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The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

ndykman Re:Vaccination (486 comments)

The question is if vaccination should be mandatory. In other words 86% of the scientists polled support children being vaccinated if medically possible and ignoring the parent's objections.

What surprised me is that 68% number for the public.

2 days ago
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Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

ndykman Re:Good news (420 comments)

"Normal human beings are very broken"

No, they aren't. That was easy.

about a week ago
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Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

ndykman Re:Good news (420 comments)

All too human? What? Nope, not even. They were cookie cutter flat characters that were completely devoid of any emotional reality. I've seen more chemistry between two rocks in a photo than Anakin and Padme in the movies. And there are so many examples of "WTF, people don't do that" "Hey, the person I'm supposed to marry later on and really cares about me, I just killed a entire village because my mom." The reaction wasn't: "Okay" (slowly walks away) "Hello, Jedi hotline, um, yea, one of your students just went completely bat shit serial killer. Please come fix it." No, it's "I get it". Nope, not even close.

Don't watch this, Obi Wan, it'll be hard to watch. Nope. The correct answer: Holy shit this is, kill this @#$@%$% we must.

I'm going to arrest you after you tried to kill me repeatedly to cover a plot to destroy our government? Nope. You are a solider, is why you have a sword, you enter battle, two come in, one comes out.

Okay, the person that tried to assert that guy died, but we have another shot. What do you do? Stride into the room and have a bullshit conversation? Nope. You go Leon, the Professional, cut the lights, drop out of the ceiling and kill that guy with piano wire. Why, because you are an organization that is tasked with keeping this Force thing from going ape-shit nuts, you don't get to play the moral high ground all the time. You learn to kick ass and you have to do it.

Again, the prequels sucked. The original movies aren't great, but they are a cultural artifact that impacted a lot of people. But, Lucas isn't not a good script writer. Period. Sorry.

about a week ago
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Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

ndykman Re:Hum.... (570 comments)

I am old enough but I forgot. A tip of the hat to you.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

ndykman Hum.... (570 comments)

I wonder if the days of selling Windows are over. Sure, at the worst, it could be a subscription service, but it could be that Microsoft realizes that on the consumer side, people just get the OS on their PC. Or, they are hoping enough people will get back on board with Windows and they can sell Windows 11 when it comes out.

On the enterprise side, businesses already have licensing, so they are already on the subscription model.

Anyway, I'm more interested in what you can turn off and opt out of. For example. Cortana is built into Windows 10. I have no interest in talking to my computer. But, Cortana has a typing mode (this is great). However, some people will want to opt out of the tracking and data that it does.

However, looking at the live event, Windows 10 finally looks completely sane. The "break it, fix it" pattern that they established with Vista seems to be in place here too.

And HoloLens? That's just some geeky bling right there.

about two weeks ago
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SOTU: Community Colleges, Employers To Train Workers For High-Paying Coding Jobs

ndykman Re:Paradox (200 comments)

So, equip them. Provide incentives to bring faculty in at competitive rates. I'd be thrilled to teach at community college. I have extensive experience and an advanced degree, but there's little room for growth right now.

Of course, you are correct in that the industry wants nothing to do with developing talent, so we would have a problem that even people with good fundamentals can't get work.

However, it'd be great if computing was a minor or an AA degree that people used as a starting point for other degrees. Imagine if the people you worked with all had a basic understanding of coding and software development. It'd be a boon to projects. Also, the logical thinking skills do just have value on their own.

about two weeks ago
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Text Editor Created In Minecraft

ndykman Re:Where's a serious version? (114 comments)

Because they have their own tools for layout, which, for them, is pretty much placing rectangles in a bigger rectangle. They use VHDL and Verilog because they work way better than a graphical layout for anything but a trivial digital circuit.

about three weeks ago
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Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God

ndykman Re:This tired old saw again. (755 comments)

Um, there's quite a bit of evidence that Jesus did exist. Some recent archeological finds found some additional Roman correspondence that mentions him and his followers. Alongside the early gospels and other evidence, historians widely accept that he was a historical figure. Of course, what he actually did, we can't know, and there's plenty of explanation of some of the stories. For example, there is more evidence freeing people being crucified was actually more common than believed (families pooling resources to free and relocate them).

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is an Open Source .NET Up To the Job?

ndykman Re:Why bother? (421 comments)

Performance is a tricky issue, but .Net does the same options as Java does in terms of dynamic optimizations. Also, the platform allows for pre-compilation of assemblies, which can really add to performance if used correctly (again, startup and memory performance). And .Net Native seems to be promising in some cases (potential for POGO based optimization), but it's in preview, so we have to see how it really plays out.

It's true that the Ruby and Python versions that run onto of .Net have stalled. There is a version of Scheme that runs on it. Basically, both the CLR and the JVM are fine virtual machines.

