Author Topic: Episode #503  (Read 5916 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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Episode #503
« on: February 28, 2015, 12:15:36 PM »
Interview with Timothy Caulfield; Forgotten Superheroes of Science: Mary Anning; News Items: Marijuana Safety, Phantom Acupuncture, Liberal and Conservative Biases, Bladderwort Genome; Who’s That Noisy; Dumbest Thing of the Week; Science or Fiction
Steven Novella
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Offline Ambious

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Re: Episode #503
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2015, 12:26:05 PM »
All this talk about floppy disks and hard drives forced my hand to repost this from the "Windows Nostalgia" thread:

I think if there's one field apart from transistor capacity where we've really advanced eons in it's exchangeable storage.
I had a feeling we've surpassed Moore's law, and the numbers tell an amazing story:
In 1971 IBM released the first floppy disk which was 8" in diameter (surface area of approx. 32429 mm2) and contained 80KB of storage.
That's 0.002466...KB per mm2.
Moore's law says it should double every 24 months (the less harsh '18 months' time period was later factored by David House, one of Moore's colleagues), so that means that in 45 years, it should have doubled 22.5 times. Meaning it should now be around 0.002 * 222.5 kb/mm2 which is 14632.9 kb/mm2 - which is approx. 14 MBs per mm2!
This means the best microSD could only contain about 2240MBs, which is approx. 2GB.
The highest capacity of a commercially available microSD card is 128GB. A microSD card is approx. 165mm2. That would be 775758kb per mm2, which is 775.8MB per mm2 which is 55 times more than the harshest approximation according to Moore's Law.
Had the storage advancements been in accordance to Moore's law, we would only get to that in the year 2046!
Note that all these calculations only takes into account removable self-sustained storage, meaning it did not take into account detachable storage such as external hard-drives, although my back-of-the-envelope calculations actually seem to say that microSD cards are far more efficient than SSDs: The highest capacity SSD available commercially 'only' holds 4TB in a box of 100mm x 10mm x 70mm = 70000mm3, which would hold (assuming the height of 1 microSD card is 1 mm) 4375 microSD cards which at 128GB each would be 560TB, which means the best SSD in the market is 140 times LESS effective than a microSD card!
Of course none of that takes into account things like consumer price and speed, mostly because I couldn't find data about those things going back far enough, but I have a feeling we made huge advancements in those areas as well ;-)
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Offline ThorGoLucky

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Re: Episode #503
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2015, 12:41:27 AM »
The upcoming gaps in our records due to outmoded data formats will be an excellent opportunity for cranks to fill in the historical gaps with their creativity.

Offline Caffiene

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Re: Episode #503
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2015, 01:16:41 AM »
Jay, the HDD life statistics you referred to in the storage discussion sounds like the Backblaze reliability blog posts.

While theyre interesting, its worth noting that these are external drives that have been "farmed" (removed from their enclosures), and then placed in data centre racks where the temperature, vibration, and usage over time are all very different to normal consumer use. The results arent necessarily generalisable or relevant to which drive is the most reliable to buy. We have no information about, for example, whether one brand is more susceptible than others to excess vibration that affects their life in the data centre but which a drive in a home PC will never be subjected to.
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Offline Kwisatz Haderach

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Re: Episode #503
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2015, 06:53:57 AM »
In the discussion on science denial and political affiliation,  you seem to conflating two separate issues.  The obvious fact the everyone, regardless of political affiliation, is prone to digging in and defending their deeply held ideological beliefs even when faced with contradictory science has little to do with the fact that in real life, conservatives are far more likely to defend beliefs that contradict science.  This is not because their brains are different,  but because -- as Stephen Colbert eloquently put it -- "Reality has a well know liberal bias".  Many issues that happen to be important to conservatives in modern first-world countries happen to be ones on which they tend to take a position that the is anti-science.  Issues that are important to liberals tend to be ones in which their position is consistent with science.  This is not because liberals are smart and conservatives are dumb, it's just how things happens to be at this point on history.  Why do you seem to be constantly search for false equivalency between liberals and conservatives?

The fact that it is so easy to come up with conservative anti-science positions,  and so difficult to come up with liberal anti-science positions puts further strain on your ongoing attempts to promote false equivalency.

You even frequently admit that Anti-Vax and Anti-GMO are hardly uniquely liberal positions, so why are you then insistent that studies would be better if they included them?  You suggested that they could focus only on the subset of anti-GMO or anti-Vaxxers would held those positions due to liberal ideology, but isn't that sort of focusing on the outliers exact what we criticize pseudoscientists for?

