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Laser Headlights Promise More Intense, Controllable Beams

The_Wilschon Re:brighter? (376 comments)

Did you know that common kitchen knives can also be used by Billy Joe Bob to blind someone, or worse kill them? Just wait until you manage to tick Billy Joe Bob off. This cannot end well.

Clearly, kitchen knives should not be made, either.

Look, if people are going to attack, maim, or murder someone, they've got plenty of options already. Adding one to the potential arsenal, especially one that would take significant technical know-how to be able to turn into an actual weapon, isn't really going to change things.

about 5 months ago

House Committee Approves Bill Banning In-Flight Phone Calls

The_Wilschon Re:Whose phone is banned? (366 comments)

Back when you had to turn off such things during climb out and descent was also a problem.

You can turn off screaming children?

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Should Developers Fix Bugs They Cause On Their Own Time?

The_Wilschon Time to polish up the old resume (716 comments)

Guess you should be looking for a new job. No point in sticking around to work for such a terrible boss.

about 6 months ago

Judge Says You Can Warn Others About Speed Traps

The_Wilschon Re:Common sense? In MY judiciary? (457 comments)

Seems as though the police should actually want people to know about the speed traps. I mean, the ultimate goal for the police is to have everyone follow the law. If people know about an upcoming speed trap, then they'll slow down to the speed limit. If they don't know about the speed trap, then they'll continue to endanger those around them by driving too fast. </delightfully naive> Of course, we all know that what the police really want is ticket revenue. The more law breakers there are, the more revenue they get, and hence they will try to stop people from warning others to obey the law. This system is rather broken.

about 6 months ago

Why Standard Deviation Should Be Retired From Scientific Use

The_Wilschon Re:Basic Statistics (312 comments)

Clarification. Chebyshev's inequality is not going to help you with distributions that have no mean or standard deviation. Note also that the standard deviation mentioned in Chebyshev's inequality is the *population* standard deviation, and NOT the *sample* standard deviation.

about 6 months ago

Why Standard Deviation Should Be Retired From Scientific Use

The_Wilschon Re: Basic Statistics (312 comments)

Careful. Chebyshev's inequality doesn't help you if you are sampling from a physical process with a Cauchy distribution. Be careful not to confuse the *sample* standard deviation with the *population* standard deviation. The former always exists. The latter is what you use with Chebyshev's inequality... *if* it exists. In the case of a Cauchy distribution, your sample standard deviation would mislead you into thinking that the probability to fall outside N sample standard deviations had some particular bound that it did not have.

about 6 months ago

Why Standard Deviation Should Be Retired From Scientific Use

The_Wilschon Re:The big picture (312 comments)

I hope he has more examples than just the temperature (no, I didn't RTFA). For the temperature in a day, most people are satisfied with the minimum and maximum, and don't need any more complicated measure. The MAD would actually be LESS informative for temperatures within a day...

about 6 months ago

Why Standard Deviation Should Be Retired From Scientific Use

The_Wilschon Re:So you want to retire a statistical term... (312 comments)

He's rather requesting the people start using a different statistical measure of spread, the mean *absolute* deviation, rather than the square root of the mean *squared* deviation (the standard deviation). I'm not familiar enough with it's particular characteristics to say whether or not this would be an improvement in any rigorous sense, but I'd be surprised if it were. So "Get bent." is probably still the right attitude.

about 6 months ago

Why Standard Deviation Should Be Retired From Scientific Use

The_Wilschon Re:Would those data scientists with PhDs (312 comments)

I know several people who have left high energy physics to become data scientists. Nobody in HEP calls themselves a "data scientist", but that's (some of) what we do anyway. It's just analysis of very large data sets. Unlike in the life sciences, both HEP and many commercial / industrial environments have sufficiently large data sets that very complex questions can be asked and answered. You can never have "enough data" -- if you think you have "enough data", then you aren't asking hard enough questions.

about 6 months ago

Proposed California Law Would Mandate Smartphone Kill Switch

The_Wilschon Re:Even scarier than hackers (252 comments)

Means for a government to systemtically supress or harass certain people or groups of people are worrisome to me.

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Managing Device-Upgrade Bandwidth Use?

The_Wilschon Re:3Mbps?!?? (159 comments)

Wasn't 3 Mbps "high-speed" ten years ago?

about 7 months ago

Next-Gen Windshield Wipers To Be Based On Jet Fighter "Forcefield" Tech

The_Wilschon Re:Impossible (237 comments)

The interplanetary medium can carry sound waves. Of course, it is moving faster than the local speed of sound outward from the sun (the solar wind). So if you shouted really loud from the ISS, someone in the asteroid belt might be able to hear you. But not the other way around.

about 7 months ago

The Brains of Men and Women Are 'Wired Differently'

The_Wilschon Re:Equality (509 comments)

eq?, eqv?, or equal? ?

about 8 months ago

Most Sensitive Detector Yet Fails To Find Any Signs of Dark Matter

The_Wilschon Re:Maybe (293 comments)

Possible, although unlikely. The -CDM model does an astonishingly good job of modeling the observed universe. But, that doesn't mean it is right.

In the case of aether, people didn't stop investigating it until a) experiments that should have observed no matter what saw no evidence of it and b) another theory that agreed with this new data came along.

People who trot out the tired old "dark matter is just like aether!" line typically do so while patting themselves on the back for their cleverness, while neglecting the above.

If there isn't WIMP dark matter, or even isn't dark matter at all, then we'll find out. That's how science works.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Language To Learn For Scientific Computing?

The_Wilschon Re:Fortran (465 comments)

This is exactly the right answer. Never write code that someone else has already written. If you can compose standard operations to do your calculations, then do so in a high-level language. Spend more time thinking and less time coding. OTOH, if you need to code up something custom and you're REALLY sure that you can't use standard operations to do it, then think again about whether or not you can do it with standard operations. You probably can. But, if you can't, then go with FORTRAN. Or maybe C or even C++. But probably FORTRAN. But even then, code as little as you can in FORTRAN. Don't write the whole thing in FORTRAN. Create small operations, and compose them in a high-level language as if they were the standard operations.

about 9 months ago



An Inconvenient (partial) Rebuttal

The_Wilschon The_Wilschon writes  |  more than 6 years ago

The_Wilschon (782534) writes "The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is running an article about a paper that might distress Al Gore just a bit. While this doesn't affect most of the evidence for or against global warming, it does blow a big hole in one of the supposed effects of warming.

A team of scientists have found that the economic damages from hurricanes have increased in the U.S. over time due to greater population, infrastructure, and wealth on the U.S. coastlines, and not to any spike in the number or intensity of hurricanes.

Link to Original Source

Petition to open OS/2 source, round/2

The_Wilschon The_Wilschon writes  |  more than 6 years ago

The_Wilschon (782534) writes "On September 25, 2005, sent a petition with 11,613 signatures to IBM, asking them to release some or all of the source code to OS/2. Oddly, given IBM's embrace of the Open Source movement, the letter was ignored. So, on November 19 of this year, sent a second letter. They have also opened up a second petition round in order to show even more support to IBM for their requests. In particular, the System Object Model (SOM), Workplace Shell (WPS), and OS/2 kernel could both spur new OS/2 development and provide some fresh ideas to the Free Software world."
Link to Original Source


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