I can't speak to the ethical objections. For me personally, the technology works and Microsoft is not the same company it was in terms of power. Frankly, Microsoft at its worst in the day never bothered me as much as Apple and even Google now. I can still put together a great computer out of parts, and like it or not, Microsoft did play a role in making that market. It's good that Linux, etc came along and provided choices, but if the Apple model had prevailed, I think technology would not be as far along. But it's impossible to say what if.

about a month and a half ago
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What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

ndykman Because it works... (217 comments)

It's not hard. They want .Net to gain more traction as a development platform. There's enough people that are contributing to things like ASP .Net MVC and Entity Framework to make it useful for them. Also, there were open source projects that have helped them a ton (NuGet) and they realize that it works for them in some cases. Also, I think they sense that there is an opportunity for .Net to become the "goto" enterprise development platform. Oracle's handling of Java is creating a space for a new player to come along. Oh, and all that .Net stuff will run great on Azure.

Azure is the big thing internally, and they know they have to run open source platforms on it. There is a shift in the Enterprise group to get away from a "captive" market to just trying to compete on features and to make a compelling platform, which Windows Server, .Net, etc. really is becoming.

Now, there's some things that just don't make sense to do. Open source Office makes little sense, as I doubt there'd be any real interest in contributing to that code base. Same with Windows. So, of course, it's a self-serving, pragmatic approach versus an ideological change on how software should be created and supported.

about a month and a half ago
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Dr. Dobb's 38-Year Run Comes To an End

ndykman It is an end of a era... (156 comments)

Can't think of any one source that had the breadth and depth of Dr. Dobb's. Always look forward to when it came in the mail back in the day, because I knew that I'd always would learn something.

Seriously, I hope they can find funding or start a project to ensure their archive exists and is available to all. It'd be a unique contribution to computing history.

about a month and a half ago
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James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

ndykman Re:Is it true... (355 comments)

It's funny, but the very source you point to notes that the best explanation of those gaps are factors like poverty and environment. Surprise, people that are hungry, suffering from disease and have no access to modern education tend to do worse on standardized tests of intelligence. There's plenty of research in the area, but it all revolves around environmental factors. From a genetic standpoint, the variances in "races" is so small that it's impact on something as complex as a intelligence as Spearman's g is just noise. Also, there is a much better explanation of the gap in performance between races. Stereotype threat. It can be reproduced in any population, and study show that it can account for all the gap in performance in standardized tests. It's simple to do. Create a reminder that a group is expected to do worse on a test, and they will do worse because their are trying to compensate. The book Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To is a great summary of the work in this area.

about 2 months ago
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How the FCC CIO Plans To Modernize 207 Legacy IT Systems

ndykman Oh, look at me, I'm such a great manager... (74 comments)

I can apply buzzwords and promote synergies by empowering individuals to maximize their unique contributions. My team even volunteered overtime during the holiday season, because they were so positive about our project. It wasn't because they were afraid they would be pushed out of their jobs by a CIO whose eager to ship everything he can out of house.

I guess he did okay at the CDC and hey, if it saves money, great, but who cares. Just do your job already. I'm sure the pay scale isn't that bad and the benefits are pretty awesome.

about a month ago
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NSF Commits $16M To Build Cloud-Based and Data-Intensive Supercomputers

ndykman Re:the skeptic is ... who? (29 comments)

When compared to the broad consensus of science, yes. Belief doesn't enter into it, the research is done. Global warming is an established fact. And not just by one paper, but by repeated, peer reviewed research. Even early skeptics in climate modeling have come to the same conclusions.

I hesitate to call him or others skeptical, as it suggests there is really any room for doubt. There really isn't. The core findings about global warming are established. Covering our ears and shouting "it's not true" won't change a thing.

about 2 months ago
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Congress Suggests Moat, Electronic Fence To Protect White House

ndykman Eletronic? (213 comments)

Seriously, a news for nerds site can't get the word electronic correct in a article headline? Amazing editing going on there, Slashdot.

about 2 months ago
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Jolla Crowdfunds Its First Tablet

ndykman It's all about the processor. (56 comments)

The current state of x86_64 at Intel means that there is no reason to create a 32 bit only processor, it'd be a huge amount of architectural rework with little benefit.

Now, just because it's 64 bit capable doesn't mean that the OS will be 64 bit. In fact, given the low memory, that might be an option. This is all about SoC cost and low margins. That means each bump in memory really adds up. This isn't the same as just putting a more dense DIMM in a motherboard.

Also, given the target usage, one would have to argue why you would need more than 2G of ram. Seriously, I get away with it on a Windows 8.1 tablet for basic Office, etc. No reason Sailfish won't do even better.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft To Open Source .NET and Take It Cross-Platform

ndykman A Great Step Forward... (525 comments)

Of course, I saw all the expected arguments, and a lot of "but, Microsoft is the exact same company from 20 years ago, so this must be wrong, evil, etc." Well, companies change. Skepticism is good, but evaluating things as they are is good too.

The .Net ecosystem is a good environment to program in. They have great languages and frameworks. The Python Tools in VS are actually quite nice (they work fine with CPython). It is disappointing that the IronLanguages project has died off, but maybe this will spark some new interest.

And one of the main drawbacks to the platform in terms of target platforms is starting to be addressed in a real way.

It's a pragmatic decision. Microsoft has already benefited from open source projects (ASP .Net MVC, Entity Framework), and this is just an expansion of this. The hardest part will be getting resources to get people to really bang on it on other platforms.

