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Posts posted by Prometheus

  1. By convention, in the fields i'm familiar with - medicine, biology and computer science -  the first author will have contributed the most and the last author will be the most senior academic, usually the head of a lab. The middle authors will have contributed the least. I've been on papers where the squabbling of who goes where on the author list gets pretty intense and petty. Many publications require that the contribution each author makes is explicitly stated, unfortunately PLOS biology doesn't seem to be one.

    Karl Friston is a pretty reputable name though, I can't believe he would have tolerated too much jockeying.

  2. Accuracy is a terrible metric to assess these things: fine for classifying dog and cat images, but for law and health it misses so many nuances. There's also no mention of how well the AI generalises to data not in the original train/test distribution. I can't find the original publication, if it has been published in a peer reviewed journal, so can't dig into any details. Until then I wouldn't believe these numbers any more than my claim that i just developed an AI with 99.56% accuracy for predicting a bull's bowel habits.

  3. 12 hours ago, Alfred001 said:

    And, importantly, because this was the end of extra time, Uruguay didn't even have to suffer the normally severe penalty of a red card, which means playing the rest of the game with one player less - the game was over anyway. There was basically no downside.

    Ghana were awarded a penalty, which they missed. The game then went to penalties and Suarez, who was one of their main penalty takers, couldn't take one, so there were plenty of downsides, Ghana were just unable to capitalise on them. Additionally, Suarez was banned from the semi-final against the Dutch, which Uruguay lost.

    As to whether it's right - i can see both sides, but seeing Suarez celebrate the penalty miss was pretty galling.


  4. 1 hour ago, StringJunky said:

    This is my little hunch, it's perhaps a  function of the way our brain processes information, and what it mentally creates from that. I will add I'm more biologically minded in this subject than physics. I kind of feel it would be a good idea for cognitive neuroscientists and the other sciences to consult each other on this, to understand how the human observer affects the phenomenon. I don't think it is a rigidly objective phenomenon that you can solely apply numeric/quantitative anaysis to properly describe it.

    There are perhaps lessons we can learn from cellular automata - take rule 30 for instance. The generating process is perfectly known and simple, yet the manifestations of it are anything but. The central column the rule produces can only be modelled as a stochastic process (currently - £10k prize if you prove otherwise), so much so it is used as the random number generator in Mathematica. We could say that, in this case, the randomness is emergent from the rule.

    There was an interesting Royal Institute lecture on time - the lecturer ended by speculating that time was an emergent property based on our psychology - or something close to that effect..


    9 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

    What are people’s thoughts on this?

    Putting aside that i know no physics - perhaps we can think of it in terms of how we model phenomena. Taking the Mexican wave as an example, each person could be understood in terms of simple up and down motions, but to capture the wave we might want to use sinusoids (ignoring that we might use sinusoids to understand the initial up and down motion). So a property is emergent when we decide, for whatever reason, to apply a new model to understand it. Emergence then isn't a property of the universe, but a property of how we understand it.

  6. Can anyone recommend some sci-fi books involving black holes.

    In particular I'm looking for stories that involve someone, or something, going into a black hole and what they experience.

    I've looked around and found plenty of books, but usually they feature black holes as navigational obstacles, or power sources, or weapons, or even as sentient beings - but i'm only interested if it explores the experience of being in (or even around) a black hole.

    Also, not interested in films/TV shows - unless based on books.

  7. My understanding is that Q is a poor metric of performance as it doesn't take account of the energy put into the entire reactor, just that used to create the plasma. Apparently things like confining that plasma with powerful electromagnets takes an awful lot of energy which are not taken into account with Q.

    If you use Q_total (i.e all the energy used by the reactor) as a metric then the value for JET is more like 0.01.

  8. 7 hours ago, geordief said:

    but these regimes have apparently been able ,with their thuggery to keep their populations fairly docile  and accepting  of their servitude.

    Where America has Manifest Destiny, China has the Mandate of Heaven- they have a fundamentally different attitude to government than America, a more trusting one based on Confucian principles. Similar to evolved systems, neither is 'correct' but has benefits/risks. One more prone dictatorships, but also easier to harmonise to a purpose: if Covid 19 had been more virulent the benefits of the latter would be more clear.

