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Comments

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NASA's HI-SEAS Project Results Suggests a Women-Only Mars Crew

mapkinase Re:So? (394 comments)

The whole thing has macabre connotations, reminds me of the popular (in 90s) Russian novel "Omon Ra" - a fictitious noir account of Soviet space program, where one of the stages of preparation for the flight "To The Cosmos" was amputation of both legs - in order to fit into a small rocket...

3 days ago
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New Music Discovered In Donkey Kong For Arcade

mapkinase Amy? (74 comments)

I feel like Sheldon invited for a spaghetti and hot dogs...

5 days ago
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Carl Sagan, as "Mr. X," Extolled Benefits of Marijuana

mapkinase Re:Who cares? (263 comments)

>It's a poor leader who can't convince the majority of the populace to follow

That's sounds so arbitrarily insane that I lost interest to anything you might say on this subject

about two weeks ago
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Carl Sagan, as "Mr. X," Extolled Benefits of Marijuana

mapkinase Re:Who cares? (263 comments)

I do not believe in democracy. I do not believe general population should play any role in making complex important decision. It should be left to technocrats and leaders, true leaders.

I state again: if someone wants to know about science, he should study science. All those colorful analogies do not worth a damn, they do not increase understanding of public, their only purpose is infortainment like news or weather.

about two weeks ago
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Carl Sagan, as "Mr. X," Extolled Benefits of Marijuana

mapkinase Re:Who cares? (263 comments)

I never liked so called popularizers of science. You know who is the best popularizer of science? Good lecturer at the university.

Kapitsa Junior was a Professor giving lectures to fellow students from the same year. They bloody moaned from his inept lectures. On the TV he was an established host of the popular sci program, in the classroom he was nobody.

Feinman was never a popularizer like Sagan. He was a brilliant lecturer for people who want know, who were serious about physics.

Sagan, Dawkins, etc are all from the same cohort of nobodies.

about two weeks ago
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Texas Ebola Patient Dies

mapkinase Re:21 day incubation period... (487 comments)

Perspective is always justified. Alarmism is not. I have heard Ebola jokes on Friends....

about two weeks ago
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Texas Ebola Patient Dies

mapkinase Re:The Conservative Option (487 comments)

One of the first known quarantines was established by Umar ibn Khattab, second Khalifah, radhi Allahu anh, due to the plague that hit Hijaz during his Khilafah.

about two weeks ago
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Now That It's Private, Dell Targets High-End PCs, Tablets

mapkinase Because they are no longer reporting to Wall Stree (167 comments)

> "Because they are no longer reporting to Wall Street, they can be more competitive."

Paraphrasing popular song: "If you love your company, do not let it go"

about a month ago
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New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

mapkinase Re:Africa (326 comments)

If making ridiculous extrapolations to the future without any backlash from scientific community is possible, then _everything_ is possible.

about a month ago
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A 16-Year-Old Builds a Device To Convert Breath Into Speech

mapkinase As a regular at the Mosque (67 comments)

As a regular at the Moosque I'd rather be interested in the opposite device converting speech into breath.

about a month ago
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Justice Sotomayor Warns Against Tech-Enabled "Orwellian" World

mapkinase Nanay boys (166 comments)

When I hear from time to time those wonderful thoughtful remarks by US politicians that seem to be so upfront against "reactionary" establishment, it always reminds of a 30-year old (at least) Russian meme called "The fight of Nanay boys". Basically, those Nanay folks of Far North of Russia had had this traditional entertainment show called "The fight of Nanay boys" where an entertainer would dress his lower and upper parts of his body in clothes in such a way so when he bends forward and stands on his feet and hands it appears so as if two boys are fighting each other

Here is an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

That's what first come to mind when I here statements like the one from Mrs. Sotomayor

about a month ago
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The Future According To Stanislaw Lem

mapkinase Ideal Vacuum (196 comments)

The whole series of his reviews of fictional books is wonderful.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

One of my favorites is Die Kultur Als Fehler, or 'Civilization as a mistake':

about a month ago
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Study: Social Networks Have Negative Effect On Individual Welfare

mapkinase Re:Interesting (76 comments)

I haven't read other comments (I do not want to be a subject of the study :-) ) , i am sure somebody already brought the subject of correlation and causation: namely, the hypothesis that people who are already depressed and friendless tend to go to social networks.

about 2 months ago
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Islamic State "Laptop of Doom" Hints At Plots Including Bubonic Plague

mapkinase Re:Not so sure (369 comments)

The level of anti-"terrorist" propaganda is 10 times more than after 9/11, and there is no event even remotely close to that nowadays.

