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Comment: Our Money You Like, Us -- Not So Much (Score 1) 179

by DumbSwede (#48820359) Attached to: Marriot Back-Pedals On Wireless Blocking

I’m always amazed and disgusted that higher end hotel chains charge for things like Wi-Fi while cheaper players give it away for free. Similarly it seems only fast food restaurants even offer Wi-Fi and free at that. This has always seemed backwards to me. Why do the people charging more nickel and dime to death for every little extra thing? Evidently since they start with a less cost sensitive clientele so they think (rightly it seems) they can get away with it. I may have answered my own question, but it still seems wrong and unaccommodating. When you get your low cost room from priceline.com, the big players still let you know they really don’t care to be very accommodating to you.

Comment: So much anger (Score 4, Interesting) 202

by DumbSwede (#48812987) Attached to: Obama Planning New Rules For Oil and Gas Industry's Methane Emissions

This seems like a reasonable goal. Methane is natural gas, why not capture and use it? Lots of places still flair tons of it off as part of the oil extraction process – so it may no longer be methane, but it is still carbon in the atmosphere with no useful purpose other than to make oil drilling easier.

Let’s face it Obama could cure cancer and a sizeable portion of the population led by Fox News would accuse him of putting doctors out of work. Natural gas is putting coal workers out of work, but the right blames Obama. Strange I though mining coals was dirty and dangerous and led to black lung. To the right those are all positive things because it shows what a strong work-ethic coal miners have.

How about we really try to make the future cleaner and safer and not scream so much about jobs. If jobs are going away in one sector the answer is to retrain and educate to work in new safer better sectors. Last century’s jobs will not keep our economy afloat in the information age.

I’ll probably get burned on mod points for saying this, but at least half these anger posts are probably some repressed prejudice and bigotry. Obama hasn’t been the greatest president ever – so evidently everyone made a mistake voting a black man to office. The economy is better; we have fewer troops fighting and no new wars. But the right is convinced it would have done 10x better. They sure screwed the pooch the administration before – lord help me how did they make so many gains in the midterms?

It slowly got safe to point to Obama’s failings at which point the mob turned. Early after the first election you could be accused of being a bigot for criticizing the president at all. Now the pendulum has swung the other way and the bigots have ample cover to yell criticism. Of course I will get angry replies that it is all about the jobs and the economy and our foreign policy – and you may well believe it. But really it just galls to have a black man in power, especially if he threatens anything that whites see as fair play and ethnics see as white privilege.

Comment: This is the solution how? (Score 2, Insightful) 66

by DumbSwede (#48803519) Attached to: South Africa Begins Ambitious Tablets In Schools Pilot Project

And how would this in any way address the “Irish Coffee” problem?

If anything I could see this exacerbating the problem. Rich white kids are probably more computer literate than poorer black peers – going full on digital will amplify the difference.

Do it if it improves education in general (a big if). I know that tablets and online education are the future, but one that never quite arrives in the correct form. Content is key whether it is online or in a book. Handing out hardware doesn’t solve the content problem.

Comment: Agreed (Score 1, Informative) 258

by DumbSwede (#48796181) Attached to: AI Experts Sign Open Letter Pledging To Protect Mankind From Machines

Why spend precious resources on perpetuating this evolutionary dead end?

There are many that would take your statement as nihilistic (and perhaps it is), but I agree. Eventually machines will transcend us. Maybe they will take us along. If not, the future belongs to them anyway. Maybe they will be more moral than us. Maybe morals are figments of our imagination and no use to our mechanical children. If there is a God, then they are his children too – if not then they are more rightful the future anyway.

They will undoubtedly be able to think in meta ways about morality. Our fears and concerns will seem more than childish to them. We cannot conceive what they will conceive and we should not stay in their way.

Comment: Re:The Full List (Score 1) 249

by DumbSwede (#48792537) Attached to: Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

Perhaps there is some bragging in my post. That said I don’t think I’ve earned your vitriol. Do you have children? Do you think teachers should be crafting the children’s personalities? I am ambivalent on this question, I don’t have a good answer. Some children dearly need this guidance outside the home, but when does it become some kind of State sponsored indoctrination?

