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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

BStroms Re:Astronomy, and general poor night-time results. (338 comments)

Also the fact that it won't prevent future changes to vision. I'm thirty now, and my vision still continues to slowly get worse. I fear I'd be paying for a 5 year reprieve from glasses and then be back to wearing them with side effects I also have to live with for the rest of my life.

3 hours ago

Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

BStroms Re:What the f*$# is wrong with us? (1198 comments)

The problem is very real, but it doesn't change the fact it doesn't apply to everyone here.

about 2 months ago

It's True: Some People Just Don't Like Music

BStroms Pretty close to that myself. (268 comments)

People never want to believe that, but I've never much cared for music. I think music can enhance the mood of another form of media like movies or video games, and I can enjoy the lyrics to a funny song, in same way I enjoy hearing a good joke but don't want it told to me over and over again. That's as far as it goes. I don't listen to any music for the sake of listening to music. The only music I own at home are sound tracks that came with video games I've purchased, none of which I've ever used.

I find music annoying when it's playing while I'm doing something else. It really does bother me when it's playing at random places like bowling alleys or stores, serving no purpose but to make it harder to talk with other people. The louder it is the more it drives me crazy for that reason. I've never even downloaded a song, legally or otherwise, and would never turn the radio to music station when driving.

Still, it's not that I don't like music. It's just that the enjoyment I get from it is so low that I get much more entertainment just getting lost in my own imagination, an activity for which I find music to be an unwanted distraction. So even with nothing else to do, I'd rather sit there in silence than listen to music.

about 5 months ago

200 Dolphins Await Slaughter In Japan's Taiji Cove

BStroms Re:That doesn't seem right. (628 comments)

Perhaps I should be avoiding discussing too much into an area the physics of which I'm rather fuzzy on. If the sound occurs at the same frequency, you're absolutely correct that there would be no additional information, as the wavelength would be all that increased due to the faster speed of sound. Now my uneducated assumption was that the underwater environment would have adapted dolphins to using higher frequency sound as a result of the increased speed of sound to get similar wavelengths to what would be used in air and allow for much higher data per second rates as a result.

This would seem rather crucial, as I believe wavelength is very important when echolocation is involved. Longer wavelengths would give a much poorer picture of the object generating the echo.

It's also possible I was completely wrong about the it being related to the amount of data in the first place, and it's some other factor, such as the long wavelength itself that's issue. But the bottom line is, I'm just trying to come up with potential explanations for the results reported in a study I read a year or two ago, and it really comes down to whether or not their results were accurate. A fact I'm beginning to doubt myself due to my complete inability to find it again.

Regardless, there's a wealth of other information questioning dolphin intelligence. http://blogs.discovermagazine.... gives a glimpse into some of it.

about 6 months ago

200 Dolphins Await Slaughter In Japan's Taiji Cove

BStroms Re:That doesn't seem right. (628 comments)

But it is bandwidth in addition to latency. If it's traveling 4 times as quickly, you'll be receiving four times the data in a given second. It's the same reason why drag increases at the square of velocity, because not only are you hitting air molecules at twice the velocity, but you're hitting twice as many of them. As for sight vs hearing, that's a bit apples to oranges, with completely different methods in the brain for interpreting it. Dolphins still use the same basic brain functionality for interpreting sound that other mammals use, it's just highly specialized for their environment.

Beyond that, it's not so much a matter of you or the researchers speculating. We've had the technology to monitor what parts of the brain activate during certain activities for a long time, and I'm pretty sure they used actual testing to determine that a much larger portion of the dolphins brain is used for hearing than in humans.

about 6 months ago

200 Dolphins Await Slaughter In Japan's Taiji Cove

BStroms Re:That doesn't seem right. (628 comments)

With the bats, don't forget that the speed of sound is four times greater in water than in air. I'm not expert, and only reporting what I read, but the claim was that handling this increased data resulting from the effect required a significantly enlarged and specialized section of the brain. And yes, it largely does come down to how you define intelligence how the rankings go.

Still, no matter what metric you use, I think you'll be surprised by how many animals not thought of as especially intelligent in the animal world can accomplish or surpass them in that feat. There really has been no evidence I've ever seen that dolphins are anything extraordinary in the animal world in terms of mental capacity, and I attribute to just another case of an idea catching on an gaining a life of it's own. Dolphins are cute, and friendly, and people like the idea of them being intelligent.

Whereas birds such as Rooks and Ravens that have demonstrated some incredible feats that few animals can duplicate don't make nearly as attractive a story. I mean we consider birdbrained a fairly strong insult.

about 6 months ago

200 Dolphins Await Slaughter In Japan's Taiji Cove

BStroms Re:That doesn't seem right. (628 comments)

Actually, I've seen research that indicates the extreme intelligence attributed to dolphins is largely myth based on brain size. And most of the larger dolphin brain is simply focuses on their echolocation. The speed of sound is much greater underwater, and processing all that information requires much more brain devoted to it than our own sense of hearing.

