public misconceptions

For the discussion of the sciences. Physics problems, chemistry equations, biology weirdness, it all goes here.

Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Eebster the Great
Posts: 3459
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: public misconceptions

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:43 am UTC

kernelpanic wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:Unfortunately, space travel is really, really expensive.

No it's not. NASA's budget is about 0.5% of the US federal budget. People spend more per year on things like lip balm, and way more on food that ultimately gets wasted.

I don't see how personal expenses are even remotely relevant.

0.5% of the budget is pretty large. In fact, it's $17.6 billion dollars. Compare that to the NSF, which costs just $6.87 billion, or the FDA which is just $2.8 billion. It is admittedly a little smaller than the NIH, but that's like saying Donald Trump isn't quite as rich as Bill Gates.

I'm not trying to argue that NASA funding should be cut, just that it is currently very expensive relative to other publicly funded scientific research.

p1t1o
Posts: 947
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: public misconceptions

Postby p1t1o » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:02 am UTC

One can argue all day about the relative costs of different things, and arguments like "we spend more money on deoderant etc" are not very applicable as they are private expenses that each individual chooses to make seperately. 17-odd billion is still about 60bucks from every american, sure you might say that the average american spends way more than that on just bacon each year, but that doesn't make NASA cheaper than bacon.

The fact is that space travel, not just NASA, does has a high price for its payoff. I would suggest that, if you can apply some sort of metaphorical , arbitrary unit of measurement for "amount of valuable research" then you would get more units spending it on Earth than in space.

A manned mission to Mars, for example, would essentially be an archeological expedition - the benefits to quality of life on earth would be vague at best.

For comparison, the LHC (which has similarly vague applications to quality of life), cost something on the order of ten billion to build and is one of the largest scientific installations on the planet and will provide huge amounts of data for years - on just over half of NASAs annual budget.

Just my opinion at the moment :)

NB: by "vague", I don't mean "none".

User avatar
idobox
Posts: 1591
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:54 pm UTC
Location: Marseille, France

Re: public misconceptions

Postby idobox » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:46 am UTC

p1t1o wrote:For comparison, the LHC (which has similarly vague applications to quality of life), cost something on the order of ten billion to build and is one of the largest scientific installations on the planet and will provide huge amounts of data for years - on just over half of NASAs annual budget.

Yet, particles physics yield little to no everyday use. Understanding the fundemental laws of the universe has a lot of philosophical value, but finding if there was (is?) life on Mars has a lot too.
The debate on where to put money is always difficult. Myself, I think we should spend much more in cybernetics and understanding the human brain. Come on, the singularity isn't going to happen by itself. Well, maybe.
If there is no answer, there is no question. If there is no solution, there is no problem.

Waffles to space = 100% pure WIN.

p1t1o
Posts: 947
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: public misconceptions

Postby p1t1o » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:46 am UTC

I'd plow more into fusion power stations, solving the energy crisis=more happiness (one would hope) and good for more big science too.

User avatar
You, sir, name?
Posts: 6983
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:07 am UTC
Location: Chako Paul City
Contact:

Re: public misconceptions

Postby You, sir, name? » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:21 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:I'd plow more into fusion power stations, solving the energy crisis=more happiness (one would hope) and good for more big science too.


Fusion is 20 years into the future. It's been that way since the '60s, and will likely remain 20 years into the future for several decades.
I edit my posts a lot and sometimes the words wrong order words appear in sentences get messed up.

p1t1o
Posts: 947
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: public misconceptions

Postby p1t1o » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:41 pm UTC

What is more likely is that fossil fuels are cheaper/easier, once it becomes economical to look harder elsewhere I bet suddenly it becomes easy.

User avatar
You, sir, name?
Posts: 6983
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:07 am UTC
Location: Chako Paul City
Contact:

Re: public misconceptions

Postby You, sir, name? » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:50 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:What is more likely is that fossil fuels are cheaper/easier, once it becomes economical to look harder elsewhere I bet suddenly it becomes easy.


