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Comment Re:Reset back to when I was younger (Score 1) 456

Humans have a very narrow field of vision too. The only thing you can see with any clarity is what falls directly onto your fovea, the part of the retina that has the most sensor cells. The degree of vision covered by the fovea is very small and falls off rapidly. The sense that you have a wider field of vision is just an illusion maintained by your brain. Your vision outside of your fovea is actually pretty terrible.

There are many other factors that contribute to visual acuity than the quality of your fovea, of course, including discoloration of the cornea, deformation of the lens, and contamination of the vitreous humour with debris. But it is perfectly possible to have a more highly innervated fovea for better visual acuity without sacrificing your peripheral vision, at least to a degree.

It turns out that evolution is not actually a very forward-thinking designer of visual sensors.

Comment Artificial Scarcity (Score 1) 414

Yes, these ISPs want to create artificial scarcity to conform to a business model they are more comfortable with, and many people think this is okay because it's familiar. When will they learn that digital communications are quite unlike the old paradigm of physical communication? Even switched networks are very different because there are a limited number of lines: Not so on the Internet. These kinds of per-byte proposals are very disingenuous.

Comment Re:Your mind (Score 1) 167

Unless you have a terminal disease, everyone gets better without medicine. It's an example of regression to the mean, which is one phenomenon that falls under the placebo category in clinical trials. It is not really an effect in itself.

Pain is a special case because it is so subjective, and can be easily modulated by attention. If you don't pay attention to the pain, it's not as intense. This study is only confirming this one effect.

Comment Re:Ears and eyes also involved? (Score 2, Insightful) 167

Yes, that's the point. The study is showing physiological effects of patient expectation. Patient expectation is based on past experience, cultural beliefs, and whatever the doctor (or any other person in authority, for that matter) tells you, even if the treatment is just an inert cream or a sugar pill. This study is just confirmation that when a patient claims to feel less pain, there is actual nervous system activity to support this perception.

Comment More Confirmation of Scientific Materialism (Score 1) 167

This is an interesting insight into the functioning of the nervous system in response to expectation. If anything, it shows the error in the phrase, "It's all in the head." The perception of pain, and indeed all neurological processes, are not incorporeal and can be shown to have actual physical mechanisms. More reason to dismiss anti-psychiatry claims such as those espoused by Scientology. Mental illness is physical illness, and while it may sometimes be treated by psychological means, it can also be treated by physical means and there is nothing inherently wrong with that approach.

Comment Re:Not diminishing. (Score 0) 167

The placebo effect is not an effect per se. Saying that the placebo effect is getting "more effective" is just confusing the issue. It has never been "effective." A placebo "effect" in a study is defined as any effect that is not a direct effect of what is being studies. During a treatment, there may be effects caused by the bedside manner of the physician, the colour of the waiting room, the patient's expectation, plus the myriad associations that a patient may have. All of these things will affect the outcome measure of the study without actually having a real effect. The placebo effect is a problem of measurement. It would be more correct to say that measurement is becoming less effective.

What the present article identifies is just one of many mechanisms that can interfere with accurate measurement of the actual effect of the test.

Comment Re:Acupuncture to be reanalysed (Score 4, Interesting) 167

Acupuncture has been analyzed and re-analyzed to death already. There has never been any reliable effect, and as studies become increasingly more well-designed, effect sizes diminish or disappear completely. This is a sign that there is nothing happening. Amusingly, acupuncture with fake needles is consistently shown to be just as effective as real acupuncture. It's telling that proponents often consider that to be evidence in favour of acupuncture.
Hardware Hacking

Feds Bust Cable Modem Hacker 658

Several readers noted the indictment of hardware hacker Ryan Harris, known as DerEngel. Harris wrote the 2006 book Hacking the Cable Modem, explaining how to get upgraded speed or even free Internet service by bypassing the firmware locks on Motorola Surfboard modems. He has run a profitable business at tcniso.net since 2003, selling unlocked cable modems. (The site is now offline.) Harris has been charged with conspiracy, aiding and abetting computer intrusion, and wire fraud. Wired quotes Harris's reaction: "I read the indictment — it's complete bull****. I'll tell you right now I'm not going to plead guilty."

"Three Strikes" To Go Ahead In Britain 294

David Gerard writes "Lord Peter Mandelson has carefully ignored the Gowers Report and the Carter Report, instead taking the advice of his good friend David Geffen and announcing that 'three strikes and you're out' will become law in Britain. The Open Rights Group has, of course, hit the roof. Oh, and never mind MI5 and the police pointing out that widespread encryption will become normal, hampering their efforts to keep up with little things like impending terrorist atrocities. Still, worth it to stop a few Lily Allen tracks being shared, right?"

Comment Incremental victories. (Score 1) 1

Unfortunately, I don't see this as having much of an effect. The "church" is too well-designed for one modest victory in one region against one church leader to stop them. The church will shrug this off and keep on scamming. However, it will at least raise awareness about their fraudulent activities so it won't be for nothing.

Comment Re:Cockpit voice recorder (Score 1) 518

On the Airbus A318/19/20/21. The following conditions must be met to erase:

The aircraft is on the ground, and the parking brake is on

Pressing the CVR ERASE push button for 2 seconds will then erase the tape.

The prelim from the NTSB says "The CVR recording began during final approach, and continued while the aircraft was at the gate."

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