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"Team America" Gets Post-Hack Yanking At Alamo Drafthouse, Too

Chalnoth Re:Amazing PR! (189 comments)

It is pretty great PR. But unfortunately it seems to be a pretty crappy movie, which blunts my enthusiasm for watching it.

11 hours ago
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Researchers Accidentally Discover How To Turn Off Skin Aging Gene

Chalnoth Re:Anti-Aging is a Fraud Magnet (170 comments)

I'd also add that even if this research is valid, and even if stopping the action of this protein reduces skin aging in humans, there is a very good chance that the protein does other things that are quite important for health. It's conceivable, for instance, that you might have great skin, but a weakened immune system or have your digestion of certain important nutrients stunted. So even if there's no fraud, there's a lot of reason to remain skeptical.

2 days ago
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Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

Chalnoth Re:There is no vaccine for the worst diseases (1039 comments)

I'm skeptical that there's actual evidence of severe adverse reactions (aside from the occasional allergic reaction). "I had a vaccine and then this bad thing happened to me," is not an indication that the vaccine caused the bad thing. It might have, but the severe reactions have been so incredibly rare that there's really no evidence of a causal link, as near as I can tell.

But what you are asking for here is a far, far higher barrier to obtaining a vaccination than is asked for for most any other medical procedure or remedy. The real information is, "This will protect your child, and the population as a whole, from serious diseases. It most likely won't cause any issues. Your child may have minor cold symptoms for a bit, which means the vaccine is working."

The CDC's page is informative here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/va...

Note that under the "severe" reactions is usually the disclaimer that they can't actually be sure this reaction is caused by the vaccine. I'd be willing to bet that disclaimer should really be expanded to encompass every vaccine on the list, aside from the allergic reactions.

about a week ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

Chalnoth Re:America, land of the free... (717 comments)

Well, right. A rehabilitation-based system needs a whole supportive infrastructure for it to work well. In this instance, you'd want there to be regularly-collected data on recidivism that is provided as feedback to rehabilitation centers so that they have the data they need to evaluate their release criteria. We'd also have to eliminate all for-profit prisons, and adequately fund the prisons that remain (I don't think they should be considered prisons at all, but whatever they are, they would need adequate funding).

Getting rid of non-crimes such as personal, non-reckless drug use would also be a huge benefit for everybody.

about two weeks ago
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James Watson's Nobel Medal Sells For $4.1 Million

Chalnoth Re:the evils of Political Correctness (201 comments)

His profession is intellectual. Demonstrating extreme intellectual dishonesty is absolutely a valid disqualification for working in an intellectual field. Hurting people in the process by promulgating racist bullshit is a good reason as well.

Also, he wasn't a scholar that studied the fields relevant to his reality-free claims. So literally everybody who posts in this thread is just as qualified as he is to talk about race (and I'm sure many are more qualified).

Finally, arguments matter more than qualifications, and his arguments were absolute dreck. I know people who have yet to graduate from high school who are far more knowledgeable about race than this douche canoe.

about two weeks ago
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Do you worry about the singularity?

Chalnoth Re:No, it's not even possible (181 comments)

Nit: there are at least 10^22 stars in the visible universe (approx. 10^11 stars per galaxy, 10^11 galaxies). So there are far more stars than links in our brains. Our galaxy has somewhere around a hundred billion stars, though, so we've got more links than stars in the galaxy. But not the universe.

about two weeks ago
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Cops 101: NYC High School Teaches How To Behave During Stop-and-Frisk

Chalnoth Re:Wouldn't time be better spent... (481 comments)

And this is precisely why the police in the US are little more than armed, bullying thugs who suppress minorities and extort money (see: civil forfeiture).

about three weeks ago
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"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

Chalnoth Re:From Experience (561 comments)

That might be a meaningful reply if the book was, "Barbie: I Can Be a Manager". It isn't, so you're just pulling bullshit rationalizations out of thin air to justify some rather disgusting sexism.

about three weeks ago
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"Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

Chalnoth Re:From Experience (561 comments)

Er, what? She doesn't employ anybody. She has a class project, gets a couple of boys to do her work for her, and takes the credit. There's nothing about this that is flattering for Barbie or women.

If you're going to say that people who want to be offended will be, you should at least not create a straw-man of peoples' actual complaints.

about a month ago
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Why Scientists Think Completely Unclassifiable and Undiscovered Life Forms Exist

Chalnoth Re:Have we discovered all there is to discover? (221 comments)

A couple of points here.

First, we've now sequenced the DNA of so many microorganisms that it would be very, very hard for a new domain of life that uses the same sort of DNA structures to exist. The only likely way for a new form of life to exist is for it to be of a kind that isn't picked up in our DNA tests. That's what is proposed in this article.

Given that, and given that all life (and viruses) found so far speak the same basic DNA language, it's really not unreasonable at all that the domains we've already discovered are the only ones.

