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MIT Fusion Researchers Answer Your Questions

gilleain Re:Very brief summary (244 comments)

I see. So of the $3,000 dollars needed $3,785 was pledged - that's great! But...

What percentage of $8Bn is that? I'm not saying it's not possible, but it's like comparing atoms and apples.

more than 2 years ago
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4 UK Urban Explorers Face Orders Not To Talk With Each Other For 10 Years

gilleain Re:Indirect communication, human rights (387 comments)

Reminds me of a story by Will Self called 'Between the Conceits', the first in the book Grey Area. In it, all of London is controlled by just 7 people, who communicate with each other by elaborate mass orchestration of mundane movements of the other Londoners.

I stretch, then relax - and 33,665 white-collar workers leave their houses a teensy bit early for work. This means the 6,014 of them will feel dyspeptic during the journey because they've missed their second piece of toast, or bowl of Fruit 'n' Fibre. From which it followed that 2,982 of them will be testy through the morning; and therefore 312 of them will say the wrong thing, leading to dismissal; hence one of these 312 will lose the balance of his reason and commit an apparently random and motiveless murder on the way home.

Hmm. Don't think I can really explain this with one quote. The first chapter is readable here.

more than 2 years ago
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'Alternative Medicine' Clinic Attempts To Silence Critics

gilleain Re:Are his customers happy? (515 comments)

Chemical reactions are electrical interactions after all.

Hmm. Not in any meaningful sense, no.

I say this as someone who works in a research group on chemoinformatics, involving comparison and analysis of (bio)chemical reactions. For example, here is a drawing (made by graphics software written by me of an atom-atom mapping from my colleague):

cinnamate beta-D-glucosyltransferase

Cinnamate (in cyan) is being attached to the sugar (purple). This is carried out by an enzyme, with a precise arrangement of amino acids in an active site. How on earth would 'electrical interactions' (in general) affect this reaction - or any other?

more than 2 years ago
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'Alternative Medicine' Clinic Attempts To Silence Critics

gilleain Re:watch his documentary on youtube before comment (515 comments)

As someone working in pharmaceutical development (posting anon since I'm at work), I find his ideas interesting. I have some serious doubts about the mechanism whereby his antineoplastons are having an effect, as well as doubts about the consistency of the manufacturing process he's using to make them (IIRC, these are a loosely-defined complex mix of molecules, unlike typical large-molecule biologics whose composition is much more tightly controlled). Still, I would like to see some more serious research done with these compounds; and I'm still open to the possibility that these antineoplastons are actually a viable treatment option.

Okay, so one of the compounds mentioned on wikipedia is this one:

http://www.chemspider.com/Chemical-Structure.50771.html

which is at least drug-like (I can't find any hits in ChEMBL; haven't tried any other open databases). Another is just phenylacetylglutamine, which is 'just' a metabolite. Do you really think there is a reasonable justification for saying this molecule is active? If the guy uses a mixture of molecules, why not purify the most active ones?

(I do realise, of course, that you are not involved in Burzynski research - just curious for your opinion :)

more than 2 years ago
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'Alternative Medicine' Clinic Attempts To Silence Critics

gilleain Re:Are his customers happy? (515 comments)

What critic is he referring to? That is to say, I could probably google it, but GP makes no mention of any particular case.

more than 2 years ago
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'Alternative Medicine' Clinic Attempts To Silence Critics

gilleain Re:Big Wikipedia Bang - Identifying pseudoscience (515 comments)

I had to look up "Rolfing" (some kind of chiropracty, seems like). I was hoping it would be "Rofling", formally known as "ROFL therapy".

more than 2 years ago
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Lego Bible Too Racy For Sam's Club

gilleain Re:To be fair (484 comments)

Then you start ruling out religions. Pretty soon, you're left with Christianity and a couple others to actually consider.

I'm curious - how do you 'rule out' religions? For example, some people might think that the Book of Mormon was invented by Joseph Smith. Certainly Scientology was made up.

Is that what you mean? Or is the the test simply : "Do they believe exactly the same things that I believe?"...

more than 2 years ago
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New Batch of Leaked Climate Emails

gilleain Re:Yes it is! (585 comments)

Look moron, there's no grant money for disproving gravity yet there's plenty enough for the other way around. And you gravity believers try to equate us to nazi sympathizers by calling us gravity deniers. We're gravity skeptics, and we're just waiting for conclusive proof to make a decision. Most gravitymongering hype is bullshit and it's all just being pushed by media profiting off fear and politicians profiting off pro-gravity legislation. So until we hear from neutral sources unanimously coming to a consensus, we will rationally remain in doubt.

Wait, now I'm confused - you are still using 'gravity' as a replacement for 'climate change', right?

Given that there are morons that don't believe in relativity it's not impossible that a thread about climate change has attracted actual gravity deniers.

more than 2 years ago
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RIAA Doesn't Like the "Used Digital Music" Business

gilleain Re:Honor system (300 comments)

Example? I looked at a few LPs on google images but couldn't see what you're talking about.

My God, I'm old.

Well, you know the saying : "There are bold slashdotters, and there are old slashdotters, but no bold old ones". Oh wait, that was pilots.

more than 2 years ago
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Minecraft Is Finished

gilleain Re:Not finished (272 comments)

Wait, it's not bay-tah, it's beh-tah. Similar, and you only really hear the difference if you're not listening for it, but it's there. Kind of like Aaron vs. Erin.

