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Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

sarkeizen Re:Not so easy (217 comments)

I didn't say you had to learn them. I said they were there.

Sorry the likely case is you are backpedaling. The whole post, in fact the whole portion of this thread is about learning Chinese and you thought adding something that has zero to do with it was a good idea to throw in. That's what you want readers to believe? Let's look at your quote shall we?

About 2000 of them constitute (approximately) high school literacy. But there are about 50 thousand of them. Bad enough?

In order for your "they are just there" be what you really meant you would have had to switch from talking about words you need to learn for literacy to words that have no impact on literacy whatsoever in the space between the period and the word "but". Not to mention you are telling the reader that those two sentences are related by using a conjunction. Albeit one used with a period.

If your defense is really that you inserted a non-sequitor then perhaps there are some large gaps in your English education too? The more likely case is that you were trying to convince the reader that there are lots of characters to learn. Big numbers make your case better. Even though when it comes to talking about literacy (and I question that character counts are a very good way to talk about this) your big numbers are off by a fucking order of magnitude.

As for a simplified character vocabulary, take a trip to Taiwan, why don't you. See how that works out for you.

...and what? Taiwan officially uses traditional and colloquially uses simplified. Toronto, where I live is likely even more mixed. Unlike Taiwan there is no regulation on character usage (since Chinese is not an official language here). Original immigrants were mostly HK Cantonese speakers. To the point that many of my friends who speak Cantonese actually had to *learn* it because nobody spoke their native dialect. Today I see far more Taiwanese and Mandarin speakers. Lots of storefronts sport traditional signs but the goods inside are often marked with simplified charcters. Sing Tao Daily writes in Traditional BUT the advertisement inserts often have simplified and the entertainment sections will often have quotes from people using HKCS. Actually some of the things I've seen from Canton province are probably more interesting than Taiwanese stuff. Where people are using simplified characters but with HKCS. Taiwan does use variants that are rarely seen in the mainland (I mentioned da2 which I've seen in Taiwan and Japan but never in simplified - even though it's technically part of modern Chinese but ironically it contains two copies of the same radical which ARE simplified) - Anyway Taiwan probably has more spoken variants than orthographical ones.

Your experience is only your experience

While true, it ironically doesn't exclude that my experience probably exceeds your own in every way. :-)

about a month ago

Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

sarkeizen Re:Not so easy (217 comments)

You're kind of exaggerating here. There are 50,000 characters estimated to have been used in all of history - this has nothing to do with learning Chinese anymore than learning that yegg, thorn and ash were once English characters. You can be fully literate in Chinese without knowing the vast majority of extant characters. My language coaches are native speakers and while I can recognize/write characters they've never seen. Like the old form of "da2/ta4" not to mention HKCS and a few Japanese characters which use forms which are no longer used in China (like "dragon") ...orthographic variations like in seal script...etc.. They are still much more proficient than myself.

Other than a few popular traditional characters I find that most Chinese can read perfectly well with just simplified. Again my teachers can read just fine but they often struggle to remember the traditional form of every character. University graduates like some of my co-workers can function perfectly well in Chinese but can't remember the traditional form of "cong'. As someone who studied traditional characters first I found reading simplified characters pretty easy. There are thousands of modified characters but a few simple rules will often get you through the majority you see every day.

I also don't see how the verb/negation/verb structure illustrates anything about the difficulty of Chinese. Not to mention that if someone asked you say: "Hui bu hui?" (Are you coming back or not?) and you said "bu shi" people would probably know what you meant. Saying "hao" instead of "hui" is probably more ambiguous.

Is Chinese simple? No but I don't think you're doing it justice. For example a real problem with reading is recognizing when what you're reading is a foreign word that has been transliterated into Chinese. Unlike Japanese where you have katakana to indicate the use of a loanword. Chinese just expects you to know that qiaonasen is an English name. If you're reading a book with a lot of foreign names sometimes they will underline them but I find this as the exception rather than the rule. Even some of my Chinese relatives complain about this.

about 1 month ago

The State of ZFS On Linux

sarkeizen I agree... (370 comments)

I've been using this for a production fileserver for about a year and a half. Prior to that I was using ZFS on FUSE for about a year.

The only minor negative things I can say is that when you do have some odd kind of failure ZFS (and this may be the case on BSD and Solaris) gives you some pretty scary messages like "Please recover from backup" but usually exporting and importing the FS brings it back at least in a degraded state. My other caveat might just be my linux distro but I've often had problems with older versions of the libraries hanging around and causing the command line tools to break.

about 2 months ago

Google To Build Quantum Information Processors

sarkeizen Re:Translation... (72 comments)

I know a thing or two about quantum information theory. However that's the first time I've heard "full entanglement" used to describe some entangled state. More frequently you talk about negativity or cluster states. That of course comes from knowing something about the topic and you...well...don't. :)

about 3 months ago

Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

sarkeizen Re:Diet is very important. (588 comments)

because an enormous part of the problem is the percentage of our food today that is processed, and the percentage that contains vast amounts of sugar (and particularly high fructose corn syrup).

