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Comment Not just a bad idea it's a sinister one (Score 3, Interesting) 61

It's less funny when you realize that they are developing a car that can project a "makeshift zebra crossing" onto the road directly in front of it. Why exactly would you want to entice pedestrians to walk out into the road directly in front of a car? Hmmm.

Comment Queen of Canada (Score 4, Informative) 586

isnt canada still technically ruled by the queen of england??

No Canada is technically ruled by the Queen of Canada. The title is held by the same person but it is entirely separate and equal to her title as the Queen of England. The Canadian and UK Parliaments are equal but separate: no law passed by the UK parliament affects Canada and no law passed by the Canadian parliament affects the UK. But please don't let these facts get in the way of a good rant...

Comment One way (Score 1) 115

how do you fuck that up?

Well I suppose one way would be to spend all your engineering time shaving 2mm off the thickness, designing keys which hardly move, removing other keys and replacing then with a piece of the screen and finally attempting to remove all the ports. After that you probably don't have much time to spend on less important stuff like making sure you can't overdrive your speakers.

Comment Low bar (Score 1) 115

So, contrary to your statement, yes, Apple managed to hit the bar set by their competitors.

At the prices Apple charge for their laptops I expect them to far exceed the bar set by their far cheaper competitors. If they only meet it then there is nothing to justify the far higher prices...which is a big part of the problem with the new MBPs: they are average laptops with an insanely high price.

Comment Re:Commercial and OpenSource (Score 1) 403

There's still the Mac mini I guess?

I already have one but it too is getting old and Apple have crippled all the new ones by only releasing them with dual core CPUs so that they have less CPU power than a laptop.

I'm very wary of this working on a laptop or a Surface lapblettop

It works on my mac laptop at the moment when I really need to run a Linux VM. For the laptop I would do it differently though and probably run Windows as the host OS with linux in the VM. Unlike the new mac laptops with 32GB memory I expect a Windows laptop can easily handle a decent VM and this way I would not need to worry about PCI passthrough. In fact this probably makes more sense for the desktop as well.

Comment Re:No Evidence Effect is Real (Score 1) 74

That said, you do start with small samples to figure out how big the real trial should be. If the outcome would have been 35%, you'd know to set up a much bigger trial to find out if that 5% improvement was significant. Proving 13% is a lot easier.

...only if it really is a REAL 13% effect and not entirely due to statistical fluctuations! That's the point: without any details on the uncertainty or sample size the number is utterly meaningless. I might as well just make up a number, lets say 50% that's how many people my data say will survive if they spend 10 minutes a day standing on one leg. Now my data is based on a simple flat prior with a zero sample size but saves 20% more people provided I never actually bother to test it and I can get away without mentioning any uncertainties!

This is exactly what you should do when you have no data so it's a completely correct but utterly useless result...which is why the 43% result is similarly useless without indicating the sample size which has to be more than zero but if it is only say 7 would indicate no statistical difference from 30%. The problem with doing small sample trials to decide whether to do a larger one is that statistical fluctuations go both ways and you may ditch a worthwhile treatment because of a downwards fluctuation.

Comment Commercial and OpenSource (Score 1) 403

Why the fuck would any Linux developer want to do this?

Mainly because some of us have jobs where we need to use commercial applications Illustrator, MS Office etc. for teaching and admin and yet still want to be able to code for research. It used to be that many of us in this situation used Macs because they combined an underlying UNIX OS with the ability to run commercial software. Sadly Apple is going off the rails now and while I used to despise Windows XP and earlier (the last ones I ever really encountered), Windows 10 is a very different beast.

I've only been playing with it for a couple of weeks and that's on a desktop not a laptop but so far I have been impressed and intend to migrate over to a Dell XPS or Surface Book in the next month or so rather than to the obscenely priced and hardware challenged new MacBook Pros. You get roughly the same mix of UNIX development shell and environment with the ability to run commercial software. It's not as polished as OS X but Apple do not sell any modern desktop machine with a GPU and without a built in monitor and this way I always have the option to dump Windows and revert entirely to Linux and then run Windows as a VM with PCI passthrough for the GPU if the Linux subsystem does not work out.

Comment No Evidence Effect is Real (Score 1) 74

When they're trying to calm us down its always "the fields do nothing, shut up, you're fine. They're non ionizing".

...and for all we know this study confirms that they do nothing because there are no uncertainties given and no sample size mentioned. The 43% number is only meaningfully higher than the 30% number if the uncertainty on both is at or below around 2-3% on each number. Without this data it might be a no more significant difference than tossing a coin 10 times and getting 4 heads once and 3 heads the second time when you toss it in an electrical field. For all we know the 43% number may be 3 out of 7 patients which gives a 43% ratio and would be statistically identical to a 30% ratio due to the tiny sample size.

