Author Topic: Episode #714  (Read 1988 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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Episode #714
« on: March 16, 2019, 01:02:52 PM »
Interview with Peter de Jager; News Items: Release of Golden Rice, How Intelligent is AI, Atomic Clock May Replace GPS System; Who’s That Noisy; Questions and E-mails: Audio book, Champing at the Bit; Science or Fiction
Steven Novella
Host, The Skeptics Guide
snovella@theness.com

Offline Belgarath

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Re: Episode #714
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2019, 02:45:01 PM »
The episode label in the Patreon feed is labeled Apr 16 2019

I feel like I'm a month off.....
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Offline kipoph

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Re: Episode #714
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2019, 04:17:06 PM »
what are they talking about "fascinating spider thing, different kinds of strength"?

Offline lonely moa

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Re: Episode #714
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2019, 06:11:40 PM »
Half the human population of the world cannot convert the precursor beta carotene to retinol, the form of vitamin A that humans can use.  Without fats in the diet, the problem is worsened.  Letting the populations eat risk return to the agricultural regimes that kept them healthy in the past would be a much better idea in many ways.  Might have to recover land form large corporations monocropping the land that peasants used to own and fed themselves with, before they were convinced to work in t shirt factories for consumers in the developed world.

Retinol (which is the form all humans can use) is plentiful in many animal products, like organ meat, egg, and fish roe, a part of their ancestral healthy diet.  Adding beta carotene to poor diets will not work very well, IMHO.  Might be better if vitamin A (not beta carotene) supplements were freely distributed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19103647?dopt=Abstract
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Episode #714
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2019, 06:57:12 PM »
what are they talking about "fascinating spider thing, different kinds of strength"?

What do you mean by strong? Bungee elastic isn't much use if you're holding up a roof, but a steel I-beam isn't much use if you're strapping something down. Materials have many kinds of strength. Wood can hold up a lot of weight without being crushed, so it has compressive strength. But can it resist being pulled apart from either end the way ropes can? Diamonds are hard, but relatively brittle. Stone hammers were made with jade (and related stones) because the material can take a huge pounding by flexing without breaking.

There are other kinds of strength too. Plan to spend several hours on wikipedia if you start to read about them. It's fascinating.
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Offline lonely moa

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Re: Episode #714
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2019, 07:23:07 PM »
Not to be pedantic, but volcanic rock is only one type of igneous rock, extrusive.  Intrusive igneous rock is also true to it's namesake. 

It's almost 40 years since I was professionally involved with geophysics/geology but I think I am correct that there are two types of igneous rock, each with a plethora of subtypes. 

This was the the easiest of SoF.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Episode #714
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2019, 07:24:21 PM »
SoF frustrated me.

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Offline lonely moa

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Re: Episode #714
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2019, 11:00:32 PM »
Intrusive igneous rock can become metamorphic rock, like gneiss, which, as I remember fondly from my youth, can make for amazingly good rock climbing.

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Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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Re: Episode #714
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2019, 11:23:21 PM »
Haven't tried Overwatch yet.  Still addicted to PUBG.
If global warming is real then how come I just felt this chill down my spine?

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Episode #714
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2019, 12:13:27 AM »
Half the human population of the world cannot convert the precursor beta carotene to retinol, the form of vitamin A that humans can use.

Indeed, it would be quite pointless to prevent the blindness of as many as a quarter of a million children annually if the measure is not universally effective; much better to let all half million succumb.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Online bachfiend

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Re: Episode #714
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2019, 12:58:45 AM »
Half the human population of the world cannot convert the precursor beta carotene to retinol, the form of vitamin A that humans can use.  Without fats in the diet, the problem is worsened.  Letting the populations eat risk return to the agricultural regimes that kept them healthy in the past would be a much better idea in many ways.  Might have to recover land form large corporations monocropping the land that peasants used to own and fed themselves with, before they were convinced to work in t shirt factories for consumers in the developed world.

