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The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

david_thornley Re:Remove politics from the survey (436 comments)

Why stick to questions about non-controversial stuff. A certain number of individuals may understand things about physics, but, really, who cares? It doesn't matter. It does matter how much the Earth is warming up and what's causing it.

Scientific literacy that is thrown aside when it conflicts with ideological positions is not, I contend, science literacy so much as it is trivia collection.

Deciding matters of science by political or religious means is stupid and way unscientific. I don't really care whether people are ignoramuses or idiots or fools or liars when it comes down to the same effect.

If scientists didn't talk about anything that had political implications, then politics would be entirely based on scientific ignorance, which I do not see as desirable.

6 hours ago
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The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

david_thornley Re:What scientists "know", not know (436 comments)

What evidence do you have that most scientists ignore the fact that scientists are people? They subscribe to a method of finding truth that doesn't rely on any individual being correct. If a scientist is corrupt, for example, that can have short-term effects, but science does correct for that.

6 hours ago
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The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

david_thornley Re:Think? Know? (436 comments)

In other words, you see no difference between religion and science as sources of truth? Just because some people get scientific advice from really stupid sources doesn't mean scientists don't know what they're talking about.

6 hours ago
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The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

david_thornley Re:Postmarketing Surveillance Data (436 comments)

The scare quotes around "scientists" suggest that you're biased. Your first two arguments, anyway, are flawed.

Drug testing is standardized in the US, and it's acknowledged that it doesn't filter out all the problems. This is a matter of policy, since there's a tradeoff between letting a bad drug through sometimes vs. delaying good drugs. That some problems only showed up in larger populations is entirely expected. Besides knowing a tremendous amount more about how the human body works, there's no way to filter out bad drugs from good instantly. (I had a friend who worked for the FDA quite a while ago. She told me that most things the FDA regulates were released to the public on the basis of a "we have no objections at this time" letter, rather than a definitive finding of safety. Just because a drug is released doesn't mean it's known to be safe, just that a certain amount of testing hasn't shown it isn't. I don't think you have a deep understanding of what things are declared perfectly safe.)

You list two facts about cell phones vs. cancer: that there are no studies showing any effect, and a caution that it is conceivable that there will be longer-term effects we can't rule out yet. Exactly what should anybody say? There is no obvious mechanism for cell phones to cause cancer, and appropriate studies have found no signs of causation. Cell phones are being said to be safe as far as we can tell, not "perfectly safe".

As far as your third argument goes, I have no knowledge. However, you're providing no evidence that chloramine is scientifically considered safe, and some evidence that it might not be (the safety concerns listed, if still valid, are of the "we don't know" kind, not "it's unsafe"). If it's being used instead of chlorine, that may well be bad, but it sounds like a political decision as opposed to a scientific.

Therefore, you have provided no evidence that scientists overstate safety, only that you seriously misunderstand the difference between "looks safe enough to approve for use" and "is perfectly safe". You have provided evidence that scientists will say precisely what they mean about things being safe.

6 hours ago
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The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

david_thornley Re:Blame it on the media (436 comments)

The media suck in lots of ways. George Bernard Shaw, in one of his plays, said that journalism is a profession that collects and distributes information without normally being harmed if it's wrong.

Ever take a good look at US sports journalism? It'll take some time to realize it, unfortunately. The thing that puzzled me about the Gamergate accusation of violating game journalism ethics is where she'd have found enough ethics to violate. I've read what people who know something about military affairs think about the general media handling - some complaints that it's biased against them, and lot's of complaints that it's just plain wrong.

It's an educational experience to get involved with something newsworthy personally, and read what the news says about it. The best I can say for the media is that what they flat-out state is not normally wrong. Their speculations, and selection of facts, are extremely questionable.

While we get a much greater range of journalism nowadays, and so can find out things we wouldn't have, it's even less reliable than it used to be.

7 hours ago
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The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

david_thornley Re:Gender and sex (436 comments)

Calling Hashead a moron is not an ad hominem attack. Saying that Hashead's arguments are stupid, so Hashead is a moron, is not an ad hominem attack. Saying that Hashead is a moron and therefore his arguments suck is an ad hominem. Also, saying that Hashead is biased, and therefore his arguments can be dismissed, is an ad hominem.

Brought to you by the Slashdot Association of Annoying Pedants.

7 hours ago
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The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

david_thornley Re:Gender and sex (436 comments)

Ignoring the fact that feminism is a really badly defined term, and that it (like every other movement) has its share of loudmouth idiots, gender is to some extent a social construct. Relations of men and women have changed considerably over the years and miles, meaning there's a lot of it that isn't biological.

As far as "social constructionism" goes, I know a lot of women who will describe themselves as feminists, I have read assorted feminist writings over the years, and I don't know what that phrase means.

8 hours ago
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The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

david_thornley Re:Gender and sex (436 comments)

Other species don't typically have as well-developed and flexible societies, so they tend to have a lot more biology in their behavior and a lot less society. This is why it's worth looking at them: they show a lot of variety in mating behavior, and therefore show that biology allows a lot of different mating behavior. There are, in fact, a lot of species where males compete for females, and different species can do some wildly different things. Therefore, we know we can't predict human sexual dimorphism from the basic biology of the situation.

This means that there's no a priori reason why any particular attribute of female brains should differ from the same attribute of male brains. There may be differences, but it's really difficult to distinguish between social and biological differences.

