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Comment: Re:Looks like a pretty low death rate. (Score 1) 70

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.

Comment: Re:Education funding and excessive medicallisation (Score 1) 558

While I'm very much in favour of education being better able to deal with kids' differences, I'm not sure medicalising it is the way to go.

I completely agree with this - but more with those maybe cases. There will always be a bunch of kids with very clear and profound issues and who need a formal diagnosis to trigger appropriate support. It is those kids who go through the usual developmental issues but who have uninformed helicopter parents pushing clinical staff into providing treatment in some shape of form. It is not just school. What I think we do need in some cases is professional face slappers to bring people back to the real world and just let kids grow up.

Comment: So...? (Score 0) 240

by symes (#46615667) Attached to: Daylight Saving Time Linked To Heart Attacks

I sometimes wonder why such research finds the light of day. Perhaps for epidemiologists there is merit - but there dose not seem there is much anyone else can do. All sorts of these worrying little nuggets of nonsense appear. People die. It is one of the most definite outcomes of life. Those deaths can be related to circumstances outside of our control. It just promotes hand wringing.

Comment: Re:Asimov quote. (Score 2) 517

I have a different view. I would argue that there is an increase in the quantity and quality of medical science. This is increasingly pushing old fashioned ideas, anecdotes and so forth, out of discussions. In turn making those that hold on to outdated ideas more obvious. My worry is that those involved with good science, rather than being stoical and professional, forever searching for truth also become hysterical and shouty. I don't think that would help anyone.

Comment: Mechanism (Score 3, Insightful) 111

by symes (#46303175) Attached to: Fishing Line As Artificial "Muscle"

If I read this right - they coil the line, stretch it and then use heat to return it back to the original coiled state. This then provides lift. I am wondering how much heat is required though. If you have enough of these filaments in an artificial muscle arrangement could you, while lifting your car or running for the bus, spontaneously ignite? That to one side, though, I really love these unexpected breakthroughs.

Comment: Re:Big shoes to fill this one has (Score 1) 183

by symes (#46265075) Attached to: The Ultimate Hopes For the New Cosmos Series

I sort of agree with you. But you also have to think about who the program is aimed at. I would think you as a 42 year old can handle a much higher baud rate and have a far broader vocabulary. Cosmos inspired youngsters to think about what lies beyond our world and that will need a different approach to those you might take with interested adults. Thing is, if adults watching the new series love it then this runs the risk of kids hating it not only because it will be beyond them but also because, well, if it is something mom and pop are into then it is bound to be irrelevant.

"Look! There! Evil!.. pure and simple, total evil from the Eighth Dimension!" -- Buckaroo Banzai