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Comment Re:This MUST be fake news (Score 1) 121

Why in gawd's name would anyone mass produce such a device? This must be one of those fake news stories we've been hearing so much about.

I can't imagine any legitimate use for such a device, so I assume it would be made illegal as soon as the politicians can get off their duffs.

I'm sure certain companies and government agencies working with very sensitive information or critical infrastructure would find some value in it. You can disable USB in software or fill the ports with hot glue gun glue, but both can be undone/worked around. There may be other, better methods to secure the USB ports, but there are definitely some legitimate uses for such a device.

Comment Re:Shrooms, too. (Score 1) 145

From what I understood, it was indeed promising but it never went beyond that. The problem with psychedelics is that while we did have some very good results, it was too unpredictable. You talk about non-scientists but there is nothing scientists hate more than unpredictability. When a psychiatrist gives a drug to a patient, he wants to know the effects beforehand, he wants to know how things can go wrong, what to do next, etc.. You can't have it with LSD. I don't think we went passed the point of throwing it at a patient and see how it sticks.

One of the last potential use of psychedelics is for treating cluster headaches. A benign but extremely painful condition. Interestingly, the most effective treatments are all hit-or-miss repurposed drugs, psychedelics are of these.

Every drug has potential side effects and some level of unpredictability. If you were to measure the negative side effects and the benefits of commercial prescription antidepressants and mood disorder drugs, the net gain is very small or even negative in some cases. Some antidepressants on the market actually perform worse than a placebo. That's not a particularly high bar for these drugs to clear.

The only reason these drugs weren't fully researched is because they were made very difficult to study, both by regulation and by the social stigma / loss of reputation that anyone trying to study them would have to endure.

Comment Re:Why would this concern Trump? (Score 2) 182

He campaigned on a platform of isolationism. Why would he care if two countries on the other side of the world are hacking each other?

Not just that, unlike previous Republican administrations, he takes a dim view of all of Islam: he doesn't view Sunnis as better than Shias or vice versa or any of that. His whole stance of allying w/ the Russians in Syria is based on that: that militias that are financed by the Saudis, Turks or Qatar are just not reliable at best, and Jihadists at worst. That's why he's taken a position that's completely heterodox to the Republicans, if not downright heretical.

On Iran, what he has to do is pull the plug on that deal, and make it clear to Iran's trading partners that they can choose to trade either w/ the US or Iran, but not both. If European countries are so enamored w/ trading w/ Iran, that's fine: just don't expect to do any business w/ the US.

But as far as the Saudis go, we have no dog in the fight b/w Iran and Saudi Arabia. Both are our enemies, and the 2 of them fighting each other is an alien vs predator situation, to paraphrase Debbie Schlussel. Or like the 2 cats of Kilkinney. If they can fight each other and wipe each other out, then praise be to allah - nothing like it!

Wars have a habit of spilling their effects across borders. For a time, I was reading every day's front page of the Canberra Times starting in October 1938. The problem of international refugees appeared again and again, and I had to stop in February 1939 because I got busy with work. The war had only just begun at that point.

65 million people were displaced at the end of 2015. This problem is not just Saudi Arabia and Iran's problem. A lot of the costs of their "not so cold" war are externalized onto other nations.

Comment Trump hasn't even taken office yet (Score 0) 103

The problem of living in an insular part of the country is that you lose touch with the other half. When the Mozilla board of directors runs the foundation like their pet political project they are guaranteed to stay a tiny niche product. That's not very healthy when people get you depend on volume for your ad revenue.

Some people will never learn. They will think the "racists" ruined their ivory tower.

Comment Re:Shrooms, too. (Score 1) 145

Research into cannabis, MDMA, LSD, etc was the most promising area of psychiatric research in the 1950s. A mental health revolution was on the horizon until a bunch of non-scientists got involved and shut the whole thing down.

Comment Re:"Willing to"??? (Score 1) 130

I don't even keep location services turned on except when I need to use my phone as a GPS, never mind allow any apps to access it. Why the hell would I want to share my location with Uber? Oh, right - "Location data could also be used to provide new channels of revenue for the digital platform. This could include serving ads of local businesses". Yeah, kindly fuck right off, Uber.

Uber may be playing shenanigans but other companies can potentially do useful things with that data. As an example, Pandora seems to play certain songs depending on my location or time of day. I have noticed that John O`Callaghan's "Big Sky" seems to play much more frequently around sunset. Driving home from the airport after a business trip almost guarantees a play of Gareth Emery's "Long Way Home". I have no evidence that Pandora is actually changing the songs played based on location or time of day, but it would not surprise me.

The ads on Pandora don't seem to change much, if at all, based on my location.

Comment Re: eating less (Score 2) 253

Yeah, it is not simple thermodynamics. The complexity of the interactions in the body is overwhelmingly mind-boggling.

Interestingly enough, more and more researchers are buying into the lower-carb side of the diet controversy. And it seems that if you lower the amount of carbohydrates in your diet, you probably have to increase your fat intake to get enough energy to prevent starvation responses. And a gut that is adapted to burning fat for energy is significantly different from a gut that burns sugars. And so on....

However, the report of a single study doesn't provide a prescription for health. Some time ago there was good discussion about creating a comprehensive science database to compare outcomes of different research. This database would report on both successful and unsuccessful experiments and research, which could possibly cut down on instances of "fads" by identifying what works, what doesn't work, and what hasn't been tested yet.

