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Ohio Judge Rules Speed Cameras Are a Scam

isomer1 Re:Another outbreak of common sense! (984 comments)

Unconsciously, you know how long it should take to get from A to B, given nothing but the physical characteristics of the roadway.

Oh come on. Is this really the pseudoscience horseshit that we've been reduced to on /. ? The human mind is an amazing thing, but we are not innately wired for anticipating and responding to road conditions. You are not intuiting road parameters such as slope, lane width, berm availability, or ramp egress. Just stop.

If you play back a video of typical human interaction then yes we anticipate a rate of behavior normal to that event. THAT is the event situation when slowing the rate causes us to rethink. But the response is based on what is 'normal' from previous interactions. If you always drive 40mph then you will anticipate 40mph interactions. If you always drive 80mph you will anticipate 80mph interactions. But there is nothing inherent in the human mind that wires us for "N"mph and that N sure as hell isn't a function of road parameters that we work out on the fly based on the design parameters.

about 2 years ago

Bloggers Put Scientific Method To the Test

isomer1 Re:Seriously? IDIOTS (154 comments)

Eh. These aren't random idiots. They are graduate students. Typically they know more about the nuts and bolts than the PIs. They are trying to show the absurdity of the current system. I for one heartily applaud their efforts. The frustrating issue with science in academia, and I say this from 3 years of graduate work and 5 years of post-graduate work at major research universities, is that the process has become just another lame industry. The purpose of modern publicly funded laboratories is to churn out papers. Yes those papers are peer reviewed. But that doesn't make the science any more sound, it just insures the arguments in the paper are internally consistent. I've seen people repeat an experiment 20+ times, then publish the results of the SINGLE experiment that happened to give the numbers that matched their model. That doesn't mean the experiment worked that time, it just randomly gave a value that a reviewer would accept. Frankly, Chemistry is among the easiest of the physical sciences. I say this as the physicist who was tasked by the chemists to fix their gear when it broke down. Their papers are almost universally set forth as an over glorified recipe. If you look across the fields chem majors have a higher percentage of publishing as undergrads, because the papers are so damn easy. You mix your bits, filter and then quantify the results. Boom, paper. Yes I'm oversimplifying, but not by much. The joke goes that if you want to make a breakthrough in modern chemistry you'd better find a physicist. If you want a breakthrough in modern physics you'd better find a mathematician. The overarching problem is that the system pushes for papers period. Not worthwhile science, not correct science, simply papers. This has been passed down by the NIH to whom it was in turn handed to by congress and the public at large. People demand some mechanism to quantify how the tax dollars are spent, and papers became the most convenient metric. Thus the number of papers have ballooned astronomically, while the value has plummeted. People think they're so damn clever when the talk about how our pace of innovation accomplishes in months what used to take generations. They're just bullshitting themselves. Yes, there are *some* papers that are absolutely fantastic today, but the signal to noise ratio is far lower than it was even twenty years ago.

about 2 years ago

Seattle Police Want More Drones, Even While Two Sit Unused

isomer1 Ok here's what we do... (144 comments)

We, as concerned budget conscious citizens, point out that these drones can do the work of 10 ordinary beat officers (10,15 whatever the number is irrelevant). This, we continue, allows the county/city/state to reduce the number of officers on payroll. Then we sit back and watch the police union take care of problem for us.

more than 2 years ago

Hiring Smokers Banned In South Florida City

isomer1 Re:Make it illegal (1199 comments)

Maybe. But what about outdoor activities? Extreme sports of any kind? Diets heavy in red meat? Speeding? These are all activities that people knowingly and deliberately take part in, knowing full well that their participation elevates their long term medical expenses and thus the burden "on the rest of us". Should we ban participants in the Boston Marathon? Those selfish bastards could get the same health benefits while greatly reducing joint and soft tissue damage by running on an elliptical at the local gym. This is a horrendously slippery slope. Will we ban the consumption of salad dressings next? They offer next to no nutritional benefit and are loaded with calories. Clearly their consumption can only be seen as a deliberate, selfish decision which increases insurance rates for decent, hard working Americans.

more than 2 years ago

Requiring Algebra II In High School Gains Momentum

isomer1 You guys are weird. (490 comments)

I wish you 'Correlation != Causation' nutjobs could put down the sauce and actually consider the issue.

