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Comment: Re:Not True (Score 1) 244

by ponos (#46739351) Attached to: PC Gaming Alive and Dominant

What bothers me most are endless DLCs required to get the "full experience". I can understand the difference between a "basic version" and a "deluxe" at +10$. But the fragmentation occuring with N DLCs and "season passes" is frustrating to say the least. I just want a clear pricing structure and a complete game.

Comment: Re:Protests are a display of effort (Score 1) 76

by ponos (#46738509) Attached to: Can Web-Based Protests Be a Force for Change?

I agree with your post. People physically walking in the street are much more impressive than 120000 clicks. Have you seen 100000 people in the street recently? Nevertheless, I would like to add that if the web campaign results in monetary losses, as in people cancelling orders or boycotting companies, it could result in significant distress.

As you say, in the end it has to be much more concrete than virtual "downthumbs".

Comment: Re:Medical doctor (Score 5, Insightful) 727

by ponos (#46738487) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

I am an MD, PhD. For many, many situations the diagnostic performance of an expert clinician with basic tools (stethoscope, diapason etc) is up to 80-90% with all the rest of the technology bringing this up to 95-99% (diminishing returns). Furthermore, in an apocalyptic scenario, the very hard, very complex medical conditions would not be a priority: people dying from cancer at age 78 or from complications of diabetes at age 68 would not require the huge resources we can afford to give them in modern society. We would probably be much more preoccupied with helping women give birth, protecting neonates from infections and hypothermia and doing all that stuff that could save millions of lives in the third world today (like hydrating infants with rotavirus infection).

Obviously, modern doctors are not perfectly prepared for such a scenario, but the basic training is there. So, yes, I think a significant part of medical knowledge would be useful in a post-apocalyptic world, even if the infrastructure is not there.

Comment: Is it the group or its best? (Score 1) 136

by ponos (#46732283) Attached to: Crowd Wisdom Better At Predictions Than Top CIA Analysts

I don't exactly get it. Is it the group as a whole that predicts accurately or its "best predictors"? Because clearly the first hypothesis favors direct democracy as a decision-making process. My intuitive guess is that when you pick a large enough group, some people within that group are clearly going to do better than specialists, because, in a certain way, they are themselves specialists.

Comment: PCs are not good enough. PCs are underused. (Score 2) 564

by ponos (#43439465) Attached to: Why PC Sales Are Declining

The problem is not that MS launched a new OS that underwhelmed. The problem is that we have a machine with a ridiculous amount of CPU and GPU power compared with the portable shit (tablets and phones), yet we can't seem to put this power to meaningful use. I mean, if you don't to scientific computing or video/photo editing or gaming, what's the point of a PC over an underpowered piece of junk or a console? Software developers should really start thinking hard (yes, MS too). But I guess it's far easier developing 2D games for a shiny new platform than doing real innovation.

Comment: Digital watches? (Score 1) 196

by ponos (#43232003) Attached to: Samsung Also Making a Smartwatch

Obligatory Douglas Adams quote:

Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea...

Although I wear a relatively smart digital watch, I often wonder whether an automatic piece of jewelry (say, a Breguet) would be nicer on my wrist. Can't afford, so the question is purely philosophical.

Comment: Re:Read the literature... or not (Score 1) 140

by ponos (#43198587) Attached to: How Scientists Know An Idea Is a Good One

There are many negative results in clinical medicine. For example, all drugs that don't work in a phase III trial deserve their own publication. This is a costly failure for pharma, but less costly than failing post-marketing and being sued by everyone.

Anyway, the term negative results is rather vague. A negative result coming from a well-designed and powered experiment can be very exciting (say, not finding the Higgs boson despite adequate design) because it makes us reconsider current theories. In my domain, for example, showing beyond reasonable doubt that smoking does NOT cause cancer would be a result of profound significance in preventive medicine. This kind of negative result is interesting, but rare. On the other hand, most of the time when a result goes against a very well established theory, the method is probably flawed, or underpowered or the interpretation is incomplete. This is the frequent kind of negative result, the one that most PhD's fear. There is yet another kind of negative result, also frustrating, when your new code/algorithm proves to be inferior to the competition. At least in this case you do contribute something new that might be of use in specific circumstances or in designing a better version in the future.

So, what I'm saying is that most of the time unexpected negative results come from bad methodology, which is why everyone hates them. True negative results are great but require extreme rigor and luck.

Comment: Re:Read the literature... or not (Score 1) 140

by ponos (#43198447) Attached to: How Scientists Know An Idea Is a Good One

Actually, that's why clinical trials are now supposed to be registered (, so that when they end, we get to know what they found (or not). This way, pharma cannot avoid bad publicity, for example. It doesn't work perfectly because I'm not aware of someone actually verifying that studies did get published, but the mechanism is there and if agency "X" decides to have a look it should have a quick idea of who studied what. The situation is of course much less well-documented when it doesn't concern real patients, but most funding agencies do want to know what you did with their money, including not finding stuff.

Comment: It's also about stability (Score 1) 328

by ponos (#42291891) Attached to: Is It Worth Investing In a High-Efficiency Power Supply?

Higher quality PSUs will provide stable voltage and current with much less ripple than low-end PSUs. Furthermore, you get goods like overcurrent protection, modular cabling and, if you choose wisely, low noise. In my opinion, a high quality PSU is a critical component and helps you get a longer life from your components. For example, a Seasonic G-550 80+ Gold can be found for $90 and it should keep almost any user happy. I'm not saying you should get it for the Gold rating, but for the overall quality...

Comment: You can't crowd-source the theory of relativity (Score 1) 217

by ponos (#42097185) Attached to: Finding a Crowdsourced Cure For Brain Cancer

I treat people with brain cancer for a living in a university hospital. As someone once said, 10 barbers won't make your haircut 10x faster. In the end, if his disease is bad, there is simply not much to be done today in order to obtain a cure. When I say "bad disease", I don't mean stage or grade or histology. I mean the specific population of cells with the specific DNA alterations that he has in his head. His best chance is probably in a clinical trial. Believing that we somehow, somewhere, have a cure for his disease and getting access to it is just an act of publicity is unfortunately naive.

Comment: Re::3 (Score 1) 710

by ponos (#40374791) Attached to: <em>The Hobbit's</em> Higher Frame Rate To Cost Theater Operators

a) Games have variable frame rate, so people want 60 fps average in order to never get more than say 25 fps min.
b) Games are competitive. If I play at 20fps, I get information (for example enemy position) every 50ms. If I play at 60 fps, I get information every 16.6ms. Even if I don't use 100% of the information, this is likely to be an advantage. At a pro level, these things count.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun