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Comment Re:Quite possibly, the most useful study EVER (Score 1) 264

I'm not sure that that is inevitable though. I think it would be possible for a politician to be successful and still avoid perpetually lying. Most political lies come about because politicians promise something and then it turns out for various reasons that they can't deliver on it, or they end up bargaining that promise away in exchange for achieving something else that they consider has a higher priority. But think it would be interesting if politicians started using different language; "I'll do my best to get X done", or "I don't know what we'll achieve at the next tax summit but some options are .....". I can't think of a recent politician anywhere in the world that has tried it, which maybe means that people who say things like this never get past first base, but on the other hand, the generally cynical public might just appreciate the honesty.

Comment Re:Once Again... (Score 2) 815

My understanding (which may be wring mind you) is that iron supplements indeed don't do anything to cure or prevent iron deficiency. To be effective, the iron has to be absorbed by the body. That is rather tricky with iron, and simply taking something with iron in it isn't enough.

There is also another point here, which is that using iron supplements to cure or prevent iron deficiency would be very easy to clinically test. The reason the FDA hasn't approved of it as a drug is almost certainly because the studies have been done, and the supplement was not shown to be effective.

Comment Re:So (Score 1) 469

Isn't the IPCC report consider and has been considered a 'respectable' presentation of scientific fact that has been peer reviewed, to make policy decisions on? I thought so. Indeed it has. And it has a track record of being wrong, not once, not twice, but several dozen times.

Oh and of course there's no shortage of respectable journals which have used the IPCC as a source for these inaccuracies, and reprinted them as fact.

Whoa, slow down the trolling.... The question was: Can you point to even a single article published in a respectable scientific journal that claimed that "New York city would be buried under ice as part of the new ice age to be here by the year 2000. That was in the 70's...".

The IPCC didn't exist in the 1970's.

On the topic of the IPCC, some inaccurate statements are almost inevitable in a report of many thousands of pages. The fact that it took years to even notice the inaccuracies is an indication of how important they are to the main conclusions.

Comment Re:Frosty Piss (Score 5, Interesting) 162

nope, as german law doesnt exclude illegaly obtained evidence from use in court.

Right, but that is appropriate. The USA is the only country I know of that does exclude evidence like that. In most jurisdictions, the aim (idealized, not always realized) of a court case is to uncover the truth of what happened. If the law was broken in the process of obtaining evidence, by all means prosecute the people who broke the law, but to exclude that evidence is a weird thing to do. At least, 90% of the planet thinks so...

The situation in the US is based on a rather bizarre interpretation of the constitution set by the supreme court, actually not so long ago, starting from around 1920. The Fourth Amendment of the constitution is the one about "no unreasonable searches and seizures", and requiring "probable cause". But it doesn't specify what the penalty should be if those rights are violated. In much of the rest of the world, the equivalent violation (eg, of police or some other person obtaining evidence illegally) opens the offender for prosecution but whatever evidence is obtained can still be used. That was the case in the USA before the early 20th century. But several court cases in the 20's and 30's established the "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine, in which evidence which was obtained illegally is not admissible in court. This has resulted in many farcical court cases where the facts of the case are well established, but can't be presented in court because the evidence was obtained illegally (in some cases, due to some technical omission). It also results in lots of arguments where opposing lawyers have a big bun fight, and make lots of money, arguing at length over whether a particular fact is allowed to be presented to the court or not.

It has also resulted in the attitude that cops who break the law are already "punished" by being unable to present the evidence in court (and often therefore unable to convict a criminal), and that this is sufficient punishment for the cop. Whereas in other jurisdictions the cop would lose their job, or end up in jail themselves, in the US they typically don't. This is an encouragement towards corrupt behavior.

Comment Re:False dichotomy (Score 1) 616

Even an assembler will link in those libraries that you're talking about.

Assembler has a main() function? That must be new, didn't have one back when I used to do a bit of assembly. In the old days, the loader simply used to jump to a specific address in the executable and then you were on your own.

Even an assembler will link in those libraries that you're talking about. Objective C clearly has a runtime that is deeply involved with the application, and imposes a runtime model that C doesn't have, and that C++ doesn't have unless you use RTTI.

