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Comment Re:Absolutely wrong: it did differentiate! (Score 1) 121

This will not capture a significant percentage of the former drinkers who are non drinkers. So contrary to your assertion, the current study did not truly separate out the two categories.

It did the best that any survey can do - this is medicine not precision science. It will not capture those who were moderate drinkers and who then stopped since they would have no medical problems (indeed the study shows they would have less chance of a medical problem). However this would bias the non-drinkers to look more like the moderate drinkers i.e. it would make non-drinkers look healthier.

As for former heavy drinkers I see no reason to suspect that these would end up as non-drinkers over moderate drinkers unless given medical advice that they needed to stop - in which case there would be a record and they would be classed as former drinkers. So the only way you can achieve what you claim is if there are a lot of heavy drinkers who did not develop any medical problems related to their drinking and whom all stopped drinking completely without any medical advice to that effect. This seems highly unlikely.

Comment Re:Absolutely wrong: it did differentiate! (Score 1) 121

So how many people use that as an excuse to knock back a couple wines every night, then continue to have a few more, then injure them selves or someone else because drunk? At least you will get slightly less heart disease eh.

The study showed that consuming more than ~2 glass of wine per day (less if you are a woman) is actually harmful for your health so the sort of people doing this cannot use the study to justify their drinking problem.

Comment Absolutely wrong: it did differentiate! (Score 5, Informative) 121

So is this another study that doesn't differentiate between 'never drink' and people who drank so much that they had to quit for health reasons and thus 'no longer drink'?

I know this is Slashdot so you are not expected to read the article but really you could not be more wrong if you tried. From the article:

The study's findings are particularly interesting because the researchers separated drinkers into categories that are typically lumped together in these kinds of studies. "Non-drinkers" often include people who have never drank, as well as those who quit drinking (who may have been heavy drinkers in the past, and so may have a higher risk of heart problems).

If you actually go further and click on the link to the BMJ article then they have "Non-drinker" and "Former drinker" categories with both of these showing statistically equivalent rates of cardiovascular and heart disease in the categories they looked at and in all cases both categories were statistically significantly higher than the rate for moderate drinkers.

So your assertion is completely wrong: their data show that even if you have never drunk alcohol you will have a reduced risk of heart disease if you start drinking moderately with a sample size of ~136k people. To me this looks like extremely convincing evidence that moderate drinking increases heart health.

Comment Re:in other countries (Score 1) 251

That's exactly how it works in other countries (e.g.: Switzerland).

There is a difference between local and national governments. If local governments receive the money they then have a vested interest in making sure that crimes are committed within their boundaries. Hence they can create dodgy local laws which many people will inadvertently break. National governments can't really do this because they set the laws for the entire nation which makes it a lot harder to do dodgy things like this because more people are watching them. In addition with their far larger budgets the income from fines is only a tiny fraction and not something which will make or break the bank.

Fines should go to national governments, not local ones which is not the case in the US, Canada or Switzerland but I think that does/might happen in the UK?

Comment Instant Cremation (Score 2) 251

If your car is that fast, I think you will have more pressing matters to attend to, like staying on the planet.

Actually given the amount of air resistance and therefore friction at that speed the large plasma fireball which will surround you will make you very detectable, although not really identifiable, and your immediate problem will be avoiding instant cremation, not staying on the planet.

Comment Re:Careful what you wish for... (Score 1) 448

No - I am not trying to shift the blame at all. Governments are responsible for leaving the holes in the law. Indeed your analogy reinforces my point because, just like it is impossible to produce a perfect program with no security holes, it is impossible to produce the perfect tax law with no loop holes. So while governments may be to blame it is not a practical solution to just tell them to pass laws without loop holes - just like you can't solve computer security by telling everyone to write code without any security holes. You might be able to improve things but there will still be a persistent, ongoing problem.

However your analogy does suggest a different solution: perhaps we should treat international corporations who exploit loop holes in tax law the same way that we treat hackers who exploit security holes in software. Given the ridiculously long sentences handed out for hacking I expect this would be a great deterrent...although still open to abuses of power.

Comment Worse: it is unfalsifiable (Score 2) 412

In other words, "the universe is a simulation" is an unevidenced assertion, much like the multiverse.

It is far worse than that because unless we find the programmer(s) (or possibly a bug/exploit!) there will never be any evidence of the simulation. In this way believing in a simulation is just like a religion - there is literally no difference because the only way to scientifically prove a religion is to find evidence of god. Everything which religious fundamentalists explain as "god creating it that way" a simulation can explain by "the programmer(s) creating it that way" and QM is not a problem in that regard if you are simulating the universe itself because outside the simulation we have no idea what the physical laws are so we can literally just invoke magic.

