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Comments

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Oculus Rift CEO Says Classrooms of the Future Will Be In VR Goggles

phantomfive Re:The worst use of VR ever (100 comments)

Sounds like the Magic Schoolbus.

4 hours ago
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

phantomfive Re:Spock is awesome (726 comments)

Adding to that line of thought, when Spock's father says in disgust, "he's so....human," the emotion of disgust is strongly apparent there.

yesterday
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Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

phantomfive Re:Great idea! Let's alienate Science even more! (726 comments)

Science is agnostic. It makes no statements about God, gods or Non-gods. Science doesn't need to place value on anything.

Add to that, if a god were ever discovered, or gods, science would handle that perfectly well.

Some scientists perhaps not. But science? No problem.

yesterday
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The MOOC Revolution That Wasn't

phantomfive Re:I can explain the failure[s] (171 comments)

One grammatical error I always hear goes as follows: "I would have went there..." Another one, "I have already ate..." I am no expert but this doesn't sound right.

To people who grew up in that dialect, it sounds great. To me it makes me want to code switch to the style of speaking that I grew up in. I ain't jokin.

2 days ago
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The MOOC Revolution That Wasn't

phantomfive Re:I WAS a regular on Coursera (171 comments)

There was no danger to surroundings since the house wasn't anywhere close by, so I figured I could just cut it down myself.

Sometimes lumberjacks cut down trees and it lands on themselves, so that is the primary danger.

Anyway, sounds like you did it, so good job.

2 days ago
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Harvard's CompSci Intro Course Boasts Record-Breaking Enrollment

phantomfive Re:Linux, cryptography, HTML and JavaScript. (112 comments)

Algorithmic complexity is both practical and theoretical. If you don't know it, you should learn it.

2 days ago
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Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

phantomfive Re:CDC guilty of correlation == causation (288 comments)

The flaw is that I didn't quantify how much you should eat? I think that's something you can figure out......

All three nutrients are essential? Great. What is the amount at which they are effective? No one knows.

No, we actually do know. There have been plenty of studies on this topic. It's only controversial to crazy people who follow fad diets.

2 days ago
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Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

phantomfive Re:CDC guilty of correlation == causation (288 comments)

My hypothesis is that, people who've been cutting back on an essential nutrient for a while do better if they get more of it.

Thus, if you've been trying the low-fat diet for a while, then your body will appreciate the change when you finally start giving it enough fat.
If you've been on a low-protein diet (yes, it existed for a while), then your body will appreciate the change when you finally start giving it enough protein.
If you've been on a low-carb diet for a while, then your body will appreciate the change when you finally start giving it enough carbohydrates.

I read some scientists a few years back who suggested instead of looking at whether we should cut back on particular nutrients, we should instead look at the quality of the nutrients we are getting. Because all three nutrients are essential.

3 days ago
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Journal Published Flawed Stem Cell Papers Despite Serious Misgivings About Work

phantomfive Re:peer review is a low bar (35 comments)

I feel like this would be the ideal work for grad students during their first few years, before they're deep in their own research

That is a good idea.

3 days ago
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Journal Published Flawed Stem Cell Papers Despite Serious Misgivings About Work

phantomfive Re:peer review is a low bar (35 comments)

Well that is something different, then.

So in the end the editors seemed to just want the sensational paper published and let the community sort it out later.

I subscribed to Science for a while, and that more-or-less matches the quality of article I found there.

3 days ago
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Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

phantomfive Re:Wrong Title (495 comments)

I'm a bozo, yes agreed, but you're wrong.

3 days ago
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Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

phantomfive Re:In other words nobody is born smart (265 comments)

Maybe collectively they have an effect that can't be detected statistically.

If it can't be detected statistically, how can it be detected?

3 days ago
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Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

phantomfive Re:Intelligence is highly heritable (265 comments)

If you read more than the summary, you'll see the effect of those genes (while significant) amounted to about half an IQ point.

In other words, other effects are drastically more important in determining a person's IQ (because IQ varies so dramatically). These genes are like a rounding error, and it's not likely that we'll find genes that have a greater effect.

3 days ago
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Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

phantomfive Re:Article is totally misleading (265 comments)

The reason the summary is like that (apart from summaries always being wrong) is because those were the only genes related to intelligence that could be found anywhere after an exhaustive search. The effect from those genes (though it is significant) is so small, that even if it translated directly into IQ, it would give you exactly half an IQ point. The effects of any other genes is likely to be even smaller.

An effect of half an IQ point is not sufficient to explain the huge variance in IQ among the population, so there is something much more important than genetics in determining IQ.

3 days ago
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Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

phantomfive Re:Great news (265 comments)

But what of this story? http://science.slashdot.org/st... [slashdot.org]

The scientists in that story also failed to find specific genes affecting the skill levels (they looked). In other words, they found a correlation, but not a causation.

3 days ago
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Journal Published Flawed Stem Cell Papers Despite Serious Misgivings About Work

phantomfive peer review is a low bar (35 comments)

Peer review filters out the stuff that is obvious crap, stuff that doesn't even fit the form of a proper scientific article. The purpose is not to say that articles are true, but rather to get rid of articles that are obviously wrong.

If the scientists are lying about their data, it's hard for peer review to catch that. That's why reproducibility is important. If it's a result you care about, you can reproduce it.

3 days ago
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To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars

phantomfive Re:WTF? (482 comments)

np

3 days ago
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Researcher Fired At NSF After Government Questions Her Role As 1980s Activist

phantomfive Re:Wrong Title (495 comments)

Sure. It's in the first paragraph, Women’s Committee Against Genocide and the New Movement in Solidarity with Puerto Rican Independence.

3 days ago

Submissions

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Poll Finds San Francisco Voters Favor Tech Buses

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  about 6 months ago

phantomfive (622387) writes "A recent poll to test SF opinions on the tech buses finds that most have a favorable view. 79% of those polled said that the tech industry has helped the city, and 67% said the shuttles should be able to use the MUNI stops.

Cynthia Crews from the League of Pissed-Off Voters disagreed, saying, " “[it was] paid for by tech companies""

Link to Original Source
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Why is US Broadband so Slow?

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  about 7 months ago

phantomfive (622387) writes "Verizon has said they will not be digging new lines any time soon. Time-Warner's cash flow goes towards paying down debt, not laying down fiber. AT&T is doing everything they can to slow deployment of Google fiber.
How can the situation be improved? Mainly by expediting right-of-way access, permits, and inspections, according to Andy Kessler. That is how Google was able to afford to lay down fiber in Austin, and how VTel was able to do it in Vermont (gigabit connections for $35 a month)."
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Why Whistleblowers Cannot Get a Fair Trial

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  about 8 months ago

phantomfive (622387) writes ""Seven whistleblowers have been prosecuted under the Obama administration," writes Jesselyn Radack, a lawyer who advised two of them. She explains why they can't get a fair trial. In the Thomas Drake case, the administration retroactively marked documents as classified, saying, "he knew they should have been classified." In the Bradley Manning case, the jury wasn't allowed to see what information was leaked. The defendants, all who have been charged with espionage, have limited access to court documents. Most of these problems happen because the law was written to deal with traitorous spies, not whistleblowers."
Link to Original Source
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Congress Becomes Aware of Patent Trolls

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  about a year ago

phantomfive (622387) writes "Congressman Charles Schumer has written a piece decrying the evils of patent trolls. "Because of the high cost of patent litigation—the average litigation defense costs a small or midsize company $1.75 million—it is often marginally cheaper for a defendant to pay up front to make the case go away. The average settlement for the same group of companies is $1.33 million....Patent trolls cost U.S. companies $29 billion in 2011 alone."
His solution? Make it easier for low quality patents to be re-examined and rejected by the patent office."
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Google Maps Used to Find Tax Cheats

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  about a year ago

phantomfive (622387) writes "Some countries are worried about the privacy implications of Google Maps, but Lithuania is using them to find tax cheats. "Two recent cases netted $130,000 in taxes and penalties after investigators found houses photographed by Google that weren't on official maps....'We were very impressed,' said Modestas Kaseliauskas, head of the State Tax Authority. 'We realized that we could do more with less and in shorter time." The people of Lithuania don't seem to mind. "Authorities have been aided by the local populace. 'We received even more support than we expected,' said Mr. Kaseliauskas, the chief tax inspector.""
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Hacking the Android VM by Facebook

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  about a year and a half ago

phantomfive (622387) writes "Facebook's new Android App literally modifies the Dalvik VM runtime while it's running.
They found this necessary because the Dalvik machine has a hard-coded limit on the number of methods that can be loaded in a process at one time, so they used JNI to modify to increase this hard-coded limit at runtime.

