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Sources Say Apple Originally Planned AMD Chip For MacBook Air

welcher Re:CPU & GPU performance not relevant (197 comments)

It's not all that easy to compare though -- I'd say when you are looking at a small computer, just how small and light it is is very important. The Asus is 20% heavier than the macbook air (3.7lbs vs 3.0lbs).

about 3 years ago
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After Firing CEO, Yahoo Puts Itself Up For Sale

welcher Re:YaWho? (264 comments)

Huh, and here was me thinking that it is the fourth most visited site on the web. But if you personally don't interact with those visitors, I guess they aren't important.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple's A6 Details and Timeline Emerge

welcher Re:Stacked Chips (123 comments)

Surely a scone is a bread, albeit leavened with soda rather than a yeast...

more than 2 years ago
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American Grant Writing: Race Matters

welcher Re:Why have any racial indicators? (464 comments)

It shouldn't matter what the name is, but who the person is and where they intend to do the work (i.e., what university they are at) are very important as the person needs to prove that they can achieve what they propose. So the reviewers can't be blinded from these facts. In this respect, a grant is nothing like a peer-reviewed article.

more than 3 years ago
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All Languages Linked To Common Source

welcher Re:Phoneme counts (318 comments)

Based on what? His statistics that shows extremely high variance? I bet he would be laughed out of any statistics department trying to extrapolate the linear model that he demonstrates. And let's not forget, that Navajo traveled a significantly longer distance from Africa than Hawaiian did, why does Navajo though have about 33 some consonants while Hawaiian only has 8?

Speaking as a statistics PhD, I can say that the correlation he finds between distance and phoneme diversity is pretty robust -- real data from complex systems is always going to be noisy. The model used could probably be improved (eg using a definition of distance that better reflected migration routes) but that would require making a lot more assumptions.

And let's not forget, that Navajo traveled a significantly longer distance from Africa than Hawaiian did, why does Navajo though have about 33 some consonants while Hawaiian only has 8?

Cherry-picking extreme cases does not prove that a trend does not exist. But, as argued in the paper, the Austronesian languages could be expected to see a very strong founder effect because of the island-hopping style of migration. This has been studied extensively and there is genetic and cultural evidence to suggest founder effects.

No, I am not arguing this, and I'm fairly confident that the assertion made by the paper is true, that Proto-World existed and it was spoken in Africa. However, we totally lack enough evidence to suggest that this is known... right now it's just something that we imagine is a really good hunch.

This is evidence that supports the hypothesis. It doesn't prove it, by any means, but it is consistent with the hypothesis.

This paper is the first application of the "founder effect" on phonology... but it requires that a founding population have missing phonemes when they found a new population. The likelihood of this occurring is only in rare phonemes, and even then super unlikely because even rare phonemes are reasonably common given the size of vocabularies.

There are better explanations for why phonemic diversity decreases and "founder effect" is a fairly bad theory. Hawaiian has 8 consonants while Maori has 10, but Hawaiian has heavy allophonic matching between "t" and "k", and "w" with "v", both of which suggest that there was a consonant shift in the Hawaiian/Maori proto-language that caused a phonemic collision in Hawaiian.

We don't need the claim that "Hawaiian when it left didn't bring over any of the words that had 'k' or 'wh' in them"...

You may well be right that it is not a strict founder effect in action here in the sense that there weren't some phonemes that go left off the boat, as it were. But it is quite possible that there was some other cultural force in effect as new colony established themselves causing the same bottle-necking that is seen with a strict founder effect.

I think linguists often get lost in the complexity of the individual systems they study (often to a very impressive level) and are unable to step back with a study like this and see a broader trend. Indeed, a very broad and quite weak trend like this probably doesn't really tell a linguist much if they are interested in relationships between languages of the past few thousand years because it has very little predictive power. But I see it as quite a nice use of statistical reasoning in that it ignores a lot of the details, simplifying the data down to a point where it is easy to work with but still contains some signal that can reasonably be interpreted.

more than 3 years ago
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All Languages Linked To Common Source

welcher Re:Phoneme counts (318 comments)

There is no argument by Atkinson that all language change is monotonic or predictable. But the observation that, on average, phoneme diversity increases with speaker population size and decreases with distance from Africa both seem true. These observations support the hypothesis that language spread out from a single origin in Africa , going through multiple bottlenecks that left this specific pattern of change. Of course, this is only one small part of the difference between languages and the signal is not without noise. It also fits in with broader theories that language was one of the things that allowed early humans to greatly expand their range. Are you arguing that people left Africa without language and it developed independently in multiple locations? By the way, your Hawaiian example is a classic of the founder effect seen throughout the Pacific.

more than 3 years ago
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All Languages Linked To Common Source

welcher Re:Phoneme counts (318 comments)

Your argument for the founder effect works for words, but not necessarily for phonemes. In order for a phoneme to be dropped by founder effect, the phoneme would have to occur in none of the words that the founders brought over. The idea of a phoneme rare enough in a vocabulary large enough for use by a small colony seems unlikely...

Plus, the Scandanavian languages lost the interdental fricative, while the colony of Iceland kept the interdental fricative... poor standing for your "founder effect" notion...

