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Teaching Creationism As Science Now Banned In Britain's Schools

homb Re:A minority view? (649 comments)

You think that the sun, rocks, and trees give comfort to humans? After losing a loved one?

Perhaps there is more confusion than you recognize regarding what actually exists, and your belief or disbelief doesn't change that.

Clearly you don't understand the importance of sun, trees, rain et. al. to primitive humans. It literally meant life or death if the sun didn't shine enough, or the rain was missing, or the trees weren't bountiful. Hence the gods of such things.
Perhaps the confusion is yours.

about 2 months ago
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iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

homb Re:Original iPads Work Well ... (386 comments)

I know the parent is sarcastic, but replacing a battery in an iPhone costs $25 and 2 minutes in the store. I just did it for my iPhone 4S, and the difference was phenomenal. Basically after 3 years your battery goes to crap as soon as you hit 50% capacity as described by the OS. You blink and it's dead. Replace it and you are back to normal, and there's nothing incredibly hard about replacing an iPhone battery.

about 4 months ago
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Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

homb Re:Banks deflecting attention from themselves (342 comments)

Wrong. HFT trader will bid 1.00 and sell, then as your trade comes in it won't be executed and you'll be forced to sell lower, say 0.98, which he'll gladly buy back from you. He got a completely unnecessary spread out of your pocket.

about 5 months ago
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Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

homb Re:Why are trades (pre-purchase) public anyway? (342 comments)

Because this is basically what's happening, is that these machines are taking advantage of a security flaw that allows them to see a transaction before it's complete

No. They see the completed transaction at one exchange for X shares, and assume you're doing the same thing at the other exchanges. They just race there faster and preempt your transactions that are on the way.

And they also consistently post fake offers that they retract in order to analyze the market appetite.

about 5 months ago
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Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

homb Re:Banks deflecting attention from themselves (342 comments)

There is nothing illegal whatsoever, since the trades are public. It's just that the HFT optimized their routes.

Sure not illegal per se, but only a finite number of people can get that sort of access, so now the playing field isn't level.

Exactly. That's one of the major complaints regarding HFT, and why the IEX exchange why created.

about 5 months ago
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Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

homb Re:Banks deflecting attention from themselves (342 comments)

As for the front-running nonsense on 60 Minutes, that's always been illegal (contrary to what we're being told), and it is not at all how high frequency trading works. If someone was in fact doing that, then they're in a whole world of hurt with the SEC (and rightly so), but this entire exercise appears much more like a distraction: blame small outsider firms who've made the marketplace more effecient and tightened spreads for problems created by corruption within the big banks, and hope no one notices...at least until the next bank-induced crash.

This is absolutely not illegal. Here's how HFT gets one of its profit lines:
Large trades often spread across multiple exchanges. Buy 30,000 shares here, 15,000 there, etc... The regular broker submits one purchase and it gets distributed across exchanges. As soon as it hits the first exchange, say after 30ms, an HFT algo picks up on the trade and assumes that it'll happen as well on the other exchanges. So it races ahead and front-runs in the other exchanges before the regular distributed trade has a chance to arrive there.
There is nothing illegal whatsoever, since the trades are public. It's just that the HFT optimized their routes.

about 5 months ago
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Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

homb Re:How does this simply not move the goalposts? (342 comments)

One of the major problem is when an HFT sees your making a trade in exchange A, it assumes you're going to be hitting the other exchanges for similar trades and beats you to them. I don't see how putting a delay in a trade at a single exchange would help.

about 5 months ago
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Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

homb Better article (342 comments)

There's a gripping article over at the NY Times (adapted from a just released book) that explains very well the pitfalls of HFT, where the problems are mostly due to the haves and have-nots, just like in most things. The article is at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04...

Not having a level playing deck in an exchange is a major problem for the correct functioning of said exchange.

about 5 months ago
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Non-Coders As the Face of the Learn-to-Code Movements

homb Re:Am I the only one.. (158 comments)

Hell, back in the 80's it was common for kids under 10 to teach themselves how to program.

Um, I was around then. It wasn't "common" - it was only "common" among those who had aptitude for it. Like, you know, today.

Back in the 80's you had maybe 30% of kids who really knew how to use computers, let alone program. I'm not talking about games, I'm talking about being able to load up the OS, muck around, launch different programs and use them properly. Kids programming were the exception, just like they are now.

Just because a loop is obvious to you doesn't mean it's obvious to others:

"Why do we need these loop things? A counter? What's a counter? How does the computer know to go back and do it again? Where is the counter in the computer? What if I want to do it more times while I'm doing it? etc..."

about 7 months ago
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Non-Coders As the Face of the Learn-to-Code Movements

homb Re:First Things First (158 comments)

Bullshit. I know how to code and I know how to speak. It's just a matter of spending the time and energy to LEARN TO SPEAK.
Structuring your speech, engaging the audience, modulating your voice, moving your body. This can be easily learned. Emacs bindings are insanely tougher.

about 7 months ago
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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

homb Re:Why? (2219 comments)

Oh wow, GeoWorks. Brings back memories.

And OpenStep is the one that aged the best. We could go back to NextStep and apart from the 4-grey screen, it is still the most elegant of them all.

about 7 months ago
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Weaponized Robots Could Take Point In Future Military Ops

homb S.H.I.V. (182 comments)

They should call them SHIVs and be done with it. That's exactly what the description is about: robots that are part of the squad and act upon orders from the squad leader.

about 10 months ago
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Ford Showcases Self-Parking Car Technology

homb Re:Except... (233 comments)

(i.e., you don't have to squeeze your way out of your vehicle while trying not to bang the next car's door)

That brilliant plan has two massive shortcomings:

1) You still need to squeeze back into the car when you're ready to leave (assuming there is no "unpark" feature)

2) What are the odds that the driver of the car parked NEXT to your in your overly narrow space will ding your passenger side door trying to get into HIS car?

