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Comment: Re:It's the measurement (Score 1) 123

by slew (#49168657) Attached to: Photo First: Light Captured As Both Particle and Wave

I wish physicists would stop using the word "measurement" when talking about quantum mechanics. To detect fundamental particles we have to interact with them in an intrusive or destructive way. It's not like putting a rock on a scale to measure its weight or putting a ruler to a golf ball. We don't get to keep the original particle after we're done. It's more like colliding snowballs with other snowballs to probe their properties. You destroy or transform them in the process. If this was how we conveyed the concepts, the quantum ideas would become a lot more understandable.

Well, except for that QM entanglement thing...

It's a bit difficult to explain QM entanglement except in reference to a conserved property (say spin) and a subsequent measurement (to deduce the partial QM state in an entangled system).

Also, I don't know if it's really possible to "understand" QM in a way that is intuitive...

I am going to tell you what nature behaves like. If you will simply admit that maybe she does behave like this, you will find her a delightful, entrancing thing. Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, ‘but how can it be like that?’ because you will get ‘down the drain,’ into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that.
  -- Richard Feynman

I would venture to guess most of us on /. comprehend far less of QM than Mr Feynman...

Comment: Re:This attitude pisses me off (Score 1) 123

by slew (#49168487) Attached to: Photo First: Light Captured As Both Particle and Wave

But the speed of light is finite, so it has to travel through time to go between two points. But because from the photon's perspective it's travel is instantaneous, it can't experience that time. So a photon doesn't know where it's going to land, until it does. And so until it does land, it could have landed anywhere. So when a photon is created, it travels out in all directions, like a wave, until it lands somewhere and the wave collapses.

Yes, and no... another way to think of it is that from the frame of reference of the photon, it doesn't really need to "travel" at all (with infinite time dilation, comes infinite length contraction).

It sort of brings new way to think about the phrase, no matter where you go, there you are... (Buckaroo Banzai paraphrasing Confucius)...

Another thing to think about it is that a photon really is never really a particle or wave but simply an artifact of book-keeping energy in an electromagnetic field (or perhaps a virtual electron-positron Dirac field in the QM limit)....

Comment: Re:Trek is Outdated. (Score 1) 230

by slew (#49166421) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

Now I don't pretend to tell you how to find happiness and love when every day is just a struggle to survive, but I do insist that you do survive because the days and the years ahead are worth living for. One day soon man is going to be able to harness incredible energies, maybe even the atom. Energies that could ultimately hurl us to other worlds in some sort of spaceship. And the men that reach out into space will be able to find ways to feed the hungry millions of the world and to cure their diseases. They will be able to find a way to give each man hope and a common future, and those are the days worth living for....
  --Edith Keeler in The City on the Edge of Forever

I don't think the issue is that "if everyone thinks about the issues the same way", it is if somehow we figure out how to lift the burdens of survival and give people hope for a better future, people won't be happy, but they will be able to find their own happiness.

Of course if your version of happiness depends on the subjugation or thought control of others, well, I suppose you will never be happy...

FWIW, the reason it's outdated is that among the "radical" set today is a backlash against exploration for discovery and novelty in favor of a local movement (e.g., local food, local business, rediscovery of history, rejection of modernism, etc).

Comment: Re:Don't Be Sad (Score 1) 407

by slew (#49149357) Attached to: Leonard Nimoy Dies At 83

...These little instruments of correction, these gentle aids to the power and honour of families, these slight favours that might so incommode you, are only to be obtained now by interest and importunity. They are sought by so many, and they are granted (comparatively) to so few! It used not to be so, but France in all such things is changed for the worse. Our not remote ancestors held the right of life and death over the surrounding vulgar...

Or something totally different, but like that... ;^)
(kinda makes you wonder if they *really* paraphrased this from dickens or not)

Comment: Re:Good idea but... (Score 2) 243

by slew (#49132901) Attached to: The Peculiar Economics of Developing New Antibiotics

they also need to put in a requirement that if you accept the prize money, then you give up the patent, allowing generic drugs.

Otherwise I foresee a case where they take the $2 billion profit, then go ahead and charge $10,000 a pill, just like cancer drugs.

In that situation where they cannot actually manufacture the drug in commercially viable situation, mostly likely they will never commercially manufacture the drug and there will only be generics. This will severely complicate the regulatory process as generics are generally licensed relative to their non-generic counterparts. Since there won't be any non-generics, there will little to benchmark the purity and efficacy of the generic drugs against. For some things this may not be a problem, but it seems that in general it will lead to only sub-optimal drugs being available.

I think what most people forget is that the delivery system is often as important as the active chemical in many drug treatments. Sure there are many common delivery mechanisms like pills that dissolve in the stomach and deliver the drug at certain pre-determined rate (commonly known as time-release), but many generic manufacturers attempt to move up the generic food chain by offering customized delivery systems that aren't part of the original study (e.g., time release instead of 2 doses a day, or multi-valent) or are incapable of producing the original tested delivery system (e.g., transdermal, to avoid stomach acid and intestinal absorption issues, etc) and simply produce chemically equivalent pill formulations that have off-the-shelf inactive compounding ingredients that involve little testing under the assumption of bio-equivalence or bio-availablity. Conversely, they might not be chemically equivalent (e.g., have more or less active ingredients), but in conjunction with the delivery system have similar bio-availablity (on average, but not necessarily for different individuals) or be "juiced" to counter chemical shelf life degradation (to improve profit margin on the generics).