Processing can't really add much to the energy content of a food. Modern stores have many significantly more energy dense foods at low cost though which may be part of the problem.

I realize that on Slashdot, where people tend to be highly math-oriented, it's a popular fallacy to believe that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. However, studies like this one have been coming out for years now showing that that's simply not true.

If you're talking about this particular study. It wasn't calorie restricted so it doesn't make your point. Calories can still be calories and two people on different diets can have different results IF they get to eat different amounts of food. Like they did here. If you read the study. Which you didn't.

Some kinds of energy are easier for our bodies to extract from food than others.

Midly but not terribly significantly. If there was a large degree of variability you wouldn't be able to do things like construct BMR tables by age, weight. The larger your sample you feed your regression the larger your error would be.

Some kinds of food make our bodies feel more full than others.

This isn't about a calorie being a calorie. The calories are the same. I realize that you are a little math-challenged but do try to keep up.

healthy, unless the toppings on that pizza are very carefully selected to provide the nutrients that our bodies actually need.

You've now moved to goalposts far, far away from a "calorie is a calorie" to some vague idea about being healthy. I've personally 10 lbs almost exclusively eating Kit Kat's and Ice Cream bars.

It would be nice if nutrition were a simple formula, where you could just calculate calories in minus calories expended and come out with a nice, pleasing mathematical formula.

Evidence suggests that for the vast majority of people you can do this to a pretty high degree of precision. When I use high-precision means (scales for all food, highly regular diet, highly structured weigh-ins and exercise). I can predict my weight to a margin of 5-10% a week out. When I talk to people who have trouble losing weight and I ask them about their diets. Most of the time they lack enough rigor to easily include their results. I'm not suggesting that everyone needs to be this rigorous but to understand that their confusion comes from not understanding exactly how much energy they are taking in.

about 3 months ago

Google To Build Quantum Information Processors

sarkeizen Re:Translation... (72 comments)

What do you mean by "full entanglement"?

about 3 months ago

Google To Build Quantum Information Processors

sarkeizen Re:Translation... (72 comments)

The way you phrased your post makes it sound like you're saying "more entanglement would make it a quantum computer". Which isn't correct the difference between a Quantum Computer (or gate-model QC device if you prefer) and what D-Wave has built is that it's based around solving a specific Hamiltonian which happens to map to NP-Hard problem of some interest. You could, in theory solve decoherence in D-Wave's device through something not unlike quantum error correction. However even with that it still wouldn't be a general computer. Also if we could solve that problem easily we would probably be able to build true quantum computers.

about 3 months ago

Google To Build Quantum Information Processors

sarkeizen Re:Translation... (72 comments)

Agreed. IIRC it's unclear if very much entanglement is going on in the D-Wave Two. Which is possibly why they are able to add Qbits at the rate they have been and also why their performance is muddy at best.

about 3 months ago

Google To Build Quantum Information Processors

sarkeizen Re:Translation... (72 comments)

I'd quibble with "easily trounce" since we don't really know how this technology scale. Does doubling the D-Wave Qbits double performance? As it stands we know from other benchmarks that reasonably large single machine can operate equivalently to D-Wave. That hardware costs a few orders of magnitude less then D-Wave so unless D-Wave looks like it SCALES - i.e. performance goes up, costs go down. Then it's not going to be useful to anyone except in side effects like power efficiency. Also remember this is a single purpose solver - it's not a general computer. So at best it can be a kind of enormously expensive hardware accelerator. I'd also quibble a bit with "class of problems it solves". Troyer, et al seems to say that there appears no general performance advantage. D-Wave's response to this is "Well there are specific cases where it was better". Which is expected in any non-deterministic algorithm. A random number generator will eventually guess the right answer on the first try. So now D-Wave would have to show that there is some generalized subclass of problems that it can solve efficiently. I don't envy D-Wave but IMHO they knew (or should have known) the limitations of their ideas when they started out.

about 3 months ago

Google To Build Quantum Information Processors

sarkeizen Translation... (72 comments)

The D-Wave unit really doesn't help them. Perhaps a dedicated QUBO solver isn't sufficient for their needs or the D-Wave doesn't look like it will scale (we already know that it can be outperformed by equipment much less expensive than itself but investing might still be worthwhile if the technology looks like it will scale over time).

about 3 months ago

Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Lately, Coding

sarkeizen Wish *you* were taught logic and math.. (125 comments)

because you seem to suck at both...

If you teach a 10 year old to write "code", that won't help them in 8 or 10 years time when they try to apply for a job. The "code" technology will have moved on in that time, so the stuff they learned a decade ago will be obsolete. The knowledge that a professional programmer has, has a half-life of a few years: maybe as long as 5 years in some areas - possibly as a short as 1 or 2 in rapidly developing fields of work.