Your point is? The runtime can be a substantial piece of code (eg a VM) or it can be simple (eg in C), or it can be entirely non-existent (nothing more than a loader, as in old-style machine code). So what?

But you still have to have a runtime to handle dynamic method dispatch, especially if you use reflection, making the Java and ObjC runtime requirements about equivalent. (They both have, in their present incarnations, garbage collection, for example.)

Again, so what? You could use a garbage collector with C++, for example (eg the popular Boehm collector). And you can implement your own dynamic method dispatch in C++, if you wanted to go to the trouble. Dynamic dispatch (with a bounded set of types) is way different to a full-blown VM. But they are still part of the runtime environment. I don't understand the point of your post, you seem to be saying basically the same thing I said, but you've written it in a way that makes it look like you disagree. Exactly what do you disagree with?

Comment Re:False dichotomy (Score 1) 616

all languages have a runtime environment, but it isn't necessarily a virtual machine!

The runtime environment for C++ is often fairly simple, it handles the operating system program entry point and passing arguments to the main() function, as well as initializing parts of the standard library.

The runtime environment for Java is a bit more complicated, it usually involves a bytecode interpreter.

But that is mostly a choice of the implementation. Native compilers for Java exist, and so do C++ interpreters.

Comment Re:Too good credit rating anyway (Score 1) 1040

That is true, but my point is (which I concede wasn't stated properly) that the USA certainly has the capacity to pay down the debt, and the only impediment to doing this is political. So it is not comparable at all to a typical debt holder. The comparison with someone who could potentially become insolvent is meaningless.

Its rather hypothetical, but possibly one could even argue that the constitution actually allows the USA to sell off California to China in order to repay debts. But no way could china seize California!

Comment Re:Too good credit rating anyway (Score 1) 1040

Is there a total of 40 man-years of work going into constructing a house? I think that's an interesting question, and I suspect its probably less than that, I'm not really sure, and its certainly a lot more than it might seem at first glance. Consider all of the work that goes into preparing the building materials and so on. I reckon the cost of the house itself probably does reflect, quite accurately, the amount of total work that goes into it. The cost of land however, is a different question. That is a question of how much you value a particular location, and can get crazy high, but on the other hand its probably worth it, for the people who actually want to live there.

Comment Re:Too good credit rating anyway (Score 1, Insightful) 1040

The total debt US has is way too high anyway, if a person had same sort of debt load they would be insolvent.

That is a pretty astounding thing to say. Most people who have a mortgage have a far higher debt load than the US government, and sub-prime victims excepted, the vast majority of home-owners do not go insolvent in the process.

Comment Re:Not so bad to have different systems. (Score 1) 2288

I can do a lot of the conversions between the systems and within them in my head in just a few seconds. I'm sure many of you can too. What I'm trying to say is that if we do all standardize on the same systems, we're losing the ability to cope with different systems.

I suspect it is very uncommon to be able to do conversions between metric and imperial in your head. Indeed, theinability to convert to metric is the principal excuse for not having converted everything already. What I am totally failing to see is any reason why the 'ability to cope with different systems' is useful for anything. Even in the bizarre example posted earlier of communicating with an alien race, it is unlikely that anyone other than a handful of specialists would ever need to do any unit conversions. Just like today; only a handful of people (eg, scientists, engineers) regularly need to do any metric/imperial conversions.

Comment Re:is TFA factually wrong? (Score 1) 351

The Watt is a unit of power, not energy. And the 100 figure you quote isn't even the total power, that is the power density (power per unit area) required for ignition. 100GW/cm^2 means you need 100GW of power if the ignition source is 1 square centimetre. That is way bigger than needed, more realistic is something like 0.1mm by 0.1mm (so 10^-4 cm^2). This gives a total power of 10^7 W. These lasers are pulsed, and only produce that power for around a nanosecond (10^-9). Energy = power x time, so the energy consumed in each pulse is around 10^-2 Joules, or around 10 millijoules. Which is a number mentioned in TFA as well! I'm not sure what a typical spark plug consumes but a quick google gives 0.125 J as a typical figure, so about 10 x what the laser requires. But both these numbers are quite small.

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