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Old 2015-02-22, 20:59   #1498
Batalov's Avatar
Mar 2008

59×163 Posts

Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
Thank you for the very interesting read. It neatly parallels the "#arseniclife" story.

I think what they describe eloquently and at length is yet another case of addiction (interestingly the article doesn't mention neither addiction not arsenic life):
You really want to prove that your hunch is right, that the money invested into your work was well spent, and that you aren’t just frittering your life away in a white coat, in a white room, under fluorescent lights. And of course, you want to get ahead in a competitive field, where the pressure to perform can be intense. But you get your results and they are disappointing. You can see straightaway what the data should look like and how, with just a tweak, you can improve them. All you need to do is count something a little creatively, shift a point on a graph or touch up an image. If you get rid of the original data, no one will ever be the wiser. And maybe your hunch is right anyway. Surely it is. You will find more proof – real proof – sooner or later if you just keep looking.

But once you start fiddling with the facts, it’s hard to stop. In part, that’s because you have done some reality-testing and discovered just how easy it is to fool your colleagues. In part, too, you have enjoyed their admiration and your improved chances of being published, promoted and otherwise funded. Maybe you even enjoyed the risk. But things get progressively more complicated. You are now expected to build on your past success, which means adding fiction upon fiction while making sure that the whole contrivance fits neatly together...
Addiction can come in many forms - to gambling, to drugs... One can be addicted to endlessly proving "being right", to collecting meaningless credits, to climbing higher and higher peaks, taking higher and higher risks. There is an endless spectrum of addictions, and some of them a scarier than others. Some of them are benign or even healthy or else why would people ever move forward? Most of the disturbing ones are not understood by the "disease carriers" ("me?! ...suffer from drinking? I enjoy it!!").
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Old 2015-02-23, 19:26   #1499
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Aug 2002

22·2,089 Posts
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Old 2015-02-26, 10:41   #1500
retina's Avatar
"The unspeakable one"
Jun 2006
My evil lair

2×23×137 Posts
Default Internet goes down and the world ends

So how's that online Office 365 working out for ya all then?
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Old 2015-03-06, 08:04   #1501
ewmayer's Avatar
Sep 2002
República de California

22·3·7·139 Posts

The human family may have evolved half a million years earlier than we thought

This is touted as a major discovery. but strikes me as more jawboning than anything else.
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Old 2015-03-09, 20:10   #1502
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"Gang aft agley"
Sep 2002

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University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences researchers use scent-trained dogs to detect thyroid cancer
The dogs were then presented with urine samples from patients — some with thyroid cancer and some with benign nodules — and asked to indicate whether each sample had thyroid cancer or not. Their results were compared to a surgical pathology diagnosis and matched in 30 of 34 cases, or 88.2 percent accuracy.

"What we have done, no one has attempted to do," said Ferrando, who noted past studies showing trained dogs can reliably tell the difference between various cancerous and non-cancerous tissues. "We have taken the next step by asking the dog to tell us whether or not cancer exists before the medical diagnostic system does. We wanted to see, can the doctor utilize the dog to help diagnose cancer?"

The results so far lead the researchers to believe the answer is "yes."

"We've all looked at it from a skeptical, scientific standpoint, but the data just keeps leading us to the fact that this has remarkable clinical potential," said Ferrando.

The implications could be tremendous, the researchers said, both in terms of cost savings in diagnoses and especially the prevention of unnecessary surgeries. Additionally, the method could be transported to under-served areas where traditional detection methods of biopsy and ultrasound are unavailable. Finally, the researchers believe the training could potentially be used in diagnosis of other cancers such as ovarian, breast, kidney, bladder and prostate.

Last fiddled with by only_human on 2015-03-09 at 20:11
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Old 2015-03-13, 01:41   #1503
ewmayer's Avatar
Sep 2002
República de California

101101100111002 Posts

How parents create narcissistic children | WaPo. Note how the pseudoscience called 'psychoanalytic theory' appears to have gotten this one spectacularly wrong. (But perhaps I just need therapy to cure me of my unfortunate tendency toward Schadenfreude.)

Variable Stars Have Strange Nonchaotic Attractors | Quanta Magazine

Nice sense of humor on the part of the protagonist:
[John] Learned, a neutrino physicist at the University of Hawaii, Mānoa, has a pet theory that super-advanced alien civilizations might send messages by tickling stars with neutrino beams, eliciting Morse code-like pulses. “It’s the sort of thing tenured senior professors can get away with,” he said. The pulsations of KIC 5520878, recorded recently by NASA’s Kepler telescope, suggested that the star might be so employed.
I also got a kick out of one objection-expressing commenter, whose case appears to rest on the proposition that "irrational ratios are a mathematical impossibility." (By way of assuming that a ratio must be of 2 rational numbers.)
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Old 2015-03-21, 00:26   #1505
6809 > 6502
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Aug 2003
101×103 Posts

278616 Posts
Lightbulb Think of the children

Save the world from your desktop!

Well, maybe not that grand. But you can help find new asteroids:
New desktop application has potential to increase asteroid detection

The article does not provide the link to the software so here it is:
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Old 2015-03-21, 00:42   #1506
ewmayer's Avatar
Sep 2002
República de California

1167610 Posts

John Greer, a.k.a. The Archdruid, writes about science's self-inflicted loss of societal authority:

The View From Outside

I would add 'pervasive surveillance' to the things our descendants will 'thank' us for, except the youngsters seem to *like* life inside the digital Panopticon.

And I find it bitterly ironic that one field which still suffers far too little public skepticism is the pseudoscience (which the author begs us to not get him started on) known as economics, whose main purpose seems to be providing academic cover to the looter oligarchy.
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Old 2015-03-21, 09:22   #1507
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Dec 2012
The Netherlands

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Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
And I find it bitterly ironic that one field which still suffers far too little public skepticism is the pseudoscience (which the author begs us to not get him started on) known as economics, whose main purpose seems to be providing academic cover to the looter oligarchy.
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