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Comment: Standard deviation has a value. (Score 1) 480

by ConfusedVorlon (#49037759) Attached to: The Mathematical Case For Buying a Powerball Ticket

The argument that lottery tickets are bad value is based on the expected (mean) return.
For example, for every $2 ticket, you might get $1 in prizes on average.
On average, you're losing on every ticket.

However - this completely fails to value the fact that you have massively increased the standard deviation of your return, so although your expected return is $1, there is some chance that you'll get $1million.

We recognise that reducing standard deviation on negative events has value.
For example, your expected return on your insurance payments of $1000 is less than $1000. However, you have reduced the standard deviation of the expected return and (hopefully) negated the possibility of losing $1million.
On average however - you lose money whenever you buy insurance.

If we are willing to pay (on average) to avoid losing $1million, then it is is equally logical to pay (on average) for the opportunity of gaining $1million.

Comment: Re:Its own editors said so (Score 5, Insightful) 346

Elsewhere you'll see they honestly and clearly state their intention to promote left-wing liberalism. They aren't pretending to be objective, balanced, or factual.

Holding a set of beliefs doesn't disqualify you from being objective, balanced or factual.

Everyone has beliefs - some subscribe to a classifiable set of beliefs. This journal is a collection of people who share some beliefs around liberalism - and they declare it.

Of course this means that they'll tend to see things through the prism of their beliefs - but everyone does this. At least in this case, they're honest and upfront about their beliefs, so you can take those into account.

They're going to pick stories of interest to liberals, and they're going to give liberal insights into events - but that doesn't mean they can't be reasonably objective, balanced of factual.

I say 'reasonably' because nobody can be completely objective, balanced or factual. Everyone is influenced by their preconceptions, experience, and by their imperfect knowledge.

Comment: Re:It's always terrible (Score 1) 257

grr - slashdot broke my comment:

let me clarify my example.

Is it really fair that when you search for info on 50yr old electrician bob (as you are considering giving him a job), the top story is one about his conviction for sex crimes when he (as an {age of consent in your jurisdiction} yr old boy) had sex with his {whatever age would be legal in your jurisdiction -1} yr old girlfriend?

I accept your point that more serious crimes might have a longer 'forgetting' threshold. Do you accept my point about 'forgetting' less serious crimes?

Comment: Re:Confused Reporter (Score 4, Informative) 150

by ConfusedVorlon (#48302361) Attached to: SpaceShipTwo's Rocket Engine Did Not Cause Fatal Crash

the video seems to state:

1) SOP is to unlock at 1.4
2) the co-pilot moved the lever to unlock at 1.0

"the lock unlock is not to be moved into the unlock position until acceleration up to mach 1.4. Instead, that occurred at approximately mach 1.0"
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/worl... (2:50)

I don't know if that difference is significant. It sounded to me like 'we're not casting blame formally yet, but look over here at this pilot error'

Comment: Re:It's always terrible (Score 1) 257

we accept similar 'right to be forgotten' in other areas.

e.g. juvenile criminal record is sealed, e.g. minor criminal offences no longer appear in criminal record check after x years.
Now a private investigator may be able to dig up dirt by trawling old newspaper archives - but for the most part, (pre internet), the person is able to move on without everyone knowing about these past mistakes.

There is an analogous argument to be made here. Is it really fair that when you search for info on 50yr old electrician bob (as you are considering giving him a job), the top story is one about his conviction for sex crimes when he (as an 18yr old boy) had sex with his 17yr old girlfriend?

I'm not for a moment saying that the eu 'right to be forgotten' makes sense, just saying that you can make a reasonable argument for a limited right.

The issue is that the internet (and specifically search engines) make it much easier for everyone to be the private investigator. The implementation of the right to be forgotten is quite similar to what we had in practice in the analogue world.
-the newspaper archive still exists (websites still have the articles)
-the criminal record doesn't show the old offence (search engine doesn't list the article)

Comment: There is no should. (Score 1) 182

by ConfusedVorlon (#47966173) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Who Should Pay Costs To Attend Conferences?

Should is meaningless in this context.

Unless you have it written into your contract, they don't have to pay for this.
If they do - then you might consider that a valuable perk.
The value to you may be less than the ticket/travel/accommodation price (or even negative if you hate conferences and are required to go).

Ultimately - it just weighs into your assessment of whether you are getting a good deal at work, and whether you want to stay.

-how much do they pay
-how much holiday do you get
-how much are you learning
-what are the benefits like
-etc, etc, etc

Asking who should pay for your conference is like asking who should pay for your coffee. Nice to get it for free - but just one factor in the mix.

Comment: Re:Again? (Score 1) 200

hardly: If he sent mails about these issues, then he would be complaining in good faith, and would have sent them on the standard internal network.

If he had sent emails alleging impropriety from secure external system, then that would
a) probably count as leaking confidential info (sending confidential info on an external service)
b) raise every red flag in the organisation and probably result in him being fired (why are you trying to keep external records of this secret matter???)

Comment: Re:We really need (Score 1) 533

by ConfusedVorlon (#47857111) Attached to: AT&T Says 10Mbps Is Too Fast For "Broadband," 4Mbps Is Enough

If it was just about population density, then the USA would be rocking decent internet in any large urban-ish area.

I live in the UK in a suburb of the 10th largest city.

speedtest.net shows me
ping 8ms
down 127mbpx
up 1.4mbpx

this (including my phone and cable tv) costs about $70/month
obviously that includes 20% sales tax so a USA equivalent should be about $60.

does that sound like what you'd expect to get in a USA suburban area?

Computer Science is the only discipline in which we view adding a new wing to a building as being maintenance -- Jim Horning