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Comment: Re:Skeptic (Score 3, Insightful) 68

by jandersen (#47798383) Attached to: Feynman Lectures Released Free Online

Feynman was a Skeptic.

I'm not sure what your point it, but as far as I know ALL scientists are skeptics; that's why they keep probing the edges of their chosen discipline all the time, in order to improve their theories.

What real scientists are not is closed-minded deniers of any and all facts they don't like, like in 'climate-skeptic' or 'evolution-skeptic', and I suspect you are trying to imply that Feynman is a 'skeptic' like that. Knowing his work, I doubt it.

Comment: Old tech I still use (Score 1) 609

by jandersen (#47789763) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

I can think of three technologies I still can't let go of:

1. Fire. It's easy and convenient, it warms me and it helps me cook food etc. Cooking helps us dramatically increase the amount of things we can actually eat, which would otherwise be inedible to us.

2. The hammer. Not just the stick with a lump of iron on; in the form of a stone to open nuts with, it works like a replaceable, external 'tooth' that can be applied with great force, and which allows you to look at the object you work on, unlike the teeth in your jaw. When your hammer stone breaks, it may become a knife, which gives you a whole new class of powers.

3. Writing. Leaving marks on a surface was probably the first, external storage technology. Some of those early communications are still available some 3030 - 40 kyears later.

Comment: Re:Theology is bad too (Score 1) 522

by jandersen (#47772563) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

A very reasonable sentiment. Although I'm not a believer myself, it seems to me that if you truly believe in God, then you are not afraid of what science can teach you, since God created all of reality. Being a Bible (or other scripture) fundamentatlist is simply an expression of lack of faith.

Comment: Re:Beyond what humans can do (Score 1) 522

by jandersen (#47765513) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

How your comment got modded Insightful is a mystery. You don't give any arguments, you just postulate.

Humans can't even make it rain or change the weather locally

Really? Just one example: the notorious London smog. Most major cities used to be covered in the filthy stuff until burning coal in cities was largely banned; does that not qualify as weather? It certainly changed the atmosphere in large, local areas.

Anyone who thinks they can affect the whole world this much is a moron or shill for some environmental group

Hmm, right. Another example: man-made plastic pollution is now found everywhere - with the possible exception of Antarctica. You find it everywhere, even in the middle of the Pacific, and it does in fact affect wildlife. Or how about the fact that manmade chemicals can now be measured in just about every sample of water you can come about? The truth is that mankind does in fact influence every environment on the planet; the good news is that this also means that we can choose to use our influence to make things better.

But it's certainly not manmade

You know that, do you? How? Evidence, please.

correlation does not equal causation

However, it does equal correlation - and correlation means there is some sort of connection. Climatologists have come up with some very likely explanations, unlike you.

How else do you explain the many periods of warming and cooling in the past long before humans even existed?

That one is brought forth all the time, but it is a nonsense argument. The only thing it proves is that climate change can be caused by other things than human activity; nobody has ever denied that, and in fact, for many years the preferred theory was that we didn't affect climate, but we have had to abandon that idea, because the observable facts speak against it.

I rest my case before the nuts here censor my message

As you already knew, nobody was going to 'censor' your opinions. In fact, you have been modded up - strange as it seems. But you just had to try to milk the 'freedom of speech' card for what it was worth, didn't you? You should be ashamed.

Comment: Paleo diet? Nonsense (Score 1) 281

by jandersen (#47754949) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

I don't remember how many times I have come across the idea that evolution has somehow stopped dead in its tracks for humanity; and here we see it again. It is perhaps an easy mistake to make - after all, we haven't seen much, obvious change in our species with our own eyes, and we also like to think of ourselves at the epitome of evolution, so how could we possibly become better?

The truth of the matter is that our species changes all the time, and we are very complex creatures. One part of what a human is, has only really been recognised recently: the community of micro-organisms that live in our bodies, which interacts with and even modifies us, affecting our moods and influencing our metabolisms etc. This community of micro-organisms changes very rapidly with diet, and it has a huge influence on what is the optimal diet, which is lucky, because it helps us deal with new kinds of food. We might not be able to live on the kind of crap we eat in the West if not for that.

So, the more intelligent question to ask ourselves is, what kind microbes would it be best to encourage to live in our guts, and what kind of food should we eat to do that?

Comment: Re:not so fast (Score 3, Interesting) 128

by jandersen (#47754893) Attached to: Why Do Humans Grow Up So Slowly? Blame the Brain

You'll never be able to convince people that toasters don't cause suicidal tendencies in teenagers.

