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Comment: Re:disclosure (Score 2) 438

by Coryoth (#49105731) Attached to: How One Climate-Change Skeptic Has Profited From Corporate Interests

I'm guessing the reason he doesn't take money from the fossil fuel industry is because he just can't be bothered with such trifling sums. The average salary in the US is more like $350k or $400k, IIRC. 120k is for total losers.

I can only presume your talking about research grants combined with salary, despite saying "The average salary" because otherwise you are simply flat wrong. The average salary for (full) professors in the US is $98,974.

Comment: Re:On a related note: (Score 1) 291

by Coryoth (#49059717) Attached to: Should We Really Try To Teach Everyone To Code?

Should we teach everyone basic first aid and CPR, fundamentals of mechanics, and the basics of how to sew, cook, etc.? Yes, yes we should.

I don't think the "Teach Everyone to Code" movement is about making everyone professional programmers; it's about ensuring that everyone gets exposed the basics of how programming works, just like they get exposed to the basics of a great many other things in their schooling.

+ - Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering on 2012 Election 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Gerrymandering is the practice of establishing a political advantage for a political party by manipulating district boundaries to concentrate all your opponents votes in a few districts while keeping your party's supporters as a majority in the remaining districts. For example, in North Carolina in 2012 Republicans ended up winning nine out of 13 congressional seats even though more North Carolinians voted for Democrats than Republicans statewide. Now Jessica Jones reports that researchers at Duke are studying the mathematical explanation for the discrepancy. Mathematicians Jonathan Mattingly and Christy Vaughn created a series of district maps using the same vote totals from 2012, but with different borders. Their work was governed by two principles of redistricting: a federal rule requires each district have roughly the same population and a state rule requires congressional districts to be compact. Using those principles as a guide, they created a mathematical algorithm to randomly redraw the boundaries of the state’s 13 congressional districts. "We just used the actual vote counts from 2012 and just retabulated them under the different districtings," says Vaughn. "”If someone voted for a particular candidate in the 2012 election and one of our redrawn maps assigned where they live to a new congressional district, we assumed that they would still vote for the same political party."

The results were startling. After re-running the election 100 times with a randomly drawn nonpartisan map each time, the average simulated election result was 7 or 8 U.S. House seats for the Democrats and 5 or 6 for Republicans. The maximum number of Republican seats that emerged from any of the simulations was eight. The actual outcome of the election — four Democratic representatives and nine Republicans – did not occur in any of the simulations. "If we really want our elections to reflect the will of the people, then I think we have to put in safeguards to protect our democracy so redistrictings don't end up so biased that they essentially fix the elections before they get started," says Mattingly. But North Carolina State Senator Bob Rucho is unimpressed. "I'm saying these maps aren't gerrymandered," says Rucho. "It was a matter of what the candidates actually was able to tell the voters and if the voters agreed with them. Why would you call that uncompetitive?""

Comment: Perspective (Score 4, Informative) 338

I'm one of said H1B visas, now with a green card. Been here almost exactly 10 years now, after Apple bought my company. I came here for the money and the weather, not for anything else. Frankly I don't think the US society is as "free" as people here seem to believe.

I've mentioned this here before, and (understandably, no-one likes bad news) I tend to get down voted for it, but the simple honest truth of the matter is that the USA isn't geared for looking after people, it's geared towards controlling people. There's things I like about it (the job is great, the weather is excellent, the people (as individuals who I meet day-to-day) are generally wonderful unless driving, the money is still good, I like my house and I met my wife here - my son is dual American/British).

There's things I don't like too, (the militarisation of the police, the lack of any reasonable healthcare, the "I'm alright Jack, screw you" attitude of a *lot* of people - weirdly enough those who often really *aren't* alright, the schooling system, and for lack of any better term, the country's soul). As time passes, and I get older, these seem to be more important. I can't see myself retiring here, and in fact I can't see myself here in another 10 years. That's not the attitude I came to the US with, it's something I've developed while I've been here.

