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The One App You Need On Your Resume If You Want a Job At Google

fygment Ironic (205 comments)

I became a consultant recently (applications of machine learning to big data). After 15+ years of working almost exclusively in Matlab, I switched to javascript/nodejs to get a 'real' programming language under my belt, a language relevant to the web. The fact was, unless I was in academia or a big company, I could not afford Matlab.

Which is interesting, as there is now a slight class barrier for entry to Google ie. you have to have gone to an institution that could afford the licencing.

And no ... Octave, Scilab, etc. are not good alternatives, though Python is (sadly, it's dead slow). Promising is Julia, but it is very very young.

5 days ago

Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming

fygment Say "No more!" to Climate Posts (423 comments)

Enough already.
The Earth is warmer, probably.
We don't know for how much longer.
We don't know how much warmer.
We don't know how it's happening, mostly.
We don't know why it's happening.

That's climate in a nutshell. Do you want a _government_ ringing in new policies based on that? A government can't even get well understood problems under control ... like say, traffic, or urban development. And if you dare say, "Hey, traffic is hard to model!", well guess what, climate is harder.

about three weeks ago

Is an Octopus Too Smart For Us To Eat?

fygment Not Human Species = Potential Food (481 comments)

The only line humans almost unanimously draw, is we don't each other. And that line is/has/will be crossed when necessary.

We eat whales, dolphins, monkeys, crows, all deemed intelligent. But they aren't like 'us' so they are fair game.

about three weeks ago

It's Not Just How Smart You Are: Curiosity Is Key To Learning

fygment Ignobel Material .... (83 comments)

... Really? This wasn't suspected, hadn't been demonstrated a million times over? Wow, curiousity an important factor in learning?! Who knew? OH, EVERYONE!

Sadly, there are some real researchers who still aren't funded.

about three weeks ago

Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

fygment 1984 (575 comments)

Is a book by Orwell.
Read it.
Then look around you.
If you're not scared, then you either didn't understand it, or you are part of the problem.
It is clear where Mr. Holder stands.

about three weeks ago

Forest Service Wants To Require Permits For Photography

fygment Proposed Policy indicates best solution (299 comments)

It's cheaper to _not_ get a permit?! So what reporter would?
That's one screwed up Service.
Clearly the same brainiacs that came up with that 'deterrent', are the problem. They can't even manage that right!

Solution: get rid of them, put in someone halfway competent, and the resulting improved performance of the Forest Service will mean that you won't have or need whistleblowers and the attendant bad press.

about a month ago

Star Wars Producers Want a 'DroneShield' To Prevent Leaks On Set

fygment My shield is called `Bob` as in: The Duck Hunter . (138 comments)

Bob`s a neighbour with a semi-automatic, double-barrel, under-over, 12 gauge shotgun.

Bob likes to shoot quail, duck, skeet, highway signs, and drones.

I asked Bob, ``How can you shoot someone`s expensive drone?"
He replied, " Easy. You just have to lead 'em a little more."

about a month ago

Is the Tesla Model 3 Actually Going To Cost $50,000?

fygment $50-80K ... unless subsidized ... (393 comments)

which would be a pretty good investment by the government, backed by the electrical industry, industry willing to gamble on building the infrastructure for electrical vehicles, and environmental interest groups/industries.

It is easy to come up with possible ways of subsidizing the Tesla to keep its cost low, possibly lower than the $35k proposed. It is a technology a lot of people want to see succeed.

about a month ago

How Flickr Is Courting the Next Generation of Photographers

fygment Best photogs of 20 yrs ago were 'older' because .. (97 comments)

... it takes time to become a good photographer .... or painter, or sculptor, or any other artist.
It's called 'skill', and it takes time to refine to the point that others recognise it.
Some people have 'talent' and blossom quickly, but that is rare now, just as it was then.

Also the point is completely incorrect; getting in to photography isn't easier today! A decent camera was available for $200 way back 20 years ago. And young folks who were interested in photography, paid the price. Just as young folks today spring $200 or more for their phone.

The actual difference between photography now and 20 years ago? The camera (in the phone) is waaayyyy more portable. And that's kind of it. In terms of quality: film resolution beats cell phone (and all but the most expensive cameras) hands down, lense quality of an old SLR beats cellphone camera by orders of magnitude.

about a month ago

Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

fygment Sea Ice? Climate Change? Who. Cares. (635 comments)

We will adapt.
We should adapt because anything else is bad both for us and for the planet.

about a month ago

Medical Milestone: Scientists Reset Human Stem Cells

fygment Call me a Cynic, but how long ... (75 comments)

... before we find out the results were made up? Is there some reproducibility happening here? Just sayin'

about a month and a half ago

The Exoplanets That Never Were

fygment Most Compelling Reason to Doubt "Consensus" (31 comments)

Science is full of stories like this.
Someone presents a result that catches the imagination. They achieve "great scientific stature".
Someone else quesions the result. They are pilloried while the "consensus" sides with the person of "great scientific stature".
But if there is persistence, sometimes the person of "great scientific stature", and by extension, the "consensus" is proven wrong.

