×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Ask Slashdot: Best Medium For Personal Archive?

dcollins Re:Encrypted External Drive in a Fire Safe (250 comments)

"my archive set is large (3+TB) and sensitive (taxes, bank statements, account numbers, passwords, etc)"

Surely tax, bank, account, and password data does not add up to terabytes.

3 days ago
top

Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away!

dcollins Re:No we are not them. Re:"They" is us (337 comments)

"Right now, the 15% capital gains tax rate is so high that it discourages middle- and lower-income people from investing..."

That seems incoherent/illogical. If they can "only" pocket 85% of the free money from investing, what, people make the decision to blow it on a new TV or car instead? And if that rate was changed by 5% or something they'd change their behavior? That's nonsense.

3 days ago
top

Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

dcollins Re:Good news (420 comments)

Bullshit, and a pox on the prequel apologists. As an adult in the last decade or so I've seen all kinds of movies (et. al.) that fill me with equal enjoyment as the original Star Wars movies when I was a kid/teen. Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies, most of the Marvel superhero movies, etc., truly amazing works of wonder. But Lucas' prequels were appalling, offensive crap. Even among the original movies the standout is Empire which he didn't direct.

about a week ago
top

Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

dcollins Re:Happened to me (784 comments)

Very interesting, thanks for the info.

about two weeks ago
top

Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

dcollins Re: Fix the damn markup (784 comments)

I think that "confining" was also intended to be "confiding".

about two weeks ago
top

Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

dcollins Re:I live in Montgomery County, MD... (784 comments)

"My wife and I are even considering allowing our older child to take the Metro (public transit) to ballet by herself next year when she's in middle school."

That's totally the culture here in NYC... around 3pm when the schools get out the sidewalks, buses, and subways are mobbed with kids traveling from school to wherever on their own. I'm guessing, like, on the order of a million every day. It's so strange to read about such a different culture just a couple states down.

about two weeks ago
top

Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

dcollins Re:Happened to me (784 comments)

What state/city was that?

about two weeks ago
top

Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

dcollins Re:nanny state (784 comments)

Wow, what a fantastic response! Thanks for that.

about two weeks ago
top

Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

dcollins Re:Parents (784 comments)

I must admit, I was unfamiliar with the concept of little corner stores lining all the streets around the corner from where I lived until I moved from a rural area to New York City. I found it to be crazy wonderful and convenient.

about two weeks ago
top

Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

dcollins Re:Biased Institutions FTW (784 comments)

For what it's worth, here in New York City (I live in Brooklyn) there are kids all over the place commuting between home & school by themselves all the time. Around 3pm when the schools get out the sidewalks and city buses are literally swarming with the little folks, definitely all ages from elementary through junior high school. They all seem pretty confident, content, and safe about it (if rambunctious). The idea that half the city would have to mobilized to follow around this million-magnitude number kids one-at-a-time would immediately gridlock the entire metropolitan area!

about two weeks ago
top

Intuit Charges More For Previously Offered TurboTax Features, Users Livid

dcollins Re:Not just self-employed.. (450 comments)

Something less than 52%.

about two weeks ago
top

Intuit Charges More For Previously Offered TurboTax Features, Users Livid

dcollins Re:Just hire a CPA (450 comments)

Please. We have all of those things in our household, and every time we ever interview a CPA they only thing they can do is (a) remind us to put receipts in a folder, (b) type the info into probably the same software, and (c) boil us with a multi-hundred dollar charge. I let that happen to me once at H&R Block and vowed never again.

My partner has interviewed other CPAs, and when we ask how they can improve our process and they say, "remember to put your receipts all in a folder", we roll our eyes and thank them for their time.

about three weeks ago
top

The Search For Starivores, Intelligent Life That Could Eat the Sun

dcollins Re:Gravity well? (300 comments)

There was a head of IT at one place I worked who, when asked where the weight goes when a person diets, answered that it's due to the nuclear fusion inside a person's cells. So hey, apparently that already happens, np.

about three weeks ago
top

The Fire Phone Debacle and What It Means For Amazon's Future

dcollins Re:where did Amazon service suffer as a result? (155 comments)

False, the effect is not very great. Plus, do you not know what an index fund is (per GP)? The fund management takes care of that for you.

