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Comment: Re:Now what? (Score 1) 242 242

I think the Dutch government have something similar to the UK Human Rights Act. This makes the rights defined in the European Convention on Human Rights enforceable in the Dutch courts. The parliament could change that law but unless it does the courts can instruct the executive in how to apply the law so as to maintain those rights.

A quick google also suggests that international treaties which the Netherlands has ratified may be directly enforcable in the Dutch courts without needing additional laws to be passed implementing them (as would be the case in the UK). This seems to be a confused area, but it sounds like the court is taking this line.

Comment: Re:One problem I see... (Score 2) 242 242

Mainly embarrass them publicly. Perhaps as the date gets closer if there is no realistic plan and/or no progress they will start issuing more specific instructions. A bit like the US federal courts when states don't do things they are constitutionally required to -- they start out saying "make it so" and get as detailed as they are forced to.

Comment: Lots of Much smaller swaps (Score 1) 130 130

This made headlines because it's the longest cycle ever, but the people who run these programmes see long cycles as undesirable -- what they mostly do is identify hundreds of opportunities for two or three way swaps, or for "open" chains where one altruistic donor can result in two or three people getting kidneys. The maths behind it is quite interesting.

Comment: Re:Different...no firm prediction (Score 1) 61 61

Can you explain why it is found acceptable for the standard model to allow calculation of probabilities greater than one . . . to me that indicates it is some kind of simplified approximation that breaks down at high energies

To everyone else as well. The question is how high and in what way?

Comment: Gravity Tug (Score 1) 150 150

If you have enough lead time then I think the gravity tug works well. You rendezvous with the asteroid and fly alongside it, using solar-electric or some other slow but mass-efficient drive to hold station on the same side of the asteroid. The gravity of the probe VERY SLOWLY accelerates the asteroid and over a few decades (perhaps with a few refueling missions to bring more xenon or whatever) the asteroid's orbit is changed enough to miss the Earth,.

Comment: Re:Now if only the rest of the country would follo (Score 1) 545 545

You are making a classic error of comparing the normal progress of the disease with the rare side-effects of the vaccine. This is the (false) argument against measles vaccination -- "I (or most people, or my kids or my parents) had measles. It was uncomfortable for a while, but it got better. A tiny fraction of children have a bad reaction to the vaccine which is really nasty. It's not worth that tiny fraction getting the bad reaction to save everyone the mild disease". What's missing is the larger but still small fraction of people who have nasty complications of the disease and are left handicapped or dead.

Comment: Re:Now if only the rest of the country would follo (Score 3, Informative) 545 545

There is no evidence for risks of clustering that I am aware of. On the other hand not clustering means, at least, more risk of individual children missing shots due to greater complexity, more visits to doctors with more risk of infection with unrelated diseases and more cost, which could be spent on other public health measures that would presumably reduce other risks.

If you do think clustering vaccines adds risk, there is a fairly straightforward, if somewhat lengthy, route to address this.

First get a PhD in virology or some other appropriate discipline and a suitable job.

Next, carefully design a series of experiments that will help answer your question and get relevant approvals for it (ethics, safety,....)

Now apply for an NIH (or your country's equivalent) grant to perform it.

Perform it, analyse the results, publish them.

If they show significant extra risk from clustering, then, after a little bit of bureaucratic inertia while people find out about and understand your study and try and work out what changes to procedures would reflect it without risk elsewhere, the chances are clustering would be reduced.

Comment: Re:Again (Score 4, Interesting) 63 63

I'm very familiar with the scientific model, which is why they are running experiments at the LHC rather than just announcing supersymmetry as fact.

However, the scientific model doesn't tell you what experiments to run, or what theories to form or test. Scientists have to decide what they think "needs" an explanation, then they can look around for an explanation which fits the existing data and devise experiments to acquire new data to test it. If the new data fits the theory well enough the theory becomes part of our model of the universe, which is now a little more complete and precise. If it doesn't they try again. The last part is what is usually called "scientific method" but it doesn't help you decide what to try and explain, or which explanations to test first.

In this case, physicists, backed by decades of experience have identified the low mass of the Higgs boson (relative to the Planck mass, as it happens) as the kind of thing that might be expected to have an explanation (beyond just "that's how the universe is") so they have looked around for such an explanation. There are a few competing ones, of which supersymmetry is the best worked out. Actually supersymmetry is not just one theory, it has many variations, The new LHC run may support or exclude some or all of these.

Comment: Re:Again (Score 3, Informative) 63 63

Wat do u mean unaesthetic.

Pretty much what it says. The theory that relates all the existing particles ("The standard model") doesn't predict a mass for the Higgs boson, it's a number you have to measure and put into the theory. The theory does suggest limits -- it can't be less than zero or more than about a million million million times what it is. So it's a bit like finding something that could in principle be anywhere on a line from New York to San Fransisco but happens to be less than one atomic diameter from the New York end of the line. It could be chance but it doesn't feel right. That "not feeling right" is what I mean by unaesthetic.

Experience in physics is that things that "don't feel right' in this way usually hint at a deeper explanation which we don't understand. This one might not, but it seems worth looking.

Machines have less problems. I'd like to be a machine. -- Andy Warhol

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