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Comments

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Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"

tgibbs Too many vaccines, too soon? (588 comments)

There are several problems with the "too many vaccines, too soon" idea.

First, a study in the UK found that using modern criteria, the incidence of autism does not differ by much with age--up to age 70. This agrees with the scientific consensus that the apparent increase in autism is largely, probably entirely, due to increased diagnosis

Second, our immune system has evolved to deal with huge numbers of natural "vaccines" from bacteria and viruses constantly introduced through every scratch, scrape, and inflammation. And the number of antigens introduced from natural bacteria and viruses are far in excess of the simplified antigens that are introduced in vaccines. If you study that antibodies produced from even one infection, you find that the number of antibodies produced are easily in the excess of dozens.

So it simply does not make sense.

about 6 months ago
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Five-Year-Old Uncovers Xbox One Login Flaw

tgibbs Why kids find bugs (196 comments)

A child will find bugs than an adult will miss, because an adult will only do reasonable things, while kids will try things that don't really make sense. Developers sometimes use little programs that just click things at random to try to catch these kinds of weird bugs, sometimes called "monkey testing."

about 6 months ago
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The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

tgibbs Re:Anger (529 comments)

And if your child's interests don't match your skills, or you have to spend all of your time working two jobs to keep your family fed, then screw you and them?

Is that really your attitude?

Learn a bit about the history of public education. There is a reason why it was created.

We are not islands. Bright kids who are not given an opportunity to find productive work that they enjoy will end up in crime or taking to drugs or drink. They will die young, or end up on the dole. They will cost all of society, not just you and themselves.

about 6 months ago
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The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

tgibbs Re:What's gifted? (529 comments)

That wasn't my experience. There was as much variation in academic talents as in athletic talents. I was a great at math aced all of my English classes. But I remember taking a creative writing class, and there were students who were widely thought of as "slow" students who wrote poetry brilliantly, much better than I did. And there were other students with equally remarkable artistic ability (and my mother was an artist, and I thought I drew pretty well). If it seems to you that everybody has about the same academic ability, that is probably an indication that the teachers are not doing a good job in identifying and bringing out the talents of their students.

about 6 months ago
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The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

tgibbs Re:what an idiot (529 comments)

There are two sides to that. A lot of the academic "stars" boys are slow socially. Many are Asperger's or borderline. And their culture points them toward the cheerleaders, most of whom are not interested in their deep thoughts, not the girls who are more like themselves, who aren't expert in picking out clothes are putting on makeup.

about 6 months ago
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The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

tgibbs Re:Higher SAT scores, etc (529 comments)

That doesn't help you sitting bored in class for hours a day. And when new information is trickled out slow drop by slow drop, it's easy to miss the tiny dribbles of knowledge that you really do need. It's possible to teach slow students and bright students in the same class--bright students don't actually need a lot of time, just a few minutes to point them towards enriched material--but it does take a gifted teacher.

about 6 months ago
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The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

tgibbs Re:Higher SAT scores, etc (529 comments)

It doesn't always take a lot of attention to help a "gifted" student, just a few minutes from a gifted teacher. When I was in high school, math, and especially geometry, just "clicked" for me. I was bored to death. To provide a bit of challenge, instead of doing the homework, I'd race the teacher when he explained the homework problems on the board, "beating" him to the answers. Then when he lectured, I'd pull out a paperback and read.

After a while, the teacher came by. He said, "I see you got a 100% on the first exam, and a 99.5% on the second exam, so if you want to read while I lecture, that's just fine. But there are some questions that I don't assign at the very end of the chapter because they are too hard. You might want to take a look at them."

