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PHP Finally Getting a Formal Specification

next_ghost Re:Formal specifications are pretty useless for th (180 comments)

I am not confused at all. I never wrote "formal language", I wrote "formal specification language", which is a completely different beast. You fail.

"Formal specification language" is "formal" because it's a formal language in the same sense that any of the many dialects of "regular expressions" or even PHP itself is a formal language. Nothing more, nothing less. The fact that you keep calling C/C++ standard specifications "informal" means that you're just parrotting buzzwords without actually understanding them. When you talk about formal specification languages or any formal languages at all, the word "informal" is inapplicable because it's a completely different kind of formality (syntactic formality) than the word "informal" implies (semantic formality). The word "informal" has meaning only when you want to make a distinction between formalised natural language and non-formalised natural language.

about three weeks ago
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Another Dementia Test Oversold

next_ghost Re:How much closer (24 comments)

Just to make it clear, by "looking for markers" I meant developing a new test for the disease.

about a month ago
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Another Dementia Test Oversold

next_ghost Re:How much closer (24 comments)

The test looks for a set of 10 proteins in the blood. I suspect that part is fairly reliable which means the theory that those proteins are markers for Alzheimer's is probably incorrect or incomplete.

Whether or not those 10 proteins are markers for Alzheimer's is not the issue at all. When you look for markers, the search goes this way: disease => chemicals. But when you start testing patients for markers, you're actually using the inverse of that relationship: chemicals => disease. If the disease is rare, false positives will vastly outnumber the number of patients really afflicted by the disease even though you test for the right markers.

There are 3 important percentages for disease tests:
- How many people are afflicted by the disease in the general population?
- How many afflicted people get positive result?
- How many healthy people get positive result (false positive)?

I'll give you an example. Let's say we have some test with perfect accuracy (100% of people afflicted by the disease get positive test) but the test has 10% rate of false positives. We'll test 1000 people.

If the disease afflicts 50% of the population, about 550 people will get positive result but about 50 of them are healthy.

If the disease afflicts 10% of the population, about 190 people will get positive result but about 90 of them are healthy.

If the disease afflicts 1% of the population, about 109 people will get positive result but about 99 of them are healthy.

If the disease afflicts 0,1% of the population, about 101 people will get positive result but about 100 of them are healthy.

Is the problem clear now?

about a month ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

next_ghost Re:Hah! (681 comments)

My distro does rolling updates so there's no "major upgrade" to do every year or so. The only big change since 2006 was the switch form KDE 3.5 to 4.x. Everything else installed in the background while I was doing something more interesting.

about a month and a half ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

next_ghost Re:Hah! (681 comments)

Allow me to brag a bit: I've switched to Linux in 2006. Since then, I've made a complete hardware replacement twice. Each hardware replacement meant only about 2 hours of downtime while I was installing the packages essential for work and copying the whole /home and most of /etc directories from the old machine. After that, I was back in business pretty much exactly as I've left the old machine (minus some less important packages that were still installing in the background for another couple of hours). It's really awesome when you don't need to spend a month manually reinstalling and reconfiguring all the software you had on the previous system.

about 1 month ago
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WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

next_ghost Re:Not sure what the "secrecy" fuss is (222 comments)

Off the top of my head, if any agreement is negotiated in secret, it has a much higher chance of agreement then if it is negotiated in public or by commitee. So the idea is that people you elect to represent you do it, and do it in secret in order to get things accoplished.

Democracy is slow and it takes tons of work to agree on anything. That's not a bug, that's a feature.

about 2 months ago
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WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

next_ghost Re:keeping the heat on (222 comments)

When were they actually accountable to the people?

When the people were marching right outside their front door wielding pitchforks and torches.

about 2 months ago
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WikiLeaks Publishes Secret International Trade Agreement

next_ghost Re:Because clearly... (222 comments)

No. You missed the bit where in your self-righteousness moralistic hectoring you missed that not bailing out the banks would have meant financial Armageddon. Not bailing out Lehman nearly did for the entire system.

As long as any company holds such position, the Armageddon is just around the corner. Bailout was not a solution, it simply delayed the inevitable.

about 2 months ago
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Why Snowden Did Right

next_ghost Re:thank you Snowden (348 comments)

What I think is more important isn't what the NSA did, but the fact that there didn't seem to be a policy to whistle blow without causing all the fuss. A policy where they could have quietly ruled the action illegal. Stopped it, without getting the world so pissy towards the United States.

The world is in uproar over NSA and the whole US Government STILL can't get themselves to rule those actions illegal and stop them. Why would you expect them to do so quietly when continuing business as usual seems to work fine for them despite all the outrage outside?

about 3 months ago
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Did Mozilla Have No Choice But To Add DRM To Firefox?

next_ghost Re: Not denying something is different from forcin (406 comments)

People *choose* to consume DRM'd content, they do not have to. But the Jews did not *choose* to be a part of the Holocaust you ignorant pig. It is *you* who is ignorant of what an analogy is.

