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Comments

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Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

The Real Dr John Maybe (381 comments)

When I can talk to one, and it can talk back...

about a month ago
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Are Tethers the Answer To the Safety Issues of Follow-Me Drone Technology?

The Real Dr John Ever been fishing? (88 comments)

I'm sure the tether lines of multiple drones would never get crossed and cause any problems. Right?

about a month and a half ago
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Was Watch Dogs For PC Handicapped On Purpose?

The Real Dr John Re:Apparently they will do the same to Far Cry 4 (215 comments)

I really hope not. Maybe now that this story is making the rounds, they will be less inclined to screw over PC gamers. If they don't handle this correctly before release, it will probably hurt PC sales.

about 2 months ago
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Fujitsu Is Growing Radiation-Free Lettuce In Japan's Fukushima Prefecture

The Real Dr John Wow! (146 comments)

Radiation-free lettuce... what will they think of next?

about 3 months ago
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Cellular Compound May Increase Lifespan Without the Need For Strict Dieting

The Real Dr John Alpha ketoglutarate is produced in copious... (66 comments)

quantities in every cell in your body. It is one of the tricarboxylic acid cycle (Kreb's cycle) intermediates produced from either the amino acid glutamate, or from isocitrate. It is not a limiting molecule in the Kreb's cycle, and giving it to humans will not have any effect on human longevity. As noted already, many bodybuilders take it every day because they think it will give them more energy. Worms and humans do not have similar life cycles. Many things that don't affect the longevity of humans increase the lifespan of worms. The research into making geriatric worms is really a waste of time and money.

about 3 months ago
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Major ISPs Threaten To Throttle Innovation and Slow Network Upgrades

The Real Dr John Yes, we should all listen to those companies... (286 comments)

that want to make money charging for higher speed access about how preventing them from doing so will be harmful to "consumers".

about 3 months ago
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How the USPS Killed Digital Mail

The Real Dr John Benjamin Franklin (338 comments)

Can now rest easy.

about 4 months ago
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Panel Says U.S. Not Ready For Inevitable Arctic Oil Spill

The Real Dr John ex Mobil exec says fracking can't be done safely (95 comments)

Retired Mobil Oil exec Louis Allstadt recently said that fracking can't be done safely with current technology. "Making fracking safe is simply not possible, not with the current technology, or with the inadequate regulations being proposed," said Allstadt, retired executive vice president of Mobil. http://www.timesunion.com/busi... This is similar to the situation with arctic drilling, but for somewhat different reasons. To do it right would require too much equipment and too many safety procedures to be cost effective. They would need to do the work quick and dirty to make a good profit. That is precisely what is happening with fracking, where gas companies have been exempted from the clean water act and other environmental protections. If they were required to comply, they couldn't afford to extract the gas. That explains the rush to frack, before the sweetheart deal is over.

about 4 months ago
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Mute Witness: Forensic Sketches From Nothing But DNA

The Real Dr John Re:DNA anaylsis is fairly conclusive, so why... (68 comments)

You will never find the person with a crude approximation of their face, which of course is subject to all sorts of modifications and changes throughout life. You would end up bringing all sorts of innocent people in for questioning because their face looked a little bit like the reconstruction. This is no way to solve a crime.You solve crimes other ways than putting up a wanted poster with a face that may or may not look like the person in question.

about 5 months ago
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Mute Witness: Forensic Sketches From Nothing But DNA

The Real Dr John DNA anaylsis is fairly conclusive, so why... (68 comments)

would it be necessary to come up with an approximate facial image? If you have the DNA sample, that is far more definitive than the approximated face. I don't understand how this is useful. It might be interesting, but I don't see any practical use in forensics.

about 5 months ago
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Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029

The Real Dr John Re:Only computer scientists think that computers.. (294 comments)

It has nothing to do with processing speed, or parallel processing. Brains in general, human brains included, do not process information. They generate consciousness. They do this in ways that neuroscientists still don't understand. As a neuroscientist I can say this without hesitation. Silicon chips are not alive, and will never generate consciousness as we now understand it. But they can process information much faster than the human brain.

about 5 months ago
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Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029

The Real Dr John Re:Only computer scientists think that computers.. (294 comments)

Absolutely, but so far nothing even close has happened. Arthur C Clark thought we would have intelligent, conversational computers by 2001, and here we are 13 years later with nothing of the sort. As a neuroscientist I just wish those involved in computer intelligence would take a look at some of the newer images of the connectivity in the human brain as shown by methods like diffusion tensor imaging. The complexity is mind boggling. See here: http://www.humanconnectomeproj...

about 5 months ago
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Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029

The Real Dr John Only computer scientists think that computers... (294 comments)

will be able to mimic the human brain in the next several decades. Neuroscientists know that the human brain is far more complex than any foreseeable microprocessor-based computer system, and that the functions of the brain are not going to be easy to implement in silicon hardware. If newer methods of making computers that are more organic are developed, then you will have a means to start mimicking the human brain, but with silicon, you may never get there.

about 5 months ago
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Steve Ballmer Blew Up At the Microsoft Board Before Retiring