And then, having sunk the hook, he walked away. And after that, instead of reading, I'd do the extra questions. I wasn't bored any more, and I learned more geometry. And I was impressed to discover a teacher who cared more about my learning than his own pride.

about 6 months ago
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Doctors Say New Pain Pill Is "Genuinely Frightening"

tgibbs Re:Higher potency? (294 comments)

You are correct. You take the dose to achieve pain relief, and for most opioids, the abused dose follows in proportion. In terms of abuse risk, it doesn't matter whether the standard dose is a milligram or a microgram, because the abused dose is proportional to the pain reliving dose. Other factors, such as pharmacokinetics and oral availability, can be important, but potency has nothing to do with it.

about 7 months ago
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Doctors Say New Pain Pill Is "Genuinely Frightening"

tgibbs acetaminophen (294 comments)

The notion that inclusion of acetaminophen deters abuse of Vicodin has been a miserable failure. Vicodin is widely abused. Many users either do not understand the risk of acetaminophen to the liver or their craving for the drug overrides their caution. Moreover, it is particular popular among adolescents and teenagers, because it is widely available in their parents' medicine cabinets. I've even heard from teenagers who are under the impression that the acetaminophen enhances the "high."

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: E-ink Reader For Academic Papers?

tgibbs Re: Short Evaluation (134 comments)

I also routinely read academic papers using iAnnotate. If you read a lot of academic papers, it's worth investing in an iPad.

about 8 months ago
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How Good Are Charter Schools For the Public School System?

tgibbs Re:Level the playing field (715 comments)

Only within a range. The bright kids will help the other kids, but only if the teachers are teaching them up to their own full capacity. If they are being used to substitute for adequate teaching, they realize that they are being exploited, and they don't like it. If the smart kids are in a class where most of what is being taught is boring stuff that they learned months ago, they get bored, and miss the occasional new things. Their grades start to deteriorate, they become resentful, and they start acting out in class.

about 9 months ago
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Climatologist James Hansen Defends Nuclear Energy

tgibbs Re:Where do you think it came from in th first pla (345 comments)

Agreed. Absolute safety with nuclear materials is unattainable. But we can certainly make it as safe as it was before we dug it up out of the ground.

about 10 months ago
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Getting Evolution In Science Textbooks For Texas Schools

tgibbs Re:cross specises mating (710 comments)

An extra chromosome does not appear out of nowhere. It occurs by a break in an existing chromosome. The broken chromosome will line up with the unbroken chromosome to allow reproduction. But reproductive success will be improved by the broken chromosome aligning with another broken chromosome. Over time, the broken chromosome mutates further, so that reproductive success with the parent (unbroken) chromosome declines. At this point, there is a new species.

about 10 months ago
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Getting Evolution In Science Textbooks For Texas Schools

tgibbs Re:Theory vs. Hypothesis (710 comments)

Well, a hypothesis can exist as an untested proposition. However, to draw conclusions from evidence according to a hypothesis one must also disprove the null hypothesis. Statistically the null hypothesis must be less likely than the original hypothesis.

"Null hypothesis" is a statistical term of art. It has no accepted scientific meaning outside of statistics. The null hypothesis is not a general default assumption, but rather the hypothesis that there is no statistical difference between measurements. So the null hypothesis about evolution of species would be that species have not changed over time.

about 10 months ago
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Getting Evolution In Science Textbooks For Texas Schools

tgibbs Re:Double standards... (710 comments)

Nobody is suggesting that early notions of creation cannot be mentioned. The objection, rather, is to giving the students the false impression that modern scientists consider creationism or "intelligent design" to be an alternative to evolution. This is equivalent to giving the geo-centric theory equal time with the heliocentric theory, and suggesting that the question is undecided and that students should make up their own minds.

As a biologist, I don't mind creationism being taught in a religious class. My objection is to teachers and textbooks lying to students by concealing the fact that the overwhelming majority of scientists have rejected creationism.

about 10 months ago
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Getting Evolution In Science Textbooks For Texas Schools

tgibbs Re:Science isn't critical thinking... (710 comments)

Yes, it is more accurate to say that "microevolution" is an obsolete scientific term that was abandoned by scientists when genetic sequencing proved that there is not distinction between (what people previously were calling) "micro" and "macro" evolution at the level of genetic sequence.

about 10 months ago
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Getting Evolution In Science Textbooks For Texas Schools

tgibbs Re:The irony is that. . . (710 comments)

Ideologue. You've proven nothing, presented no evidence to demonstrate your point.