This seems incorrect. A simple back of the envelope regression analysis between 12 programming languages I used in school/work and the jobs available on Gave a R of about -0.1. So programming language age and jobs available appear to be uncorrelated. Now you will probably be tempted to drop back and punt. That is to make your argument way more specific (Oh I meant that Business knowledge W + Language X + IDE Y + Framework Z wouldn't be useful in 2025) however clearly, if you had been educated in logic you would realize that doesn't mean that teaching language X is of little or no value. Knowing Lisp a language almost as old as CS itself has helped me in evaluating products and understanding problems just in the last five years.

Since nobody can tell what skills will be needed in the next decade, learning a particular coding language, the "learning to code" is almost certainly teaching the wrong language to children.

The argument of someone who doesn't understand the need to clarify your premises. If nobody has any information on what is needed in 2025 then no premise should be privileged (i.e. learning current languages is of almost no help). If you are asserting that we only have enough information to determine that learning languages people use today is of almost no help. Then you are either wrong (by my regression above) or just begging the question.

It would be far better to teach them basic maths, basic logic and how to think in abstract terms - rather than focusing on tangible, here and now, stuff that will produce children who can blink an LED on a Raspberry Pi today, but will have no clue about hw to deal with the "AI on a chip" they might be faced with when they start their professional careers.

The assumption here is pretty ignorant. Learning to program is of almost no value because there will be nothing in common between programming languages now and whatever people use in 10 years. Well the Church-Turing thesis begs to differ. Unless the "AI on a chip" (*snort* *chortle*) is not a Turing machine then clearly any programming language would have something to teach them and would at least be potentially useful in instructing them on the nature of computer science.

When I started my first job after graduating, the job description didn't even exist when I started my university course. So what is the chance that teaching 5 or 10 year children a specific computing skill will be relevant to their career prospects in 10-15 years time?

Again a correlation coefficient of -0.1 seems to say "not nearly as bad as a moron like you thinks"

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Re-Learning How To Interview As a Developer?

sarkeizen Re:Practice, question, listen, connect. (218 comments) advising someone on how to avoid common pitfalls somehow means we're missing people in some significant way? I don't think you actually read what I typed. Here's a recap.

i) If you think you are losing job offers because you appear standoffish. Practice a few questions.
ii) Engaging the other side of the table will also help you appear more involved.
iii) Understanding the other people is key to being able to communicate with them. Communication is key in avoiding appearing detached.
iv) Try to give them a demonstration of your work in the interview.
v) Jokes are harder to pull of than you think.

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Re-Learning How To Interview As a Developer?

sarkeizen Practice, question, listen, connect. (218 comments)

Here's my $0.05. I've been a hiring manager for a number of developer positions.

i) Practice: Have a few pat answers for open ended or probing questions. Like when you get asked "Can you give me an example of..." pick a good example - one where you look good (I can't tell you how many times someone picked an "example of resolving a conflict with their coworker where they looked pretty bad"). Then bounce it off your NON-tech friends. Take their advice, even if it sounds weird or not how you would naturally talk. Then practice until you can make it sound natural.

ii) Question. It pays to ask a question or two about the questions being asked of you. Not every question but it shows you are listening and can be even used to show off knowledge you have but haven't been asked.

iii) Listen when they are talking. Try to get an idea of what these people are looking for.

iv) At the end you are often asked if you have any questions. Use the information about iii) to get them talking. Find something you have in common. Suggest some solution. i.e. get them talking about their biggest problem areas for software, hardware (whatever you're being hired for and ask them "Have you tried..."). Don't go on too much about a single technology. I don't mind it when someone slips an extracurricular into their interview but it should be a one off. For example, I interviewed a person who did some Ada programming in his spare time. Which is cool but he referenced it two or three other times and it started to sound like an attempt to distract from the question.

Bonus: Avoid jokes. Seriously. Unless you really can take the temperature of your audience it's hard to pull off and it can easily be taken the wrong way and counted against you . Remember that when you tell jokes to your peers at work they already know you (to some extent) and are attempting to think the best of you. An interviewer is trying to differentiate between you an everyone else. If someone from HR is on the interview panel and you tell a joke (or relay an experience) that makes you look like you have a problem or might be mildly sexist, ageist, racist. You can easily find yourself on the bottom of the pile when it comes to a decision.

about 8 months ago

The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

sarkeizen Re:Home school (529 comments)

She herself feels the local schools would not serve her well, concluding this after taking with age-peer friends at gymnastics practice, track club, and orchestra, just three of the activities that provide social interaction for our daughter.

How do you know those activities provide a good model of the breadth of interaction you would get at school? Assuming a large enough body and a sufficiently diverse population at said school. I rather suspect that these don't compare. Perhaps it's related to how parents often confuse extra-curricular activities with social experiences.

Thirdly, you'll never convince me that the socialization of a typical public school with all of it's dysfunctional cliques, dysfunctional fashions, and bullying is somehow better.

