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My $200 Laptop Can Beat Your $500 Tablet

thepotoo Re:Who thinks this? (789 comments)

The Nook color has apps when you root it. The Archos 70 costs less than $300, and is very usable. Good inexpensive tablets are there, you just have to look for them.

more than 3 years ago

Capcom 'Saddened' By Game Plagiarism Controversy

thepotoo Re:MBA programs now teach this kind of approach. (163 comments)

No, greater than. Why do you think so many companies lose money?

The profitable ones have executives smart enough to keep their mouths shut.

about 4 years ago

RapidShare Threatens Suit Over Piracy Allegations

thepotoo Re:*.R00 (183 comments)

The courts recognize intent. If you're sharing a paragraph of a book with others with the intent to discuss its impact on modern society, that's fine.

If you're sharing the same paragraph with the intent of combining it with other paragraphs hosted by different people, that's copyright infringement.


about 4 years ago

Should Dolphins Be Treated As Non-Human Persons?

thepotoo Re:Non-human intelligences (785 comments)

Octopi are not anywhere near as intelligent as humans or dolphins or even parrots. They are very smart for invertebrates (mostly in the form of hunting techniques), but they simply do not have neurons in sufficient numbers to be considered sentient. Of course, it's possible that they actually are sentient, but if shown, this would overturn well neigh everything we know about consciousness and the brain. Some species of spiders show similar signs of intelligence.

about 4 years ago

Star Wars Coming To Blu-ray In September

thepotoo Re:So This Will Be the ... (419 comments)

"A fool and his money will soon boost the economy."

about 4 years ago

Running Your Own Ghost Investigation?

thepotoo Re:I'm gonna bite on this one like it's serious. (810 comments)

Nice. Finally a good post. This is a fantastic idea: you have a chance to find solid, hard, evidence of something that most people (myself included) believe doesn't exist, and much more importantly, teach people about the scientific method, critical thinking, electromagnetism, and so much more.

There's about two good suggestions here in the comments: The guy talking about infrasound, and the guy who said find an objectively testable prediction. The latter especially is right on the money. What, exactly, constitutes evidence of a ghost? EM? How will you control for cell phones, cameras, faulty wiring, etc.? Temperature? How will you control for drafts? A "feeling" in one particular area? How will you control for infrasound? Include all family/friends in this stage, it's critical that they approve the criteria.

Once you have a list of criteria which suggest the presence of a ghost, establish "control" areas in the house which feature non-supernatural causes to each of these criteria. Keep this a secret from your family/friends. For example, lots of old industrial fans generate infrasound. Set one up behind a door or otherwise out of sight. There's lot of other fun things you can do, too: Grab a sound file from System Shock or Amnesia: Dark Descent and have it play on a hidden speaker system when people are nearby.

Now, the tricky part. Take your family/friends on a bunch of tours around the house. Do this in several small groups, and have each group fill out a quick questionare about the "hauntedness" of each room in the house. Bring along an infrasound detector (someone suggested a microphone, make sure it can record sounds As you've probably guessed, this is an experiment-in-an-experiment: You're testing your family members' willingness to believe in ghosts (hence the surveys), by taking them on a "debunking" expedition. Once you've found everything possible and eliminated it, take them on another tour, this time activating the planted ghost generating equipment - sound effects, infrasound, etc. Make a big deal about not being able to identify the sources. You should probably do this before rather than after with one group, just to better control the experiment.

Anyway, at the end of all this, you'll have tons of data: you can go over, bit by bit, the recordings and make what you will from them (people will of course say that these do not disprove ghosts). But, you can also compare people's surveys on "hauntedness" from both with and without the planted evidence. Since you made a big deal about not being able to find anything the second time around, people should really think the place is haunted. Compare the results of the surveys: BAM: you've just shown that people only believe in ghosts because they can't find a rational explanation for something. Or: BAM: you've just shown that people will still believe in ghosts when they find a rational explanation for something. Win/win for science, doesn't matter whether ghosts are real or not.

This is probably a little more over-the-top than you were looking for, but if you actually go through with it, you could probably get it published in a psychology journal. A much lower budget version would be to randomize people into two groups, one which tries to eliminate the stuff Artifakt listed above and finds causes (even planted "causes"), and another which searches but can't find anything. Compare surveys between the two groups. At any rate, you should report back to us on what you do find (about your friends/family. I think I can predict what you'll find for evidence on ghosts).

about 4 years ago

Journal Article On Precognition Sparks Outrage

thepotoo Re:Why Is It Wrong to Call This ESP? (319 comments)

T-test is short for Turing test, duh.

In case you're serious, a T-test is a very simple statistical test used when you have two groups of subjects and want to know if there's a statistically significant difference between them. AC was incorrect to say that this article used just a simple T-test, though. It actually uses Stouffer’s Z method, which is a way of combining results from several studies (in this case a bunch of difference sub experiments) to support a single hypothesis. I have never worked with Stouffer’s Z method, so I can't really comment on it's strengths and weaknesses.

