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Comment: Re:Paywalls? (Score 1) 130

by wvmarle (#48658475) Attached to: Does Journal Peer Review Miss Best and Brightest?

Most scientists work for scientific institutions (universities, research companies) where their employer has a license for all to read those journals. Just like the old university libraries where you could find all these journals in print. To these people there is not much of a hindrance and the digital availability may make exchange of ideas actually easier than it was before.

They do however keep curious bystanders out - people who have an interest in science but are not working in the field. This are the same people that did not have easy access to the journals (unless they'd hop on their bike and cycle over to their local university's library - assuming there even was one nearby). For these people access hasn't worsened much, but definitely hasn't improved either.

All in all I can't really agree with them hindering the exchange of information, though they could very well make it a lot easier - for example by making everything older than say a year or a few years free to access, leaving the latest and greatest to those that are willing (and capable) to pay for it.

Somehow these journals need to be paid for their work. Peer review is not free, publishing is not free. Just putting it all out on the Internet for free is not a viable business model, as is proven by the many pay-to-publish crap journals discussed here many times recently.

Comment: Unconventional research bounced - but of course! (Score 1) 130

by wvmarle (#48657435) Attached to: Does Journal Peer Review Miss Best and Brightest?

It is just journals doing their work when they bounce unconventional research, asking for further proof or clarifications. There is a lot of unconventional research out there, and while some may be the beginning of a breakthrough, most of it is not. Just look at atomic fusion.

Of course it makes it harder for really new and exciting things to get in the journals, it also keeps a lot of the crap out.

Comment: This ice market still exists (Score 1) 83

by wvmarle (#48650963) Attached to: How a Massachusetts Man Invented the Global Ice Market

Here in Hong Kong, I routinely see freezer trucks delivering bags of ice cubes to bars and restaurants. No isolation, presumably they're stored cold in the establishment, still it's ice trade.

I've even seen large freezers full of such bags of ice cubes for sale at 7-11, especially in summer, for people to bring a bag or two of ice cubes for their boat or beach party. Probably kept in a isolated container, or it'd melt in the >30 heat in an instant.

For sure it's not what it used to be, and not natural ice - it is a trade that's still alive. As a further statement to its historical importance, there are two streets in Hong Kong named for the former ice factory: Ice House Street in Central, and Ping Chong Road (lit: ice factory road) on Cheung Chau.

Comment: Re:Nothing beats poor driving. (Score 1) 281

by wvmarle (#48646035) Attached to: Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

You give a perfect example underscoring my original comment: such an accident is a direct result of bad driving.

Red light cameras prevent certain kinds of bad behaviour. Of course police should remain on the alert, and fine people that are texting or otherwise not paying attention to driving as well, in that way preventing another kind of bad behaviour.

Comment: Nothing beats poor driving. (Score 2, Insightful) 281

by wvmarle (#48644051) Attached to: Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

Rear-ending means not keeping enough distance with the car in front of you. It's that simple. Plus of course keeping your eyes on the road and concentrating on the task ahead.

Running a red light causes accidents, again poor driving skills. Yes I know the argument "to improve ticket revenue, yellow is shortened" - that argument fails for the period BEFORE the red light cameras are installed, i.e. the time that running red lights was rampant causing numerous accidents, which these red light cameras actually have reduced according to this very article.

As long as people don't understand basic road rules and safety, these accidents will continue to happen. As long as people try to shave seconds of their commute by pushing, speeding and running red lights (instead of stopping when it's yellow), accidents will continue to happen.

Nothing beats poor driving.

Comment: Re:Bad for small business owners (Score 1) 394

by wvmarle (#48623571) Attached to: Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

Those spy agencies can always see which server one connects to. No encryption can hide the actual connection, the IP address you talk to. That "metadata" tells spies what you're looking for.

If implementation were easier, much easier, and without having to go through the trouble of remembering renewals or break your site, I'd probably have implemented it already, as it won't hurt.

Comment: Bad for small business owners (Score 5, Insightful) 394

by wvmarle (#48623131) Attached to: Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

I'm operating a small web site, mostly to promote my business. It's there, it works, I don't do much about it.

I've considered https, but it's too hard for me as a small web site owner: first I have to manage to get an SSL certificate (costs serious effort and money), then I have to figure out how to install it correctly (tried it before with a self-issued certificate and failed; while I'm fairly computer savvy), finally I have to somehow remember to renew it every few years or so - which is an interval way long enough to completely forget how the installation worked, so I have to start all over again.

Now it seems Google gives higher ranking to https sites - meaning my site gets a lower ranking, that's bad. Next Google is starting to warn people to stay away from my site as it's not secure: why should I want to encrypt what is otherwise public information, like event schedules and itineraries? I put that information on my web site with the express purpose of reaching as many people as possible.

There are many people like me, who put up a web site just for promoting their business. It doesn't make sense to encrypt this info, at all. It doesn't make sense to downgrade ranking for that reason. Very bad move by Google.

Comment: Re:Dark matter and the sniff test (Score 1) 85

by wvmarle (#48588591) Attached to: Deflating Claims That ESA Craft Has Spotted Dark Matter

That it is the easiest explanation, doesn't mean it's the correct explanation, or that us non-believers so to say would support one of the other theories.

To me it's indeed very much a kludge, it seems to work, but I have the strong feeling that there is something else at play. Just no idea what that something else could possibly be.

Comment: Re:Dark matter and the sniff test (Score 0) 85

by wvmarle (#48588409) Attached to: Deflating Claims That ESA Craft Has Spotted Dark Matter

I totally agree with you. Sooner or later we will find out what it is, and that 80% of matter that constitutes dark matter isn't there after all.

I always hear about dark matter when they're talking in terms of clusters of galaxies. Huge amounts of matter, immense distances. However this dark matter, four times as much as the rest of the universe, is supposed to be everywhere, have mass, but only interact through the force of gravity. However, for some reason unknown to me, the visible matter in our solar system perfectly describes how the planets orbit the sun, how the moon orbits the earth, and how hard I hit the ground when I try to fly. So where is this dark matter, all this extra gravity? Shouldn't I hit the ground a lot harder than we can explain just based on the mass of our planet?

Indeed there is probably something going on at large scales, where gravity doesn't work as it does on small scales. Or indeed as you suggest the speed of light is not as constant as we believe it is, and our observations are simply distorted because of that. It's going to be tricky to find all that out, as the scales involved are so huge. On the other hand, the moment scientists find out what gravity really is by looking at the tiniest bits like the Higgs boson, we may be able to understand how the universe works at large scales.

I'm looking forward to the first theories that really explain this gravity anomaly (which is what "dark matter' really is, as I understand it: seemingly too much gravity). It may throw our understanding of the universe upside down.

Comment: Re:New Revenue System (Score 1) 190

by wvmarle (#48568817) Attached to: Fraud Bots Cost Advertisers $6 Billion

Doesn't work. Most of advertising is not to generate a direct sale; it is to get your name out. To get your brand image in potential customer's minds, so that when later they're in a shop they gear toward the know, i.e. your, brand. It's impressions that really count for most advertising, not click-through rates, though the latter (with the increased number of visitors on your web site) do give you a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling.

The Universe is populated by stable things. -- Richard Dawkins