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Under the Apple Hype Machine, Amazon Drops Fire Phone Price To 99 Cents

RadioElectric Re:It's a Fire Sale (134 comments)

Tobias: Oh, my God, we’re having a fire. Sale. Oh, the burning! It burns me! Evacuate all the schoolchildren! (Screaming. Singing “Amazing Grace.”) This isn’t a fever! (Continues singing.) Can’t even see where the knob is! (Dramatic sigh.) And scene.

Roger Danish: Um... would you like to try that a little simpler... maybe?

Tobias: No.

about a week ago

Computer Game Reveals 'Space-Time' Neurons In the Eye

RadioElectric Re:Is this all that surprising? (105 comments)

The cerebellum helps to coordinate motor skills, it doesn't initiate movement.

about 4 months ago

The Neuroscience of Computer Programming

RadioElectric Re:Reading vs writing (161 comments)

The neuroscience doesn't lie: the region of the language processing center lights up; portions of programming are similar to foreign languages.

Woah, hang on there! "The neuroscience" is NOT some fMRI data figure showing a bit of the brain being more active in one condition than it is in some other condition. Neuroscience is a set of theories, skills, and tools that allow us to ask and answer such questions as: "What conditions do we scan patients under in order to isolate the effect we are interested in?" "What does the strength and location of the BOLD signal we pick up in our fMRI scan actually mean?", and "How can these results be interpreted in a higher-level framework for how these cognitive tasks are performed?"

Trying to pick faults in this study is part of "the neuroscience".

You want to see bits of the brain "lighting up"? You're going to need to get some genetically modified mice. If you want to understand the brain it's not that simple.

about 7 months ago

Tesco To Use Face Detection Technology For In-Store Advertising

RadioElectric Re:sensationalism (212 comments)

This is not facial recognition attached to a database of faces.

Not yet.


And "not soon" either. The performance of face recognition systems with large databases is pretty terrible. I recommend checking out Peter Kovesi's talk on why "Video Surveillance is Useless" for identification.

about 10 months ago

Why Engineering Freshmen Should Take Humanities Courses

RadioElectric He seems to have it completely back-asswards... (564 comments)

He may have found a way to teach the humanities that "give you uncertainty, doubt and skepticism" but those concepts are fundamental to understanding how science works and students should be getting them in their science courses. As much as some scientific education is didactic fact-loading, it is equally possible to deliver a humanities course which is dogmatic - and possibly more common seeing as the route between a text and its accepted interpretation might be significantly more difficult to lead a student through than the route between some scientific evidence and the theory that it supports.

I am also confused at how him defining psychology as a "soft" science then allows him to lump it in with the humanities?

about a year ago

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg 'Kills' Snoopers Charter

RadioElectric Re:Well, I never (47 comments)

Here's a good impartial look from somebody who understands debt:

Point 8

"Many people worry that with the much higher levels of student debt, cash will be too tightly squeezed to live on once post-2012 starters graduate. Yet actually, today's university starters will have MORE cash in their pockets each month than those students who've just graduated. Graduates who started their course before Sept 2012, repay 9% of everything earned above £15,795. Those starting in 2012 and beyond see that increased to £21,000. That means those earning above the £21,000 threshold have £470-a-year more in their pockets than now."

Point 20

"The maximum possible loan combining tuition fees and maintenance is £16,675 a year; £50,000 over a three-year course. This is a frightening amount, and indeed many are frightened of it. Yet it's important to not just jump at this figure, but look at it in regards to how much of that you'll actually have to repay. In fact, when you examine this debt, it's far more like an additional tax than a loan for the following reasons:
It's repaid through the income tax system
You only repay it if you earn over a certain amount
The amount repaid increases with earnings
It does not go on credit files
Debt collectors will not chase for it
Bigger borrowing doesn't increase repayments
Many people will continue to repay for the majority of their working life"

about a year ago

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg 'Kills' Snoopers Charter

RadioElectric Re:Well, I never (47 comments)

The new system is "a fairer alternative" to the previous system for people on low incomes however. The number of people from the lowest economic stratum applying to university has increased under the new system. One of the major issues it has introduced, claims that young people can "no longer afford to go to university", is an atrocious lie that will cause more harm than the system it is attempting to attack.

I have problems with how the change in funding arrangements will affect universities structurally (further marketisation) but to the students it is arguably a better deal. The only case I am aware of where it does cause problems is where students are taking a second undergraduate degree (which the state is not obliged to give them a cushy loan for).

about a year ago

Play Tetris To Fix Your Lazy Eye

RadioElectric Re:Any Oculus Rift developers in the house? (88 comments)

It has been suggested that in some amblyopes the extra-striate cortex that handles motion processing develops in an unusual fashion. There are some papers from the same lab that made the Tetris game in the article that investigate this.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Science Books For Middle School Enrichment?

RadioElectric Re:IMHO (203 comments)

Yes! I loved the Science of Discworld books as a kid, possibly because I was already a big fan of the Discworld books.

about a year ago

Planescape: Torment Successor Funded In 6 Hours

RadioElectric Re:How I feel about this (118 comments)

Although you shouldn't think of it this way if you don't want to get burned eventually, people see funding a Kickstarter as an investment they put in to get something back from it. With science that wouldn't work, because you cannot honestly guarantee that you will get a result. It's the wrong format. I wonder about the relationship between Kickstarter games and illegal downloading. It would not surprise me if Kickstarted games avoided some of the losses that normally come from pirates ripping the software off because people need to put the money in initially for the project to get funded. You cannot count on pirating the sequel to Torment because if not enough people pay for it then it won't get made etc. Even if it is already funded, your own money going into it will add more capacity and make the game better.

about a year and a half ago

Planescape: Torment Successor Funded In 6 Hours

RadioElectric Re:Well no shit (118 comments)

I agree, Dreamfall was a disappointment. It felt like work to get through, and most of that was fueled by my love of TLJ. The gameplay was awful (and hard! I don't know many people who bothered to finish it because there were some sequences that were a brick wall difficulty-wise), and the story finished with a very unsatisfying cliffhanger ending. For a couple of years after I played it I would have been excited to find out what happened next. Now though I have kind-of written it off. If I hear it is good when it comes out I will pick it up.

about a year and a half ago

Glasses That Hack Around Colorblindness

RadioElectric Re:Don't apes have colour vision ? (97 comments)

I don't subscribe to Changizi's theory, but that objection doesn't really work. Apes do not have infinitely dark faces where no changes in colour can be distinguished. It's not necessarily all about the face anyway. I happened to have Changizi's book on the shelf next to me and he does address this... sort of.

about a year and a half ago

Are There Any Real Inventors Left?

RadioElectric Re:iterative innovation (417 comments)

I think what is frequently seen as a "breakthrough invention" is actually judged from an instrumental perspective. Does the thing you've created either satisfy a recognised need (frequently these "inventions" are called "discoveries"), or does it create a new need (for example, that for instantaneous voice communication over long distances)? I think one of the driving factors is that in the rich parts of the developed western world there aren't many long-standing needs left to be met. New things have come along but they require more separate people and technologies involved to make them work. The ability to be continuously connected to an all-pervading mobile internet service is, I think, the latest of these invented "needs".

about a year and a half ago

The Human Brain Project Receives Up To $1.34 Billion

RadioElectric Re:Will this pay off? (181 comments)

Still, I am glad a science project got funding.

Unfortunately this is a zero-sum game.

about a year and a half ago

J.J. Abrams To Direct Star Wars VII

RadioElectric Re:Wait a second... (735 comments)

If he casts the same actors then comparing the two movies will be a pretty fair test of which franchise is better.

about a year and a half ago

Hitachi Develops Boarding Gate With Built-In Explosives Detector

RadioElectric Re:Soooooo... (118 comments)

The false-positive/false-negative (false alarm/miss) tradeoff is going to depend on what the criterion for detection is set at. The measurement you want to look at really is how well this scanner can segregate "individual with dangerous explosive chemical" from background noise. These sorts of measures are considered secret, and I imagine the company publishing them for this device would be a great way to have nobody able to buy it.

about 2 years ago

Study Attempts To Predict Scientists' Career Success

RadioElectric Re:Inaccurate (64 comments)

IMO the definition should be modified to exclude self-citations. Scientists like to cite their earlier work (and should, if it is on the same topic), but the h-index as currently defined temps spamming your papers with self-cites just to drive your index up.

That wouldn't work. Where do you draw the line? Do you not count citations from papers with the same first-author? If you do that then savvy scientists will rotate authorship on papers from their lab. Do you make it so that no citations count when there are any common authors between the citer and citee paper? That's even more unworkable considering how much scientists move around and collaborate across institutions. The only smart thing for a scientist to do then would be to strategically omit authors off a paper so that they can then cite it in the future. Even if you implemented this harshest rule, scientists would still pressure their friends to cite their papers when even vaguely related to the friends' research.

about 2 years ago

UK Research Funders: Publicly Funded Research Must Be Publicly Available

RadioElectric Re:What have they got to hide? (61 comments)

ALL 'clinical trials' are actually HUMAN experiments, the only reason they do animal experiments, even though they are useless, is because most people are as stupid and gullible as the Slashdot crowd

Not all research is clinical research. We gained a lot of knowledge about how the visual system works in the brain from neurophysiology experiments performed on cats (check out Colin Blakemore's work for that, and you can have a look at some of his explanation for animal research at the same time).

more than 2 years ago

UK Research Funders: Publicly Funded Research Must Be Publicly Available

RadioElectric Re:Corporate Welfare (61 comments)

If the government is giving pubic $ to companies for research

It's college students who fund themselves by stripping, not professors.

more than 2 years ago

UK Research Funders: Publicly Funded Research Must Be Publicly Available

RadioElectric Re:Good (61 comments)

That doesn't make sense. Couldn't your competitors just subscribe to the journal that you publish in? (thus negating the justification you give for the paywall)

more than 2 years ago



Alan Johnson on Nutt Sacking

RadioElectric RadioElectric writes  |  more than 4 years ago

RadioElectric (1060098) writes "The UK's Home Secretary Alan Johnson sacked the chief drugs adviser Professor David Nutt on Friday for failing to recognise that he is not allowed to criticise the government's drugs policy. This has had a huge impact over here with two other members of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) resigning in protest. This stands to have a dramatic impact on how scientific advisors to the government will operate in terms of their independence. Additionally, this has also resulted in the relationship between the scientific evidence and government policy being dragged out in front of the public, something that should prove quite interesting in the coming months.

The main link goes to the BBC coverage of the urgent question put to Alan Johnson by MPs today. As is usual for the BBC, you can see links to recent reports of the events surrounding this story on the right side of the linked page. This will likely be helpful to anybody looking for background information on this story."

Link to Original Source


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