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Ancient Fossil Offers Clues To Primate Evolution

binpajama Re:I got 10 bucks here ... (311 comments)

10 PRINT The power of Christ compels you !

20 GOTO 10

more than 5 years ago

Obama Says 3% of GDP Should Fund Science Research And Development

binpajama Brilliant idea (753 comments)

More funding ~= more fundamental discoveries.

More funding = more money soaked up by researchers with good connections to the NSF and NIH

more than 5 years ago

Drug Deletes Fearful Memories

binpajama BAD idea (247 comments)

Stan: Let's go watch the new Indiana Jones movie.

Kyle: Yeah, dude. Totally!

(in theater)

Stan: What are they doing?

Kyle: They're raping him! They're raping him!

Butters: Let's get out of here.

(two weeks later)

Stan: Let's go watch the new Indiana Jones movie

Kyle: Yeah dude. Totally!

more than 5 years ago

Google's PageRank Predicts Nobel Prize Winners

binpajama I am shocked! (101 comments)

You mean people who write good papers get Nobel prizes? Wow!

Also, I didn't know that people who won Nobel prizes for fundamental discoveries won't post facto get gratuitous citations in the first line of the introduction of every subsequent paper in the field.

Page Rank captures whatever is `sensational', in every domain of human activity. Having RTFA, I conclude that if all that is sensational is good, then what we have here is an empirical demonstration of circular reasoning. If all that is good need not be sensational, we simply have misleading anecdotal evidence.

about 6 years ago

GAO Reports Bailout and Tech Firms Love Tax Havens

binpajama Re:Off with her head! (347 comments)

Very good point! I am sure the poor citizens of Cayman islands couldn't possibly do without a FIFTH of Citibank's subsidiaries world-wide.

You see, while American homo sapiens who need to watch TV to fill in their hours of leisure, the Cayman Islanders have evolved differently. They need bank transactions as a means of recreation. Without them, they feel unfulfilled and restive. There are Cayman islanders who spend up to eight hours a day making deposits and withdrawals in their checking accounts.

All Citibank does is to nobly provide them with their daily fix of ennui. We must be very careful before making presumptive remarks about the actions of those whose stated ambition is global prosperity. They know better than us what's good for the world.

about 6 years ago

Future Astronauts May Survive On Eating Silkworms

binpajama From the Ron Paul department (384 comments)

Looks like some people are preparing for the Greater Depression ahead of the curve.

Among the joys of the coming economic collapse: American people eating grubs in milk instead of cornflakes.

about 6 years ago

Internet Not Really Dangerous For Kids After All

binpajama Oblig... (445 comments)

I am an eight year old boy in Colorado who would like to make friends with older men ...

about 6 years ago

Class Teaches Nerds Social Skills

binpajama Self-destruction sequence activated (639 comments)

By opening up the possibility of nerds learning social skills without having to embarrass themselves in social settings, the world has just fired the first shot in a war that must inevitably lead to the end of Slashdot as we know it.

Viva la resistance!

about 6 years ago

Why Does the US Have a Civil Space Program?

binpajama Because ... (308 comments)

... it wanted to get to the other side.

about 6 years ago

A Look Back At Kurzweil's Predictions For 2009

binpajama Bah! Humbug! (307 comments)

The biggest problem with Kurzweil's view of the world is that it assumes that any innovation, if technologically feasible, is going to be adopted. As a simple example, the issue of voice-to-voice translation that he raises in the article. Its just more economical and practical to do business with someone who knows English (or has easy access to someone who knows English)

Similar wishful thinking by Sci Fi doyens caused visions of space colonies and interstellar travel by the first decade of the 21st century or soon afterwards (e.g. 2001:A space odyssey) back in the 60s and 70s when the edges of the universe seemed to be be just another Project Manhattan away. We all know how that has turned out.

Yes, there are lots of cool things that technology can produce. It will produce them for a population, however, that is more concerned with surviving on a decreasing resource base than the pursuit of techno-Utopia. Just because a small population of geeks in the US can afford and enjoy playing with gizmos doesn't mean the technology is pervasive in the `world'. Yes, computational power increases with time, and that can be channeled into all kinds of innovation, which is the gist of what Kurzweil is saying. That increase in computational power has limited scalability, however, unless you are assuming that all the world is concerned about is playing PC games, downloading music and watching videos online. [Note: By world, I mean the world outside /. Yes I can prove it exists!]

I think Kurzweil is going to be increasingly disappointed in the coming decades.

about 6 years ago

Data Mining Rescues Investigative Journalism

binpajama Re:Don't re-write history... (91 comments)

My friend, McCain got over it pretty quickly. You should too. Breathe!

about 6 years ago

Data Mining Rescues Investigative Journalism

binpajama Re:Oh bull (91 comments)

I'm a grad student and have recently been asked to help out on a research grant proposal for the very same thing. I agree with the point made in the parent post - if its already out there, there's not much investigation needed. Additionally:

1) How will algorithms figure out if a story is relevant? There's no deux ex machina here. It will see if the article has the relevant buzzwords and if it has been released by a reputable source.

2) The buzzword factor kills the algorithm's chances of finding something really new. Its just going to find something that is `current'. Thus, its doing news aggregation, not investigative journalism.

3) The `reputable' source issue will be decided by looking at factors like source authority (measured by incoming links etc) which means that the algorithm will be scraping sites that are already highly visible. Again, this is simply `Google News' by another name. I cannot think of a way by which algorithms can look into nooks and crannies of the internet by being agnostic about source reputation. If they tried, they would quickly start coming up with 9/11 conspiracy theories and other balderdash as news reports.

Basically, data mining is going the way of fuzzy logic. It has reached saturation in terms of its utility and applications, and now people are trying to sell all kinds of possibilities to allow for the overshoot in academia (too many PhDs, too little to do).

about 6 years ago

Software-Generated Paper Accepted At IEEE Conference

binpajama Why is this shocking? (235 comments)

The last time I checked, there were more than half a million papers on arxiv. The number of scientific papers in the world is increasing with the rate of increase in researchers looking for jobs, not with the rate at which problems are being discovered or solved.

Since the currency of the research community is number of publications, and since administrative sections of universities have little or no competence in judging an academic's competence save statistics on papers published, why is it surprising to find that people publish low-quality work?

I am reminded of the joke about string theory, `The number of papers in string theory is increasing faster than the speed of light. This is not a problem, though, since no information is actually transferred.'

more than 6 years ago

Wind and Sun Beat Other Energy Alternatives

binpajama Hamsters in wheels are also less polluting (584 comments)

impacts on global warming, human health, energy security, water supply, space requirements, wildlife, water pollution, reliability, and sustainability

What about feasibility?

more than 6 years ago

Why the Widening Gender Gap In Computer Science?

binpajama Re:Brain size (1563 comments)

Women's brains may be 10% smaller (Brain Size: 1130 vs 1260 cc), but I believe they're more advanced, uses less energy, and generates less heat.

They appear to be:

  1. Multi-core, capable of thinking of several things simultaneously.
  2. Real-time OS, hardly freezes (even when staring at handsome men).
  3. Proprietary OS, difficult to reverse-engineer or predict.
  4. Secure, always having secrets that will never be revealed.
  5. Highly efficient I/O, capable of 30000 words per day.
  6. Threat-ready, capable of out-talking (and sometimes out-thinking) any opponent.

Why women avoid pursuing a CS career is a mystery to me.

You missed out the deal-killers

  1. DRM don't let pirates and losers make out
  2. Vulnerable, tequila attacks can take DRM out and piss proprietor off tremendously

more than 6 years ago


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