The lesson: "consensus" is meaningless in science. It is desctructive, politically-driven artifact that inhibits the discovery of truth.

Sad fact: Stories like this have happened over and over and over again in science. And we never learn.
Other sad fact: Almost nobody in this forum will recognize the import of this article.

about a month and a half ago

Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

fygment Finally biologists have some 'first principles' .. (211 comments)

Yeah, finally biology (the 'butterfly collecting' adventure labeled as a science) has something like a 'first principle' to hang on to.

Nothing shows biology to be more a 'butterfly collecting' venture than the repeated surprise biologists express when they find life in environments where they never expected to. You would think they had learned by now. Regardless, a theory with bona fide first principles clearly lays out that finding life supporting environments is the norm.

about a month and a half ago

Reanalysis of Clinical Trials Finds Misleading Results

fygment Ultimate Argument for Reproducibility (74 comments)

There have been recent cries for reproducible results in science.
The scope is too limited.
There should be a cry for reproducible results in any research prior to its publication.
Long and short of it for researchers: if only you can get the results and conclusions, then the results and conclusions are not publishable.

about a month and a half ago

How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

fygment Crichton Was Right; Consensus ALWAYS Political (770 comments)

If a hypothesis is proven, reproduceably, there can be no denial. It is a fact.

If a hypothesis is not able to be proven reproduceably, it is an opinion.

People back opinions for self-serving reasons, and a consensus is when a majority of people see the most personal advantage in taking up a particular opinion.

Scientific consensus, is a political consensus. No more, no less. Doubt it? Look at the history of tectonic plates to name but one valid hypothesis that was, at times savagely, repressed by those whose academic careers had been made on another hypothesis (the consensus). Look at the history of neural network theory.

about a month and a half ago

Study: Antarctic Sea-Level Rising Faster Than Global Rate

fygment Validate the Model first _then_ call it conclusive (302 comments)

The models were chosen to support their beliefs, and conclusion.

That's a problem because a model can be tuned to a desired outcome.

If the opposite had been true, say that model after model had predicted a rise, and then they went out and found the model to be true, there might be more credibility.

As it was, they had a measurements first, they had a belief/hypothesis first (naturally), and they found a model they could make fit. That's not a proof, not conclusive. They should take the model, and see if it tells them something they didn't know/expect, and then try and see if they can find it in nature. Validate the model beyond the very very narrow conclusion you are trying to justify.

about 2 months ago

Study: Antarctic Sea-Level Rising Faster Than Global Rate

fygment Like the beer in my glass ... (302 comments)

... the side nearer my lips is rising higher faster than the opposite side is lowering.

So my beer lasts longer.

about 2 months ago

New Computer Model Predicts Impact of Yellowstone Volcano Eruption

fygment Re:Don't worry... only a computer model (121 comments)

".. extremely general to be at all accurate ..." Just think about that and what it means. Now think a bit harder.

You also have to know what assumptions are made in the model to 'generalise' it.

And you have to know just how 'fragile' the mode is, how does it hold up to deviations, perturbations.

And then after you've run the model a hundred times and it matches closely the training data (there has to be some), you really have no idea of how it performs as a predictive model.

No shame in that because that is the nature of scientific exploration. BUT you are the fool if you bet your money or your life on it.

about 2 months ago

How the World's Fastest Electric Car Is Pushing Wireless Charging Tech

fygment Wireless Charging = The Problem (49 comments)

Think about wireless charging: convert energy to RF, transmit, convert RF to energy. Each conversion is not perfect. The transmission loses energy density according to a power law. Just that simple transfer is inefficient. And for what reason? Convenience. Nothing more.

Our impact on the planet is what it is. There are a lot of humans. But we are so staggeringly wasterful it is obscene. We net tens of thousands of fish in one catch, to get the thousand we really want. We run air conditioners and pool circulation pumps 24/7 for months, for literally hours of comfort or pleasure. We leave cars running unoccupied for tens of minutes rather than feel the minutes of discomfort of a too cold (or hot) vehicle. All for convenience.

Fact is, we don't need to geo-engineer our planet (in virtual ignorance of potential side effects). We just have to begin using our resources as efficiently as possible.

about 2 months ago


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