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Is the Porsche Carrera GT Too Dangerous?

tbid18 Re:No question? (961 comments)

An actor that made his millions staring in films about illegal street racing dies in a high speed car crash. Poetic justice I suppose. I wonder how many impressionable youths or their innocent victims have died trying to emulate him.

Are you kidding? An actor deserves to die because the character he played in movies was reckless? It's justice that he died in a car crash where he wasn't even driving?

These are the same forums who (rightly) criticize the media for ripping on violent video games after e.g. school shootings, but also mods a comment +5 insightful that alleges an actor is responsible for "impressionable youths" and "innocent victims" dying when trying to emulate his movie character. Absolutely incredible.

1 year,15 days
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What Works In Education: Scientific Evidence Gets Ignored

tbid18 Re:No shocker there (440 comments)

I've yet to see a competently written math book. Most of them are written by and for people with PhDs in mathematics. They'll show one example, fail miserably to explain what they did in any clear way, then later they will refer back to it as what they did in example 3. And the student is expected to be able to figure out what they did. Sure, given sufficient time, a student could reverse engineer the problem, but it's also trendy for teachers to hand out way too many problems as homework, without permitting the students time to understand.

I remember when I was in middle school and high school, the schools were using "integrated math." Which is to say we didn't have algebra, geometry or trig, we had all of them at once and we would start over again the next year. The problem is that just as we were beginning to grasp one of them, we'd move onto the next subject, and the next year, we'd have to start over as we hadn't mastered the material the last time we saw it.

I would guess that you are not approaching mathematical textbooks the way you should be. You don't just read the exposition. You don't simply read the proofs. You have to do the proofs yourself. That means you have to go step by step, making sure everything makes sense. When you see a theorem, try to prove it first before reading the solution. Do the exercises in the book. Try to think about the results and see if they make sense, given what you already know.

There are certainly many poor math books, but if you haven't found any good ones then you either haven't looked very hard or are not using them correctly. You don't learn math by simply reading about it. You learn math by doing math.

about a year ago
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What Works In Education: Scientific Evidence Gets Ignored

tbid18 Re:No shocker there (440 comments)

- One letter identifiers for everything. Algebra teaches you to always use x, y, z for variable names. Calculus teaches you to do it for function names. If you run out of those, use greek letters, or just start making up symbols.

Using verbose names in mathematics would be awful and make proofs, theorems, etc. impossible to read. It more than suffices to define a symbol before it is used. For example, what would we call Euler's totient function, phi(x)? numberOfIntegersFrom0ToNThatAreRelativelyPrimeWithNExclusive(x)? It doesn't work. How about the Zeta function? Or a Galois field? Good luck coming up with an intuitive way to refer to a Shimura variety.

Mathematics is so abstract that concise, English definitions usually do not exist. When something is first introduced it should definitely be defined, but it's up to the reader to internalize that. Furthermore, it's up the reader to invest the time necessary to learn (that nebulous "mathematical maturity"). Mathematics is hard, and there are things to criticize about modern education, but the usage of variables, naming conventions, etc. are not among them.

about a year ago
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Examining the Expected Effects of Dark Matter On the Solar System

tbid18 Re:General relativity (190 comments)

My bet is that the need for dark matter will disappear when relativistic effects are properly taken into account.

There seems to be the belief among astrophysicists that general relativity can be safely ignored when speeds are low. I'm not so sure.

The situation you are talking about, where speeds are low, concerns special relativity, and it's obvious that low speeds do not make much of a difference. This isn't some "guess" that astrophysicists are making. It's a direct result of what special (and therefore) general relativity says. And astrophysicists do use general relativity.

about a year ago
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Love and Hate For Java 8

tbid18 Re:Finally Fixing the Date stuff (434 comments)

I think that definition of "syntactic sugar" is too strict, since it's used to describe any feature that is merely a syntactical one. E.g., $ is syntactic sugar in haskell for establishing precedence, such as "foo $ bar x" which here translates to foo (bar x). This is particularly useful for readability when combined with function composition.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Node.js vs. JEE/C/C++/.NET In the Enterprise?

tbid18 Re:I think... (304 comments)

That would be silly, but a rather fun fact is that the despite Java being promoted as simpler than C++ for so many years, the latest Java language spec (excluding libraries) is shorter than the latest C++ spec (excluding libraries).

