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Comment: Re:Would this kind of system have saved Challenger (Score 1) 27

by Capt.Albatross (#48194421) Attached to: A Look At Orion's Launch Abort System

Thanks for your informative post. In addition, there is an issue that I was unaware of until I read it in the original article here: "...Challenger's external fuel tank disintegrated, throwing the orbiter into the local airflow at forces way above design tolerances. It ripped apart, claiming the lives of seven astronauts."

Implying that even if Challenger could have been separated cleanly and undamaged from the exploding tank, it would not have survived. A stronger, and therefore heavier or smaller orbiter, does not seem to be feasible, given the extent to which the shuttle design was already stretching the envelope.

That's why we are back to capsules, I guess.

Comment: Solved Problem (Score 1) 87

by Capt.Albatross (#48180911) Attached to: Researchers Scrambling To Build Ebola-Fighting Robots

"We are trying to identify the technologies that can help human workers minimize their contact with Ebola." said Taskin Padir, an assistant professor of robotics engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

That technology exists: protective clothing, properly used, and sanitary waste disposal. If you can't get that, you won't be able to get robots. If you have it but cannot organize its correct use, there is an effective solution, but it doesn't involve robotics.

Comment: Re:There is no "working AI" at this time (Score 1) 98

This new definition of AI is several steps down from what Minski, McCarthy and company were aiming for. While this work is the direct descendent of theirs, and is often significant and sometimes impressive in its own right, there is an odor of self-congratulatory aggrandizement about the current usage.

In which case, there must have been an "odor of self-congratulatory aggrandizement" about Minsky (I haven't studied AI in general since 1998, but at least I know how to spell his name) because the guys working on it now are a lot nearer to what he was aiming for when he started out.

Only if he claims to have achieved those original goals.

Comment: Re:There is no "working AI" at this time (Score 1) 98

by Capt.Albatross (#48152193) Attached to: First Demonstration of Artificial Intelligence On a Quantum Computer

This new definition of AI is several steps down from what Minski, McCarthy and company were aiming for. While this work is the direct descendent of theirs, and is often significant and sometimes impressive in its own right, there is an odor of self-congratulatory aggrandizement about the current usage.

Comment: Warmth == Trustworthiness? (Score 1) 460

by Capt.Albatross (#48022533) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

All the results presented in the linked article show measures of perceived warmth, not trustworthiness. The author of the article clearly thinks a measure of warmth is also a measure of trustworthiness, but makes no attempt to justify making that highly dubious association, nor states whether she got it from the researcher (given the tone of the article and the title of the paper, I suspect she did.)

Comment: Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (Score 1) 770

by Capt.Albatross (#47863489) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

A request for information is hardly a form of denial. You can continue to reply with snotty childish retorts or you can help educate those who would like to know more.

To anyone with a mature theory of mind, your position is clearly intended to indicate doubt, and your claim of open-minded curiosity is a pretense, as is made obvious by your self-confessed lack of effort to correct your ignorance, and your bogus dismissal of valid sources. You are apparently not only a denier, but a passive-aggressive one.

Comment: Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (Score 1) 770

by Capt.Albatross (#47856155) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

True as that may be, people who are absolutely nuts tend to use the perpetual openness of science as an excuse to inject irrelevant, arbitrary insanity into discussions of fact.

You seem to be missing the point of TFA. Science doesn't need you to discuss it - it stands on it's own. If you have to discuss/debate it you have moved well out of the realm of science and into politics. There is no exception to that and frankly it's disgusting you claim affinity for scientific knowledge and understanding and can't grasp such a basic concept.

You seem to be confusing science with religion - that is where you find the 'truth' written down once and for all. Where do you think science comes from? A bible-like collection of textbooks? In reality, science starts in uncertainty and reaches a consensus only if and only if the evidence is strong. In the case of global warming, that is what has happened.

Comment: Re:Science creates understanding of a real world. (Score 1) 770

by Capt.Albatross (#47856029) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

I've never considered myself a "denier", and yet every time I ask someone to point to the evidence, I hear that slur tossed out. I've only briefly attempted to search for evidence online, and had virtually no success except to find things like the 97% consensus page at NASA's site. So, if anyone here has better sources, I'm all "ears".

