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Comment Is it though? (Score 1) 66

Presumably PBS paid money for the rights to air the show, including streaming it online for a limited time. That revenue has to be offset against the reduced online sales revenues. With this methodology almost anything will reduce online sales revenue. Caveat: methodology assumed from the Torrentfreak summary not from the TFA which is paywalled.

Comment Lazy journalism (Score 5, Interesting) 157

The article is a bit misleading, Russia office is not the only one being closed. Google is closing offices in Norway, Sweden, Finland and several US locations as well, probably cost cutting measures. Lazy journalism, Russia just passed a new law, ergo this must be the reason for the Google closing the office, since another big company shuttering facilities and laying people off certainly doesn't draw the site traffic these days. Funny that the connection with cracking down on internet freedom did not extend to Nordic countries and the US, because what other reason could Google have. http://www.independent.co.uk/l...

Comment Re:why is it always comets and asteroids? (Score 2) 46

This! If you look at the science on this, pretty much any combination of basic ingredients (carbon monoxide/dioxide, methane, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, ammonia, etc.) and energy will produce the basic building blocks of life (amino acids or small peptides and nucleic acids). Energy can be anything, electrical discharge (the original Urey-Miller experiments), UV light (which also destroys some of the products, but forms them faster than they are destroyed), microwaves, ionizing radiation, etc. So as the parent said, people tend to pick the energy source that's in their area of expertise and for which they can get funding.

Comment Fear mongering (Score 1) 493

This is a sensible public health policy and a perfectly appropriate response to recent outbreaks, for example of measles in Calgary. But let's not let that get in the way of invoking poorly contrived analogies and imply that the government will harvest unvaccinated people for their superpowers. I wonder what Michele Bachmann's superpower is?

Comment It's all about incentives (Score 3, Interesting) 197

What is not discussed is that in science as in life it's all about incentives. All you have to is look at who is paying for these studies, directly (through research grants) or indirectly (speaking or consulting fees), and things will become much clearer. The biomedical and life sciences are most vulnerable to corruption because the incentives are very high, successful drug/treatments are worth a lot of money. Even unsuccessful ones, given the proper appearance of effectiveness are worth money.

Other sciences are less susceptible because there is no incentive to hype the results, not because those scientists are more ethical. There is two solutions for the problem. One is to remove incentives, which would mean overhauling the whole system of scientific funding. The other is to mandate raw data sharing. This would make it easier for people to reanalyze the data without actually redoing the experimental parts.

A good example of this is Reinhart-Rogoff controversy in economics, where they claimed one thing in their widely publicized 2010 paper (high debt levels impede growth), but their statistical analysis was shown to be riddled with errors, skewing the data to the desired conclusion. This was discovered the when they shared their raw data with a University of Massachusetts grad student. While data sharing would not eliminate these issues it would make is harder to perform "statistical" analysis that introduces biases.

Comment Re:Disease (Score 2) 94

It's because it's the only way to get funding to do anything these days. NSF funding has been cut to the bone, but NIH is doing much better. This is why you always try to work a few magic words into your research proposal, like whichever disease is topical at the moment. If you can't, cancer is the old reliably, NIH always funds cancer.

Submission + - More Evidence for Water on Titan (space.com)

gpronger writes: Researchers using data from NASA's Cassini continue to build evidence that Titan is composed of a frozen outer "shell", a layer of liquid water, and then a solid core.

"We think that the presence of an internal ocean is likely," said study lead author Rose-Marie Baland of the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels.

This is based upon calculations starting from prior work and reviewing orbital data that the best fit is if Titan has a subsurface ocean.

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