Well it's good that you're being rational...oh're actually being the opposite. IMHO the parents job wrt their child and the outside world is to provide them with skills to thrive in it. Socialization is one of these and it's one of those things that people who don't do it well tend to be oblivious to. Considering how many people I know who are stuck in middle management at least partially because of a social skills problem. I'm rather persuaded that a lack of social ability will curb your success.

I do agree that public school can be a socially challenging situation - this is *why* being there is, in and of itself a social education. Removing a child from a challenging situation if they stand to benefit (gain the ability to cope with socially challenging situations) and are not likely to fail in a damaging way, is irrational. So far my child has shown an almost flawless degree of judgement in pursuing a course of action which is healthy for her. I do understand if you think your child who can (allegedly) take a total derivative at age 13 might not be capable of making those decisions. However I suspect that you're short-changing her or perhaps she's short-changing herself.

I can only imagine the kind of severe bullying that my daughter would have to endure at the typical high school, just because she is a girl that likes math and science. Go read "They Sibling Society" by Robert Blye and then try to tell me the current public school system is good for kids' socialization.

You really like books that are far more narrative than research. While it would be sad if your daughter got bullied because of those things. I'm not sure avoiding something simply because it has some (entirely unquantified) probability of happening is really the right thing either.

I really get tired of people who haven't thought deeply about the problem,

I'd put you in that category.

haven't read widely about the issues,

Dude. So far you have mentioned two books and both are, in my opinion only mildly above works of fiction when it comes to rigour.

and don't face the problem in their own life somehow thinking they should be able to dictate to me.

You're making a logical fallacy here. Maybe you should ask your daughter.

about 8 months ago

The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

sarkeizen Re:Home school (529 comments)

Distrupting Class is IMHO not a very useful book. About a third of it is the usual useless narrative about industry disruption and the penalties of not being able to adapt. Way to much time spent on something that could have been expressed in two sentences. Yes, large changes happen to industry, some happen quickly and some slowly. People who adapt at the right time will benefit. It is, like most non-academic publications by people who don't know how to do research is poor. His knowledge of the history of computers in schools is poor too. Anyone who's read Oppenheimer's "The Flickering Mind" knows that the idea of software teaching and paced learning is age old and often unsuccessful at improving measurable outcomes.

In fact a great deal of the rest of Christensen's book is just talking about things he hopes will exist. I hope sophisticated software courses exist someday too but that's really not the useful or interesting questions: i.e How do we get there? What do we know that works? What do we know that doesn't? These are barely touched on by Christensen.

about 8 months ago

The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

sarkeizen Re:Homeschooling is at best a niche-performer. (529 comments)

I did not use the term "most" at all,

What do you think "probably" means? If something probably works it will, over a sufficiently large population work for most people . Are you sure you should be teaching your son math?

I do not speak for everyone,

I didn't say you were. I said you attempted to speak generally and that you attempted to talk about most cases. I think you've retreated from this point but it's interesting that you can't admit you possessed it.

I'm simply relating my own experiences.

Not if you are saying something is "probably the best thing to do".

There IS only one simple point to my post; home schooling works for MY kid and MY family.

So now what? It sounds like you've retreated from "It's probably best if you do things yourself" - to that there is no generality to your claims?! Doesn't that mean there was no point in sharing your experiences? Don't you realize that's what the *generality* implies? You can't have it both ways either you believe that it's likely something in your post applies to someone else or it doesn't.

You have an idea in your head and you have bent my words to fit your assumptions,

Dude. Take a stats class. I haven't bent anything. Either you misspoke when you said "probably" or you've changed your position. Figure out which it is and get back to me.

We had many trips to the school, visits and phone calls with teachers, heads of departments and the principal, this took place over nearly two years

Seriously? Over two years you couldn't, even after escalating all the way up get permission for your son to quietly read a book after all needed work was completed? This was true for every teacher in the school and every school in the district? Unlikely. I suspect you aren't telling us the real story.

You have warped my words to fit your preconceived idea of who I am and what motivates me.

...and that was done where exactly? You don't seem able to say. I don't know what motivates you but I can tell you what "probably" means.

You even filled in the gaps in your argument with your own words where mine won't do.

Again, where did I do this? Again you can't seem to say. What is the gap in my argument? Oh, hey you're not saying that either. I hope you're not teaching logic as well.

Contrary to your belief my child was quite capable of doing the work he was given at school, he had (and continues to have) an active social circle.

You said that, his own attempt to manage this conflict left him "sullen, sat at the back of the class doing the bare minimum to avoid trouble". So let's just translate this to the work world shall we? If I told a report to add functionality to an application and they do the absolute minimum amount of work (which makes me unhappy) and they're bad tempered while they're at it. Is it really so hard to see how such a person would be considered incapable of handling their job. Blame it on whatever you want. You are in a job, you are not doing very good work (by my standards) and you are bad tempered and you are not doing anything productive to change your situation. I wouldn't expect to get promoted or much job security.

he was just doing "very well" by the school's standards

Wait! What? You said he started "doing the bare minimum" and was "sullen" when he was refused extra work from the school. How can you be doing all of the work consistently and perfectly and still be doing the bare minimum? Either you have again changed your argument and didn't tell me or between two adjacent sentences in the same paragraph you changed from talking about the schools workload to some arbitrary, and previously undisclosed standard of work. If the later I hope you're not teaching English.

