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Comment: Re:*sigh* (Score 1) 159

by Theaetetus (#49359489) Attached to: Iowa's Governor Terry Branstad Thinks He Doesn't Use E-mail

No way in hell!

She is part of the problem. Old, corrupt, polarizing, etc.

Literally every president - and candidate - since Reagan has been called "polarizing". Look at Romney with his whole "47% of the country will never vote for me, so we need to focus on the remaining 53% to win" thing. Why is it an issue now?

Comment: Re:Truth in Labeling: Require a sign on the door. (Score 2) 860

by Theaetetus (#49339883) Attached to: Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill

Proposed: Any store can refuse service to anyone. "No shirt, no shoes, no service". And to make this effective, the store must post its refusal criteria on the door, or within (x) feet of the door, in letters at least 3 inches tall, clearly legible before a customer enters the store, in order to avoid any misunderstandings.

Yeah, that's never been abused before...

Comment: Re:This test is impossible and pointless. (Score 1) 515

by Theaetetus (#49337825) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

well, my team is a product team within a big software company. We aren't allowed to actively pursue hires. There's red tape and stuff. We've been given the green light to hire only 2 times in the past 4 years. Our candidates are handed down from HR. I don't believe that our lack of female team members has anything to do with my team. But I DO think it is strange that I have never even seen a female candidate since joining this team.

Maybe it's an issue with HR at your company, not passing resumes of women to you.

Comment: Re:This test is impossible and pointless. (Score 1) 515

by Theaetetus (#49335231) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

I work on a team of 10 people. my understanding is that about 15% of the entire software workforce is women. given those numbers, it is unsurprising to me that a random sampling of 10 software engineers will contain no women.

Sure, but your earlier comment was that you haven't even seen a woman candidate in years. Unless you've also never seen any male candidates and have maintained the same team through that period, than that random sampling should be much more than 10. And depending on how many resumes you've received and interviews conducted, seeing no women candidates could start looking very strange statistically.

So, industry-wide, sure, it's a thing for sociologists and educators. But your team personally? Maybe there's something you've missed in your position advertising that convinces women never to apply.

Comment: Re:Politicans don't understand science (Score 1) 320

Most scientist that influence politics are social scientists, political scientists, medicine, theologians, philosophers, economists, and historians.

You think historians are scientists? Really? Theologians? Seriously?

I did have a fairly detailed reply in mind. Then I read that little gem and decided that there was nothing I could say that would make you look stupider than you do right now.

I'm going to go talk to the grown-ups. Do feel free to have the last word.

Comment: Re:Is the smartwatch fad stillborn? (Score 1) 60

Some tech writers have made this point already, and I probably won't get it out as clearly as they have, but the problem with smartwatches and our perception of them is that we're thinking about them in the here and now, and not in the future. Microsoft (well, Ballmer) famously laughed at the iPhone as too expensive and useless before it took off and crushed the Microsoft Mobile business into dust. He was thinking of the here and now, and not the future.


I think there's a difference though. When the iPhone came out it had this tremendous aura of Cool about it. I say that as someone who is in no way an Apple fan. I think just about everyone (or everyone who didn't have a vested interest in a competing product) could see that.

This is where Apple's so-called fanboys can be used to bootstrap a tech shift that would've taken much longer otherwise. When enough people start wearing these watches, they'll start to have more applications.

The thing is, I don't get that "Cool" vibe from these watches at all. I mean if the bootstrapping effect takes off then that's great, but I'll be surprised if they have the impetus needed to carry the change. Maybe I'm just not part of the target audience :)

Comment: Re:Politicans don't understand science (Score 1) 320

There are a lot "constitutional democracies", in particular in Europe, that try to limit power to an intellectual elite.

I suppose we could start to have a "my-country-has-a-better-system-of-government-than-your-country" argument. I can't quite see how it would be either relevant or helpful, however. Perhaps if we stick to the matter at hand?

Of course, politics should say something about science: it should pick which scientific theories to believe and decide what policies to derive from them.

Of course. Someone with no scientific background and whose main priorities are getting re-elected and protecting the corporate issues of his campaign contributors is going to be much better placed to make objective assessments than someone whose training and career has been about quantifying objective phenomena. Yup. Totally buying that one.