For example, the Vanguard 500 Index fund is indeed up 48% in that time period. If you'd invested $10,000 in the fund on 12/1/2012, then the value in your account would today be $14,843.15, with zero additional work on your part.

http://quotes.morningstar.com/fund/VFINX/f?t=VFINX

about three weeks ago
top

In Daring Plan, Tomorrow SpaceX To Land a Rocket On Floating Platform

dcollins Re:In other news for tomorrow .. (151 comments)

A lot of that's true, but I'm not sure how you think public money passes through universities to textbook companies? (In reality, it's students paying textbook companies directly.)

about three weeks ago
top

Ancient Planes and Other Claims Spark Controversy at Indian Science Congress

dcollins Pythagorean Theorem (381 comments)

The thing about the Pythagorean Theorem is completely true and well-documented (by maybe one or two hundred years). Pretty sure it's in a sidebar to the college algebra text I teach out of.

Wikipedia: "In India, the Baudhayana Sulba Sutra, the dates of which are given variously as between the 8th century BC and the 2nd century BC, contains a list of Pythagorean triples discovered algebraically, a statement of the Pythagorean theorem, and a geometrical proof of the Pythagorean theorem for an isosceles right triangle. The Apastamba Sulba Sutra (ca. 600 BC) contains a numerical proof of the general Pythagorean theorem, using an area computation. Van der Waerden believed that "it was certainly based on earlier traditions". Boyer (1991) thinks the elements found in the ulba-stram may be of Mesopotamian derivation.[67]... Pythagoras, whose dates are commonly given as 569–475 BC, used algebraic methods to construct Pythagorean triples..."

[67] Carl Benjamin Boyer (1968). "China and India". A history of mathematics. Wiley. p. 229.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_theorem#History

There's all kinds of examples, maybe more often the case than not, that mathematical principles get named after someone other than the original discoverer. It doesn't even require "forgotten knowledge" or anything like that, just some kind of power relationship at play. In fact, Stigler's Law of Eponomy (named after Stephen Stigler, Distinguished Service Professor at the Department of Statistics of the University of Chicago) states, "No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer." See also: Matthew Effect and Boyer's Law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stigler%27s_law_of_eponymy

Here's professor Richard Lipton writing on that particular subject:

http://rjlipton.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/why-is-everything-named-after-gauss/ ... but obviously the other stuff mentioned at the conference is total looney-tunes.

about three weeks ago
top

WSJ Refused To Publish Lawrence Krauss' Response To "Science Proves Religion"

dcollins Re:Null hypothesis (556 comments)

That's actually one of the best, most concise things I've ever seen written on the subject (and I have degrees in philosophy and math and teach statistical hypothesis testing). Thanks so much for posting that.

about three weeks ago
top

Paul Graham: Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In

dcollins Re:Mod parent up. (552 comments)

Well, there's basically nothing preventing people from getting a high school diploma in the U.S.; that's kind of the problem. There are no costs to the student, it's compulsory until age 18 (some exceptions granted for "home schooling" adherents), it's more-or-less disallowed to fail students or hold them back a grade, and standards have become so low that the high school diploma is considered to be of negligible value.

As an example in New York City (where I am now), the public high schools now boast about a 64% graduation rate [1], but something like 80% or more of those graduates cannot pass a 7th-grade algebra test on entrance to the open admission college [2] (at which point about 20% graduate from that 2-year college). In fact, the majority of graduates don't even have basic arithmetic skills (like knowing times tables, negative numbers, adding fractions, multiplying decimals), and large numbers also need a few semesters of remediation in junior-high level reading & writing skills in English.