Have you EVEN CONSIDERED that the concepts taught in Algebra II might in fact have a CAUSAL relationship with later success? Look through the core concepts listed below and ask yourself (A) would knowing these concepts be critical for success in pure science and engineering coursework? (B) would knowing these concepts be useful for social sciences? (C) could the mental gymnastics practiced in algebra 2 help develop the critical thinking necessary for harder subjects?

You guys go on and on about how politicians etc. have no science background and then go batshit crazy the moment someone suggests that 'hard' math/science should be part of a core curriculum. As a practicing scientist I use the below core concepts literally every day (matlab ftw), and I certainly wish more people were walking around with a working knowledge of these subjects. Even english & art majors would benefit from knowing these concepts.

Absurdity note: As probability and statistics are part of the algebra 2 core, a person would HAVE TO KNOW ALGEBRA 2 to even understand the 'correlation != causation' arguement.

Per random googling, here is a basic algebra 2 core:

  1. Equations and Inequalities
  2. Linear Equations and Functions
  3. Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
  4. Matrices and Determinants
  5. Quadratic Functions
  6. Polynomials and Polynomial Functions
  7. Powers, Roots, and Radicals
  8. Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
  9. Rational Equations and Functions
  10. Quadratic Relations and Conic Sections
  11. Sequences and Series
  12. Probability and Statistics
  13. Trigonometric Ratios and Functions
  14. Trigonometric Graphs, Identities, and Equations

more than 3 years ago

New MacBook Pro Teardown Reveals 'Shoddy Assembly'

isomer1 Re:And, yeah? (531 comments)

And Apple is known for having 1st generation problems.

This is hardly a first generation product. You could get away with that excuse on the FIRST imac (poor bondi blue) or the FIRST ipod. But this is just another re-up of what is supposed to be a stable product evolution.

more than 3 years ago

Sarah Palin 'Target WikiLeaks Like Taliban'

isomer1 Re:Why do we keep talking about her? (1425 comments)

Here's an interesting tid-bit that I think may help you to identify lunatics like Ron Paul:

Add the phrase "because he/she believes it is a Jewish conspiracy" to a person's political views. If that statement still accurately describes the person then you have identified them as a insane.

For example: "Ron Paul is anti-war ... because he believes it is a Jewish conspiracy"
YEP! That's Ron Paul all right, now can we please stop pretending this whack job has any legitimacy?

more than 4 years ago

Greg 'Ghostcrawler' Street, Lead Systems Designer For World of Warcraft

isomer1 Re:No questions about QA? (175 comments)

The elephant in the room is that WoW essentially has zero beta testing. Oh sure, there is a 'beta' phase where you can copy over a character and try out the changes, but that system is broken. The reality is that the vast majority of beta players are just practicing the new raid zones so they can compete for world first boss kills as soon as the content goes live. So major flaws in mechanics go unreported & unfixed, while inane boss tuning gets all the attention.

more than 4 years ago

Buried By The Brigade At Digg

isomer1 telling yourself what you want to hear (624 comments)

I understand that the general idea is to find news about things you care about, but I can't help but feel that at the end of the day this 'solution' and many of the resulting responses simply amount to collective self delusion. If I'm actively sorting out and associating myself with like-minded individuals how can the result ever be anything but tribalistic warfare in the society at large?

more than 4 years ago

Spammers Moving To Disposable Domains

isomer1 How does this influence the available namespace? (147 comments)

A lot of the responses are focusing on (A) is this a new method and (B) how it can/can't be easily dealt with. But personally I'm more interested in how this affects the available namespace. Surely many on slashdot have their own domains /projects out there and are familiar with how difficult it is to find a catchy/marketable domain name that isn't taken. These spam tactics would seem to both further limit the available namespace in the short term and poison the well in the long term if those names stay on RBLs etc long after the spammer lets the registration lapse. Anybody have thoughts/experience with this?

more than 4 years ago

The Unstoppable 'Tech Support' Scam

isomer1 Re:Scum (312 comments)

> They disincentivize ignorance and stupidity...