Offline werecow

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Re: Episode #503
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2015, 07:12:43 AM »
Being the data hoarder that I am, I just bought 4 8TB drives, bringing my total to 56TB. I don't think I'm going to be running out any time soon (but then, I always think that, and I always do anyway).

The fun thing about being a data hoarder, as opposed to any other kind of hoarder, is that the stuff I hoard actually shrinks over time while I'm adding to it. I'm envisioning an intervention that my friends and family may have for me in the future, with all of us gathered around a table containing one tiny, barely visible, future 100PB data storage device, and everyone going on about how "you can't go on like this, you need help!".

Offline Plastiq

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Re: Episode #503
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2015, 07:22:05 AM »
Being the data hoarder that I am, I just bought 4 8TB drives, bringing my total to 56TB. I don't think I'm going to be running out any time soon (but then, I always think that, and I always do anyway).

The fun thing about being a data hoarder, as opposed to any other kind of hoarder, is that the stuff I hoard actually shrinks over time while I'm adding to it. I'm envisioning an intervention that my friends and family may have for me in the future, with all of us gathered around a table containing one tiny, barely visible, future 100PB data storage device, and everyone going on about how "you can't go on like this, you need help!".

Christ, what the hell are you storing?

Offline werecow

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Re: Episode #503
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2015, 07:23:14 AM »
Being the data hoarder that I am, I just bought 4 8TB drives, bringing my total to 56TB. I don't think I'm going to be running out any time soon (but then, I always think that, and I always do anyway).

The fun thing about being a data hoarder, as opposed to any other kind of hoarder, is that the stuff I hoard actually shrinks over time while I'm adding to it. I'm envisioning an intervention that my friends and family may have for me in the future, with all of us gathered around a table containing one tiny, barely visible, future 100PB data storage device, and everyone going on about how "you can't go on like this, you need help!".

Christ, what the hell are you storing?

Everything. That's what being a hoarder means. }|:op
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Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #503
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2015, 07:56:17 AM »
The upcoming gaps in our records due to outmoded data formats will be an excellent opportunity for cranks to fill in the historical gaps with their creativity.

Yeah, it's one thing to lose out on middle school essays, pictures of pets, and plans for world domination that never came through. But I would hope scientific and more broad historic data is carefully kept up to remain available through the generations. Especially avoiding closed formats.

Offline Evil Eye

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Re: Episode #503 WTN guess
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2015, 08:02:42 AM »
(click to show/hide)
"We'll get that information to you later" - Richard Feynman to Mr. Rodgers.

Offline Evil Eye

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Re: Episode #503
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2015, 08:08:32 AM »
Regarding Floppy Discs... I used to have an entire box of photos on the 3.5 disks because that was my camera's medium of storage.

I had a hard time making the stand-alone drive I bought being compatible with the computer I was using because of the connection. (no USB on the other end)

I threw them all out.

And as far as backward compatibility goes..... I still have some images in a format nothing can read... it was when AOL when the king.

I think it was called... ".art"
"We'll get that information to you later" - Richard Feynman to Mr. Rodgers.

Offline werecow

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Re: Episode #503
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2015, 08:38:13 AM »
@Steve, re the discussion over conservative/liberal bias:

Isn't the question why global warming is more politicized than nuclear power in the first place? All other things being equal, it would seem to me that anything having to do with nuclear power would be extremely controversial on its own merit. Global warming is as controversial as it is because of the anti-science backlash, particularly from the free market enthusiasts. Similarly, evolution is only controversial because of religious backlash.
My point is: isn't saying that the comparison is asymmetric because topics on one side of the isle are more politicized than those on the other side kind of missing the point? Those two things are not independent variables.

Also, while I know I'm biased on this topic as I've mainly dealt with evolution and climate change deniers and not as much with altmed or anti-GMO folks, isn't there some psychological plausibility to the idea that conservatives are inherently more antagonistic towards science? After all, the conservative mindset is one of resistance against change, whereas science is inherently progressive.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 11:15:11 AM by werecow »
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Offline Sawyer

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Re: Episode #503
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2015, 11:10:34 AM »
You even frequently admit that Anti-Vax and Anti-GMO are hardly uniquely liberal positions, so why are you then insistent that studies would be better if they included them?  You suggested that they could focus only on the subset of anti-GMO or anti-Vaxxers would held those positions due to liberal ideology, but isn't that sort of focusing on the outliers exact what we criticize pseudoscientists for?

Because we understand very little about this phenomenon, and we have very little high-quality scientific evidence with which to explain the underlying psychology.  Most of the data we have on this topic is in the form of crude survey data, which is severely hampered by the original questions and the honesty of respondents, and from proxy psychological experiments that try to mimic political situations people encounter in the real world, which are plagued by similar problems and limitations.  The methods and current state of knowledge on how politics influences scientific understanding are extremely limited.  This should be obvious when you notice it's the same 4 or 5 studies that get cited every single time this topic is brought up.  Despite the limited data that we have, there's also a pretty clear trend where "liberal stereotypes" regarding science turn out to be complete fabrications upon further inspection, and on a personal level I'd like to see that trend continue for a while before calling it quits on the research.

I really don't understand why you're always giving the SGU such a hard time on this issue.  Every time it has come up, Dr. Novella has pointed out that the stereotypical liberal pseudosciences are not actually correlated with political liberalism, and whenever the data supported it, he acknowledged that conservatives were more antagonistic to science.  Every other skeptical source I rely upon (with the exception of Chris Mooney) completely butchers this topic and I'm very happy with how it is addressed here. 

What exactly do you want from the SGU, an 80 minute rant on conservatives all being idiots?  This does not fit with the format that the show has developed over the last 503 episodes.

Offline lucek

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Re: Episode #503
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2015, 11:26:48 AM »
Steve that was the worst Science or Fiction for some time.
(click to show/hide)

Oh and on the bladderwort. Many plants have undergone whole genome duplication. Common strawberries have 10 sets of chromosomes. Further many plants and animals have shrunk their DNA. Birds and other flying animals do it to reduce weight. Sounds strange but you have a lot of DNA. 700 G for an average human.

Last thing. All praise DosBox. As a classic gaming enthusiast this many games would be unplayable now without a dos/win 3.1/win 95 virtual machine. Even still a 4 hour game can take a day or more to get running on a modern computer hopefully without massive glitches.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 11:51:11 AM by lucek »

Offline Kwisatz Haderach

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Re: Episode #503
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2015, 11:59:55 AM »
You even frequently admit that Anti-Vax and Anti-GMO are hardly uniquely liberal positions, so why are you then insistent that studies would be better if they included them?  You suggested that they could focus only on the subset of anti-GMO or anti-Vaxxers would held those positions due to liberal ideology, but isn't that sort of focusing on the outliers exact what we criticize pseudoscientists for?

Because we understand very little about this phenomenon, and we have very little high-quality scientific evidence with which to explain the underlying psychology.  Most of the data we have on this topic is in the form of crude survey data, which is severely hampered by the original questions and the honesty of respondents, and from proxy psychological experiments that try to mimic political situations people encounter in the real world, which are plagued by similar problems and limitations.  The methods and current state of knowledge on how politics influences scientific understanding are extremely limited.  This should be obvious when you notice it's the same 4 or 5 studies that get cited every single time this topic is brought up.  Despite the limited data that we have, there's also a pretty clear trend where "liberal stereotypes" regarding science turn out to be complete fabrications upon further inspection, and on a personal level I'd like to see that trend continue for a while before calling it quits on the research.

I really don't understand why you're always giving the SGU such a hard time on this issue.  Every time it has come up, Dr. Novella has pointed out that the stereotypical liberal pseudosciences are not actually correlated with political liberalism, and whenever the data supported it, he acknowledged that conservatives were more antagonistic to science.  Every other skeptical source I rely upon (with the exception of Chris Mooney) completely butchers this topic and I'm very happy with how it is addressed here. 

What exactly do you want from the SGU, an 80 minute rant on conservatives all being idiots?  This does not fit with the format that the show has developed over the last 503 episodes.

It seems to me... and I could be wrong... that Steve goes a little too far in searching for any half-assed reason whatsoever to say "liberals are just as bad" when it comes to science. That is clearly not true.  That doesn't mean that liberals are better than conservatives,  or that liberals are immune to anti-science ideas, it just so happens that in real life,  at this particular point in history, conservatives are a lot worse when it comes science.

I guess the reason I always "give them a hard time" about it is that I tend to see the SGU -- or at least Steve -- as "above the fray" when it comes to politics.  In this case, it seems to me that Steve is bending the truth in order to avoid offending a certain vociferous sub-culture within the skeptical movement.

Of course, Steve always says that we need to be very aware of our own biases, so I suppose it might be that Steve is himself a liberal and is over compensating, but I don't know if Steve is liberal, because onlike the other members of the SGU, Steve does a very good job of keeping his political views obscure.

 

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