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Disease Outbreak Threatens the Future of Good Coffee

jpate Re:No.... (259 comments)

did you just confuse "central america" with "middle america"?

about a year ago
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White House Tells Agencies To Increase Access to Fed-Funded Research

jpate Re: A good first step (121 comments)

Academic journals typically have an editor or group of editors who work for little or no pay. These editors decide whether a submission should proceed to peer review, select the reviewers, and oversee the communication between the reviewers and the submitting authors. Academics do this work for free because it is considered to be part of the vocation of creating and expanding knowledge. Publishers were necessary in the past because they handled the logistics of typesetting and printing and distributing the material, but now authors are able to typeset their own papers and distribute them through the internet.

The Journal of Machine Learning Research (JMLR) exempifies this change. Much of the editorial board of the Machine Learning Journal collectively resigned to form JMLR as an open-access journal. The new journal had all of the prestige and experience that the old one used to have, with virtually none of the costs, and is doing just fine.

about a year and a half ago
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The US Redrawn As 50 Equally Populated States

jpate Re:further reason for a popular vote (642 comments)

First, it's going get get dumped the first time the "wrong" candidate wins the popular vote by 0.001% and some blue state has to vote all red or vice versa. Imagine all whining about the 'stolen' election in Florida, but an order of magnitude more annoying.

Maybe, but I doubt it. Under this system, the electoral college becomes a mere formality. People will of course be curious about how their state voted, but the determining factor is the popular vote, not the electors. It's a lot easier to justify "one person, one vote" than "one person, a variable number of votes according to a 250-year-old compromise that depends on your state's relative population."

Secondly, it's a huge incentive to cheat wildly in counting the votes. In order to prevent rampant cheating, you'd have to get all the States to agree on a single voting procedure and/or control of their election systems by the Federal government. If the latter's the case, you're right back to needing to amend the Constitution.

I don't follow. How is it more of an incentive to cheat wildly when you have to fake a 1-2% swing in 122 million votes nationwide compared to, say, the 5.5 million votes in Ohio?

Finally, there are plenty of States that aren't going to want this. If urbanization continues then a small number of urban centers will be setting policy for vast areas of the US about which they know little and care less. How many bitter gun-clinging, religious, 'fly over' states want to give over their power of self-determination to LA or NY?

By the same logic, right now we have rural areas disproportionately setting policy for urban areas. Under a popular vote plan, the rural areas would receive attention that more closely reflects their population. Is this a problem? Moreover, those states, and rural regions of those states, would still have disproportionate representation in the Senate and gerrymandered congressional seats: this proposal is only for presidential elections.

Also, I doubt the opposition would be that stiff in most states. There were only 19 states, worth only 189 electoral college votes, with a partisan advantage of more than 20 points in 2012 (i.e. more partisan than 60/40, ignoring 3rd parties). A national popular vote would allow the votes of the losing 40%+ in the other states and districts to still count.

about a year and a half ago
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The US Redrawn As 50 Equally Populated States

jpate Re:further reason for a popular vote (642 comments)

Hmm, 100% of the States agree to this to make the change...

Alternately, 75% of the States have to agree for a Constitutional Amendment.

Yah, it's sooooo much easier to get the States to bypass the amendment process....

Read the article (here's the link again). Only 270 electoral votes' worth of states need to agree for this change. This is because a state is constitutionally allowed to allocate its electors in any way that it wants. Under the national popular vote compact, each state agrees to allocate their electors to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of what the state's own citizens do. Once enough states agree to this, it doesn't matter if the other 268 votes' worth of states decide to go along or not. The winner of the popular vote is guaranteed to get the 270 electoral college votes needed to win.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Spreadsheet With Decent Programming Language?

jpate Re:Just do it the other way around (332 comments)

cat file.csv | perl -ne '@a=split/,/; $tmp = $a[11]; .... ' > new_file.csv, load the new CSV, check for errors, debug, repeat... sometimes is just a one-time task I need to do.

