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Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

sammy baby Key bits (772 comments)

So, there are a few key takeaways here. I'm just going to blatantly steal the author's version:

First, there is zero correlation between saying one "believes" in evolution & understanding the rudiments of modern evolutionary science...
Second, "disbelief" in evolution poses absolutely no barrier to comprehension of basic evolutionary science...
Third -- and here we are getting to the point where the new data come in! -- profession of "belief" in evolution is simply not a valid measure of science comprehension.

Okay, well and good. But I'd argue that he's also eliding a key epistemological question. Namely, can you lay claim to fundamentally understanding a theory of science if you're wrong about it?

Let's say I'm Tycho Brahe. My contemporary, Nicolaus Copernicus, has published a book in which he suggests that the Sun is the center of the solar system. Based on my knowledge of astronomy, mathematics, and religion, I propose an alternate view, one which says that it's actually the sky spinning around the Earth. After all, the Earth is way too heavy to spin like Copernicus suggests.

So with regard to this subject, does Tycho Brahe understand the science?

about 6 months ago

New Study Shows One-Third of Americans Don't Believe In Evolution

sammy baby Re:Further disconnect from the "GOP". (1010 comments)

Republicans are such a perverted facsimile of what used to be a very reasonable party. If 6 years of Obama has taught us anything, it's that the empty can gets the grease. USA Politics desperately needs the GOP to fork into two factions - there are enough independents currently voting "D" to jump over to make a center-right candidate feasible. Center-right by US Standards, that is.

I'd say that's pretty self-evident - the last two presidents that ran on the Democratic ticket were both center-right candidates.

about a year ago

Nathan Myhrvold's $500 Cookbook Now an $80 iPhone App

sammy baby Re:alternatively (193 comments)

There is actually a separate edition of the book called Modernist Cuisine at Home which is specifically tailored to home chefs who want to try out the techniques, for substantially less money than the full version. Actually, the ebook which is the topic of the article is based on the "at Home" edition, which means the price differential between the ebook and dead tree version is only about thirty bucks, not several hundred.

1 year,11 days

How Outdated Data Distorts Doctors' Pay

sammy baby Re:Technology costs? (336 comments)

First of all - werd. To just about all of this.

Secondly I want to add that it's not as if there is some other definitive source that the government can use to determine the appropriate reimbursement rate for procedures. Hospitals have something called a "chargemaster list," but the prices on those lists vary wildly from hospital to hospital. And most hospitals, when quizzed as to why the prices seem so out of whack, argue that it doesn't matter because consumers "rarely" ever pay those prices.

Steven Brill had an amazing article on this subject in Time magazine, but it's now behind a paywall. You can find it here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2136864,00.html.

And the Washington Post has a brief discussion of the article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/23/steven-brills-26000-word-health-care-story-in-one-sentence/

about a year ago

Google Now Serves 25% of North American Internet Traffic

sammy baby Today in the annals of unfortunate capitalization: (84 comments)

Just to be clear: the title of this story should be interpreted "The combined traffic of Google's internet properties now account for 25% of all Internet traffic in North America."

Not, as I thought upon my first reading, "Google's mobile device software package, "Google Now", accounts for 25% of all Internet traffic in North America." That made me do a spit-take.

about a year ago

OK City Data Center Built To Withstand Winds Up To 310 MPH, Says Contractor

sammy baby Next: white walker countermeasures (139 comments)

"The area around and to the southwest of Oklahoma City, where more tornadoes were striking Friday night, 'has perhaps the greatest frequency of tornadoes in the U.S.,' said John Snow, a professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma.

Hurricane season is coming.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: How Important Is Advanced Math In a CS Degree?

sammy baby Re:Differential equations is not advanced math. (656 comments)

The irony here is that I found discrete math and data structures to be far, far easier than many of my other math classes.

On the other hand, I'd already had an introduction to topics like predicate calculus. I had the feeling sometimes that the comp sci professor teaching my discrete math course didn't understand the topic much better than I did.

about a year and a half ago

English May Have Retained Words From an Ice Age Language

sammy baby Re:Groovy. (323 comments)

Put on The Evil Dead Part 2. They'll be saying it too.

about a year and a half ago

What Modern Militaries Can Learn From Battlestar Galactica

sammy baby Re:Reciprocity. (272 comments)

They do actually address this in a couple of episodes. Part of the explanation of the retrograde technology on board the Galactica is that the Cylons were just so much better at cyberwarfare that the colonists essentially ceded that field - all computer systems were isolated so that even should one be compromised, it could not be used to stage attacks on other systems. There was a good deal of hocus-pocus involved, but at least there was an effort to explain it.

about a year and a half ago

Belief In God Correlates With Better Mental Health Treatment Outcomes

sammy baby Warning: snark. (931 comments)

I'm sorry, my inner snarky atheist is about to chime in. Please ignore the rest of my comment if you're not in the mood.


In the study, published in the current issue of Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers comment that people with a moderate to high level of belief in a higher power do significantly better in short-term psychiatric treatment than those without.