Notice the change in the level of dissent. After 9/11 there were Stockhausen and Maher. Granted, both of them were slapped at their dissident hands, so that contributed to deafening silence that followed.

I haven't heard a single voice that dares to doubt the propaganda.

about 2 months ago
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On 4th of July:

mapkinase thanks (340 comments)

Thanks for providing an answer that at least remotely fitting to Muslim during this month of Ramadan:

> I mostly care about the food

Fireworks started at 9pm, right at the time I just started to eat my Iftar. At first, when I was still hungry, it sounded like pop-corn was finishing last pops in the microwave.

about 4 months ago
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Curiosity Rover May Have Brought Dozens of Microbes To Mars

mapkinase Re:Policy for Planetary Protection (97 comments)

To begin with, the article is speculation:

>although no one knows for sure whether the bacteria survived the inter-planetary ride.

> The key part here is that when you are looking for life

You should be able to tell if the life is extra-terrestrial without arbitrarily excluding possibility of contamination.

For example, I do not need a whole history of specimen to determine if genome sequence was contaminated. There are computer programs that will do that fairly easily.

about 5 months ago
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Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor

mapkinase What's with the title (717 comments)

Imagine

"Your 60-hour police work is not a badge of honor" and then in the text: "it's a sign that favelas are screwed up organizationally".

about 8 months ago
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German Chancellor Proposes European Communications Network

mapkinase Re:So... (197 comments)

>The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

In this particular case, it's more of an opposite, since American law enforcement is known for baiting people into committing crimes.

about 8 months ago

Submissions

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Slashdot, why reminiscing is pleasant?

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  about 2 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "Why reminiscing is pleasant? Why remembering mundane or even unpleasant events of your personal distant past brings you pleasure. Example: I remember how I used to struggle and get frustrated at the terminal of our Soviet System/360 clone, yet bringing to memory those times now is very pleasant and more, captivating... What is the utility of reminiscing? Is it just a positive feedback loop to reward our memory exercises? Then what's the point of being able to remember things from 25 years ago if can't remember what my boss told me to do yesterday? Fellini tried to recapture the essence of it in Amarcord and failed: "sweet memories" of somebody else are just inedible crumbs from under the fridge for another person, just a sweet smell of decay for others. No matter how talented the actors how, how brilliant the cinematography is... Why whatever we did long time ago is so attractive to us that our brains make happy shrines from the memories of those times? Remembering days when I was young are pleasant, but I do not remember the feelings of being young per se, I do not feel the energy, the happiness of youth, the blind joy of blissful ignorance when I am reminiscing... It's just simple, trivial events from the past.

Why that old lady from Titanic smiles so happily looking at the green stone? Her younger self died many years ago in the grinding machine of life.

Why memories are sweet? Was our brain/director making all this years a colorful brilliant biopic of our life so we can enjoy watching it in our head at the dusk of our life? Why nostalgia? What is the reason for it to exist? There seem to be no use of it, just a soothing placebo for old folks, escape from the feeling of sliding down every increasing slope of the end. May be there is no why... May be it's just a side effect of our neural network: we repeat what is pleasant, ergo we remember what is pleasant. The image trained in our Hopfield model became better and better from time just as a consequence of simple physics of it. What surprises me the most is that it's not even truly the happiest moments of life. May be we do not have the same feelings about those because it's impossible to enter the same memory twice, strict uncertainty principles of quantum brain dynamics forbid it, and, boy, do we abuse our memories of those moments... We overuse our memories of the happiest days of the past by frequent remembering, so the peak of happy reminiscing is somewhere in between the most frequently remembered (and initially the most pleasant) moment of your life and the moments you will never remember: the rarely remembered medium-happy moments?"