Retinol (which is the form all humans can use) is plentiful in many animal products, like organ meat, egg, and fish roe, a part of their ancestral healthy diet.  Adding beta carotene to poor diets will not work very well, IMHO.  Might be better if vitamin A (not beta carotene) supplements were freely distributed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19103647?dopt=Abstract

The paper is behind a paywall, and I don’t want to pay $35 to read it.  But from the abstract, 45% of the population examined have alleles causing reduced conversion of beta-carotene into vitamin A, not absent conversion.

Increasing dietary beta-carotene may very well result in adequate vitamin A levels in individuals with reduced conversion.

Giving supplementary vitamin A is cheap, but it’s not easy, since the target populations  for Golden Rice are poor rural populations in developing countries with poor infrastructure.  It’s relatively easy to get vitamin A into urban populations.  Not so easy for the rural boondocks.

Actually, eggs aren’t a good source of vitamin A.

Golden Rice won’t cause any harm, and it may help.  I’m a little sceptical about Golden Rice.  It doesn’t seem as though there have been any studies testing its effectiveness in the target populations.  It seems as though phases 1, 2 and 3 have been bypassed, and going directly to phase 4.
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Offline lonely moa

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Re: Episode #714
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2019, 03:19:00 AM »
Other reputable sources do say only 25% of humans aren't capable of converting beta carotene to retinol in necessary amounts but anyone needs fats in their diets to make the conversion, not likely in the group that takes 70% of their calories in rice.

Three hen's eggs have 20% of one's daily requirement for retinol, and about 25% of my daily protein and zero insulin requirement.  Mind you, I had 7 eggs today. The hens are back in production lately.
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Online bachfiend

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Re: Episode #714
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2019, 05:53:14 AM »
Other reputable sources do say only 25% of humans aren't capable of converting beta carotene to retinol in necessary amounts but anyone needs fats in their diets to make the conversion, not likely in the group that takes 70% of their calories in rice.

Three hen's eggs have 20% of one's daily requirement for retinol, and about 25% of my daily protein and zero insulin requirement.  Mind you, I had 7 eggs today. The hens are back in production lately.

Reference to your latest different claim regarding beta-carotene?

The target population for Golden Rice are poor rural farming families in developing countries.  Rural families are often large.  To supply 3 eggs a day would require the families to each have a lot of chooks.

It’s not necessary to have dietary fat to convert beta-carotene to vitamin A, but it may be necessary to have a little to absorb beta-carotene.
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Offline lucek

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Re: Episode #714
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2019, 08:19:11 AM »
I am a computer programer who dabbles in AI. Not enough to be interviewed but I do understand the basics. Today AI are typically redundant neural networks. Well what does that mean. A neural network in computing is a set of variables called nodes arranged in layers. The raw data has weights aplied to each data point and a value is assigned to the first node in that row. Then this happens with different weights for the second node etc. Once the first row is done the values has weights applied to it and it becomes the first node in the second row. This continues untill the final row gives a value for each answer.
Then comes training. Training the AI is just tweeking the weights so ones that return a correct answer are strengthened while ones that returned a wrong answer are weakened. A common but slower way of doing this is to use an evolutionary algorithm. Make random changes to the weights and copy the best and repeat. On the other hand there are recursive neural networks were an AI is set to judge and tweek the weights of another AI.
That brings me to the water and boat thing. It's not that a programmer told the AI water=boat its that the AI hit on how to recognize water and the grading turned up the knob for boat.

One last thing we are looking at Y2Ks big brother in just under 19 years. The unix timecode rollover is going to happen on January 19 2038.
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Offline Ron Obvious

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Re: Episode #714
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2019, 10:09:24 AM »
One last thing we are looking at Y2Ks big brother in just under 19 years. The unix timecode rollover is going to happen on January 19 2038.

Do you really think there will be a lot of legacy 32 bit systems with a 32bit time_t around at that time? 64 bit time_t will be more than sufficient for the whole of our civilisation even if we're extremely optimistic as to how long it will last.

 

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