Did you mean to say the Java spec is longer than the C++ spec? Because I would think Java having a shorter spec would be a point in favor of its relative simplicity.

about a year and a half ago
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The Black Underbelly of Windows 8.1 'Blue'

tbid18 Re:Not a representative sample (608 comments)

I went to a state school, and it was pretty much the same. The CS faculty seemed to prefer macs as well; I remembering my software engineering professor saying, "It's important that you test your product because we do not want our users to have to test it for us. We are not Microsoft."

about a year and a half ago
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The Black Underbelly of Windows 8.1 'Blue'

tbid18 Re:Expect more of this. (608 comments)

I love Mint (though I haven't used it in a while), but Mint had the highest numbers at one point on distrowatch iirc. I think that's based on page hits though, so it's not exactly representative of downloads. Gnome 2 Ubuntu probably had the highest ratio of users to total linux users; now with Unity and Gnome 3 I have no idea.

about a year and a half ago
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D-Wave Large-Scale Quantum Chip Validated, Says USC Team

tbid18 Re:What about maintenance? (141 comments)

Or I should say

For compiler design you will. Or for assembly as well. Once someone writes a C compiler for it you won't even need to know the name "Albert Einstein".

That's good, because Albert Einstein was not fond of quantum theory ;-).

about a year and a half ago
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26 New Black Hole Candidates Found In Andromeda

tbid18 Re:what happens (57 comments)

Hawking showed that when you combine quantum field theory with black hole physics then they will produce what is now called Hawking radiation. The black hole will eventually evaporate away through this process. What finally happens is the subject of recent controversy. The physics is well beyond me, but the idea of it is that several current assumptions concerning physics lead to contradictions when considered in the context of black holes (in particular, entanglement leads to subtle problems), leading some to posit the existence of firewalls.

More info can be found here.

about a year and a half ago
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Phenomenon Discovered In Ultracold Atoms Brings Us a Step Closer To Atomtronics

tbid18 Re: The summary (42 comments)

There aren't really atoms, particularly not in a Bose-Einstein condensate, just excitations of particular fields.

I remember reading on Lubos' blog (I know, I know) that Nima Arkani-Hamed doesn't like that characterization of particles (FWIW, Lubos didn't agree).

about a year and a half ago
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How Would an Astronaut Falling Into a Black Hole Die?

tbid18 Re:Gravitational tides will kill you (412 comments)

long before the astronaut gets to the event horizon. Both can be correct.

Not for large (i.e., supermassive) black holes. You could pass the event horizon without noticing anything (other than possible effects on light, like lensing).

about a year and a half ago
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On handedness: I am ...

tbid18 Re:The hand I learn something with I use forever (260 comments)

I would say that I'm ambidextrous, because I use my left hand for lots of tasks (mouse, forks, spoons, toothbrush, pool cue), but then I use my right hand for lots of similar tasks (IBM trackpoint, tv remote, video games). I play almost all sports right-handed especially when equipment is a factor (golf clubs, baseball glove, etc.). Yet I write and eat with my left hand always.

