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Comment: Re:What did Feynman think of later for E & M? (Score 1) 70

by slew (#47798777) Attached to: Feynman Lectures Released Free Online

Don't know of such a writing, but perhaps he came up with a clever way to teach classical electrodynamics in a way that mirrors his electron-to-electron time-symmetric approach to QED (i.e., Wheeler/Feynman absorber theory). I mean in a way that is clever enough to think you might actually understand it w/o actually understanding it (which is sadly often a problem with Feynman lectures)... Path integrals and Feynman diagrams for classical electrodynamics? I shutter at the thought of that in sophomore-level physics...

Comment: Re:Why the need to slow down the CPU ? (Score 1) 179

by slew (#47787489) Attached to: Intel's Haswell-E Desktop CPU Debuts With Eight Cores, DDR4 Memory

Can anyone please tell us why is there a need to slow down the CPU speed in order to put in more cores?

Thermals. More CPUs generate more heat, more heat with the same thermal envelope means you can't run each CPU as fast. Of course in a different environment (say with a liquid nitrogen cooling rig vs an air cooled rig), you could probably clock those CPUs higher.

Just because you can put in more CPUs doesn't mean you should. It used to be the limiting engineering factors were area vs chip yield. Now days thermals are arguably the most important consideration because often you are limited both thermally (and sometimes even electrically) to the amount of power you can deliver to a square millimeter of a computer chip.

+ - Death Valley's Sailing Stones Caught in the Act->

Submitted by Capt.Albatross
Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "The flat surface of the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley is littered with rocks, some weighing hundreds of kilograms, each at the end of a track indicating that it has somehow slid across the surface. The mechanism behind this has been the subject of much speculation but little evidence, until a trio of scientists caught them in action with cameras and GPS."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:It'd hardly be surprising. (Score 1) 540

by slew (#47769027) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Motivation to preserve? There's really no good motivation for preserving DNA other than historical preservation. Think of this like preserving the source code for apple //e prodos. The ecosystem which that source code was valuable has been long lost, probably never to come again. Newer source code that serves a similar ecological niche in the new eco-system will evolve and probably be better than it ever was.

Some people seem to be obsessed with a philosophy no different than modern day Noah's ark where we somehow survive a major calamity and reboot the past. However, when confronted with modern day evidence of the problems with mono-culture and invasive species which threaten to unbalance whole ecosystems, they somehow fail to see that these survivors of this modern day Noah's ark are likely the vehicles of the new mono-culture and invasive species of our own making. Are we so important that our historical status-quo existence (e.g., the foods we enjoy from our childhood and furry animals we like to watch) trumps the natural development of the ecosystem, or should we learn to adapt or perish as nearly all other species under the sun?

I don't think we ask these types of questions enough. Certainly we have done quite a bit of homo-forming of our planet (e.g., dams, farming, agriculture, mining, industry) over the millennia to get where we are today, but should attempting to recapture the past really be a goal? Or are we just introspectively thrashing ourselves with self-hate for currently/temporarily being at the top of the food chain of our planet? With great power comes great responsibility, but on the other hand is this chant the new "white-man's burden"?

Comment: Re:This is what they mean by "point of no return" (Score 1) 273

by slew (#47751833) Attached to: Numerous Methane Leaks Found On Atlantic Sea Floor

This stuff "just happens" over the course of literally millions of years(from your own links). Not a couple hundred.

I was not assigning fault or commenting on timescales or any coincidences, but pointing out this is likely spilled milk at this point.

Our species will need to adapt to survive, there is no going back to pre-industrial times (or even staying at 1990 carbon levels, as if that would have helped). These things eventually happen and we will need to deal with it eventually.

Note that a few methane plumes is not going to do anything on the timescales of my lifetime either (as many scientists have pointed out, this magnitude of methane plumes are likely to be eaten by bacteria before it gets into the atmosphere), but if large scale methane calthrate deposits (which these are not) were to actually to start a massive release at this point, there's not much we can do about it

Unless I'm mistaken, we really don't have much ability to control things on a geological level yet (and no blowing up all our thermonuclear arsenals to create nuclear winter does not qualify as control, it's basically an uncontrolled experiment). It may be premature to say that any efforts will likely be futile at this point because little is known about this phenomena in specific or climates in general, but it seems to me like we are at the mercy of our planet on this topic (as we always were)...

Comment: Re:I give up (Score 1) 421

by slew (#47740657) Attached to: South Carolina Student Arrested For "Killing Pet Dinosaur"

Society is collectively out of their damn minds. Pretty soon sneezing in public will almost certainly be considered a biological weapon attack, because Ebola!!!...arrest and solitary him immediately!

Not sneezing itself, but saying "bless you" when someone else sneezes will get you suspended, but shutter to think what would happen if someone said "god is great" when someone sneezed...

Comment: Re:Smart. Dumb. Doesn't matter. (Score 1) 243

by slew (#47740589) Attached to: It's Dumb To Tell Kids They're Smart

Knowing the right people basically requires being in the right place at the right time. For example, choosing one university over another and having your friends intersect with just the right set of people to land you a job. Or meeting a person who just happens to know someone else in a party you are introduced to giving you a tip about joining a startup. Taking the same exercise class at a gym and with someone that knows someone you do can do business with. Choosing to live in one apartment vs another and having a specific neighbor...

In a similar vein, during one conversation I had with my soon to be father-inlaw, he asked me if I could choose, would I be lucky or smart. I told him if I could choose, I would be lucky.

He was quite surprised by my answer, as he expected the typical Chinese answer of being smart (presumably so I could make more money). However, I told him if I could actually choose, smart people are merely a dime a dozen, but lucky people are far more rare if not completely statistically impossible and to choose that would be much more valuable...

