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Comment: Re:This is what they mean by "point of no return" (Score 1) 272

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) 415

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) 172

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...

Comment: Re:Is this really good news? (Score 1) 232

by slew (#47723097) Attached to: Dramatic Shifts In Manufacturing Costs Are Driving Companies To US, Mexico

Our forklift drivers had to go through a 2 week certification course, with obstacle courses on several different forklifts that we had in service, plus recurring yearly testing. It was a "prestige" job on the floor.

On the flip side, one summer job when I was a teenager, I was a working in a high-tech fortune 100 company's warehouse (which shall remain nameless) and my manager decided to send me to fork-lift "school" so I could help out loading the trucks. His sole word of advice to me was that the last guy to put the forks through the walls of his office got fired on the spot, so don't screw up.

The "school" was a 2 day hands-on where I got to attempt to drive 2 different styles of forklifts for about 20mins each and watch an OSHA approved fire extinguisher operation video. I spend the rest of the summer trying not to destroy things in the warehouse.

  It was pretty prestigious job for a teenager, but I was getting slightly above minimum wage for that job...

Comment: Re:not hard cosmic radiation (Score 3, Informative) 116

by slew (#47708171) Attached to: Scientists Find Traces of Sea Plankton On ISS Surface

Yes and no-- Depends on what the ISS's orbit is. If it has a circumpolar orbit, (crosses the polar region), then it will pass through the magnetic field lines that funnel cosmic particles into the atmosphere that cause the northern lights. EG-- it would get beamed pretty intensely with concentrated cosmic particles.

If it does not have that kind of orbit, and instead stays around the equator, then no so much. Mostly radiation free, compared to outside the magnetosphere.

ISS orbit track here... Quite equatorial...

What we need to do, is send a lander to the moon loaded with some microbial and planktonic colonies, where it can get beamed by high intensity, raw solar wind radiation, (And more importantly, where we can keep close tabs on it easily) and measure how the colonies do over time.

Accidentally did that back in '67 with Surveyor 3...

The 50-100 organisms survived launch, space vacuum, 3 years of radiation exposure, deep-freeze at an average temperature of only 20 degrees above absolute zero, and no nutrient, water or energy source. (The United States landed 5 Surveyors on the Moon; Surveyor 3 was the only one of the Surveyors visited by any of the six Apollo landings. No other life forms were found in soil samples retrieved by the Apollo missions or by two Soviet unmanned sampling missions, although amino acids - not necessarily of biological origin - were found in soil retrieved by the Apollo astronauts.)

Comment: a few grams of tritium a problem? (Score 2) 305

by slew (#47708051) Attached to: If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

If it were only just getting a few grams of tritium, it isn't that hard to do. On the scale of a few grams you can just get something like this baby and hide it in a commercial seawater desalinization plant to get a few grams after a bit of time (and energy)...

Of course that isn't the most economical way to do it. I think a common military-industrial method today is to put lithium control rods into an experimental-sized fission reactor and collect the tritium gas that comes off... Still no fusion necessary...

Comment: Re:Explains how Merkel was very calm (Score 1) 170

...when it became known that the US were bugging her phone. Probably her reaction was "What's the hubbub, it's not like we don't...".

Of course when things like this become public, you have to make a good show, though...
Feigning outrage and going viral. Isn't that what the modern internet is all about?

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