Comment Re:Read the Paper (Score 1) 477

There's no air, and their force measurements used a "weighing balance" so I'm assuming they would have noticed if the apparatus was somehow vaporizing part of itself via the change in weight.

Not necessarily. They do point out that the device is heavily grounded which means that if it say emitted electrons and these electrons are then replenished by the excellent ground connection then there would be zero change in weight and no charge build up. In any case the charge build up would be noticeable well before the mass change due to electron emission.

Comment Re:Read the Paper (Score 1) 477

How is that "the problem" ?

If you are claiming that you have invented a drive which converts electricity into momentum in a way which violates the laws of physics ruling out far more mundane sources of this thrust - all of which would prevent the drive operating in space - is pretty much essential. Spending all this effort to accurately measure the thrust is an utter waste of time if the moment you start to investigate the cause you find it is simply due to electron emission.

So... are you still skeptical of gravity too? Because we haven't really pinned that down yet either.

No...but what we HAVE done is rule out any other possible cause i.e. gravity is not caused by any of the other fundamental forces of nature nor is it caused by particle emission etc. Having ruled out any other possible cause which we can think of we then conclude that there is a fourth fundamental force called gravity. That's why we believe in gravity even though we do not understand it at a fundamental level.

For example suppose I were to test gravity by dropping bar magnets only to find that the magnets were slightly more likely to land in a particular orientation. The correct response is NOT to claim potential evidence of violation the rotational symmetry of the universe and apply for a million dollar grant to go and do detailed studies about the slight bias while physicists everywhere are shouting "have you checked for magnetic fields?" at you. No, you first do an investigation to rule out some of the likely causes such as a magnetic field otherwise several million dollars of valuable science funding have just been wasted on showing that magnetic fields affect magnets.

Comment Re:Define "work" (Score 1) 477

It would have to be vaporizing itself and ejecting the particles along the axis of the device, which seems somewhat unlikely considering that the seams all apparently run at right angles to that.

It might seem unlikely but does it seem less likely than inventing a device which breaks some of the most fundamental laws of physics we know of? My bet is on electrons which are easily replenished when the engine is on Earth and well grounded (which something they clearly highlight in the paper).

Comment American Bubble (Score 2) 385

The summary in fact offers an example where conservative websites are emphasized and it happens to be on a topic where the conservatives usually have the facts on their side. Gun control.

Sorry to burst your American bubble but there is a simpler explanation: Google searches the web worldwide with the emphasis on "world". On the US political spectrum the average person in Europe and Canada probably maps to somewhere marginally right of communism and since Google will use links to judge interest those of us in the rest of the world could produce a 'liberal bias' compared to the US.

This would also explain why gun control came back more conservative. Whatever your views on it are the only country which really debates gun control now is the US, everywhere else the debate is pretty much over except for the odd discussion about changes to the gun control regulations in a particular country which is far less of an emotive discussion and usually affects only a small fraction of the population.

Comment Ignorance of the Law Not an Excuse (Score 1) 477

Which laws of physics does it violate? None that I'm aware of.

Just because you are not aware of the laws of physics it violates does not mean it does not violate them! As the saying goes 'ignorance of the law is not a defence': in physics it is more the case that 'ignorance of the law does not mean you can just violate them'.

If it does operate without expelling any form of mass then it is immediately in violation of conservation of relativistic momentum. This is one of the most fundamental laws of physics because it comes from the symmetry that the laws of physics are then same no matter where you are. If you want to convince us physicists that this law is wrong you are going to need far better evidence than a single paper written by someone who does not understand error analysis and who has not ruled out far simpler explanations like charge particle emissions.

To draw a parallel reading this paper and concluding that this EM drive works as they claim would be like watching the act of your favourite magician and immediately concluding that magic is real. A world where magic is real might be really good fun and you might really want it to be true but while what you saw looked like magic I would hope that you would need far better evidence to rule out any possibility that what you saw was due to ingenious trickery before you went around telling everyone that magic was real. The same applies here: before we go and rewrite practically every physics textbook there is we are going to need far, far better evidence than one paper with sloppy uncertainties and no investigation of alternative sources of thrust.

Comment Define "work" (Score 2) 477

Depends what you mean by "work". Does it produce a thrust higher than just photon emission: yes clearly the evidence supports that. Is that thrust possibly explainable under the existing laws of physics for example by particle emission? Yes it very probably is. Read the paper: they focus entirely on measuring the thrust an not at all on measuring possible causes.

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