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Comment: Re:Functional equivalence can/may be sufficient. (Score 1) 154

by plus_M (#43204099) Attached to: "Lazarus Project" Clones Extinct Frog
This analogy isn't really appropriate. Organisms are not programs, and the operation of DNA and proteins cannot be considered something along the lines of an API call. Life is an emergent phenomenon, and mutations that do nothing but change the rate at which proteins get phosphorylated can cause diseases as complicated as cancer. This is particularly true of developing organisms. We don't really have a firm grasp on how differences in mitochondrial DNA can affect the growth of organisms, so we can't say with certainty that these "Lazarus" frogs can truly be considered an extinct species brought back to life.

Comment: Inter-node communication (Score 4, Informative) 160

by plus_M (#43151195) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Building a Cheap Computing Cluster?
What do you intend to use for inter-node communication? Gigabit ethernet? You need to realize that latency in inter-node communication can cause *extremely* poor scaling for non-trivial parallelization. Scientific computing clusters typically use infiniband or something like it, which has extremely slow latency, but the equipment will cost you a pretty penny. If you are interested in doing computations across multiple computing nodes, you should really setup just two nodes and benchmark what kind of speed increase there is between running the job on a single node and on two nodes. My guess is that you are going to get significantly less than a 2x speedup. It is entirely possible that the calculation will be *slower* on two nodes than on just one. Of course, if you are just running a massive number of unrelated calculations, then inter-node communication becomes much less important, and this won't be an issue.

Comment: Re:It's not arbitrary. (Score 1) 270

by plus_M (#42822487) Attached to: Finnish Minister Wants To Expand Pornography Censorship
I am not claiming that reality is subjective. I am claiming that the fact that there is not a consensus as to what behaviour is considered acceptable is evidence that no one person can believably claim to have a privileged view as to what *is* correct. Reality is clearly not subjective, but ones interpretation of reality is, by definition. So, while you claim that certain behaviours are not healthy or acceptable, it ultimately comes down to being able to prove that the actions you are condoning (namely, prohibition of certain online content such as bestiality and violent pornography, as well as social stigmatization of obesity) will have a positive effect on society. And it is at this point that it comes down to what one values more, the sanctity of freedom of expression, or the need to preserve your personal sense of "morality" or "wholesomeness". Ultimately, YOU are the one who is pushing your personal and arbitrary standards on others by encouraging legislation that outlaws certain types of information.

With regards to obesity, you point out that it is a scientific fact that obesity leads to health problems. That is all well and good, but my point was that who are *you* to *judge* others for their life choices? Smoking is also extremely unhealthy, but I don't go around pointing fingers at and chastising people for choosing to smoke. It is not your place to tell people what they should and should not do with their own body. Yes, people should be made aware of the consequences of their choices, but discriminating against them for making life choices that you find unsavoury is not acceptable.

Comment: Re:I support discrimination against the obese (Score 1) 270

by plus_M (#42821549) Attached to: Finnish Minister Wants To Expand Pornography Censorship
I don't think that Kielistic was trying to imply that you believe that homosexuality, mixed-race relations, etc are unhealthy or bad. S/he was pointing out that if you asked 10 different people what behaviour is unhealthy and should be banned, you would get 10 different answers. Who are you to decide that X should be banned, but Y should be allowed? Moreover, who are you to judge people who are considered by society's standards to be overweight?

+ - Facebook Banter More Memorable Than Lines from Recent Books->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Scientists have found that, when it comes to mental recall, people are far more likely to remember the text of idle chitchat on social media platforms like Facebook than the carefully crafted sentences of books. The team gathered 200 Facebook posts from the accounts of undergraduate research assistants, such as "Bc sometimes it makes me wonder" and "The library is a place to study, not to talk on your phone." They also randomly selected 200 sentences from recently published books, gathered from free text on Sentences included, "Underneath the mass of facial hair beamed a large smile," and "Even honor had its limits." Facebook posts were one-and-a-half times as memorable as the book sentences. The researchers speculate that effortless chatter is better than well-crafted sentences at tapping into our minds' basic language capacities—because human brains evolved to prioritize and remember unfiltered information from social interaction."
Link to Original Source

Comment: "H1N1" (Score 5, Insightful) 368

by plus_M (#28296737) Attached to: WHO Declares H1N1's Spread Officially a Pandemic
I admit I'm not the most knowledgeable about this topic, but I *do* know that H1N1 is not a very specific name for this influenza strain. In the past, we have named influenza outbreaks such as these after their country of origin (see Spanish Flu, Hong Kong Flu, Asian Flu), and in light of this I think a more appropriate name would be "Mexican Flu".

Comment: Re:Observe and learn (Score 1) 429

by plus_M (#27775087) Attached to: "Miraculous" Stem Cell Progress Reported In China

The truth is, Bush didn't ban stem cell research. Bush didn't even ban embryonic stem cell research. He only banned federal level funding for it. The States and the private sector were free to do as they pleased.

Not so much. Almost all research institutes that would deal with stem cell research receive federal funds. Banning federal level funding for stem cell research has the effect that any equipment bought with federal funds are not to be used with stem cell research. Most labs are stocked with equipment that have, at least partially, been bought with federal funds. As such, federal funding acts as a blight that infects everything it touches with the inability to be used in embryonic stem cell research. If you want to do embryonic stem cell research, you have to buy an entire new lab full of equipment paid for by anyone but the government. As such the federal funding ban for embryonic stem cell research essentially stopped embryonic stem cell research in the United States.

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel