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Comment: Re:clinical trials. (Score 2) 124

by slew (#48217199) Attached to: Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

If your study was 100 folks and you gave 80 the vaccine and 20 placebo, you would only have a sample size of 20 to test the null-effect (e.g. how many folks naturally get better w/o the new fangled vaccine to see if the vaccine statistically helped the 80 folks or not).

To increase the placebo sample size to the same statistically significant level (e.g, 50 folks) you would now have to give your untested vaccine which may have potential side effects to 200 people (+120 more folks). Which would be more ethical?

You are assuming that the vaccine probably works and the side-effects are probably minimal. That bias has gotten many researchers in trouble throughout vaccine history. There is a reason for protocols.

Comment: Re:7 Year Old, Not Seventh Grader (Score 1) 216

by slew (#48217063) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

Given that his wife speaks Cantonese natively, and speaking Mandarin with his wife might have been the bulk of his practice, that rating might be par for the course.

Some Mandarin speakers would rate any attempt of a Cantonese speaker at Mandarin at about 7-year old level (think of how a stuck-up French journalist might rate a person's speech who learned French from a Franco-Canadian, yeah)...

Comment: Re:nationality/race of wife (Score 2) 216

by slew (#48216963) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

Actually many ethnically Chinese people from Vietnam prefer to call themselves Chinese or Chinese-Vietnamese or Hoa... They often speak Chinese (often Cantonese) and sometime speak Vietnamese poorly if at all and refuse to fully integrate with the local Vietnamese population. Many of them were came to the united states during/after the Vietnam war as they were often the local "capitalists" in the Vietnamese economy (by some measures controlling 70% of the GDP prior to the Vietnam war) and thus were quite unwelcome in the new communist government. Many don't really like to consider themselves Vietnamese at all.

Think of it like people in Quebec holding on to their French heritage. A large percentage of them will call themselves Franco-Canadian or even Québécois rather than be associated with something pan-Canadian associated with the British Crown (and might have even supported the recent succession vote). If you accidentally refer to them as Canadian they will immediately correct you (after apologizing, of course, they are still Canadian after all ;^)

Comment: Re:Blurb is all over the place (Score 1) 525

by slew (#48205171) Attached to: Shooting At Canadian Parliament

Also, today Malala Yousafzai was to receive honorary Canadian Citizenship (she is in Ottawa).

Sadly, they cancelled the event...

For those that aren't up on non-tech events, Malala gained fame by being shot for being an female education activist/blogger by the Taliban (allegedly, Atta Ullah Khan, a graduate student studying chemistry/physics). She later received a Nobel prize...

Comment: Re:Salton Sea (Score 1) 151

by slew (#48044801) Attached to: Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry

Even the Wikipedia asserts that the basin where the Salton sea wasn't some prehistoric stretch of desert that we somehow man has converted to a lake, it has been the location of a lake on-and off (every 100K years or so), for the last million or so years... For example, Lake Cahuilla

Like nearly all endorheic basins, in prehistoric times, the Salton basin was periodically filled by water from rain. It is generally thought that in pre-historical times, the Salton basin took water from the Alamo and Nuevo rivers beds which periodically nearly run dry.

AFAIK, in historic times, a lake in the Salton Basin existed in some form in 1884, 1891, 1892, and 1895 due to seasonal Colorado river flooding into the Alamo and Nuevo river beds...

However, in 1900 a canal (the Alamo canal) cut for irrigation purposes to improve the flow between the Colorado and Alamo river. This canal eventually silted up. The so-called "accident" was actually a deliberate attempt in 1904 to rectify this by cutting a breach in the bank of the Colorado river to feed the canal . Seasonal flooding of the Colorado river from heavy rains over a few years after this breach was created diverted nearly all the water that formed the current Salton Sea until that breach was reversed. Of course after the construction of Hoover Dam, that portion of the Colorado river generally doesn't flood any more and the controlled flows through the Alamo and Nuevo rivers beds generally aren't high enough to keep the Salton Sea from receding which means in some sense, the Hoover dam is actually killing that Salton Sea in it's current incarnation.

In some sense, Man's actions in this case are likely somewhat akin to small blip in the timing of the on-going geological-time formation and destruction of new lakes in the ancient Salton Basin, and far from being some Man-made ecological disaster (unlike some nuclear plant disaster, or a coal ash spill) if that is what you are implying...

Comment: Salton Sea (Score 1) 151

by slew (#48041765) Attached to: Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry

Actually, there are many of these bodies of water around (prehistoric endorheic basins including the Caspian Sea and the Great Salt Lake). But I think the Aral sea situation is more akin to the Salton Sea... The Salton and the Aral sea are that have recently had their replenishing flows restricted by agriculture.

Comment: Re:The kind of science fair my school used to have (Score 1) 308

by slew (#47987985) Attached to: Irish Girls Win Google Science Fair With Astonishing Crop Yield Breakthrough

If it's anything like the science fairs we used to have at my high school, then it will turn out dad is a plant biologist (who swears the girls did it all on their own) and the girls will be curiously vague when asked about the methodology.

Or the science teachers (apparently the kinsale community school they attend has a history of producing regional, national, and international science fair winners).

Comment: Re:Tegra based! (Score 1) 74

by slew (#47970245) Attached to: Google Partners With HTC For Latest Nexus Tablet

Thanks. Neat.

Up next, Hong Kong :)

Back in 1997, most of the people of hong kong went relatively peacefully into the Chinese fold (or just simply left before it happened like my grandparents)...

On the other hand, you might think of the people in southern Taiwan as kind of like a mix of US southerners and Texans...

Even if Taiwan is eventually ceded back to China, some of them will likely still hold a N/S civil war grudge for a few generations, and other will continue to claim some right to secede into a lone star state (mostly in an appropriate alcohol based setting with sufficient lubrication, of course). At least there aren't likely to be many guns involved in taiwan... ;^)

Comment: Re:Tegra based! (Score 1) 74

by slew (#47969921) Attached to: Google Partners With HTC For Latest Nexus Tablet

I'm fairly certain the people of Taiwan consider Taiwan a different place than China -- enough so that they have the whole Taiwan name and all.

Actually It's a moving target over 40 years or so...

From the end of WWII the occupiers of Taiwan (basically the retreating/invading Chiang Kai-shek govt) pretty much considered themselves the exiled government of mainland china, thus calling themselves the Republic of China. The ground started significantly changing in 1971 when after UN resolution 2758 passed, mainland china (aka the People's RoC) was able to reclaim their UN seat which. Eventually, the notion that the RoC (aka Taiwan) was a different place than china all but faded by 1991as by then most in the RoC conceded that mainland china was lost (to the PRoC) by forcing the resignation of the so-called "representatives" tied to legacy captured provinces in the mainland.

Of course as with most things Taiwanese, it ain't that simple.

Some of people of Taiwan were repressed by the retreating CKS occupiers from the mainland (not much different than the Japanese), but that distinction is often not understood by those outside of Taiwan (see the 228 incident). If you know people from the south part of the island (e.g, Kaoshung, or Tainan), many still hold a grudge, and think of both remnants of the CKS government and the mainland as the enemy. These folks form the basis of the pan-green coalition (not to be confused with the environmental green party movement, but one favoring Taiwan independence) to oppose the pan-blue coalition (remnants of the CKS/KMT government + other parties favoring close ties with the mainland).

Of course, the people of mainland china don't see things that way at all. The see it as formosa island/taiwan provence which was historically part of mainland china (except for the time the Dutch and Japanese occupied it, of course). RoC is generally pissed about how the US handled the disposition of Taiwan after WWII (with the Treaty of Peace with Japan aka Treaty of San Francisco to which the RoC and PRoC were not invited). Basically the island of Formosa/Taiwan was treated the same as occupied territory whose responsibility was given to the US, but whose final fate was undecided (much less complicated, but similar to Berlin). In contrast, the Treaty of Taipei (a separate peace treaty between PRoC and Japan) further complicated the matter by obfuscating the issue of Taiwan by reclaiming it for the PRoC even though Japan had no authority to grant it at that point having ceded authority over Taiwan in Treaty of San Francisco...

Comment: Re:This was one of the most interesting parts of M (Score 1) 109

by slew (#47947463) Attached to: Microsoft Lays Off 2,100, Axes Silicon Valley Research

I'm not the biggest MSFT fan, but that's really giving MSFT the short stick, by saying they were done after MS-Basic and MS-Dos...

For example, Bill managed to recruit David Cutler for WinNT which really allowed them to take over the server market and kept their desktop windows franchise alive for another 15 years (do you think it could have had WinXP legs by limping along with WinME as a code base?)... Of course you can't be at the top of the hill forever and I suspect the Nokia acquisition won't be as transformative as WinNT...

Never trust a computer you can't repair yourself.