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Comments

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Journalist Arrested By Interpol For Tweet

cosmicaug Re:and where is exactly the problem? (915 comments)

True as that may be, what the hell was Interpol doing passing on the arrest note? Don't they at least bother to look at what it's actually for?

http://www.interpol.int/content/download/9429/69209/version/5/file/ConstitutionGeneralRegulations.pdf

Like the article says, it's against Interpol rules to be involved in something like this.

Article 3
It is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political,
military, religious or racial character.

The proper thing would be to not extradite him. What will actually happen is he well be extradited because of (pre-election) politics and he stands a reasonably high chance of being executed.

more than 2 years ago
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Global Warming 'Confirmed' By Independent Study

cosmicaug Re:Did it "confirm" it was caused by man? (967 comments)

It was probably caused by man.

By measuring temperatures in dumb-ass places, the BBC link in the article sums it up nicely with a picture of a weather station next to an airplane, and you could argue that jet exhaust and black tarmacs are natural, but you can't argue that jet exhaust and black tarmacs are representative for the earth surface in average.

Actually, the heat island effect was one of the things that this study was meant to address. The climate skeptic's contentions on this are basically threefold:
- Urban heat islands exist and they are warmer than they otherwise would be if urbanization had not happened (I don't think anyone disputes this).
- Urban heat islands exaggerate warming trends.
- Unlike TV weathermen, climate scientists are too stupid to realize that urban heat island effects could affect their data and too stupid to correct the data for it (even though it is quite likely that clever TV weathermen probably read about this effect in the climate science literature in the first place).

What this group has found on the matter, to their great surprise, is that not only doesn't the urban heat island effect not exaggerate warming trends, it actually dampens them a little bit. In other words, if you are not accounting for the urban heat island effect it makes the hockey stick less steep, rather than more steep.

Which is no great surprise to me because others have already looked at this due to the stink Anthony Watts was raising and found the same thing (though I would guess Watts probably doesn't talk about that too much).

more than 2 years ago
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For Academic Publishing, Princeton Goes Open Access By Default

cosmicaug Re:thanks Princeton! (101 comments)

Researchers are pretty good about sharing their work through alternative channels. Most researchers will host PDFs of their work on their department web page. If not, email them and ask. I've never had a request for a PDF denied after contacting the author.

I've had a researcher send me an encrypted PDF which I thought was a pretty weird thing to do. It was weak encryption so no biggie. Still, pretty odd.

more than 2 years ago
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Canadian Ice Shelves Halve In Six Years

cosmicaug Re:erroneous conclusions (458 comments)

"These observations should dispel in one fell swoop any notion that recent global warming could be natural."

Really? Because climate has never, ever, not even once, shifted quickly?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png

Note the huge uptick in average temperature starting roughly 11.5k years BP. I'm pretty sure the foot-powered cars the Flintstones drove didn't warm the earth, so this must've been a natural event. Saying that it's impossible for current temperature trends to be unnatural flies in the face of something that has already happened once, almost within recorded history; not to mention all the times when it happened outside of recorded history.

This is why some people, like myself, do not take climate alarmists seriously. They make these grandiose pronouncements that have little, if anything, to do with the facts.

That's not a very reassuring comparison if you want to calm down the alarmists. You know what else happened at a time when, despite what you are suggesting, temperature change was slower than what we seem to be getting now, at ~11.5k years BP? Yup, that's right, a mass extinction.

more than 2 years ago
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Canadian Ice Shelves Halve In Six Years

cosmicaug Re:Amazing (458 comments)

Scientists have been fairly unanimous in predicting warming since the mid 1970's, and so far they've been right.

No, sorry, I remember the 70's and global cooling was all the rage then. Search 'global cooling 1970s'. Global Warming has been since the 90's.

Science popularizer, Isaac Asimov, never got the memo:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6tSYRY90PA

more than 2 years ago
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Canadian Ice Shelves Halve In Six Years

cosmicaug Re:Bad phrasing (458 comments)

'The real significance of this, in my view, is that this ice has reportedly been there for thousands of years. The same is true of glaciers that have recently disappeared in the Andes. These observations should dispel in one fell swoop any notion that recent global warming could be natural.'"

How's that saying go, past performance is no guarantee of future results. The Andes used to be under water for thousands of years; the continents used to all be one big land mass. If we lived back then I'm sure we'd be hearing about Anthropogenic Tectonic Drift.