Depends on the toaster, wouldn't you agree? I have had toasters that made me want to kill whoever sold it to me.

I think, if we take away the hype and the misunderstandins on the part of the article, that what we have here is an interesting observation that does support the theory that brain-growth may be one of the factors determining when we become adults. I don't think it is true, though; it seems to me that the biggest evolutionary advantage we have is, in fact, the prolonged period of brain development and plasticity and the evolution of the family unit that supports a long childhood; this, incidentally, includes the fact that we, as the only species I know of, also live long after reproduction. Having grand-parents who can pass their experience on to the youngest, seems like a huge advantage to me.

Comment: Re:Piracy will kill it (but not in the way you thi (Score 1) 93

by jandersen (#47754831) Attached to: A New Homegrown OS For China Could Arrive By October

You're all flaming enthusiasm, aren't you? You mention compatibility problems as the main reason why we should expect this to fail - but, as someone who has worked with cross platform development, I know that this is only a small problem. It is perfectly possible - easy, even - to write portable code, certainly on the back-end of an application; I have done so across all UNIXes, Linuxes, Windows, and even z/OS, VMS and MPE/iX. The only problems arise at the front-end, but with proper engineering, it is not even all that hard - just look at things like application servers and cloud: they mostly run Linux at the back-end, but you, the user, couldn't care less.

The only reason why we haven't seen companies make their applications in versions for both Windows, Linux and OSX is that somebody has put a lot of effort into stopping it from happening; I won't mention names. However, with Windows becoming obsolete (even Microsoft themselves seem to have lost the spirit), it is not unreasonable to expect that this may change, and China are well positioned to be the main driver of this, so I wouldn't write this new OS just like that.

Comment: Re:Another 'Hello' magazine style article (Score 1) 97

Today? I'm ALWAYS grumpy grampy!

No, I just want to see scientific fact presented as if it is scientific fact. Telling about science doesn't need to be pepped up - the subject is already exciting, as opposed to the disturbed love lives of Big Brother contestants, and people on /. are interested in "News for Nerds", or so I've heard. There was once, when a nature program on telly or a scienticif article would be exactly that: exciting facts about nature; compare David Attenborough standing waist deep in a swamp to todays programs with repeated slow motion replays of lions downing a baby gnu and an idiotic soundtrack. Now, if you tell me you prefer the latter, you might as well seek treatment at Dignitas in Switzerland.

Comment: Another 'Hello' magazine style article (Score 2) 97

Could we flag this kind of articles with a warning, please? I'm getting tired of glossy gossip that's more suited for a write-up about soap-stars and Big Brother. Give us a hex-dump or a wall of equations to look at, not chatty nonsense trying to invoke a sense of "Woooh, mysterious!!!!"

Comment: Re:Wow (Score 4, Insightful) 152

by jandersen (#47718647) Attached to: China Pulls Plug On Genetically Modified Rice and Corn

Considering this is the country that put melamine in milk and cadmium in toys, this speaks volumes.

I would like to know their official justification.

China - the country as a whole or its government - can not be held responsible for crimes committed by private companies or individuals. In fact, these things happened because there was not enough governmental oversight - IOW too much freedom, rather than too little. This is what used to happen in the West, when companies were similarly unrestrained by legislation; things like adding chalk to bread and water to milk. Regulation is not all bad.

As for their official justification, they don't owe us any, but it seems likely that they are worried about the behaviour of the GM companies. Although GM holds huge potential in terms of nutrition, there are many things that give cause for concern: patented genes that spread to neighboring fields, genes that provide restitence to weed-killers spreading to wild species, modifications that hinder the production of viable seeds, so the farmers have to buy new GM seed from the producers rather than growing part of their harvest on next year, etc etc. I'm sure GM would be welcome in most countries if it was not for the companies producing them.

Another thing is that the Chinese are fully capable of developing or buying the technology themselves - so why should they allow in American companies that are only intent on siphoning off as much profit as possible to their share holders?

Comment: As I understand it... (Score 1) 226

A football match is a commercial entertainment show - somebody has invested money (lots of it, in the case of football) in producing the show, and therefore has at least a legitimate claim to the content. I don't necessarily agree with the whole copyright thinking, but if it illegal to film in cinemas, theatres and at concerts, then the same holds for a sports match; why would it be different? It is not something that happens in the public space - these venues are privately owned.

Personally, I think it is a petty attitude to get up in arms over small clips; I don't think people sharing these things online translates into lost revenue - on the contrary, it is likely to make more people want to go to the next match, whereas making a fuss like this puts people off.

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada