Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

UK Team Claims Breakthrough In Universal Cancer Test

Michael Woodhams Link to abstract (13 comments)

Here is the abstract. The actual paper is behind a paywall.

"ROC analysis of [the test statistic], for cancers plus precancerous/suspect conditions vs. controls, cancer vs. precancerous/suspect conditions plus controls, and cancer vs. controls, gave areas under the curve of 0.87, 0.89, and 0.93, respectively (P<0.001). Optimization allowed test sensitivity or specificity to approach 100% with acceptable complementary measures."

The ROC curve has area under it of 1 for a perfect classifier and 0.5 for wild guessing. This is a more useful measurement than the p-value. (E.g. if I look at height vs sex for humans, it won't take too big a sample to get a great p-value for there being a difference, yet classifying people as male/female depending on whether they exceed some height threshold is a very poor diagnostic system.) I don't have much of a feel for how good ROC area of about 0.9 is for a medical test. I'd guess it is good enough to be useful, but you'd not want to rely on that test alone.

22 minutes ago
top

Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

Michael Woodhams Re:I don't see the problem. (667 comments)

The plane was 10km up. It wasn't shot down by something bought for $50,000 from Bob's Quality Used Implements of Death and Destruction and delivered to you by a courier van. The suspected weapon system requires at minimum one tank sized tracked launcher vehicle, and for full capability it requires three such vehicles. This is way out of Bob the arms dealer's league. Although I'm pretty much guessing here, the missile alone I expect would cost over a million dollars to manufacture.

Having said that, the possibility exists that rebels with military experience seized such a weapon system from an overrun Ukrainian military base.

about a week ago
top

How Did Those STAP Stem Cell Papers Get Accepted In the First Place?

Michael Woodhams Re:Just the scientific method in action (109 comments)

I think you've misread the post. In "What she did was wrong", I read "wrong" as "unethical", "unscientific", or at the very best "incompetent". Your criticism assumes it meant "something which eventually turned out not to be how reality works".

about three weeks ago
top

Tibetans Inherited High-Altitude Gene From Ancient Human

Michael Woodhams Re:Neandertals and light skin (133 comments)

Immune system genes are often under balancing selection - i.e. the rarest alleles are favoured (until, due to this favouring, they cease to be rarest, then other alleles are favoured.) An infusion of new different alleles from Neandertals could be favoured simply because they are different, not because they are evolved to European conditions.

Testing between these hypotheses seems difficult. The 'balancing selection' hypothesis predicts that the genes will readily spread back into Africa, whereas the 'evolved for European conditions' predicts they will not. The problem is that you need some neutral mutations that arose in Europe at the same time as a 'control' for comparison purposes. I'm not sure how to identify such mutations, but I expect it could be done.

about three weeks ago
top

Tibetans Inherited High-Altitude Gene From Ancient Human

Michael Woodhams Neandertals and light skin (133 comments)

There is another obvious point in history where such a gene transfer could have occurred. European conditions favour light skin, and Neandertals had been hanging out there for some tens of thousands of years before modern humans turned up and so had evolved light skin. These newcomers, having recent ancestry in Africa, were probably dark skinned. Interbreeding could easily have introduced the beneficial-to-European-conditions light skin mutations into the modern population.

My memory of the literature (which I have followed just a little bit, not closely) is that this did not happen - genetic analysis shows that modern Europeans and Neandertals acquired light skin through different mutations. However, Wikipedia says this is still under debate.

about three weeks ago
top

Renewable Energy Saves Fortune 100 Companies $1.1B Annually

Michael Woodhams Re:Careful (116 comments)

I explicitly did so.

about a month ago
top

Renewable Energy Saves Fortune 100 Companies $1.1B Annually

Michael Woodhams Re:Careful (116 comments)

This is a silly objection. That isn't how payback times are used.

Payback time is a quick indication of return on investment. You then compare that return on investment with the other options available to you, such as leaving the money in the bank.

If you included interest rates in payback time, you'd need to be constantly adjusting it as rates changed, and it would differ for different entities depending on their access to finance. Instead you keep it simple, and each entity has its own idea (based on circumstances and current interest rates) of what the effective payback time is of leaving the money in the bank (or not borrowing it, or investing it in other opportunities.) (For example, a start-up is likely to require a very short payback time - they're strapped for cash and are trying to get their Big New Idea to market where they hope it will make a fortune. Up-front money is then very expensive compared to down-the-road money. For them, it may make sense to lease a supercomputer even if buying it would have a two year payback time.)

What is missing from this analysis is depreciation of assets. After 6.4 years, money in the bank will have depreciated much less than the solar cells. Payback time is a rough guide - it tells you whether it is worth your while doing a more detailed analysis including finance cost, depreciation, tax implications etc.

about a month ago
top

Researchers Claim Wind Turbine Energy Payback In Less Than a Year

Michael Woodhams Re:Show me the money! (441 comments)

They aren't. They're using an established term "energy payback". The authors wrote an analysis which will be useful to many people but used the word "payback" in a way which does not match your preconceived notion of how it should be used. For this, you label them "charlatans".

So all the people interested in energy payback times should not be able to publish or read about it because you've claimed ownership of the word "payback" and won't license them to use it? They should use a less clear term to express their meaning because otherwise some random idiot who reads technical papers might make the leap "payback = money", despite the term "energy payback" being self explanatory?

Had you argued that because this is "energy payback" rather than financial payback, it isn't worthy of being reported on Slashdot, I could respect your argument. Instead you label people charlatans because what they discuss is not what you're interested it.

about a month ago
top

Wikipedia Editors Hit With $10 Million Defamation Suit

Michael Woodhams Re:Who is that? (268 comments)

Oh good, I'll just print up a bunch of fliers saying you torture kittens and set fire to orphanages and post them around your home town. Because nobody has heard of you and I'm not a publicly listed company, it will be 'opinion' rather than 'libel'.

I have no idea whether this guy's claims are justified, but neither do you. My liking Wikipedia does not therefore mean that the facts or the law are on the side of Wikipedia.

about a month ago
top

NOAA: Earth Smashed A Record For Heat In May 2014, Effects To Worsen

Michael Woodhams Prediction (547 comments)

When El Nino leads to a new record high temperature by a large margin (for argument's sake, in 2015), the denialists will quietly adopt this as their new standard for 'normal' and in 2025 they'll be saying "warming is a hoax because temperatures haven't risen on average since 2015."

http://xkcd.com/1321/

about a month ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Taking a New Tack On Net Neutrality?

Michael Woodhams Re:I work for a municipality (185 comments)

I believe you've just taken what was intended as reductio ad absurdam seriously.

about 2 months ago
top

The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes

Michael Woodhams Re:Cloud severs don't require power? (339 comments)

No, as you would have seen if you'd read the article. By their numbers, about 60% of the energy cost of streaming is in the data center.

about a month ago
top

Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

Michael Woodhams Re:Not the right way anyway (583 comments)

How about a detachable luggage compartment (boot/trunk)? You don't own the car, but you have your own luggage compartment in which you keep your miscellaneous crud. Call a car, attach your compartment, drive to the mall, detach compartment, shop and fill compartment, call another car, go home, detach, unpack at your leisure while the car goes on its next mission.

about 2 months ago
top

Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

Michael Woodhams Re:I am ready! (583 comments)

Me too - as soon as it is affordable, convenient and drives better than I do. They've got one out of three already.

about 2 months ago
top

Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel

Michael Woodhams Re:No steering wheel? No deal. (583 comments)

If you drive on the same streets that I do, you trust me with your safety. As my driving skills are below median, this should be a lot more worrying to you then the prospect of being in a computer-driven car. (Fortunately for you, surveys show that below-median drivers are rare.)

about 2 months ago
top

The Major Theoretical Blunders That Held Back Progress In Modern Astronomy

Michael Woodhams Re:Interesting facts (129 comments)

You seem to be under the impression that Eratosthenes measured the size of the Earth more accurately than the 18th century scientists on whose work the metre was based. If so, you are wrong.

We don't know for sure how accurate Eratosthenes measurement was, because we don't know for sure how big the 'stadia' he measured in were, but probably he was out by 16%. His method had systematic errors in it which would prevent a highly accurate measurement.

By contrast, scientists had been able to measure the non-sphericity of the Earth prior to the definition of the metre, which is a 0.5% effect.

From Wikipedia: "The circumference of the Earth through the poles is therefore slightly more than forty million metres (40,007,863 m)"
which indicates a 0.02% error in the original definition of the metre.

about 2 months ago
top

Can Thunderbolt Survive USB SuperSpeed+?

Michael Woodhams Security? (355 comments)

If your interface allows DMA, does that not mean that a malicious device can own your computer as soon as it gets plugged in?

Also, I thought I'd read that USB had DMA and hence this security problem.

Could someone who actually knows what they're talking about comment on this please?

about 2 months ago
top

UN Report Reveals Odds of Being Murdered Country By Country

Michael Woodhams Re:shenanigans (386 comments)

Guns don't kill people. Gun-obsessed people kill people.

(I suspect the high velocity lumps of lead may play a part too.)

about 4 months ago

Submissions

Michael Woodhams hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

top

In principio erat Verbum.

Michael Woodhams Michael Woodhams writes  |  about 5 months ago

Here.

In the beginning was the word. Biblical, John 1:1. The full verse is
"In principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum et Deus erat Verbum. "
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

top

Ceterum censeo Facebook esse delendam.

Michael Woodhams Michael Woodhams writes  |  about 8 months ago

Here.

Clearly derived from "Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam" which gets its own Wikipedia page.

This raises the question - how should Facebook be declined? My answer - just don't sign up for it.

top

quiquid id est, timeo puellas et oscula dantes

Michael Woodhams Michael Woodhams writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Here.

By web search: "Whatever it is, I fear the girls, even when they kiss."

I can't find a source, but presumably a reference to
Vergil, Aeinid II.49
QUIDQUID ID EST, TIMEO DANAOS ET DONA FERENTES.
Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks, even bearing gifts.

top

Vos nescitis quicquam...

Michael Woodhams Michael Woodhams writes  |  more than 2 years ago

vos nescitis quicquam, nec cogitatis quia expedit nobis ut unus moriatur homo pro populo et non tota gens pereat here.

Biblical, "You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." John 11:50 (spoken by an antagonist.)

top

Meus subcriptio est nocens Latin quoniam bardus populus reputo is sanus callidus

Michael Woodhams Michael Woodhams writes  |  more than 2 years ago

here.

It seems fractured, but I think
My Latin sig is criminal because I think stupid people are sane and clever.

top

Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero.

Michael Woodhams Michael Woodhams writes  |  more than 4 years ago

here
Quote from Horace, the full version of more common "carpe diem".
Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the next

top

Mea navis aericumbens anguillis abundat

Michael Woodhams Michael Woodhams writes  |  more than 6 years ago

http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=564539&cid=23554467

My hovercraft is full of eels (again).

top

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges.

Michael Woodhams Michael Woodhams writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Here.

Translation by Google:
"The more corrupt the state is then the more numerous the laws." -- Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome.

This may be a Libertarian/Conservative catch-phrase.

top

Navicula hydraulica plena anguilarum est...

Michael Woodhams Michael Woodhams writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Navicula hydraulica plena anguilarum est. Omnes castelli tuus nostri sunt. Ed elli avea del cul fatto trombetta.

"Navicula hydraulica plena anguilarum est" = "the hovercraft is full of eels".
"Omnes castelli tuus nostri sunt" = "all your base are belong to us".
"Ed elli avea del cul fatto trombetta" = ?
"Words" doesn't recognize enough of this that I suspect it is not Latin.
Confirmed by websearch: It is Dante making a fart joke.

top

Minutus cantorum, minutus balorum ...

Michael Woodhams Michael Woodhams writes  |  more than 7 years ago

here
Minutus cantorum, minutus balorum, minutus carborata descendum pantorum

Translation found by google:
"A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants."

top

Sic transit gloria mundi; non cum clamose, sed cum illatino.

Michael Woodhams Michael Woodhams writes  |  more than 7 years ago

here.

The first phrase is famous and googlable.
"Thus passes the glory of the world; not with applause, but with bad Latin."

top

Armis Exposcere Pacem.

Michael Woodhams Michael Woodhams writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Two quotes in one .sig here

Translation by Google:
"Armis Exposcere Pacem" = "They demand peace through force of arms." (A similar sentiment to "Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant".)

"Scientia non habet inimicum nisp ignorantem" = "Science has no enemies but the ignorant."

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...