Assuming this is not some pathetic attempt at humor which I am pathetically entirely missing, do you even have any idea of the timescales involved here or are you one of those 'the earth is 10000 years old' folk?

more than 2 years ago
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Canadian Ice Shelves Halve In Six Years

cosmicaug Re:Why would that dispel anything? (458 comments)

Since you have no record of how fast ice shelves may have vanished in the past due to natural warming, it seems suspect to claim that this certainly proves the current rate of dissipation is due to unnatural warming...

Says who? At the very least, someone seems to have the idea that these particular ice masses have been around for thousands of years.

Yes there is warming, but it appears our activities are unrelated.

But then what would he know? He's only the chair of a climatology department...

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/murray_salby_and_conservation.php

more than 2 years ago
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Sun Produces First Cycle 24 X-Class Solar Flare

cosmicaug I for one... (131 comments)

I for one welcome our new coronal mass ejecting overlords.

more than 3 years ago
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Look-Alike Tubes Lead To Hospital Deaths

cosmicaug Re:Why has no one taken this thread seriously... (520 comments)

Every nurse should physically trace each tube to its receptacle. If there are two tubes in the vicinity but not even in proximity, extra care should be taken to trace the tube tactilely.

Yes, indeed, that is how this is supposed to work. Those are the rules. You don't know how very relieved I am to know that if I ever get killed by this sort of human error someone has assigned responsibility right where it belongs!

OTOH, you'll never see me successfully hooking up a CO2 regulator unto a nitrogen tank or a helium tank. This is not because I'm a genius or because I never make mistakes but because the parts don't fit together.

The government-protectionist tone here ("Critics say the tubing problem, which has gone on for decades, is an example of how the FDA fails to protect the public.") is absurd and gives you NO excuse to shed the responsibility for your actions.

So you want to blame private industry, instead? Who gives a damn? Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Seeing this as some sort of political statement is really not particularly productive. It is what it is and what it is is a problem with a trivial solution (design parts which are not supposed to ever be joined together so that they do not fit together) with no drawbacks and which has the potential to totally eliminate the grossest manifestation of the problem altogether.

The solution for this problem will, of course, not totally eliminate related problems of right tubes being connected together but having the wrong stuff or the wrong concentration of stuff (i.e. wrong IV drug in an IV line or too much or too little of the right drug). Such has to be dealt with by other means (changes in training, changes in working conditions, explicit checklists, etc.).

more than 3 years ago
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Acupuncture May Trigger a Natural Painkiller

cosmicaug Re:studies with "sham needles" (215 comments)

Yes, this always comes up (and indeed it has come up here a bunch of times, already). Whereas aspirin (or the latest psoriasis treatment tested in a double blind placebo controlled trial) works exactly the same for everyone all of the time under every conceivable condition, the "alternative medicine" treatment du jour is simply too special to be examined in any sort of an objective way.

Of course, this is, ultimately, bullshit.

What it really means is no one has ever demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of the "alternative medicine" treatment du jour and, dammit, we like it that way!

more than 4 years ago
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How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA

cosmicaug Re:Sensationalism (279 comments)

The cell phone causes cancer freaks are going to making a big deal about this (absofuckinglutely guaranteed!) and the model doesn't include solvent or base stacking interactions! LOL!

more than 4 years ago
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How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA

cosmicaug NOT BEING CRYOGENICALLY FROZEN TEARS APART DNA!!!! (279 comments)

I'd also like to point out that the title of the post is sensationalistic and very highly misleading. Reading such a post, I would surmise that I'm about to read an article regarding the breaking of DNA strands which, though we have repair mechanisms to deal with such eventualities (which can have some curious effects in some non coding regions of our DNA, by the way), is a rather serious effect. I would not suspect from such a title that the article is talking about temporary strand separation of small stretches of DNA. You might just as well write the headline How not being cryogenically frozen tears apart DNA!!!!! because, as long as you have DNA replication, and RNA transcription (to express protein and for other functions) occurring, you are "tearing apart DNA" in the sense of this article.

more than 4 years ago
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How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA

cosmicaug Re:EM radation affects matter? What?! (279 comments)

What illiterate i***t tagged this as being offtopic? "Terahertz waves" = Electromagnetic (EM) radiation. The microwave debate goes hand-in-hand with this. It's the single best example, known to everyone, of how EM has an effect on matter, and how there are obvious dangers associated with EM that need to studied rather than ignored.

I have no idea who tagged what but see my post above. This study is not so obviously linked to the "microwave debate" and, in fact, implies no "obvious dangers".

more than 4 years ago
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How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA

cosmicaug All your mutants are belong to us --DON'T PANIC! (279 comments)

Wait a moment, folk! We are talking about temporary separation of already uncoiled DNA (meaning, that it's probably under the process of being expressed, anyway) under very specific conditions as predicted by a computer model.

