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Comment Re:Right. (Score 1) 222

[snip]American democracy is a sick joke

Certainly one of the sickest parts of the joke is "States' Rights." It's absolutely batshit crazy to have something be legal for your pal a mile away (next state over) which would throw you in jail in your state. Drug use, marriage age, sexual positions or partners are obvious examples. Or slavery, of course, if you go back a couple years.
The sad fact is that we're nowhere near being "One country," (under $DEITY or not). Only a heavily duck-taped illusion of a Federal gov't is keeping the US from becoming a dozen or so separate republics with radically different ideas about everything from gun ownership to religious rights.

Comment Explaining FTL non-information travel (Score 2) 189

My favorite way to explain the difference between something "happening" FTL and useful information not being able to travel FTL is this:

Imagine you've got a powerful laser aimed at a wall a few light-years away. You then sweep the laser beam along the wall's length. The illuminated area changes at several times the speed of light. But this is not information transfer, because each photon travelled a few years in a straigh(ish) line and hit the wall based on the angle of the laser at the time of emission. We "see" a moving spot, but what we're actually seeing is a progression of non-FTL arrivals. The photons carry information, but whatever knowledge is imparted at the point where the wall is illuminated is not transferred to any subsequently illuminated location.

AI

MIT Scientists Use Radio Waves To Sense Human Emotions (cnn.com) 91

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNNMoney: Researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed a device that uses radio waves to detect whether someone is happy, sad, angry or excited. The breakthrough makes it easier to accomplish what scientists have tried to do for years with machines: sense human emotions. The researchers believe tracking a person's feelings is a step toward improving their overall emotional well-being. The technology isn't invasive; it works in the background without a person having to do anything, like wearing a device. The device called EQ-Radio, which was detailed in a paper published online Tuesday, resembles a shoebox, as of now. It works by bouncing wireless signals off a person. These signals are impacted by motion, such as breathing and heartbeats. When the heart pumps blood, a force is exerted onto our bodies, and the skin vibrates ever so slightly. After the radio waves are impacted by these vibrations, they return to the device. A computer then analyzes the signals to identify changes in heartbeat and breathing. The researchers demonstrated their system detects emotions on par with an electrocardiogram (EKG), a common wearable device medical professionals use to monitor the human heart. The machine's analysis of the radio waves relies on artificial intelligence, which learns how various heartbeats indicate certain emotions. As a part of the testing, the machine bounced radio waves off actors who recreated a range of emotions. The more emotions the machine experienced, the better it identified what signals, such as a fast heartbeat, gave away their true feelings. By monitoring radio waves reflected off people who are happy, the machine is exposed to certain signs -- such as heart rate or a type of breathing -- associated with being in good spirits.
Medicine

Hackers Offer a DIY Alternative To The $600 EpiPen (ieee.org) 326

After the pharmaceutical company Mylan raised the price of a 2-pen set of EpiPens by nearly $500 over the course of 9 years, Michael Laufer and his "pharma-hacking confederates at the Four Thieves Vinegar Collective," decided to make their own budget-friendly EpiPens. IEEE Spectrum reports: Today they released a video and instructions showing DIYers how to make a generic EpiPen using materials that can be bought online for about $30. They call it the EpiPencil. "It functions just as well as an EpiPen," Laufer says in the video, after demonstrating the assembly and showing that it works. "With no special training, anybody can use it." An EpiPen is just a spring-loaded syringe filled with the pharmaceutical epinephrine. Laufer's video shows how to assemble the "open source medical device" and provides links for where to buy the components online. He stops short of telling viewers how to get their hands on the drug, noting that you need a prescription for it. But Laufer tells IEEE Spectrum in an interview that it's easy to buy epinephrine online from a chemical supplier, and he hopes viewers will do just that. "There's a small but hopefully growing subculture of people who are buying the active ingredients of drugs," he says. "It's encouraging to see people take control of their own health."

Comment Re:How to Argue About Doping in Sport (Score 1) 97

Well, auto racing used to be in part about building better cars. Until the turbine came along. Now, turbines and 4-wheel drive are banned at the Indy 500.

That's utter nonsense. You might as well bitch that IndyCars aren't allowed in NASCAR races. Or that sticks with more than 1.5" curve depth aren't allowed in the NHL. Or that metal bats aren't allowed in MLB. Or double-strung rackets in tennis.

Every sport has rules and limits, often for safety if nothing else. If you don't think race teams have teams of engineers trying to make the car a teensy bit faster and a teensy bit better at holding speed in corners while staying within the design rules, time to think again.

Back to human doping: I won't disagree that there's a fine line between PEDs and legal stuff like high-protein diets and a few cans of RedBull. And for that matter, the kind of diet (both type and quantity) that NFL players eat does in fact have ramifications for their long-term health. I think the difference is (supposed to be) that banned doping substances are radically dangerous even in the levels in use, let alone overdosing.

Comment On the bright side (Score 1) 92

Well, I guess now we know how Superman's X-ray vision works. I remember at least a couple occasions where he stops reading a book thru a wall (or some such) because, in his own explanation, continued use of his X-ray power could overheat the book and set it on fire.

Does make you wonder whether Empedocles and Plato were from Krypton.

Comment Re:Goofy (Score 1) 160

However that doesn't fly in other fields. You can't just say "shit well they died so lets try again with version 2.1 beta and see if it kills fewer people." Well actually I guess you CAN say that.

That's exactly how it goes, and there's no other option. You could do nothing, and guess what the death rate wouldn't change. Or you could do something which directly addresses the root cause of the problem, and see if the death rate decreases. In all the cases I know of - checklists for pilots, drug dosage level changes, etc. -- by the time the new protocol is released for use on humans it's pretty much guaranteed not to make things worse.

Communications

Ask Slashdot: What Are Anonymous Ways To Pay For Goods and Services? 212

Long-time Slashdot reader mspohr submitted a report a couple of days ago from Richard Stallman via The Guardian, which argues that we should be able to pay for news anonymously. "Online newspapers and magazines have come to depend, for their income, on a system of advertising and surveillance, which is both annoying and unjust... What they ought to do instead is give us a truly anonymous way to pay." In response to that report, an anonymous Slashdot reader writes: There was a recent article posted here on Slashdot about Richard Stallman and his attempt to make paying for online content anonymous. The corollary to that question is: What are the remaining ways to pay for stuff -- in the "real" world and online -- that are truly anonymous? Even cash can be tracked, but what about other methods? Have we completely given up on anonymous payments? No more anonymous/numbered bank accounts, no more pre-paid/virtual bank cards in Europe (just happened recently), for that matter no more prepaid phone numbers (you have to register the number in Europe)? What is left after we had let the politicos run rampant with forced registrations of all payment services?

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