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Comment: Correlation is not causation (Score 2, Interesting) 167

by pseudotensor (#36902554) Attached to: Researchers Say Dark Winters Led To Bigger Human Brains
Cold didn't have to *lead* to anything. Using the word "Led" in the title is misleading because it suggests a causal link. For all we know, having bigger brains made people leave hotter areas because they felt uncomfortable (I know I feel REALLY bad when it's hot, and I have a HUGE brain) or were more adventurous and sought to live in new areas.

Comment: Re:So what? (Score 0) 531

by pseudotensor (#35820812) Attached to: The End of the "Age of Speed"
Money is just an agreement about value of goods. So saying the common theme is money is saying nothing useful. What money buys is resources and goods, and if the cost of travel were less because fuel and parts (and so oil in general) were more plentiful, then we'd be doing more air travel than conferencing than today.

Comment: Manifestation of Peak Oil? (Score 0) 531

by pseudotensor (#35820756) Attached to: The End of the "Age of Speed"
If resources were less limited, we'd still be increasing speed as well as other features. Such backwardization of technology is predicted by peak oil. Oil is the basis for most of our capabilities, including generating fuel and parts for space shuttles, etc. Only with a breakthrough, like fusion, will we avoid the inevitable loss of forwardization that oil has provided. Most other energy technologies, even solar, would require too much oil to create in order to satisfy our needs.

Comment: Re:Different kind of change (Score 0) 140

by pseudotensor (#34800258) Attached to: It's Surprisingly Hard To Notice When Moving Objects Change
Agreed. The "motion detector" in our visual cortex must be swamped by the "true" motion (true defined by movie creator's intentions). I can too point my eyes directly at the center point but still see that the side colors are changing. So it's not that the colors stop changing, it's that the "effective motion" of the colors changing was swamped by the "true motion". Most psychology papers seem naive like this in that they think they tested one thing, while they actually tested something different. Why can't they have the intuition that random slashdot people have?

+ - Wikileaks censored at Research Institutions

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Memo received by those at DOE-funded Stanford-based research site:

To: SLAC Staff and Community
Subject: Do Not Access wikileaks.org Using Government Resources

The Department of Energy has determined that anyone using a DOE resource to access wikileaks.org poses a serious security risk. An extract from an official DOE communication is included here:

-----
Any users navigating to wikileaks.org will pose a serious risk of introducing classified information to an unclassified machine. Clem Boylston, CISO for the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence sent out a note to the community stating, “Any document that is on an Internet web site that is purported to be classified cannot be downloaded to an unclassified computer system without contaminating the unclassified computer system (i.e., a spill).” In this case, “downloaded” would not only mean the actual process of saving it to the hard drive, but also the simple case of viewing it as the information is cached on the local machine when doing so.

Anyone using their DOE computer to view the purported classified information posted on the website would merit involvement to the appropriate DOE authorities for a full review and analysis of severity
-----

Accordingly, no SLAC resource (i.e., computer, network, VPN, SLAC wireless) may be used to access or assist in accessing wikileaks.org by any SLAC staff member or visitor.

Thank you,
Sandy Merola"
Biotech

Human Sperm Produced In the Laboratory 368

Posted by timothy
from the that's-not-starting-from-scratch dept.
duh P3rf3ss3r writes "The BBC is carrying a report from a team of researchers at Newcastle University who claim to have developed a the first 'artificial' human sperm from stem cells. The research, reported in the journal Stem Cells and Development, involved selecting meristematic germ cells from a human embryonic stem cell culture and inducing meiosis, thus producing a haploid gamete. The authors claim that the resulting sperm are fully formed, mature, human sperm cells but the announcement has been greeted with mixed reaction from colleagues who claim the procedure is ethically questionable and that the gametes produced are of inferior levels of maturation."
Java

Java Program Uses Neural Networks To Monitor Games 100

Posted by Soulskill
from the automating-the-automation dept.
tr0p writes "Java developers have used the open source Neuroph neural network framework to monitor video game players while they play and then provide helpful situational awareness, such as audio queues when a power-up is ready or on-the-fly macros for combo attacks. The developers have published an article describing many of the technical details of their implementation. 'There are two different types of neural networks used by DotA AutoScript. The first type is a simple binary image classifier. It uses Neuroph's "Multi-Layer Perceptron" class to model a neural network with an input neurons layer, one hidden neurons layer, and an output neurons layer. Exposing an image to the input layer neurons causes the output layer neurons to produce the probability of a match for each of the images it has been trained to identify; one trained image per output neuron.'"

Comment: Noise allows brain to impress upon stimulus (Score 1) 743

by pseudotensor (#27159587) Attached to: Young People Prefer "Sizzle Sounds" of MP3 Format
I think the guy's conclusion is biased and uninsightful. Clearly this is a go-get-it type of research, not testing hypothesis but performing experiments and then digging or picking favorite conclusions. More likely is the background noise allows the brain to believe there is more essence to the song than there really is. It's similar with some video games and vision -- the latest graphics can actually appear worse because our internal impression was filling in the essence within the low resolution frames. Clearly there is an element of getting used to things and it would be hard to go to a low res game or recording that you weren't at all used to. But moving forward into perfect clarity always leaves the human less impressed because it dissolves the human input to the stimulus.

"It's when they say 2 + 2 = 5 that I begin to argue." -- Eric Pepke

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