Do you guys really pronounce it "beet-ah"?

Yes, it rymes with "shoota" (gun) and "warta" (melted ice).

more than 2 years ago
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Minecraft Wins Gaming Arts Award

gilleain Re:Portal 2? (87 comments)

I love Minecraft, but I'm beginning to feel Notch is jerking us around. He's introduced new features that are obviously incomplete, with serious bugs. It would make much more sense if he'd redesign Minecraft so that there was a tidy API and a simple way to add third party mods to the game. It's been obvious for some time now that the mod makers are producing more sophisticated and innovative content than Notch is.

Mojang has received tens of millions of dollars in revenue, and Notch is acting like Minecraft is a hobby project he tinkers with in his free time.

Hmmm. Maaaybe. Ravines and strongholds are pretty cool. I've yet to open an ender gate, but still. Perhaps mineworks are too extensive and mazelike, and breeding is fairly pointless. The less said about mooshrooms the better, I think.

I thought that an API was in the works, though. It sure would be nice to be able to install mods more easily.

more than 2 years ago
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Minecraft Wins Gaming Arts Award

gilleain Re:Portal 2? (87 comments)

I think Portal 2 is a much better game, but for every hour I've spent in it, I've spent 20 in Minecraft.

This is mis-placed credit, though. The recent changes to Minecraft have been uninteresting and poorly implemented. The real value is in the mods created by the user community. Without them, I would have quit playing a long time ago!

Only tried a few mods, but Equivalent Exchange is very nice. I'm not so sure about BuildCraft, and IndustrialCraft stuff. I quite like the pseudo-medieval/primitive world.

more than 2 years ago
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Minecraft Wins Gaming Arts Award

gilleain Re:Legos on a screen? (87 comments)

Bah, Minecraft is boring. Ace of Spades is much more fun and combines same build and dig tunnels, but with shooting and objectives. Multiplayer FPS is much more when you can build defensive structures and dig your way to the enemy base.

Hmmm. That does sound cool, and the mini-map is nice. Not so sure about the textures or the lighting.

Another alternative is FortressCraft, which is on the XBox. It has lasers, apparently

more than 2 years ago
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Minecraft Wins Gaming Arts Award

gilleain Re:Legos on a screen? (87 comments)

The latest update coming up is actually going to add real mineshafts complete with train rails and archways. But for now you get caves with goodies marking the ceilings, floors, and walls at various points.

Actually, that was the *last* update... and it included creepy ghost towns.

The *next* update is supposed to add some kind of adventure mode.

Well, to be fair, they have moved into beta-beta releases (or 'pre' releases) so what features currently exist or not is always tricky. Personally, I just go to the special:recentchanges page of minecraftwiki to see the latest. Or jeb/notch's twitter feed. Or yogscast. What? What? I'm not addicted! That's nonsense!

more than 2 years ago
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Massively Parallel Computer Built From Single Layer of Molecules

gilleain Re:Cool, but not a CA and not parallel (46 comments)

Well you're absolutely right that the important thing is what it can do, not what it is called :) I'm not sure how the connectivity of a CA-like computer affects its function. The brain, for example is connected both locally (to nearby neurons) and globally (long-distance axons). I'm no neuroscientist, however, so I don't know how dense the network is.

Apologies, I thought that you were claiming the opposite - that you can make parallel computers serial. I suppose that replicators in CAs are serial, but I assume that you can also use them in parallel. I wonder what the different states of the molecule are.

more than 2 years ago
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Massively Parallel Computer Built From Single Layer of Molecules

gilleain Re:Cool, but not a CA and not parallel (46 comments)

This is an awsome project, but the researchers make some claims that are not true. First, this is not a CA, as molecules affect other molecules in a big radius not just their neighbours.

So isn't that just a highly connected CA? What about a CA where each cell is connected to all the rest - it might behave very differently to a more grid-like CA, but it still counts as one.

Second, a computer is not massively parallel just because it's realized on a CA.

The image in that link looks like a non-parallel computer in a CA. So, yes, you can throw away the advantages of parallelism if you like; what's your point? They are claiming that their setup could be parallel, not that it must be.

more than 2 years ago
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The "Scientization" of Yucca Mountain

gilleain Re:The science community does the same thing. (226 comments)

There are islands with wide gaps of non-viability in the genetic fitness landscape.

So the hypothesis would be : "organisms cannot traverse these gaps"?

more than 2 years ago
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The "Scientization" of Yucca Mountain

gilleain Re:The science community does the same thing. (226 comments)

There has never even been a single argument for ID that wasn't circular. "Irreducibly complex" is a red herring invented by ID to mean "we don't understand it, which is proof we can never understand it" which is provably false, as our understanding continually expands.

Well, I would generally agree. You could maybe test if you could 'reduce' protein-protein interaction networks (or gene networks) by graph edit operations. There was a talk about that today at work, and it seems like you can replace subgraphs in a network with smaller subgraphs and still have the same logical result. If you can generate a series of functional networks that increase in complexity through time, then that's proof against ID

Then again, this kind of research is simply called "genetics" or bioinformatics...

more than 2 years ago

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