So by your own admission, you either haven't tried very hard to inform yourself, or you are too prejudiced to accept valid information. The latter certainly counts as denial. The former - claiming that there is little evidence on the basis of only "briefly attempt[ing] to search for evidence online" - is also a form of denial.

+ - Death Valley's Sailing Stones Caught in the Act->

Submitted by Capt.Albatross
Capt.Albatross (1301561) writes "The flat surface of the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley is littered with rocks, some weighing hundreds of kilograms, each at the end of a track indicating that it has somehow slid across the surface. The mechanism behind this has been the subject of much speculation but little evidence, until a trio of scientists caught them in action with cameras and GPS."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Statistics as standalone field (Score 1) 115

by Capt.Albatross (#47766121) Attached to: Statistics Losing Ground To CS, Losing Image Among Students

As a result [a] pure statistician is not very useful - generic analysis can be performed by software, in-depth analysis requires specific knowledge.

In-depth analysis requires a real understanding of statistics as well as of the domain. CS knowledge, at least as commonly taught, is not a substitute for for the statistics requirement.

This is not unlike complaining that assembly coding is dying. Well, yes, we now have less need to code everything that way because we have better tools.

This is not a valid analogy. HLLs automated some of the rote, mechanical aspects of implementing algorithms. They do not automate away the need for a higher-level understanding of what you are doing.

Comment: Re:so what is the problem? (Score 1) 173

by Capt.Albatross (#47737459) Attached to: Google Wants To Test Driverless Cars In a Simulation

You don't need to ask for permission to test your car with simulations.

Agreed. Google is being misleading in its arguments, which raises the question of whether it is being dumb or acting dumb. I have my opinion as to which it is, but neither inspires confidence in Google's judgement and motives, and confidence is of the essence when it comes to getting self-driving cars accepted.

Simulations can only test for what the simulation programmers have accounted for.

And they are also based on assumptions about the response of the cars' sensors to the real world.

Comment: Re:Premise flawed? (Score 1) 116

by Capt.Albatross (#47648333) Attached to: Wiring Programmers To Prevent Buggy Code

Furthermore, good programmers often anticipate problems that lesser ones are oblivious to. On account of this, the former may show higher signs of stress (which is actually concentration) early, while the latter don't realize things are going wrong until they see tests failing in ways they don't understand, and only then will the stress levels reflect actual competence.

Two areas where this is particularly prevalent are concurrency and security - though often, in the case of security, the problems are not found until after deployment.

Comment: Re:Because The Children (Score 1) 171

by Capt.Albatross (#47588253) Attached to: Critics To FTC: Why Do You Hate In-App Purchasing Freedom?

In the 21st century, people are screaming for the government to regulate their lives in order to protect them, to provide "security", and to "make people feel safe". It's the fag end of the smoldering socialist experiment.

It has nothing to do with socialism. There are a lot of self-described conservatives in favor of restrictive and intrusive regulation in the name of security.

Comment: Re:I read the list of applications (Score 1) 115

by Capt.Albatross (#47518455) Attached to: 'Optical Fiber' Made Out of Thin Air

The paper makes it clear that this is about remote sensing, and more about getting the response back from the remote location than getting the probe beam to it.

The list of other potential uses seems to have been added by the linked article's author, who does not seem to have asked himself why, if you are sending guide beams to the destination, can't you just modulate them?

The word 'weapon' does not appear in the paper, and the researchers do not seem to have attempted to guide powerful beams by this method. Given that the guide beams can create this channel, perhaps attempting to send an equally or more powerful beam through that channel would dissipate it.

Comment: Re:Wrong Control Variable? (Score 1) 619

From the last paragraph of the article:
"The study reveals nothing about the nature of the link between socialism and dishonesty. It might be a function of the relative poverty of East Germans, for example."

In other words, the study failed to control for the value each participant placed on the monetary gain from cheating, rendering it of little value.

Nevertheless, this conclusion didn't dissuade the Economist from ignoring it in the very next sentence:
"All the same, when it comes to ethics, a capitalist upbringing appears to trump a socialist one."

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