In most intelligence tests dealing with items such as problem solving and the like, dolphins are not only far below humans, but below many animals people wouldn't think of, such as several species of birds, and I believe ferrets. But my memory as to the exact rankings is a little fuzzy.

about 6 months ago

A War Over Solar Power Is Raging Within the GOP

BStroms Re:Why subsidize? (1030 comments)

I don't know the details on the statistic he's quoted to tell you if it's true, but it is possible. Mainly because profit margin occurs after taxes are removed. Ie, if over half of the taxable income is taken by the government, then the final profit margin is smaller than the tax revenue.

about 8 months ago

Oil Recovery May Have Triggered Texas Tremors

BStroms Re:seems like we have an identifiable pattern. (172 comments)

Don't forget, there are just as many chicken littles as there are big business coverups. For every "smoking isn't bad for your health" there's a "vaccines cause autism." Both scenarios can lead to terrible things. In the particular case of fracking, the studies I've seen tend to lean my opinion toward the chicken little side of things. Even assuming all those studies are nothing but frauds paid for by corporate interests, fracking is already in widespread use.

If it's really half as terrible a danger to the drinking supplies as it's made out to be, where are all the cases of environmental catastrophe and illness that should be endemic by this point? Putting out fake studies are one thing, but it'd be hard to suppress that kind of event for such a hot button issue in this day and age.

And forgive me if I'm not overly worried about potentially causing earthquakes up to a 4.4 magnitude.

about 9 months ago

Is the Wii U Already Dead?

BStroms Re:Too expensive (403 comments)

It's hard to predict what would happen if MS went with the cheap low tech Nintendo style option, but I don't think that's going to happen.

My prediction is that Sony wins this next generation handily. With the current generation, the PS3 came out a year later, at a significantly higher cost, but was still comparable in hardware specs. It was also much harder to develop for. Despite this, on average it's been outselling the 360 slightly and has nearly caught up to the 360.

In the upcoming generation, they won't have an expensive new optical format to jack up the price, and they're not letting MS get a full year's headstart on them. The prices should be close, especially since the release seems to time pretty well for the yen collapsing back to more traditional levels. And if anything, Sony may beat MS to the market. They've also built it from the ground up to be much easier to program for.

Any final analysis will depend on what MS has to show off, but every dynamic shift from the last generation I can see looks to favor Sony.

about a year ago

US Educational Scores Not So Abysmal

BStroms Re:Can we speak in clear terms? (412 comments)

We couldn't afford the hamburger. We just had the bun. If we were lucky.

We got most of our calories from going into McDonalds, claiming we just went through the drive through and asking for more ketchup packets.

about a year and a half ago

How Do We Program Moral Machines?

BStroms Re:Why I doubt driverless cars will ever happen (604 comments)

This is my exact reasoning why flying cars will never take off (pardon the pun). People keep their cars in terrible condition. If your car has an engine failure, worst case scenario, you pull over to the side of the road, or end up blocking traffic. In a flying vehicle, if your engine dies, It's very possible that you will die too. And if you are above a city, it's not impossible to imagine crashing into an innocent bystander.

I imagine the same will be for self driving cars. It will never happen because if the car is getting bad information from its sensors, then crazy things can happen. People can't be bothered to clean more than 2 square inches from their windshield in the winter. Do you really think they are going to go around cleaning the 10 different sensors of ice and snow every winter morning? Sure the car could refuse to operate if the sensors are blocked, but then I guess people would just not want to buy the car, or complain to the dealer about it.

It's a self-driving car. It could take itself to the dealer for maintenance. (Granted that won't help with the ice on the sensors thing, but we'll have some time to figure out a heating system to melt that off.)

about a year and a half ago

Is Mobile Broadband a Luxury Or a Human Right?

BStroms Re:Binary question (332 comments)

Exactly. It's a highly valuable resource and something for which there's a strong argument to get to as many people as possible. But I wouldn't go so far as to consider it a basic human right.

about 2 years ago

To Encourage Biking, Lose the Helmets

BStroms Re:But that's not the real problem. (1651 comments)

In the US the rules regarding whether bicycles are allowed on sidewalks is generally determined by localities, although I'm sure there are some state level laws as well. Where I grew up, it was legal, and in fact was how I was taught to ride whenever there was a sidewalk to use. Of course whenever you came upon a pedestrian, you were supposed to hop off and walk your bike past them.

