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Comment: Re:Victory..? (Score 4, Insightful) 149

by DeadDecoy (#46990673) Attached to: From FCC Head Wheeler, a Yellow Light For Internet Fast Lanes
I have mixed feelings about that. While I do feel that having 'fast lanes' would be appropriate for certain civil services, those considerations would be used as a trojan horse for corporations to shove legal policy through the system. The need for sufficiently fast internet should actually strengthen the argument for net neutrality. The internet has become such a critical part of the societal infrastructure, that it should be maintained like one. If all traffic is equal, and we're worried about some critical health service needing bandwidth, then we should upgrade the hardware instead of creating an artificially scarce resource.

Comment: Because student loans are easy to get (Score 1) 538

by DeadDecoy (#46376717) Attached to: U.S. Students/Grads Carrying Over $1 Trillion In Debt
Colleges are able to charge more for perhaps two reasons. The first is that student loans are fairly easy to get. This makes it easier for colleges to bill students for around that amount, plus or minus whatever the parents and a temp job can dish out.If you look at prices before student loans, they are dramatically lower. A second factor is that colleges, and even some post-graduate training, have become mandatory to achieve a decent wage (where decent is somewhere between livable and capable of raising a family). This compels students to risk being crippled by debt in order to avoid being crippled by poverty sometime in the future. Some posters mention that "nobody forces you to take a loan", but economic and societal pressures make it pretty damn hard not to.

This naturally brings us to a bunch of controversial solutions: apprenticeships, subsidized colleges, increased minimum wage, loan forgiveness programs, etc. I'm personally in favor of any option that enables citizens to get better paying jobs regardless of whether if debt is payed back or not. Most of the time, the government will easily make back its money through increased taxes on higher paying jobs and society benefits from having more people available to take on the advanced jobs.

Comment: Re:Information paradox? (Score 3, Interesting) 193

by DeadDecoy (#46176935) Attached to: New Type of Star Can Emerge From Inside Black Holes, Say Cosmologists
I think information is used in it's most abstract sense. Any particle or wave signals that that approach the black hole get consumed. I.e. when we look at it, we see nothing because light is absorbed. I'm probably wrong, though, and someone who studies the topic might be more apt at providing an explanation. Personally, I wonder what this means in terms of the second law of thermodynamics. When a black hole consumes energy and releases a Planck star, do either events reduce the entropy of the system?

Comment: Re:There's no need for a new bill ... (Score 1) 535

by DeadDecoy (#46155507) Attached to: US Democrats Introduce Bill To Restore Net Neutrality
True, but passing a token bill probably isn't the most appropriate solution. The current situation at least makes the inequity visible, i.e. that the FCC has abdicated their authority and that ISPs have unlimited freedom to shape their traffic. At least this opens the door for more activism.

Comment: Re:It would be nicer if... (Score 1) 52

by DeadDecoy (#46144007) Attached to: Elsevier Opens Its Papers To Text-Mining
There are a few issues with the output of pdftoxml that make it difficult to parse (mostly adobe's fault). For 2-column articles, the columns are interleaved. That means you'll get a little bit of text from column A followed by a little bit of text from column B. The xml tags contain the x/y coordinates, so you can develop some heuristics to cleave out segments of text for one journal. This is not particularly suitable when you want to analyze text across different journal formats, as you'll have to develop a one-off solution for each journal.

It would also be useful to have clearly demarcated sections for the abstract, results, references, etc. Again, you could set BIO (Begin-In-Out) tags based on the section title and formatting style, but you may run into a few false positives if those words are used elsewhere in the text, and the two-column issue mentioned earlier may dump in text from other sections. Finally, there's little distinction between the body of the manuscript and the header/footer information.

Overall, the text is a bit messy. If you're just looking for keywords, then it's not a big deal. If you are trying to extract more complicated syntactic structures within the document, then it becomes a problem.

Comment: It would be nicer if... (Score 3) 52

by DeadDecoy (#46143401) Attached to: Elsevier Opens Its Papers To Text-Mining
... publishers removed the paywall to publicly funded literature, or at least made the prices more sane.

Also, while we're on the topic of text mining, would it be possible to get text-only or xml-based articles, with figures attached and cross-references as needed? It's quite annoying to manually convert a pdf when trying to setup an automated analysis over several documents. I know one could setup a shell script to dump it out using the pdftoxml converter, but the output is a bit messy to parse.

Comment: Re:The Problem (Score 1) 332

by DeadDecoy (#46037867) Attached to: Marc Andreessen On Why Bitcoin Matters (And A Critique)
That makes it more valuable, but I'm not sure that makes it more useful. The purpose of money should be to encourage the exchange of labor, or at least the abstract representation if it. This increases the incentive to hoard the currency, which in turn would minimize not maximize productivity.

Comment: Re:Utilitarianism is correct (Score 1) 146

I think the scenarios handle the worth of the individual being sacrificed differently. In the clinical case, the individual is not just being killed, but they are objectified as a set of resources that can be exploited. In the train case, the individual is killed due to being in the wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time. I think most people would make this distinction out of empathy. That is, they may be more ok with dying due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, and they may not be ok with dying to suit other peoples' functional needs.

Comment: Re:College too hard? (Score 1) 279

by DeadDecoy (#45317841) Attached to: Why Organic Chemistry Is So Difficult For Pre-Med Students
The problem isn't that you need to dumb it down. It's that, as the op says, you need to memorize a fuckload of chemicals, equations, and the particular circumstances under which they occur. The memorization task is made particularly difficult when you're dealing with concepts that you don't consciously interact with on a day to day basis. I think the process of teaching ochem could be improved if we take into account the limitations of the human brain. The brain tends to have a capacity of remembering 2-5 things, but that capacity is significantly increased when we start chunking and creating meaningful links between those concepts. It might then be easier to group the ~50 items-to-be-memorized into smaller groups, to facilitate memorization. Or deal with fewer chemicals in greater depth. It might also be useful to stress skills in navigating the text rather than outright memorizing it. Eventually, a body of knowledge gets so big, that it requires a longer time to learn.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.

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