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The Guy Who Unknowingly 'Live-Blogged' the Bin Laden Raid

xQx "Three years ago today" (142 comments)

Sounds like a pretty lame excuse for Slashdot to publicise the day that the country with the biggest, most sophisticated, most expensive army in the world was finally able to track down and assassinate the man who evaded them for _NINE YEARS_.

The man who effectively declared war on the USA by murdering 1/50th the amount of 'innocent' civilians as the USA did in Japan 66 years prior.

about 2 months ago
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Will the Nissan Leaf Take On the Tesla Model S At Half the Price?

xQx Re:They forget the POWER factor (398 comments)

Far more important than being "cool", the Tesla has 362HP of power avaliable, giving it a 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds.

The electric motor means you are never in the wrong gear - it's raw power when you need it.

The Nissan Leaf boasts 110HP, which will rocket your leaf to 60mph in about 10 seconds.

So, yeah, "the nissan leaf will take on the telsa model s" in the same way the toyota prius takes on the ford mustang.

about 3 months ago
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Why P-values Cannot Tell You If a Hypothesis Is Correct

xQx Re:Oblig XKCD (124 comments)

While I agree with the article's headline/conclusion - They aren't innocent of playing games themselves:

Take their sentence: "meeting online nudged the divorce rate from 7.67% down to 5.96%, and barely budged happiness from 5.48 to 5.64 on a 7-point scale" ... Isn't that intentionally misleading? Sure, 0.16 points doesn't sound like much... but it's on a seven point scale. If we change that to a 3 point scale it's only 0.06 points! Amazingly small! ... but wait, if I change that to a 900,000 point scale, well, then that's a whole 20,571 points difference. HUGE NUMBERS!

But I think they missed a really important point - SPSS (one of the very popular data analysis packages) offers you a huge range of correlation tests, and you are _supposed_ to choose to best match the data. Each has their own assumptions, and will only provide the correct 'p' value if the data matches those assumptions.

For example, Many of the tests require that the data follow a bell-shaped curve, and you are supposed to first test your data to ensure that it is normally distributed before using any of the correlation tests that assume normally distributed data. If you don't, you risk over-stating the correlation.

If you have data from a likert scale, you should treat it as ordinal (ranked) data, not numerical (ie. the difference between "Totally Disagree" and "somewhat disagree" should not be assumed to be the same as the difference between "somewhat disagree" and " totally agree") - however, if you aren't getting to the magic p0.5 treating it as ordinal data, you can usually get it over the line by treating it as numerical data and running a different correlation test.

Lecturers are measured on how many papers they publish, most peer reviewers don't know the subtle differences between these tests, so as long as they see 'SPSS said p0.5' and they don't disagree with any of the content of your paper, yay, you get published.

Finally, many of the tests have a minimum sample size that should ever be analysed. If you only have a study of 300 people, there's a whole range of popular correlation tests that you are not supposed to use. But you do, because SPSS makes it easy, because it gets better results, because you forgot what the minimum size was and can't be arsed looking it up (if it's a real problem the reviewers will point it out).

(Evidence to support these statements can be found in the "Survey Researcher's SPSS Cookbook" by Mark Manning and Don Munro. Obviously, it doesn't go into how you can choose an incorrect test to 'hack the p value', to prove that I recommend you download a copy of SPSS and take a short-term position as a lecturer's assistant)

about 6 months ago
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Nagios-Plugins Web Site Taken Over By Nagios

xQx Re:Copyright violation. (119 comments)

This battle was lost years ago when this volunteer organisation gave control of their domain to Nagios Enterprises to avoid trademark issues.

So they've been able to continue in their priviliaged position paying Nagios Enterprises SFA for theses years, until finally some mid-level bureaucrat decided that the money they were getting ($0) from nagios-plugins.org community group doesn't outweigh the brand-risk that they pose, and they brought the website back inhouse.

Wow, I would never have seen that coming!!

Sounds to me like Nagios Enterprises is readying its self for sale.