That was the crux of the problem,

Oh so the real, REAL problem wasn't him being kept down by his teachers, or unhappy or unable to get something to do to keep him from getting bored. I'll assume that quietly reading was allowed and probably other activities like doing an ISP were also allowed - as these are pretty ubiquitous techniques for handling people who are ahead of the lesson or class. So what this is really about is some arbitrary, poorly defined and possibly irrelevant standard of yours. That is much clearer - at least in answering the question why a rational group of people might be resistant to it.

I didn't want him to quietly read a book at the back of the class to keep him content, I wanted him to use his brain and get stretched, challenged and tested by his educators.

Again this really isn't about him being able to do more challenging work when he is ahead. Reading quietly could easily accomplish this. I could easily give him a math text that would take him five years to finish. I could probably give you one too. The only thing you've added here is testing. Which sounds like you're reaching. You could just as easily give him work to do when he has spare time at school and then look at it when he gets home.

They were not capable of this as individuals or as an institution.

Not capable of what exactly? Designing a test for curriculum defined by you? So far you haven't told us exactly what you were asking for. So it hard to know if they are right and you are wrong. However we do know that your original objections were deceptive oversimplifications. I really have no idea what goes on in a head such as yours but from what you say I suspect this is more about you dealing with something than you attempting to meet your sons needs - or at least the ones you clearly stated. In your situation, adding curriculum to your son's education seems easily done both in school and without and likely more easily and efficiently than building a school from the ground up. Not to mention that you are teaching your child that it's other peoples responsibility to keep them stimulated and probably not giving very good lessons about conflict management or socialization.

about 8 months ago

The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

sarkeizen Re:Home school (529 comments)

The trouble with "peers" is that they are few and far between. My kid interacts too intellectually for a lot of kids, that's one of the problems with being at the edge of the bell curve, he starts wittering on about the latest crazy-assed thing he made his raspberry pi do and a lot of kids just look at him like he's got a tentacle growing out of his head.

Putting aside your ridiculous bigotry for a moment. Your child has an intense interest in something that he is impaired or incapable of bridging to other people his age and you think he doesn't have a social problem. What do you think communication IS?

He doesn't have any social hang-ups and he can get along with other kids OK,

But can't relate to them. Your words.

I've done a lot of research

Probably not.

healthy psychological development kids need

Did you ever ask yourself what overall problem space studies like these are concerned with? Mostly they are trying to find things that lead to impairment, and usually there are so many confounders in this kind of research that the impairment has to be pretty severe (i.e. increase RR of disease X). That's light years away from what you're trying to do which is about trying to make your child successful. A public school is a way of experiencing your environmental that you will simply not be able to emulate. There is simply too much data on gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status that they will be absorbing just from having to interact with them and resolve conflict with them. If your son is, by your own words impaired from relating a complex subject that he is knowledgeable about to a group of people who aren't. How do you expect him to lead at the C-level. Make presentations to C-level management, apply for research grants, be a doctor who can successfully explain outcomes to a patient or even just work with other non-specialized but intelligent people? Bigotry is not a very good solution to being socially impaired. Occasionally it succeeds - sometimes spectacularly (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates) but mostly people just tell you to fuck off.

about 8 months ago

The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

sarkeizen Re:Homeschooling is at best a niche-performer. (529 comments)

I don't suggest that homeschooling is right or even possible for a lot of families out there

Actually you said it's better for *MOST* people. Which if you read the literature seems clearly wrong. See right here...

Like lots of things in life if you want them doing well you're probably best doing them yourself. Homeschool for the win!

Perhaps you might re-think that...or perhaps in your next math lesson you can teach your son how you can extrapolate to most of your country's population through a single sample.

my only point is that home schooling was and is right for my kids because we have a "better product" to offer than the schools in our area.

Clearly it wasn't your "only point" but sometimes that's phrase people use to save face instead of simply saying "I was wrong" or "I didn't think this through". Most of the outcomes for schooling are somewhat long term i.e. learning to add isn't an end in itself it's a stepping stone to more complex operations and solving real-world problems. Unless you're expecting your child to do nothing more than make change when pumping gas then it's probably a little premature to call what you're doing "better". After all the only observable short-term metric you've mentioned here is conflict with exactly one teacher....and your solution was to create a new school. That's teaching all sorts of wrong lessons about conflict management just for starters.

In school, my child was actively excluded by his teacher for being too questioning and he was actively refused the extra work he requested having finished the work he was given. Additionally, he was scolded for finding other things for his active imagination to occupy itself with after his teacher had failed to provide him with something/anything to learn.