It's not really a matter of economy. It's a matter of getting the process to actually work in the first place (in a way that generates more energy than it consumes).
I edit my posts a lot and sometimes the words wrong order words appear in sentences get messed up.

User avatar
SlyReaper
inflatable
Posts: 8015
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:09 pm UTC
Location: Bristol, Old Blighty

Re: public misconceptions

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:51 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:What is more likely is that fossil fuels are cheaper/easier, once it becomes economical to look harder elsewhere I bet suddenly it becomes easy.

This is pretty much why I facepalm every time I hear a news report of yet another oil deposit being discovered. I want oil to become so expensive that we're forced to move to something better. Because it won't happen until we're forced.
Image
What would Baron Harkonnen do?

p1t1o
Posts: 947
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: public misconceptions

Postby p1t1o » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:00 pm UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:It's a matter of getting the process to actually work in the first place (in a way that generates more energy than it consumes).


Sure, thats right, and to do that money needs to be spent on research and facilities and I bet there is suddenly a lot more of that available once the price and availability of oil/gas goes above a certain threshold.

In that way it is a matter of economy.

User avatar
You, sir, name?
Posts: 6983
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:07 am UTC
Location: Chako Paul City
Contact:

Re: public misconceptions

Postby You, sir, name? » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:39 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:It's a matter of getting the process to actually work in the first place (in a way that generates more energy than it consumes).


Sure, thats right, and to do that money needs to be spent on research and facilities and I bet there is suddenly a lot more of that available once the price and availability of oil/gas goes above a certain threshold.

In that way it is a matter of economy.


That would put significant strain the economy, making less money available for research.

And as stated earlier in this thread, scientific progress towards a particular goal is only loosely connected to funding. It's not like if you pour twice as much money into developing some application, you have it twice as fast. Once you reach a certain saturation level, you may only get it 10% faster, or for that matter 25% slower (if money is spent barking up the wrong tree).
I edit my posts a lot and sometimes the words wrong order words appear in sentences get messed up.

p1t1o
Posts: 947
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: public misconceptions

Postby p1t1o » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:04 pm UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:
p1t1o wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:It's a matter of getting the process to actually work in the first place (in a way that generates more energy than it consumes).


Sure, thats right, and to do that money needs to be spent on research and facilities and I bet there is suddenly a lot more of that available once the price and availability of oil/gas goes above a certain threshold.

In that way it is a matter of economy.


That would put significant strain the economy, making less money available for research.

And as stated earlier in this thread, scientific progress towards a particular goal is only loosely connected to funding. It's not like if you pour twice as much money into developing some application, you have it twice as fast. Once you reach a certain saturation level, you may only get it 10% faster, or for that matter 25% slower (if money is spent barking up the wrong tree).


I agree with "twice as much money does not equal twice as much progress", but there is a rough correlation between funding and success.
The way it came up was "what could the money for space travel be better spent on" and I suggested fusion - I dont see how redirecting resources would put a strain on an economy.

What would you rather spend the money on?

User avatar
You, sir, name?
Posts: 6983
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:07 am UTC
Location: Chako Paul City
Contact:

Re: public misconceptions

Postby You, sir, name? » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:08 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:
p1t1o wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:It's a matter of getting the process to actually work in the first place (in a way that generates more energy than it consumes).


Sure, thats right, and to do that money needs to be spent on research and facilities and I bet there is suddenly a lot more of that available once the price and availability of oil/gas goes above a certain threshold.

In that way it is a matter of economy.


That would put significant strain the economy, making less money available for research.

And as stated earlier in this thread, scientific progress towards a particular goal is only loosely connected to funding. It's not like if you pour twice as much money into developing some application, you have it twice as fast. Once you reach a certain saturation level, you may only get it 10% faster, or for that matter 25% slower (if money is spent barking up the wrong tree).


I agree with "twice as much money does not equal twice as much progress", but there is a rough correlation between funding and success.
The way it came up was "what could the money for space travel be better spent on" and I suggested fusion - I dont see how redirecting resources would put a strain on an economy.

