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Comments

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Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light

fiziko Re:Which means (347 comments)

What lack of observational evidence? Neutrinos do not produce Cerenkov radiation (light booms, caused by traveling faster than light) in a vacuum, but they do in a fluid such as they do at neutrino detectors such as this one. This indicates that they travel faster than light when light is barely slowed down, but not when light is in a vacuum. Hence, the evidence indicates that neutrinos travel close to, but not at the speed of light. How close? We haven't measured that yet (to my knowledge) but we can: detect them in materials with refractive index progressively closer to 1.00 until the light booms stop. That's when the speeds match.

about a month ago
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Recommendations For Classic Superhero Comic Collections?

fiziko Digital Comic Museum (165 comments)

I would head over to the Digital Comic Museum, create a free account, and start going through the public domain titles in addition to the Masterworks/Archives listed by others. The DCM will also give you access to stuff like The Spirit, Lev Gleason's Daredevil, Fawcett's Captain Marvel, Whiz (where CM first appeared), and Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, the golden age/western hero Ghost Rider (with the unfortunate outfit), and thousands of others. Follow your interests; the 1930s and 1940s were part of an era when superheroes weren't quite as dominant as they would later become, so you can find piles of romance, comedy, crime, and so forth in the mix.

about a month and a half ago
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Scientists Propose Collider That Could Turn Light Into Matter

fiziko Re:how soon before (223 comments)

Not entirely devoid, no, but in my experience (as a former researcher; still have the CERN employee ID card) there is still some that is free of politics. The fact that results need to be reproducible to be accepted helps. The main concern is funding. As long as you can confidently tell your backers that there is money to be made either way, or find different backers with vested interests in different results, there is no pressure to fudge results. In fact, the project I worked on (ATLAS) had no outside input asking for bias in results that I could see in any way, shape or form. Of course, if that was the case universally nobody would question vaccines, but it still happens often, especially in fields like particle physics (which this article is talking about) in which application is so far down the road that most financial backers really are looking for the spinoff technology it takes to produce the result moreso than the result itself.

about 2 months ago
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Scientists Propose Collider That Could Turn Light Into Matter

fiziko Re:how soon before (223 comments)

Not at all. In science, there is just as much validity to "we did X but didn't get Y" as there is to "when we did X, Y was accomplished." In fact, Michelson and Morley are a prime example of "we did X but didn't get Y" in 1887, and they won the Nobel prize for it in 1907.

about 2 months ago
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Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

fiziko Re:damn units (490 comments)

It depends on which you are using at the reference point. If the raw numbers are 40 for city A and 100 for city B, then city A has 150% fewer accidents than city B when city A is the reference point, but 60% fewer when B is the reference point.

about 3 months ago
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Why Speed-Reading Apps Don't Work

fiziko Re:Simple (92 comments)

Reading speed also depends greatly on the complexity of the text being read. I've taught grade five students, given them new selections and timed them, testing comprehension afterwards. The fastest I've seen (by a HUGE margin) was around 1400 words per minute with over 80% comprehension. That exceptional student could read and comprehend college level novels, so grade 5 was a joke, but he couldn't read the college level stuff at more than 250 words per minute.

Can you read the last novel you read at over 1000 words per minute? Not unless you are a hell of a lot faster than I can if you're also understanding it. (I top out around 750 wpm for the grade-9 level stuff you tend to see day to day.) Can you read kindergarten level text that quickly? Almost certainly, yes.

The original poster may have seen those numbers in a seemingly reliable source. Without grade levels involved, the numbers are meaningless. That doesn't mean the poster pulled them "out of his/her ass," but it does mean context is lacking.

about 3 months ago
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Anyone Can Buy Google Glass April 15

fiziko Re:And there was much rejoicing (167 comments)

Google Glass may not bring about the end of privacy, but it's part of the problem. This is proprietary garbage, so you don't even know what it's doing. Anyone who buys it is a damn fool.

You aren't a damn fool just because you've bought one. Buying one just means you are curious and somewhat affluent. The "damn fool" part only kicks in if the thing is on and being worn while, say, doing Internet banking. As a teacher, I could see this being very beneficial to something like distance instruction, as it would be much more liberating than either teaching on a single whiteboard or depending on a third party camera person.

about 3 months ago
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Should Microsoft Be Required To Extend Support For Windows XP?

fiziko Of course not (650 comments)

The end of XP has been a long time coming. Microsoft should not be legally obligated to provide XP support. The fact that XP is so pervasive is a side effect of the lack of appeal of its successors. The XP problem isn't a result of Microsoft failing to compete with others, it failed to compete with itself. If I worked at Microsoft, I'd maintain support in an attempt to maintain that customer base, but they are under no legal obligation to do so. The more likely result is that they'll end up driving people to Mac (and, in far lesser numbers, Linux) because the XP software customers use doesn't work in Windows 8, so they're looking at buying a lot of new software for any system.

about 4 months ago
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Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework

fiziko More than that. (278 comments)

As a professional educator working in the private industry, I can tell you that a lot of parents also cannot distinguish between "helping student understand principles better so student can do the homework independently" and "do homework for student." This can happen with poor tutors as well. If the "help" means the student doesn't understand the work enough to do it alone, it's not help. The student will then often end up in worse shape in the long run, as they won't understand future skills that the current skill is prerequisite to.

about 4 months ago
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Men And Women Think Women Are Bad At Basic Math

fiziko Re:Cultural bias biggest factor (384 comments)