That strikes me as a touch cynical. You might argue the victims are naive, but I see no grounds for calling them stupid.

How many times on slashdot have we as a collective proposed having infected PCs simply cut off the network by the ISP. "Of course of course", we argue, "they would be given a warning prior to cutting the line." Well how do you think such a scenario would play out in real life? It would be damn near identical to this scam. The ISP would call the client and inform them of the issue, then any real ISP is going to refer the client to a 'preferred vendor', and plenty of those are going to be the in-house guys at the ISP/store hybrids here in the midwest US.

Now maybe you can argue this just falls under the general umbrella 'never trust a cold call', but even that isn't reasonable. You propose that they simply hang up and call up Microsoft... who pray tell do you expect them to call? Corporations in the real world have divisions spread all over the place, with no particular expectation that every division knows what every other division is up to. Suppose you DID receive a real call from Microsoft that you doubted, who of their bagillion employees worldwide would you call back? Do you honestly expect the front line support to know what anyone up the chain is doing?

more than 4 years ago

Second Inquiry Exonerates Climatic Research Unit

isomer1 Re:Doesn't matter. (764 comments)

I would like to clarify a few things as someone who is both an engineer and an academic.

Academics don't have to produce anything (besides words).

In the lab across the hall from my office sits the world's first diffuse optical tomography platform capable of imaging and mapping multiple fluorescent lifetimes. My office mates have built a high-density NIRs grid currently being used to map brain function in infants to help clinicians diagnose and treat early neural trauma and other related disorders. We academics build plenty. Moreover even those involved in more theoretical aspects (like say the mathematicians we collaborate with) have to produce models of light propagation that actually work. Are there papers that show problems with current methodology? Sure, but those are only one aspect of academia, and the same people that write those papers then go on to demonstrate new methodologies superior to the old (which is the entire reason they examined weaknesses in the old models).

I have to put a product out that works. There are time limits.

How difficult it must be to live in a world with project deadlines. OH WAIT! I bet that's damn near identical to our grant submission and progress report deadlines. If we miss those the lab either never receives or loses existing funding

"Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach..."

Lets not be a jackass about these things. In reality anybody worth a damn is both doing AND teaching as much as their time permits. As a production engineer you may not be teaching in a formal setting but I would certainly expect that you both give and receive informal instruction to the other engineers on your teams

more than 4 years ago

Health Care Reform

isomer1 Re:Taking care of people is not wrong (2044 comments)

You post reminds of the KKK PR materials from the past few years: "It's not that we hate black people, we just love white people more"

more than 4 years ago

Obama Administration Withholds FoIA Requests More Often Than Bush's

isomer1 Re:Biased much? (601 comments)

Ok, so less than 5% reduced denials on 11% less requests...Sounds like statistically likely evidence that denials are more likely.

I don't mean to offend but this is an absurd usage of statistics. The entire problem with comparing the number of FOIA requests is that there is no inherent connection between the datasets. One year you could have 100 requests regarding factual information for NASA programs, the next you could have 100 requests for Dick Cheney's cell phone number. Obviously the statistics from the 2nd year would show an absurd increase in FOIA rejections, but that wouldn't actually mean the government was 'more closed' the second year.

more than 4 years ago

Obama Backs MPAA, RIAA, and ACTA

isomer1 Re:First rebellion (703 comments)

In fact, manufacturing in the U.S. is doing very well. Productivity is at an all-time high, and the amount we are producing has not been in decline, as is commonly believed.

