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Comments

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The Post-Lecture Classroom

penguinbroker Re:Ugh (169 comments)

Flipping the classroom and making you work in teams are completely different things.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: The Search For the Ultimate Engineer's Pen

penguinbroker Pilot Hi-Tec-C Pens (712 comments)

These pens are fantastic. They come in a variety of thicknesses (.25mm and up), are super smooth, don't bleed, and are relatively affordable. Highly recommended. Pilot Hi-Tec-C Pens

about a year and a half ago
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A Silicon Valley School That Doesn't Use Computers

penguinbroker Not all schools are equal (333 comments)

A computer/tablet can't teach as well as a good or great teacher (as the students at Waldorf likely have access to), but in a large percentage of cases around the country, where the teachers are in fact poor, computers and tablets can make a tremendous difference.

more than 2 years ago
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WikiLeaks Should...

penguinbroker Re:Can I pick two options? (469 comments)

You are giving Wikileaks way too much benefit of the doubt here. Asange has publicly stated that they are getting so much stuff that they basically have shut down taking submissions. They are not just releasing everything they get, they are picking and choosing. This is obviously driven by a lack of resources but also creates a system which is very vulnerable to subjective decisions (ie. anti-American agendas).

And if you had read the article on slashdot today about the Wikileaks competitor that's in the works (and is being run by former Wikileaks members) you would have read this quote:

A group of former members of WikiLeaks is planning to launch its own whistleblowing platform in mid-December, according to a German newspaper. The activists criticize WikiLeaks for concentrating too much on the US and want to take a broader approach

more than 3 years ago
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FTC Proposes Do Not Track List For the Web

penguinbroker Re:how would it work (173 comments)

Thanks for the explanation anyway though.

more than 3 years ago
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FTC Proposes Do Not Track List For the Web

penguinbroker Re:how would it work (173 comments)

I understand the concept of browsing without being tracked. My question is how to enforce a 'do not track' list. Which is distinctly different from a 'do not track' browser feature.

more than 3 years ago
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FTC Proposes Do Not Track List For the Web

penguinbroker how would it work (173 comments)

My brain's a little slow today... how would this work? How would this be enforced? Since when can websites tell exactly who we are (which I am assuming will be required to verify that the user is or is not on the list)?

more than 3 years ago
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iPad Is a "Huge Step Backward"

penguinbroker Re:They're artificial limitations. That's the prob (1634 comments)

This isn't a very fair analogy. You can't run a car without gasoline. You can have an iPhone/Touch without ever buying an app. You can fill it up with any and all mp3s. It's annoying but you can convert any video you want and put in on you iPhone/Touch.

The apps are more like upgrades. And if you want to upgrade a car you are many times limited by compatibility issues. The razor-blade revenue model isn't limited to Apple, it's pretty much prevalent in every industry. Clearly you have never needed to fix anything in your car. You wouldn't be so happy with the car companies then.

Also, gas stations are pretty consisten. The quality of the product is very homogeneous in gas stations across the country. Computer apps are not like that. I need to be sure my phone works as a phone at all times. I have no interest installing some wayward app that may or may not crash my phone and make me miss a call. I am happy to put this responsibility on Apple's shoulders

Now, if you were talking about the AT&T lockin you'd have a point.

more than 4 years ago
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Children Using Technology Have Better Literacy Skills

penguinbroker so... (146 comments)

The biggest shortcoming of this research is that it appears the children graded their own writing in that their methodology was an online survey designed to ask the children which technology they use and then follow up with asking them how well they write to determine which children have better literacy skills

So, really, the only conclusion we can draw from this is that 'the more technology one uses, the better they think their literacy is." Great.

more than 4 years ago
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How To Get Out of Developer's Block?

penguinbroker just sit down and do it (601 comments)

Good programmers are, IMHO, natural perfectionists. We all want to write perfect code. We want to write code that anticipates every possible situation and, even in the worst case scenario, handle things gracefully. It's worth waiting another day because your code will then be that much better with a little more planning...

Sometimes it's not about being perfect however, it's just about getting it done (wait, they paid what for myspace?!!?!). Just tell yourself that you need to get something up, and that you'll improve it later. Most likely, you'll never look at that code again but who cares, it's all about tricking yourself into accepting 'mediocrity' (reality?). But you will, more often than you think, surprise yourself and end up writing code you are proud of.

Either that, or you're being a bitch and think you're too good a programmer to spend time writing 'these mundane' solutions. In that case, suck it up or shut up.

more than 5 years ago
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Baby Chicks Have Innate Mathematical Skills

penguinbroker Re:Is this really "counting" (184 comments)

I don't disagree with you... But if we follow this train of thought then I would argue that many insects demonstrate mathematical ability. Moths (and many other bugs) tend to flock towards the brightest source of light in their fields of vision. Therefore these insects are demonstrating mathematical ability by showing the ability to determine that one source of light has more than the other. I don't buy this.

My point is that the researchers claim these chicks have discrete mathematical capabilities in that they have some sense of integer arithmetic (all eggs were the same sizes). They did nothing to rule out other possible causes, namely by using different sized eggs.

more than 5 years ago
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Baby Chicks Have Innate Mathematical Skills

penguinbroker Re:Is this really "counting" (184 comments)

The difference is not just semantics. If they are making decisions based on qualitative notions (more) as opposed to quantitative (2 more) then it is a difference between doing discrete mathematics vs. reacting to an analog signal. The latter of which is not what we normally consider math, at least in terms of the subject's thought process.