I live in Alberta. From 1965 to 2004, we climbed to having the #2 math performance in the world, second to Hong Kong and one notch above Japan. (At that time, matrix operations were still included in our semi-remedial math programs.) The gender gap was closing the entire time. Our standards have only dropped since then. As I said in another reply, that's a contributing factor, but it started more recently than the closing of the gender gap in this region.

about 4 months ago
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Men And Women Think Women Are Bad At Basic Math

fiziko Re:Cultural bias biggest factor (384 comments)

That trend is out there, but started relatively recently compared to the closing of the gap. I also believe that will necessarily turn around at some point, as less competent local employees will force people hiring engineers and the like to hire from overseas in greater numbers than they are now. Something will have to give at some point in the near future.

about 5 months ago
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Men And Women Think Women Are Bad At Basic Math

fiziko Cultural bias biggest factor (384 comments)

As a math and science teacher, I've seen multiple studies on performance of different genders in math and science. There is a gap in North America, although it's closing rapidly. (In the past 40 years, men have gone from having 20% higher averages than women to having 2% higher averages than women. Evolution doesn't act that quickly; it's a purely social bias.) Men still perform slightly higher than women in this region because there are still teachers out there who expect more from male students and push them harder. In other words, if the teacher *expects* female students to get 60s and down and *expects* male students to get 70s and higher, then that teacher who sees a male and a female student with 68% averages, then the teacher will work with the male to improve his performance, but not put in the same effort with the female student. It's a horrible thought, but it's still happening out there. The same is true for race factors, for "learning disabilities" (which I would rather call "learning anomalies" but that's another story) and more.

Bottom line: there is a slight and closing gap between men and women in math and science in North America, not because there is any biological difference in this particular area, but because social biases that exist in the system are failing the female students more often than they are failing the male students.

about 5 months ago
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Apple To Unveil Its 'iOS In the Car' Project Next Week

fiziko Re:"Apple Maps as in-car navigation" (198 comments)

Most Apple Maps issues were a side effect of an early launch. They thought they'd have another year with Google Maps, and development was incomplete, but they opted for poor navigation rather than no navigation. I find it about as effective as Google Maps for my region these days. They've had the time to make it the product they always wanted it to be.

about 5 months ago
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Japanese Man Already Lined Up To Buy iPhone 6

fiziko Huh (114 comments)

When I first saw this headline in my Facebook feed, I assumed the source was The Onion. Wow.

about 5 months ago
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Majority of Young American Adults Think Astrology Is a Science

fiziko Re:More likely (625 comments)

Entirely possible. I used to mark assignments for a first-year University astronomy class, and about 6-7% of the students were upset that astrology wasn't included.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Protect Your Passwords From Amnesia?

fiziko Dead Man's Switch (381 comments)

Write a script with a "dead man's switch." Store passwords in an encrypted file on a secure system. If you don't log on and issue some sort of "wait" command every 30 days or so, then passwords get emailed to an account whose password is stored on a phone. At the time the passwords are issued, it's bloody insecure, but it should work well enough to get into the systems and change the passwords to something else. Not a perfect system, of course. What happens with a 60 day coma? Passwords are accessible for at least 25 of them, but not to you, etc. Existence of the script and encrypted file on an email ready system means there's a vulnerable spot there, too. It's better than nothing, though, and doesn't involve lawyer fees.

about 7 months ago
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Dentist Wants To Clone John Lennon Using DNA Extracted From Lennon's Tooth

fiziko Re:Fantasists (224 comments)

Exactly. In addition to lacking personality, memories and learned talents, he's also going to be under tremendous pressure to live up to an impossible standard. Very few musicians stay as relevant as they used to be. A clone now could make Lennon-like music almost perfectly, and wouldn't be the pop culture phenomenon Lennon was because the music industry has changed. I cannot imagine circumstances in which a clone can have a healthy upbringing with no abnormal expectations.

about a year ago
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Limitations and All, Chromebooks Appear To Be Selling

fiziko Re:It was me. (126 comments)

I'm a teacher who was about to say what s/he said. Our students already use Google Docs for their work, so these make a great, cost-effective fit that eliminates a lot of the educational environment security headaches.

FYI, we circumvent the printing issues by having students share documents with staff accounts when they are ready to submit. The staff can either print or mark and comment online through the existing format, depending on whether a printout is really needed. Doesn't scale well for large student loads, but it's enough for us.

1 year,15 days
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NSA Recruitment Drive Goes Horribly Wrong

fiziko Re:One interesting tidbit. (530 comments)

To heck with K-Mart. Shop smart: be an S-Mart!

1 year,22 days

Submissions

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Developing a computerized adaptive Geek Test

fiziko fiziko writes  |  more than 2 years ago

fiziko writes "I'm trying to develop a computerized adaptive geek test. Unlike the percentage scores on traditional geek tests, the final version will produce norm referenced "geek level" scores in a variety of geekdom's domains (Doctor Who, comics, computer science, math, physics, etc.) The framework I've developed for the initial norming seems to work well, but I'm lacking one critical piece: volume. If there's one thing Slashdot does well, it's sending large volumes of geekdom's best to the sites it links to."
Link to Original Source
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Quantum Physics for everybody

fiziko fiziko writes  |  about 4 years ago

fiziko (97143) writes "Yes, it's blatant self-promotion. As those who subscribe to the "Sci-Fi News" slashbox may know, Bureau 42 has launched its first Summer School. This year, we're doing a nine part series (every Monday in July and August) taking readers from high school physics to graduate level physics, with no particular mathematical background required. Part one can be read here."
Link to Original Source

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