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As airlines caving in to PETA, scientists are urged to take a stand

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "Fresh issue of Nature features two articles on recent development in the war of animal rights activists against human health. It turned out that

Many airlines, including Lufthansa, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, already refuse to carry research primates...

under the pressure of PETA and other ilk (I am actually shocked that airlines caved without even a whimper in any major news source). Author of the first article proposes that scientists should take a stand against luddites:

Picture a crowd of scientists waving placards plastered with photographs of stroke victims and sufferers of Parkinson's disease. They are demonstrating outside the corporate headquarters of British Airways, Lufthansa and Delta, demanding that the airlines stop impeding the biomedical research that could deliver big advances against these and other diseases.

if scientists want continued access to animals as research models, they will have to appear on the front line with every bit as much visibility, determination, organization and persistence as animal-rights activists now muster.

We, scientists, are the force to be reckoned with and every scientist who still believes that human rights to the best health care supersede rights of the animals, imaginary or not, should take a stand, not only scientists actively involved in medical research on primates."
Link to Original Source

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Myth about speed killing mpg

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "Increasing speed at some point decreases your MPG. According to the chart, it does it at ~60mph. So, it makes economic sense not to go beyond 60mph. Or does it? On the graph there is a more or less flat area between 40 mph and 50 mph. So why we are not driving at 40mph? Right: because time is money. Let's include time loss into equation. The total amount per mile spend is g/f(v)+p/v where g is cost of gas, f is function of MPG vs speed v and p is cost of hour lost in traffic. The inequality that if satisfied means you can increase speed is this:
d/dv(g/f(v)+p/v) or -f'(v) according to the graph, left side of this is pretty much constant after ~55mph and equals (8/(75-55))mpg/mph=.4mpg/mph, so as long as
pf^2 (v)/(gv^2 )>0.4,
you are good to speed up. Obviously, the higher the pay and the lower the gas price, the higher is the right side. More reasons to speed up if you got a payraise or gas prices are down.
Let's take the worst situation: burger flipper in the sky rocketing gas prices: g=$4/g, p=$10/h
10*30^2 /(4*60^2 )~0.6>0.4
So even if you are a burger flipper, you can still speed up.
PS. I understand that assuming that p is you pay is the upper bound estimate."

Link to Original Source
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new plan to prevent overpopulation

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 2 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes ""Cwi Nqani doesn’t drive. He doesn’t have a phone. And even if he did, the nearest place he could charge it would be a 10-mile walk from the thatched hut where he lives in southern Namibia."

Yet, he plays videogames. Judging by extrapolated marital record of ./ and reddit nerds, there is a great chance that he won't leave an offspring.

So, the subj: is this a new plan to prevent overpopulation? By making African addicted to computer games?"

Link to Original Source
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Retro crimes: phreaking

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  about 3 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "

The scheme unwound when a sharp-eyed federal worker in charge of reviewing phone bills for the General Services Administration noticed a pattern of split-second calls to 800-lines in July and tipped GSA's inspector general's office

Nicolaos Kantartzis of Bethesda allegedly schemed toll-free number owners of $4M during last 6 years by programming 163 payphones he owned to automatically dial 1-800 numbers in packets of 10 calls within 3 min followed by a call to his business number and then 5 hours of normal activity. Each call from a payphone to a 1-800 number costs the owner of that number $.495.

The victims include US General Services Administration, the U.S. Dept of Labor, IRS (yes!), Dell, a homeless shelter hotline.

I am surprised it took so many years to figure out the scheme which could be easily caught by simple pattern analysis. I guess nobody cared much about classic "security by obscurity" microsiphoning scheme.

The story sounds even more retro to me since I first read in the free local DC suburb paper, The Gazette, that is being delivered periodically to my front yard.

UPDATE: Apparently, there were others."

Link to Original Source

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faster than light neutrino

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes """The feeling that most people have is this can't be right, this can't be real," said James Gillies, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research"

Trust the feeling, Jim.

C'mon, /., there should be 10 +5 comments on the front page disproving this."

Link to Original Source
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Whale Idol

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "Story URL is paywalled, here is the blog.

Songs were viewed as spectrographs, and all units in a song session were transcribed by human classifiers based on the visual and aural qualities of the sound as in multiple other published humpback whale song studies

That's qualifies as science nowadays"
Link to Original Source

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Salmonella resistance story at BBC is BS

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "

Cases have grown from a handful in 2002 to 500 worldwide in 2008, they report in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

If it were a real problem it would manifest itself since 2008. Did the stop to collect the data on this serovar 3 years ago? Since from the data it looks like this paper was submitted 3 years ago, I am throwing here a wild hypothesis, that it was submitted by French government employees, and delayed because some kind of French bureaucratic thing."
Link to Original Source

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A Norwegian retail chain has reacted by banning

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "

In the wake of the shootings in Oslo and Utøya, Norway’s government announced that Norwegian society would remain “free and open in the eyes of terror,” and that the country would not react in the same way that other previously democratic nations have to terrorist acts, by restricting freedom. They would not become victim to terrorism, and they would not alter how they lived their lives. Clearly uninterested in following what the government has said, Coop Norway Retail, a large retail chain, announced that it would cease to carry 51 gaming brands and toys that could—in their belief—invoke the threat of terrorism. These products include the ever popular World of Warcraft, and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which were cited as active influences by the killer Anders Behring Breivik.