This is not even an empirical observation: we don't know that any of this happens in a cell free in vitro system and how significant the effect is (if any), we don't know if it happens in a cell culture in vitro system and how significant the effect is (if any) and we certainly don't know that anything like this happens in vivo.

Even assuming that you can create these precise conditions by an airport scanner (which seems rather doubtful), you certainly would not, in any way, be facilitating mutation in any appreciable sense*. All that you would be doing, theoretically, is to subtly alter patterns of gene expression for the few seconds it would take to walk through the scanner (basically, a very subtle regulatory effect). While you certainly can facilitate the development of cancer through such a mechanism (in fact, I'd argue that dysregulation of gene expression** at some points is simply required for carcinogenesis --yes, it can be caused by mutating proteins but these mutated proteins are almost invariably going to have direct or indirect regulatory functions***), such a dysregulation of gene expression would have be the prolonged, normal state of affairs of a cell for a cancer to actually happen. For this to be happening (in a worse case scenario) for as much as a few mere seconds can hardly even be called a dysregulation in any meaningful sense and much, much less have any effect, whatsoever, on carcinogenesis.

If, on the other hand, some government agency is monitoring you 24/7 with these scanners, then you might have reason to worry****.

* I would speculate that there's an infinitesimal chance that DNA might be more susceptible to mutations from not being as protected as it would be when paired but you have to realize that active regions of DNA get unzipped like this all the time so this effect, if it might be real, would be a drop in the bucket and utterly swamped by the background.
** For purposes of this discussion, what I mean by dysregulation of gene expression is the production of various protein products at inappropriate times or in the wrong amounts (either too much or too little of a protein).
*** Whether the function is to induce cell division or stop cell division, or to induce cell death (apoptosis) or to evade cell death (and whether it is a direct or indirect effect on the preceding --such as mechanisms sensing DNA damage, loss of contact inhibition, etc.). While other factors which may not always be strictly regulatory do exist such as invasiveness, angiogenesis, telomerase function, etc (which often will also be regulatory by involving over or under expression); these factors need to happen together with a regulatory dysfunction for an actual cancer to happen because, basically, cancer happens when a lot of different sorts of things get screwed up at the same time.
**** About adjusting your medication dose, that is.

more than 4 years ago
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World's Oldest Tattoo Written In Soot

cosmicaug Re:Acupunture points. (68 comments)

I sure don't see anything that says "littered with tattoos". Do you?

Whatever. You are talking about 11 tattoos and over 300 acupuncture points (and, actually, different sources almost double that number of acupuncture points). It would be remarkable if all the tattoos were not near some acupuncture point.

about 5 years ago
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World's Oldest Tattoo Written In Soot

cosmicaug Re:Acupunture points. (68 comments)

Dogs can detect molecules on the order of a couple parts per million, far below our level of detection. They can also smell cancer, and can tell the difference between different kinds of internal cancer just by smelling the skin. They have also been shown to be able to predict seizures, and hypoglycemic attacks.

Since when is a couple of parts per million below our level of detection? Anyway, at the "concentrations" at which homeopaths consider potency to be greatest (in other words, the most dilute concentrations) it's not so much a matter of the solute existing at infinitesimal concentrations as much as there being not solute molecules left whatsoever.

Not even homeopaths dispute this. Instead of this they make some up bullshit, ad hoc stuff up about vibrations being left behind in the to form a memory of what used to be there.

And I really have no clue as to why you are bringing dogs into it. That's an altogether different discussion.

Just because we cannot detect low levels, doesn't mean they are not there nor have any effect.

That's pretty much an oxymoron since any effect constitutes something we can detect.

However you seem to be misunderstanding why there might not be something in there at all in some homeopathic preparations. It has nothing to do with whether we can detect it or not. It has to do with atomic theory, a concept which has been with us in its crudest forms for at least two millennia and which modern science has confirmed. You see, stuff is made up of discrete chunks. Let's say you've got a volume of water with 10000 arsenic cations (that's a kind of chunk). If you dilute it ten fold you will only have, on average, 1000 arsenic cations in that same volume of water. If you dilute it a million fold, you will have on average zero arsenic cations in that volume simply because there were a lot fewer than 1000000 arsenic cations to begin with.

How does this relate to homeopathic preparations? The most dilute homeopathic preparations out there (in other words, the ones which homeopaths consider the most potent --ever hear the joke about the patient who forgot to take his homeopathic medicine and died of an overdose?) are prepared at 200C (sometimes also written as 200 CK depending on which nutty dilution protocol is used: that of Hahneman or that of Korsakov). What this means is that the original substance is diluted one hundred fold and then the resulting solution is diluted one hundred fold again another 199 times. That means the dilution factor is 100^^200. This is a 1 with 400 zeroes after it. Not only is this number much greater than the number which is a homophone to the name of a popular search engine, it is also greater than the estimated number of atoms in the whole universe (which http://preview.tinyurl.com/nypp6pWikipedia estimates to be a lot fewer than a googol).