The analogy is not about victims of either evil at all. It's all about people who did nothing to stop evil that was right in front of them. It's about people who thought it was not their problem. And most importantly, it's about people who made themselves blind to the evil they were actively participating on as expendable grunts because "it was their job."

In that sense, Holocaust was only made possible by "people living and working in the real world." Because without all those otherwise completely normal good people who were "just doing their job," the real monsters could never get that far.

about 3 months ago
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The Truth About OpenGL Driver Quality

next_ghost Re:sad drivers (158 comments)

Go thank nVidia for keeping the specs secret for so long. Open drivers for current generation AMD hardware beat the proprietary driver hands down in 2D performance and stability, they're a little behind in 3D performance but close to catching up.

I also find it very comforting to know that we'll actually have a working driver for current-generation graphics hardware AT ALL even after so long.

about 3 months ago
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The Truth About OpenGL Driver Quality

next_ghost Re:sad drivers (158 comments)

Is that still the excuse? AMD released full specs on their stuff years ago... how are the open source drivers working out?

Pretty well. And the hardware specs released by AMD are not complete by a long shot.

about 3 months ago
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The Truth About OpenGL Driver Quality

next_ghost Re:sad drivers (158 comments)

Driver development for single piece of hardware requires pretty much fixed amount of work. In that case, you can use time as substitute for manpower.

about 3 months ago
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Steve Jobs Defied Convention, and Perhaps the Law

next_ghost Re:OH BOY, THE BIG GOVERNMENT CROWD IS OUT !!! (311 comments)

Yes, he often did that too. But most of the product ideas he copied were already discarded by the company that invented them as useless toys with no market potential. Jobs took the discarded designs, polished them a bit, hyped them to stratosphere and then successfully brought them to the market. That does deserve some credit as innovation.

about 4 months ago
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Steve Jobs Defied Convention, and Perhaps the Law

next_ghost Re:OH BOY, THE BIG GOVERNMENT CROWD IS OUT !!! (311 comments)

Who mod'ed this terrible post as a 5? For the record, the parent is describing the exact opposite of innovation.

Would you care to enlighten us then what constitutes true innovation?

about 4 months ago
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Steve Jobs Defied Convention, and Perhaps the Law

next_ghost Re:OH BOY, THE BIG GOVERNMENT CROWD IS OUT !!! (311 comments)

I still believe that Jobs was a jerk and an imitator, not an "innovator" in any sense of the word. He pretty much said himself that his skill was in identifying the best things to "steal" (his word) from his competitors.

That's what innovation is all about. Nobody can make all the puzzle pieces themselves from scratch. But if you can get the pieces from others, you can then put them together into something new.

about 4 months ago
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

next_ghost Re:You’re using the wrong defn of doubt (600 comments)

I didn't agree that something might be bogus, I stated that correlation != causation. If we don't have proof of a cause currently, so the most obvious method of pursuit is to look at where there are correlations and rule those out (if we can).

No, the first step is making sure that you're not comparing apples to oranges. Looking for any potential causes comes after that. Because if you're comparing apples to oranges, there are no potential causes to look for.

Interestingly I can tell you that there are warnings on numerous vaccines and medical sites warning people not to get vaccinated during certain times due to potential issues. Yet for some reason, a vaccine can not impact another vaccine? Think about that one.

As a rule of thumb, vaccination is safe if the last time you had fever was more than 2 weeks ago and you don't have any other individual risk factors. If you want better explanation, go talk to an immunologist.

about 4 months ago
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

next_ghost Re:Experimental science vs narrative science (600 comments)

Something that generalized you can't, but there is surely deductive reasoning mixed in with the inductive.

Of course there is. First, you make lots of observations of whatever you want to study. Then you generalize your observations into a hypothesis using inductive reasoning. Then you make predictions from the hypothesis using deductive reasoning. The more ridiculous prediction, the better. And then you do an experiment to verify whether or not the prediction is correct. If the prediction turns out to be wrong and the experiment was done properly, throw the hypothesis out and start over from the beginning. If the experiment confirms the prediction, go back to making even more ridiculous predictions and test them again. If your hypothesis survives enough attempts to disprove it, congratulations, you have a theory. That's the scientific method in a nutshell.

The problem of deductive reasoning is that it only works on clearly formulated claims. And the physical world has no clearly formulated claims to offer. Inductive reasoning alone is nothing more than a glorified ass-pull. Deductive reasoning alone has nothing to work with in the first place. They only work when you put both of them together so your pedantic insisting on separating them makes absolutely no sense.

about 4 months ago
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The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

next_ghost Re:Impossible (600 comments)

The Expanding Vacuum theory, Big Bang

What's the difference? Both Google and Wikipedia came up with nothing relevant about "expanding vacuum theory".

about 4 months ago

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