Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Love how they avoid the things humans CAN NOT D (Score 1) 129

by Qzukk (#49348853) Attached to: German Auto Firms Face Roadblock In Testing Driverless Car Software

As soon as any autonomous car advocates start talking about 'what actually happens'

Why yes! Just the other day a baby stroller magically appeared 2 feet in front of me while I was doing 90mph on the local autobahn, forcing me to make a snap decision between creamed baby or ramming the President's car which was carrying a gaggle of pregnant neurosurgeons to a peace conference that just happened to be in the other 5 lanes of the freeway and the shoulders and the sidewalks and the ditches, all at the same time (except for the lane the baby stroller was in, of course).

    Fortunately being the superior human being that I am, I was not constrained by mere binary thinking and through a little ingenuity and physics, managed to lean my manly, manly physique across the vehicle just in time to ski past the baby and land safely on the other side. Not only that, but as it gracefully settled back onto four wheels, the breeze from the air displaced by my HMMWV (only the real ones are worthy of my leisure time) blew out a forest fire that was threatening to ignite a fireworks factory right next to a nuclear waste storage shed.

Let's see one of those auto-no-muss cars do that!

Comment: Re:Bullying (Score 1) 517

by argStyopa (#49347529) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

"I've watched every episode of Top Gear since Clarkson joined the programme. I like him as a presenter. But I see him now for what he really is"

Seriously, I find Clarkson amusing, but if you are only just now figuring out that he's an arrogant, narcissistic prick, I'm not sure if you really even saw a single episode?

Comment: Re:python and java (Score 1) 472

by Just Some Guy (#49338871) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

Python's string library isn't remotely what I'd call "overweight", but its strings are immutable. Some algorithms that are quick in other languages are slow in Python, and some operations that are risky in other languages (like using strings for hash keys) are trivial (and threadsafe) in Python. But regardless of the language involved, it's always a good idea to have a bare minimum of knowledge about it before you do something completely stupid.

Comment: I don't buy it (Score 1) 69

by argStyopa (#49332569) Attached to: Jupiter Destroyed 'Super-Earths' In Our Early Solar System

This paper, and its conclusion seems remarkably premature.

The study starts with the assertion "The statistics of extrasolar planetary systems indicate that the default mode of planet formation generates planets with orbital periods shorter than 100 days and masses substantially exceeding that of the Earth. "

That's a pretty substantial, definitive statement right there. Yet, two of the very basic rules of statistical analysis are collection bias and contextual sample size.

In reverse order, then, first we're looking at a TEENY sample of systems, given the potential population. This is quite literally, taking a drop of water from the ocean and drawing massive, systemic conclusions therefrom. Now, one could even perhaps make such conclusions decisively from a small sample if one could be sure that one's sample was representative - leading to a Godel's Theorem sort of problem in which you can't know enough about your sample to be sure that it's representative without knowing more about the context, which implies a larger sample anyway. Our testing methods allow reasonably certain detection (of a minimum size, more on that later) to what, the nearest 40,000 stellar candidates? That's 4/100,000ths of 1%. Do we know that our system is 'typical'? Do we know our stellar neighborhood, the Orion arm, or even the Milky Way is 'typical'? Without knowing that, we can hardly be categorical that our pinprick of data is at all representative of everything else, even relatively nearby.

Second, and I believe more important, is selection bias. We have a number of different methods to detect planets today, but I think it's relatively accepted that we're still in the very early stages, where our methods are - at best - looking through a glass darkly. If your methods can only detect relatively major stellar motions (requiring massive perturbing bodies) or gross dips in luminosity (consequential of substantial occlusion taking place) then logically all the samples you'll get are large. It's like casting a 1" crid net into the ocean, and concluding that none of the fish out there are less than 1" long

Comment: Finnish is a very difficult language (Score 1) 103

by argStyopa (#49323067) Attached to: Finland To Fly "Open Skies" Surveillance Flight Over Russia

"During the flight that will be conducted along the mutually agreed route, Russian specialists* on board of the aircraft will ensure strict compliance with the agreed flight schedule and monitor the use of the equipment stipulated by the treaty."