What would you rather spend the money on?


I meant that the oil economy breaking down would be a strain on the economy, leading to less government money available for alternative energy research.
I edit my posts a lot and sometimes the words wrong order words appear in sentences get messed up.

p1t1o
Posts: 947
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: public misconceptions

Postby p1t1o » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:25 pm UTC

Oh I see what you mean, good point, well then I doubt there would be much for space travel either in that case lol

User avatar
eSOANEM
:D
Posts: 3652
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:39 pm UTC
Location: Grantabrycge

Re: public misconceptions

Postby eSOANEM » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:38 pm UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:
p1t1o wrote:What is more likely is that fossil fuels are cheaper/easier, once it becomes economical to look harder elsewhere I bet suddenly it becomes easy.


It's not really a matter of economy. It's a matter of getting the process to actually work in the first place (in a way that generates more energy than it consumes).


There is a lot of evidence to suggest that ITER (which should make its first plasma in 2018) will have Q>1 which is a massive increase from the de facto Q of ~ 0.05 at JET but is due to using super-conducting magnets (which also mean it can run for longer) and it being bigger.
my pronouns are they

Magnanimous wrote:(fuck the macrons)

User avatar
Antimony-120
Posts: 830
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:16 am UTC
Location: Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat.

Re: public misconceptions

Postby Antimony-120 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:22 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:I agree with "twice as much money does not equal twice as much progress", but there is a rough correlation between funding and success.


There really isn't, beyond a certain level, which is what you sir, name? and I have been saying. It's not that there is insufficient funding, it's that it takes time and advances in many fields for each major technological breakthrough. Which is why you can't just focus it all on one area and say that will fix things. It's an incredibly inefficient way to do things, doesn't get things done much faster at all, and forgoes advances in other areas. Science isn't like engineering, where the applications are known in advance, it's all speculative.

And while 17 Billion sounds like a lot, it is 1/200th of the U.S. federal budget. Foreign aid is lower yes (I believe it's something like 0.35%, but that is old data I half-remember from years ago), but it's not so much lower that slashing science funding in half is going to suddenly solve the world's problems.

Keeping in mind that federally funded scientific research has given us most of the newer forms of plastic, more efficient cars and planes, better, cleaner, power production, computers, satalites...and that's a very short list from the past 30 YEARS.

Yeah, I'd say the cost/benefit analysis of funding science at random is actually pretty bloody good.
Wolydarg wrote:That was like a roller coaster of mathematical reasoning. Problems! Solutions! More problems!


****************Signature Dehosted, New Signature Under Construction************************

p1t1o
Posts: 947
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: public misconceptions

Postby p1t1o » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:44 pm UTC

Antimony-120 wrote:newer forms of plastic, more efficient cars and planes, better, cleaner, power production, computers, satalites


While I accept what you are saying, perhaps there is a point where shovelling cash in leads to diminishing returns.

However, a few of those technologies referred to above largely came about due to military research in time or at risk of war, where goverments would channel vast funds towards those projects which would give an advantage in a conflict, sattelites came from ICBMs, computers were built to break codes and design planes, missiles and test nuclear bombs etc

I see your point though.

User avatar
Dopefish
Posts: 855
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:46 am UTC
Location: The Well of Wishes

Re: public misconceptions

Postby Dopefish » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:57 pm UTC

I think in addition to funding in general, you'd need a corresponding increase in researchers, which might come as a by-product of increasing financial support for students/universities or otherwise increasing the incentive for the average person to aspire to be a scientist, rather than someone working a standard day job. I have no idea what fraction of individuals go on to be scientists, but it's probably somewhat smaller than other job types (although I could well be wrong). On a per person basis, science might well be fairly bloated in monetary benefits already. Sure we could always find more uses, but it wouldn't necessarily be better science.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26765
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: public misconceptions

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:09 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:
SWGlassPit wrote:Define "better."
Starving children? Societal instability?
And those problems exist because we don't throw enough money at them, do they?
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

p1t1o
Posts: 947
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: public misconceptions

Postby p1t1o » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:21 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
p1t1o wrote:
SWGlassPit wrote:Define "better."
Starving children? Societal instability?
And those problems exist because we don't throw enough money at them, do they?