Here is your UUOC award :D

about a year and a half ago
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Does US Owe the World an Education At Its Expense?

jpate Re:Couldn't we just charge them tuition? (689 comments)

It's worth pointing out that it goes the other way too. Any doctoral student from the US working/studying at a lab somewhere else will most likely be supported by grants to that lab, not with money from the US.

Where do you think Grant money comes from?

...from the government or other organization of "somewhere else," of course. I'm an American pursuing a PhD in Scotland, and all of my fees and living expenses are covered by funds ultimately either from the Scottish government or tuition to my university (and this tuition is zero for Scottish and EU students, except England, Wales, and Northern Ireland).

about a year and a half ago
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Degree Hack: Cobbling Together Credit Hours For Cheap

jpate Re:I'd hire him (368 comments)

As the saying goes, "the plural of anecdote is not data." Anecdotes by their nature are subject to sampling bias: an anecdote is not brought up unless it is somehow interesting. Taking a larger sample of anecdotes just inflates the sampling bias. You need to make sure your observations are representative, typically through taking a random sample or running a controlled experiment, to call it "data."

about 2 years ago
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Congressional Committee Casts a Harsh Eye On Vaccination Science

jpate Re:Congress Sucks (858 comments)

Health insurance is insurance. It survives because it takes calculated risks, and the general public is not a very good risk health-wise. The value and the problem with insurance is that it faces the reality that there are limited resources out there head-on. Now you may well be correct to say that using those resources for the benefit of only those who can pay is unfair, but what criteria do you use to ensure fair distribution?

The general public is a much better risk than the current system, which contains a disproportionate number of people who need more expensive treatments because they've been avoiding relatively cheap preventative care, or show up to the emergency room with no coverage at all. The health care reform prioritizes preventative care and universal coverage. You're right that the general public is a worse bet than only NBA players, but it's a much better bet than what we're covering now.

about 2 years ago
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Faculty To Grad Students: Go Work 80-Hour Weeks!

jpate Re:Supply and Demand (454 comments)

As a current PhD student (although not in astronomy), I think writing a dissertation is actually the most rewarding aspect of doing a PhD. First, during your PhD, you have a lot more freedom in determining the direction of your work than most researchers. As I understand it, funding agencies tend to require specific deliverables that constrain possible research questions after the PhD, but PhD research is much more open-ended. So a dissertation is an opportunity for a student to really spend some time thinking very carefully about something they care about.

However, this is only relevant if the student has the peace of mind to actually think carefully. I'm an American doing a PhD in the UK, and one of my main considerations for coming here was that UK PhD program(me)s are 3-4 years with no required courses. I did sit in on one course (for no credit) my first term, but was able to get started on my research right away, and will be submitting in December just over 3 years after starting. I've also been TA-ing (and tutoring, and marking) for one course, but it's been much less stressful than the American habit of throwing a grad student in front of 30 freshmen with little preparation.

about 2 years ago
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Arch Linux For Newbies? Manjaro Is Here!

jpate Re:love Arch (120 comments)

# pacman -S arch-wiki-docs

more than 2 years ago
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Is Sexual Harassment Part of Hacker Culture?

jpate Re:Yes. (1127 comments)

blargh, the first link should be to to this address

more than 2 years ago
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Is Sexual Harassment Part of Hacker Culture?

jpate Re:Yes. (1127 comments)

Only a minority of men are involved in a disproportionate number of rapes. David Lisak has done some very eye-opening research, finding that most rapes are committed by about 5% of men, who rape again and again and again.

It turns out that if you ask these men questions like "Did you force someone to have sex with you, even though they didn't want to?" they are happy to say yes, and they think other men will too, and they don't think that forcing somebody to have sex is rape. When people talk about "rape culture," this is what they mean. Rapists don't think that they are doing anything unusual, because they get repeated cues from the men around them that rape is OK. The vast majority of men who laugh at rape jokes, or otherwise sexist jokes, are not actually believing the ideology behind it, but the 5% of men in the group see that laugh and think "that person is just like me, my attitudes and actions are not exceptional." Rape culture is real and has real, devastating consequences.