*every time I read this, 'specialists' rhymes with schmostages.

Comment: Re:Too much focus on 'working life' (Score 1) 213

by argStyopa (#49322563) Attached to: Finland's Education System Supersedes "Subjects" With "Topics"

My education didn't fail me, I just don't live in a fantasy utopia.

I didn't say life was about MONEY, did I? Not at all.

I said life is about work:
- working to earn a living to have a home, food, clothing
- working to raise your kids
- working to keep your marriage together

If you assume you are somehow entitled to any of those things, without putting in a great deal of effort, you're a naive utopian who hasn't the faintest concept of the bloody, dirty, gritty underpinnings of the blithely thoughtless life you apparently drift through.

Life is rich and wonderful, moreso when you understand how much it took to earn the peaceful, safe, stable world most of us enjoy.

Comment: "all the FUD that's fit to print" (Score 2) 91

BoAS has been crying that the world is in *imminent* danger of destruction since at least the 1970s. At a certain point, even they have to question their own credibility insisting that the sky will be falling 'any moment now'.

Look at their logo for the doomsday clock, for pete's sake: it implies there is no conceivable reading in which we're not in immediate, constant danger.

This is PRECISELY the sort of crap that has led to much of the public disregarding "science" as a thing that can speak to many issues in our daily life - the BoAS may be staffed by nominal scientists, but they're otherwise pretty much typical, naive, left-wing academics trying desperately to parlay their "sciency" credentials into credibility in foreign policy and geopolitics.

Would you read a periodical on Particle Physics written by Michelle Bachman, Henry Kissinger, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi? Maybe for the laughs, I admit.
Then why would anyone give any more credence to a political pamphlet published by scientists?

Comment: Re:Too much focus on 'working life' (Score 1) 213

by argStyopa (#49319667) Attached to: Finland's Education System Supersedes "Subjects" With "Topics"

I've heard this before, and it's kind of a load of bollocks. "Oh noes! The 'system' is indoctrinating people to be workers in their patriarchy!"

First, I'm not sure what's wrong with that. Contrary to millenialist fantasies, life is about work (even communists are too pragmatic to believe otherwise). You work the bulk of your adult life in an office, or a shop, or a factory, as a surrogate for roaming the woods fighting bears for food. It's simple. If you don't work, someone else has to gather food for you. Even "the rich" who don't apparently work, somewhere back in their history (or their family's) is someone who worked their ASS off to ensure their descendants could take it easier. So I honestly don't see the problem with a higher-educational system focused on providing absolutely needed work-focused skills, especially when our primary/secondary education seems to be more focused on self-esteem than fundamental knowledge.

We could, of course, always go BACK to the system where college was a luxury enjoyed by the wealthy and/or extremely talented. In that case, sure college could just be about teaching kids how to be better humans. (When you're spending tax dollars to make sure that nearly every Mary and John go to college, the public has a right to insist that there be measurable value/skills delivered for their funding.) The public tax rolls are not there to ensure that poor people get a better life, sorry. That's really one of the basic reasons why you should be working hard NOT TO BE POOR.

Comment: Re:backstory (Score 1) 334

And you're absolutely correct.
I went back to the book I read that in, and I misunderstood Nixon's role.
However, it doesn't materially change my point that Nixon witnessed the courts siding strongly in favor of the confidentiality of the president and his files, which later turned out to be not quite so when HE wanted to be.

Comment: Re:Vice Versa (Score 1) 274

by argStyopa (#49295377) Attached to: Speaking a Second Language May Change How You See the World

I'm sorry, I think it's pretty well assumed that anything written online is implicitly prefaced with "I believe that..." or "I think that..." - even if they are an ostensible expert (which I'm not, let's be clear, since apparently I NEED TO BE!).

If you're really going to post in opposition to every time someone asserts a fact without explicitly stating these caveats, you better have a fuckton of spare time. The internet's a big place.

Oh, and regarding synaptic pruning, yes, it IS believed to be a thing. Quite mainstream, too. Might want to look that up before your meds fade next time.

The major difference between bonds and bond traders is that the bonds will eventually mature.