...researches also identified a notable exception to this phenomenon. Certain types of psychotic disorders, notably delusional disorders concerning the existence of supernatural entities, were strongly associated with belief in god.

about a year and a half ago

Netflix Wants To Go HTML5, But Not Without DRM

sammy baby Re: your dumbass strategy (394 comments)

Yeah, they could have used.... Flash. Hooray? Or Apple HLS?

The bottom line is that non DRMed content is a non-starter for them. It's not that they can't figure out how to get away from Silverlight, it's that they can't figure out where to go instead.

about a year and a half ago

Among Servers, Apple's Mac Mini Quietly Gains Ground

sammy baby Re:Only because you are a Mac fan (367 comments)

Do you see the obvious contradiction in what you just said? The article focuses on the birth of these Mac colo companies, which can make money in an extreme niche of the market because they're in a small group of services providers standardizing on Mac hardware. Because they have stayed almost identical between model years, the provider can just by them by the truckloads as little commodity services, knowing that if one goes that they can just swap another one in.

The in house IT department, which you like to deride, doesn't have that luxury. They're not going to buy a dozen Mac Minis just to support one small group which is completely wedded to one server platform. So in the end, everyone is happy: the colo companies get their niche business, the fledgling web business gets their preferred platform, the data center admins get to stick with their core competencies, and schmucks who have never had to run a large data center get to call them assholes. Everyone wins.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: How Can I Explain To a Coworker That He Writes Bad Code?

sammy baby How comfy is your work environment? (683 comments)

Depending on your relationship with your coworker, you could try something like this:

"Dude! What the fuck is with this? This whole module reads like it was written by David Foster Wallace after sustaining a concussion!"

Then, having gently broached your general concern, you could offer a few helpful suggestions. "How about actual English names for some of your variables, instead of packing everything into a global array called "Stuff"?"

I'm actually only half kidding here. I'm lucky enough to work with guys with a sense of humor, so when one of us screws something up we expect a certain amount of ball-busting. I really do feel that this is a valuable practice, so long as the critics don't go too far with it and the critiqued can keep a good sense of humor.

about 2 years ago

Critic Cites Revenge of the Sith As "Generation's Greatest Work of Art"

sammy baby Re:Ha Ha (376 comments)

I feel I should point out that Paglia's identification as a feminist is a matter of some debate. She lays claim to being a "dissident feminist", which as nearly as I can tell is about as uncontroversial as claiming you're a "Jew for Jesus."

about 2 years ago

Mysterious Algorithm Was 4% of Trading Activity Last Week

sammy baby Obvious explanation. (617 comments)

Clearly, SKYNET has some commitment issues when it comes to day trading.

more than 2 years ago

Software Engineering Has Its Own Political Axis From Conservative To Liberal

sammy baby buried the lede (283 comments)

Man, you have to read pretty deep in that article before you get to the really cool bit. But there is a really cool bit. Check it:

I have spent the last four years championing an initiative within Google called the "Grok Project", one that will at some point burst beyond our big walled garden and into your world. The project's sole purpose in life is to bring toolchain feature parity to all languages, all clients, all build systems, and all platforms. (Some technical details follow; feel free to skip to the next section heading...) My project is accomplishing this lofty and almost insanely ambitious goal through the (A) normative, language-neutral, cross-language definitions of, and (B) subsequent standardization of, several distinct parts of the toolchain: (I) compiler and interpreter Intermediate Representations and metadata, (II) editor-client-to-server protocols, (III) source code indexing, analysis and query languages, and (IV) fine-grained dependency specifications at the level of build systems, source files, and code symbols.

There's a bit more, but that's the gist.

more than 2 years ago

Software Engineering Has Its Own Political Axis From Conservative To Liberal

sammy baby Re:Yep (283 comments)

Or even worse, programmers who use the Visual Studio C# .NET WPF paradigm at work, and then use a Linux desktop coding open source at home. Probably so.

You found me.

more than 2 years ago

RIM CEO On What Went Wrong

sammy baby Everything you need to know from the interview (299 comments)


We had a very, very successful recipe of what BlackBerry was all about. There were four main pillars: battery life; typing; security; and compression. Then there was a shift with LTE. With LTE it was important actually not to save network resources, it was important to load the networks, to sell data plans and sell data volume. We didn't miss on innovation. I think we missed on understanding, specifically in the U.S., that this trend was shifting, and that our positioning and our value proposition in the U.S. market was not following that trend shift.

So, according to the CEO of RIM, the reason that Blackberries don't sell is that carriers don't want to sell phones that don't require big data plans. It's a good thing I didn't try bringing my new Brick phone to market. I mean, okay, technically it's just a brick with a pretend touchscreen, but it requires to data plan AT ALL.

more than 2 years ago


sammy baby hasn't submitted any stories.



sammy baby sammy baby writes  |  more than 12 years ago

I've been on /. for a long time, but hadn't gotten around to playing with the blogging feature until now.

And yet, here I am. Nifty.

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