Is this a horrible programming technique from Facebook, or is it a workaround for a poorly-designed runtime?"

Link to Original Source
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Former TSA Administrator Speaks

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  more than 2 years ago

phantomfive (622387) writes "Former TSA head Kip Hawley talks about the TSA: "it's simply no longer the case that killing a few people on board a plane could lead to a hijacking. Never again will a terrorist be able to breach the cockpit simply with a box cutter or a knife. The cockpit doors have been reinforced, and passengers, flight crews and air marshals would intervene.

I wanted to reduce the amount of time that officers spent searching for low-risk objects, but politics intervened at every turn. Lighters were untouchable, having been banned by an act of Congress. And despite the radically reduced risk that knives and box cutters presented in the post-9/11 world, allowing them back on board was considered too emotionally charged for the American public."

Link to Original Source
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Global Warming Scientist Slamdown

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  more than 2 years ago

phantomfive (622387) writes "Earlier 16 scientists said anthropogenic global warming is not something to worry about. This generated some rebuttals, "Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition? In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work."
Now the 16 are hitting back. "We urge readers not to depend on pompous academy pronouncements—on what we say....everyone should look at certain stubborn facts that don't fit the theory espoused in the Trenberth letter.""

Link to Original Source
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Microsoft Wants Your Information

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  more than 4 years ago

phantomfive (622387) writes "The company everyone loves to hate is after your private information, as the Wall Street Journal reports. The IE8 design team had planned on adding the best privacy features available, but the advertising executives wanted to track users. From the story, "In the end, the product planners lost a key part of the debate. The winners: executives who argued that giving automatic privacy to consumers would make it tougher for Microsoft to profit from selling online ads. Microsoft built its browser so that users must deliberately turn on privacy settings every time they start up the software.""
Link to Original Source
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GoDaddy Follows Google's Lead

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  more than 4 years ago

phantomfive (622387) writes "GoDaddy has announced they will no longer register domain names in China, in response to new requirements that each registrant be photographed, and their business ID number be submitted. GoDaddy's representative said, "The intent of the procedures appeared, to us, to be based on a desire by the Chinese authorities to exercise increased control over the subject matter of domain name registrations by Chinese nationals." Is it possible that GoDaddy has any ethics at all?"
Link to Original Source
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Prize for Finding Unintended Acceleration Cause

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  more than 4 years ago

phantomfive (622387) writes "Edmunds Auto has offered a $1million prize to anyone who can find the cause of unintended acceleration. As Wikipedia covers, this is a problem that has plagued not only Toyota, but also Audi and other manufacturers. Consumer Reports has some suggestions all automakers can implement to solve this problem, including requiring breaks to be strong enough to stop the car even when the accelerator is floored."
Link to Original Source
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New Type of Cloud Discovered

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  more than 4 years ago

phantomfive (622387) writes "In Iowa and Scotland there are reports of a type of cloud not yet recognized by the World Meteorological Foundation. It seems the cloud does not match any of the clouds in the International Cloud Atlas, and thus there is a campaign underway to have it included. Some have said the clouds look like armageddon has arrived. For me, writing clouds all these times makes me want to eat cotton candy."
Link to Original Source
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3 charges against Terry Childs dropped

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  about 5 years ago

phantomfive (622387) writes "Terry Childs, who was arrested nearly a year ago for refusing to turn over the passwords to the San Francisco's FiberWAN network has been cleared for three of the four charges against him. The charges that were dropped referred to the attachment of modems to the network. The remaining charge is for refusing to turn over the password. The prosecutor has vowed to appeal, to have the charges reinstated. We have the original story, and the story where Childs tells his side, for those who want a refresher."
Link to Original Source
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Redhat now part of S&P 500