This is the open source business model. Cisco have been at it for years. Get used to it.

about 6 months ago
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Nagios-Plugins Web Site Taken Over By Nagios

xQx Re:Copyright violation. (119 comments)

Yeah, and that would hold weight if you weren't using their trademark all over your site.

Seems to me this is just an occupational hazard of using somebody else's name for your site.

about 6 months ago
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Overstock.com Plans To Accept Bitcoin

xQx Re:Guesses as to end effect? (202 comments)

Parent should be modded up.

Also, what is this "plans to accept" BS. There are heaps of online retailers who take bitcoin, and if they were serious they would have just used someone like coinjar.io to do the merchant service for them and convert it back to USD on the fly.

Slashdot - stuff that matters.... It will be news when Overstock.com ACCEPT bitcoin, not when they do nothing more than release a press release that they PLAN TO ACCEPT bitcoin some day in the future.

Thanks Slashdot for your thinly veiled Christmas advertising. Anyone wanna buy some Viagra?

about 7 months ago
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Exponential Algorithm In Windows Update Slowing XP Machines

xQx So not news! (413 comments)

This whole article is interesting, but so not news.

I'm surprised that Microsoft is spending *any* time trying to fix this issue, given that the whole windows update process will be replaced in 4 months with the following:

if( operatingSystemVersion 6)
            return(-1);
else
          return(do_updates());

         

about 7 months ago
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SpaceX Launch Achieves Geostationary Transfer Orbit

xQx Re:Oh great (131 comments)

>

SpaceX started merely as a loss-making venture poaching ex-government and contractor employees, and taking government money - it really had nothing meritocratic to bring to the table.

Very good point. I'd just like to clarify two minor things...

1. I agree with you, that it is very easy to start a business putting stuff into space that makes money from the outset. There are plenty of real-life examples where real innovation is achieved without any requirement for up-front capital (loss-making business models), usually it's funded from initial sales.

I forget the example business models and companies.... can you remind me of them?

2. Prior to getting "poached" by SpaceX, which "really had nothing meritocratic to bring to the table.", there have been DECADES of intense innovation in the space industry thanks to an overwhelming support and encouragement from government. This intense innovation has been _so succesful_ that NASA have recently retired their last government owned space shuttles.

Elon Musk was just standing on the shoulders of giants by proposing the incremental innovation of having rockets land intact...

Wikipedia has let me down... are you able to point me in the direction of the space innovation that's recently come out of the US government organisations, making Space-X's work redundant?

(sarcasm is often lost in text, so let me be direct: IMHO, private companies like Space-X are facilitating innovation in space travel. This is their contribution to society. You can piss & moan because private people are making money out of it, but it's better than government money being wasted on useless bureaucracy supporting (or causing) scientists resting on their laurels.)

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Package Redirection Service For Shipping to Australia?

xQx Remember, it's $1000 AUD, not $1,000 USD (206 comments)

If you import something for $999 USD today, it would be assessed as a $1,056.25 AUD import.

This would probably attract and additional:
$55 Customs Processing Fee
$50 Import Duty (assuming the standard 2.5% import duties)
$105.63 GST

It needs to be less than $1,000 AUD per shipment.

about 9 months ago
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I wish my car could...

xQx Re:Missing option: (443 comments)

In Australia we legislate it.

If you are on a road signposted at 80kph (50mph) or more, and you're not passing or in congested traffic - and in the right lane... You can enjoy a hefty fine from the police.

about 9 months ago
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China's State Press Calls For 'Building a De-Americanized World'

xQx Re:They are right, but (634 comments)

They are right, the world needs a better currency. Preferably one not regulated by nation states or corporations: maybe bitcoin or a descendant with its flaws fixed.

Okay, I'll bite (because I might learn something).

What are the flaws that need to be fixed in bitcoin, and given the world adopted democracy, Microsoft windows, and Keynesian economics despite their flaws, what makes you think bitcoin won't be accepted despite its flaws?

about 10 months ago
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My favorite brand of snake oil is ...

xQx Re:Placebin (291 comments)

Actually, there are numerous scientific studies that prove that a placebos improve medical outcomes (compared with not administering any drug).