Steady on :shock:

Technical Ben
Posts: 2986
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 10:42 pm UTC

Re: public misconceptions

Postby Technical Ben » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:43 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
p1t1o wrote:
SWGlassPit wrote:Define "better."
Starving children? Societal instability?
And those problems exist because we don't throw enough money at them, do they?

Yes?
People were dying of mosquito bites. Someone thought, "why is no one buying them nets?" They buy nets. Now they don't die.

However, "societal instability" is not fixed by money. "Starving children" could be. (As long as those given the money do not spend it on bombs etc. But the same applies to anything)
It's all physics and stamp collecting.
It's not a particle or a wave. It's just an exchange.

User avatar
Antimony-120
Posts: 830
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:16 am UTC
Location: Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat.

Re: public misconceptions

Postby Antimony-120 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:19 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:
Antimony-120 wrote:newer forms of plastic, more efficient cars and planes, better, cleaner, power production, computers, satalites


While I accept what you are saying, perhaps there is a point where shovelling cash in leads to diminishing returns.

However, a few of those technologies referred to above largely came about due to military research in time or at risk of war, where goverments would channel vast funds towards those projects which would give an advantage in a conflict, sattelites came from ICBMs, computers were built to break codes and design planes, missiles and test nuclear bombs etc

I see your point though.


So wait, you think that we're shovelling cash, and doing so gets nothing done, then go on to say that in times of war when cash has been plentiful more research got done...I must admit to some confusion.

Yes the U.S. military research is quite possibly bloated, but that is defense spending and should be cut appropriately, it is not science spending, it is not handled by the same organizations, and the scientific organizations are by comparison relatively spendthrift. I fully agree that there exists a point where diminishing returns occurs, but we are not at it. I don't think NASA's budget is bloated. Furthermore, it isn't a large enough portion of the budget to make slashing it worthwhile for more "humanitarian" concerns. Lastly, I would say that since it is one of the most powerful driving factors behind standard of living, doing so will net a short term gain as a trade long term losses.

I'm not against spending more on aid. I'm not against welfare, healthcare, or social services. I'm not against getting foreign aid up to promised targets. But suggesting we slash science funding for such a purpose is like telling David that before he does anything with that sling he should spend time getting that itchy sand out of his shoes. It's at best minor gain that ends with a large loss.

EDIT: This is getting rather off topic, maybe we should move it?
Wolydarg wrote:That was like a roller coaster of mathematical reasoning. Problems! Solutions! More problems!


****************Signature Dehosted, New Signature Under Construction************************

User avatar
TheChewanater
Posts: 1279
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:24 am UTC
Location: lol why am I still wearing a Santa suit?

Re: public misconceptions

Postby TheChewanater » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:23 pm UTC

ImageImage
http://internetometer.com/give/4279
No one can agree how to count how many types of people there are. You could ask two people and get 10 different answers.

User avatar
EdgarJPublius
Official Propagandi.... Nifty Poster Guy
Posts: 3715
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:56 am UTC
Location: where the wind takes me

Re: public misconceptions

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:39 pm UTC

Antimony-120 wrote:And while 17 Billion sounds like a lot, it is 1/200th of the U.S. federal budget. Foreign aid is lower yes (I believe it's something like 0.35%, but that is old data I half-remember from years ago), but it's not so much lower that slashing science funding in half is going to suddenly solve the world's problems.


It should also be noted that just looking at foreign aid as a budget item in the U.S. is deceptive, a lot of Aid given by the U.S. government actually comes from the Military. Such as the carriers and hospital ships deployed to the Haiti and Indian Ocean Earthquakes
Roosevelt wrote:
I wrote:Does Space Teddy Roosevelt wrestle Space Bears and fight the Space Spanish-American War with his band of Space-volunteers the Space Rough Riders?