Where did I say that they weren't "allowed to tell anybody"?

You said "scientists should not become politicians and they should not favor or advocate particular policies". If you say "should not" in the context of politics and lawmaking, you may well find that a lot of people interpret that as a call for sort of legislation or other prohibition.

There is a difference between telling people "an asteroid is going to hit earth" and "I want a law doing X".

If a scientist says "a giant asteroid is going to hit Earth" you can bet that someone will say "you're only saying that to force us to spend money on space exploration. Also the asteroid doesn't exist and will probably miss". Any public statement will be taken as a political one by someone who feels the data works against their interests.

As such, there are no purely neutral scientific publications. And the only way a scientist can stay aloof from accusations of politics is to remain silent.

Why is it always about "forbidding" with you people?

See previous point about "should not" in the context of politics. Perhaps you haven't been explaining yourself as clearly as you might have wished?

Scientists can do whatever they want, but as a society we should recognize that people who lobby for laws cease being responsible scientists and treat them accordingly.

We could apply that more broadly. I mean doctors are pretty much scientists. We should probably ignore them when formulating medical policy. Likewise we should probably not give any special consideration to teachers when it comes to Education. And we'll probably have to stop all those lawyers from exerting undue influence over lawmaking. And stop the bankers and financiers from influencing fiscal policy.

OK, so those last two almost seem like good ideas. I still think it wouldn't work :)

Actually, I really do think that's just an opinion.

No, sadly, it's historical fact.

Umm, which bits? The "all politicians are venal and corrupt" part? Or the implication that "only the political left has abused science in support of genocide, racism or political extremism"?

There may be facts in there somewhere, but I really don't think they come close to supporting the conclusion you appear to have drawn. Sorry, but it remains just your opinion.

Comment: Re:Would this be a good game to play with kids? (Score 1) 256

by Theaetetus (#49279331) Attached to: SimCity's Empire Has Fallen and Skylines Is Picking Up the Pieces

I have a 9-year old and 11-year old, both into Minecraft, and I thought this might be a fun way to spend a few hours a week together.


I think you'd be fine. As people mentioned, the roads can be a bit difficult, but take your time (put the game on pause when doing a bunch of road building) and have fun.

Comment: Re:I know we don't like EA... (Score 3, Insightful) 256

by Theaetetus (#49279213) Attached to: SimCity's Empire Has Fallen and Skylines Is Picking Up the Pieces

I can work around em, but yea... when my trains all get piled up it is a problem...

and cars going to the right lane miles before their exit causing a backup with cars merging on is a problem too...

As others have noted, this is realistic. There's also a real-world solution for it - exits should occur before merges. That way, there's an empty lane for cars to merge into. By having a merge before the exit, as highway throughput increases, you experience jams.

Comment: Re:Aren't these already compromised cards? (Score 3, Interesting) 269

by Theaetetus (#49277483) Attached to: Fraud Rampant In Apple Pay

But of course, the person who is stealing your credit card info is most likely your waiter, and they have a minute or two with your card over at the POS to copy down the CVV manually.

And this is why the United States needs to move to EMV (Chip & Pin) like the rest of the world. Rather than the waiter taking your card away, they bring you a hand-held terminal, which you then take and perform the last portion of the contract yourself, with the card never leaving your hands.

Yep. Great system, though a little awkward when tipping and they're standing over you staring as you go to push the 10- no, 15- no, [gulp] 20% button. Maybe that's why they don't tip much in Europe.

That said, there's a reason why the US is moving to Chip & Signature cards, but not Chip & PIN. The banks will tell you it's because they don't want to confuse or scare their customers who can't learn new systems, but the real answer is that legally, if there's fraud on regular credit cards or chip & signature, the banks can charge it back to the merchant, who must have failed to verify the signature or ID of the purchaser. If there's fraud on chip & PIN cards, legally, the banks have to eat it. So they're not moving to that until they have to.

Comment: Re:So, not really stereo (Score 1) 82

by Theaetetus (#49277169) Attached to: 3D Audio Standard Released

Not really anything regarding stereo, but how to digitally recreate a 3D space and provide the resultant acoustic signature to stereo headphones? So, you could digitally model Carnegie Hall, or a warehouse, or a coffee shop, and if you know the locations of your point sources of audio you can then create what the room would sound like based on a given listener location and orientation? It sounds (a bit like) raytracing for audio, with the format allowing a standardized way to define the space.