Here are some cool facts* about the effectiveness of placebos: http://listverse.com/2013/02/16/10-crazy-facts-about-the-placebo-effect/

This is why you can actually say [homeopathy/snake oil/Magnet Therapy] etc. all are "scientifically proven to improve your outcomes" and be telling the truth.
The real question is if [homeopathy/snake oil/Magnet Therapy] is any "more effective than a similarly administered placebo".

about 10 months ago
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I'd prefer my money be made of ...

xQx Re:I don't care (532 comments)

Now, it's just nothing but blow jobs.

Wow, that sucks.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Suitable Phone For a 4-Year Old?

xQx Re:Are you serious? (682 comments)

IIRC, Zuk didn't get just sit at home all day playing computer games, he also went to Harvard Business School.

Bill Gates didn't go to school, but he also didn't sit at home all day and play computer games.

Neither of them had a mobile phone at age 4, both of them didn't come from broken families.

Steve Jobs on the other hand, was adopted, didn't go to college, and got insanely rich. I think he even played computer games as a kid. But he died at age 37.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Suitable Phone For a 4-Year Old?

xQx Re:4 years (682 comments)

And no, it's not every parents fault if a kid grows "fucked up". That is likely more due to the influence of ignorance coming from society, as you have so deftly demonstrated.

Again, had you a shred of experience in this matter, you might have known that.

Hi, I have kids. I agree with GP. Sure, you can't be responsible for all instances of your kids growing up "fucked up", but generally speaking, doing stuff like divorcing the child's mother, giving them a phone at age 4, giving them games consoles and buying their love - it ain't exactly giving your kid the best start at life is it?

"Life Happens", but when you have kids, you can either say "it's the influence of society, things don't always work as planned, its not my fault you're fucked up", or you take control, be a f*cking man, and work that shit out for the sake of giving your kids the best start in life.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Suitable Phone For a 4-Year Old?

xQx Re: 4 years (682 comments)

Agreed - you suck as a parent.

But to answer the original question: piss off all the requirements for video games, the only thing worse than not being with your child is letting him play video games all day.

Then buy one of these phones, so they can call you, mom, and nobody else: http://www.gps-practice-and-fun.com/kid-phones.html

Best thing is, with the GPS you'll be able to see where your other half is taking him.

about 10 months ago
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LLVM's Libc++ Now Has C++1Y Standard Library Support

xQx Cat on the keyboard (161 comments)

"LLVM's Libc++ Now Has C++1Y Standard Library Support"

Seriously, is that a real headline, or did your cat just walk across the keyboard?!

about 10 months ago
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Boeing Turning Old F-16s Into Unmanned Drones

xQx Re:Still dangerous (239 comments)

If you think about it critically, these aircraft have onboard radar (and other combat sensors), and a flight log.

So, it would know where it last was, how far and in which direction it has traveled since loosing GPS, and what the wind-speed was on the way to where it is.

It would likely also have contour maps of the terrain it is flying over, and ground sensors.

So, with a modest bit of on-board computer power you could have it hit a high altitude and head home via the least-risk path, execute a long list of pre-determined evasive makeovers, have it open fire at anything it has a 99% confidence is an enemy entity - or for some real fun, have it work out where it is on the map, then fly about 30 ft above the terrain at mach 1.6 in the general direction of home.

about 10 months ago
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Boeing Turning Old F-16s Into Unmanned Drones

xQx Re:Still dangerous (239 comments)

Since they still know their speed, bearing, altitude and attitude, they wouldn't necessarily crash.

If I were programming the logic with very little on-board processing power, I would have them automatically ascend to a set altitude then fly straight and level until they regain consciousness.

If you had a fair-bit of on-board processing power, you might look at flying them up to a random high altitude, then execute a quasi-random set of evasive maneuvers while heading along a bearing that was set at the beginning of the mission - ie. towards friendly territory - in an effort to regain consciousness.

Either way, it would make it a much easier target and far less of a threat.

about 10 months ago

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