    The Chinese people have been rebelling against governments at least a thousand years before the country that established America even existed, so I wouldn't worry about them being passive - as long as the government is fulfilling its end of the Mandate, the Chinese people are content, and why wouldn't they be? We might disagree with their position but we don't get to impose our view on them and to mistake it as docility is just to misunderstand their mindset.

    China's military aggression in and around the South China Sea needs to be understood in its historical context - China still remembers its utter humiliation by numerous Western powers and Japan. The Chinese people generally support their government in establishing a strong military presence around its territory to ensure that never happens again. 

    If the West wants to limit China's influence they should stop bullying nations and start helping them. For instance, Australia has been harassing East Timor for decades in order to force access to oil fields, even pulling out of the UN convention on the Law of the Sea to avoid a binding ruling at the international court of justice. Now East Timor has invited China to help build up their infrastructure, giving China a presence right on Australia's coast.


    3 hours ago, TheVat said:

    The loss would be more symbolic than strategic is my guess. 

    Taiwan has about a quarter of the semiconductor market. China would control over a third if it swallowed Taiwan.

  9. 4 hours ago, Alfred001 said:

    Is it really valid to think of risks of chest x-rays in that way or are there additional factors here that would change the equation?

    It's a risk/benefit calculation. A chest x-ray for a cough, say, is quite different to one for a penetrating chest injury.

    It's not uncommon to see push back against a doctor referring a patient for a CT scan if the radiologist (sometimes after being flagged by the radiographer) feels the risk may be too great - particularly for young people and abdominal scans. 

  10. This falls firmly under 'all models are wrong, some are useful'. BMI is used as a rough marker in certain settings, no professional is (or at least should be) using this single metric to make any clinical decisions. If fat distribution is particularly important a more thorough method would be used. Bioimpedance is common in nutritional studies. 

    First you should decide what you actually want to measure, then decide if BMI is good enough to that end. In some cases it is.

  11. On 8/30/2021 at 12:51 AM, wtf said:

    You are asking a legal question though, and the answer to that is, "Whatever a court decides is the law."

    True, but it's not unreasonable to ask. How unsatisfactory would it be to a end a discussion about whether, or at what age, abortion should be legal, or the legal status of various drugs with 'whatever a court says'. 


    15 minutes ago, TheVat said:

    Since the law at least tries to be grounded in some reality,  it seems likely that we won't be assigning personhood to either washing machines or to AI that can't recognize the simplest objects out of some predefined context.   

    AGI is irrelevant to this particular discussion.  DABUS is far from AGI yet its legal personhood is still being discussed, and apparently granted, in some courts. With the development of narrow AI like AlphaFold, which vastly improves previous attempts to model protein folding with implications in drug discovery, these legal discussions will likely (and rightly in my opinion) become more frequent regardless of AGI development. Given the glacial speed of politics and law, starting the discussion before it becomes a pressing matter seems prudent.

    Regarding AGI, that blog was a bit vague. Here, about 350 ML researchers were surveyed regarding the estimated timeline of human level machine intelligence development. Granted, it might be something like fusion power (another 20 years right?), but it's the most thorough guess i've seen kicking around.


    On 8/30/2021 at 2:24 AM, Alex_Krycek said:

    We are also discussing some related questions, such as the veracity of the DABUS system Thaler has created, and whether or not it lives up to his extraordinary claims.

    I found it incredibly hard to find out anything about the actual architecture of this model. This is the closest i could find - short on detail. I very much doubt it's anywhere near GPT-3, AlphaFold or Tesla's self-driving architecture.  Sounds more like a gimmick to start a discussion.

  12. You underestimate how seriously people take Star Wars.

    Trying to apply any physics to Star Wars is not going to go well, it's all space magic. You'd get more mileage out of something like The Expanse, but being more realistic that doesn't have llight sabres either.

  13. To reinforce MigL's point that history isn't always written by the victors we can look to the Arthurian myth which demonises the victorious Anglo-Saxons (and later used by the Normans to frame themselves as liberators of the native population), and the Three Kingdoms period of China in which the Han empire was overturned by the Jin dynasty, yet it's the former who come out smelling like roses. And of course, the Romans conquering Greece - but i'm not aware of any Epics written by the conquered peoples in that instance.

