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Comment Re:This story sponsored by (Score 1) 73

Actually evidence from the 1950s was mixed -- as it still is -- but in fact most of it stands up pretty well. What's a problem is the interpretation of that evidence and its limited nature (e.g. not knowing about different types of cholesterol).

For example it was established in the 50s that high blood cholesterol was a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This is still believed as true, but what they didn't know at the time is what factors affected blood cholesterol. It was (plausibly although not conclusively) suspected by many that fat consumption would increase it; nobody suspected sugar... why should they?

In complex systems like the body there is usually conflicting evidence early on, which is resolved by further study.

Comment Re:Potential military applications are really scar (Score 5, Interesting) 65

I'd think from a military standpoint what you want is soldiers who make better battlefield decisions, not ones that engage in a stereotypical behavior regardless of circumstance.

The human brain is both massively adaptable and subject to modification by information inputs. Which means you can indoctrinate men into becoming mindless killing machines. The problem is that historically that approach doesn't seem to be effective either tactically or strategically. US Marines faced waves of suicide attackers in the Pacific theater of WW2, which must have been terrifying, but in the end worked to the US advantage.

On the other hand George Washington's great talent as a general was retreating. He could attack a much larger and better equipped army and then make his army disappear before they could react. That was terrifying in its own way, and much more miltarily effective.

Given a fight between men fighting to kill and men fighting to survive, all other things being equal I'd put my money on the men trying to survive.

Comment Re:This story sponsored by (Score 5, Informative) 73

You know, this kind of shallow cynicism actually makes you easier to dupe, because it's not evidence-based; it's what-sounds-truthy-based.

This article was published in Nature, which requires a complete disclosure of institutional affiliations and financial conflicts. That doesn't mean the system is perfect, but it's about as good as it gets, especially given that Nature is one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world. Nature Medicine has an eye-popping 30.357 impact factor, making it the fourth most highly cited medical journal in the world after the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, and Journal of the American Medical Association.

Does it mean you should immediately believe anything that's published in Nature Medicine? No. You should wait until it is cited in a literature review article in one of those top journals before making any health decisions based on it. However as individual papers go, this is as credible as they get.

Researchers have been trying to take caffeine down for decades. Nobody can quite believe that something so enjoyable as coffee isn't bad for you. In fact doctors used to routinely warn their patients off coffee because of all the bad things it would do to them, but in fact when researchers tried to confirm all the things doctors knew about why coffee was bad for you, none of them turned out to be true, with narrow exceptions for certain populations (e.g., coffee doesn't cause ulcers as we used to be told, but if you have an ulcer coffee will make the symptoms worse).

What researchers found were surprising benefits, including what appears to be evidence of reduction in risks for multiple forms of cancer and even a reduction in suicide risk.

Coffee is well on its way to becoming the first evidence-backed superfood.

Comment Re:Can only be played on Apple products (Score 2) 81

Everyone wants to own both the distribution channel and the content being sold over that channel. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu...

They all want their own programming so that going to a different store means losing access to content. If Apple's content does appear on Netflix, you can be sure of two things: (1) it'll be old episodes and (2) their programs will include melodramatic, never-ending story arcs.

Comment You could choose software freedom (Score 2) 444

All proprietary software should be suspected of being malware. Microsoft Windows before version 10 was known to not behave in the user's interest and certainly not in the user's control (as per the definition of proprietary software). Microsoft tried pushing a Windows 10 "upgrade" on users by force, for example. Other "features" in Windows 10 (such as ignoring a user's privacy settings and doing what is in Microsoft's interest) were simply more along this line. Microsoft's aggressive sales tactics pointed to in this /. story are another example. In time there will be an announcement that Windows 7 will no longer receive updates and the hard sell for Windows 10 (or some other Windows variant) will continue. The question for all Windows users is how much more treatment like this they'd like to receive. It's never been easier to switch to a fully free software OS and run nothing but free software on top of that.

Comment Re:Real Stuff (Score 1) 183

libraries. basically anything you plug in to a motherboard will have different linux projects which sort of make it work, each of which will have a couple of forks and several subtly-incompatible minor versions and patches. then there will be a bunch of interface projects duct-taped on top of those projects, which are even more muddled and confusing, and the only documentation is hoping that someone has made a wiki page about it.

even free software developers are giving up on distro package systems because it's a god-awful mess that depends on good will and free labor which just isn't there right now.

Comment Re:Real Stuff (Score 0) 183

Linux, as a desktop OS, has failed on its own merits in so many ways, that even though you are correct here, I can't sympathize.

LibreOffice sucks the sewer pipe even if you stick to its native file formats. KDE and Gnome are the result of absurd and unaccountable five-year plans to improve Windows XP (we'll get it right someday!). Audio on Linux is still almost as unreliable as it was 15 years ago, although admittedly, when it does work, it has more features; i am still, however, expected to manually calibrate latency with a slider, i mean christ, really?

Comment Re:Remember kids! (Score 1) 386

i can't say i'm really surprised, but otoh i don't have all that much sympathy.

i also wonder whether the card counters are in more danger from the casinos, or from their "investors". card-counting is financially high-risk even in the best situation, and you need a pretty deep source of funds to absorb losses before the law of averages asserts itself. needless to say, that seed money probably isn't coming from the most scrupulous people. you can always sue Bally's if they hurt you, but Vinny from the docks might just dump you in the Hudson.

Submission + - SPAM: It Can Power a Small Nation. But This Wind Farm in China Is Mostly Idle.

schnell writes: The New York Times reports on a massive wind farm in remote Gansu province that boasts more than 7,000 wind turbines but whose capacity goes more than 60% unused. The wind farm epitomizes China's struggles in its efforts to become a world renewable energy leader: the Chinese economy is slumping, leading to decreased energy demand; the country lacks the infrastructure to haul power from remote wind-producing regions to industrial centers; and government policies continue to favor the domestic coal industry. China has 92,000 wind turbines, more than double the US's capacity, but China generates only 3.3% of its electricity from wind compared to 4.7% in the United States.

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