That wouldn't work in an area with heavy pedestrian traffic, but as spread out as things were where I lived, you didn't have to hop down very often. I don't have any studies, but I'd wager that is safer than biking on the road, even if it can end up being much slower and more troublesome depending on how many people there are, and completely pointless to even bring the bike in a major city.

about 2 years ago

To Encourage Biking, Lose the Helmets

BStroms Re:But that's not the real problem. (1651 comments)

I used to bike to town back before I went off to college all the time despite living in the middle of nowhere. It was about an hour trip by bike and very hilly. Sometimes I'd even hike it. Yet now I would never consider biking or walking to work, despite it being less than a quarter of the distance. In the middle of nowhere, you'd occasionally see a car and there'd be plenty of room as the two of you split the road. Now, there's simply far too many and I'm not about to share the road with them.

If they had an unbroken chain of sidewalk and/or bike lanes, I would gladly skip the car whenever the weather is nice. It's not helmets for me, but infrastructure that keeps me from biking. Legal or not, I will not bike on a busy road and I prefer not to walk along it either if I can at all avoid it. So until and unless they fix that, I'll drive 8 minutes to work every day.

about 2 years ago

Calorie Restriction May Not Extend Lifespan

BStroms Re:I'll die happy (251 comments)

I think it would be helpful if everyone that shares anecdotes about their life involving their weight also mention their height. You may be 4'8", which would mean you still have a lot of weight to lose. You may also be 6'6" and be rather thin now.

Heh, true enough. I'm 6'1" which makes me fairly comfortable with my weight.

about 2 years ago

Calorie Restriction May Not Extend Lifespan

BStroms Re:I'll die happy (251 comments)

I didn't read TFA but I wonder if this study consider the quality of those calories, e.g. in America we try and diet by eating one cheeseburger instead of two, of course we could have eaten 5 apples instead, been full and satisfied, and gotten some nutrition as well.

Who would want to eat five apples in one sitting? Even if I were hungry, I'd probably just stop at one and wait till the next meal. At least pick a more appealing fruit like an orange.

But seriously, I dropped from 205 pounds to 170 and have kept it off for years with virtually exercise and with the only change to what I'm consuming being that I never buy any beverages with calories. Mostly stick to water with some diet pop on occasion. Other than that, I just cut back portions and eliminated snacking between meals.

Funny thing is, I motivate myself to diet with food. I have a very strict rule that I never eat out/order in unless I'm below 170 pounds. Then I'll get whatever food I want and have one meal where I eat without restraint. After that, I have to diet off whatever I gained and repeat the process. Keeps me happy, and sure beats going vegetarian and/or spending hours a week in the gym.

about 2 years ago

Entangled Particles Break Classical Law of Thermodynamics, Say Physicists

BStroms Re:Soooo (222 comments)

If God created it then being the deceitful God that he is, he could have done it 6000 years ago to make it look like it was done billions of years ago. He could have also done it yesterday and created the universe as-is complete with memories and fossil evidence of days gone by.

Creates world 6000 years ago

Spreads lots of clues that something else happened instead (fossils, C14 dating, star light already travelling towards us, etcetera)

To be fair, if you took a human, and gave them immortality,a blank universe, and godlike powers in it, how many would start with a big bang and sit around waiting for billions of years to see what happened? They'd just jump ahead. Most humans that wanted to play around would start with civilization already existing including a history that never actually occurred. The same thing happens in novels and other narratives. Why would it actually existing change anything?

Not only would I not find at all odd for records to exist that would indicate a past that never actually occurred, I would expect it from any godlike being with thought processes that at all mimicked those of humans. (Or I suppose it would be human thought processes mimicking their creator in this case.)

about 2 years ago

Mitt Romney To Announce VP Decision Via Smartphone App

BStroms Re:My Personal App?? (461 comments)

I was going to say the same thing only suggesting email rather than twitter. Just let people sign up for an email notification. Anyone with a smart phone is going to get emails from it, and hey, they now have a list of people to advertise to if they so wish. No need to design any special app.

about 2 years ago

Surfacestations: NOAA Has Overestimated Land Surface Temperature Trends

BStroms Re:The problem was noticed (474 comments)

Except the paper isn't trying to disprove that their has been a warming trend, only showing that in the US at least, that trend has been exaggerated. Satellite evidence may actually support that fact. Here are the trends for surface based measurements, and two satellite measurements since 1979.

RSS +0.137 C/decade.
UAH +0.136C/decade
Surface Temperatures +0.17 C/decade

That's 24% more warming in the surface data sets. In addition, both satellite records show 1998 being the hottest year since modern records began, while the surface temperature records show several years since than being hotter. Now the paper calls for a much larger bias in the trend, but not on the global level. So without looking at any of the data, it's at least a plausible conclusion that a much more highly inaccurate US data set could be responsible for most of the global difference from the satellite record.

about 2 years ago


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