Your teacher wouldn't let your child read a book quietly after all required work was finished? If so, did you speak to the teacher about this and if that failed did you speak to the principal?

We don't pander to our kids whims, he has a rigorous regime of work that challenges him and makes him use his talents.

I simply point out that you are, in the vast majority of contexts teaching him that this is everyone but his job. Statistically he is far more likely than not to end up in a job which is going to have exactly the same problems you made sure he didn't have to solve. A job where they often value boring things over more interesting things. A job with a difficult administration or a difficult social situation. Often I've had to give smart, creative people boring work and occasionally futile and stupid tasks. The employees I've had have been gracious about this. However there are plenty of people who can't accept this and end up being unable to perform. You can tell yourself that you're "bored" or "creative" or anything really but the truth is that you are INCAPABLE and in this context no different than the ditch digger asked to do contour integration.

about 8 months ago

The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

sarkeizen Homeschooling is at best a niche-performer. (529 comments)

I agree with you in a couple of places. For example I believe that we somehow have curriculum which allows someone who doesn't know how to write code get a degree in Computer Science. I've interviewed dozens of these people. I also believe that education is very often not succeeding at being interesting to a large number of students.

Where we part company most significantly is in two points:

a) Homeschooling is an answer with some general utility. If we assume your claims are accurate then you are a single earner family. Which means in my country (Canada) you immediately eliminate most families and likely most of them are the poorer ones. When you look at some of the attempts to assess the performance of Homeschooling you notice two things. i) It's not done very well, rudner(1999) for example constantly compares to a national average without normalizing and b) the objective differences are not very large. Rudner makes a big deal of comparing by decile but when you compare say his national average vs. his lowest income homeschoolers (as an attempt to normalize for socioeconomic factors) the difference in raw scores is about 10%. When you think how close that is to the spread of your data and keep in mind all we have done is normalizing for a single factor. It seems reasonable that homeschooling probably doesn't add much to a child's education in terms of objective test results.

b) The purpose of school, you or work is to perpetually keep your child interested (or challenge them). When your child is hired in a job it is because they can provide a service that other people are willing to pay for. While it is in a company's best interest to keep them from being so unhappy your child leaves and having them incur the cost of re-hiring. It's not their job to keep them challenged. That's actually the job of your child. If a student or employee can finish all their work before it needs to be done. Then they can work ahead or pursue other work. Homeschooling looks like a lot of work for minimal gain. I do what most involved parents do. Give our kids homework outside of school, evenings and weekends. Most of it is self-directed. I shift the curriculum around based on proficiency. As my daughter started to read several grades above her level, we started doing math. She's approaching the same level there and we will probably switch to sciences probably chemistry and computer programming. My wife handles French and Violin lessons.

about 8 months ago



The end of OpenSolaris

sarkeizen sarkeizen writes  |  more than 4 years ago

sarkeizen (106737) writes "A leaked memo from Mike Shapiro, Bill Nesheim and Chris Armes of Sun Microsystems details a radical change to the Solaris operating system. Developers will no longer have free access to source as it is commited to the tree. Instead they will be offered Solaris 11 Express, a binary distribution with an free RTU license. Although Sun will continue to accept patches to CDDL code and promises to release some this throws a significant wrench into keeping a product based on Solaris current and compatible."
Link to Original Source

Petabytes On A Budget - How To Build Cheap Storage

sarkeizen sarkeizen writes  |  more than 5 years ago

sarkeizen writes "Backblaze, another addition to the growing list of online backup services has posted some pretty detailed information about the hardware they use. Following the tradition of Google they build almost exclusively from commodity parts but unlike the big 'G' they have placed all of this into a spiffy 4U enclosure of their own design. This fire-engine red casing houses 45 1.5 TB hard drives. The drives are combined through port multiplier backplanes which are in turn connected into four SATA controllers. 64 Bit Ubuntu's software RAID 6 is used to expose a JFS filesystem via HTTP. According to them each device costs them $7,867 in parts which yields 67 TB of raw storage. Although they don't sell these things they freely invite hackers to create their own 'storage pods', providing a full bill of goods and even solidworks files to fabricate the casing."

BGP Security Hole shown at DEFCON

sarkeizen sarkeizen writes  |  more than 6 years ago

sarkeizen (106737) writes "A recent post to Wired's blog network mentions two presenters Anton "Tony" Kapela and Alex Pilosov demonstrating the ability to use BGP to eavesdrop on unencrypted traffic. They allege that:

"Anyone with a BGP router (ISPs, large corporations or anyone with space at a carrier hotel) could intercept data headed to a target IP address or group of addresses."

Perhaps this isn't a big threat from individual hackers but it could have significant privacy implications if it could be done by any sufficiently large organization (i.e. governments, corporations, organized crime)"


sarkeizen sarkeizen writes  |  more than 7 years ago

sarkeizen (106737) writes "According to a team of researchers has, for the first time, hacked into a network protected by quantum encryption. . The MIT group was able to entangle a photons polarization with its momentum. Which allowed them to get up to 40% of the information by measuring the particles momentum without significantly disturbing it's polarization. The researchers agreed that this kind of attack, although interested could be rendered useless by increasing the key length."