The actual experimental design of the experiments was to take a well known psychology paradigm and run it backwards: training someone on a word list after they have already taken the test on it, for example.

about 4 years ago

Where Do I Go Now That Oracle Owns OpenOffice.org?

thepotoo Re:Ah Yes, There's the Familiar Acerbic Sting ... (510 comments)

For what it's worth, there are those of us (myself among them) who genuinely appreciate your articles and comments. Sorry if we're less vocal about our thoughts than the trolls, but please keep up the good work.

more than 4 years ago

When automating everyday tasks with robots, the line must be drawn...

thepotoo As far as I'm concerned (465 comments)

When it comes to robots, the means justify the ends.

In accordance with the rule of cool, anyway.

more than 4 years ago

Preventing Networked Gizmo Use During Exams?

thepotoo Re:Open Notes & Well-Designed Exams (870 comments)

If you really need help on an exam due to language related learning differences, you can stop by the access office (most major universities have one). They have people that can read the exam aloud to you, translate it into different languages, or just give you extra time. There's no excuse for giving native speakers an unfair advantage on exams.

more than 4 years ago

Judge Quashes Subpoena of UVA Research Records

thepotoo Re:Politics And Science Don't Mix (293 comments)

Thank you for this. It has been a long time since I've laughed this hard. That website is probably the finest piece of satire I've ever read. ;)

more than 3 years ago

Pentagon Selects Companies To Build Flying Humvees

thepotoo Impressive (302 comments)

Just when I was think how stupid Vikings are, and how no one in their right mind would create a military vehicle to switch between two forms of combat when you could just stay in the air, I see this.

Oh, and it's VTOL, too? Better and better.

more than 4 years ago

Is RFID Really That Scary?

thepotoo Re:Yes and no (338 comments)

I immediately bought an RFID blocking wallet.

You mean you lined it with tinfoil? Yeah, me too. I've also got a stylish hat and matching suit made of the same material. The underwear is a little itchy at times, but you'll get used to it.

more than 4 years ago

Ray Kurzweil Does Not Understand the Brain

thepotoo Re:Because the Article Breaks Down the Claim Fully (830 comments)

I'd like to point out that it's not even to the level of what a newborn can do...there's quite a bit of syanptic plasticity that occurs throughout development (much of which we're just starting to understand thanks to environmental toxins), and there's two separate stages of neuronal dieback that occur - one before birth, and the other right around birth. 90% of the neurons end up dead, and it's not a signal encoded in the genome (well, the pro and anti-apoptosis genes are part of the genome, but they're activated by environmental signals). Specifically, neurons which are not being used die. Kurzweil would have a system with an order of magnitude more neurons than it needs, and those neurons are going to generate more noise in his system than a rock band playing next to a patch-clamp recorder.

Following this line of dieback+plasticity logic, I'd be more inclined to suggest that "strong AI" is not likely to come around from trying to understand the role of every gene in the genome (that's the holy grail of biology), but rather to come about from an artificial neural network trained via dieback and backpropagation (backpropagation is fairly similar to LTP seen in biological systems). But, I'm no expert.

more than 4 years ago

How many languages do you speak on a daily basis?

thepotoo Re:Hooray Rosetta Stone Kiosk (674 comments)

To whit

Don't you mean "to wit". Are you sure you speak English fluently? :P

Pedantic Man, Defender of Details

more than 4 years ago

The Possibility of Paradox-Free Time Travel

thepotoo Re:Time Cube? (421 comments)

Hmm, I think Gene Ray just failed the Turing Test. We should put up some horribly unaesthetic statue in his honor.

more than 4 years ago

Cow Clicker Boils Down Facebook Games

thepotoo Re:Strange Game (237 comments)

Did you check his user name?

more than 4 years ago

DRM vs. Unfinished Games

thepotoo Re:Won't bode well with the gaming community... (462 comments)

Huh. I don't think you're seeing a representative sample of the gaming community. I think the majority of gamers, even on the PC, are willing to fork over cash for DLC. (Slashdot is not a representative sample, and neither are the modding forums I frequent. Visit some Steam forums, or Fileshack, or pretty much any non-technical gaming forum, and you'll see that the overwhelming opinion is that people are willing to pay for DLC, as long as it's more elaborate than horse armor.

Oh, you'd probably like a source for this. Go here, click on top sellers. That's right, the best-selling game at the moment is the one where Activision charges suckers $15 for 5 maps. Factor in the cost of bandwidth, and that works out to be, oh, a pretty freaking good deal for Activision.

P.S. I wish you were right.

more than 4 years ago



thepotoo thepotoo writes  |  more than 8 years ago

thepotoo writes "Wired News is reporting that Multiverse, the maker of a free MMO-creation platform, has struck a deal with Fox Licensing to turn the short-lived show Firefly into an MMORPG in the fashion of Star Wars Galaxies or Eve Online.
From the article: "Bringing [Firefly's diverse] environments and character types to life as an online game will be a challenge: Multiverse is not a game developer, but rather a platform provider whose product is still in beta. Instead of making the game itself, the company will hire a development team that will craft the virtual galaxy using Multiverse tools."

Slated for a 2008 release, this may be Firefly's last, best, hope for continuation."


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