Let's be frank here, I'm not trying to boast, but I'm one of the 'have's - I have a million dollar house (which sounds a lot more impressive than it really is in this neighbourhood) which is almost paid off, I have a high six-figure income, and I've money in the bank. I'm not a "1%er" but I'm up there with the rest... however, even with all of this, I'm not happy with the way the country is going. There's little-to-no safety net for joe public, and seemingly (*both* houses Republican, seriously ?) no desire for that. I think the USA is far closer to oligarchy than democracy, and the long-term trend just looks like it gets worse from here on out.

[sigh]

Simon.

Comment: Not always about the money... (Score 5, Insightful) 161

by Space cowboy (#48197637) Attached to: Cell Transplant Allows Paralyzed Man To Walk

Nice to see breakthrough research like this coming from a single-payer healthcare system like the UK. When people start saying that the only places that can afford groundbreaking medical research are the ones where the "customers" pay a fortune, it'll be good to be able to point them to things like this.

Simon

Comment: Re:"Perfectly timed"? (Score 0) 252

by Coryoth (#48177543) Attached to: Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone

Seems to me that Apple is playing catch-up in the phablet arena. Apple was late to the party and lost the toehold because of its tardiness.

No, no, you're looking at this all wrong. Apple stayed out of the Phablet market until they were "cool/hip/trendy". The vast sales Samsung had were merely to unimportant people. Apple, on the other hand, entered the market exactly when phablets became cool, because, by definition, phablets became cool only once Apple had entered the market.

Comment: Apple = cash cow for scumbags (Score 4, Insightful) 304

by Space cowboy (#48009555) Attached to: Consumer Reports: New iPhones Not As Bendy As Believed

As is the case a lot (not all) of the time with Apple. They're worth a lot in click-bait, so what you do is try to find something outrageous to say about a popular product, put adverts on the page to generate you cash, and try and profit from the massive public interest in yet another Apple product...

Or maybe I'm getting too cynical in my old age.

Simon

Comment: Re:I FIND THIS HIGHLY... (Score 1) 460

by Coryoth (#47958797) Attached to: Science Has a Sexual Assault Problem

Logic is a binary function. Something is in a logical set - or it is not. Being illogical is not a synonym for being mistaken. Degrees of precision are irrelevant for set inclusion. Fuzzy logic is not logic.

Fuzzy logic is logic. So are linear logic, intuitionistic logic, temporal logic, modal logic, and categorical logic. Just because you only learned Boolean logic doesn't mean there aren't well developed consistent logics beyond that. In practice bivalent logics are the exceptions.

User Journal

Journal: Chances of being killed by police in the USA

Journal by Space cowboy

So 104 people were killed by police in the USA during August, 2014. To my eyes, that's an absolutely enormous figure. As a Brit, I compare it to the 1 person killed over 3 years by the UK police. Yes, they're two different countries, yes there's a lot more people in the US, yes they have different cultures, yadda yadda yadda; people are dying here.

Let's do some maths:

Comment: Re:Some criticism (Score 1) 184

by Coryoth (#47953649) Attached to: KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity

... a lot of people respond to this by saying the criticisms are stupid, that "if you know what you're doing" then you'll understand what's really going on, etc.

Yes; "if you're just willing to get your hands a little dirty and muck in and learn then you can bend the hugely complicated interface to your needs" they'll say; they'll complain that your just not willing to learn things, and thus it is your fault. Such people will inevitably state that they are "power users" who need ultimate configurability and are (unlike you) willing to learn what they need to to get that.

They will inevitably deride GNOME3 for it's complete lack of configurability. Of course they'll gloss over the fact that GNOME3 actually exposes pretty much everything via a javascript interface and makes adding/changing/extending functionality via javascript extensions trivial (GNOME3 even has a javascript console to let you do such things interactively). Apparently actually learning an API and coding completely custom interfacdes from myriad building blocks is "too much work". They are "power users" who require a pointy-clicky interface to actually configure anything. Even dconf is "too complicated".