[1] http://nypost.com/2014/12/18/nycs-high-school-graduation-rate-jumps-to-64-percent/
[2] http://www.villagevoice.com/2013-04-03/news/system-failure-the-collapse-of-public-education/

So I'm assuming that in Denmark (et. al.) colleges can still take the high school diploma as legitimate proof of mastering those basic skills? Because here we can't. The open-admission community colleges are held out (by politicians, etc.) frequently as a recovery and fix-it shop for the products of high schools who don't really have basic skills. And in fact the pressure is building all the time to remove even Algebra as a required proficiency at the college level, because the community college graduation numbers would then double or triple overnight. [3]

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/opinion/sunday/is-algebra-necessary.html

From that last article: "'There are students taking these [algebra] courses three, four, five times,' says Barbara Bonham of Appalachian State University. While some ultimately pass, she adds, 'many drop out.'". (Personally I've met students taking the basic algebra course for the sixth or seventh time where I teach). So whenever the "free college" proposal comes up, the first thing that pops into my mind is, what is the cutoff for how many times the state pays for a re-take of basic algebra? I am without question 100% all for free college, but it goes without saying that there must some criteria applied, because no body can afford infinite re-takes of junior-high level classes. Right?

about a month ago

Submissions

top

Facebook Silently Removes Ability to Download Your Posts

dcollins dcollins writes  |  about a year and a half ago

dcollins (135727) writes "Facebook has a "Download Info" capability that I've used regularly since 2010 to archive, backup, and search all the information that I've written and shared there (called "wall posts"). But I've discovered that sometime in the last few months, Facebook silently removed this largest component from the Downloaded Info, locking up all of your posted information internally where it can no longer be exported or digitally searched. Will they reverse course if this is publicized and they're pressured on the matter?"
Link to Original Source
top

Udacity Statistics is Awful

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dcollins writes "As a college instructor specializing in statistics, I felt compelled to survey one of the massive-enrollment online education courses that are all the rage these days. This summer, it seemed a perfect opportunity when Udacity unveiled Introduction to Statistics by founder Sebastian Thrun (of Google autonomous car fame). Having taken the entire course through to the final exam, my overall assessment is: It's amazingly, shockingly awful. Some nights I got seriously depressed at the notion that this might be standard fare for college lectures encountered by many students during their academic careers. I've tried to pick out the Top 10 problems with the course structure and address them in detail."
Link to Original Source
top

Director of IT the #1 Most-Hated Job

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 3 years ago

dcollins writes "CNBC reports on a CareerBliss.com job-satisfaction survey. The #1 most hated job: Director of Information Technology. From the slideshow:

"... IT directors reported the highest level of dissatisfaction with their jobs, far surpassing that of any waitress, janitor, or bellhop. Of those who responded to the survey, one simple, five-word response summed up the antipathy very well: 'Nepotism, cronyism, disrespect for workers.'""

Link to Original Source
top

Germany to End Nuclear Power by 2022

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 3 years ago

dcollins writes ""Germany on Monday announced plans to become the first major industrialised power to shut down all its nuclear plants in the wake of the disaster in Japan, with a phase-out due to be wrapped up by 2022... Germany has 17 nuclear reactors on its territory, eight of which are currently off the electricity grid... Already Friday, the environment ministers from all 16 German regional states had called for the temporary order on the seven plants to be made permanent... Monday's decision is effectively a return to the timetable set by the previous Social Democrat-Green coalition government a decade ago. And it is a humbling U-turn for Merkel, who at the end of 2010 decided to extend the lifetime of Germany's 17 reactors by an average of 12 years, which would have kept them open until the mid-2030s.""
Link to Original Source
top

Poll: How should poll numerical increments be set?

