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Comment Re:Aussies, now you know why... (Score 2) 150

The USA in 1776 wasn't a democracy, it was a colony of England. (England may have been a proto-democracy, but the colonies certainly were not.) Nazi Germany wasn't a democracy. Adolf Hitler never won a popular election. He wasn't elected as chancelor, but appointed by Hindenberg in a constitutional crisis.

Comment Re:Wasn't this already known? (Score 1) 75

Indeed. And the value elsewhere http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Sun&Display=Facts&System=Metric of 6.9551 x 10^5 km implies also an error of the order of 10km. But it differs by 500km (or 50 standard deviations)! This is an incredibly large difference between the measurements, given the error bars. Perhaps they are measuring different things, the radius at the equator won't be the same as the radius at the poles.

Comment Re:So how do they know if they actually wrote it (Score 1) 148

Harddrives haven't used coils for a long time. Nowdays they use the GMR effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_magnetoresistance and in principle the CMR effect could give another few orders of magnitude more sensitivity. That only solves the size problem, it doesn't do much for the speed problem.

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.

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