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Comment Re:New flash - Bugattis owned by rich not poor (Score 1) 254

Except some poor and middle class kids get into Harvard -- in fact they get their expenses paid. That's not the case for Bugattis.

And it's for a good (or at least shrewd) reason: Letting the intellectual elite into your exclusive school lends the prestige of their academic accomplishments to the financial elite who attend.

Look at our president-elect, who likes to point to his attendance at Penn as proof that he has a very good brain. Well, I'm not one of those people who think he's actually stupid but he got into Penn because he was rich and had family connections in the admissions office. He's not in the same league as the kids who get into Penn on a scholarship.

Comment Re:If only that were true (Score 3, Insightful) 54

My brain decides to store things I don't care about and refuses to store things I specifically study.

From your perspective that's a bug. From your brain's perspective it's a feature. Your agenda is getting a good mark in your course. Your brain's agenda is to survive, reproduce, and generally have a good time while doing so.

The thing that you think of as "you" is just a tiny film of consciousness on top of an ocean of unconscious activity. You think "you" live in the present, but actually it takes over 300 milliseconds for your consciousness to become aware of anything, and by then, most of the time, your brain has decided what to do about it. "You" mainly come up with rationalizations for decisions your brain has already made. Which is not to say that consciousness isn't important; it isn't quite as sovereign as it believe itself to be.

Comment Re:What an idiot (Score 1) 253

Not according to the summary, but let's go with your interpretation of events. He wanted $200,000 in consulting fees for what? Spending literally one minute filling in a web form changing the admin's email address on an account. Still stupid: he should have demanded $2 million, because that's a never-get-hired-again dick move.

Comment Re:What an idiot (Score 2) 253

Actually it's worse... or rather stupider. He offered to fix it (which really is just involves filling out and submitting a web form) if school settled a lawsuit for $200,000.

Now let's assume this guy is totally in the right as far as the claims in his lawsuit are concerned. That doesn't give him the right to hold his employers' systems hostage until he gets what he wants. Those systems still belong to them.

What was he thinking? Of course the courts are going to order him to hand over the metaphorical keys to the system. And the judge isn't likely to be sympathetic after this. On top fo that any future prospective employer is going to find out about this the instant they google "Triano Williams".

Based on the levels of stupidity and assholery displayed here, I'd be amazed if he weren't in the wrong.

Comment Re:Politically driven pseudo-science garbage (Score 1) 250

Solar output in fact has decreased since the early 60s.

Also according to the Milankovitch cycles we should be in the middle of a cooling period, although the actual effect is quite complex (e.g. it makes a difference whether perihelion occurs in the austral or boreal summer). So it is also possible that we might be in for slight warming over the next twenty thousand years. But even if we were in for dramatic warming due to orbital resonance, that would be on the order of 0.1C/century, much lower than the changes we've observed.

You left out volcanoes, which are a natural source of CO2 (as well as cooling particulates).

If you add up all the known sources of natural climate variation you end up with no warming trend since 1900 (source).

Comment Re:Where are the error bars? (Score 4, Informative) 250

What Geoffrey said. It's easy enough to pull the instrumental record global average data into a spreadsheet and plot it; I've done it several times myself.

Also be aware of what error bars can and cannot tell you. You can't tell about the statistical significance of trends just by comparing adjacent years with error bars. It's the wrong statistical test to talk about decades-long tends. You might never ever see a year which is statistically significantly warmer than a prior year at some level of confidence, yet have a trend which over a decade or more hits that confidence level.

Comment People have a crude form of telepathy. (Score 1) 132

Not actual radio-like telepathy like in sci-fi stories, but an inbuilt capacity to actually experience what our brains think other people are experiencing.

One of the classic experiments like this is to get a subject wearing goggles to identify with a mannequin. Of course this is artificially induced; we didn't evolve in a world with 3D goggles and cameras. But there is a condition called "mirror-touch synesthesia" in which this occurs naturally, in which people spontaneously experience what someone else is experiencing.

The parallel element I see is the brain somehow generates a sensation without an appropriate physical input, and the phenomenon of mirror touch synesthesia suggests to me this isn't just a curious bug in our brain architecture. The 1.6% of people who report spontaneous mirror synesthesia also score higher than the general population on measures of empathy. I suspect it may also be linked in some way to our ability to learn by copying what others do.

This is a really exciting time in neuroscience, and synesthesia seems like an interesting target for DIY brain hackers. Mirror-type synesthesia particularly so because it's easy to induce. The rubber hand illusion is probably the easiest dramatic effect to produce at home.

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