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Comment Annoying article (Score 1) 586

The primary PNAS article is pretty annoying IMHO. One of the main purposes of publishing research is to describe the methods so that others can reproduce it. In the Materials and Methods section, the only description of the fields applied refer to using 70% intensity setting of a commercially available product, the Magstim SuperRapid, which does not even appear on the manufacturer's website. Also, the orientation of the field is described only by referring to the orientation of the handle of the device. I would expect a published article to describe the actual field intensity, orientation, and some description of field geometry.

Guessing that the SuperRapid is equivalent to the Rapid, they are applying 70%*3.5 Tesla = ~ 2.5 Tesla. Holy cow, that's a lot. For comparison, Earth's field is 0.0005 Tesla.

I assume that no one really cares what happens when you apply these kind of fields to the brain given that one doesn't experience anything like this in normal situations. Is the point that we can learn about brain function by poking it in various ways, and this is just a good way to poke it?

Comment Allow my to introduce my friend Occam... (Score 1) 329

...he has a razor that is very useful in these situations. You have three choices: one and two are rather bizarre theories that require significant new physics (reflecting gravitational waves or Heim theory). Choice three uses conventional physics, and is therefore boring. But it explains the GpB data so far.

Until polhode effects can be ruled out, Occam's razor pretty much requires us to stick with this explanation. Don't use a complex experiment to make claims about new physics unless you understand the experiment really, really well. It is just too easy for the "new physics" to turn out to be some subtle effect in the experimental hardware.

Comment Re:Buy European? No chance. (Score 1) 640

My understanding is that a modern twin (777) is less likely to lose one engine than an older quad (747) is to lose three engines. The 777 was more or less required to meet this challenge in order to be certified for over water use.

A 777 certainly does not have to divert to the nearest airport if it loses one engine. After all, the things fly over the Pacific where there are no airports!

Comment Re:Tagged: (Score 2, Insightful) 108

Interesting thoughts. You touch on a theme that I have been thinking about lately: zero sum games versus more creative solutions.

So often we get stuck in zero sum games. You give up knowledge: I win; you lose. You get what you want: you win, I lose.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Shared knowledge can mean gains for both parties. Enabling your collaborators (competitors?) allows you to concentrate on your strengths.

Indeed, life does not have to be a chess match. But creativity and innovation are often required to avoid the trap of the zero sum game.

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Logic doesn't apply to the real world. -- Marvin Minsky