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Comments

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Psychology's Replication Battle

sandertje Re:You cannot replicate everything (172 comments)

Sorry, real life is messy.

1 - Some replicable tests are a good idea
Some people see Aliens at Roswell when they are there at night and take drugs.
This is a replicable experiment - is it because they have taken drugs or because Aliens are sometimes there?

Generally (sadly) if you have a randomised double-blind controlled experement that controls for the likely deciding factors, you can decide whether or not it is more likely because people take drugs (happily you cannot be sure about the presence or absence of aliens)

2 - Some replicable tests are a bad idea
Do the really expensive cancer|baby-saving|altzhiemer etc drugs we use really help?
This is also replicable experiment

Give some people the drug and some a placebo.
Not too ethical even if you disclose that there might be a placebo

3 - Some things cannot be replicated

Was it right to have QE - did we have the right amount of QE
This is not replicable.

You dont get to re-run an economy for the last 6 years - all you can do is watch and measure and argue about causation afterwards.

In the scope of psychology, you get a mix of all 3 experiment types. All these questions are very good questions.
What troubles me is that there will be a growing tendency to not attempt to answer the hard ones.

1) Occam's razor already tells you it's the drugs. Unless aliens show up only when taking drugs, or we suddenly get super-alien-viewing-powers when using drugs, aliens could be there. That's (apart from being ridiculous) such a complicated model compared to the simple "your drugs give you hallucinations" model (which we even know is true) model that occam's razor can rule out the other ones.

2) Erm.. you know that this is EXACTLY how drugs are tested every day? Not unethical. Extremely common.

3) You could run a simulation.

about three weeks ago
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Psychology's Replication Battle

sandertje Re:Wrong premice (172 comments)

Let alone the cultural environment. Behavioral psychology often attempts to extrapolate its findings on the whole Earth population, without taking into account that the cultural background of its subjects is (virtually) identical for each subject. The cultural background _most definitely_ influences behavior. Do the same study on Western Europeans, Arabs and Japanese, and you'll likely get huge differences per group.

about three weeks ago
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A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

sandertje Re: Subject bait (379 comments)

You can compare shit to other shit, but in the end two wrongs doesn't make a right. Civilians are killed in Gaza, and that is always bad. Although, in the end, it's Hamas who is the ultimate culprit. They are launching and storing their rockets from urban areas, in or next to homes, hospitals, schools and mosques. They are using their own people as a human shield. It's their choice to do so. They could have also chosen to launch from a field, where civilian casualties would have been extremely unlikely.

As for Iron Dome, I'm glad it exists. It has knocked out all rockets launched at my family's town so far. Who knows how many Israeli casualties there would have been if it didn't exist; probably many.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Switching From SAS To Python Or R For Data Analysis and Modeling?

sandertje Depends what you want (143 comments)

I work in bioinformatics, and use both R and python. The data models in R are stronger than in python, and packages like ggplot are easier to use than matplotlib. That makes it a relatively easy entry. It's also much more similar to SAS than python is. However, R has some big limitations. It is _very_ slow and is a memory clogging beast. It also has some very annoying quirks, like the horrible object model. I find python to be much more flexible, and absolutely required for larger data sets. With the right modules (Numpy, Scipy, matplotlib, pandas, scikit-learn etc) it is equally powerful.

So in the end, I use R primarily for quick and dirty analyses on small data sets, but for anything more elaborate I use python.

about a month and a half ago
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Ninety-Nine Percent of the Ocean's Plastic Is Missing

sandertje Re: One non-disturbing theory (304 comments)

You are forgetting a whole range of options. First on modus A: a lot of toxins are not reactive outside a cellular environment. Proteins in cells are highly efficient catalysts, and normally unreactive compounds can become highly reactive inside that environment. A good example of this is botulinum toxin. In itself it is not really very reactive, but it is extremely toxic (several ng are enough to kill a human).

