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Comment Re:Qi (Score 1) 189

Heheh. Okay re the humility thing.

We disagree, then. But I think your attitude is an act of faith.

I would agree that Qi is not physical, but that doesn't mean it's not real. That it can't be detected by any known scientific instruments should not surprise us, as scientific instruments are designed to detect only physical things. So for instance, scientific instruments detect the physical correlates of consciousness but not consciousness itself -- and, thus influenced, some schools posited that mental states (e.g. emotions) aren't real.

But, like nonphysical but nevertheless real mental states, Qi can be detected and affirmed by your own experience. You can conduct scientific experiments into this sort of thing. You can do the practice as the experiment, and you can experience the results. You can retain your rationality and your skepticism throughout, and have experiences that are most accurately and comprehensively explained by a "Qi" model.

Comment Re:Qi (Score 1) 189

Nonexistent in your humble opinion, nomadic. If you were inclined to spend a few months doing Qi Gong or some other practice, you might have experiences that would change your opinion.

And just for interest's sake, people confuse the real with the fictional all the time. For instance, many people think there is a real, unitary, unchanging self behind all of their experiences, like a little homonculus just behind the eyes. That's about as real as it gets for most people, but that kind of self doesn't exist at all.

Comment Qi (Score 1) 189

Since the word Qi is already used to describe something rather different, it is a pretty idiotic name for this idea. It merely accords with the co-opting of all sorts of Eastern concepts for marketing Western stuffs, in the footsteps of 'Zen' which nowadays stands for just about anything you'd want in a product.
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft banned from selling Word

ElectricHaggis writes: BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8197990.stm reports that a series of court rulings against Microsoft concerning xml technology patent infringement are costing them large sums of money (nothing new here) and preventing them from selling Word within the U.S. The article states: "In the latest ruling, the court ordered Microsoft to pay $40m (£24m) for the wilful nature of the infringement and interest on the amounts totalling more than $40m...
In a separate injunction, the court prohibited Microsoft from "selling, offering to sell, and/or importing in or into the United States" any version of the software that can open custom XML files (with file extensions .xml, .docx, or .docm)."
Medicine

Submission + - Scientists Identify Itch-Specific Neurons

Hugh Pickens writes: "A ticklish problem in neuroscience has been that although historically many scientists have regarded itching as just a less intense version of pain and decades searching for itch-specific nerve cells have been unfruitful. Now Nature reports that neuroscientist Zhou-Feng Chen and his colleagues at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri have found the first behavioral evidence that there are separate circuits of nerve cells to convey itchiness and pain and their studies suggest that itch and pain signals are transmitted along different pathways in the spinal cord. "Most people accept that there are specific, highly specialized neurons for sensations like taste," says Chen. "But for pain and itch this is much more controversial." Two years ago, Chen's group discovered that a cell-surface protein called the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) is important for sensing itchiness but not pain in mice. When Chen and his colleagues destroyed GRPR-bearing neurons by means of a cell toxin, the mice reacted to painful stimuli just like normal mice, licking themselves and flinching or jumping in response to heat, highly irritant chemicals and mechanical pressure. But when the researchers injected the animals with chemicals that normally cause scratching, such as histamine, they barely responded and the greater the number of GRPR-expressing neurons destroyed, the more subdued was the scratching response. "This is the first behavioral evidence that there are itch-specific neurons," says Chen. "People have been looking for these for many years." Although the present research only scratches the surface, the discovery highlights a new target for therapy and opens the field for specific treatments for itch that don't affect pain."

Comment Re:Can we go ahead with the Nuclear Disarmament al (Score 1) 183

I agree with you *almost* entirely, Darkness404, but in the UK press alone you can see that the military career option is still glorified and being a soldier still positioned as a Good Thing To Do -- and they're fighting in Afghanistan. The idea of being a soldier not as unpopular or short of street cred as we might like it to be. On the contrary, it has unfortunately retained a significant degree of 'residual manliness' from the days of nationalism. The nationalism is still there, but weaker (thankfully) and subtler. I suspect the situation is similar if not broadly identical in much of the USA's media.
Medicine

Artificial Brain '10 Years Away' 539

SpuriousLogic writes "A detailed, functional artificial human brain can be built within the next 10 years, a leading scientist has claimed. Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain Project, has already built elements of a rat brain. He told the TED global conference in Oxford that a synthetic human brain would be of particular use finding treatments for mental illnesses. Around two billion people are thought to suffer some kind of brain impairment, he said. 'It is not impossible to build a human brain and we can do it in 10 years,' he said."

Comment Why won't Blizzard do this? (Score 1) 244

Can someone tell me what's wrong with this idea?

Blizzard can get the best of both worlds like this:

1. Player buys Starcraft 2
2. Player logs on to Battle.net ONCE, and authenticates
3. Having authenticated, Player can play on LAN. Without authentication, LAN play is unavailable.

This way, Blizzard gets the best of both worlds, and so do we. There's no need to exclude LAN support altogether, since its inclusion in this model carries no penalties for anyone. Or am I missing something massive?

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