physics was driven by Albert Einstein for a while. Ericsson isn't the only person researching this, but 100% of current research cites Ericsson or is done by researchers working in tandem with Ericsson. This is the peer review process: one researcher is developing all these findings, and other researchers are citing his work and attempting to reproduce similar findings with similar and dissimilar methods to explore, refine, confirm, or debunk.

Ericsson's large body of research effectively condenses to the simple principle of deliberate practice: that a person will develop expertise by practicing with technical goals in a manner providing constant and immediate feedback. Modern cognitive science defines practice as an activity which generates errors so as to allow the practitioner to learn to reduce those errors--for example, typing faster to the point of making typographical errors so that you learn to move your fingers more precisely and type faster without making such typographical errors. The researchers benefit from the hundreds of books and papers produced by these cognitive studies, but only the broad conclusions are useful to you and I.

In the paper like that I remember best, the thesis was that anybody could learn to be a great memorist, and the support was that one of a group of subjects had managed to do so.

Memory papers are interesting. Depending on how you measure the results, you get completely different outcomes. Do you measure the percent of things remembered, or forgotten? Do you measure the number of things remembered, or the number forgotten? Some studies show that random experimental groups memorize 60% of the information given to them, versus 70% for an untrained control group; yet, at the same time, the experimental group memorizes 48 of 80 items inspected in a long list, while the control group memorizes 42 / 60 items inspected in the list--the control group memorizes fewer items, and inspects fewer items. Do we base on time, or on number of items inspected? The control group may take 10 minutes to inspect 80 items, while the experimental group takes 6 minutes; if the control group memorizes more, do we attribute that to simply having more time, and can we assume that the experimental group would memorize the same number of items if they took 10 minutes?

Such challenges are inherent in all statistics-based science. As well, what you've described is a standard experiment: a group of subjects versus a control. Prescription drugs, for example, are backed by thesis that the drug will control depression or ADHD or blood pressure, with the support that a group of subjects has shown better mental health or lower blood pressure when provided with the drug.

If it happens once, it's a bug. If it happens twice, it's a feature. If it happens more than twice, it's a design philosophy.