"

Link to Original Source
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NIH secret plan for shutdown

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "

Any public discussion of the contingency plans is forbidden "for political reasons," says one high-level official, explaining that the government can't look like it's preparing for a shutdown. Even internal e-mails are now verboten, this source said; instead, planning has been done the old-fashioned way, by word of mouth.

"

Link to Original Source
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Most Bike Accidents Bikers' Fault in SF

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "Most Bike Accidents Apparently Bikers' Fault in San Francisco:

The Bay Citizen has sifted through every single police report for bicycle accidents over the last two years and assembled a fascinating array of data: mapping neighborhood hotspots, seasonal spikes, and yes, placing blame.

        Taking an overview of all bike accidents, including solo bike crashes, bikers bear the most responsibility. Cars are a close second.

Ridership has increased nearly 60 percent in the last four years in San Francisco, and with that increase there's been a rise in accidents"

Link to Original Source
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Circadian rhytmms sans DNA discovered

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "From the article:

One study, from the Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge, has for the first time identified 24-hour rhythms in red blood cells. This is significant because circadian rhythms have always been assumed to be linked to DNA and gene activity, but — unlike most of the other cells in the body — red blood cells do not have DNA.

another quote:

The researchers in this study found the rhythms by sampling the peroxiredoxins in algae at regular intervals over several days. When the algae were kept in darkness, their DNA was no longer active, but the algae kept their circadian clocks ticking without active genes.

"Nature" links (subscription might be required):
News and Views: Circadian rhythms: Redox redux
Research Article: Circadian clocks in human red blood cells"

Link to Original Source

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Moon has liquid core

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "Discovery News writes:

The Apollo Passive Seismic Experiment recorded motions of the ground from moonquakes and other activities generating sound waves until late 1977. The network was too limited to directly monitor waves bouncing off or scattered by the moon's core, leaving scientists dependent on more indirect techniques, such as measuring minute gravitational changes, to craft a picture of the moon's interior. Those models turned out to be pretty accurate, says lead scientist Renee Weber, with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Article in Science Express: Seismic Detection of the Lunar Core"
Link to Original Source

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Blockbuster files for bankruptcy

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 3 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "Greg Sandoval provides in depth analysis of recent bankruptcy filing of Blockbuster (predictable, but still symptomatic).

Among other things he predicts coming doomsday for TV. I, personally, hated that Big Brother's squaremouthpiece for a long time (Russians universally call television sets "zomboboxes" (original cyrillics eaten by russophobic JS script)). I hope that the demise of scripted media on television will synergize with the demise of the cable news and drown that outdated invention once and for all"

Link to Original Source
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mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "Total yearly consumption of oil worldwide:
2.5e10 barrels oil = 3.97e15 grams,

gas: 9.5e13 cub feet = 6.65e31 molecules at atmospheric pressure = 3.97e15 grams of pure carbon

coal: 5.44e9 short tons = 4.94e15 grams

Total mass of carbon consumed 1.02e16 gram (assuming oil and coal are pure carbon)

Total mass of earth atmosphere: 5.1e21 gram
At 0.0368% mass concentration of CO2 gives roughly 6.26e17 grams of carbon (for the sake of quick calc mass of C,N and O atoms) as part of CO2 in atmosphere.

So if we assume that total worldwide yearly consumption of carbon in oil, coal and gas is entirely converted to CO2, then we have to say that humans produce early 1.64% of the total CO2 in the atmosphere. This is ball park figure, let us take +-2 half an order magnitude error:

0.5-5% of total CO2 in the atmosphere.

Now I can cautiously formulate what I think on the influence of humans on CO2.

Do we influence it remarkedly? This is scary part. In complete reversal of my earlier position, I say: yes.