8 hours ago
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The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

david_thornley Re:Gender and sex (436 comments)

I wouldn't doubt that there are evolutionary biology studies that support it, and some that oppose it. The layman-level stuff I've seen has always looked like somebody making up a neat story to explain something. Humans are far better at making up neat stories to support what they already think than weeding through them. (Two groups can be given a description of a situation, told two different outcomes, and each group will come up with solid evidence supporting the outcome they've been told.)

8 hours ago
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The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

david_thornley Re:Blame politics (436 comments)

Actually, there's fields where I can understand the papers, and fields where I can't, and which field is which doesn't seem intuitively to make sense.

8 hours ago
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The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

david_thornley Re:Blame politics (436 comments)

Good. I always like to check out the science involved, and a 95%+ concurrence among scientists in a field suggests strongly that it's the way to bet.

8 hours ago
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The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

david_thornley Re:whose payroll is the scientist on? It matters (436 comments)

Governments have their fingers into a whole lot of research activity. If you're looking at a wide range, you can assume much of it was government-funded. BTW, "dogma" has some legitimate meanings, but "ideas I don't like" isn't among them.

8 hours ago
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Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

david_thornley Re:This doesn't sound... sound (327 comments)

People had jobs during the war, which was a whole lot better for a lot of people than during the Depression. After the war, the pent-up demand meant that there were still a lot of jobs, but that pent-up demand was from paying people to make things that were either destroyed or economically useless The reason for the savings was that people were making money, but couldn't find things to spend it on, because a lot of what they produced was useless in civilian life.

This works when the economy is significantly underperforming what it could. In a case like that, an increase in spending, which can come from destroying things that need to be replaced, can make the economy perform better.

Economics is complicated, and there's a lot of counterintuitive stuff in it (or, to put it another way, intuitive stuff that doesn't work).

13 hours ago
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

david_thornley Re:Sucks to be law enforcement in a Republic (422 comments)

The Divine Right of Kings is a modern phenomenon, mostly the 1700s IIRC, which is post-feudal (except in Russia, which was progressing into feudalism at the time). It continued into the 1900s in many places, in somewhat modified form.

If the King has all power, then a constitution, if granted, is limits on the royal power and prerogatives, and the government may do anything not forbidden to it. If the government is formed with a constitution as a charter, the government may only do what is allowed.

yesterday
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

david_thornley Re:A quote (422 comments)

It didn't help that they disbanded the army period. AIUI, the original plan was to keep it around and use it for stability (provide employment for millions of young men, have native troops to keep law and order, etc.), and it was disbanded for no clear reason by the authorities there.

The army itself was mostly apolitical. The Republican Guard was not, and that should indeed have been disbanded (and disarmed).

yesterday
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

david_thornley Re:Zone of lawlessness: The U.S. government (422 comments)

The Constitution sets out a list of things the Federal government can do, and the Bill of Rights lists some things it is specifically not allowed to do. Within that scope, the government should work for the people of the US. (There are some implementation glitches here.) The US Supreme Court has no problem with throwing out laws that either violate the "government shall not" parts or aren't supported by the "Federal government may" parts.

The current domination of the Federal government is an outgrowth of its tax and spend powers. The US has enough tax powers to take in a whole lot of money, and the Federal government has pretty much unlimited ability to spend money. This means that states can get dependent on Federal grant money which they'll lose if they step too far out of line. That's how the 55mph speed limit came into effect way back when.

yesterday
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The iPad Is 5 Years Old This Week, But You Still Don't Need One

david_thornley Re:Multi-window and compilers (297 comments)

So what you're saying is that programmers need more than an iPad? I wouldn't want to program on a netbook either, so I'd be just as happy with the iPad. (Actually, I find that my phone, my laptop, and my desktop together to pretty much everything I want to do.)

yesterday
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Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

david_thornley Re: if you're not Muslim, then... (227 comments)

And Muhammed being a prophet is officially recognized by a very large church. I've seen plenty of non-Catholics referring to this Francis guy as a "Pope", which is a religious designation.

yesterday
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Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

david_thornley Re:Simple (227 comments)

The problem with tips is that they have become embedded in server compensation. From the original idea of a thank-you for above average service, it's become expected, to the point that minimum wage laws don't necessarily include servers at the same rate, the IRS will assume that servers make a certain amount of tip income and expects to see it reported, and base pay rates are set assuming a certain level of tips.

The result is that, when you don't tip in the US, you are not failing to reward the server, but in fact hurting him or her.

yesterday
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Apple Posts $18B Quarterly Profit, the Highest By Any Company, Ever

david_thornley Re:Tax (519 comments)

It used to be that, in any discussion of Microsoft software, there would be at least one person saying it was the best thing since sliced peanut butter, while at least one person claimed that it was almost unusable. It looks like this has changed to Apple hardware: you'll find at least one person whose Macs never lasted two years and one who only got rid of them because Apple stopped supporting the CPU ten years ago.

In the meantime, I'm going with the relatively unbiased surveys that consistently put Apple at or near the top for reliability and customer satisfaction.

yesterday

Submissions

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Apple makes iBricks

david_thornley david_thornley writes  |  more than 7 years ago

david_thornley (598059) writes "Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet has some early reports on Apple turning iPhones into iBricks. Apparently it's happening not only to unlocked iPhones, but to standard locked iPhones where the customer hasn't done anything out of the ordinary. Once bricked, it may be possible to return it to factory settings, losing all photos, mail, contacts, and other things. This isn't good, folks. If you have iPhones of any description, except newly purchased, don't sync with the new update."

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