Yes.

-still unaware of the origin and meaning of his own user-title

User avatar
wbeaty
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:54 am UTC
Location: Bagley Hall basement, futzing with kilowatt VHF pulse amplifiers (UW Seattle campus))
Contact:

Re: public misconceptions

Postby wbeaty » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:24 am UTC

Technical Ben wrote:People were dying of mosquito bites. Someone thought, "why is no one buying them nets?" They buy nets. Now they don't die.


Actually it went more like this: people were dying of Malaria and Yellow Fever, and MDs repeatedly showed that it was transmitted by mosquitoes. The entire medical establishment sneered. A tiny insect obviously cannot cause such damage. Re. Reed, Nott, Finlay, Gorgas. The fight to convince the majority took decades. For example, the Panama Canal project was collapsing because of attrition from Malaria and Yellow Fever. Gorgas tried to start mosquito eradication, but foes of the obviously foolish "mosquito theory" put a stop to that until J. Stevens and Pres. Roosevelt directly intervened to force the issue. Only after enormous public success in the Canal Zone did the link between Malaria and mosquito nets make the jump from " embarrassing crackpot theory" to "the correct solution obvious to all."
((((((((((((((( ( (o) ) )))))))))))))))
William Beaty . . .Science Hobbyist page
http://amasci.com . . billb o eskimocom

p1t1o
Posts: 947
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: public misconceptions

Postby p1t1o » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:41 am UTC

A great deal of mosquito nets are donated privately, Sumitomo, for one, run their mosquito net business at a loss and also have conducted research into better formulations and construction (they were the first to provide a net with "embedded" repellant rather than one that need re-treating every few weeks).

User avatar
Velifer
Posts: 1132
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2007 4:05 pm UTC
Location: 40ºN, 83ºW

Re: public misconceptions

Postby Velifer » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:50 pm UTC

Permethrin treated bed nets increase the incidence of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and COPD.
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies have nothing to lose but their chains -Marx

torgos
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:47 pm UTC
Location: The Hammock District

Re: public misconceptions

Postby torgos » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:07 pm UTC

Technical Ben wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
p1t1o wrote:
SWGlassPit wrote:Define "better."
Starving children? Societal instability?
And those problems exist because we don't throw enough money at them, do they?

Yes?
People were dying of mosquito bites. Someone thought, "why is no one buying them nets?" They buy nets. Now they don't die.


Net donation programs have a very checkered history of success.
The secret ingredient is...love!? Who's been screwing with this thing?

p1t1o
Posts: 947
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: public misconceptions

Postby p1t1o » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:23 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:Permethrin treated bed nets increase the incidence of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and COPD.


Offset by huge drops in malaria.

Also, modern nets are impregnated rater than dipped, leading to lower human exposure.

User avatar
Antimony-120
Posts: 830
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:16 am UTC
Location: Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat.

Re: public misconceptions

Postby Antimony-120 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:38 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:Permethrin treated bed nets increase the incidence of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and COPD.


And a portion of the population is allergic to several types of antibiotics. On occasion someone will die from such a reaction. Still doesn't make antibiotics a bad thing. You tell me I can either have a carcinogen that slightly increases my risk of cancer over my lifetime, or a strong chance of dying from one of several diseases...I'll take the cancer risk thank you very much.
Wolydarg wrote:That was like a roller coaster of mathematical reasoning. Problems! Solutions! More problems!


****************Signature Dehosted, New Signature Under Construction************************

mercutio_stencil
Posts: 293
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:36 pm UTC

Re: public misconceptions

Postby mercutio_stencil » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:32 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:Permethrin treated bed nets increase the incidence of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and COPD.


