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Comment: Re:Bad Idea (Score 1) 321

by stranger_to_himself (#46141025) Attached to: James Dyson: We Should Pay Students To Study Engineering

Agreed, The people who are best at [subject X] are those that have a passion for [subject X]. When I interview people for (programming related) jobs, I focus less on what they actually know and more on whether they have a love for it (do they do programming related stuff on their own either for fun or self-improvement, etc.). Even if they don't have the skill I need immediately, I know that they will ramp up quickly and be more productive than someone who went into computer science because it was a high paying job.

Its not so much about paying people to do something as supporting them while they do it (ie enabling them to do the thing they love) otherwise you'll lose potentially good people to other careers. Disciplines compete for the best graduates, and a small financial incentive can make a big difference to a grad student deciding what to study if it means they can spend their evenings studying instead of washing dishes.

Comment: Re:Great plan Nintendo (Score 1) 129

by stranger_to_himself (#46119219) Attached to: Nintendo Could Base Comeback On Improving Peoples' Health

Indeed, speculation on Japanese forums is that this is just the addition of some pads that measure body fat to the balance board. Most bathroom scales in Japan already have them so it was actually kind of odd that the balance board could measure weight but not body fat when it came out. It's just a logical evolution following a fell trodden path.

Bioelectrical impedance isn't a reliable enough measure of body fat for home use really (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioelectrical_impedance_analysis) - and if your bathroom scales do it just as well (or badly) it wouldn't add much to the Wii fit for the cost and hassle of adding it. I'd guess it only measures weight because it has the sensors to measure center of gravity.

Comment: Re:It'll work if you want to suceed (Score 2) 397

Basically you need to feel like an outsider and feel like you're better than everyone else to be truly successful.

This is true. I have both of these things (though I lack impulse control hence posting comments on slashdit when I should be working). But insecurity does make people unhappy - even though it drives success. I whether you'd rather be successful and anxious, or relaxed and 'mediocre' in your achievements. Perhaps that is to question to meaning of 'success'.

Comment: Re:Dont do anyone any favors (Score 5, Insightful) 644

by stranger_to_himself (#46055195) Attached to: Court Says Craigslist Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support

Given the amounts involved (it averages $100 per month) it might be that they assumed it was some blanket program. Some of it might be the state reclaiming money from blanket programs for everyone under a certain income threshold, things like free shots. It's not obvious.

Very true - also a lot of people here forget that circumstances can easily change. You could lose your job, become sick etc so that you need child support where you didn't previously. Claiming benefits does not automatically make you a greedy feckless scrounger.

Comment: Re:"post-food consumers" (Score 1) 543

by stranger_to_himself (#46045041) Attached to: 20,000 Customers Have Pre-Ordered Over $2,000,000 of Soylent

So, add appropriate amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber to the mix... it would even be easy enough to give flexibility in the ratio of the two to adjust to your system and diet's needs, like many people already do with fiber products.

There's also now evidence that the action of chewing is important for maintaining cerebral blood flow. I guess you could also add a stick of chewing gum but the point is that the human body is a very complex system and its not obvious what the consequences of trying to replace the function of one part of it are. The whole process of eating probably has other important effects that we don't understand.

Comment: Re:Not only in the US... (Score 3, Insightful) 168

That's fine so long as you're telling people how things are, but very limited if you want to think about how they should be. The problem with abdicating from advocacy is that there are plenty of people without your knowledge, understanding or benevolence who are prepared to fill in the gaps for you. This is why 'promoting societal good' is rightly now a key aspect of scientific endeavour.

Comment: Re:The problem: (Score 3, Funny) 377

by stranger_to_himself (#45640261) Attached to: Study: People Are Biased Against Creative Thinking

Also...It sometimes help to remember that half of us have below average intelligence. It follows then that some of us are incapable of objective reasoning. Many of us who are capable of rational thought are just plain intellectually lazy. And many of us who are intellectually challenged put a lot of effort into trying to figure things out. It is a complicated issue.