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  more than 5 years ago

phantomfive (622387) writes "Redhat has made it onto the S&P 500, an important measure of the stock market. It is replacing CIT, which is expected to go bankrupt after the government refused to bail them out. Redhat is the first Linux company to make it on to the S&P500. While this means little directly for the company, it is an indication of the importance Linux is taking on in the world."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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World Peace is Easy

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  more than 4 years ago

World peace is an unusually simple problem: it's entirely a marketing problem. We don't even have to get people to buy anything, all we have to do is get them to want it. The marketing is the whole problem. Once everyone wants it, then the problem is solved because no one will fight anymore. It really is that easy.

In talking to people, I have observed three broad 'market segments' that need to be addressed, three types of people. Maybe there are more, but this is what I have found so far:

1) Those who think that humans are violent by nature, and thus war is inevitable. These are believers in the 'killer ape' theory or perhaps they've just seen too much violence in their lives. Fortunately men are not violent by nature, the 'killer ape' theory is discredited, and in any case we are capable of choosing our destinies.

2) The second group are those who would stop fighting, but the 'other guys' won't stop. These are most Americans. They didn't want to attack Afghanistan originally, but the Afghanis struck first, so what choice was there? These people happily would support peace if they saw it as a viable possibility. Fortunately, peace is viable because it is the most profitable solution, we just need to help the world see that. The more people start supporting peace, the more this group will become convinced that peace is possible.

3) The third group is the most difficult group, because they actually have something to gain from war. In this category was Slobodan Milosevic, who wanted to consolidate power in his country, or warriors on the edge of the Sahara who want to take others' land for their own cattle. Some people fight because it is exciting, they like the thrill. These people need to see that there is a better way, and that their children will want to live in peace, and sometimes compromise is worth it. Anyone who has loved has learned the value of compromise. These people can too.

Try to talk to everyone you can about world peace, because word of mouth is the best type of marketing.

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Religion is falsifiable

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  more than 5 years ago

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1301347&cid=28687519

Religions are falsifiable (science is the un-falsifiable thing: it is a tool, not a proposition. How do you falsify a hammer? How do you falsify science?). Any decent religious system has ideas of the type, if you do X, then Y will happen. Let's investigate a bit, and see what some religions say:

Buddhism: if you follow the eight-fold path, your suffering will end. Extremely testable. If you follow the eight-fold path, and you are still suffering, then man, they led you astray.

Tantric yoga: do these exercises and meditations and eventually you will have a kundalini rising (enlightenment). So if you do them, and you don't have a kundalini rising, then you know tantra is worthless (either that or your teacher sucks).

The Bible: Those who believe shall be able to do miracles, such as drink poison and not get hurt, or heal the sick (Mark 16:17). So if you follow Christ and you can't do those things, then......yeah, you've just falsified it.

Daoism: 99% of the battle of daoism is figuring out what you are supposed to do. That is an ancient Chinese way of teaching.....but, if you ever do figure out what it is you're supposed to do, then you will be able to tap into the mysterious power of the Dao. If you figure out what you are supposed to do, and do it, and still can't tap into that power, then you've just falsified Daoism.

Mormonism: fast and pray oft, grow in humility, and you will be filled with joy and consolation. I really like Mormonism because it is even more scientific: it says all over the place things like, "if you have faith, God will give you anything that is good." It gives examples of people who became good enough that God gave them anything they asked for, and it says that you can do it too. It even directly gives an example of how to test these claims, and verify/falsify them. I like it because the more clear the promises, the more easily it is falsifiable.

See? If all you are saying is that some being out there exists who affects life on earth in some undetectable way, then yeah, it's pretty pointless. But any preacher who preaches that doesn't know his religion.

Also see:

http://interviews.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=39406&cid=4207448

http://interviews.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=39406&cid=4208176

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Programming Style

phantomfive phantomfive writes  |  more than 5 years ago

"I'd crawl over an acre of 'Visual This++' and 'Integrated Development That' to get to gcc, Emacs, and gdb. Thank you." (By Vance Petree, Virginia Power)

Amen.

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