Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:is it just me? (Score 1) 611

It seems pretty reasonable to at least mention divisive talk show hosts who serve as vehicles for ignorance when talking about the decline of American innovation. He could have mentioned some Democrats who were dumb too, I suppose, but that doesn't mean Fox News is irrelevant here.

Comment By that criteria? (Score 4, Interesting) 1486

In that sense, what ISN'T a matter of faith? How do you know that Columbus sailed to America? I've read about it in a book, but have you ever met anyone who was actually on that boat? And if so, how do you know they weren't lying? You're just putting your faith in a bunch of books, just like in religion right? And in science, if you didn't personally conduct quantum mechanics research, how can you make any conclusions about anything without faith? Of course, you may have realized my point by now, which is that saying "X requires faith, and religion requires faith, thus X is no different from religion" is dumb.

Comment Re:What about resistance? (Score 2) 127

Lysozyme is everywhere. You secrete it on every wet surface of your body. Bacteria have had plenty of time to get acquainted with it, so it is unlikely that putting the stuff in cows will create super bugs that will kill babies. However, this "human-like" milk will still be inferior to actual human milk, lysozyme or no, because it will lack maternal immunoglobulin to protect the kids against a variety of illnesses while their immune system is still developing.

Comment Re:Who will all just plug their ears (Score 2) 361

If I pile a bunch of rocks high in the sky and call it a skyscraper, that's creating order from disorder, but isn't "negentropy." Similarly, the sun has been shining on our planet for at least as long as life has been on it, so invoking thermodynamics is kind of out. The question of why still remains, though. Presumably I built the skyscraper because someone paid me to do it, and if I get paid to do something then I can use that money to... see where I'm going? Anyway, it's perfectly reasonable to me to imagine that any replicatory process would generate better replicators, and DNA is quite good at what it does. There's no reason to assume that it popped out of nowhere, or was zapped into existence after a lightning strike - there is, as you point out, every reason to assume the opposite. None of this rules out the possibility of simple replicators leading inexorably to more complex and efficient replicators, but it's when we have no reason to believe that DNA was the start of everything, it's cheating to point to the middle of the process (DNA) and say, "How'd that get there?" (to quote an awe-inspiring man). Heck, I'd look to the RNA World before I asked that question, but I think there's probably something even simpler before that - that's the fun of science!

Submission + - TSA Pat Downs, Searches After Passengers Get Off T ( 4

intellitech writes: According to a first-hand video account from a train station in Savannah, Georgia, the Transportation Security Administration is now performing security pat downs and bag searches AFTER passengers disembark from their trips. This could be expected from a country like China or the former Soviet Union, but there is simply no legitimate justification for such actions in the United States of America, unless our government is now attempting to mimic authoritarian regimes, which seems very much to be the case.

Submission + - Carbon nanotubes show promise as bionic components (

An anonymous reader writes: A recent paper in the nanotechnology journal Small suggests carbon nanotubes arrays might be suitable for bionic devices. Inflammatory responses and foreign-body histiocytic reactions are not substantially elevated when compared to negative controls following 12 weeks implantation.

Submission + - Supreme Court Gives Immunity to Vaccines ( 1

locallyunscene writes: In a ruling Tuesday the US Supreme Court upheld a law that provides immunity from lawsuits for vaccine companies and requires that

going before a special tribunal set up by Congress is the only way parents can be compensated for the negative side effects that in rare instances accompany vaccinations.

The dissenting justices in this case were Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg who argued this is a

regulatory vacuum in which no one — neither the FDA nor any other federal agency, nor state and federal juries — ensures that vaccine manufacturers adequately take account of scientific and technological advancements

Is this law necessary to protect vaccine companies from pseudo-science like the autism and vaccine linked studies, or is it too much of an overreach by removing the power to decide from The People and The States?

Comment Re:the rating system is broken (Score 1) 771

In the US, you have to be 16 to get into an R-rated movie. It's rated exactly the same. Moreover, it wasn't just a couple a boobs. There was also, rape, graphic violence with blood and gore, and (of course) a blue penis. Our rating system needs work (nipple = R, barring the Titanic exception, but show the Joker can jam pencils and explosive into people for a PG13), but Watchmen wasn't really borderline material.

Comment Re:Kill most all viruses, invulnerable ones yet li (Score 1) 218

Your assertion that vaccines would create super bugs has historically been proven false. Those outbreaks were in places where vaccination rates and standards of care are low, and there is no evidence that they were caused by your hypothetical "unvaccinable" bugs (also: currently no usable vaccine for Yersinia pestis). Moreover, why should the prospect of eventually creating resistance deter us from preventing or curing disease? There is no inherent reason why this should be true. With antibiotics, your option is to create resistance and save lives, or to not use antibiotics and have people die. Obviously it's not exactly that simple (option 3: use antibiotics responsibly and avoid selecting for resistance), but my point still stands. In conclusion: vaccines have not been shown to create super bugs, nor is obvious why this should be a deterrent to their use.

Comment Re:How is it anti-science to teach... (Score 1) 726

The government has not tried to legislate in evolution as a "strong" theory. There are thousands upon thousands of academic papers supporting it already; the legislation part is only to defend against those who reject said evidence. Without being a serious mental contortionist, nothing in biology makes sense except in the context of evolution.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 3, Insightful) 832

Dude, vaccines aren't 100%. Not everyone who gets a shot is immune to the disease. For some diseases it's more variable than others (see: BCG vaccine for TB), and it's not always clear why, although HLA haplotypes have been put forward as a potential explanation. That pretty much counters every one of your arguments. So keep that in mind whenever you go to write another anti-vaccination rant and think first, "Hey, if vaccines - like virtually everything else in medicine - aren't 100% effective, how does this affect what I'm planning to say?"

Comment Re:He's right (Score 5, Informative) 832

Wakefield has been widely discredited for quite some time. His results have never been duplicated, studies have failed to demonstrate a link between vaccines and autism, and the scapegoat additive thiomersal (or thimerosal) was taken out of vaccines in 2001 to no effect.

Slashdot Top Deals

Pohl's law: Nothing is so good that somebody, somewhere, will not hate it.