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Comment: Re:I seem to remember... (Score 2) 275

by sFurbo (#47745903) Attached to: Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google
The barriers for entry into the online storage market are low to the point of being non-existent. It is much less of a problem in this area than with e.g. OSes or oil production. And we are, presumably, not ending up with one player, but two: Amazon and Google, which should also limit foul play (but not eliminate it).

Comment: Re: Women should earn more than men. (Score 1) 98

The assumption behind sexist things is that women are somehow lesser. This means that a man with attributes (e.g. what you said) which are seen as "traditionally female" is assumed to be a "lesser man" because he's more like a woman. And people don't like helping a lesser man because why bother, right?

You don't need a hierarchy to explain the difference, stereotypes will do. Men are not expected to need help, so we don't help them.

If it was a hierarchy, we would expect either "manly" women (better women) or "womanly" men (lesser men) to be preferred, which is not what we observe: Both genders are expected to conform to the stereotype, and are punished for not doing so.

Comment: Re:That's not what van der Waals is! (Score 1) 74

by sFurbo (#47668949) Attached to: Why Hasn't This Asteroid Disintegrated?
Aren't vdW interactions any non-ionic, non-covalent interactions, including dipole-dipole (though I wouldn't include hydrogen bonding, as they are partly covalent)? With London forces, that falls off with r^-6 being an example of vdW interactions?'

Of course, that still makes the summary wrong, but differently wrong.

Comment: Re:What a silly title ... (Score 1) 115

by sFurbo (#47529003) Attached to: 'Optical Fiber' Made Out of Thin Air

nice straw-man you built there

It's not a straw man, as I did not indicate that you meant that gold was not a metal. It is an analogy, and possibly a bad analogy, like your platypus-duck one.

they should have said something like "optical fiber effect replicated in thin air" ...

If only there was some way to indicate that a phrase wasn't used literally, they could have used that in the title, and then people wouldn't be think they had made air solid and made a fiber out of it.

Comment: Re:Advanced? (Score 1) 95

by sFurbo (#47521213) Attached to: Finding Life In Space By Looking For Extraterrestrial Pollution
"Science" is the collective name for the methods for acquiring knowledge that has, over the last couple of thousand years, been shown to yield self-consistent results that are confirmable by other ways to get the same information. There might be other methods we haven't thought of yet (and realistically, "science" in a thousand years will include more methods than it does today), but for now, the methods collectively known as "science" are the ones we know work.

That is why the assumption that a method outside of science is not helpful in acquiring knowledge is reasonable.

Comment: Re:What a silly title ... (Score 1) 115

by sFurbo (#47521163) Attached to: 'Optical Fiber' Made Out of Thin Air
That would be in the same way that it would be silly to call gold a metal, because it is too soft to replace steel?

This does more or less what an optical fiber does: It keeps light on the right path by using differences in refractive index (though I imagine the exact process is different: Optical fibers use total internal reflection, this probably just uses refraction). An optical fiber has the additional advantage of being able to go around corners, but that is not what makes it an optical fiber; the refractive index profile is.

Comment: Re:But what does it do? (Score 1) 115

by sFurbo (#47521143) Attached to: 'Optical Fiber' Made Out of Thin Air
What about to get the reflected beam back to the starting point (thus "remote sensing", being able to do e.g. a Raman spectrum at a long distance)? Here, you have light scattering in all directions. The optical fiber will make sure that more of it gets back the way the original laser beam came. That could be phrased as "amplification", though I think another word would be more correct.

Comment: Re:The problem is... (Score 1) 190

by sFurbo (#47513911) Attached to: Why Are the World's Scientists Continuing To Take Chances With Smallpox?

[...] the ideal virus to use as a biological weapon is a virus with long, mostly asymptomatic infectious phase and a high mortality rate.

No, the ideal biological weapon does not spread from person to person. Any disease that does is guaranteed to infect your own population as well; it is basically a gun you can't aim, or a doomsday device (though not literally, it doesn't kill everybody).

Comment: Re:The problem is... (Score 1) 190

by sFurbo (#47513689) Attached to: Why Are the World's Scientists Continuing To Take Chances With Smallpox?

As an educated guess, the study into smallpox has been to figure out out why it is so contagious so that we can build our own great contagion.

Or to figure out why it is so contagious, so we can better treat future diseases that uses the same methods. Without more information, it is hard to tell which end goal is more likely.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito

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