Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

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JasonL
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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by JasonL » 30 Dec 2015, 11:24

The inverse share law of social science accuracy strikes again. Replace "world changing" with "narrative affirming" and you are much closer to the essence of what's going on.

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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by thoreau » 30 Dec 2015, 11:40

I had a big argument with a friend over how much weight we should give to THIS ONE QUICK TRICK FOR FIXING [stubborn problem]. He kept going back to "But even if you have issues with the study, what does it hurt to [change one word, put the check box at the end instead of the beginning, etc.]?" My answer was that it doesn't hurt and I am not going to spend much effort on whether to change one word, but I will spend effort trying to persuade people that there's a difference between THIS ONE QUICK TRICK clickbait and respectable science, let alone meaningful social progress. Go ahead and change one word, if erring on the side of the latest study is a harmless way to feel better, but don't confuse it with solving the problem of inequality.
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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by Sandy » 30 Dec 2015, 11:48

A better reply to "what does it hurt?" is the same reply they would give to someone who advocates "colorblind" policies: the danger is that it creates a false sense of security in that we've treated the problem, and can now relax and not worry that we've simply missed some important biases (in the case of colorblindness) or stopped looking for other, more important places to work on racial disparities (in the case of ONE QUICK TRICK).
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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by thoreau » 30 Dec 2015, 11:55

Whenever I've met someone who enjoys ONE QUICK TRICK diversity clickbait, I can assure you that the last thing you need to worry about is that they'll assume the problem is fixed and stop trying.
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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by JasonL » 30 Dec 2015, 11:58

Hard problems are hard and should be respected as such. There is one quick trick for peeling lots of garlic. There is not one quick trick for racial disparities in educational achievement. I feel sad that people can get out of high school, never mind hold advanced degrees, without being able to draw distinctions between those types of problems.

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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by Sandy » 30 Dec 2015, 11:59

thoreau wrote:Whenever I've met someone who enjoys ONE QUICK TRICK diversity clickbait, I can assure you that the last thing you need to worry about is that they'll assume the problem is fixed and stop trying.
True, but it'll get them to back off on the "what does it hurt?" bit.

"You don't want to think we've SOLVED it, do you?!?!?"

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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by thoreau » 30 Dec 2015, 12:12

JasonL wrote:Hard problems are hard and should be respected as such. There is one quick trick for peeling lots of garlic. There is not one quick trick for racial disparities in educational achievement. I feel sad that people can get out of high school, never mind hold advanced degrees, without being able to draw distinctions between those types of problems.
Welcome to my world.
Sandy wrote:
thoreau wrote:Whenever I've met someone who enjoys ONE QUICK TRICK diversity clickbait, I can assure you that the last thing you need to worry about is that they'll assume the problem is fixed and stop trying.
True, but it'll get them to back off on the "what does it hurt?" bit.

"You don't want to think we've SOLVED it, do you?!?!?"
OK, so maybe it does hurt, BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU ARE EXCUSED FROM IMPLEMENTING THE ONE QUICK TRICK!!!!
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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by JD » 19 Jan 2016, 11:39

Neurosurgeon invents dissolvable brain sensors that can be implanted in a patient, but don't have to be removed later, because they are small and naturally dissolve after a while. Also, "dissolvable brain sensors" would make a good band name.

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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by Warren » 19 Jan 2016, 11:44

JD wrote:Neurosurgeon invents dissolvable brain sensors that can be implanted in a patient, but don't have to be removed later, because they are small and naturally dissolve after a while. Also, "dissolvable brain sensors" would make a good band name.
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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by Aresen » 19 Jan 2016, 22:44

Warren wrote:
JD wrote:Neurosurgeon invents dissolvable brain sensors that can be implanted in a patient, but don't have to be removed later, because they are small and naturally dissolve after a while. Also, "dissolvable brain sensors" would make a good band name.
Where's my nanobots? I was promised nanobots.
I bring you The Dancing Nanobots
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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by thoreau » 20 Jan 2016, 16:54

"Camacho would be better than Trump. He actually has goodwill towards the world, and he actually did seek out the assistance of the smartest man in the world."
--Fin Fang Foom

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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by Kolohe » 21 Jan 2016, 22:13

This new planet is goofy.
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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by JD » 22 Jan 2016, 13:15

Astronauts have grown flowers in orbit. Slightly disappointingly, they were zinnias, not marigolds.

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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by Highway » 29 Jan 2016, 16:44

An engineer at University of Nebraska has come up with a conducting concrete mix that warms up when an electric current is applied to it, allowing it to provide its own melting properties. What I found interesting is that it's already been used on a 150' bridge project as a test, and the electricity cost to melt snow and thaw ice was approximately $250 for a storm event, over a five-year test period. He's also reduced the cost of his concrete mix to around 300 dollars per cubic yard, which is about 3 times as much as normal reinforced concrete, but is a good ballpark figure. The suggested use is for areas prone to accidents and icing, like bridges.
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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by dbcooper » 13 Feb 2016, 19:19

Moore's Law is now dead and buried:

http://www.nature.com/news/the-chips-ar ... aw-1.19338
Since the 1990s, in fact, the semiconductor industry has released a research road map every two years to coordinate what its hundreds of manufacturers and suppliers are doing to stay in step with the law — a strategy sometimes called More Moore. It has been largely thanks to this road map that computers have followed the law's exponential demands.