Now we know that in the last 20 years annual CO2 increase was 1.5ppm per year which is 0.3% of the total CO2 in the atmosphere.

The changes in the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere are comparable to the emissions! One can do even wilder assumtion that "nature" is "trying" to reduce CO2 by 1.3% a year, while "humans" are "overcoming" this resulting in increase of CO2 by 0.3% a year, but I am not going to do that.

Now the second question:

Can we do something significant about it? No.

Kyoto protocol proposes to cut emissions by 5.3%. Even if we assume that 0.5-5% of total CO2 make the difference, 0.025-0.25% of total CO2 in the atmosphere hardly will make a difference.

After doing my assessment I found on the web a different LOWER figure for carbon emissions: 6.50E+15 grams of carbon which is 30% than my assessment. 30% is not a bad error for a small lab work. :-)"
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mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "Science magazine editor refered to an article in Genetics about mitochondrial heteroplasmy in many organizms.
mothers that were heteroplasmic were shown to pass it on to their offspring, and the pattern of inheritance suggested that heteroplasmy was genome-wide (in the mitochondria) and not locus-specific. Although these findings may be taken as consistent with biparental inheritance, the fact that high levels of cytoplasmic male sterility, caused by cytonuclear interactions, are known to occur in S. vulgaris suggests that heteroplasmy may be selected for within female individuals in some populations.
"
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mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "CNN tells the story:

At least 70 species of frogs, mostly mountain-dwellers that had nowhere to go to escape the creeping heat, have gone extinct because of climate change, the analysis says. It also reports that between 100 and 200 other cold-dependent animal species, such as penguins and polar bears are in deep trouble.

"We are finally seeing species going extinct," said University of Texas biologist Camille Parmesan, author of the study. "Now we've got the evidence. It's here. It's real. This is not just biologists' intuition. It's what's happening."

Her review of 866 scientific studies is summed up in the journal Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics.

866 studies sounds impressive. 2 buts:

1) it seems though that the full text of the article was not made available to public yet
2) how many species became extinct during circa 1400 (take or add a century), when a significantly colder climate crippled in? (that is a rhetorical question)."
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mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

mapkinase (958129) writes "BBC article is salivating over the rape horrors in Pakistan:
A woman is raped every two hours and gang-raped every eight hours in Pakistan, according to the country's independent Human Rights Commission.

Wow! That is a lot! Right? Or not?
12 rapes a day, 4380 rapes a year for a country of 165M.

Now let us take another country that reported rate is 0.4 per 1000 of population in 2004. For that country that make it 400 per million and 40,000 per 100M and, finally, 120,000 per 300M.

You recognized the country by the total population, right? That is exactly what USA celebrated recently - 300M of people, 120,000 females of which are raped annually.

Here is the reference to US statistics, if you do not believe

I propose to measure the level of hypocricy of reporting in Western media by this number: 15, which is the ratio of crimes in this case in the West.

Other countries:

France: 14.45 per 100,000. Level of hypocricy: 14.45/100,000/4380*165000000=
5

Same - UK.

I predict the standard answer: "rape is underreported in Pakistan". Eat it, my friends. Come up with real numbers, and then we talk."

Journals

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Strange ban

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 5 years ago

islamicawakening.com hosting was suspended which strangely coincided with the wave of attacks from right-wing and Jewish tabloids. The attacks happened, in turn, after a regular commentary at the forums of this website on the deaths of British soldiers in Afghanistan (cheers).

I cannot figure out what to think of this: whether it was a coincidence or there was a relation.

Please visit the website, read the suspension notice and tell me what you think.

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Idiocy in Nature

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 5 years ago

http://www.nature.com/news/2008/081029/full/4551161a.html

Read the comments. They make sense. The article does not.

Nature is going increasingly insane by publishing utter crap like this.

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Experts unveil 'cloak of silence'

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 6 years ago

BBC:

Being woken in the dead of night by noisy neighbours blasting out music could soon be a thing of the past.

Scientists have shown off the blueprint for an "acoustic cloak", which could make objects impervious to sound waves.

The technology, outlined in the New Journal of Physics, could be used to build sound-proof homes, advanced concert halls or stealth warships.