There is also the strange fact that while all bed nets get 're-purposed' to some extent as fishing nets, for some reason the Permethrin impregnated nets are preferentially used as fishing nets by people. I have the citation buried on my hard drive somewhere, I swear.

p1t1o
Posts: 947
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: public misconceptions

Postby p1t1o » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:07 am UTC

mercutio_stencil wrote:
Velifer wrote:Permethrin treated bed nets increase the incidence of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and COPD.


There is also the strange fact that while all bed nets get 're-purposed' to some extent as fishing nets, for some reason the Permethrin impregnated nets are preferentially used as fishing nets by people. I have the citation buried on my hard drive somewhere, I swear.


Do you mean as opposed to the dip-treated nets? Could be because the impregnated nets cannot have the permethrin washed off, so less of it ends up in the water and in the fish. Then again, you could probably wash a dipped net almost completely clean. You got me there.
Permethrin is extremely toxic to aquatic life.

User avatar
Velifer
Posts: 1132
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2007 4:05 pm UTC
Location: 40ºN, 83ºW

Re: public misconceptions

Postby Velifer » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:21 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:Permethrin treated bed nets increase the incidence of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and COPD.

And looking at the replies, we see the public misconception at work.
People die of those things because they live long enough to do so.
Television viewing is also correlated with those diseases. Correlation and causality work in ways the public doesn't always understand.

(and permethrin in a bed net is not mobile enough or present in large enough amounts to be a threat to life in a stream or lake. Perhaps a small puddle, not a lake.)
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies have nothing to lose but their chains -Marx

User avatar
Antimony-120
Posts: 830
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:16 am UTC
Location: Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat.

Re: public misconceptions

Postby Antimony-120 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:04 pm UTC

mercutio_stencil wrote:
Velifer wrote:Permethrin treated bed nets increase the incidence of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and COPD.


There is also the strange fact that while all bed nets get 're-purposed' to some extent as fishing nets, for some reason the Permethrin impregnated nets are preferentially used as fishing nets by people. I have the citation buried on my hard drive somewhere, I swear.


Hypothosis 1: They were better nets. Lack of understanding about the nets led to the (actually quite clever given the facts they had immediate access to) idea that they would use the cheap bed nets as bed nets, where they wouldn't see much wear, and use the stronger, longer lasting nets in fishing, where they would be worn out much more quickly.

Hypothosis 2: Does Permethrin have an odour? It may be that they nets were, for whatever reason, uncomfortable or annoying as bed nets, and therefore were preferentially repurposed.
Wolydarg wrote:That was like a roller coaster of mathematical reasoning. Problems! Solutions! More problems!


****************Signature Dehosted, New Signature Under Construction************************

p1t1o
Posts: 947
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: public misconceptions

Postby p1t1o » Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:41 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:
Velifer wrote:Permethrin treated bed nets increase the incidence of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and COPD.

And looking at the replies, we see the public misconception at work.
People die of those things because they live long enough to do so.
Television viewing is also correlated with those diseases. Correlation and causality work in ways the public doesn't always understand.

(and permethrin in a bed net is not mobile enough or present in large enough amounts to be a threat to life in a stream or lake. Perhaps a small puddle, not a lake.)


Hmm, I see your point, but I'm still not convinced. I happen to work for a company that uses a great deal of permethrin in insect-control products and have never heard of this sort of effect. Ever use bug repellant spray, or a candle? You were probably exposed to a great deal more permethrin (if it happened to use that particular active) than you would from sleeping under a treated net.

I'd be interested to see any references? To be clear, I'm keeping an open mind about this one.

Seraph
Posts: 343
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 4:51 pm UTC

Re: public misconceptions

Postby Seraph » Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:44 am UTC

p1t1o wrote:
Velifer wrote:
Velifer wrote:Permethrin treated bed nets increase the incidence of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and COPD.

And looking at the replies, we see the public misconception at work.
People die of those things because they live long enough to do so.
Television viewing is also correlated with those diseases. Correlation and causality work in ways the public doesn't always understand.

(and permethrin in a bed net is not mobile enough or present in large enough amounts to be a threat to life in a stream or lake. Perhaps a small puddle, not a lake.)