...

The industry road map released next month will for the first time lay out a research and development plan that is not centred on Moore's law. Instead, it will follow what might be called the More than Moore strategy: rather than making the chips better and letting the applications follow, it will start with applications — from smartphones and supercomputers to data centres in the cloud — and work downwards to see what chips are needed to support them. Among those chips will be new generations of sensors, power-management circuits and other silicon devices required by a world in which computing is increasingly mobile.
Slip inside a sleeping bag.

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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by dbcooper » 25 Feb 2016, 16:09

Slip inside a sleeping bag.

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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by JD » 29 Feb 2016, 16:24

The Google self-driving car has apparently been involved in the first accident in which it was at fault. Basically, it needed to merge, assumed that a bus was going to let it in, and tried to merge despite the fact that the bus didn't stop or slow down. The Google folks are trying to play it off as nothing serious (and to be sure, it was a very low-speed accident, and the kind that humans get into all the time) but the fact of the matter is that the Google car drove into the side of a bus, which is pretty bad.

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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 29 Feb 2016, 16:52

JD wrote:The Google self-driving car has apparently been involved in the first accident in which it was at fault. Basically, it needed to merge, assumed that a bus was going to let it in, and tried to merge despite the fact that the bus didn't stop or slow down. The Google folks are trying to play it off as nothing serious (and to be sure, it was a very low-speed accident, and the kind that humans get into all the time) but the fact of the matter is that the Google car drove into the side of a bus, which is pretty bad.
Depends. Was the bus filled with lawyers or with nuns? Did it save a violin playing robot that would eventually turn into a Terminator then find a cure for cancer? Was there a politician in the car who could have been killed if only the car went faster in reverse?

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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by the innominate one » 29 Feb 2016, 18:48

All this and more, when we return.
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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by JD » 17 Mar 2016, 16:28

This is a pretty cool graph (h/t Wikipedia):

Image

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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by dbcooper » 26 Mar 2016, 20:18

Production Cost of Smartphone AMOLED Is Lower than LCD

Still need those blue pOLEDs though.
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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by thoreau » 05 Jul 2016, 14:53

Somebody looked for the placebo effect in "brain training" exercises and found it. And got it published in one of the top science journals.

http://www.pnas.org/content/113/27/7470.abstract

We need more work like this. Lots more.
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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by JasonL » 05 Jul 2016, 16:12

thoreau wrote:Somebody looked for the placebo effect in "brain training" exercises and found it. And got it published in one of the top science journals.

http://www.pnas.org/content/113/27/7470.abstract

We need more work like this. Lots more.
As of a few years ago anyway, casual googling about what placebo means results in more confusion than clarity. You'd think we'd have a better understanding about objectively measurable placebo improvements over subjective "I feel better" type things where the underlying measurables are unchanged.

That is, for some/many people, referencing the placebo effect in this context won't put a dent in their confidence in outcomes because for the type of measurements they are doing the whole thing is subjective anyway. Placebo improvement is indistinguishable from real improvement.

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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by Hugh Akston » 05 Jul 2016, 16:16

JasonL wrote:
thoreau wrote:Somebody looked for the placebo effect in "brain training" exercises and found it. And got it published in one of the top science journals.

http://www.pnas.org/content/113/27/7470.abstract

We need more work like this. Lots more.
As of a few years ago anyway, casual googling about what placebo means results in more confusion than clarity. You'd think we'd have a better understanding about objectively measurable placebo improvements over subjective "I feel better" type things where the underlying measurables are unchanged.

That is, for some/many people, referencing the placebo effect in this context won't put a dent in their confidence in outcomes because for the type of measurements they are doing the whole thing is subjective anyway. Placebo improvement is indistinguishable from real improvement.
Placebo only really comes into play in cases where subjective reporting is the metric though, doesn't it?
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Re: Mo's moderately interesting sci/tech thread

Post by thoreau » 05 Jul 2016, 16:31

JasonL wrote:
thoreau wrote:Somebody looked for the placebo effect in "brain training" exercises and found it. And got it published in one of the top science journals.

http://www.pnas.org/content/113/27/7470.abstract

We need more work like this. Lots more.
As of a few years ago anyway, casual googling about what placebo means results in more confusion than clarity. You'd think we'd have a better understanding about objectively measurable placebo improvements over subjective "I feel better" type things where the underlying measurables are unchanged.

That is, for some/many people, referencing the placebo effect in this context won't put a dent in their confidence in outcomes because for the type of measurements they are doing the whole thing is subjective anyway. Placebo improvement is indistinguishable from real improvement.
Maybe "Hawthorne Effect" would be a better term in this context, but the bottom line is that when you look to measure a cognitive or educational outcome, even on the most objective of tests you can get improvements from damn near any intervention. So in educational and cognitive contexts they need to separate out the effects of "The instructor tried harder" (which will be true of almost any intervention, and thus give an improvement due to almost any intervention) and "This intervention is particularly useful" (which would be signaled by the intervention giving a bigger effect than the most generic intervention).
"Camacho would be better than Trump. He actually has goodwill towards the world, and he actually did seek out the assistance of the smartest man in the world."
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