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Comment: What they left out (Score 4, Insightful) 200

by Arancaytar (#48608927) Attached to: NASA's $349 Million Empty Tower

NASA didn't decide to build that; a Republican senator from Mississippi forced through the budget amendment even though it was pointless. Apparently stimulating the economy down there with some completely useless waste of resources is more important than actual space research.

Blaming NASA for it is just adding insult to injury - what an asshole reporter.

Comment: Re:Misleading Title (Score 1) 213

by FhnuZoag (#48496455) Attached to: Game Theory Analysis Shows How Evolution Favors Cooperation's Collapse

Yes. Exactly!

On the grand scale of things, I would suggest that evolution *vastly* favours cooperation. No, really. Think about all the cells in your body working together to form a multi-cellular organism. Think about the organelles in symbiosis within those same cells. Think about bacteria sharing plasmids amongst each other, and forming aggregates. Think about ecosystems where different organisms form finely balanced cycles, where no single element ever predominates. Think about the majority of encounters you have with other people in human society, and the large numbers of colony/herd/flock arrangements in wildlife.

Comment: There is no power. (Score 4, Informative) 350

by FhnuZoag (#48384579) Attached to: Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism

I am actually a statistician. And this 'study' looks pretty worthless.

The problem is the issue of a 'huge gap'. What gap is huge? Well, we can try and do a power calculation. How big does the gap between the black and white targets *need* to be, to have a good chance of showing up in this test?

This is simple enough to calculate. Plug in some numbers:
1. Sample size in each group - 50
2. Level of Significance - 0.05
3. Power - i.e. the desired probability of finding there to be a significant difference, *if a difference exists*. I've chosen a standard number of 0.8 - i.e. allow for a 20% chance of missing a true effect by accident.

Fixing the proportion of inappropriates for the white woman at 70%, we find.... 91.8%.

In other words, with this sample size, we actually only rule out a difference of 70% vs 91.8%, or in other words, an over 2/3rds drop in the proportion of people finding the picture appropriate.

To rephrase: if the truth was that 2/3rds of the people who think a white woman is breastfeeding would *not* think a black person breastfeeding is appropriate - a situation that I think you'd agree is very racist - then we'd miss such an effect in an experiment like this over 1/5th the time. Even assuming the experiment was conducted ideally, and no one was just randomly clicking to earn money.

This article is meaningless.

Comment: Would've ended US administration of root zone (Score 1) 120

by Arancaytar (#48383309) Attached to: No, You Can't Seize Country TLDs, US Court Rules

No government would want to trust their TLD (on which relies the entire country's infrastructure and economy) to a foreign country that interferes with it. Once that can of worms is opened, you'd probably end up with each country hosting their own alternative root and mandating their ISPs either default to using it or being able to fail over to it quickly when necessary.

Comment: Re:There can be no defense of this. (Score 1) 184

by FhnuZoag (#48335029) Attached to: British Spies Are Free To Target Lawyers and Journalists

Who said anything about practicing lawyers? The text of the rules regarding lawyers refer to all lawyers.

The reason why there is no abundance of dangerous terrorists who are simultaneously lawyers, is because there is no expectation of special legal protection for lawyers, outside of one specific thing, attorney-client communications. Thus there is no value for a terrorist or serial killer to declare themselves a lawyer. If the GCHQ rules have said something different, that *in principle, lawyers are automatically exempt from security services investigations*, without any regard to necessity or proportionality, you can bet a lot more people would declare themselves a 'lawyer' for the convenience of it.

There are no required qualifications to practice law in the UK. A blanket ban on investigating lawyers is essentially unworkable.

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