Modus B can - and most likely will - be dangerous as well. There are many toxins that are in low doses subclinical, but do not exit the body. After repeated exposure, the dose inside the body will slowly rise to clinical levels. An example of this is mercury. Plastics, by virtue of being highly hydrophobic, will most likely consist of many of these toxins.

about 1 month ago
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EU, South Korea Collaborate On Superfast 5G Standards

sandertje Re:a THOUSAND times faster than 4G? (78 comments)

The problem you US folks have in one problem that's going to plague in many areas for decades to come: low population density. Even your cities are empty by Western European or Asian standards. The cost per capita to deliver services will thus be far higher than in other parts of the world.

about 2 months ago
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Bitcoin Security Endangered By Powerful Mining Pool

sandertje Re: Isn't the block chain what makes it decentrali (281 comments)

If you control 51% of the hashing power in the network, you can modify the block chain while simultaneously self-verifying your version as the one-and-true block chain.

about 2 months ago
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Bitcoin Security Endangered By Powerful Mining Pool

sandertje Re: Some newer coins intend to stay ASIC resistant (281 comments)

Again, this means having to trust some developers to actually do what they're promising. That's the complete opposite of crypto currencies' core tenet: that trusting any humans is not necessary since the technology means no one can feasibly gain any real control. That assumption has now been proven false. If so, then what is the remaining use of cryptcurrencies in favor of general fiat currencies?

about 2 months ago
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Bitcoin Security Endangered By Powerful Mining Pool

sandertje Re: Fear mongering much? (281 comments)

It does have severe ramifications for other crypto currencies. The other crypto currencies are modeled on Bitcoin, with just some parameters different. If Bitcoin can be compromised, this nearly immediately means the other currencies can be compromised as well. The end of Bitcoin would thus also signify the end of most, if not all, other crypto currencies.

about 2 months ago
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The GNOME Foundation Is Running Out of Money

sandertje To be expected (693 comments)

You make a product that no one wants to use? You die as an organization. Fair enough.

about 4 months ago
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Another Possible Voynich Breakthrough

sandertje Re:No progress at all... (160 comments)

So? Could be some sort of linguistic joke. Something like Dutch "de vliegen vliegen vliegende vliegen achterna" (the flies fly after flying flies).

about 6 months ago
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Another Possible Voynich Breakthrough

sandertje Re:No progress at all... (160 comments)

So? Could be some sort of linguistic joke. Something like Dutch "de vliegen vliegen vliegende vliegen achterna" (the flies fly after flying flies).

about 6 months ago
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Utopia, Silk Road's Latest Replacement, Only Lasted Nine Days

sandertje Translation (83 comments)

For those not able to understand Dutch, I'll translate the message by the public prosecution.

"In an investigation to criminal market places on the internet, the police arrest 5 men - among which a convicted criminal - on Tuesday. On anonymous, deeply hidden websites drugs and weapons were offered. With permission of the public prosecution undercover agents bought drugs and fire arms on multiple occasions during the past few months. They also received an advance payment for a contract murder.

The police arrested two men aged 30 and 31 in Enschede [city near the German border], who are suspect of drug and weapon trade on illegal online market places. It concerns Black Market Reloaded and Utopia, Tor websites which were most likely involved in the illicit market places.

Black Market Reloaded went offline at the end of last year, after a surge of visitors. This sudden surge arose when the FBI took down Silk Road - one of Black Market Reloaded's largest competitors - and arrested its owner in October.

The Dutch suspects maintained an own illicit market place under the name Utopia. The servers on which this website ran have been found in the German cities of Bochum and Düsseldorf, and were seized yesterday. After taking down the website, the police left a note that the hidden service had been seized by police.

Upon request of the Public Prosecution [NL], the Bundeskriminalamt [German] arrested a 21 year old man on Tuesday who is suspected of trade in drugs and weaponry. The man presumably offered not only hard drugs [Dutch law makes a distinction between semi-legal 'soft' drugs (marijuana and mushrooms) and entirely illegal 'hard' drugs], but also offered munition and stolen credit cards for sale.

A 46-year old fellow suspect was already arrested in October 2013 when he was en route to Germany with 1.5 kilograms of marijuana, over 40 grams of cocaine, three kilograms of amphetamine and 1.5 kilograms of XTC pills. The man has been arrested again in his cell today, now for involvement in the illicit online trade and evoking murder.

The police investigation under codename Commodore was started in early 2013 on account of signals about drug trade on internet via anonymous, deeply hidden websites. There would be large scale trade in drugs and other illegal goods and services. Drugs could be ordered through these websites, and were subsequently send and delivered world-wide by post.