Hmm, I see your point, but I'm still not convinced. I happen to work for a company that uses a great deal of permethrin in insect-control products and have never heard of this sort of effect. Ever use bug repellant spray, or a candle? You were probably exposed to a great deal more permethrin (if it happened to use that particular active) than you would from sleeping under a treated net.

I'd be interested to see any references? To be clear, I'm keeping an open mind about this one.

I just want to make sure I understand you. You're not convinced that if fewer people die young from mosquito bites that more people are going to survive to old age and therefor suffer from old-age diseases?

User avatar
EdgarJPublius
Official Propagandi.... Nifty Poster Guy
Posts: 3715
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:56 am UTC
Location: where the wind takes me

Re: public misconceptions

Postby EdgarJPublius » Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:43 am UTC

idobox wrote:
p1t1o wrote:For comparison, the LHC (which has similarly vague applications to quality of life), cost something on the order of ten billion to build and is one of the largest scientific installations on the planet and will provide huge amounts of data for years - on just over half of NASAs annual budget.

Yet, particles physics yield little to no everyday use.


Other than basically every component of the computer you are using at this very moment to read this comment?
Roosevelt wrote:
I wrote:Does Space Teddy Roosevelt wrestle Space Bears and fight the Space Spanish-American War with his band of Space-volunteers the Space Rough Riders?

Yes.

-still unaware of the origin and meaning of his own user-title

User avatar
SlyReaper
inflatable
Posts: 8015
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:09 pm UTC
Location: Bristol, Old Blighty

Re: public misconceptions

Postby SlyReaper » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:00 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:
idobox wrote:
p1t1o wrote:For comparison, the LHC (which has similarly vague applications to quality of life), cost something on the order of ten billion to build and is one of the largest scientific installations on the planet and will provide huge amounts of data for years - on just over half of NASAs annual budget.

Yet, particles physics yield little to no everyday use.


Other than basically every component of the computer you are using at this very moment to read this comment?

That's a stretch. Yes, it involves electrons, but that's about it. So do light bulbs. You don't need a particularly deep knowledge of particle physics to design a microchip. I guess you need some to mitigate things like electron migration, but you don't exactly need to be a CERN-level specialist. Knowledge of antimatter and muons and hadrons and neutrinos and the various flavours of quarks has yet to yield anything useful beyond using them to learn more particle physics.

That's not to say they won't.
Image
What would Baron Harkonnen do?

User avatar
idobox
Posts: 1591
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:54 pm UTC
Location: Marseille, France

Re: public misconceptions

Postby idobox » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:55 am UTC

Computers, and semi-conductors, work using the principles of quantum physics, sure. But you don't need to understand where electrons and nuclei come from to design a transistor.
I am not saying we should cut spending on particle physics, or space exploration, or any other big science project. But science gets money from politicians, and it is easier to justify your needs when you can provide short or mid term useful technology.
If there is no answer, there is no question. If there is no solution, there is no problem.

Waffles to space = 100% pure WIN.

p1t1o
Posts: 947
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:32 pm UTC
Location: London, UK

Re: public misconceptions

Postby p1t1o » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:59 am UTC

Seraph wrote:I just want to make sure I understand you. You're not convinced that if fewer people die young from mosquito bites that more people are going to survive to old age and therefor suffer from old-age diseases?


What I'm "not convinced" of is permethrin being the cause of deaths.

The statistics might be skewed by the increased number of people surviving to old age, but the implication is that permethrin is causing the incidence of the various diseases mentioned to be higher in those surviving people than it would otherwise be.

Like I said, I'm not convinced, which was why I asked for any clarification that Velifer could provide.

User avatar
TaintedDeity
Posts: 4003
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:22 pm UTC
Location: England;

Re: public misconceptions

Postby TaintedDeity » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:22 am UTC

I'm pretty sure Velifer said nothing of the sort, and was in fact offering another reason for the increased incidence of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and COPD than the permethrin.
Ⓞⓞ◯


Return to “Science”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests