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Comment: Re:people are going to be saying (Score 1) 726

by umafuckit (#49344003) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

air travel is so much safer than driving statistically. but at least when you die in a car, it's for mundane, hum drum reasons usually. when something goes wrong in the air, it's cinematic drama, emotional and blood curdling. disgusting

Hence terrorism involving aircraft causes mass panic but road deaths do not. A large part of the reason we have this problem is due to our reaction to these events. Same goes for crazy shooters in malls and schools.

Comment: Re:I don't see how this delivery model can scale.. (Score 1) 110

They currently are offering this service to 25 ZIP codes - likely those directly surrounding a distribution center. However, there are several logistical factors that just seem to make this unworkable to scale

It's always been Amazon's stratergy to take a loss when entering a new market. They'll do that here too.

Comment: Re:What's more interesting to me... (Score 1) 110

But it's no the high street that's responsible for the decay of the high street. Those shops that you mention don't exist any more because the manufacturing of the products they would sell has changed. Our electronics are cheaper and they are changing faster than ever (some of that is planned obsolescence, of course). It's often cheaper to buy new than to repair. Consumer electronics are now so well built and and idiot-proof that you don't need smart people to sell or explain them. Instead you need marketing and fancy adverts to persuade people to buy. The high street never stood a chance.

Comment: Re:Grammar isn't pedantiv (Score 1) 667

by umafuckit (#49269947) Attached to: Why There Is No Such Thing as 'Proper English'

Funny you should bring this up as your example of an absolute rule. "Correct comma placement", is actually the source of biggest ongoing stylistic argument in the English language: the Oxford comma. Its like the "vi vs. Emacs" of the literary world. This is one of the strongest arguments you could have picked supporting the point you were looking to refute.

Massive example fail.

The Oxford comma is a style issue, sure. Commas in general are not, since their presence or absence can change the meaning of a sentence. I don't think the comma is an "example fail" or anything like the vi/Eamcs wars.

Comment: Grammar isn't pedantiv (Score 4, Insightful) 667

by umafuckit (#49265245) Attached to: Why There Is No Such Thing as 'Proper English'
The grammatical rules invoked by pedants aren’t real rules of grammar at all. They are, at best, just stylistic conventions.

This is a silly blanket statement. It's true of some things, such as the split infinitive. Other things, such as correct comma placement, play an obvious role in understanding a sentence. I agree that languages evolve, but I don't think "text speak" is part of that evolution. Text speak is just lazy.

Comment: Re:Unfair comparison (Score 1) 447

by umafuckit (#49248683) Attached to: Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions

Comparison against placebo is the gold standard for medical research.

Where possible, the gold standard should really be comparison against the best current treatment. Who cares if an expensive new drug is better than a sugar pill? It shold be better than the current cheapo generic (or whatever). In most cases new drugs are brought out to replace old ones.

Comment: Re:Well, they're wrong. Plain and simple. (Score 1, Interesting) 447

by umafuckit (#49246121) Attached to: Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions

The problem is when the placebo effect is not powerfull enough to overcome a medical issue but

Yes it is. Go read about the placebo effect. e.g. there was an operation that was carried out for some time for angina. It was pretty effective for a lot of patients, resulting in long-term symptom relief. I don't recall the exact details, but I think it involved tying up some superficial blood vessels under the assumption that this would reduce pressure on the heart. Some time later a surgeon did a study where some patients received a sham operation. Turns out the sham was as effective as the real operation. Because it was "no better than placebo" the operation got canned. Yet it worked. The reference is in Ben Goldacre's "Bad Science" book.

Comment: Re:Unfair comparison (Score 1) 447

by umafuckit (#49246061) Attached to: Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions
This is not really accurate, as it says in your link, placebos do indeed work for things like pain. You report feeling less pain because you do in fact feel less pain. This works without drugs. There are even studies that show the effects of placebos can persist for long periods (weeks, months, maybe years). The relationship between medicine and the placebo effect is a lot more complex than the article you link to suggests. Ben Goldacre's "Bad Science" book makes this pretty clear and is written by a hard core skeptic.

Comment: Re:R is not a programming language (Score 1) 144

by umafuckit (#49208703) Attached to: Go R, Young Man
The other thing I don't get about this article is that to use R you need a pretty good understanding of statistics. It doesn't hold your hand. I know plenty of practising scientists who would be unable to use R because they don't understand their analyses properly. How the hell "business professionals" would benefit is beyond me.

Comment: Re:how much it took (Score 1) 274

by umafuckit (#49200921) Attached to: Laser Takes Out Truck Engine From a Mile Away

On the other hand, a laser would have relatively little difficulty hitting the aircraft even if it were in geosync orbit, or even on the surface of the moon.

Are you sure about that? Laser beams diffract. The tighter you make it the more it diffracts. There are limits, therefore, as to far away it will work. I don't know how the numbers work out, however, or to what degree you can get around this with collimating lenses.

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. -- Sagan