That was just about the most intellectually lazy comment I have ever seen.

I was going to post a point by point rebuttal....but I couldn't be bothered.

Comment: Re:Taxing is not going to fix the problem (Score 1) 470

by stranger_to_himself (#45537231) Attached to: EU Plastic Bag Debate Highlights a Wider Global Problem

This gets fixed by developing a better bag. Better means comparable cost and strength, with handles and environmentally safe.

Jumping straight away to a tax makes it look like nothing more than a money grab.

Maybe - but it works in the short term. I lived in Ireland for a few years, the 22c was enough to make me (and most people) take my own bags shopping so far fewer bags were used. Now I'm back in free bag country and it feels weird and unnecessary to be given a load of new bags every time I go shopping.

I agree though that even an 80% reduction doesn't solve the problem, an environmentally safe bag would be the best solution.

Comment: Re:Should be legal, with caveat (Score 2) 961

by stranger_to_himself (#45527245) Attached to: Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad

Exactly, it shouldn't be what Scott or the doctors want, it should be down to what his father wants... And if he's no longer capable of making or expressing his desires, then we have to go based on what he stated he would want when he was able to say so.
If he has never expressed a desire to die rather than go on living in pain, then it isn't anyone else's decision to end his life. And as for the talk of torture, if he truly was as far gone as the article claims it's unlikely that he was actually experiencing any of that pain.

That's also a tricky solution, how can you know what you would want when in a certain set of circumstances? People adapt very quickly in chronic illness, such that quality of life is maintained to degree that would be surprising to the 'healthy' individual. I would certainly never leave instructions for my own killing under any circumstances, because I know how quickly I can change my mind. Would you trust your 20 year old self to end your 80 year old self's life if it's not up to his youthful standards?

Also - the experience from the Netherlands is that advance directives for physician assisted suicide are almost never acted on for one reason or another. (Can't find the reference for that at the moment).

Agree that torture is a ridiculous word to use in this case, especially for somebody with no ability to communicate. I wonder how much the suffering of the patient is conflated with the suffering of the family, or the perception of what it might be like to be in that situation (without actually knowing).

Comment: Re:Could We "Wikify" Scholarly Canons? (Score 1) 63

by stranger_to_himself (#45381983) Attached to: Could We "Wikify" Scholarly Canons?

Well, Betteridge's Law of Headlines and all that. But don't confuse "wiki" with "wikipedia". Having reviewed scholarly journal entries published in a form where they are accessible to all, and all references are hotlinks, could only improve things. Some sort of discussion/comments associated with each article for Q&A, and forward links to all citing works would be great as well, especially works that refute the article in part or in whole.

But this is pretty much exactly what we have at the moment. Most journals will let you read papers online in this way, and provide a list of citing articles and hyperlinks to citations. Most journals accept comments, BMJ even has these as online comments. Look at PubReader for other innovations in this area. I don't think anybody has a serious complaint that academic research is organised badly, its just the cost issue that winds people up.

Academic research at the coal face is necessarily sprawling. The line in TFA that is telling is

If you’re an established researcher interested in summarizing an area of your expertise, or if you would like to write an article in collaboration with someone who is, we’d love to see you propose an article.

Which shows a fundemental misunderstanding of what research writing is. The author is asking for encylopedia or textbook articles, for which there are already plenty of outlets (these are called 'encyclopedias' or 'textbooks'). So fine if they are proposing a new encyclopedia, though god knows why we need a new one, and I'm don't see how one could or should ever become definitive. To suggest that this will replace any part of existing scientific writing is a bit misguided. Two scientists can produce reviews on the same subject given the same source material with vastly different conclusions, its important that all voices can be heard, and 'curation by a community of experts' seems like the antithesis of this.

As of next Thursday, UNIX will be flushed in favor of TOPS-10. Please update your programs.

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