top Ask Slashdot: Should I Get Google Glass?
Yeah, but just think of the ad revenue from putting the resulting video up on YouTube for us all to laugh at.
POW! Ha ha, that never gets old.
top Ask Slashdot: Should I Get Google Glass?
Pretty soon there will be a $399 version that's 10x better than the first generation.
If you can get $1,500 worth of fun showing it off to people in the first year then sure.
top Google Tells Glass Users Not To Be 'Creepy Or Rude'
Google with their insistence on a camera-based social-media augmented-reality creepy-invasive experience is going to set back the cause of direct human-computer interaction by years.
Honestly I don't want a camera in my "glass". I want a link to something like my desktop computing resources. It's an intimate experience between me and the computer, not between my computer and the environment around me. Sure there are some cute apps you can do with the camera, but the creepy factor is going to make people as self-conscious and obvious as a Segway rider (and we know how that turned out).
When I can PAY for a device that has MY interests at heart rather than the latest data power grab by Google then I'll be interested.
Connect me with the Internet then get the fuck out of the way. I don't need you to mediate every interaction I have, not only with information from the net but with the real world around me.
top Community-sourced news site, soylentnews.org, goes live
top Majority of Young American Adults Think Astrology Is a Science
Indeed, I think it's probably a good sign that kids today probably don't know what Astrology is and figure that it's "the one with the telescopes".
Similarly how many people here know the difference between Cryonics and Cryogenics? One is the study of ultra-low temperature, and the other is the movement surrounding freezing your body after you die with the goal of resurrecting you later when technology advances far enough. But do you know which is which without looking it up?
top Tiny Motors Controlled Inside Human Cells
A couple things...
The environment inside a cell is nothing like a lake or ocean that you can go merrily boating through. The cell is packed with molecules jostling each other around and it's random thermal motion that rules that world. Overcoming that with a motor and expecting to maneuver around to specific places just does not seem like it is going to be effective.
Nature is actually quite fond of electric motors (you have lots of them in every cell in the form of ATP Synthase, and they're used by bacteria to drive flagella etc.) but has apparently not found them useful for maneuvering around inside a cell.
top Ask Slashdot: What happens when there are no more bitcoins left to be mined?
When I had these questions, the Wikipedia article on BitCoin (and the associated one with the protocol details) answered them.
top Gmail Experiencing Outage
about a month and a half ago
top GMail is down
Nothing to see here...
about a month and a half ago
top SpaceShipTwo Sets a New Altitude Record
The original Spaceship One went something like five or six times higher, so I presume these are just "low altitude" test flights before they try for "space".
It's notable as continued progress in the development and testing of the Spaceship Two vehicle and system, not for its altitude.
Use of the word "record" in the summary is not particularly helpful.
top Metal-Free 'Rhubarb' Battery Could Store Renewable Grid Energy
I'm going to start demanding a nickle in response to every press release announcing a new miracle battery technology.
I figure that will let me retire in about 18 months.
top Steam Family Sharing now out of beta
According to TFA linked in the summary, this does NOT include the Family Sharing feature, just Family parental control options.
top Are High MOOC Failure Rates a Bug Or a Feature?
The ability to join in a course based ONLY on the fact that you're interested in it, with no risk of "failure" is, I think, one of the best features of many MOOCs.
Where there's no difference between "auditing" a class and trying for a certificate, it means that people may be much more likely to try something which they might turn out to enjoy and do well in.
Now, I'm sure if you required people to pay something for the class, or commit to trying for a certificate such that there would be a record/cost of failure, then that would greatly increase the *percentage* of people who would pass. The question is whether you would get more people passing overall since it would stop everyone who was not sufficiently "serious" from attempting the course.
Even those who sign up on a whim and don't get far in a course will probably get something from it, and they might well decide that it was something they want to try again more seriously the next time once they have a taste of what it's about and the amount of work involved.
So absolutely I think "no pressure" is the right way to run a MOOC.
top Brain Function "Boosted For Days After Reading a Novel"
I find that reading a good book is like a complete exercise workout for your brain, and I know I feel a lot sharper when I'm reading regularly.
If I'm having trouble working through some problem or other then taking some time to read is always helpful, even if the subject of the book is unrelated to the problem at hand.
