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Comment Re:Homeopathic Medicine (Score 1) 430

Except that drug trials involve tests against placebos as a matter of course.

Drug trials test against placebo for safety, but not necessarily for effectiveness. This is especially true in cases where withholding treatment would be unethical, such as HIV/AIDS. New drugs in these cases are tested as to whether they are better than existing treatments, rather than better than placebo.

Comment Re:This passed peer review? (Score 1) 174

Good points. These are two assumptions inherent in the experimental design. These two concerns could easily have been dismissed with a short literature review, showing how other researchers had proven that bees have sophisticated color vision and that they use their vision more than scent while foraging (both of these are true, IIRC).

Comment Re:I cannot condone this (Score 1) 174

Scientists don't need to be statisticians to be able to do good research. They also don't need to be good writers, or good reviewers. These things help, but shouldn't be necessary in order to get results out to the world.

If you could, perhaps, tell this to my advisor/coauthor, that would be great, because I've got a couple of manuscripts that we've been passing back and forth that I'm really sick of and would like to just submit now.

Comment Re:That is what education is meant to be ... (Score 2) 174

My mom is one of the best mathematics teachers I've ever met. She teachers middle school special education and her kids with learning disabilities often jump up to grade level in her class.
She's terrible at math. Barely passed it as a student. She's a better teacher for it because she understands what it means to not understand.

Comment Re:Good thing they didn't include birds also (Score 1) 174

I'll bet they use those words now, though.

My manuscripts are full of words I never use. (I try to avoid the word "construct" whenever possible, for example). They creep in as my collaborators suggest things. If it's the right word for the concept that needs to be expressed, then that's what you use.

It's in kids' voice more for sentence structure and the manner of description more than the vocabulary.

Comment Re:Investing in the Future won't get you votes tod (Score 1) 760

I think the average person has no idea what useful or good science is. I'm pretty sure that if it isn't directly related to medicine, energy, or climate change (...if they even think it is true...) most people would consider it useless. I do cognitive science/neuroscience research, and all the time people are confused why people pay us to figure out how the brain works without intentions to directly "help people." Hell, even that "soccer efficiency" study or whatever can probably be applied to some other thing our government likes that involves people working in teams, ie the military.

Shit, the average scientist can't evaluate the importance of someone else's research. If I were to summarize my study to a brief paragraph (something teabaggers reading a website can absorb) it wouldn't sound like much. That's why NSF (although my stuff is more likely to be funded through NIH or ED) makes you write long, boring tl;dr grant applications about it (that YouCut visitors certainly won't bother to read).

Comment Re:Investing in the Future won't get you votes tod (Score 1) 760

Could you name a few things that 'public sector research' has come up with 'as the foundations of tomorrow's industries' which private companies wouldn't have done themselves for far less?

Therapy methods and assistive technologies that allow people with developmental disabilities to become educated and employable, thus making many of them contributing members of the economy rather than 100% welfare-dependent wards of the state.

Comment Re:How do questions about domain knowledge work? (Score 1) 558

How does it work when someone wants a clarification about expert witness testimony. If twelve people listen to a witness explain some complicated subject, and some interpret it one way and some interpret it another? I know that you can pass questions to the judge on some subjects, but can your question be "what did witness X mean when he said y? Can he provide a clarification?"

If not, then is there a way before the cases have been rested to say "hey, I missed something, can your witness clarify?"

Acquit. The jury has reasonable doubts.

Comment Re:Sorry, doesn't always work out that way.... (Score 1) 558

The judge then takes responsibility for making sure the information you get is reliable, rather than some shit you found on the internet.

That doesn't always happen. My last jury stint involved a trial with more than one defendant and an invocation of the so-called "felony murder rule". The judge wanted each jury member to affirm that they would treat the felony murder rule as Gospel, AND made this demand WITHOUT any detailed discussion of its value or history. When I specifically asked for that, the judge flatly denied my request.

What you don't know is whether and how the prosecution and defense argued about that definition while you weren't around. All you get to hear is the final decision. If the judge was wrong about that decision, that's a matter for appeal, not the jury.

Comment Re:Yes they do Impress (Score 1) 532

And now they use bullet-time in television commercials. Ho hum. Need more bread and circus to keep us occupied, otherwise we might pause to think about how fucked up the world is right now!

Two issues with this:
1. I'm pretty sure that the Gap commercial with the swing dancers used essentially the same effect as bullet time a year before The Matrix came out.
2. My parents' parents' parents saw movies to distract them from how fucked up the world was then and, taken on the whole, things are better now than then so I'm confident that this is not the end of the world.

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Ya'll hear about the geometer who went to the beach to catch some rays and became a tangent ?