After hearing my answer, I think he recognized the wisdom of this choice.

Comment: who writes the simulator? (Score 1) 173

by slew (#47733929) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

Let's see if...

Google writes the software for the car
Google writes (or pays someone else to write) the simulator
Google runs the test
Google reports the results

Seems like with simulations we would be somehow implicitly trusting google that their simulator sufficiently models reality vs only modeling what the self driving software expected...

Although simulation has its place to improve testability during training and development, how does this test against reality? The reason to test against reality is generally to cover the stuff that you *didn't* expect. It's generally quite easy to fool yourself (and others) that something is good enough if you remove this link back to reality...

Comment: Re:We already know how to prevent cancer (Score 1) 185

by slew (#47731725) Attached to: New Research Suggests Cancer May Be an Intrinsic Property of Cells

Let's see here what we have here...

1.Don't use tobacco...

Okay that one has some science behind it...

2. Eat a healthy diet... Although making healthy selections at the grocery store and at mealtime can't guarantee cancer prevention, it might help reduce your risk.

3. Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active... Maintaining a healthy weight might lower the risk of various types of cancer

4. Protect yourself from the sun

Apparently they didn't get the news that apparently sunscreen doesn't help

5. Get immunized...

For HepB sure, for HPV, the jury is still out as "Most infections with high-risk HPVs do not cause cancer. Many HPV infections go away on their own within 1 to 2 years. However, infections that last for many years increase a person’s risk of developing cancer..."

6. Avoid risky behaviors...

Like unprotected sex and sharing intravenous needles? Cancer is only a minor reason not do partake in these activities....

7. Get regular medical care...

Actual screening for cancer has only been clinically shown to be effective for breast, lung, colon and cervical cancer. This doesn't actually prevent cancer, only increased the odds of catching it before it becomes serious.

For some people, they tend to strongly advocate these things because it is what they do anyhow. As for the science behind a list like this, the science somewhat vague. Other than stopping smoking and getting your vaccinations, (one reducing environmental exposure and the HepB issue), it's a mixed bag when it comes to science.

The whole thing about eating health is that we really don't know what the hell we are talking about yet. First it's low fat, then it's low sugar, then eating cholesterol is bad, then we find out there's only a minimal relationship to the cholesterol we eat, and then we find out that there's good and bad cholesterol and then it doesn't really show a strong correlation.... Then vitamins good, then vitamins bad... Exercise good, too much exercise bad...

Of course, the answer is not to eat cheeseburgers and not exercise, the take away is to don't take all this crap on the internet as gospel, and all things in moderation, right? ;^)

Comment: Re:We already know how to prevent cancer (Score 1) 185

by slew (#47724985) Attached to: New Research Suggests Cancer May Be an Intrinsic Property of Cells

Actually, it is unknown if these (or any things) reduce any specific persons' chance of getting non-environmental** forms cancer.
At best, it is only shown by correlation, and as you know correlation is not causation, it is only an average risk profile, because we do not yet know what causes most cancers, so we do not know how to prevent it. The tip off that this is pseudo-science is the copious use of the hedging word "might" in your linked article...

** as opposed to cancers like mesothelioma

Comment: Re: "Not eradicated" isn't needed (Score 1) 185

by slew (#47724887) Attached to: New Research Suggests Cancer May Be an Intrinsic Property of Cells

Most diseases are simply treated (aka managed). A few can be cured (so that you no longer have that condition) like a bacterial infection. It may be the case that cancer is only treatable because potential cures would require changing or suppressing fundamental biochemical processes that evolved into our bodily systems (and can't be simply changed or suppressed w/o a radical redesign of our biochemical system).

I'm totally making this up, but if cancer processes were to be discovered to be mostly a function of a rapid partially undifferentiated cell division pathway that occurs when you are a blastosphere that was partly reused in the process to heal skin break or say white-blood cell production etc, etc, it wouldn't be simple to just disable this in your dna before you were born (as that would kill embryotic development). It also wouldn't be safe to disable it completely later because many other things depended on it. The fact that a certain biochemical process must be present to exist in the first place, may have resulted in our evolutionary path relying on the underlying mechanism for many other processes in a deeply nested and intertwined way that might be near impossible to for us to untangle. This may mean that cancer will never really be cured, only treated/managed.

On the flip side, if it were some sort of mutation, or dna methlyization that no critical biochemical system relies on (because it wasn't part of a deep evolutionary pathway), it might be straightforward to just screen for it, or modify dna replication processes to eliminate it, or develop some inhibiting/methlyization factor to markup the dna to avoid the process altogether. That might be considered a cure for cancer.

Today when we say someone is "cured" of cancer, we are really not being honest. The person survived the treatment and they appear to be cancer free for a period of time. The fact is that since we did not actually cure the cancer, it could go out of remission and require more treatment (sadly for some people I knew this unfortunately is not an unlikely outcome).

Of course having a "cure" might be semantical, as a lifetime of management could render it to less critical status (say like type1 diabetes), but if the underlying triggers are part of a multitude of critical biochemical process (because of evolution) it may prove to be quite hard to even have an effective treatment to manage cancer in difficult cases (and/or the side-effects could be pretty bad).

Comment: Re:Pick a different job. (Score 1) 548

by slew (#47724029) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

If you mean the quality of code that gets churned by your average coder, then yes, it is just like plumbing.

At least a plumber's work is often assembled from standard parts and inspected before it's sealed up behind a wall never to see the light again.
Sometimes I wish the code I've had to troubleshoot was assembled from standard parts and gotten a minimal once-over before going into production...

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.