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Comment: Re:Freedom of choice (Score 1) 1039

While I echo the necessity of vaccines in the modern world as a necessary and effective tool for limiting infections and thereby human suffering, I am not a fan of abandoning basic freedoms just so we can all feel more secure. The law is very clear, the government shall not pass any law that infringes on the free exercise of religion. Thus, if vaccines are created that infringe on my freedom of religious expression, they have to pass a bar that is set pretty high before they can be enforced or have any hope of surviving a basic court challenge.

Tell it to the Mormons of the late 1800s, or some of their current sects.

Tell it to the Rastafarians.

Comment: Hyperacuity. It's real. (Score 1) 179

by jeffb (2.718) (#48580831) Attached to: LG To Show Off New 55-Inch 8K Display at CES

Visual hyperacuity is one factor that often gets ignored in "how much resolution do you need" calculations. You'll see those "bumps" in nearly-flat diagonal lines much more readily than the simple calculations would suggest. Anti-aliasing everything tends to take care of that problem, but it's still pretty unusual to anti-alias everything. For example, does your system allow fractional-pixel cursor movements?

Comment: Re:Missing theory (Score 1) 80

by jeffb (2.718) (#48564571) Attached to: High Temperature Superconductivity Record Smashed By Sulfur Hydride

If observations contradict the theory, then we were ALWAYS in the situation where we did not understand anything. We just didn't realize that we were in that situation -- we "understood" incorrectly.

The next step to enlightenment is realizing that we always understand incorrectly. We aspire to understand well enough -- well enough to make useful predictions, well enough to provide a foundation for further understanding.

Comment: sulfur hydride vs. hydrogen sulfide... (Score 4, Interesting) 80

by jeffb (2.718) (#48558065) Attached to: High Temperature Superconductivity Record Smashed By Sulfur Hydride

I was trying to figure out why they're referring to "sulfur hydride" instead of "hydrogen sulfide". After I got off our broken public wifi and got the paper to load, I see that sulfur turns metallic above 95 GPa, and apparently hydrogen sulfide at high pressures starts to become metallic as well. In that regime, it probably makes more sense to think of it as a metal hydride, if not an intermetallic compound.

Comment: Re:Here is a link for 110C superconductivity (Score 4, Informative) 80

by jeffb (2.718) (#48557935) Attached to: High Temperature Superconductivity Record Smashed By Sulfur Hydride

Ah, yes,, otherwise known as "The Superconducting Enquirer" or "Weekly World Superconductors".

The site has a lot of information about superconductors; some of it is probably quite good. But it's been claiming above-room-temperature superconductivity for a couple of years now. The generally-accepted record for high-temperature superconductivity is around, what, 133 Kelvin? has been publishing reports of higher temperatures since 2006 or 2007, if not before. While the rest of the world waits for confirmed and reproducible reports, seems to report every errant needle-twitch from every lab that ever tried to measure conductivity.

I have no doubt that new materials and theories will continue to yield higher transition temperatures. I have no doubt that, whenever that happens, will report it. It's just that you'll have to wade through an awful lot of bogus reports there first.

Comment: Re:Its all downhill from here kid... (Score 2) 312

by jeffb (2.718) (#48532873) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Electronics-Induced Inattentiveness?

There's some secular (long-term) loss of capacity, to be sure, but I think it's dwarfed by the effects of attention depletion.

My memories of older relatives include some who would zone out in front of the TV, but many others who would spend their days reading books, doing crosswords or jigsaw puzzles, or doing crafts (woodworking, knitting/sewing, etc.). You can't always do much about dementia, but growing old generally does not mean the end of attentiveness.

And remember, if you do it right, you get better at knowing where to direct your attention as you get older. Wisdom can more than make up for small losses in intelligence or focus.

Comment: Re:"You are not ready." (Score 1) 341

by jeffb (2.718) (#48526973) Attached to: New Effort To Grant Legal Rights To Chimpanzees Fails

That's... a pretty amazing piece of projection, there.

In case you're not fluent in English, "we" implies the inclusion of the speaker. I deliberately chose that word, rather than "you", to explicitly include myself in the group not yet mature enough. I may be wrong about the maturity of the general population, but I sure don't see much evidence to the contrary.

Comment: Re:"You are not ready." (Score 1) 341

by jeffb (2.718) (#48525885) Attached to: New Effort To Grant Legal Rights To Chimpanzees Fails

People are resistant to the idea because some of the animals we eat show signs of consciousness and suffering.

So do pets, fetuses, terrorists, and infidels. Before long, so will robots.

We seem to have few qualms about compartmentalizing our empathy based on categories like these. We do, of course, have big problems agreeing on the appropriate compartmentalization.

Comment: "You are not ready." (Score 1, Insightful) 341

by jeffb (2.718) (#48525705) Attached to: New Effort To Grant Legal Rights To Chimpanzees Fails

We're a long, long way from the kind of philosophical maturity that would let us rationalize our laws with respect to sentience, consciousness, suffering, and freedom. In fact, it's apparently pretty early for us even to have a mature conversation about it.

I hope to see substantial progress in my lifetime, but I'm not really expecting it.

Comment: A different take on why they're well-suited: (Score 4, Interesting) 109

by jeffb (2.718) (#48500617) Attached to: Workers On Autism Spectrum Finding Careers In Software Testing

Folks on the autism spectrum may well be better at testing than folks who aren't.

But they may also find the repetitive or tedious parts of testing less painful than folks who aren't.

I know software testing is a big field, encompassing a wide range of activities, and that every job has its monotonous and unrewarding parts. But, from what I've seen -- working with SW development, working with testers, working with kids (and maybe some adults) on the spectrum -- the things that "most of us" find monotonous and tedious are frequently rewarding and reassuring for them.

To the extent that this is true, it's a terrific win/win/win scenario. Companies get people particularly well-suited for the job. People well-suited for the job get work that they enjoy. People not well-suited for the job don't have to stick with drudgery because "nobody likes to do it but somebody has to".

When you don't know what you are doing, do it neatly.