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Comment Re:Possibly Greatly Overblown (Score 1) 67

Tetrodotoxin affinity is not all that high, just nanomolar. Same for LSD. And natural steroids have very high affinity for nuclear receptors, probably approaching the practical limits for small molecules. One possible mechanism of getting higher affinity is if a lipophilic compound acts in the membrane phase, since partitioning into the membrane could amplify the apparent potency by orders of magnitude. I have seen effects of a steroid down to low picomolar concentrations, perhaps by this mechanism (I think it's a membrane target), so I'm not excluding the possibility of ultra-high potency effects, but it does need to be explained.

Comment Re:Possibly Greatly Overblown (Score 1) 67

The problem is that the concentrations of these agents in the environment tend to be extraordinarily low compared to the hormone levels that are normally present in the body, so it is hard to understand how they compete appreciably with the natural hormones. That doesn't mean it's impossible for these substances to have biological effects, but some explanation is needed beyond "they can mimic hormones."

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 1) 385

Climate change might be happening. But who or what is responsible?

So we have a body of theory going back decades predicting global warming from increasing release of CO2. And we are observing warming very much like what was predicted. And other possible causes, like solar variation, have been extensively investigated and found unable to account for the observed changes.

So you really have to be grasping at straws to be suggesting that there is any real doubt over what is responsible.

Comment Re:You would trust insurance companies on this? (Score 1) 385

If you look at the climate literature, you will find that the terms "climate change" and "global warming" have been used all along. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established back in 1988. The two terms refer to different aspects of the same phenomenon: "global warming" refers to the global average temperature, "climate change" refers to the local impact.

Short term changes of under a decade or so are always weather. Modern climate science is able to predict trends, including such things how much weather variation around the trend to expect, but it cannot predict whether a particular year will be warm or cold (because it would be impractical to acquire the amount of data needed to predict such short term chaotic fluctuations more than a few days ahead).

Comment Re:You would trust insurance companies on this? (Score 3, Insightful) 385

It's not just a statistical trend. We have a well validated body of theory that predicts increased damage as a result of rising seas, as well as rising temperatures feeding more energy into storms. And the statistical trend agrees with those predictions. An insurance company would be foolhardy not to take this seriously.

Comment Hype versus trust (Score 2) 432

Detractors tend to attribute Apples success to "hype," yet there are numerous products that have been heavily promoted and yet failed to sell. Consider Microsoft's "Surface" tablet/netbooks. Remember the ads with music and the acrobatic demonstrations of its clever (and brightly colored) keyboard covers. Brilliant ad, on a par with Apple's best. Yet the Surface tanked (Round two now coming up).

So what is it about Apple? At this point, it's not so much about the hype as about the brand. Most people who use Apple's products appreciate the attention that Apple gives to designing the user experience. It's subtle things like how fast Apple's phones and tablets respond to touch. Apple has built a reputation of only making premium products--no cheap, shoddily built stuff just to build market share. Other companies tend to have some good models and some not-so-good models. You buy Apple, and you know that you are getting a quality product that has been carefully tuned to optimize the user experience. You can trust Apple not to push specs at the expense of battery life, for example. So a lot of people probably ordered a new iPhone just because their old phone was two years old and out of contract, and based upon their previous experience with the company, and they trusted Apple to have something good. And judging from the early reviews, it appears that Apple has delivered once again.

Comment Re:Unfortunately ... (Score 1) 432

Actually, there is no evidence of a trend of losing users. Apple's sales have increased with every iteration of the iPhone. Apple has lost marketshare to Samsung, which is something quite different--it means that Samsung is gaining users even faster than Apple is. But a lot of those phones are low-margin budget phones, sold to people who likely use few of their features, and, more importantly from Apple's perspective, don't buy much in the way of apps, music, books, or video for their phones. With the introduction of the 5c, Apple made its clearest declaration to date that it is not interested in the bottom end of the smartphone market

Comment Re:Feeble minds. (Score 1) 432

The iPhone 5 was competitive at introduction with the fastest phones available (a bit faster on some measures, a bit slower on others). There are some respects in which it is still faster; it's touchscreen response latency is still better than all phones except the iPhone 5s.

But no phone remains the fastest for the full two years of a typical contract...

Comment Re:The problem with selling 5C units is (Score 1) 432

On contract, the cheapest 5c is half the price of the cheapest 5s (or other new generation phones), and while other phones have surpassed it in some respects, it still delivers the full Apple iOS experience. In fact, a recent study found that the iPhone 5 has half the touch screen delay (which is probably the main factor determining the perception of touchphone responsiveness) of the Samsung Galaxy S4 (in fact, even the two-year old iPhone 4s, available free with a contract, beats the Galaxy S4).

Comment Re:Sorry - Apple is still dying. (Score 4, Interesting) 432

Probably the same kind of people who buy Macs, even though Dell computers do the same thing for a fraction of the cost
Or the people who buy a Mercedes Benz, even though a Hyundai does the same thing for a fraction of the cost.

Of course, while all of these products do generally the same thing, the user experience can be quite different for people who notice this sort of thing.
For example, Apple is very concerned about conveying a touch experience that creates the illusion that the user is interacting directly with elements of the display, so Apple puts a lot of effort into minimizing the lag between touch input and response. For example, the previous generation, the iPhone 5, has half the latency of the fastest Android device. And the iPhone 5s is benchmarking twice as fast as the iPhone 5 for some functions.

For some people, this sort of thing makes a big difference. They may not be able to put their finger on it, but they know that Apple's devices are more enjoyable to use than other devices that do the "same thing," just as a Mercedes is more enjoyable to drive than a Hyundai.

But while you'll spend a great deal more for a Mercedes, you can buy the iPhone 5s at nearly the same price as top-of-the-line competitors. This Apple's big achievement with the iPhone, and Apple continues to reap these huge sales numbers year after year--the ability to deliver a premium quality product at a price that is competitive with the knock-offs.

Comment Re:You're missing the point. (Score 1) 481

Yes, I currently don't use a passcode at all, because it is too inconvenient. So I'm not particularly concerned with whether the fingerprint sensor can be broken by somebody who has managed to get hold of my fingerprint and go through the rather elaborate process described--it's still going to be better than no security at all.

Comment Re:What is the point of 64 bit? (Score 1) 773

Samsung is also moving to 64 bit on their phones.

So do you really believe that both companies are going to all of this effort and expense is just for the sake of marketing hype, or is it just possible that the two companies with the most experience with smartphone development know more than you do about the advantages of 64 bit architecture for this type of device?

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