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Comment Re:All bullshit (Score 1) 155

because there are many sexists and misogynists on slashdot, and in life

there is such a thing as false charges of rape. but actual rape greatly outnumbers false charges of rape

but hear it according to the prejudices of sexist people, such as many comments here, and the discussion is immediately about fake rape charges. there is no thought or consideration to the more likely possibility the girl was actually raped. because that possibility goes against their misogyny. they have to reinforce their hate. so all of the "she's faking it" information-free comments get voted up and discussed. without the slightest shred of actually looking into the case and possibly discovering that there is solid evidence of rape

many people, as the comments in this thread show, are prejudicial assholes and morons, and don't think before opening their blind ignorant mouths, to pass shallow judgment on situations they don't know, and don't try to know, just so they can preserve their ignorance, hate, and prejudice

it's a window onto the souls of some people around you, as you can see in many of the comments here, some people are hardcore shitbags

Comment Re:A simple test is in order (Score 1) 366

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 Because its not just a NASA facility (Score 4, Interesting) 58

The facility was originally constructed in 1940 at the village of Michoud, Louisiana on behalf of the United States government for the war production during World War II. The site was a production site for the Korean war as well as the bulk of the US space race. the US Army Corps of Engineers knew exactly what they were about when evaluating it from a strategic perspective. This thing was a big chunk of the US space race (a wholly owned subsidiary of the cold war.) during Katrina, so it wasnt your average office park. most importantly, facility ride-out crews pumped more than one billion gallons of water out of the facility because that was what it was designed to withstand. They actually won an Exceptional Bravery medal from NASA for this.

New Orleans on the other hand was crumpled like a beer can under the might of Katrina, and smelted in the incompetent furnace that was the Bush administration. the new levy cost us 14 billion dollars. or coincidentally, almost 1 year of NASA budget.

Comment Re:Mirrors (Score 2) 116

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) 237

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) 237

... 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:Comparison? (Score 4, Insightful) 237

So is medical science not "real science" because we've had quite a few stories over the last few years that a ton of results from medical research and drug trials can't be reproduced.

A large percentage of medical studies are funded by manufacturers, and it's fairly well understood that most of those don't get published unless they produce the "right" results. And those that are published are often really "preliminary", based on too little data to be considered reliable. But if a test on 10 or 20 patients gives the "right" results, there is a lot of marketing pressure to get the paper published right away.

This easily explains the growing problem of medical products that are found to be worthless (or even harmful) to the patients, after years of heavy marketing has produced large profits.

There's also the age-old problem that studies with "negative" results usually don't get published at all. As usual, there's a good xkdc comic that explains the methodology in a way that even the minimally numerate reader can understand.

Comment I wouldn't even ask for read access (Score 3, Insightful) 187

An architect (and one that is trying to be forward thinking and implement all sorts of fascinating new gear) is wasting time learning the admin interface for every box he/she specifies.

And if an architect is having trouble getting away from daily ops, not having any access to the boxes at all will help with that transition. (Not to mention that the architect will inevitably get pulled into ops problems, leaving less time to do the actual job.)

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." - Bert Lantz

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