That's not ambidextrous. Ambidextrous means you use both hands equally well, not you use different hands for different tasks. I too am left-handed (throw and write left-handed) but I do many things right-handed (e.g., eat, drink, use scissors, batting, golf). It's not because anyone trained me that way; it just feels more natural. That being said, I'm not ambidextrous because there are tasks like writing and throwing that I do exclusively with my left. If you only write with your left then you can't be ambidextrous.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: New To Linux; Which Distro?

tbid18 Mint (573 comments)

Linux Mint 14

Linux Mint was the first distro I used, and I think it's superior to Ubuntu as a first linux fistro (especially now with Unity). On top of that, it's a great distro in general, so you might not want to switch from it! In any case, it's a great starting distro, and then later you can move onto Arch.

about a year and a half ago
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Will Donglegate Affect Your Decision To Attend PyCon?

tbid18 Re:What the hell (759 comments)

I'm guessing you're intelligent enough to be disingenuous here and don't actually believe that; though if you prefer to remain ignorant because it feels less threatening to you then that is your right.

about a year and a half ago
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Will Donglegate Affect Your Decision To Attend PyCon?

tbid18 Re:What the hell (759 comments)

Nobody wins, because feminism is in of itself, sexism at it's finest.

You have no idea what you are talking about, and it's comments like this that make people believe (rightfully so) that there exists a sexism issue in tech circles.

about a year and a half ago
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Pierre Deligne Wins Abel Prize For Contributions To Algebraic Geometry

tbid18 Re:let's start a giant math debate (55 comments)

This is very high level mathematics, well beyond any elementary algebra (what most people think of when they hear "algebra"). This concerns number theory and abstract algebra. One would need several graduate math courses to fully understand the material.

about a year ago
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Astronomers Find Planet Barely Larger Than Earth's Moon

tbid18 Re:A planet or a dwarf planet? (71 comments)

A planet or a dwarf planet?

I mean, if Pluto is not allowed to be a planet, then why should such a small object be labelled as one?

The defining characteristics of a planet are:

(1) Large enough for gravity to make it round.

(2) "Dominates" its orbit.

Pluto fails (2) because it's a Kuiper Belt Object and there are many other KBO's in its orbit. It's not gravitationally powerful enough to eject or capture them. This may seem arbitrary because pluto would be considered a planet simply if there weren't any other objects in its orbit, but that's the current definition.

about a year ago
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Australian Economists Predictions No Better Than Flipping a Coin

tbid18 Re:Economy is not a science. (290 comments)

I agree, it's a beautiful theory, like some of the Daoist tracts are beautiful writing, as are parts of the Bhagavad Gita, or even the Psalms of David. Beauty is worthess in science, things aren't *scientific theory* until the science has been done. The experiments say that dark matter is more than marginally wrong time and time again. Can I follow your logic and adopt your language and conclude that they don't have a model, and they're just making shit up?

What? Experiments don't say dark matter is "more than marginally wrong time and time again." What they say is that it hasn't been found, but there are more reasons to believe that dark matter exists than to think it doesn't. Neutrinos could be a candidate for dark matter, but they aren't massive enough. There isn't anything that rules out dark matter like, say, the aether was ruled out, and models that include dark matter make more sense than models that leave it out.

I doubt there is a single physicist that believes general relativity is complete since it says nothing about what happens at the quantum level, and it doesn't include other forces. No scientist holds GR in high regard solely because it's beautiful -- but rather because it's been verified to fantastic precision (like quantum electrodynamics) -- and your bizarre assertion that this is somehow a failing of science shows your misunderstanding of science and in particular, physics.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Job Search Or More Education?

tbid18 Re:Professional languages (182 comments)

Knowing C, IMO, is a litmus test for someone who knows how computers work. Pointers, memory, file I/O, etc, aren't directly useful in higher level languages these days. But knowing they exist would help someone write smarter code.

I did an algorithms course a few years ago. The course was about how to write highly optimised searching/sorting/graph-traversin algorithms. Basically the kind of computation jobs that take a long time to complete and where optimisation that yields even a few percent increase in speed get you significant monetary savings. On day some students asked the teacher whether they could write assignments in Python rather than C/C++. The teacher just stood there without knowing what to say, then overcame the urge to humiliate the student and an long and awkward silence just said, NO. Scripting languages are nice but you can't solve everything with scripts.

What? Why would the programming language matter in an algorithms course? If you're talking about trying to squeeze efficiency out of everything, sure, but that doesn't sound like the focus of the course (and shouldn't be in algorithms course, anyway).

about 2 years ago

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