Well if anyone RTFAs (and RTFVs) then it's clear that there is indeed an "unpark" feature. That is pretty obviously necessary.
Second, for #2 it's the chicken or egg: As more cars get the parking assists, this'll happen less and less. Also, in many cases you can get into your car from the passenger side and then switch to the driver's seat if it's that bad.

about a year ago
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President of Brazil Lashes Out At NSA Espionage Programs In Speech To UN

homb Commendable (260 comments)

Commendable, but ultimately wishful thinking unfortunately.
The NSA will just tap the underwater cables or enlist the "help" of technicians at the Brazil data exchanges to split the data feeds. When the adversary has this much money and next to no scruples, the battle is difficult if not impossible.

about a year ago
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Oracle Promises 100x Faster DB Queries With New In-Memory Option

homb Re:This merely allows poor code to suck less. (174 comments)

From TFA, "Maintaining those indexes is expensive and slows down transaction processing. Let's get rid of them," Ellison remarked. "Let's throw all of those analytic indexes away and replace the indexes with in-memory column sort."

This merely minimizes the penalties of poor indexing and RBAR by making complete table scans on arbitrary columns faster. Apparently Mr. Ellison has forgotten his algoithmics and combinatorics - Oh, wait, no he didn't, he dropped out as a sophmore. Pity, because had he stayed, he would have learned that even with a 1000x slower storage medium, an O(log N) algorithm (index seek) will eventually beat an O(N log N) algorithm (column sort).

I think you misunderstand the way columnar databases work. They are not doing a column sort the way you think. The column itself is an index.
Of course the inanities coming out of Ellison's mouth don't help explain things correctly. No Larry, you don't do away with indexes. You mostly store indexes on everything, automatically.

Thanks, Larry, but you want to make Oracle faster? Remove cursors from the core language, and although that alone won't "fix" it, you'll see all the hacks who can't think in set-based logic drop out overnight.

Can't argue there!

about a year ago
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Oracle Promises 100x Faster DB Queries With New In-Memory Option

homb Re:Like Microsoft SQL Server (174 comments)

I don't think it's in the same ballpark. The SQL Server column store seems to be purely for read-only:

Keep in mind that once you add a column store to a table, though, you cannot delete, insert or update the data – it is READ ONLY.

That's nowhere near the complexity of what Oracle is doing, simultaneously providing both a row and column based access to the data. Not that I think this is a good thing, I don't. In most cases you're much better off using a kickass columnar db and handling the batch updates from the upstream app servers. When you plan for building a col-based architecture, you can be much more efficient. Just look at kdb & co.

about a year ago
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Why Are Some Hell-Bent On Teaching Intelligent Design?

homb Re:ID is not YEC (1293 comments)

There's nothing wrong with pointing to gaps. That's what science is all about.

True

And there's nothing wrong with suggesting God as one candidate theory to explain a gap. All theories are allowed.

False, if you are talking about scientific theories. Let me quote:

A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on knowledge that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation.

That's why the "God theory" is not a theory, and why ID is completely incompatible with the scientific method.

Science can't work with untestable theories, but unfortunately that's not the same as proving them false. We could be unlucky. The truth might be beyond our testing. There's no harm in facing that possibility.

Just mention a few other candidates besides God to explain the gaps. And show some examples of what used to be gaps, that have now been filled in. Now you've got a science course, that covers everything that ID supporters can ask to cover.

Unfortunately that doesn't work in practice, because you end up teaching that any idea can be considered a scientific theory, and that is completely false. Yes, one could say

There are some people who think X, Y and Z, but that's just unsubstantiated ideas

and see the wrath of ID'ers strike down on you. No religious person would want their "theories" to be associated with the "theory" that a great ball of pasta is what makes the world turn. Or that there is a pink unicorn whose dreams we inhabit.

about a year ago
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Why Are Some Hell-Bent On Teaching Intelligent Design?

homb It is very simple (1293 comments)

In the end, it all boils down to this basic issue:

Fear of Death

So people will do everything they can to maximize their chances against it. And if it means believing in something against all odds, and the greater the odds, the greater your belief, the greater your chances, then so be it.
There's nothing more to it.

about a year ago
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Spatial Ability a Predictor of Creativity In Science

homb Re:Number 6 was a bitch. (199 comments)

The trick with #6 is looking at the arrow that points to the square. This gives you a directional anchor. Then you just need to notice that all the cubes have the other square on the right, except for A.

about a year ago
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Spatial Ability a Predictor of Creativity In Science

homb Re:I tests like this were required I would be scre (199 comments)

Well I am not so sure that the test linked at in the summary is that effective. I personally am pretty good at spatial stuff, and on my first pass of the test it took me a good 15 minutes, scoring 8/9. I thought I did well. But then about 15mn later I showed it to my father in law and went through it again. It took me all of 3 minutes tops, not because I'd done it before but because I'd gotten much better at it. I didn't even need to visualize the cubes any more, I just looked at the flat patterns. I scored 9/9.
I think it would be very difficult to create such spatial tests unless you get into 3D geometry, where you try to visualize the cross section of a cylinder skewering a cone.

about a year ago

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