It would be interesting to use different sized eggs to create scenarios where one group has more individual eggs but the other group has a higher total surface area (maybe volume) of eggs. If the chicks still chose the group with more individual eggs than one could make a strong case that they are capable of counting.

more than 5 years ago
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Internet Communications While At Sea?

penguinbroker download it all (504 comments)

instead of fetching wiki pages throughout the trip you should consider downloading the entire site onto your laptop. the content won't be up to date but for the most part it won't be that outdated either. i believe the entire corpus is under 5 gigs.

more than 5 years ago
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Software-Generated Paper Accepted At IEEE Conference

penguinbroker Re:proving my point... (235 comments)

the open source community produces great software, but does not push the boundaries of the computer science. comp sci is applied mathematics, it is not programming. big difference. some of the best computer scientists rarely program anything other than latex markup.

most of the innovation is trickle down tech from military, nasa, or tech companies.

lastly, while you can make this argument that comp sci is extremely inefficient (oh, i bask in your wisdom...) i suggest you read this article about a successful computer scientist's criticism on another flagging industry for perspective.

more than 5 years ago
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Your Favorite Tech / Eng. / CS Books?

penguinbroker AIMA (517 comments)

Artificial Intelligence - A Modern Approach by Russell and Norvig

The best book for catching up with the trends in AI systems over the past couple of decades.

more than 5 years ago
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Solving the Knight's Tour Puzzle In 60 Lines of Python

penguinbroker reminds me of... (311 comments)

pretty cool, off topic but it made me think of peter norvig's sudoku solver which is about 100 lines of python code and can solve even the hardest puzzles in <.02 seconds. btw, brute force approaches to diabolical sudoku puzzles are not physically possible, follow link to find out why.

python is fantastic for writing concise, functional, and simple solutions to many search problems.

more than 5 years ago
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Anathem

penguinbroker inspiration (356 comments)

for those that are curious, and especially for those that have read the book you should check out the Clock of Long Now project. Stephenson contributed to this and it is where he got the inspiration for Anathem. Reading about the project after finishing the book really gives you some insight into how the world of Arbre came to be.

more than 5 years ago
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Anathem

penguinbroker Re:Halfway through the book, and ... (356 comments)

Agree with the parent. Dune felt slow to me at first too, but after about 150-200 pages things start to fall in place and before I knew I had finished the whole series.

I think the slow beginning instills a sense of tranquility and boringness which makes it all that more exciting (and easier to feel the excitement of the characters) when things do start to pick up, and pick up they do!

more than 5 years ago
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Anathem

penguinbroker Re:*Possible Spoiler* An Actual Ending!! (356 comments)

I think the point of the made up words was to bring you into line with how the narrator perceives things. That is, Erasmus is constantly introduced to new concepts and ideas that were previously unknown to him (while being cooped up in his monastery for most his life). By using these new words I felt that I was learning things 'along' with Erasmus and got a better sense of his outlook on things.

In this way, instead of merely 'observing' Erasmus familiarize himself with the 'non-mathic' world, we are able to explore it 'with him.'

Yes, it sounds corny, but like the ending to the novel, it's corny but appropriate. And it worked IMHO.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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DARPA Director, Tony Tether, Asked to Step Down

penguinbroker penguinbroker writes  |  more than 5 years ago

penguinbroker (1000903) writes "Tony Tether, the longest-serving chief of DARPA is being asked to step down February 20th. "The longest-serving chief of the Pentagon's premiere research agency is stepping down... Tether expected to remain in charge of the agency through the Spring, until the Obama administration named a successor. However, in a widely-circulated e-mail, Tether today announced that he had been asked to leave by the end of next week.""
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Decision Tree Based Questionaire

penguinbroker penguinbroker writes  |  more than 5 years ago

penguinbroker writes "My boss has recently asked me to investigate the development of a GUI-based system for creating complex questionnaires based on decision trees, specifically for annotating datasets (text, images, video, pdfs, audio). That is, subsequent questions are based on answers to previous questions (usually multiple choice). It needs to be simple enough to create new questionnaires by non-programmers. Survey Monkey has the question logic support while Amazon's Mechanical Turk has the support for images (although not video, audio, or pdfs). And both are closed source. Does anyone from Slashdot have familiarity with existing open source projects that would support a project of this type. Or better yet, is there anything out there already that can do this?"
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penguinbroker penguinbroker writes  |  more than 7 years ago

penguinbroker writes "Former Swiss military pilot Yves Rossy has created a wearable 10ft airfoil powered by four miniature kerosene powered turbines. Can we get a tutorial in MAKE please. From the article:

"Man has dreamt of flight ever since our ancestors first saw birds soaring into the sky.And even after the dream was realised, first with hot-air balloons and later with heavier-than-air aeroplanes, the dream remained unfulfilled... There is just enough lift generated by the 10ft aerofoil strapped to his back to negate the effects of gravity. At first, after the wings are unfolded electrically, he becomes a glider then, when the four kerosene-powered engines are turned on, he becomes a jetplane. Thanks to the engines, each of which develops 22kg of thrust, he can not only maintain altitude but actually gain height, he says, at a rate of several hundred feet a minute — until the fuel runs out six minutes later. He lands with a conventional parachute.""

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