Yes? No? For once, I think we actually need an *article* to go with this abstract, or at least a Bennet Haselton-style rant* as the summary.

*except factual, useful, and correct.

Kind of... You know how, even though you only have two ears, you can still determine whether a sound is coming from in front of you, behind you, above you, below you, etc.? You don't need 5 ears or 7 ears or whatever surround-sound standard you think of, and yet you still get a great 3D image. It has to do with some complicated math our brains are instinctively doing, measuring the interaural phase differences of low frequency signals received at each ear, and interaural timing and amplitude differences of high frequency signals. A signal from your right that gets to your right ear has to travel an additional foot and a half or so to get to your left ear, and that results in a phase difference for a signal with a long wavelength (say, below around 800 Hz) or a time and amplitude difference for signals with shorter wavelengths.
Additionally, your ears are not symmetrical, but have a small reflector at the front, a curved reflector along the top and back, etc., and these reflectors have specific reflective and absorptive bandwidths, so signals coming from different directions (above you, below you, etc.) are filtered in slightly different ways.

All of these features make up the head-related transfer function (HRTF) that acts as a filter on a signal based on its frequency and 3-dimensional position around your head.

As an aside, binaural recordings are typically done with things that look like headphones, but are actually microphones placed very close to the engineer's ears, so that the audio they pick up is affected by the HRTF. When you play the recording back over headphones, you get incredible 3D audio. And Neumann makes the KU 100 head-on-a-stick binaural microphone that actually has rubbery ears and microphones placed where eardrums would be.

This standard defines ways to store and process the HRTF so that recordings can be decoded by binaural processors for playback in earbuds or headphones. Importantly, it allows a recording to be stored in a format capable of multiple ways of decoding, so that you can have one track that you can play in surround sound from your speakers, or load up on your phone and play through ear buds, and still get a great 3D environment (binaural recordings don't work effectively through speakers, and surround sound collapses down to stereo through ear buds; this allows one file to play on both).

Comment: Re:Could be promising (Score 3, Insightful) 82

by Theaetetus (#49277021) Attached to: 3D Audio Standard Released

> but also because I can get much better sound quality out of headphones for a fraction of the price of comparable speakers.

Doubtful. The distance between your ears and your headphones are far from long enough to experience lower frequencies.

That makes no sense, both from a physics standpoint and a common sense standpoint. For the former, sound is varying air pressure over time. Distance doesn't come into it, and you don't need to run around in a space to hear low frequencies.

For the latter, the distance between ear buds and your eardrum are approximately what, half an inch? Sound travels at about 1000 ft/sec, or conversely, has a wavelength of 1 ft at 1kHz, 1 inch at 12 kHz, and a half-inch at 24kHz. If your ability to hear low frequency depended on the distance between your ear and the source, then no one wearing earbuds could hear anything below 24 kHz, right? And since most people can't hear above 20kHz, then ear buds would just be silence generators, right?

Or, if you wanted to hear the rumble of an approaching train in the distance, you wouldn't put your ear on the track because "the distance between it and your ear wouldn't be enough to hear low frequencies" and instead, you'd want to stand several feet away?

In fact, as noted above, the wavelength of 1 kHz sound wave in air is 1 ft. At 100 Hz, it's 10ft, and at 20 Hz, it's 50 ft. How many people have 50 feet between their ears and their speakers? Or even 10 feet in most living rooms?

Your post makes no sense, no matter how you think about it.

Comment: Re:Aren't these already compromised cards? (Score 4, Informative) 269

by Theaetetus (#49276875) Attached to: Fraud Rampant In Apple Pay

I always assumed CCV was designed to offer basic protection against incidental photographs of the card being taken, and other situations where only one side of the card has been compromised.

Not really - Amex puts its CCV on the front of the card. The real purpose is that the CCV isn't encoded in the magnetic strip, and isn't embossed, so theoretically, someone using a magnetic swiper to steal data or someone dumpster diving for those old carbon paper-imprint style records would get the numbers but not the CVV.

But of course, the person who is stealing your credit card info is most likely your waiter, and they have a minute or two with your card over at the POS to copy down the CVV manually.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.