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Comment YouTube as a criminal enterprise? (Score 3, Interesting) 75

Here's a simple trick. Search for some popular show on YouTube, such as "Bill Maher Real Time" and then select the filter for "Upload date". Your results will include lots of pseudo-pirate computer-pwning hits.

These accounts are created constantly on YouTube and this has been going on for many years. A typical account will have lots of videos that are supposed to be the popular shows, but each video just says YouTube blocked the video and promises the suckers that they can get the actual videos by following the links and installing the software to pwn their computers into zombie networks. Generally annoying, but it especially bothers me that a lot of these videos are popular with children, and targeting innocent children strikes me as a higher level of EVIL, even for the monster that the google has become.

There are some obvious countermeasures, but rather than implement any of them, YouTube has chosen to tolerate, perhaps even encourage, this situation for some years. My conclusion is that YouTube believes they are deriving profits from supporting these criminals. (Perhaps they're selling them bandwidth?) I don't think google employees are naive and innocent as the children who are getting victimized, and it would make me a bad person to hope that their own kids click on the links.

Just reading Googled , another history of the google with emphasis on the "Don't be evil" thing. I think that google needs to hire a chief exorcist.

Comment Re:Potential military applications are really scar (Score 3, Funny) 76

George Washington and his patriot army had mad ninja skillz.

They did. The old story goes that Ethan Allen was brought back to England as a prisoner in the Revolutionary War, he was housed with a English merchant who to goad the patriot put a picture of George Washington up in the outhouse. Much to the merchant's chagrin, Allen approved. "Nothing," Allen said, "will make an Englishman shit faster than the sight of George Washington."

Comment Re:This story sponsored by (Score 1) 89

Well, the answer might be to try a morning cup of decaf coffee. Why? Because caffeine isn't the only active ingredient in coffee; the anti-cancer properties of coffee appear to be in the phenols which are still present in decaf. And you'd still get the stimulant benefits of caffeine because you're more sensitive, although I'd avoid even decaf after noon.

A cup of decaf coffee has between 2-10 mg of caffeine depending on the process; an ounce of dark chocolate has about 20 mg of caffeine; a twelve once coke has 34 mg of caffeine; a cup of regular coffee has 90-200 mg of caffeine.

Comment Re:This story sponsored by (Score 1) 89

Actually evidence from the 1950s was mixed -- as it still is -- but in fact most of it stands up pretty well. What's a problem is the interpretation of that evidence and its limited nature (e.g. not knowing about different types of cholesterol).

For example it was established in the 50s that high blood cholesterol was a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This is still believed as true, but what they didn't know at the time is what factors affected blood cholesterol. It was (plausibly although not conclusively) suspected by many that fat consumption would increase it; nobody suspected sugar... why should they?

In complex systems like the body there is usually conflicting evidence early on, which is resolved by further study.

Comment Re:Potential military applications are really scar (Score 5, Interesting) 76

I'd think from a military standpoint what you want is soldiers who make better battlefield decisions, not ones that engage in a stereotypical behavior regardless of circumstance.

The human brain is both massively adaptable and subject to modification by information inputs. Which means you can indoctrinate men into becoming mindless killing machines. The problem is that historically that approach doesn't seem to be effective either tactically or strategically. US Marines faced waves of suicide attackers in the Pacific theater of WW2, which must have been terrifying, but in the end worked to the US advantage.

On the other hand George Washington's great talent as a general was retreating. He could attack a much larger and better equipped army and then make his army disappear before they could react. That was terrifying in its own way, and much more miltarily effective.

Given a fight between men fighting to kill and men fighting to survive, all other things being equal I'd put my money on the men trying to survive.

Comment Re:This story sponsored by (Score 5, Informative) 89

You know, this kind of shallow cynicism actually makes you easier to dupe, because it's not evidence-based; it's what-sounds-truthy-based.

This article was published in Nature, which requires a complete disclosure of institutional affiliations and financial conflicts. That doesn't mean the system is perfect, but it's about as good as it gets, especially given that Nature is one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world. Nature Medicine has an eye-popping 30.357 impact factor, making it the fourth most highly cited medical journal in the world after the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, and Journal of the American Medical Association.

Does it mean you should immediately believe anything that's published in Nature Medicine? No. You should wait until it is cited in a literature review article in one of those top journals before making any health decisions based on it. However as individual papers go, this is as credible as they get.

Researchers have been trying to take caffeine down for decades. Nobody can quite believe that something so enjoyable as coffee isn't bad for you. In fact doctors used to routinely warn their patients off coffee because of all the bad things it would do to them, but in fact when researchers tried to confirm all the things doctors knew about why coffee was bad for you, none of them turned out to be true, with narrow exceptions for certain populations (e.g., coffee doesn't cause ulcers as we used to be told, but if you have an ulcer coffee will make the symptoms worse).

What researchers found were surprising benefits, including what appears to be evidence of reduction in risks for multiple forms of cancer and even a reduction in suicide risk.

Coffee is well on its way to becoming the first evidence-backed superfood.

Comment Re: Note that what's large... (Score 4, Informative) 76

Venus has multiple "tropopauses" and "stratospheres", depending on how you define them. The atmosphere is like a layer cake with multiple convection zones (like Earth's troposphere) separated by areas of dynamic stability (like Earth's stratosphere). And again, ~50-70km is an awfullly long way from the surface, and surface winds are weak. But, there's a lot about Venus that we don't understand.

Comment No mention on NHK in Japan? (Score 1) 76

Just watching another news program and sort of disappointed it didn't get any coverage. The last few days had quite a bit of coverage about a new and quite small orbit-capable rocket, though the payload is quite small, on the order of 3 kg. There were several stories before the launch, and then some reports of the failure. (The early reports suggest a telemetry failure?)

Comment Note that what's large... (Score 3, Informative) 76

.... is the size, not the intensity. The air moves only slightly faster or slower than the surrounding atmosphere as one passes through the wave.

They weren't expected on Venus, though. Venus's surface is dozens of kilometers down, thick and "soupy" there, transitioning to thinner layers above. It was surprising to see that surface features that far away, in a fluid that can compress, would still make clear phenomena like gravity waves in the high atmosphere.

Comment Re:Can only be played on Apple products (Score 2) 84

Everyone wants to own both the distribution channel and the content being sold over that channel. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu...

They all want their own programming so that going to a different store means losing access to content. If Apple's content does appear on Netflix, you can be sure of two things: (1) it'll be old episodes and (2) their programs will include melodramatic, never-ending story arcs.

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