I bet that internally at Microsoft, lots of people are happy about this, as they really do think they did great work and this gives them greater visibility.

about 3 months ago
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Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

ndykman Re:Remember: Cultural, not racial (459 comments)

I think the sources for "some populations on average are smarter than others" are needed. Same with the "superior social ability". I've seen nothing that suggests that either are true and that they can be attributed to a genetic difference and not to social or environment confounders. The consensus is that it's not worth studying. The genomic data shows that any influence or different in complex behaviors would be just noise and impossible to measure in the face of strong confounders. The point is that these perceived "differences" between races (a term that many argue has no scientific basis) are in fact incredibly small genetic despite their outward appearance.

about 3 months ago
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Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

ndykman Re:Remember: Cultural, not racial (459 comments)

The reason it's not correct to state that different genetic sub-groups might have different intelligence levels is that there is no evidence that there is any significant difference between any population or group overall genetically.

You mention anthropology. Yes, there is an interest in studying how our population grew and spread over the planet. To do this, they do sophisticated analysis to detect certain changes to try and model how the population moved.

Here's the problem, you've assumed that these grouping are significant outside population migration. They aren't. If you take the genome as a whole, these variations are nothing compared to individual variation.

It's not culture that has caused the problem not to be looked into. It has been, significantly, and some people in our culture refuse to accept the results. That our perception of race and racial differences are completely environmental, and there is no basis whatsoever in science to say that one population is smarter than the other.

Again, this is a lot of posturing to try and ignore that as a society, we systemically have placed a certain set of people at a large disadvantage for no reason than our fears. We only talk about black culture because our history caused us to set apart a population first as property, then as second-class citizens, and then as "different' when convenient to explain why a group is poor or lazy or ambitious or whatever bucket we try to force people into.

Here's the point. Every time genetic differences comes up, it's "Are blacks less intelligent?" "Are Asians better in school?" "Are Latinos less motivated" and so on. All these are dumb questions. But, never, never have I seen: "Are whites more prone to discriminate against other groups?" It's still a dumb question, but it doesn't come up, does it.

about 3 months ago
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New Book Argues Automation Is Making Software Developers Less Capable

ndykman Better tools isn't the problem... (212 comments)

The summary seems a bit misleading. The main thrust of page I saw what that the push to replace work with automation can have consequences at a certain level. Does decision making really work well in automation, or does it lead to problems? There's evidence in both camps. An example, some traders on Wall Street have complained about removing people from the process, they that really do add value at times. And sure, it's hard to imagine a human would issue a massive amount of bad orders, but a computer model with a bit of glitch might. But, is that enough to slow things down. Just one example of many.

In my mind, critical thinking does have value, and no, there is nothing in data science, machine learning, etc. that really comes even close to what humans can do in that area. There's a big debate in Medicine about following best practices and if just following algorithms would work better. Some note it would reduce unneeded tests and procedures. Others have noted that actually, doctors are much better at noting when something is going really wrong and that following a script could lead to unnecessary deaths that would be avoided by relying on clinical judgment. Is there is a need for better data? Sure, but can you really automate judgment? And what real value is there of taking the craft out of everything for humanity as a whole?

The problem is that some people don't think software engineering, programming, coding, whatever requires critical thinking, or that there is a craft or art to programming. And you can increasingly do it that way. Cut and paste, copy from the web, and when things don't work out, post on the web and hope somebody answers.

What is lost is somebody has to have the skills to figure out what is going wrong or that it can be done better. Where do those answers come from on the web after all? At some point, somebody has to know how to actually approach the problem from the fundamentals and solve it, and that's when all those things that we (okay, at least me and my schoolmates) studied in CS come into play.

I'm on a project and they are just throwing idea after idea to figure out a performance problem. Sure, it's tricky, but I realize, they have a huge blind spot. They don't know how to attach a low-level debugger to a process, to monitor OS resources, or even realize that you can debug something without sources. Sure, it's a Java enterprise application, so that's another layer of hard, but it can be done. Cripes, we had to debug core dumps. I'm glad (thrilled) that I don't have to do it anymore, but the skills that I learned doing it were invaluable.

A related aside. The problem is not better tools, it is not knowing there are better (or any) tools or that you can make better tools.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Real Reason Behind Windows 10 Name: Compatibility

ndykman ndykman writes  |  about 4 months ago

ndykman (659315) writes "The Independent reports that a MS developer has suggested a real reason behind the new name for the Windows 10 name. Old code. More specifically code that looks for "Windows 9" to determine the windows version. Fine for Windows 95 or Windows 98, but not so great for a new operating system. The article includes a link that shows that yes, this would be a problem."
Link to Original Source
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HP and Oracle Lawsuit Ruling: Oracle must Support Itanium

ndykman ndykman writes  |  more than 2 years ago

ndykman (659315) writes "The case of HP versus Oracle over Oracle's refusal to support the Itanium in its products is over, and the court has ruled that Oracle must support the Itanium, despite Oracle's claims that the Itanium is a dead architecture that was nearing the end of its life.

While this was about the HP support contract with Oracle, it will be interesting to see if this will have a positive impact on HP's top end server business."

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