Recent research into gut biology certainly is fascinating and exciting. It seems clear that different types of guy bacteria break down food at different rates and into different components. A lot of research has gone into fecal transplants, but that is the "cheap and roundabout way" of researching this issue, in my opinion. Some questions I have are-

1. Do different species of gut bacteria break down different types of food (vegatables, fruits, proteins, etc) differently?
2. Where are the 'ideal' (most healthy) bacteria commonly found? Are they a byproduct of food decomposition? There does seem to be some benefits of consuming fermented foods. It wouldn't be too surprising to find that bacteria good at decomposing food on the countertop are also good at decomposing food in the gut (as long as they can handle the acidity). This could imply that the super clean food practices commonly used in western countries (refrigeration, washing, etc) could actually be harmful since they restrict bacteria from proliferating.

Comment Re:A pity, but not a surprise (Score 2) 95

It only makes sense that you should only be allowed to review something you've actually bought through the site, but man will I miss the comedy reviews. The reviews for the Trump Christmas tree ornament hat are GOLD, as were the reviews for uranium in a can and all the others.

You can still write 5 reviews per week for items that you haven't bought. That should be plenty for legitimate purposes.

The real issue with Amazon is that the actual seller's feedback score is not clearly shown on the product page. If you want feedback for the actual seller, it is buried at least 1 click away. Other websites with 'marketplaces' make this a lot more transparent on the product page. Putting their feedback score front and center would fix several issues. Not every problem, but Amazon's reluctance to do even that shows to me that they don't take the problems of chinese sellers seriously.

Comment Re:the problem is in the market. (Score 1) 88

Minecraft is slowly rearing its head as one of microsofts worst decisions. Yes it had a lot of users, but not a lot of new users. sure, you can create logic engines in it, but the average 11 year old on minecraft isnt doing that. Notch walked away with the bulk of minecrafts real profit, leaving microsoft to shepherd servers and find new ways to milk a cow he gave up on years ago after the food mechanic. the MS deal alienated a lot of hackers/coders who enjoyed writing mods for the platform and saw it as just another thing gobbled up by redmond to be slowly bled dry through incompetent mismanagement.

Sometimes a fad product is just a fad. Minecraft was a great game, but only because it had a novel idea at the right time. It's not a particularly clever idea or even a patentable one. Seeing Microsoft invest so much is analogous to Target purchasing Ty (beanie baby company).

Comment Re:Demonstrating something we already knew. (Score 5, Insightful) 158

I think its good that a few individuals have found a way to cleary demonstrate what many people already knew... That the 'news' media is a joke, and only exists to serve the corporations which own the media outlet.

Good that it is being exposed to the people who read the corrections / false story reports. Not good for anyone who didn't and still thinks the original story is real.

I was taught in elementary school to check sources and not rely on a single source. Even (especially) wikipedia was to be questioned. That seems to have all gone out the window. You don't need any qualifications to write news, and nobody would check anyway. The internet was supposed to level the playing field for everything and everybody. It did that, but it turns out that most players are terrible.

Comment Re:Step 1: Ignore the mouth (Score 1) 559

There's a fact about Trump that's growing ever more apparent: his mouth is nearly useless. Only his actions matter (and they've yet to unfold).

Forrest Trump is like a box of chocolates: you don't know what you are getting until you bite into one ... or one bites into you.

You could say the same thing of any politician. Or any salesperson for that matter. I find it is helpful to have a book on negotiation handy and to categorize the tactics of such people into negotiation strategies. It doesn't take much practice to recognize the strategies that Trump is most prolific with- making strong opening offers, setting the terms of negotiation, carefully choosing the medium, the time, and the location (often at his own properties), showing signs of disappointment, avoiding weak language, etc. Other politicians do this too, of course, but Trump takes it to another level entirely.

I would not want to negotiate with such a person. I can definitely understand that world leaders would be wary of negotiating with such a person.Trump is one of the most successful timeshare salesman in the country, after all.

Comment Re:You Trump voters have been played (Score 1) 559

He's a fast learner at becoming a typical lying establishment politician, after having been briefed on the actual facts of the nation and the world.

If that was actually the case he'd be an ignorant politician that's been enlightened, it's not a lie to realize the basis of your position was lacking and the past conclusion wrong. Though I think you're closer on this one:

He just said whatever he thought would win him the election.

He did. But not in the "I'll tell you half a truth and go full crazy once I'm elected" way, pretty much every move after he was elected has been reconciliatory and moderating past extremes. We know Trump is far from the traditional, life long Republican. At the same time, in practice you have to be a Democrat or Republican to become president. He's a businessman, clearly he's got some economic theories that he really means but the rest or has he just been pandering?

This might be hilariously wrong in retrospect but just throwing it out there, what if Trump has been playing the long con like you see in reality shows and now that he's maneuvered his way into office he'll actually be a far more moderate, responsible and socially progressive president than anyone expected him to be? Because it's one thing that he flip-flops, but I can't see that all of these are necessary. In many cases he could probably stick to his guns and have the party back him up, but he does it anyway. Most peculiar.

There has been some speculation that the GOP didn't plan to support Trump, since enacting his campaign promises were thought to hurt the GOP in the 2018 elections. The 2018 election is important because of the 2020 census and the redistricting that will take place soon after. Without GOP support, Trump wouldn't accomplish much in the next 4 years, making it easier for the party to distance themselves. By roping in the GOP and including them, Trump ties his fate to the GOP. They have to support him, and won't be able to dump him easily in 2020 if he wants to run for re-election. Whether that is a good or bad thing is left as an exercise for the reader.

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