What this means is that if you put the same number of solute molecules as there exists atoms in the universe into a container and performed a 200C dilution you would end up with no solute molecules by the time that you were done with your serial dilutions.

So basically, paraphrasing you, to say that "just because a homeopathic preparation is diluted beyond Avogadro's limit doesn't mean that it does not have any effect" is like saying that "just because distilled water doesn't have any salt in it it doesn't mean that it is not going to taste salty". It's true that I could convince you that some http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OscillococcinumOscillococcinum will help you with your flu just as it is true that I may convince you that distilled water is, in fact, salty. However, this fact is not due to any inherent curative properties of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OscillococcinumOscillococcinum just as distilled water tasting salty, if you are sufficiently suggestible and and in an appropriately receptive state of mind, has nothing to do with distilled water possessing a property of saltiness.

about 5 years ago
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First Human Embryonic Stem Cell Study Approved

cosmicaug Way to change the wording! (139 comments)

Nice, how the wording got changed so that it says the opposite of what is conveyed by the CNN article!

Slashdot article says:

The stem cells come from the existing lines Pres. Bush approved federal funding for in August 2001.

The source article actually states:

The tests will use stem cells cultured from embryos left over in fertility clinics, which otherwise would have been discarded.

And thus:

Okarma said Geron did not use any federal funding for its research, and that the Bush restrictions had "devastated the field."

more than 5 years ago
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Viruses Infected By Viruses

cosmicaug Re:cancer (341 comments)

Human Pamplona Virus (HPV) is thought to be solely responsible for cases of cervical cancer.

I believe you meant papilloma (a virus that induces warts and similar growths), not Pamplona (a town where you can be an idiot and get yourself gored by a bull).

Mal-2

I do hope that he doesn't mean Pamplona

August Pamplona

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Inventor essentially patents USB logos

cosmicaug cosmicaug writes  |  about 2 years ago

cosmicaug (150534) writes "

Although the various embodiments of configuration aids in accordance with the present invention were described with reference to geometrical shapes and colored surfaces those skilled in the art will appreciate that numerous other embodiments are also possible For example the configuration aid may comprise any lettering numbering symbol or the like that allows a user to distinguish between the first and second sides of an electronic connector Furthermore the configuration aid may be marked on the cormector with any suitable marking means such as by printing painting dying inscription adhesive or the like.

Gosh, I wonder if one could use a USB logo for this? Too bad the USB specification doesn't tell you where to put it. Oh wait, it actually does (see section 6.5.1 of the USB 2.0 specification or simply consult the FAQ)!

This joker wants three and a half million dollars for the right to mark one side of a polarized connector differently than the other. He actually uses the USB connector as a case study and example in both patents. That is, the very same specification of what he is using as an example in both of these patents specifies the prior art which should have properly invalidated these patents: it requires putting the USB logo on the top side and not on the underside. Both patents, US 8,142,220 & US 20,110,165,792, seem to be referring to the same concept (I assume there must be some legal reason for this).

I can only assume that the patent examiner(s) never used a USB connector and could not be bothered to do a few Google searches."

Link to Original Source

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Update on Journalist Arrested By Interpol For Tweet

cosmicaug cosmicaug writes  |  more than 2 years ago

cosmicaug (150534) writes "For all practical purposes, he’s dead. Islam is going to be demanding a blood sacrifice on this one. The international attention is going to turn this into a loss of face for the clerics if it goes any other way.

Sadly, the most likely outcome is that they are going to execute this man for three tweets."

Link to Original Source
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Expelled from Expelled

cosmicaug cosmicaug writes  |  more than 6 years ago

cosmicaug (150534) writes "This might be absolutely the funniest thing that I have read at Pharyngula. P. Z. Myers goes to see a screening of Expelled, a film about supposed suppression of the discussion of ideas etc. as applied to intelligent design, at the Mall of America and he is expelled from Expelled by some cop (or mall security person — it's not clear which) who tells him he can't come in because a producer has specifically banned him from the screening (note that P. Z. Myers appears in the film and claims to have been interviewed under false pretenses). P. Z. complies and his wife and daughter go on to see the film accompanied by Richard Dawkins! Note that Richard Dawkins also appears in the film and claims to have been misrepresented etc.."

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