The Tor network allows one to surf anonymously on the internet without leaving a trail. Illegal market places within the Tor environment make it possible to acquire illegal goods, services and information. Through the use of Tor it is furthermore difficult to determine the physical location of the web servers.

The illegal and accessible character of these websites with digital payments in bitcoin makes them societally unwanted and a severe disruption of the rule of law. The Commodore investigation gives a clear signal to those who wish to conduct crimes within digital anonymity. The investigation and prosecution of these crimes have high priority for the police and Public Prosection.

The police made contact with the suspects through undercover agents. The agents bought drugs and fire arms with ease. It concerns several thousands of XTC pills, raw blocks of MDMA and tens of grams of cocaine. The undercover agents were offered to buy several kilograms of cocaine.

To the dismay of the police and Public Prosecution, the undercover agents were also requested to "bring someone to the other world". The target would be extorted and subsequently killed. The contact led to a physical meeting, where an advance payment was made.

During the search of the residences of the suspects, computers, storage devices such as hard disks and usb drives, and 900 bitcoin worth approximately 400,000 to 600,000 euros, have been seized. The in the Netherlands arrested suspects are being brought to court on Friday. The Public Prosecution has requested the extradition of the German suspect."

about 6 months ago
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NASA Now Accepting Applications From Companies That Want To Mine the Moon

sandertje Re:Good luck with the UN (251 comments)

What's the UN gonna do? Send some blue helmets to guard lunar regolith?

about 6 months ago
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NASA Now Accepting Applications From Companies That Want To Mine the Moon

sandertje Re:so NASA/the US owns the moon now? (251 comments)

Though I would guess youre right, since when does NASA launch rockets again? NASA these days also relies on Russians. I wonder why these companies would want to team up with NASA, instead of SpaceX.

about 6 months ago
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NASA Now Accepting Applications From Companies That Want To Mine the Moon

sandertje Re:"rare earths" (251 comments)

Although pollution and interfering governments would be no issue, since there is no environment to pollute in the first place (unless you're a geologist concerned about the destruction of some interesting rock formation).

about 6 months ago
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German Court Forbids Resale of Valve Games

sandertje Re:Steam Rentals (261 comments)

Can someone please explain me the logic behind this "jewel" of legislation? Who profits from this, and how?

about 6 months ago
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German Court Forbids Resale of Valve Games

sandertje Re:From the courtroom (261 comments)

You are implying that everyone on /. is either American or German? Now that's a wild assumption. I think you forgot that there are approximately 195 other nations on this planet, a sizable fraction of which have sizable populations able to converse in English (albeit perhaps with some mistakes, which I'm SURE native speakers also do).

about 6 months ago
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Debian Technical Committee Votes For Systemd Over Upstart

sandertje Re:Soooo.... (379 comments)

Please, for FUCKS sake, can you guys please stop bitching over Beta? We all don't like it, but I guess /. got the message now.

Now, back on topic: Good choice Debian. Seeing Canonical ruins all projects it gets its fingers on, implementing Upstart would've been a baaaad idea.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

sandertje Re:Labview (876 comments)

I was once forced to do a project in Labview. The end result: spaghetti-code. Making code that someone else will be able to understand in Labview is nigh impossible. Wires, boxes everywhere. Any attempt to understand the application logic will result in having to trace spaghetti across your screen.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Earth may be too hot by 2300 for human life

sandertje sandertje writes  |  more than 4 years ago

sandertje (1748324) writes "Australian researchers recently published a paper stating that climate change might push on to the next few centuries, rendering Earth too hot for humans as early as the year 2300. They claim the chance of that happening would be as high as 50 percent. If this is true, mankind would find itself in yet another challenge. Will future climate treaties, like the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_Nations_Climate_Change_Conference), be able to prevent such a catastrophe from happening?"
Link to Original Source
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Higher life under the Antarctic, NASA finds

sandertje sandertje writes  |  more than 4 years ago

sandertje (1748324) writes "Previously, only microbial life was expected to live in the deep Antarctic ice. Now, NASA has found a shrimp and a jellyfish tentacle under six-hundred feet of crushing ice. This opens up questions as to whether these 'higher forms of live' could also thrive on other planets with ice caps, such as the Martian poles or Jovian moon Europa."
Link to Original Source

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