    I once heard that the US government is in some part influenced by Iroquois governance - is there any truth to that?

  14. Here's a catalogue of over half a million asteroids with financial estimates. They are approximate not only because of technological limitations and uncertainties, but also economic (as the Spanish found when they plundered all that gold and silver from the Americas, flooding European markets).

    I don't think much is known of Psyche's magnetic properties. SpaceX will be launching a NASA craft there next year, should rendezvous 2026, and will carry a magnetometer.

  15. 6 minutes ago, Intoscience said:

    I was advised once to try meditation or similar, but I found this very difficult. The premise being that "empty your mind", - yes... well that's the problem mate, I can't! 

    I often hear this of experience and it leads me to believe people are being taught wrong - or maybe it's just a different meditation technique to what i'm familiar with. The mind thinks as the heart beats - trying to get either to stop is a bad idea. I've always been taught observation is the goal, not cessation.  Perhaps try a different meditation teacher.

  16. 11 hours ago, beecee said:

    Interesting. I wouldn't mind picking up on the history of Great Britian and Ireland. 

    I recommend this podcast channel:


    14 hours ago, Peterkin said:

    Amazing! Did Arthur have a sword in that unification?

    Since this thread is going off off on tangents here's a good one: Henry VII and Elizabeth I both claimed a lineage that can be traced back to Aphrodite of Greek mythology.

    Both monarchs, and others, claimed they were related to King Arthur - thought then to be a historical figure. Arthur himself is said to be from the line of Brutus of Troy (which is where Geoffrey of Monmouth claims Britain got its name), a grandson of Aeneas who was the son of Aphrodite. 

  17. 1 minute ago, CharonY said:

    From what a quick screening of the lit it seems that most call for more data (the current sports medicine article makes a couple of good suggestions). I.e. it is necessary to understand more about the transition process. Some of the articles that you and I shared indicated mixed results (i.e. decline in certain performances after transition but no decline in others in the tested period). Considering that much of the research only started a few years ago it is hardly surprising. That being said, as one can see in this thread, there are a lot of assumptions being made, and even if they turn out to be true, there is not enough weight of evidence to support it. To take a well known issue as an example, if there were only a dozen of papers in total describing climate change, folks would not scramble to address this issue (and of course, even after thousands of studies the response is still rather muted). 

    Yeah, that was where we left it - even though there's not tons of research it was still more than either of us could dive into at the time. It should also be remembered that none of those articles were advocating bans. But i'm hoping @TheVat, or someone else, will be able to dive into the literature and share their findings.

  18. 2 hours ago, TheVat said:

    My POV was more that it might be useful to move on to how data might be gathered (this is a biology forum, my keen powers of observation disclosed to me this morning) that would address the question I have yet to see really answered here: 


    48 minutes ago, iNow said:

    Fair point. In the article I shared most recently, the rather clear suggestion was there was practically no scientific evidence whatsoever suggesting a major or relevant difference. This aligned with another article I read just yesterday but chose not to share here given how the facts within past links kept getting ignored. 

    Way back i posted a review from the journal of medical ethics and sports medicine, and this BMJ editorial all voicing concerns about elite level competition. They explore some of the biomedical evidence and reasoning behind those concerns. I also just came across this one in current sports medicine - i've not seen the full text so i don't know their conclusions but they do have a literature review section which explores some of the evidence.

    Sorry iNow, i've haven't at all kept up with this thread - the last article i could find that you linked to was about signatories from US sports federations?

  19. 1 minute ago, Peterkin said:

    How many of the talented children who are pushed and stressed and bullied to excellence grow up to be Olympians? What do we know of the ones who didn't make it? This is the perspective of survival bias

    It's only a bias if there is actually some data to be biased. I've not been able to find anything concrete one way or another so can only conclude this is not well studied. In my meanderings i did come across this which is a detailed account from failed Olympians who express no regrets, but with a sample size of 6 i didn't bother bringing it up before. 

  20. 39 minutes ago, joigus said:

    I'm not suggesting that these sources can be taken as particularly rigorous, or that any conclusions should be immediately drawn.

    I also struggled to find data on this. Given the amount of money in elite sports, i'm sure someone could spare some for more research.

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