Abstract to original peer-reviewed paper:

This work proposes an acoustic structure feasible to engineer that accomplishes the requirements of acoustic cloaking design recently introduced by Cummer and Schurig (2007 New J. Phys. 9 45). The structure, which consists of a multilayered composite made of two types of isotropic acoustic metamaterials, exactly matches the conditions for the acoustic cloaking. It is also shown that the isotropic metamaterials needed can be made of sonic crystals containing two types of material cylinders, whose elastic parameters should be properly chosen in order to satisfy (in the homogenization limit) the acoustic properties under request. In contrast to electromagnetic cloaking, the structure here proposed verifies the acoustic cloaking in a wide range of wavelengths; its performance is guaranteed for any wavelength above a certain cutoff defined by the homogenization limit of the sonic crystal employed in its fabrication.

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Technology school in India names monkey god chairman

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Hanuman, the popular god known for his strength and valor, has been named official chairman of the recently opened Sardar Bhagat Singh College of Technology and Management in northern India, a school official said Saturday.

The position comes with an incense-filled office, a desk and a laptop computer. Four chairs will be placed facing the empty seat reserved for the chairman and all visitors must enter the office barefoot, said Vivek Kangdi, the school's vice chairman.

The Sardar Bhagat Singh College in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, awards bachelor's degrees in engineering and management. The school opened last year.

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"Buddhists"

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Here we go. Adherents of the favorite religion of westerners throw rocks at police in Manhattan.

"Stop the killing in Tibet!" several hundred protesters shouted after the clash with police, who had tried to contain the crowd after some picketers began throwing the rocks.

.
Hopefully next time I will be unwillingly dragged into debates about _my_ religion, Islam, and when I will be inevitably shoved in my face Buddhism this and Buddhism that, I will remember that.

Please remind me when did resident Muslims of USA (residents, not foreigners) last time throw rocks in demonstrations... Did they ever do that?

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Genome of a Yoruban male sequenced

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Nature tells us that (I am hesitant to copy/paste it because of copyright issues), a San Diego biotech Illumina sequences complete genome of a male member of Yoruban tribe (Nigeria). This is first African genome sequenced. Unfortunately, the data has not been released yet. More of it comes in the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology conference in Marco Island, Florida Alas, the abstracts are not online yet.

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"lark" or a "night-owl" is largely determined by genes

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 6 years ago

BBC reports:
Dr Simon Archer, University of Surrey:

It now appears that virtually all cells in the body have their own ticking circadian clock, including skin cells

Original article:

Research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that skin cells can be used to measure the speed of a person's body clock.

Abstract:

Human beings exhibit wide variation in their timing of daily behavior. We and others have suggested previously that such differences might arise because of alterations in the period length of the endogenous human circadian oscillator. Using dermal fibroblast cells from skin biopsies of 28 subjects of early and late chronotype (11 "larks" and 17 "owls"), we have studied the circadian period lengths of these two groups, as well as their ability to phase-shift and entrain to environmental and chemical signals. We find not only period length differences between the two classes, but also significant changes in the amplitude and phase-shifting properties of the circadian oscillator among individuals with identical "normal" period lengths. Mathematical modeling shows that these alterations could also account for the extreme behavioral phenotypes of these subjects. We conclude that human chronotype may be influenced not only by the period length of the circadian oscillator, but also by cellular components that affect its amplitude and phase. In many instances, these changes can be studied at the molecular level in primary dermal cells.

Some (easy to play with) circadian oscillator models(search for "CircClock") could be found in BioModels Database. There are couple of open source command line "model players" to do the simulation:

Some models I tried have beautiful 24 hour cycle in them, but you can change reaction coefficients and see how it affects the period of model oscillations. It is very interesting to see how random changes of parameters by order of magnitude quite often do not break the oscillating character of the model.

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One or six giraffe species?

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 6 years ago

BBC reports that

a report in BMC Biology uses genetic evidence to show that there may be at least six species of giraffe in Africa." ...

"Using molecular techniques we found that giraffes can be classified into six groups that are reproductively isolated and not interbreeding," David Brown, the lead author of the study and a geneticist at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), told BBC News.

Yet:

"The results were a surprise because although the giraffes look different, if you put them in zoos, they breed freely."

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"Coalition forces" won't touch nacrodealers heaven

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

CNN reports about operations of British troops against Taliban:

The operation will not touch Helmand's poppy fields, which supply much of the world's opium and its more potent derivative, heroin. That could antagonize the 2 million farmers whose livelihoods depend on growing poppy, something the alliance wishes to avoid.