It seems as though it needs to be something with a lot of prose but either fiction or non-fiction works.
Moderately technical non-fiction is OK as long as it is interesting and mentally stimulating (makes you stop and think etc.).
But pure technical books don't seem to help at all and may just clutter things up with new knowledge that the brain is trying to assimilate. So for example pretty much anything from O'Reilly will not make me feel generally smarter even though it may be very good at cramming in the domain specific knowledge I need for some project.
So just reading tech books is not very helpful at all, and needs to be supplemented with more general works from my experience.
top GNU Octave Gets a GUI
Well, Mathematica is now free for non-commercial use on the Raspberry Pi of all things.
You could run a Raspberry emulator and run it inside that on other operating systems. But I haven't looked at the license agreement so maybe that's explicitly prohibited.
No idea how it performs, but the screenshots at Wolfram look promising.
top Ted Nelson's Passionate Eulogy for Douglas Engelbart
Probably my favorite XKCD strip so far.
top Thieves Who Stole Cobalt-60 Will Soon Be Dead
Seems to me that the device itself had to be relatively harmless unless you managed to actually crack it open and get directly at the cobalt. Maybe this was a very old device, but after previous deadly incidents of ignorant people getting their hands on such things, I would think they would be manufactured such that it would be REALLY difficult to get at the cobalt inside. Maybe if you stare into the bore of the thing for a while though?
If the cobalt had actually been accessed/exposed then I would expect them to have a nasty hot clean-up exercise on their hands, but the Mexican authorities seem awfully unconcerned.
I suspect they are just trying to scare the shit out of the thieves, perhaps to motivate them to turn themselves in hoping for some sort of treatment.
top Ask Slashdot: Why So Hard Landing Interviews In Seattle Versus SoCal?
This, lol. I would mod you funny by have no points today, sorry
top Microsoft Narrows Down CEO Shortlist: Elop, Mulally, Bates, Nadella In Mix
Clearly they need to hire someone named Gil Bates, that would be awesome.
top Give Your Child the Gift of an Alzheimer's Diagnosis
Statistical probabilities tell you EVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYONE and yet NOTHING ABOUT ANYONE.
Yes, if you take 1,000 people like your daughter then of those who live to age 65 or whatever, just about 550 of them are going to get Alzheimer's.
But each individual will have an ACTUAL rate of the disease of exactly 0% or 100%, and that 55% chance actually gives you NO information about which you will be.
And without those gene variations, she still might have a 10% say chance of getting the disease.
Behind the screen the DM rolls the dice. You don't get to see the results of the roll. Anyone who has played a D&D like game, or something like World of Warcraft which is so dependent on dice (random number generators) for the outcome of events, will know that it's hopeless to think too much about what the next roll of the dice will bring, because when you're rolling a lot of numbers between 1 and 100 on a regular basis, you're going to get numbers like 1,2,3 and, 98, 99, and 100 all the time, and you absolutely cannot develop any sort of intuition based on probability.
So lots of people with 55% chances will not get the disease, and lots of people with 10% chances will.
Even when your risk factor is 95%, there's no guarantee, and you should not be "surprised" if you turn out to have it happen to you after you thought you could just round the probability to the nearest value of 0 or 100.
People hate uncertainty. Given a probability most people will NEED to decide at that point whether the event will happen or not, because they can't stand to go through life in suspense. They will ask you "Ok, so that means I will get the disease?" when it means nothing of the sort.
A 55% chance to get terrible disease by age 65 is just NOT a reason to change your lifestyle IMHO.
For a good dose of reality, take 100 people age 65 and have them get their 23 and Me tests done and watch while they laugh at all the things they were at higher risk for that they DIDN'T get and all the things they were at low risk for that they DID get. If you do this (even for one sample, give a 23 and Me gift certificate to an older relative and see how much their results make you worry less) chances are it will make you worry about probability a lot less.
Statistics are great for determining insurance rates and public health policy, but they DO NOT ACTUALLY GIVE YOU ANY INFORMATION about whether YOU as a single individual will come out one way or the other.
There are a few "completely penetrant" genetic diseases (hemophilia, etc.) where if you have the gene then you WILL GET the disease. But almost everything 23 and Me tells you is about probabilities which are much less than certain and honestly nothing to get too worked up about.
Gavin Scott has no journal entries.