Founder effects can occur with large groups, too. Think of two towns that speak the same language but have some noticeable variation between the two, for example, in one town they use the voiceless dental plosive, the other they use both the interdental fricative and the voiceless dental plosive. If these towns become isolated from each other evolving distinct languages, one will have fewer phonemes than the other. This is the founder effect.

more than 3 years ago
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All Languages Linked To Common Source

welcher Re:Phoneme counts (318 comments)

I'm not sure sure that your theory is even correct there. It is quite hard to make a lot of different sounds -- other great apes have far less vocal ability than we do -- whereas it is easy to convey lots of different meaning by rearranging just a few sounds.

more than 3 years ago
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All Languages Linked To Common Source

welcher Re:Phoneme counts (318 comments)

It's not my theory, it is the theory they use in the paper. Whether this is the cause or not it is hard to say. But the trend is apparent and this seems a reasonable explanation. Also, it is just a trend -- the graph in the linked article shows there is huge variation around the trend so counter-examples of the type you point out are many.

more than 3 years ago
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All Languages Linked To Common Source

welcher Re:Phoneme counts (318 comments)

The number of phonemes in a language has nothing to do with intelligence. In theory, the more modern languages have fewer phonemes because of the "founder effect". If you think about this in terms of vocabulary, it is obvious -- no-one knows all the words in any language, so if a small group set off to start their own colony, the language of that colony won't have the words that none of the founders knew. New words may be invented to substitute for the missing words but they will be different. It is the same with sounds (and genetic diversity, where this was first observed). Since new sound formation is a very slow process, the signal remains for a long time.

more than 3 years ago
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iPad Just Another TV Set?

welcher Re:They don't get it (270 comments)

other then the occasional sporting event

This is crucial --- cable would have nothing if it weren't for sports.

more than 3 years ago
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New York Times Paywall Goes Live, Loopholes Abound

welcher Re:Not that interested (127 comments)

It was conceived as a "porous wall". You can still read it as a casual user without bypassing anything.

more than 3 years ago
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New York Times Paywall Goes Live, Loopholes Abound

welcher Re:Value? (127 comments)

Uh, the value they are charging for is the reporting they do with a staff of about 2000 journalists. A lot of people value that and quite rightly so.

more than 3 years ago
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US Contemplating 'Vehicle Miles Traveled' Tax

welcher Re:Why tax Hybrids and Guzzlers equally? (1306 comments)

It has little to do with road repair -- damage to roads is primarily done by heavy vehicles. A small car does virtually no damage to a well-made road.

more than 3 years ago
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NYTimes Unveils Online Subscription Plan

welcher Re:Workaround (194 comments)

They have partially blocked this as you can only access 5 stories a day via external links.

more than 3 years ago
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NYTimes Unveils Online Subscription Plan

welcher Re:Browser Addons (194 comments)

They place a daily limit of 5 on the number of stories you can read by following external links.

more than 3 years ago
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How Much Math Do We Really Need?

welcher Re:A little more (1153 comments)

They are bad Lotto numbers -- it turns out that lots of people choose numbers with obvious patterns (series, pretty patterns on the selection forms, etc) like this so you'd be sharing any win with many. You are better to get a random number generator to choose you something "truly random".

about 4 years ago
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First Human-Powered Ornithopter

welcher Re:Not that great... (250 comments)

Yeah, I bet they gave him his phd based on this press release and video alone. Universities these days, pffttt!

more than 4 years ago
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Tech Sector Slow To Hire

welcher Re:Six percent (450 comments)

The article makes a comparison with other similarly skilled workers and historical levels of employment in the sector. 6% is high by these standards. And 6% is more like 1 in 17.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Elderly Georgian woman cuts Armenian internet

welcher welcher writes  |  more than 3 years ago

welcher writes "An elderly Georgian woman was scavenging for copper with a spade when she accidentally sliced through an underground cable and cut off internet services to nearly all of neighbouring Armenia.

The fibre-optic cable near Tiblisi, Georgia, supplies about 90% of Armenia's internet so the woman's unwitting sabotage had catastrophic consequences. Web users in the nation of 3.2 million people were left twiddling their thumbs for up to five hours. Large parts of Georgia and some areas of Azerbaijan were also affected.

Dubbed "the spade-hacker" by local media, the woman is being investigated on suspicion of damaging property. She faces up to three years in prison if charged and convicted."

Link to Original Source
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Are online questionnaires reliable?

welcher welcher writes  |  more than 4 years ago

welcher (850511) writes "While online surveys are increasingly used in scientific studies all the time now, noone knows how reliable the gathered responses are. The BPS research digest describes a paper that has studied user behaviour with a tool that records all mouse and keyboard activity while users complete a questionnaire. "The new tool revealed that 31 [of 1046] participants changed their reported age; 5.9 per cent made suspicious changes to opinions they'd given; 46 per cent clicked through at least some parts of the questionnaire at a suspiciously fast rate; 3.6 per cent of participants left the questionnaire inactive for long periods; 6.3 per cent displayed excessive clicking; and 11 per cent showed excessive mouse movements. Further information that could be used to verify the questionnaire answers showed that participants who'd displayed more suspicious behaviour while filling out the questionnaire also tended to provide answers that didn't match up with the other information source.""
Link to Original Source
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Kenya proposes cheap beer to save lives

welcher welcher writes  |  more than 6 years ago

welcher writes "In Kenya and many other poor African countries, people drink illegal and often poisonous moonshine. After some successful pilot scheme, extemely cheap beer is prosposed as a solution after a successful pilot scheme:

In Kenya illicit alcohol is estimated to account for about half of consumption. Drink is linked not just anti-social behaviour but also to acute health problems from toxic substances used to fortify illicit spirits. The incidence of drink-related blindness and death is said to be extremely high. Three years ago Diageo persuaded the Kenyan government to collaborate on the initiative by reducing duty on a new budget beer brand, Senator Keg. Positive results from the project led to ministers last year waiving all duty on Senator Keg, which sells at about 10p for a 330ml glass
"

Link to Original Source

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