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Cause and Effect: How a Revolutionary New Statistical Test Can Tease Them Apart

timeOday Re:No problem. (132 comments)

The whole question of "which direction is the causality" is misleading in the first place; pure, uni-directional causality in situations of interest to people is almost non-existent. What we should usually look for is stable configurations ("stable" not implying "good," as in poverty), and self-reinforcing cycles (whether virtuous or vicious). Even if manipulating A causes B to change, it may also be that manipulating B would cause A to change.

2 days ago
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Hollywood's Secret War With Google

timeOday Rise of the middleman (176 comments)

It does bother me that the biggest money on the 'web is being made by middlemen - google, helping you find content, but they don't produce any; facebook, helping you talk to your friends. It is like banking - necessary, but annoying that the bankers always wind up richer than the buyers and sellers they are "helping."

about a week ago
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MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses By Walter Lewin

timeOday Re:Just wondering... (416 comments)

I suppose the point is to deter other would-be harassers by sending a message that MIT will not associate with them.

about two weeks ago
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Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

timeOday Re:Better comparison site (377 comments)

That's a cool format comparison, but what's wrong with the Lena image as a point of comparison either? It looks SO much better in the new format! The most annoying thing about jpg is the bias towards blocking - drawing everything as rectangles when there aren't enough bits to say otherwise. The new format loses detail - how could you not? - but doesn't have random hues and sharp right angles strewn about.

I wonder how this would translate to a video codec, because people might not care about jpg file sizes, but television signals suffer noticeably from insufficient bandwidth all the time. (Granted, switching away from h264 now would be like switching over to the metric system).

about two weeks ago
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Fraud Bots Cost Advertisers $6 Billion

timeOday Re:Advertiser hate coming in... (190 comments)

SomethingAwful still seems to be doing well with its pay model.

Fair enough, though I am not familiar with it. Let's include craigslist and wikipedia as examples of awesome signal-to-noise ratio that is possible when full monetization through advertising is foregone, for whatever unusual reason that is specific to each.

about two weeks ago
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Fraud Bots Cost Advertisers $6 Billion

timeOday Re:Advertiser hate coming in... (190 comments)

I would say, don't hate the player, hate the game. I think the ad-driven web is thoroughly corrupted, right down to clickbait headlines, and steal-and-reprint news aggregators (ahem).

But at this point there is no market for paid content on the web, or anywhere else (note the crash-and-burn of investigative journalism as a result) - nobody even remembers or can imagine what a spam-free web would look like. (Including you adblock users, since there is nothing to consume but ad-sponsored content). So it's hard to blame any single advertiser or website for playing along.

about two weeks ago
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Fraud Bots Cost Advertisers $6 Billion

timeOday Re:I'll wager it doesn't actually matter (190 comments)

Doesn't matter? tell that to all the millions of websites that get a 25% cut in advertising revenue because those with bot nets need to get their cut.

You assume this is to divert ad revenues to phony sites? The article disputes that:

"We found a lot of bots suddenly inflating the audience of websites we recognize that are clearly not being run by international organized crime," said Michael Tiffany, the CEO and co-founder of White Ops.

Unfortunately, the article didn't get around to explaining why spammers would inflate ad impressions on legitimate sites. Are we so sure these legitimate sites aren't clients of marketing agencies that are paid to increase the clicks, never mind how they do it?

about two weeks ago
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$35 Quad-core Hacker SBC Offers Raspberry Pi-like Size and I/O

timeOday Re:MPEG-2 on RPi (140 comments)

I don't think it's just the licensing. I am using mplayer -dumpstream dvb://xx and the .ts files it generates don't seem compatible with most players except mplayer itself, and don't seem to work on XBMC. What would be a better option for grabbing DVB from the command-line? One requirement is for the player to be able to start replay and skip around inside the file while before it is done recording.

about two weeks ago
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$35 Quad-core Hacker SBC Offers Raspberry Pi-like Size and I/O

timeOday Re:Definitely a neat little board. (140 comments)

You could get one of those $8 USB sound cards for it, although $8 is kind of a big upgrade for a $35 computer.

about two weeks ago
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$35 Quad-core Hacker SBC Offers Raspberry Pi-like Size and I/O

timeOday Re:XBMC Finally? (140 comments)

I have a pi and found the XBMC UI to be awfully sluggish on it. The bigger problem is it can't play the mpeg-ts dumps of broadcast TV I make from mplayer, although there must be some way to make TV broadcasts playable?

The pi is also too slow to be a thin client for X if you use a WiFi usb dongle, or if you tunnel over ssh. But if you use the ethernet, open the X server on the pi to un-encrypted remote connections (DISPLAY=pi:0 firefox on the client), it is passable for web use, other than flash and videos. I use it to look at howto's in my garage.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft To US Gov't: the World's Servers Are Not Yours For the Taking

timeOday Re:It's bullshit, but it's the same bullshit as us (192 comments)

But the ad-driven Internet has effectively relegated personal documents to business records. When google is already reading and adding commercials to every email, it's much harder to argue these are intended to be private, person-to-person communications. Google's multi-billion dollar business actually is snooping, and its users consent to that.

about two weeks ago
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Material Possiblities: A Flying Drone Built From Fungus

timeOday Re:Cheap? (52 comments)

We would need to see comparisons against paper and wood. You can make a paper airplane for 2 cents or a balsawood plane with a rubber-band propeller for $2 at the dime store, as far as structural materials goes, they are proven.

about two weeks ago
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Court Orders Uber To Shut Down In Spain

timeOday Re:too late (280 comments)

The ability of governments to act as gatekeeper that controls and taxes voluntary commerce between willing parties is ending. Deal with it.

That is what we used to call libertarian cyber-utopianism. The basic assumption there is that technology empowers individuals (and private collectives, in the capitalist version) but not the public collective. (The "utopian" part of the assumption is that this would be good.)

Why do you think that? It seems to me that, just as much as technology empowers individuals to operate as unlicensed taxis, it empowers collectives (insurance companies and governments) to identify them (e.g. license plate recognition and cellphone tracking).

We are 20 years into the Internet age and I don't see a big net shift in individual empowerment. If anything, Big Data empowers Big Business and Big Government.

about two weeks ago
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Samsung SSD 850 EVO 32-Layer 3D V-NAND-Based SSD Tested

timeOday And a 5 year warranty (127 comments)

The summary fails to mention the 5 year warranty, which is obviously quite fantastic. It was only a few years ago many hard drive manufacturers were cutting back from 3 years to 1. A quick survey of amazon indicates many HDDs are currently offering a 2 year warranty. I'd be peeved if a drive died at 2 1/2 years. 5 1/2, not so much.

about two weeks ago
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Overly Familiar Sci-Fi

timeOday Re:Let's talk about sex, baby (368 comments)

Pfft, the sexual revolution might be THE most familiar topic of the entire 20th century, so it's a perfect example of simple extrapolation.

If we're really supposed to want to read thing we can't relate to, don't look to sci-fi, because people (including authors) aren't actually capable of not being themselves. Look to the past, plenty of obscure foreign stuff from centuries past. Go read a few thousand pages of pages of Islamic philosophy from the 5th century. You'll be bored silly. But then, that's what's wrong with this premise in the first place. The idea that people like to dwell on ideas they don't sympathize with is simply incorrect. What people really want from sci-fi (and everything) is to be told that their values and vision of human nature and the future are correct. The most popular way is through dystopian future, which is a form of "I told you so!"

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can a Felon Work In IT?

timeOday Re:America, land of the free... (720 comments)

It's not hard to understand why companies might be slow to hire ex-cons in a market with a long-term labor surplus. What is harder is fixing the problems created by such policies - you release somebody from prison into society. You deny them voting rights, and employment, and even welfare and food stamps. They literally have no way to get food. And then sit back and wait for the self-fulfilling prophecy of recidivism. You could hardly design a system more likely to fail if you tried.

about two weeks ago
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Man Caught Trying To Sell Plans For New Aircraft Carrier

timeOday Re:What in the hell was he thinking? (388 comments)

You assume he chose some country and reached out to them? Most likely the FBI that invented the (phony) plot. They probe people, and particularly people with names like Mostafa Ahmed Awwad, for a willingness to compromise their loyalty to the US.

In the past, the "terrorists" behind some of these plots turned out to be almost pitiable, evidently just simple-minded muslims that probably never would have taken any initiative had they not been recruited by the FBI:

Following a series of similar widely ridiculed so-called "sting" operations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced last week that it had foiled yet another "terror plot" that, like virtually every supposed "terrorist" case in recent years, was created and managed from start to finish by the FBI itself. This time, the dupe was a 28-year-old California man, Matthew Aaron Llaneza, with a documented history of mental illness, who apparently believed his government handlers were helping him wage "jihad." Critics, however, say the whole scheme smacks of entrapment and a waste of taxpayer money.

about two weeks ago
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With Eyes on China, Intel Invests Billions In Mobile Ambitions

timeOday Re:What now? (33 comments)

Guess it depends which you think is the bigger threat to Intel - technological inferiority to a peer competitor (first priority: protect IP), or technically inferior but "good enough" low-cost competition (first priority: ramp up low-cost production).

Both seem like serious threats. If you lose on volume long enough, you then also lose your technical edge. Just like Intel did to DEC, Sun, etc.

about two weeks ago
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Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies

timeOday Re:Musk's batteries (461 comments)

Hard to say what X is, but 0 is not a reasonable guess.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Bill Nye "The Science Guy": Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

timeOday timeOday writes  |  more than 2 years ago

timeOday (582209) writes "BigThink has released a video missive by Bill Nye "The Science Guy" in which he challenges the low level of acceptance of evolution, particularly in the United States. He does not mince words: 'I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that's completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that's fine, but don't make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can — we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.'"
Link to Original Source
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Nintendo Favors Europe Due to Weak US Dollar

timeOday timeOday writes  |  more than 6 years ago

timeOday (582209) writes "The LA Times is reporting that the new Nintendo Wii Fit is hard to find on US shelves, due not only to strong demand but also the United State's declining status in the world economy: "[Nintendo] is also is shrewdly maximizing its profit by sending four times as many units to Europe, reaping the benefits of the strong euro," says Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities. "The shortage demonstrates one consequence of the weak dollar. We're seeing companies ignore their largest market simply because they can make a greater profit elsewhere.""
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timeOday timeOday writes  |  more than 7 years ago

timeOday (582209) writes "Looks like somebody just blew a chance to inaugurate the 200-mile-high club. Lisa Nowak, a mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Discovery in July, was arrested Monday on charges of battery and attempted kidnapping after allegedly trying to subdue a romantic rival with pepper spray and abduct her from a parking lot at Orlando International Airport. It seems both women were chasing astronaut Bill Oefelein, a Navy commander. Police have recommended Nowak be held without bond."
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timeOday timeOday writes  |  more than 8 years ago

timeOday (582209) writes "The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) asks, "Where has the Money Gone? Declining Industrial Support of Academic R&D." Since 1999, inflation-adjusted corporate support for U.S. academic research has plummeted by one third. Prominent members of industry and academia have indicated disagreements over the handling of intellectual property (IP) are partly to blame, driving U.S. corporations overseas in search of more favorable licensing terms. Will this lead to a scientific decline in the U.S., or is reduced industry influence over scientific research a good thing?"

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