More to the point of TFA, or at least one of its points, when men overstep women's boundaries without actually raping them or sexually assaulting them, that reinforces the belief in the rape-y and assault-y minority of men that disrespecting women's boundaries is OK.

more than 2 years ago
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Is Sexual Harassment Part of Hacker Culture?

jpate Re:Yes. (1127 comments)

This study conducted in the late 90's found that about 17.6% of American women had experienced attempted or completed rape, with 13% experience completed rape (more summary stats here), and this study from 2007 found that 18% of American women had experienced rape. I'm not sure Rei's number of 1 in 4 came from (a different country perhaps?), but a rate of 1 in 6 is shockingly high.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Many of You Actually Use Math?

jpate Re:Field dependent requirement (1086 comments)

Most (all?) modern approaches to artificial intelligence use calculus. If you're using a maximum likelihood statistical approach, you'll (usually) be differentiating the probability of the data with respect to your parameters to find a good local maximum. If you're taking a Bayesian statistical approach, you'll be integrating out your model parameters to get an average answer with respect to all models. If you're using a support vector machine, then you'll be using lagrange multipliers to minimize your error.

There are well-studied special cases that probably wouldn't take too much understanding of calculus, because you can just use existing code out of the box, but most applications are going to require at least a basic understanding of what you're differentiating with respect to or integrating out, and how that is actually implemented in your code.

more than 2 years ago
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Scientists Stage Funerals To Protest Against Cuts — a New Trend?

jpate Re:Because these scientists are Special (263 comments)

(shrug). Can YOU cite a single example where teachers or military or old people or students or some other group said, "Yeah we're okay if you cut our budget 10%." It doesn't exist.

well, yeah.

more than 2 years ago
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Unbreakable Crypto: Store a 30-character Password In Your Subconscious Mind

jpate Re:unbreakable my shiny ass (287 comments)

what if they already broke your hands to find out which computer system the sooper sekret information is kept on? </morbid>

more than 2 years ago
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Washington State To Allow Voter Registration Over Facebook

jpate Re:Lovely (178 comments)

My main point was that there is a difference between radicals and partisans.

Women concerned about their rights? They make up more than 50% of the voting population. Why do I need to look out for their interests? You want the government looking out for women's rights... easy solution--every single woman show up to vote. That's it. If 90% of women showed up to vote in 2012 I can guarantee that their interests would get nearly exclusive attention from candidates. If 90% of Latinos showed up to vote you can guarantee that their interests would be represented.

Two points. First, since the US is a representative democracy with unlimited outside and unaccountable money, there is a strong selection process that filters out anybody who seriously challenges the status quo or does not have close personal ties to big corporations. Vote in Republicans, we get corporate bailouts with no accountability. Vote in Democrats, the "anti-Wall street" wing of the corporate party, and we get... corporate bailouts with no accountability. Vote in a Republican (at the state level), and you get a "universal health care plan" that still keeps individuals at the mercy of private insurance companies. Vote in a Democrat, and you get... a "universal health care plan" that still keps individuals at the mercy of private insurance companies.

Second, you don't have to be female, Black, Muslim, gay, or whatever for an equitable society to be in your own interests. For example, allowing women access to the workplace and empowering them helps grow the economy (and is a big part of why US GDP grew so well throughout the 80's and 90's despite flat real wages). Civil rights are not about charity for the oppressed group. A fair society is in everybody's best long-term interest. Our problem is that we often pursue short term gains.

more than 2 years ago
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Washington State To Allow Voter Registration Over Facebook

jpate Re:Lovely (178 comments)

The people who will go to an election no matter what are the radicals.

"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal" —Emma Goldman

more than 2 years ago
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Why Junk Electronics Should Be Big Business

jpate Yeehaw! (155 comments)

There's gold in them thar fills!

more than 2 years ago
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Mysterious Sprite Photographed By ISS Astronaut

jpate Re:I am disappoint (86 comments)

THIS IS A PICTURE OF THOR

more than 2 years ago

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