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Comment Re:Umm (Score 1) 328

What you need are citations to trustworthy sources and to be reviewed by trustworthy peers.

You've already lost the fight: no human system outperforms its incentive structure.

Peer review is hopelessly ensnared by academic advancement culture. Entire disciplines can end up publishing bunk, if that becomes the tenure-track fashion of the decade. Tulip bubbles are not restricted to the business cycle. Even hard sciences have been hit pretty bad. Et tu, string theory?

The fundamental theorem of peer review is due to Max Planck:

Science advances one funeral at a time.

The zone of convergence of peer review involves the passing of interested parties. In most of the hard sciences, fifty years pretty much weeds out the crap.

However, if you take a field such as nutrition science, I dare say it's still inadvisable to take fresh "peer review" at face value. John Yudkin was on the right track in 1958. Fifty years downstream, the truth is out there, but it's still far from evenly distributed in the public imagination.

Nutrition science was subverted by a white coat army of industry apparatchiks. These studies are expensive and, oh yeah, replication crisis.

Most human systems can be trusted some of the time. The real art of bullshit detection is figuring which times are those times. Even the best human systems are bullshit on the margin.

Faster-than-light neutrino anomaly

What you need to understand here is that the journalist impulse to publish is directly proportional to the tenuousness of the result in question.

Well, if the speed of light falls derp derp wormholes derp derp Stargate derp derp dusty von Daniken booster spice derp derp human immorality derp derp Omni Magazine alternate-reality cum shot. Well, you got your $4 worth, didn't you?

There's an enormous term in the human condition centered around escape from reality. This makes sense to some degree, because human reality usually contains a giant heal spur of oppression of the downtrodden masses (success has a habit of being highly asymmetric).

Trump's monosyllabic barrage becomes tremendously more convincing if you want to believe the underlying message.

Somehow, one supposes, being suckers for false hope must be evolutionarily adaptive (who, after all, is qualified to challenge the modern evolutionary synthesis?)

And then you get right down to it, the anchor tenants of modern bullshit culture are the major religions (being largely incompatible, at most 1 of N could anywhere close to broadly correct). Because, you know, life without bullshit would be empty and meaningless.

Deep down, most of us don't really want to drain the bullshit pond. And it's not just one pond. It's pond after pond. Never get comfortable.

The fundamental theorem of bullshit busting is due to Richard Feynman:

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.

Evolution took a long look at Hamlet, and came up with satisficing.

Make happy assumptions that are compatible with medium-term survival (generally best obtained from proven survivors—aka your parents and select community), then behave with the efficiency of assuming their truth, until the shit really hits the fan; then sit back, renounce, regroup, and repeat.

Dawkins pretty much feels about religion the way Einstein felt about cosmic inflation and quantum indeterminacy. Right model, wrong hope, long painful row to hoe. Even when our best minds get something right, they're often left wishing they hadn't.

So there's this unhappy observation about the human condition, meanwhile the creationists are still stuck on our too-close-for-comfort family resemblance to the other apes (none of whom are paragons of family values).

For some reason that I'm still striving to properly elucidate, bullshit is a prized lubricant of human culture.

For forty years I've lived a Mertonesque credo that "godlessness is next to cleanliness" and so I've managed to winnow the standard-issue pint ("but trailing clouds of gesta do we come") down to about a teaspoon of personal bullshit lubricant.

[*] our heritage of gesta (deeds) soon turns to egesta (bodily waste), which completely explains e-gesta (deeds on the internet)

Not long ago, I was reading Amos Tversky on the perils of metaphor, and now suddenly the scales fall from my eyes.

For 99% of the population, bullshit is sugar sweet. And even among the recalcitrant 1%, no-one ever sheds their very last sweet tooth.

Comment DLMO (Score 5, Informative) 98

The article has a poor to false understanding of how blue light interacts with DLMO (dim light melatonin onset).

I'm pretty sure the entrainment effect of blue light is via direct neuronal connection to the SCN, and I doubt it involves melatonin, except indirectly.

The homeostatic sleep pressure signal builds up (more or less linearly) for as long as you're awake. On its own, this would mean that you taper into drowsiness all day long. So the sleep system has another mechanism that suppresses response to the sleep pressure signal. I vaguely recall that what happens with DLMO is that melatonin onset signals the body to turn off the suppression switch, so that the body begins to notice the homeostatic sleep pressure signal.

DLMO, however, is easily inhibited by exposure to blue light at a point in time approximately an hour before bedtime. If you're outdoors hunting moose in the bright light of late-evening arctic summer, this is a useful adaptation.

You'll get to bed later, which means you'll sleep a bit later (but not much) and then you will get less blue light early the next morning, which will affect your entrainment, gradually, on the slow-drip program.

As a rough, empirical ratio, for every extra hour you stay up, you'll sleep about twenty minutes later the next morning. It's not uncommon to stay up for an extra two hours, then barely sleep in for an extra half hour. (We need to ignore here that modern society tends to run a massive, permanent sleep deficit, which can suddenly turn into sleeping four to six hours late at the first opportunity that allows this to happen. That's a different beast entirely.)