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 4 years ago

dcollins (135727) writes "(1) Linear (0,10,20,30,40, etc.)
(2) Binary (1,2,4,8,16,32, etc.)
(3) Logarithmic (1,10,100,1000, etc.)
(4) Exponential (1,3,7,20,55,148,etc.)
(5) Preferred numbers (1,2,5,10,20,50, etc.)
(6) Renard numbers (1,1.5,2.5,4,6,10,15, etc.)
(7) Comical (i, e, pi, etc.)"
top

Video Games Shown to Hinder Learning in Young Boys

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 4 years ago

dcollins (135727) writes "Researchers at Denison University in Ohio show that giving PlayStations to young boys leads to slower progress in reading and writing skills:

"The study is the first controlled trial to look at the effects of playing video games on learning in young boys. That is to say, the findings aren't based on survey data of kids' game habits, but instead on a specific group of children that were randomly assigned to receive a PlayStation or not... Those with PlayStations also spent less time engaged in educational activities after school and showed less advancement in their reading and writing skills over time than the control group, according to tests taken by the kids. While the game-system owners didn't show significant behavioral problems, their teachers did report delays in learning academic skills, including writing and spelling.""

Link to Original Source
top

Open Source Computer Literacy Textbook?

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 5 years ago

dcollins writes "The college where I work has decided to forego ordering a textbook for the computer class that I teach this fall. Does anyone know of a free, open-source textbook for basic computer literacy concepts (overview of hardware, software, operating systems, and file systems)?"
top

Drug Tests for Benefits in Some States

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 5 years ago

dcollins writes "From the AP: "Lawmakers in at least eight states want recipients of food stamps, unemployment benefits or welfare to submit to random drug testing... 'Nobody's being forced into these assistance programs,' said Craig Blair, a Republican in the West Virginia Legislature who has created a Web site — notwithmytaxdollars.com — that bears a bobble-headed likeness of himself advocating this position. 'If so many jobs require random drug tests these days, why not these benefits?'" ( http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090326/ap_on_bi_ge/states_welfare_with_strings ) I don't usually think that "slippery slope"-type arguments are that much of an actual danger, but here we find a lawmaker directly making that proposal as a straight-faced call to action."
Link to Original Source
top

No More Open Gaming for D&D

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 6 years ago

dcollins (135727) writes "In 2000 the 3rd Edition of D&D came in conjunction with an Open Gaming Licence (OGL), modelled on the GPL with the same business motivations ( http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article.asp?x=dnd/md/md20020228e ). Today it was revealed, in a turnabout from comments as recently as last week, that there will be no OGL for the upcoming 4th Edition of D&D. Instead there will be a "Game System License" with many more restrictions on its use — for example, no third-party publishers in 2008 without a $5,000 advance license fee ( http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=218031 )."
top

Burn Salt Water with Radio Waves

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 7 years ago

dcollins (135727) writes "From Yahoo News:

An Erie cancer researcher has found a way to burn salt water, a novel invention that is being touted by one chemist as the "most remarkable" water science discovery in a century.

John Kanzius happened upon the discovery accidentally when he tried to desalinate seawater with a radio-frequency generator he developed to treat cancer. He discovered that as long as the salt water was exposed to the radio frequencies, it would burn.

The discovery has scientists excited by the prospect of using salt water, the most abundant resource on earth, as a fuel.

http://green.yahoo.com/index.php?q=node/1570"
top

Slot Machine with Bad Software: Players To Jail?

dcollins dcollins writes  |  more than 7 years ago

dcollins (135727) writes "Numerous Slashdot threads turn into a debate over who's liable for faulty software: the programmers, the publisher, etc. Here's a new option: perhaps the users are themselves criminally liable. From the AP: ( http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070719/ap_on_fe_st/ge nerous_slot_machine ): "Prosecutors are considering criminal charges against casino gamblers who won big on a slot machine that had been installed with faulty software... A decision on whether to bring criminal charges could come in a couple of weeks, said John Colin, chief deputy prosecutor for Harrison County. He said 'criminal intent' may be involved when people play a machine they know is faulty.""
Link to Original Source

Journals

dcollins has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?