There's an outside possibility of new discoveries shaking up the current tree of life, splitting one of our domains in two (as happened with bacteria/archaea). But that's not what is being discussed in this article.

about a month and a half ago
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Why Scientists Think Completely Unclassifiable and Undiscovered Life Forms Exist

Chalnoth Re:Discover life? (221 comments)

I honestly have always been annoyed with this rather restrictive definition. It excludes viruses, but I can see no reason why we should consider viruses to be a completely different category than living organisms.

about a month and a half ago
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Why Scientists Think Completely Unclassifiable and Undiscovered Life Forms Exist

Chalnoth Re:Have we discovered all there is to discover? (221 comments)

Not quite. They're suggesting that there's a good chance that there's an entirely different domain (or more) of life other than eukaryotes, bacteria, and archaea. That's a pretty radical proposition, but not entirely out of bounds, because many of our more modern techniques for detecting life forms check for molecules that may not exist in a fourth (or fifth or sixth) domain of life.

If it turns out to be the case that there are only three domains of cellular life (leaving viruses out of the discussion for now), that doesn't indicate that we know all there is to know. It just means that cellular life can be categorized into three groups. These researchers could be entirely incorrect in their assumptions. For example, the genes they mention could have evolved within the viruses themselves, or could be remnants of a now-extinct branch of eukaryotes.

about a month and a half ago
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New Particle Collider Is One Foot Long

Chalnoth Re:Not exactly (161 comments)

I checked, and electrons accelerated via plasma shocks do indeed emit synchrotron radiation. What is your source for this claim that the energy will be purely additive?

about a month and a half ago
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New Particle Collider Is One Foot Long

Chalnoth Re:Not exactly (161 comments)

There's no problem in daisy chaining them, but I don't think you can guarantee the same energy boost each time. One of the big physics problems here is that accelerating charged particles radiate when they are accelerated, which acts as a sort of friction. The amount that is radiated increases quite dramatically as the particle gets closer to the speed of light (the energy loss scales as (E/(mc^2))^4). In practice, this means that if you dump a bunch of energy into an electron to accelerate it, you'll only add a fraction of that amount to its kinetic energy (the rest will be lost in radiation).

Given this, the naive expectation is that each subsequent box will add less and less to the energy of the particles. The disclaimer here is that I haven't studied the specific physics of plasma shock acceleration, so I don't know how such acceleration scales with energy. I do know, however, that this is the exact same mechanism that is suspected to be behind the "oh my god" particles (single particles with more than ten million times the energy that the LHC can produce): plasma shock fronts in the galaxy accelerate some small fraction of the interstellar protons to unbelievable speeds.

about a month and a half ago
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Physicists Resurrect an Old, Strange Dark Matter Theory

Chalnoth Re:um no (138 comments)

Before the CMB was emitted, the entire universe was an extremely smoothly-distributed ionized plasma. There were no galaxies or stars or planets: just a smooth plasma whose temperature varied from place to place by about one part in 100,000. We can see an image of the universe when this plasma cooled to the point it became a gas. This image shows a very clear signature of dark matter (in fact, it's the most sensitive detection of dark matter density that exists).

This proposal has the same sort of problem: how would you produce such extremely dense objects when the matter was distributed so evenly?

about a month and a half ago
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Ebola Nose Spray Vaccine Protects Monkeys

Chalnoth Re:Technicalities (198 comments)

It is generally true that such studies should be considered preliminary. It's possible that this vaccine won't work for humans, or that the ebola virus will evolve around the vaccine so rapidly that it has no impact.

But clearly this sounds like a very promising start, and the researchers absolutely deserve to have more funding to finish their work. This is exactly the kind of thing that the NIH is designed to fund. But, due to Republican fuckery, NIH funding has been cut.

about a month and a half ago
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Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Chalnoth Re:Good luck with that. (558 comments)

The downside of that is far, far cheaper for the consumer than overdrafting a bank account (unless you run high balances for extended periods of time....then the charges obviously start racking up).

The real problem with credit cards (in the US at least) comes with the 0% interest deals. In the US, if you get a 0% interest promotion, be damned sure you pay it off in time. If you don't, then all of the interest for the entire promotional period is charged to you. I bought a computer on a 0% interest deal some years back for something in the range of $1500 or so. If I had let the promotional period expire, I probably would have owed another $400 or so. Fortunately, I paid attention to the fine print and was careful to have it completely paid off a few months in advance.

about 2 months ago
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German Publishers Capitulate, Let Google Post News Snippets

Chalnoth Re:No, wait, do-over! (95 comments)

That doesn't make it not an anti-trust issue. It's an anti-trust issue because Amazon has outsized power in the e-book market, and if Amazon were able to negotiate a discount from Hachette, then that would likely be a discount that other vendors could not get, making it harder for other e-book vendors to compete with Amazon.

about 2 months ago
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German Publishers Capitulate, Let Google Post News Snippets

Chalnoth Re:No, wait, do-over! (95 comments)

The Amazon-Hachette deal is a completely different situation. Amazon is using its market power to strong-arm Hachette into providing lower prices to Amazon than Hachette offers to other resellers. This is a classic case of collusion, and should be stopped on anti-trust grounds.

about 2 months ago

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