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Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

abies Re:Could have fooled me (217 comments)

Isaac Newton was a devout Christian. Does that mean he was "scientifically illiterate"?

I would rather disagree with devout _Christian_
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R...
[...]
not holding to Trinitarianism.'In Newton's eyes, worshipping Christ as God was idolatry, to him the fundamental sin'
[...]
Newton refused viaticum before his death.
[...]

Yes, he was a person of faith, but he was very far from being Christian - both in his times meaning and in contemporary meaning.

4 days ago
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Why Women Have No Time For Wikipedia

abies What about real encyclopedias? (573 comments)

How the percentages look like for normal, old-school encyclopedias? I know that for example in case of school textbooks gender ratio might be even skewed towards woman (at least in my country) - which is probably a side effect of majority of teachers being woman (83%). But encyclopedias? I cannot find any data on data - but looking at chief editors of Brittanica, all of them were man...

I think that problem lies somewhere before age of 25. At some point during early education, there is some kind of bias/peer pressure/whatever which makes woman being interested in other things. Putting Hello Kitty pictures in background of wikipedia is not going to help afterwards ;)

5 days ago
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How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids

abies Carry them? (202 comments)

2.5 ton with 50 people means 50kg per person. Given proper poles/etc, they could as well carry this block... not neccesarily nice work, but make it 100 people, add few whips and you have something working in long run.

about a week ago
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Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

abies Monsters/encounters are bland (202 comments)

Biggest issue I see with 5e so far (compared to 4e) is how bland monsters and encounters are. (please don't tell me that I can change it if I wish, I'm talking about D&D as presented by WotC and official adventures). Gone is interesting terrain setup, with 3 types of goblins working together, each having distinct abilities. We are now back to 2nd edition style of
15. Storage room. 1d3+1 orcs. Orc: 20hp, AC 15, sword +5 to hit, 1d8+3 dmg
16. Bedroom. 1 giant bedbug. Giant bedbug: 25hp, AC 16, bite +4 to hit, 1d8+2 dmg

I suppose that part of it is because they removed board as required part of the game, so it is a harder to come up with big number of distinct abilities. Still, as far as 'tactical game', 5e seems to be a complete failure to me so far.

Of course, if somebody hated 4e because of the combat, he will feel different... but if you don't like combat, I don't think that D&D variants are best system out there for you...

about two weeks ago
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Facebook Tests "Satire" Tag To Avoid Confusion On News Feed

abies Facebook failed to spot satire? (131 comments)

I suppose that people who sent the petition forgot to put [satire] tag in front of it as well and now are bit scared of what they have started...

about two weeks ago
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"Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

abies Flight to Uncanny Valley departing from terminal 1 (102 comments)

I think that going through tree of discrete selections has a better solution in touchscreen than in glorified answer-phone system with space-wasting avatar visualisation.
Maybe they could prototype it first by putting terminals videoconferencing to live people which could not fully understand what you are telling them (certain offshore locations come into mind) and see how much it improves the passenger checkin quality. If it works perfectly, THEN they can solve problem of video lines by generating almost-human computer avatars. I have a feeling that people will prefer impersonal selections to videoconference...

about a month and a half ago
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Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

abies Re:Who benefits (503 comments)

The separatists still had no motive to shoot down a civilian airliner.

But we know they had no idea it was civilian plane - they were cheering destruction of military airplane on Twitter for some time, before realizing it was civilian.

And if the Kiev authorities are directing civilian aircraft to fly over an active war zone they are still to blame, whoever actually pulled the trigger.
(That is to say if they did. It might have been a pilot error.)

This is interesting thing to see. Have they been forced on this path by Ukraine air control? Or have they asked Ukraine for permission due to weather conditions (for example) and Ukraine just allowed? And according to latest developments it looks like BUK they got from Ukraine was indeed non functioning and one which was used was fresh import from Russia, so Ukraine (or at least civilian air control) could as well had no idea about capability to destroy high-flying targets.