The evidence is found in the enormous body of peer-reviewed scientific literature on evolution and the somewhat smaller but still huge body of evidence for global warming. It is available for all to read.

about 10 months ago
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Getting Evolution In Science Textbooks For Texas Schools

tgibbs Re:Creationism = religion, not science. At all. (710 comments)

Yes, it's purely coincidental that the overwhelming majority of people who profess creationism happen to belong to a particular religion that posits separate creation of species by a supreme being, whereas scientists, who overwhelmingly accept evolution, belong to a wide range of religions (including no religion at all).

about 10 months ago
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UK Court Orders Two Sisters Must Receive MMR Vaccine

tgibbs Immunity is not absolute (699 comments)

Immunity is not absolute, it's relative. It reduces the probability that you will catch the disease, but not all the way to zero. Much of the benefit of vaccination comes from herd immunity. If the average number of people who catch the disease for an infected person is reduced to less than one, then the disease cannot spread through the population and instead dies out. Of course, herd immunity depends upon enough of the population being vaccinated.

So yes, if you don't get vaccinated, you are endangering people other than yourself.

Also, there are some people who cannot be vaccinated, due to immune disorders, for example. The same people are more like to be severely harmed or killed by infections, and their only protection is herd immunity.

about a year ago
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UK Court Orders Two Sisters Must Receive MMR Vaccine

tgibbs Re:It's unfortunate. (699 comments)

I don't see any evidence, just handwaving.

It sounds like you don't understand how herd immunity works. The idea of herd immunity is to reduce the average number of people infected by one infected person to less than 1. If that is achieved, then the disease cannot propagate even if introduced, and peters out. As a result, the chances of anybody coming into contact with the disease become tiny. Note that vaccine protection doesn't have to be perfect for herd immunity to work. The probability of breakthrough infection can rise with time after vaccination, but so long as it remains lower than for an unvaccinated person, it contributes to herd immunity. Moreover, even if a vaccinated person manages to catch the disease, which means that they tend to have a less severe infection of shorter duration, so the likelihood that they will pass on the disease if infected.

So a decline in serious complications of the disease with time is exactly what I expect, and it's exactly what the statistics show. It's been about 18 years since the vaccine was introduced in the US. So where is that spike in adult hospitalizations and deaths?

Now where is your evidence? Or is uninformed hand-waving all you've got?

about a year ago

Submissions

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Google/Motorola wants competitors to pay 2.25% tax--for interlaced video

tgibbs tgibbs writes  |  about 2 years ago

tgibbs (83782) writes "Google's subsidiary Motorola Mobility is insisting that competitors should pay a royalty of 2.25% of device price for use of its standards-essential H.264 patents related to interlaced video. But Motorola's lawyers seem to be having some difficulty finding evidence to make the case that interlaced (as opposed to progressive) video is still commercially important for internet transmission of video. One of the 3 examples of interlaced video that Motorola offered the court to make this point in their suit against Microsoft was a pirated Katy Perry video"
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Psychoactive strain of marijuana sequenced

tgibbs tgibbs writes  |  about 2 years ago

tgibbs (83782) writes "The genome and transcriptome of a psychoactive strain of cannabis has been sequenced, leading to insights into the biosynthesis of THC. This information will be useful in understanding the evolution and history of cultivation of the marijuana plant and its divergence from non-psychoactive species of hemp. It could also be useful in genetic manipulation of the marijuana plant to control potency, or to develop transgenic plants in which the psychoactive properties of marijuana are conferred onto other plant species."
Link to Original Source
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Apple monitors fixed with strip of paper

tgibbs tgibbs writes  |  more than 4 years ago

tgibbs (83782) writes "Many owners of the Apple 23" Cinema HD monitor (aluminum) are experiencing a failure in which the monitor refuses come up again after being turned off, instead remaining dark with its power light flashing the "short-long-short" code for "bad power supply." Owners found that replacing the 90W power supply did not help, but that the problem could be fixed by replacing the stock 90W power brick with the larger 150W power brick from Apple's 30" monitor, available online for about $140--pricey, but cheaper than a monitor repair. The real breakthrough came when jakobeon discovered that the problem could be fixed by simply using a little strip of paper to block one pin of the cable from the monitor that plugs into the power brick, presumably disabling the monitor's startup check of the power supply. Numerous users on are now reporting success with the "little strip of paper" cure."

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