'Cause you know, more people die from Taliban than from drugs.

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U.S. Charges Guantanamo Detainee with murder

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

U.S. Charges Guantanamo Detainee:

Omar Khadr, now 20, allegedly joined the Taliban in Afghanistan and threw a grenade that killed a U.S. Green Beret soldier in July 2002.

And now

The U.S. military charged him with murder, attempted murder, providing support to terrorism, conspiracy and spying under rules for military trials adopted last year and first used to try David Hicks, the Australian sentenced to nine months in prison after pleading guilty.

I guess this is a consequence of not applying status of prisoners of war to the Guantanamo prisoners of war. By its striking similarity to what happens in war between countries this charge illustrates the outraging absurd disregard to the obvious: soldiers of armies that fight each other are killed. That is what happened in 2001: US army attacked Afghanistan and there was a war and there is absolutely no reason for not applying Geneva convention to people who fought the American invasion of Afghanistan.

The fact that Guantanamo prisoners of war are prisoners of war became an elephant in a room, nobody even talks about it anymore.

There are no "enemy compatants". Somebody has to tell Jourdain's of neocon cabal that they are speaking in prose.

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Chimps lead "evolutionary" race

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

News column by Hopkin in Nature reports that chimps' genes are more "positively selected" than humans' and conludes that chimps are "more evolved".

Positive selection

occurs when natural selection favors a single allele and therefore allele frequency continuously shifts in one direction.

How is that leads to "more evolved"??? It is just says that for humans natural selection does not matter much. That is why we have so many maniacs with guns and aircraft carriers.

And, by they way, the original article in PNAS is not even online yet. Somebody had a backdoor pass.

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Joan of Arc's relics exposed as forgery

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Perfume experts help unmask remains as Egyptian mummy.

The relics of St Joan of Arc are not the remains of the fifteenth-century French heroine after all, according to European experts who have analysed the sacred scraps. Instead, they say the relics are a forgery, made from the remains of an Egyptian mummy.

Joan was burned at the stake in 1431 in Rouen, Normandy. The relics were discovered in 1867 in a jar in the attic of a Paris pharmacy, with the inscription "Remains found under the stake of Joan of Arc, virgin of Orleans". They were recognized by the Church, and are now housed in a museum in Chinon that belongs to the Archdiocese of Tours.

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Music execs criticise DRM systems

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6362069.stm

Almost two-thirds of music industry executives think removing digital locks from downloadable music would make more people buy the tracks, finds a survey.

Haha.

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What about this buttonless cellphones idiocy?

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

I have a Samsung i730, it has both options: real buttons and simulated. Despite the fact that real buttons are really small and very inconvenient they still beat those ridiculous simulated once.

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Wikipedia as news

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Did anybody notice how fast the info on Wikipedia is updated?

When Altman (some film director) died, there was two full pages of changes at that day (11/21/2006) the first being posted at 16:31, 21 November 2006 the next day, while, say Reuter's report came out on Tue Nov 21, 2006 11:51am ET.

Does anyone use the Wikipedia as their source of news?

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Human factor on carbon dioxide concentration

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Total yearly consumption of oil worldwide:
2.5e10 barrels oil = 3.97e15 grams,

gas: 9.5e13 cub feet = 6.65e31 molecules at atmospheric pressure = 3.97e15 grams of pure carbon

coal: 5.44e9 short tons = 4.94e15 grams

Total mass of carbon consumed 1.02e16 gram (assuming oil and coal are pure carbon)

Total mass of earth atmosphere: 5.1e21 gram
At 0.0368% mass concentration of CO2 gives roughly 6.26e17 grams of carbon (for the sake of quick calc mass of C,N and O atoms) as part of CO2 in atmosphere.

So if we assume that total worldwide yearly consumption of carbon in oil, coal and gas is entirely converted to CO2, then we have to say that humans produce early 1.64% of the total CO2 in the atmosphere. This is ball park figure, let us take +-2 half an order magnitude error:

0.5-5% of total CO2 in the atmosphere.

Now I can cautiously formulate what I think on the influence of humans on CO2.

Do we influence it remarkedly? This is scary part. In complete reversal of my earlier position, I say: yes.

Now we know that in the last 20 years annual CO2 increase was 1.5ppm per year which is 0.3% of the total CO2 in the atmosphere.