Why nine-times stupid is still stupid.

sarkeizen sarkeizen writes  |  more than 5 years ago So far the only time I write in this thing is to use someone as an illustration of some particular brand of stupid. This latest entry for nine-times is no exception. I've spoken with this guy twice now and one rather interesting response is this funny reliance on promoting some kind of wierd belief as almost gospel. Now I totally see that this may just largely be smoke-blowing as s/he has no real response but since nine-times doesn't really give much in the way of clarification in their postings. I'm going to go with this as I see it.

In the first discussion where he appears to be promoting that generally your "gut bacteria" is as important (or perhaps more) than how much you eat/exercise in determining your weight.

you're so far from the common understanding of things that you may as well be denying the existence of the sun.

I find this quote interesting, not just because it's an appeal to popularity but it is also wildly assertive, the speaker seems to think they are speaking on behalf of 'science' and also likely wrong (I admit it's not exactly clear to me which of his/her many theses are being defended here).

Another quote from a discussion on cursive handwriting vs printing (by everyone else) and in nine-times's mind handwriting vs. typing.

These things aren't very much in need of further study because (I mean, yes, you can always study something further, but...) they've already been studied pretty extensively. You being ignorant on a subject doesn't mean that it needs more study.

Although this is reminiscent of an (equally wrong) quote from Albert Michelson to me it also seems to carry with it this weird "The research is done, just stop your questions now" kind of vibe.

Although there is much more stupid in his/her posts this is the particularly interesting one to me today. This weird kind of..."science worship" maybe? Anyway what I would think helpful to both nine-times and others is this comment on a journal article from John Cook's blog.

If I were to point out the obvious here. This 34% figure for JAMMA is for *medical* research. Which one would like to think is carried out with a significant interest in rigor when compared against say that "cursive handwriting is harder to read than Times-New Roman". Anyway the point here is that "nine-times" is espousing wisdom from the dark-ages. Today we can not simply be passive consumers of data. We need to question and think.


sarkeizen sarkeizen writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Vidar Leathershod is kind of an interesting guy and in an exchange I had with him a few weeks ago he is rather good at demonstrating how not to make your point...on slashdot or anywhere else.

He starts off with a post berating someone for requiring a citation for the claim that home schooled children perform better and are more socially well adjusted than their non-homeschooled peers. From a reference in a wiki article he cites:

Among the homeschooled students who took the tests, the average homeschooled student outperformed his public school peers by 30 to 37 percentile points across all subjects.

It was pointed out to him that this research doesn't publish it's error values so it's difficult to take seriously.

His notation on being socially well-adjusted was:

John Taylor later found, using the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale, "while half of the conventionally schooled children scored at or below the 50th percentile (in self-concept), only 10.3% of the home-schooling children did so."

One thing is that rather than a mean value a specific ordinal is chosen for some undisclosed reason and again there are no error values here. So again the same problem as above.

It was also pointed out that there appears to be a big problem with selection bias here and while he is maligning someone for not reading the Wikipedia he obviously didn't read the article too closely himself since the evidence presented is insufficient.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Instead of addressing these points Vidar says this:

If you have something to add to the article, why don't you just add it, and cite it. Instead of complaining about the cited content, try and get it removed.

This is a good example of a fallacy of distraction. The fact that something is or is not represented in the Wiki is independent of it being correct. It's also asking someone to take a pretty roundabout method to get proper evidence cited. The question at hand is one of how much weight we can put on the cited research but Vidar suggests that instead of producing information that he claims to have:

Because there have been many published studies on the success of homeschooled children in education vs. their formally-schooled counterparts.

And essentially do his homework for him (or her). He (she?) then continues:

Note that I did not say that Homeschooling always produces good results. But it has a better track record than the alternatives.

Again a distraction from the actual point: "Does homeschooling, in fact have a better track record?"

Instead of trying to fight it, why not try to find out why it is more successful and take lessons from it.

And again a distraction. Since we first need to establish that it *is* better before we "take lessons from it"

Anyway so the two lessons here are:

i) Stay on topic.
ii) Support your points.

Later on I find him saying some other stuff:

If you read what I was replying to again, I want you to see that the person was basically trying to put the onus of proof OP not to discover the truth, but to try and weaken his argument without giving his own evidence.

It's an interesting look into someones mind here. Vidar seems to object to having evidence required of the person if they possess certian motives - which he can somehow discern from the following post:

[Citation Required]

Sorry didn't I mention it? This is the post that Vidar responded to. It had the text of the previous poser that was in question above it but the only user generated content was that.

Vidar responded with:

Maybe you should "require" yourself to read a basic Wikipedia article before trying to "require" citations from them.

Anyway this represents two other logical fallacies. a) Non-support - Vidar rejects that a statement needs support because of b) Special pleading - that there is some special case - here being 'bad motives'.