For those of us who learned to "customize our desktop" back in the days of FVWM via scriptable config files calling perl scripts etc. it seems clear that "power users" are really just posers who want to play at being "super-customised". Almost all the modern DEs do have complete customisation available and accessible; some of them just use a richer (scripting) interface to get such things done.

Comment: Re:Everyone loses (Score 5, Interesting) 474

by Space cowboy (#47947433) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

I live in CA too, and pay similar taxes. I don't have a problem with the taxes.

When I came to the USA, I was taken aback by just how money-orientated the churches are. I'm irreligious, but I attended church as a kid, and it was actually about the message, about community, and definitely not about the money. Church officials (rectors and curates) are pretty poor in the UK, at least where I grew up - they have housing provided for them, and they live on a meagre salary. They are expected to work long hours for low pay. I don't get that sense when I drive past a church in San Jose that has acres (literally) of parking space, flashy electronic signs, and is located in prime real-estate area. It's very different, trust me.

I've lived here in CA for almost a decade, as I said, it's been great. There's been a couple of local school-shootings in the last year or so. Understand that from a Brit's point of view *anyone* getting shot *ever* is big news. National, prime-time TV news, possibly for days. For it to be sufficiently commonplace that it doesn't even make it past local headlines is ... disturbing.

Your point about talking to people is a good one: if I talk to people from outside the US, our views tend to resonate, but if I talk to people who are US-born, there's way less agreement. I'm not sure if it's because this is "normal" to those born here, that they just haven't experienced anything else, that they think somehow "it couldn't happen to me", or what (sometimes it's definitely a case of USA! USA! USA!). Definitely there is a difference in outlook between natives and foreigners.

One more thing: I'm not trying to paint the UK as some sort of panacea - it's not, by a long chalk. Neither am I US-bashing for the sake of it - the above is just my observations over time. The UK has it's own issues no doubt, but bottom line: even as a white male living in an affluent area in the USA, I feel safer in the UK. And I definitely feel my son would be safer at school there. This is the fact that's weighing on me more and more.

Simon

Comment: Re:Everyone loses (Score 5, Insightful) 474

by Space cowboy (#47947089) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

Having lived in the US for a decade now, I'm missing the UK more and more.

  - A real non-half-assed health service, that provides long-term care without exception
  - A dearth of mass-murders, especially school-shootings
  - A police service which uses policing-by-consent rather than by-fear
  - A university system that doesn't do its best to keep you in debt for life
  - A foreign policy that doesn't make them hated around the world
  - An attitude that doesn't revolve around "why should my taxes pay for you, just because you desperately need help" ?
  - A church that isn't entirely based around making money for the "reverend" and isn't overwhelmingly politicised.
  - Sensible views on evolution, science in general, abortion, gay marriage, and womens rights.
  - And of course, the marked lack of guns in the general populace. An armed society is a polite society my arse. It's a *fearful* society.

As I said, I've been here for a decade now, and I work for a big company with great perks. It's been good for me, but now that I have a kid, the school-shootings thing is getting more and more worrisome. There's literally nothing I can do to prevent some moron raiding his mother's arsenal and killing my kid if that's how he wants to end his life.

The money is good, the people I meet are friendly, the weather is nice, and that used to be sufficient. But as time goes by, it's seeming more and more like a Faustian bargain.

Simon.

Comment: Crawl, *then* walk (Score 4, Insightful) 122

by Space cowboy (#47934209) Attached to: Scientists Twist Radio Beams To Send Data At 32 Gigabits Per Second

Yeah, I could do with one of those office-space meme's right now.

If all the nay-sayers faux-gasping at the extreme length of 2.5m could shut up, that'd be great.

I'm not sure what people expect these days - this is a major achievement - whether it *can* be extended, or whether it *will* be extended would be different achievements. You could almost apply Jackson's rules of optimisation to this (refresher below) - in that first you *do* it, and only then (if you're an expert) do you try to do it *well*.

Simon

Jackson's rules of optimisation: "The First Rule of Program Optimization: Don't do it. The Second Rule of Program Optimization (for experts only!): Don't do it yet."

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

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