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Comment: Re:I'll just leave this here (Score 2) 92

by symes (#48735421) Attached to: Finnish Bank OP Under Persistent DDoS Attack

Illarionov is a bit crazy and paid (by American think tank iirc) to spout this sort of stuff. I think the chance that Putin would seriously threaten Finland is about the same that Putin would threaten Sweden. Also, Finland is very different to Ukraine in that pretty much everyone in Finland thinks Putin is crazy. In Ukraine there was and still is very strong support for Putin in some areas.

Comment: Re:So ... (Score 1) 218

by symes (#47670997) Attached to: How to Maintain Lab Safety While Making Viruses Deadlier

There has to be a balance between the risks associated with this research and possible gains. Given the potential cost to human life it is hard to understand why this research should continue. Particularly as it is the community in which the lab is based that will inevitably suffer most should there be an incident.

Comment: Bothered (Score 1) 80

by symes (#47072787) Attached to: The Big Bang's Last Great Prediction

IANA astro-physicist - but something bothers me about the big bang theory (or at least what I know about it). Why just one? Why aren't we able to detect other big bangs elsewhere? And another thing - we theorise based on what we are able to measure and observe. While we seem to have a theory that fits the data available, surely it is quite possible that our data are just unique to our locality. Seems like we are looking into someone's CA backyard and trying to say something about volcanic action in Iceland.

Comment: Signs (Score 3, Insightful) 88

by symes (#46803519) Attached to: General Mills Retracts "No Right to Sue" EULA Clause

This reminds me of those signs you sometimes see in car parks "the owners will not be held responsible for any damage to your vehicle." I am reliably informed that this is not true in all cases. If, for example, the owners fail to maintain equipment or the building adequately and you can attribute cause of damage to their dereliction of duty they can be held responsible. Putting up signs does not usurp consumer rights.

Comment: Re:Looks like a pretty low death rate. (Score 1) 71

by symes (#46711929) Attached to: The Amoeba That Eats Human Intestines, Cell By Cell

If you risk infection in the course of activities you have to undertake, like driving to work, then fine. But I for one would not choose to subject my self to a risk of .2% through infection by this flesh munching turd monster. And if infected I would rather take a course of pills to erradicate it from my body, even if there were transient side effects such as explosive diarrhea.

Comment: Re:Hmm.. (Score 2) 40

by symes (#46711455) Attached to: Study: People That Think Social Media Helps Their Work Are Probably Wrong

I agree that the usual suspects, Facebook, Twitter and so on do very little. However, I have recently set up an account on Researchgate - a platform specifically for scientists to share their work, and have been modestly surprised. I have been able to connect with researchers, particularly more junior ones who I would not usually come across, and their work. In so doing I've found some very good studies in my area that I didn't know about.

Comment: My experiences (Score 5, Funny) 408

by symes (#46704201) Attached to: Australia Declares Homeopathy Nonsense, Urges Doctors to Inform Patients

I visited a homeopath once. I had dreadful allergies and was quite desparate. So off I trundled to the homepaths tent in the festival I was attending. There they did some sort of reading and asked a few questions. They opened a huge old book and spent a few moments throughtfully reading through various passages. Then delivered the news that I needed arsenic. Only this poison could help me. They procused a small plastic bag containing small spherical white pills. I complained that I was not keen on taking arsenic in any shape of form. So they explained that they started with a huge vat of water with a little bit of arsenic in it. Took a tiny drop of that water and diluted it further, and once again until only the essense of asenic remained. There wasn't any arsenic in those pills. By this time I was laughing so hard I had completely forgotten about my allergies. I left with a big smile on my face and used the sugar pills in my coffee.

So sorry everyone, homeopathy works.

Comment: Why? (Score 1) 470

by symes (#46669029) Attached to: It's Time To Bring Pseudoscience Into the Science Classroom

Why are scientists increasingly concerned about what some people in our society think and believe? I don't want to sound argumentative, but surely a good scientist does what a good scientist does? We are not here to force a particular world view on everyone, just carefully research and explain the world around us. In any scientific discipline there will be people with different perspectives and often these differences of opinion can boil over into quite hostile interactions. Discourse, argument and differences of opinion motivate research and science benefits from this. Research groups compete - do meticulous research to prove their view, have it peer reviewed and hopefully trash the competition in the process. This is science. This is progress. What we have here is a mentality of "you can't believe in ghosts because I am a scientist and I say so". A view that is not consistent with scientific method and smacks of arrogance. I would much rather science engaged and provoked wide eyed wonderment. I personally do not care if people want to believe in ghosts, gods, psychic powers and the like. I care that these same people can appreciate the work I do, understand it and (hopefully) find it interesting.

"We shall reach greater and greater platitudes of achievement." -- Richard J. Daley