I have a circadian rhythm disorder, and I know from decades of sleep tracking that morning wake-up time is about three times more reliable in estimating my sleep phase than time of retirement.

This is a worthwhile paper from the top of my notes, but it's hard to wade through:

Estimating Dim Light Melatonin Onset (DLMO) Phase in Adolescents Using Summer or School-Year Sleep/Wake Schedules — 2006

I like this paper because it shows how social convention (adolescent schooling) also influences DLMO phase.

The sleep pressure signal eventually overwhelms the suppression of this signal, regardless of the DLMO mechanism.

James Maas is a good representative of the modern sleep science orthodoxy:

Surefire Strategies to Sleep for Success!

I just love the page break at the end of page 6. But then I'm really into microscopic moments of small page-formatting humour. (It's probably not unrelated to all those long, lonely nights, before I found a viable treatment.)

Here's a good summary, I just found for the first time.

Phase Response Curve

The reason I only vaguely remember this mechanism is that all the phase response curves in the literature are dose dependent.

There is no PRC I've ever seen that computes the phase response differential to endogenous melatonin levels. No, what you do is administer some dose/formulation (which can include sustained-release components) at staggered times over several weeks, and then you plot the graph averaged over your test population (which thus includes all the metabolic uptake and clearance variability).

There was a time I desperately wanted to consult one of these curves and then to declare "I am here", but it never happened. These are, in effect, better regarded as qualitative curves than quantitative curves.

The model was never predictive enough to be worth memorizing exactly. And thus I remain slightly dim on DLMO when I really shouldn't be after all these years.

Comment Re:Holy communion in space (Score 1) 149

Who said anything about there being an expectation of alcohol in the urine? As you note, alcohol is metabolised into certain chemicals, and its those chemicals in the waste water which is the issue. You will find that there are loads of other things astronauts on the ISS cant eat for precisely the same reasons, this article was just about alcohol because its something most people can relate to.

Comment Kowtowing (Score 2, Insightful) 374

Isn't this sort of thing just kowtowing to Trumps use of "failing" every time he mentions the New York Times in tweets or press conferences? We all know why he does that - spread enough misinformation about a companies situation and eventually enough people get spooked to make it true. The numbers don't show a failing company, they merely show a transitional one.

Comment Re:I'm not surprised. (Score 3, Interesting) 876

Really? Then why was it OK when Bill Clinton had sex with an intern?

The price of shame — March 2015

At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss, and at the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences.

The Republican weaponization of Clinton's misdeed was to claim that this behaviour made Bill unfit to govern. (If powerful men having extramarital affairs with young women was incompatible with leadership, well, the vast sweep of history does not so record.)

Family values aside, the power imbalance creates the risk that Bill would abuse his immense power to cover up the vastly exaggerated blot on his record. The Republicans actually knew that anyone with an accurate base rate of human history / human culture would not regard his behaviour as incompatible with leadership—though a common and damning blot nevertheless, so the tactic was to escalate the stakes until Bill felt compelled to lie about it—which, unfortunately, was extremely easy to anticipate.

Lying to formal body of review is considered incompatible with leadership, sort of, incrementally, since not all that long ago. For example, it barely extends as far back as the Reagan's Iran–Contra affair. (Some people roll with family values and view Clinton's offense as the worse offense. I happen to roll with geopolitical transparency, and so I view Reagan's offense as the worse offense—he appointed those clucks, and it was his ultimate responsibility to know all the big shit).

Bill was plenty smart enough to figure out that the public perception battle would play out exactly as it did, leaving him boxed into a corner where he could—according to his established character—only choose to lie (perhaps he overestimated his power to blow off the investigation, but even there, had he succeeded, he would have mortgaged a sizeable fraction of his presidential energy in ruthlessly defending his momentary gratification).

Clearly, his judgment in this matter fell short of the mark by any standard.

However, I rate it not quite as bald as boasting about sexual harassment with a camera rolling. Whatever Bill purportedly said to Donald on the golf course (that was "far worse" in Donald's personal judgement), there was no film at eleven after the fact.

The modern world contains a lot of cameras and microphones. Trump's world has contained many cameras and microphones since way back. A prudent man in his position wouldn't be openly bragging about his magical power to get away with sexual harassment just to impress Billy Bush. And it's not like Donald didn't have a front row vantage point on Bill sinking his own boat through which to consider and amend his own standard of personal conduct. Donald had every opportunity to know better, and the penny never dropped.

So in summary, a whole lot of things are "not okay" but still the world largely spins as it has always done for thousands of years.

Comment Re:ECC (Score 1) 260

No boot ROM means that a hardware device constructed from discrete logic and analog chips directly demodulates digital data from the radio, addresses the memory, and writes the data. Once this process is completed, it de-asserts the RESET line of the CPU and the CPU starts executing from an address in memory. Really no ROM!

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