Most likely simple broad-spectrum antibiotic drugs in generic pill form probably won't suffer many of these issues, but the issue of generics isn't as simple as most people make it out to be...

I think it's easy to argue that things should be available to the masses as soon as possible, but the initial availability is also an important part of the drug release process. Having this as standard as possible helps to make sure that the drug can be fine-tuned before it gets to the generic stage. You might also argue of the length of the initial availability period, but it's arguable that if a patent is 20 years, and it takes 10 years for approval, that 5-10 years of widespread availability in a standard form for a drug with potential short and long term side effects might not be totally unreasonable. But I guess that all depends on risk tolerance (f thousands of people are dying of a resistant bacterial infection, the relative risk of less testing might be lower)...

Comment: Re:i always thought this was a good idea (Score 1) 243

by slew (#49132627) Attached to: The Peculiar Economics of Developing New Antibiotics

A bounty? No. Just give the money as grants to academic research labs applying to do a search for new antibiotics.

No hoping someone has the funding and inclination to try themselves, an if no, oh well. Give a job doing it directly to those interested in the project.

No, that's how we fund the military. When you throw money out there in search of weapons, instead of getting weapons programs, we get jobs programs that produce weapons that nobody wants. Seems like it might work in principle, but in practice it often doesn't pan out as well as you hope...

Often to get results, you really have to get people invested in the outcome, not simply the process...

Comment: my only advice (Score 1) 698

by slew (#49131665) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Terminally Ill - What Wisdom Should I Pass On To My Geek Daughter?

Make sure that your daughter and wife both know that they can leave you behind and still be happy w/o you.

I know that's hard to hear, but there will probably come a time where your wife might meet someone who will want to be a father figure to your daughter. Letting them both know that you are okay with that (in principle) w/o dwelling on specifics, can probably help them lead a happier life than if they constantly felt they would be betraying you by going that route. You won't be there and you cannot anticipate their needs after you are gone (even with piles of money in the bank and family and friends to watch over them who may be eventually too busy with their own nuclear families to adequately keep watch)...

That is if you think you have the courage to broach the subject. In a way, that is the ultimate sacrifice you can make for their happiness, but it's probably harder than cutting off your hand to save your life...

Comment: Re:Instilling values more important (Score 1) 698

by slew (#49130663) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Terminally Ill - What Wisdom Should I Pass On To My Geek Daughter?

Remember, not everyone deserves the same respect, but the reasons that individuals may deserve more or less respect is based on the individual, not on any easy category that the individual has no control over. She should judge people, but she should judge them for things within their control, for their choices. Everyone should start out as a blank slate and through observation the level of respect is determined.

I don't know how you are defining respect, but it is good to give some base level of respect is for everyone. It is too easy to dehumanize people in this era of virtual interaction over the internet, and when we make it easy to dehumanizing each other, it seems to me that is the beginning of the end (FYI dehumanization is how both militaries and terrorist help train their operatives to perform acts that they normally wouldn't do)...

Additionally, as you say respect is earned, not deserved. Since you can't respect people relative to what they haven't done yet, no more than you can respect people for what category they seem to fit in, I see no rational way to fully judge people on the limited observations that we have of most people. We cannot know others motives or decision processes, only the outcome relative to our own experiences and that seems like a terribly short sighted way for someone to judge another (especially for someone who is young and inexperienced in the world).

As a terrible example, imagine how you might respect something your parents do as a child, then maybe not respect them as a teenager, and then when you become a parent, you realize that you have a different level of respect for their actions. What you parents did and their frame of mind in the past did not change, but what did change was your perspective along the way.

The corollary is that like beauty, respect seems to be mostly in the eye of the beholder, and like beauty, depending on your definition, most people have some base form of it that all beholders should embrace over time.

There is finite time on this earth for everyone, and we need to make the best of it and immortality (if you wish it) is only defined in terms with our interactions with others. In the end it doesn't really matter what people think of you, because in the final analysis, they don't really care that much what you think unless your thoughts affects them directly. Perhaps that means the people that might deserve the most respect are the ones that aren't seeking it from you because they realize that earning your respect doesn't matter to them, yet those are the same people that could care less about your respect.

That might sound circular, but that might illustrate how pointless the whole issue of respect is and what a waste of time attempting to transact in that currency might be in your finite time on earth. We should spend less time attempting to judge each other and respect is pretty much a courtesy that you should give to all. That's my 2cents...

Comment: Re:on starting with smaller-scale albedo modificat (Score 1) 421

by slew (#49113433) Attached to: What If We Lost the Sky?

The reaction to this idea would of course be HOW DARE YOU SPEND MONEY AND TELL ME WHAT TO DO WHARRGARBL, because 'murrica.

Of course the land surface area of "America" is relatively small compared to the rest of the world, so you don't really need "America" on board with a albedo modification plan...

Oh, you want "America's" money to spend how you please... I see the problem now ;^)

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.