Who knows, maybe it will even turn out that somebody in Ukraine has pushed this plane into dangerous territory hoping for trigger happy separatists. It would be quite bad and there will be political backlash - but still, people pulling the trigger are the ones which are truly responsible.

about a month and a half ago
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Russia Prepares For Internet War Over Malaysian Jet

abies Re:Who benefits (503 comments)

Separatist have motive - they are trying to shoot Ukrainian military planes. They have means - they were showing BUK launchers themselves, Ukraine later said that they won't be able to operate them, but might have been wrong, especially given technical support from next country.
They had means and motive. And no clue this is rerouted civilian plane, because despite having enough capability to fire BUK (few people with neccessary skills), they weren't up to date on flightwatch... and decided to not ask on radio first.

So, in certain sense it is an accident. Same kind of accident as when sniper tries to kill person A, but person B moves in the way at last second. Sniper is still at fault, even if he had no motive to kill person B.

about a month and a half ago
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IEEE Spectrum Ranks the Top Programming Languages

abies Re:Java is the new COBOL (197 comments)

I started to enjoy it again since I started using xtend (http://www.eclipse.org/xtend/). I suppose that same holds true for people switching to Scala/Kotlin.
Basically, you get expresiveness/tersity of python (often even better/more readable), while preserving performance (sub-second executions aside) and all the library support. Java-the-language might be going direction of COBOL, java-the-platform can be still enjoyable.

about 2 months ago
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Neanderthals Ate Their Veggies

abies Re:Cooked! (151 comments)

No, because animals do not control fire. But there are animals which warm/freeze/ferment/marinate/flavor/wash their food (not all done by same type animal of course). But cooking as in 'having control over 200+C heat source' - no.

about 2 months ago
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Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

abies Re:IF.. (561 comments)

No, because vaccines have no relation to autism.
IF there would be a:
- vaccines contain X amount of lead
- X amount of lead causes autism
AND there would be a correlation between vaccines and autism, I would happily say 'vaccines cause autism', instead of saying 'it is just lead which causes autism, fact that vaccines contain lead is irrelevant, because injecting pure lead would also cause autism'

People from certain racial minorities have lower IQ. It is caused by social inequality, not genetics ('lead', not 'weak patogens' in false vaccine example), but let's not get PR into our statements.

Of course, EVEN if there would be genetic relation by few percent, it would not give anybody right to dismiss specific person just based on that. We are talking about averages and very small differences. But if we are allowing people to discriminate by saying 'your are from poor family, so you are probably stupid', we should allow as well discriminating by 'your skin is blue, blues are generally poor, so you are probably stupid'. If we are not allowing to discriminate based on 'probably stupid' because every human is different etc, then it doesn't matter if it is race related or socioeconomic related guess.

about 2 months ago
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Match.com, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

abies Re:IF.. (561 comments)

Hmm. So;
- people of race X are more likely to come from poor background on average
- people coming from poor backgrounds have less IQ on average
is ok, but saying:
- people of race X have less IQ on average
is already contrafactual. So, in same way:
- 1/3 of cars of brand X have ignition locks of type Y, as opposed to 1/10 of other car manufacturers
- ignition locks of type Y are more prone to getting car on fire
will be ok, but saying:
- cars of brand X are more prone to get on fire
will be already wrong?

Car analogy ticked off. Let's try Nazis:
- most SS officers in WW2 were German
- most killings in death camps were done by SS officers
does not imply
- most killings in death camps during WW2 were done by Germans
because no Germans who were not SS officers have done any killing, so correlation is purely between SS and killings?

Ok, two analogies ticked. To reassume - you let your political correctness cloud your logic. A->B->C implies A->C. Fact that A doesn't cause C _directly_ doesn't mean it does not imply it. You can split any problem into substeps. I throw rock at window, it flies in the air, it breaks the window, it is air/rock fault window got broken, not mine...

about 2 months ago
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Android Needs a Simulator, Not an Emulator

abies Re:Also needs a language not Java... (167 comments)

There is plenty of alternatives for Android development outside of java. Scala, Clojure, Xtend, Kotlin. They are all decent languages, probably even nicer than Go.

about 2 months ago
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Study: Deforestation Depletes Fish Stocks

abies Re:Fresh Water vs. Ocean Water Fish (69 comments)

"It's estimated that freshwater fishes make up more than 6% of the world's annual animal protein supplies for humans - and the major and often only source of animal protein for low income families across Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines.