I'd have guessed that greater than 95% of the products I purchase and use on a regular basis are manufactured outside of the U.S. Would you mind providing more information as to what sectors are producing 'at an all-time high'? I'm not trolling or even necessarily disagreeing with you, but there appears to be a distinct disconnect here.

more than 4 years ago

Ars Technica Inveighs Against Ad Blocking

isomer1 Re:It's the freeloaders time (1051 comments)

Why can't I get ads I would be even remotely interested in? Gadgets deals, hardware deals, game deals, interesting bands, interesting books ... you know ... geek stuff?

You mean ads personally tailored to you? based on your interest? As long as you are willing to provide a good deal of personal information to the site and in turn to advertisers, including information linking your online activities to your real world ones, then go for it. But the next time a Slashdot headline comes across touting the latest in user identification and tracking you'd better not bitch about the invasion to your privacy.

Ideally there might be a neutral trusted middleman. But that mechanism requires a good deal of infrastructure and would then itself be subject to exploitation.

more than 4 years ago

Next X-Prize — $10M For a Brain-Computer Interface

isomer1 Re:This will be one of the shorter X-Prize contest (175 comments)

I work in an optical imaging lab doing whole animal and human brain imaging studies. As you've mentioned two key points should be stressed for those outside the field.

(1) The project is laughably underfunded. Think more on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars plus for these types of projects to make it through the full FDA approval process. Human trials are phenomenally expensive, to the point where whole established companies can be driven to bankruptcy through the process (ART in Canada comes to mind).

(2) Many of the smaller pieces HAVE already been invented. By many different groups scattered around the globe. It will take some sort of insane IP wizardry to combine all of these patents along with the additional research required to meet the specific aims of the challenge.

more than 4 years ago

US Grants Home Schooling German Family Political Asylum

isomer1 Re:No story here (1324 comments)

Children are not property. Parents are not owners.

Parenting is baffling mysterious art which involves guiding the development of another human being. It is an admirable task. But the raising of children is not done in a vacuum and is not a 'right'. We are a society, each of us responsible to act in act in accordance with the social contracts that exist both naturally and that we have developed as a culture.

Under your logic the actions of someone like Josef Fritzl are perfectly acceptable, after all who are you Pudge to say what he can and can't do with his daughter. Now you may counter that those are two entirely different scenarios, but I would argue that 'educating' your children through deliberate omission is highly damaging albeit more subtle. Parenting is a very gray area where an adult is directly responsible for the raising of the child, and thus makes a great many decisions that a lifelong impact on the child, but once that child is grown there is the expectation (which I consider reasonable) that they will be able to interact as a free-thinking member of the society. It is reasonable that the community at large should place certain expectations on the education children receive and the environment in which they live. Parents may be bear the primary responsibility for child rearing, but again they are not property. Neighbors, friends, fellow citizens, even random passerbys on the street still have an obligations to look out for the child.

The adage, "It takes a whole village to raise a child," comes to mind.

more than 4 years ago

Thomas Edison's Kindle

isomer1 Re:Another Idea that will not catch on (hopefully) (98 comments)

I would guess the reason is simply to reduce the huge number of story submissions that the editors must wade through.

The reason I happen to know about it is that I attempted to submit a story a few days ago and ran in to this exact problem. The main url I wanted to link to was: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8476381.stm. Another slashdotter had already submitted the link, but included only a tiny one sentence blurb. The result was that the story was killed and the url can not be used for new submissions.

Incidentally this seems like a GREAT way for astroturfers to abuse the /. process.

about 5 years ago

Thomas Edison's Kindle

isomer1 Re:Another Idea that will not catch on (hopefully) (98 comments)

Unfortunately the Slashdot story submission process almost requires you to post the stories on your own site. The problem is that the main url for the story must be unique among all story submissions, but the writeup must also be decent (yes that second point is debatable). So if any of the bagillion other slashdot readers submits the story before you, you're out of luck. And if they write a crappy one sentence description the story gets rejected and that original url is permablocked but the submission process. The process naturally selects the autobloggers that provide a unique url (typically to their own site) and provide a good (read inflammatory) description.

about 5 years ago


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