The lesson here would be avoid appeals that speak to someones motive they are unconvincing - Even if that person asked the question out of the most evil motive in the world (I dunno putting kittens into wood chippers or something) it still may be the right question to ask. Likewise it's difficult to argue that someone possesses a particular motive anyway.

This gets brought up to him and the result is:

Obviously, you like arguing. I do to. But not for a freaking week. You literally have tired me into submission, as I cannot even be bothered to read your latest drivel, everyone who disagrees with you is stupid, I get it, there are no other motives in your heart but the pursuit of knowledge and purity, and the fact that you want to defend someone making a baseless attack on people who choose to homeschool or something.

Whoo almost too many things to list here:
i) Prejudicial language - calling something "drivel" qualifies.
ii) Strawman - The only person who was called stupid was Vidar...seemingly justified.
iii) Appeal to motive - similar to above.
iv) Strawman - All of a sudden wanting a citation is a "baseless attack on people who choose to homeschool" and taking him to task for not reading (well) an article that he chided someone for not reading is defending "anti-homeschooling".


sarkeizen sarkeizen writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Hmm, first time using this. Mostly due to clarifying some things said before comments closed on the following thread:

ltbarcly has some odd opinions:

"What you say is true. One symptom is not the disease. However, one symptom is a symptom of the disease, by hypothesis. So he has several of the symptoms (or characteristics which have a high level of correlation with the disease if you like) of ADD, as I previously pointed out."

Except that ltbarcly never pointed this out...what was originally said by ltbarcly was:

"Actually, that isn't 'flow'. It's Attention Deficit Disorder." Not, "this may be a sign of" or "this marginally increases your chance of having"...

Somehow also ltbarcly is claiming more than one symptom now (although later he/she seems to change his/her mind). How ltbarcly came to the conclusion that 'hyperfocus' (which isn't recognised as a symptom by the DSMIV) and the other characterisitcs are 'highly correlated' is left unsaid.

I'm going to step over the jawing about "Wiki being at least as accurate as gospel" since more than a few logical flaws are made and it's majoring (most of his/her text was dedicated to this subject) on a minor.

So after that ltbarcly goes on:

"I am not making a 'directional fallacy'. I am stating that he had one clear symptom of ADD."

Well not even, since (a) There appears to be little evidence to support the assertion that this is a symptom of ADD (see below) and (b) even if we were to write that symptom into the list in the DSMIV you still have the problem that it's unclear if it is being exhibited "to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level"

So although ltbarcly has changed his/her tune - albeit by pretending he/she said something different than was actually said. This new position isn't quite supported either.

"If there is a higher than average statistical correlation of the presence of a symptom in a person and the presence of the disease,"

Here I'm begining to suspect that ltbarcly doesn't even understand what he/she is typing. What ltbarcly appears to be saying here is if something has greater than 50% correlation with a particular disease then it's a symptom if not it isn't. So something that occurs in 10% of patents isn't a symptom. Which is silly. There are plenty of diagnoses that depend on a series of conditional probabilities which only collectively give you a better than average chance at being diagnoses. Take for example the early screenings for certian birth defects. They rely on two samples of blood word, plus at least one ultrasound. The result? If you screen positive you still have a better than average probabilty of NOT having the disease.

"then if someone does exhibit the symptom they have a correspondingly higher likelihood of having the disease."

Here is another problem with ltbarcly's thinking but this time it's with math. The issue isn't about 'correspondance' it's about significance. Sure a symptom is related to the probability of having a disease but it doesn't have to be to a significant degree.

Take for example a disease that is incredibly rare ( striking say 1 in 1,000,000,000,000 ) but there's a test for it that is right 99.99% of the time. You can say that testing positive for this disease is a 'symptom' of having the disease but the probabily of having said disease even after testing positive isn't terribly signifcant ( you have a far, far, far better chance of not having the disease than having it).

The last bit is sad and funny.

"Besides, the wikipedia article, of you cared to read it, goes over in detail your objections, including hyper-focus not being in DSM - IV."

What medical facts it actually states are a few things.

1) There is no pubmed article with that term.
2) It isn't recognized by the DSM-IV.
3) It states, without a corresponding in-text cite that there is a 'well-recognised' (peacock word) comorbitity with another set of disorders that contain that as a part.

This is where ltbarcly clearly shows which side of the fence he/she is on concerning 'people who don't know how to not believe everything that they read'. That text does nothing to refute the idea that hyperfocus isn't a very good indicator of ADHD.

Essentialy ltbarcly is saying that it's ok to make a diagnosis ("This is ADHD") on the basis of something that isn't recognised by the clincial standard, doesn't appear to be backed by a published study and defend your diagnosis on the basis of a statement of unspecified origin that this disorder is somehow linked to another group of disorders where some people exhibit this aleged symptom.

Perhaps this is why he/she spent so much time defending the idea that the Wiki is as good as gospel.

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