The changes in the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere are comparable to the emissions! One can do even wilder assumtion that "nature" is "trying" to reduce CO2 by 1.3% a year, while "humans" are "overcoming" this resulting in increase of CO2 by 0.3% a year, but I am not going to do that.

Now the second question:

Can we do something significant about it? No.

Kyoto protocol proposes to cut emissions by 5.3%. Even if we assume that 0.5-5% of total CO2 make the difference, 0.025-0.25% of total CO2 in the atmosphere hardly will make a difference.

After doing my assessment I found on the web a different LOWER figure for carbon emissions: 6.50E+15 grams of carbon which is 30% than my assessment. 30% is not a bad error for a small lab work. :-)

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The child of many mothers

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Science magazine editor refered to an article in Genetics about mitochondrial heteroplasmy in many organizms.

mothers that were heteroplasmic were shown to pass it on to their offspring, and the pattern of inheritance suggested that heteroplasmy was genome-wide (in the mitochondria) and not locus-specific. Although these findings may be taken as consistent with biparental inheritance, the fact that high levels of cytoplasmic male sterility, caused by cytonuclear interactions, are known to occur in S. vulgaris suggests that heteroplasmy may be selected for within female individuals in some populations.

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Global warming already killing species, analysis says

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

CNN tells the story:

At least 70 species of frogs, mostly mountain-dwellers that had nowhere to go to escape the creeping heat, have gone extinct because of climate change, the analysis says. It also reports that between 100 and 200 other cold-dependent animal species, such as penguins and polar bears are in deep trouble.

"We are finally seeing species going extinct," said University of Texas biologist Camille Parmesan, author of the study. "Now we've got the evidence. It's here. It's real. This is not just biologists' intuition. It's what's happening."

Her review of 866 scientific studies is summed up in the journal Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics.

866 studies sounds impressive.

How many species became extinct during circa 1400 (take or add a century), when a significantly colder climate crippled in? (that is a rhetorical question).

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Rape in Pakistan: Astounding hypocracy of western media

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

BBC article is salivating over the rape horrors in Pakistan:

A woman is raped every two hours and gang-raped every eight hours in Pakistan, according to the country's independent Human Rights Commission.

Wow! That is a lot! Right? Or not?
12 rapes a day, 4380 rapes a year for a country of 165M.

Now let us take another country that reported rate is 0.4 per 1000 of population in 2004. For that country that make it 400 per million and 40,000 per 100M and, finally, 120,000 per 300M.

You recognized the country by the total population, right? That is exactly what USA celebrated recently - 300M of people, 120,000 females of which are raped annually.

Here is the reference to US statistics, if you do not believe

I propose to measure the level of hypocricy of reporting in Western media by this number: 15, which is the ratio of crimes in this case in the West.

Other countries:

France: 14.45 per 100,000. Level of hypocricy: 14.45/100,000/4380*165000000=
5

Same - UK.

I predict the standard answer: "rape is underreported in Pakistan". Eat it, my friends. Come up with real numbers, and then we talk.

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Elephants pass mirror test of self-awareness

mapkinase mapkinase writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Guardian reports:

Elephants have been found to recognise themselves in a mirror, putting them in an exclusive club of self-awareness whose other members are great apes (including humans) and bottlenose dolphins.

The peer-reviewed article in PNAS says in its abstract:

Considered an indicator of self-awareness, mirror self-recognition (MSR) has long seemed limited to humans and apes. In both phylogeny and human ontogeny, MSR is thought to correlate with higher forms of empathy and altruistic behavior. Apart from humans and apes, dolphins and elephants are also known for such capacities. After the recent discovery of MSR in dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), elephants thus were the next logical candidate species. We exposed three Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to a large mirror to investigate their responses. Animals that possess MSR typically progress through four stages of behavior when facing a mirror: (i) social responses, (ii) physical inspection (e.g., looking behind the mirror), (iii) repetitive mirror-testing behavior, and (iv) realization of seeing themselves. Visible marks and invisible sham-marks were applied to the elephants' heads to test whether they would pass the litmus "mark test" for MSR in which an individual spontaneously uses a mirror to touch an otherwise imperceptible mark on its own body. Here, we report a successful MSR elephant study and report striking parallels in the progression of responses to mirrors among apes, dolphins, and elephants. These parallels suggest convergent cognitive evolution most likely related to complex sociality and cooperation.

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