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America's Real Criminal Element: Lead

MagikSlinger Re:Not Causation! (627 comments)

Everytime I hear people trot out the "correlation is not causation" thread, I feel like thwacking them over the head with a statistics book.

Here's the correct formulation (paraphrased from textbooks): Correlation MIGHT be causation if other factors can be analyzed and accounted for. As a corollary: If you can use different regions and times, but have only the one variable (leaded gasoline) changed, you can make a strong argument for causation.

From the MJ article:

Meanwhile, Nevin had kept busy as well, and in 2007 he published a new paper looking at crime trends around the world (PDF). This way, he could make sure the close match he'd found between the lead curve and the crime curve wasn't just a coincidence. Sure, maybe the real culprit in the United States was something else happening at the exact same time, but what are the odds of that same something happening at several different times in several different countries?

The MJ article goes through the history of this research and multiple researchers using different datasets and techniques reached the same conclusion. This may go beyond "might" by correlation.

about 2 years ago

Why JavaScript Is the New Perl

MagikSlinger I blame Node.js (453 comments)

I've seen far too many developers get excited by Node.js. Boggles my mind, personally, but the idea of a Javascript back-end is coming.

about 2 years ago

Google Engineer Shows How To Forge Swords and Knives

MagikSlinger Re:Slashvertisment, but: (201 comments)

You can if you started posting cool YouTube videos. Hint, hint! :-)

about 2 years ago

Why Can't Industry Design an Affordable Hearing Aid?

MagikSlinger Re:three words, one hyphen: (549 comments)

If everyone paid out of pocket, I can assure you it would be way cheaper.

Like pet veterinary care.

There's a much simpler, basic reason: most people believe the $1000+ hearing aids are better. They aren't really, but that is the value seniors and other place on them, and no manufacturer wants to leave money on the table. Even seniors without insurance would want to pay that price because they believe quality has to cost that much. If they bought a $300 model, seniors would be lobbying their kids for the $2000 model.

So much of health care spending is 'irrational', and as long as our comfort and longevity are on the table, we'll spend what ever it takes even if it is out of our own pockets.

more than 2 years ago

Gas Prices Jump; California Hardest Hit

MagikSlinger Re:Gasoline is an Imported Commodity (402 comments)

Wow. You manage to bring in one thing to explain this thing and get it spectacularly wrong. As someone else pointed out, the Columbus Day weekend is the traditional ramp down time for refineries in the U.S. as they rejigger their formulation for fall (You didn't know refineries changed formulas for the season?). Also, several major supply routes got messed up:

From California gasoline prices soar amid refinery and pipeline shutdowns By The Associated Press:

"Among the recent disruptions, an Aug. 6 fire at a Chevron Corp. refinery in Richmond left one of the region's largest refineries producing at a reduced capacity, and a Chevron pipeline that moves crude to northern California also was shut down. There also was a power failure that affected an Exxon Mobil Corp. refinery in Torrance, but the refinery has resumed normal operations."

As for Krugman and this being all the fault of QEx: there's a reason gas is not part of the core measure of inflation. Last I checked, we aren't in an inflation cycle yet. Gas is a volatile price (no-pun intended) that jumps way up and down responding to things like, you know, refineries having fires and pipeline shut downs. It's left out of most inflation conversations among economists.

Anyway, thanks for playing! Here's a home version of the game "The Eeeevil Fed Is Coming For Your Savings!!"

more than 2 years ago

What's Wrong With American Ninja Warrior?

MagikSlinger Re:"Sasuke" came from a ninja named Sasuke (349 comments)

That is correct, AC. "Excellence" indeed. For most Japanese, they associate the word with the ninja from legend.

more than 2 years ago

Nature: Global Temperatures Are a Falling Trend

MagikSlinger Try RealClimate's take on the paper (786 comments)

Read RealClimate's coverage.

Basically, there was some growing problem (no pun intended) with tree-ring based temperature studies, and this study helps figure out how to take into account those problems, and a probably cause.

more than 2 years ago

Japanese Parliament: Fukushima a Man-Made Disaster

MagikSlinger Re:I'm surprised (134 comments)

What I *am* surprised about is that they're admitting to it this quickly. I expected it to be a decade or two before TEPCO or the government would admit that anything but the earthquake/tsunami were to blame. And that they're even blaming their own culture of discipline... wow. That's some harsh self-criticism.

Exactly. Japanese Parliamentary reports are usually cover-ups or whitewashes of political and industry screw ups. This is probably a first in Japanese post-war history!

more than 2 years ago

Joe Cornish To Write and Direct Snow Crash Movie

MagikSlinger Am I the ony one who didn't like Snow Crash? (256 comments)

I tried to read it, but couldn't get past the first 100 pages. It was trying soooooo hard to be cool & edgy it turned me off. It was a like an Ritalin-addicts pastiche of William Gibson.

I think everything he wrote from from Cryptonomicon on are his best works. The Baroque Cycle was fantastic! It's kind of sad that it's Snow Crash that gets all the attention.

more than 2 years ago

Arrested CERN Physicist Gets 5 Years For Terror Plot

MagikSlinger Re:What a dick. (155 comments)

Yeah! Just leave that to the birds! :-)

more than 2 years ago

Santorum Suspends Presidential Campaign

MagikSlinger Re:Ron Paul (577 comments)

He scares the left because he's basically about leaving the states to their own resources, and most states (especially the Red States), don't generate enough GDP to do anything on their own. Also, state politics are notoriously corrupt and prone to special interest groups (see California). The U.S. Federal government is the easiest institution to create a social safety net, control big corporations, etc. The things Ron Paul wants to let go of.

more than 2 years ago

Edward Teller: Father of the Hydrogen Bomb

MagikSlinger Re:My grandfather was killed by the Japanese (352 comments)

I can understand your point of view, but it doesn't change the fact the Japanese government had begun the process of feeling for surrender. What ground soldiers did is separate from what the politicians wanted to do. Did LBJ want American soldiers massacring civillians at Mai Lai? No, but insane shit happens in war. The soldiers that tortured and murdered your grandfather were war criminals, and one can only hope that those Japanese soldiers either committed sepiku or were brutally beaten & killed by American marines.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Good, Forgotten Fantasy & Science Fiction Novels?

MagikSlinger Re:Stanislaw Lem (1244 comments)

I find Stanislaw a little hard to read at times (i.e., boring), but after reading a couple of his books from the library and ready to give up on him, I finally read Solaris. And wow, Solaris is different from the movies. It's not really about the planet, or what happens to George Clooney on the planet. It's a question about "Can science ever really know the unknowable?" The book is more like a future history of research into the planet Solaris and the failure of humanity to understand the how or why of the planet. Humanity meets an intelligence (Solaris), and neither side can understand or communicate with each other. Very haunting for me.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Good, Forgotten Fantasy & Science Fiction Novels?

MagikSlinger End of Eternity (1244 comments)

Seconding "End of Eternity". In fact, I was scanning the replies looking for just this reply. :-)

more than 2 years ago

Pink Floyd Engineer Alan Parsons Rips Audiophiles, YouTube and Jonas Brothers

MagikSlinger Re:Audiophiles (468 comments)

I think you misunderstand the term audiophile here. Originally, it did mean someone like you who liked good sound. Now, it means a pretentious half-twit who measures the quality of his system by the price he paid than the performance it delivers.

There is studio equipment, which is awesome and any true audiophile would have bought, and there is Best Buy/Amazon.com/etc. "audiophile" equipment which is actually sub-par compared to the studio equipment but costs 2 to 5x more than than the studio equipment.

more than 2 years ago



City of Vancouver embraces open data, standards an

MagikSlinger MagikSlinger writes  |  more than 5 years ago

MagikSlinger (259969) writes "Vancouver city council has endorsed the principles of making its data open and accessible to everyone where possible, adopting open standards for that data and considering open source software when replacing existing applications.

The motion suggested that Vancouver's city manager be asked to:
  • Identify immediate opportunities to distribute more of its data.
  • Index, publish and syndicate its data to the internet using prevailing open standards, interfaces and formats.
  • Develop a plan to digitize and distribute archival data to the public.
  • Ensure that data supplied to the city by third parties such as developers, contractors and consultants are unlicensed, in a prevailing open standard format, and not copyrighted except if otherwise prevented by legal considerations.
  • License any software applications developed by the City of Vancouver such that they may be used by other municipalities, businesses and the public without restriction.



A new blog: A Bitter Programmer

MagikSlinger MagikSlinger writes  |  more than 4 years ago

A Bitter Programmer is a log I've decided to try to maintain. I realise I have 10+ years of wisdom that should be shared and archived for future generations, if only to point at and laugh as they say, "Look at the silly Caveman, Momma! he thinks he can code enterprise solutions!"


Should Slashdot have done an April Fool's theme this year?

MagikSlinger MagikSlinger writes  |  more than 6 years ago

1. Yes
2. No
3. OMG!!! PONIES!!!!
4. OMG!!! Cowboy Neal!!!!

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