This comes from the Fine Article - where does your data come from?

http://www.thefishsite.com/art...
Total protein consumption per capita is 78g. Total fish consumption is around 5.5g which gives around 7%. This is for both marine and inland. Then, looking at
http://www.greenfacts.org/en/f...
we can get around 41:102 ration between inland:marine, which would mean around 2% of total protein comes from freshwater fish and 5% from marine.

Now it is your turn to provide some sources outside FA proving 6% for freshwater fish. Articles I have quoted above are from 5-10 years ago - maybe, in meantime, freshwater fish consumption increased by 200%...

about 3 months ago
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SpaceX Landing Video Cleanup Making Progress

abies Special edition (54 comments)

Will they add small robots and funny looking animals in background later? I don't think that even cleaned version represents artistic vision of landing they had in mind.

about 3 months ago
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Robots and Irradiated Parasites Enlisted In the Fight Against Malaria

abies Re:Genetic programming - mutate and let fittest li (84 comments)

Decapitatiting mosquitoes is hardly going to affect the parasite, which is the thing getting irradiated and possibly mutated. Closed labolatry doesn't really matter, because they are then going to inject irratiated parasites as vaccine.
Key part here is probably amount of radiation - way beyond "let's damage few DNA strands" and more into "why your blood is glowing at night". It is probably strong enough that there is no way any mutation can survive it.

about 3 months ago
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Robots and Irradiated Parasites Enlisted In the Fight Against Malaria

abies Genetic programming - mutate and let fittest live (84 comments)

I'm quite scared by that. You first irradiate them, causing huge amount of genetic mutations. Then you change the environment, killing weakest mutants and let the best live on.
Isn't it a recipe for eventually creating super-bug?

about 3 months ago
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Scientists Find Method To Reliably Teleport Data

abies Re:I think this was reported the other day (202 comments)

I liked Terry Pratchett version more. It was about reign - when king dies, his successor becomes a king immediately. Idea of modulating the waves by torturing kings at near-death state was also mentioned.

about 3 months ago
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Scientists Find Method To Reliably Teleport Data

abies Re:Why not 1000 km? (202 comments)

How difficult is it to drop a rock? Easy. Can you please drop a rock from 50km high? After all, dropping a rock is not different if it is 1m or 50km high.

They need to entangle both sides of the communication from single place and this is quite hard longer the distance. Moving it afterwards is also quite difficult, it is not a small, robust device you can carry in your pocket.

about 3 months ago
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Hands-On With Sony's VR Headset

abies Summary (46 comments)

Trying to put it in concise list, TFA is bit too verbose. Short version - it is a real DK1 killer, too bad DK2 is already out there...

Comparing to DK2 (prototype versus prototype, so don't jump with 'it will get fixed in final version'):

- horizontal FOV 90 deg (instead of 100)
? no data about vertical FOV
+ better perceived pixel density (because of lower FOV)
- blurry, high-persistence LED screen
- 60Hz instead of 75 Hz (but high-persistence anyway is a killer here)
- no mention of any advanced techniques like time warp
+ headband with tracking leds, which allows proper tracking even when you look behind
+ reported to be more friendly for people with prescription glasses
+ considerably better looking
+ headphones included
- with jack input INSIDE the visor !
= PS4 versus PC
? no exact data regarding tracking quality, seems to be lacking magnetometer compared to DK2, not sure if it makes a difference
+ utilizing PS Move and PS controllers fully, has some concept for VR interaction besides 'up to game designers'

If Oculus will 'borrow' idea of tracking headband and Morpheus will get low-persistence OLED display, we will have very close match here for consumer version...

about 3 months ago

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