The arguments made in the article about QM are not obstacles (and in some cases very poorly explained e.g. the spin of an electron is exactly known at all times because it is a fermion and has a spin-1/2, what is not known is the direction the spin vector points) because even if we restrict ourselves to the type of computers we know about they are easily solved by simply saying that the simulation is pre-determined. You can reproduce all QM phenomena, and indeed any phenomena you can imagine, this way. However since the simulation runs in a universe we know nothing about the limitations on such a computer are utterly unknown. Hence belief in a simulation is unfalsifiable and so not a scientific theory but a belief.

Comment Re:Is there a thing called time? (Score 1) 167

Not exactly. After all, you can't measure how "fast" or "slow" something "passes" except by doing so... over time. Which leads to a bit of a circular definition.

Not really. Time is always determined as the period between two events just as space is always measured as the distance between two physical objects. If you have a physical process that you know takes a fixed amount of time to happen then, when you look at it in the moving frame, it will take longer to happen so, relative to you, time has been slowed down...or more correctly now partly coincides with one of your space directions. However since you now only perceive part of their taime axis as being parallel to your own it does mean that time is slowed for them relative to you.

Comment Re:Is there a thing called time? (Score 2) 167

Slow it down is not the same as stop, and "will stop" is a prediction.

Yes a prediction based on existing physical laws...welcome to a physics discussion this is what they generally involve: extrapolation of existing physics to situations you can dream up.

Really saddens me that you use an if statement in a physics discussion.

Don't be sad! Again this is a very common statement in physics discussions because of their nature. One of the fundamental reasons physics is so useful is that it can make predictions such as "if in situation X then Y will happen" so if statements are infused throughout physics discussions and as already mentioned they are based on extrapolating existing, experimentally well established laws to a particular situation.

You are pontificating.

Try looking up what pontificating means. I was not stating opinions but facts and stating facts which counter your beliefs might annoy you but that still does not make them opinions.

Comment Careful what you wish for... (Score 4, Interesting) 448

If people are upset about all this, perhaps our elected representatives can change the laws?

The problem with this is that these companies have an army of lawyers trying to find holes in whatever laws are passed. They can find these holes faster than laws can be patched because governments have to tread carefully to make sure new laws do not accidentally penalize companies who are behaving themselves. The only way I can see governments defeating this is by giving themselves far more discretionary taxation power to target individual companies than they currently have and that can lead to abuse of that power if we are not careful.

Comment Re:Is there a thing called time? (Score 1) 167

We cannot "stop" time.

Actually we can slow it down: time passes more slowly for an object moving at a high velocity relative to the observer. In the limit that this approaches the speed of light in a vacuum time will stop.

We cannot evaluate the opposite of time, or "not-time".

Yes we can. If the flow of time reversed we could do experiments which would unambiguously determine this. The oscillation of kaons and B-mesons show that physics is not the same if time is reversed. This is called T-violation and is closely associated with the difference between matter and anti-matter, something called CP-violation.

We cannot directly "measure" time. We cannot directly "see" time. If we cannot evaluate these things, does time exist?

Exactly the same applies to space: we "see" and "measure" space by looking at the physical separation between things in the same way that we "see" and "measure" time by detecting the time between events. Space is as real as time - it clearly exists because events happen at different times in the just the same way that they do not happen at the same place. In a universe with no matter or energy then there would be no way to detect the presence of space or time but then there would be nothing there to ponder their existence either.

Comment This is NOT Quantum Physics! (Score 2) 167

For example, if you aren't looking at something in a video game it doesn't get rendered, ergo schrodingers cat like phenomena. The moon in fact is not there if you don't look at it.

This is NOT AT ALL how quantum mechanics works. Schrodinger's Cat was a gedanken experiment developed by Schrodinger to show how absurd the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics was when applied to everyday objects. Absolutely no physicist believes that this is how QM actually works: the cat is simply either alive or it is dead and is not in a superposition of two states. The point was to show that the prevailing interpretation at the time was wrong. The same goes for the world: QM does not say that things stop existing if they are not observed and nobody believes this. QM is strange and counter-intuitive, it is not crazy!

Comment Re:Useful Innovation (Score 1) 213

Why? Isn't an innovation that makes it easier to distribute content in higher quality an innovation, even if you can't tell the difference?

Yes technically it is an innovation but unless it does something to improve the cinema experience why do I care? It is like the innovation of circular tea bags. Yes this is technically an innovation and yes it will temporarily boost sales but only until everyone figures out that it makes no difference whatsoever and goes back to what they were doing before. What a lot of people seem to forget is that it is not innovation we want it is useful innovation.

Comment Useful Innovation (Score 1) 213

What about digital distribution of digital content displayed via huge digital display systems?

It basically looks just the same as that from a film. It might save the cinema money but it does nothing for the customer. There is pseudo-3D I suppose but that shrinks the screen and gives many people a splitting headache after a few minutes. So I suppose the criterion should be innovation that is good for the customer.

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