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-   -   Official "Science News" Thread (https://www.mersenneforum.org/showthread.php?t=12197)

Jeff Gilchrist 2010-06-04 18:32

Adiabatic quantum computers slower than classic on
 
Adiabatic quantum computers slower than classic ones at solving NP-complete problems.

"In the end, they conclude that NP-complete problems are just as hard on an adiabatic quantum computer as on a classical computer. And, since earlier work showed the equivalence between different variants of quantum computers, that pretty much shuts down the possibility of any quantum computer helping with NP-complete problems."

[url]http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/06/magic-quantum-wand-does-not-vanish-hard-maths.ars[/url]

only_human 2010-06-14 14:59

New Quantum Theory Separates Gravitational and Inertial Mass
[I]Technology Review[/I], published by MIT
[quote]They show how it is possible to create situations in the quantum world in which the effects of inertial and gravitational mass must be different. In fact, they show that these differences can be arbitrarily large.[/quote][url]http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/25331/[/url]

only_human 2010-06-15 18:51

[url]http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19043-aspirin-and-dental-floss-homespun-highenergy-physics.html?full=true[/url]

[QUOTE]As the first physics results begin to emerge at the expensively engineered and hugely complex Large Hadron Collider, New Scientist looks at the everyday equipment that particle physicists couldn't live without – from aspirin to dental floss.[/QUOTE]

ewmayer 2010-06-15 22:18

Correcting the Record on "Crack Baby" Hysteria
 
[url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathryn-schulz/whos-on-crack-now-correct_b_542384.html]Who's on Crack Now? Correcting the Record on "Crack Baby" Hysteria[/url]
[quote]Remember the ostensible crack-baby crisis of the 1980s? I do, vividly. I was a kid then, and scare tactics were all the rage. I spent half of junior high watching b-movie filmstrips about the slippery slope from smoking a joint to shooting heroin to dying alone in a gutter while belatedly remembering mom. Feel a rising tide of hysteria all of a sudden? This is your brain on the '80s.

Of all the forms that hysteria took, one of the most egregious was the fate that was forecast for so-called crack babies. Infants born to crack-addicted mothers, we were told, would be so emotionally and intellectually stunted they would lack true personhood. They wouldn't be able "to have consciousness of God." (That's courtesy of then-Boston University President John Silber.) They would grow up to be low-IQ, high-aggression "super-predators" -- a kind of "bio-underclass." [/quote]
[i]My comment:[/i] BTW [read the rest of the article for context - it's not long], Krauthammer is German for "weed hammer". Make of that what you will.

Batalov 2010-06-16 18:58

From Faculty-of-1000
 
[B][URL="http://ecm.f1000.com/re?l=3b7tkgIy5s6sqIe"][SIZE=2][FONT=Arial Black][COLOR=#333399]Editor's Choice: Human behavior and our illusion of free will[/COLOR][/FONT][/SIZE][/URL][/B]

[FONT=Fixedsys]<<[/FONT]Debates over the existence of free will are most commonly reserved for philosophers, but [URL="http://ecm.f1000.com/re?l=3b7tkgIy5s6sqIf"][COLOR=#333399]Harold Erickson[/COLOR][/URL] of the [URL="http://ecm.f1000.com/re?l=3b7tkgIy5s6sqIg"][COLOR=#333399]Structural Biology[/COLOR][/URL] Faculty highlights a paper that brings them slap bang into the realms of biology. The article tackles the notion of free will by investigating the biological mechanisms behind human behavior. Where this discussion finds social significance is in the criminal justice system.

Dr Erickson [URL="http://ecm.f1000.com/re?l=3b7tkgIy5s6sqIh"][COLOR=#333399]begins[/COLOR][/URL]
"Dr Cashmore presents compelling arguments that free will does not exist, and that the behavior of every human is completely determined by their genetic make-up, environmental history, and stochasticism..."

He [URL="http://ecm.f1000.com/re?l=3b7tkgIy5s6sqIi"][COLOR=#333399]explains[/COLOR][/URL]
"Dr Cashmore discusses in some detail how consciousness plays a major role in giving us the illusion of free will, but he raises the anomaly (recognized by the ancient Greeks) that 'will' is thought to be a non-physical entity that can influence conscious thought yet 'will' itself lacks any causal component -- a kind of magic."

He [URL="http://ecm.f1000.com/re?l=3b7tkgIy5s6sqIj"][COLOR=#333399]continues[/COLOR][/URL]
"[The author] summarizes arguments that the evolution of society has likely selected for the illusion of free will and 'responsibility'. He concludes by discussing the implications for our criminal justice system."

He [URL="http://ecm.f1000.com/re?l=3b7tkgIy5s6sqIk"][COLOR=#333399]justifies the implications[/COLOR][/URL], saying
"It would not actually change that much in practice, since it will still be necessary to incarcerate people to protect society and act as a deterrent."

Dr Erickson accurately classifies this paper as '[COLOR=green]Controversial[/COLOR]' and an 'Interesting Hypothesis'. Thankfully, we are likely far away from pardoning unlawful activity with the excuse that criminals are merely an impartial consequence of their genes and environmental history. However, this truly is a fascinating paper that could add a whole new dimension to the murky field of free will within the judicial system.[FONT=Fixedsys]>>[/FONT]

[COLOR=green]The article can be found [/COLOR][URL="http://www.pnas.org/content/107/10/4499.long"][COLOR=green]here[/COLOR][/URL][COLOR=green].[/COLOR]

wblipp 2010-06-16 20:52

Why would anyone bother to read the article? If the article is correct, then my response to it is predetermined.

Oh wait - the decision to READ the article must also be predetermined. I guess I'm predetermined to think this is pointless nonsense.

ewmayer 2010-06-16 22:11

I started chuckling - not of my own free will, mind you - when I saw the word "stochasticism" ... shades of Jeff Goldblum's character in [i]Jurassic Park[/i] impressing all the babes with his way-kewl leather jacket and hint-dropping mention of his exciting career as a "chaotician".

It's true, our behavior may be no more unpredictable than, say, weather - if you know the exact state of the universe at some given time and have an infinitely powerful computer and ignore little nuisancy details like quantum uncertainty, then sure, you can run the perfectly-simulated model universe forward any amount of time and thus predict with perfect accuracy. Of course, none of those conditions will ever apply in the real universe, so this scenario must forever remain a [i]Gedankenexperiment[/i].

But hey, I'm not a professional stochasticisticstician, so don't take my word for it. :)

OK, more seriously, there is a valid and interesting issue here, namely that even if one accounts for the stochasticity of all physical systems including the human brain, even leaving aside the existence (or not) of free will, what is the basis of sentience?

only_human 2010-06-16 23:08

[quote=ewmayer;218884]OK, more seriously, there is a valid and interesting issue here, namely that even if one accounts for the stochasticity of all physical systems including the human brain, even leaving aside the existence (or not) of free will, what is the basis of sentience?[/quote]I'll believe that the modeling of all this will still let Gödel have my back. I mean that if there are still predictions that we cannot make within the mathematical framework we devise, it will be effectively free will (or a reasonable facsimile). If it looks like a ghoti and gulps like a goldfish, it still eats too much if you let it -- but maybe it wants to and always [I]chooses [/I] to -- for at least 10 seconds (until it forgets).

ewmayer 2010-06-22 00:44

Proof that ignorance truly is bliss
 
[url=http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/the-anosognosics-dilemma-1/?ref=opinion]The Anosognosic's Dilemma: Something's Wrong but You'll Never Know What It Is (Part 1)[/url]: [i]A ludicrously botched bank robbery leads to the question: Can you be too incompetent to understand just how incompetent you are?[/i]
[quote]DAVID DUNNING: Well, my specialty is decision-making. How well do people make the decisions they have to make in life? And I became very interested in judgments about the self, simply because, well, people tend to say things, whether it be in everyday life or in the lab, that just couldn’t possibly be true. And I became fascinated with that. Not just that people said these positive things about themselves, but they really, really believed them. Which led to my observation: if you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent.

ERROL MORRIS: Why not?

DAVID DUNNING: If you knew it, you’d say, “Wait a minute. The decision I just made does not make much sense. I had better go and get some independent advice.” But [b]when you’re incompetent, the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.[/b][/quote]
[i]My Comment:[/i] LOL, lemon juice for invisibility ... but it did make for a very zesty arrest, I imagine.

xilman 2010-06-23 15:17

The sounds of particles
 
[url]http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/science_and_environment/10385675.stm[/url]

Beautiful, IMAO, but I'm a Stockhausen fan.


Paul

Spherical Cow 2010-06-25 14:47

In case you hadn't seen it- Scientists in Italy are actually being investigated for "gross negligent manslaughter" for failing to warn of the L'Aquila earthquake.

[URL="http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/43001"]http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/43001[/URL]

Pretty scary-

Norm


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