The Real Dr John Microsoft should have... (248 comments)

spent their money on improving Windows, one of their major income sources. If they had spent some of that money making an upgrade utility to let Windows XP users upgrade to Windows 7 or (ugh) 8.1, they would have done their existing customers a great service. Many people don't upgrade because they don't know how, or don't want to have to start from scratch. If MS had made Windows more reliable and easier to install and update drivers, that would have been a big help to their existing customers. Every time MS goes into hardware (with the possible exception of the Xbox) they fail. I think they would have had a lot of money left over from the 7.2 billion dollars if they had put their efforts into their main product, rather than trying to get into the smartphone business. It's not like Windows is perfect, and doesn't need any work, especially Windows 8.

about 5 months ago
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The Mammoth Cometh: Revive & Restore Tackles De-Extinction

The Real Dr John Not de-extinction, requires egg from other species (168 comments)

This effort will probably never result in anything like true de-extinction. It will result in hybrids at best because to bring back an extinct species, you need a living egg from a closely related species. For mammoths they will use elephant eggs, and replace the genetic material in the nucleus with gene sequences from mammoths. But part of what it means to be a species resides in the egg cytoplasm, rather than in the egg nucleus. The genetic material is like a tape recording, and the egg is like a tape player. You need both to hear what is on the tape. So we will have hybrids with nuclear mammoth genes, but cytoplasmic elephant genes (for example, mitochondria have their own DNA, and that will come from the elephant egg donor). So the resultant mammoths will be better than 90% mammoth (if they get all the sequences right from frozen mammoths), but the other small percentage will be true elephant in character. There is no getting around this because there are no viable mammoth eggs left on earth.

about 6 months ago
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Many Lasers Become One In Lockheed Martin's 30 kW Laser Weapon

The Real Dr John I am reminded of Dr. Strangelove (202 comments)

"Mr. President, we must not allow a mine shaft gap!"

about 6 months ago
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Daily Pot Use Tied To Age of First Psychotic Episode

The Real Dr John The science vs. epidemiology of cannabis (382 comments)

This is another in a series of basically poor quality epidemiological studies attempting to link cannabis use to various psychoses such as schizophrenia. There is no link, and this study is not a scientific investigation into any such link. This is simply an epidemiological study (attempts to correlate environmental or other factors to various disease states in a population). Psychoses such as schizophrenia are not caused by drug use, and the authors clearly know this. Schizophrenia, which is the most common cause of “psychotic episodes”, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that as far as neuroscience can tell is a disorder which people are born predisposed to both genetically and probably during very early development (long before any cannabis use occurs). Cannabis works on a brain neurotransmitter system known as the endocannabinoid system for which there is a major neurotransmitter in the brain known as anandamide. It is involved in various brain functions ranging from hunger induction to anxiety to pain sensitivity. Activation of this system results in increased hunger and decreased anxiety and pain sensitivity. So there are very clear reasons why some people use cannabis other than just to relax. The science of the endocannabinoid system is still being worked out, but clearly cannabis is one of the least harmful drugs known to mankind. Compared with the clear and present dangers associate with alcohol and tobacco use and addiction, it is a wonder that these types of studies get so much attention in the press.

about 7 months ago
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The True Color of Ancient Sea Creatures

The Real Dr John Re:Fossil Color (44 comments)

If you read the article, they aren't scanning the bones. They used mass spectroscopy to scan pigment traces in the rocks surrounding the outlines of the soft tissues, so they are actually looking at the chemical remnants of pigments in the rock. They were able to detect eumelanin, which is a dark pigment found in skin and hair. They did not see any eumelanin traces in other parts of the fossil-bearing rocks except right around the fossils.

about 7 months ago
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Apple Denies Helping NSA Subvert iPhone

The Real Dr John Re:Denying the wrong thing (284 comments)

Absolutely, this is the most absurd spin on the story I can think of. It really doesn't matter if they didn't assist the NSA. And it doesn't reassure that they say they will work hard to prevent all hacking. If this has been going on as reported, then Apple did not do a very good job of "staying ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks." Obviously Apple didn't do any worse than any of the companies mentioned in the Der Spiegel article, but they didn't do any better either.

about 8 months ago

Submissions

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NSA spyware "DROPOUTJEEP" gives agency full access to your iPhone

The Real Dr John The Real Dr John writes  |  about 8 months ago

The Real Dr John (716876) writes "The US National Security Agency can reportedly sniff out every last bit of data from your iPhone, according to leaked NSA documents published by German magazine Der Spiegel.Known as DROPOUTJEEP, the spyware is said to be one of the tools employed by the NSA's ANT (Advanced or Access Network Technology) division to gain backdoor access to various electronic devices. From the leaked documents: "DROPOUTJEEP is a software implant for the Apple iPhone that utilizes modular mission applications to provide specific SIGINT functionality. This functionality includes the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device. SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc. Command, control and data exfiltration can occur over SMS messaging or a GPRS data connection. All communications with the implant will be covert and encrypted.""
Link to Original Source
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Pro Fracking Study Run by Industry Insider

The Real Dr John The Real Dr John writes  |  about 2 years ago

The Real Dr John writes "Previously reported by the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal, a University of Texas fracking study claimed that some of the convincingly scientific-sounding concerns of opponents of fracking don't hold up to scrutiny. An investigation by the Public Accountability Initiative has found that the study was actually led by a gas industry insider and UT faculty member, Charles Groat, who sits on the board of the fracking company Plains Exploration & Production. Groat failed to disclose this position and forgot to mention his $1.6 million stake in the company."
Link to Original Source

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