I see a lot of rage about teaching to the test, but what about locations that when not given the stick to push students forward will do nothing instead? Again the good schools with the good parents will turn out the good students. I won’t give you the list of activities, but we pay a fair amount of money for outside of school learning activities. Is this unfair to the poor how can’t do likewise -- or are not motivated enough to find subsidized versions?

We do the best we can for our daughter because she is our daughter – and she is turning out so great I literally have tears in my eyes as I type this. I can’t fix the world, but I can prepare her to do the best she can in it.

Comment: The Full List (Score 3, Interesting) 249

by DumbSwede (#48792323) Attached to: Education Debate: Which Is More Important - Grit, Or Intelligence?

The full list:

  • Zest
  • Grit
  • Optimism
  • Self-Control
  • Gratitude
  • Social Intelligence
  • Curiosity

I read through the description for each. At first I thought maybe this stuff was all a little too touchy-feely, but the descriptions seem reasonable. My main quibble is these should be things parents are instilling in their kids not the educators. I want Educators to focus on presenting knowledge, not crafting personalities. That said, so many children lack good guidance at home it is tempting to throw this in with the educator’s responsibilities as well.

As the parent of a Straight ‘A’ gifted child I can say for a fact Hard Work is the most important factor. Call this Grit if you want. Also IQ is not static. Working hard at any age WILL raise your IQ. There are those that say it varies by at most 10 points, but I know both for myself and my daughter it is over 20 points higher than both our first testings.

Comment: Yeah, but dig a little deeper... (Score 1) 490

by DumbSwede (#48777027) Attached to: In Paris, Terrorists Kill 2 More, Take At Least 7 Hostages

A nice list and all, but I will repost my reply that I made to the article itself in disqus

The list of condemnation is nice,
however I don’t think it speaks to uniform outrage by the Muslim
community.

Take item 27.

27. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham:

Such actions are a continuation of radical waves and
physical aggressions which have spread throughout the world in the
past decade, and incorrect policies and double standards in
confronting extremism and violence have unfortunately given way to a
spreading of such undertakings.

I don’t see this as condemnation, but
rather blame the west.

Many of the examples are strong
condemnation, but others seem as though they are cut short of getting
to the how-the-west-is-also-at-fault part which were probably omitted
cause that would weaken the author's point.

Yes many Muslims condemn this, but
were these acts committed in the service of other faiths the
condemnation would be near universal by those faiths.

This is also currious from the second entry:

2. Ahmadiyya
Muslim Community USA Spokesperson Qasim: ...

This is not about religion. This is about political power, this is
about uneducated, ignorant youth who are being manipulated by clerics
and extremists.

How many other religions have clerics or holy men advocating extreme
violence? Seems not to be that unusual a thing in the world of
Islam. So the moderates tell us their religion is misrepresented by
extremists and yet there seem to be enough clerics Imams, holy men,
to egg them to action. This number should be virtually zero – when
was the last time you heard the Pope calling for the murder of
Muslims? As far as I know Iran has not distanced itself all that far
from Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa calling the the death of Salman
Rushdie – their best effort would be a statement in 1998 promising
to "neither support nor hinder assassination operations on
Rushdie" which is the policy to this day, and it only came about
because they wanted to restore diplomatic relations with Britian.

That Britain would accept this wording is pathetic as well.

Comment: Time for some leaps and not baby steps (Score 4, Interesting) 142

by DumbSwede (#48759143) Attached to: Scientist Says Potential Signs of Ancient Life in Mars Rover Photos

Is it me, or does NASA seem scared to get the answer to the question of is/was there life on Mars?

Viking’s results where ambiguous, so we decided – NO LIFE – no need to go back for over 20 years.

Now we keep getting a tantalizing clues, but can’t seem to summon the will to do a sample return mission. How many sample return missions could the ISS fund? How much more scientific benefit would come from it?

Of late it almost seems like they want to be just shy of proof so they can keep sending missions, getting us just a little closer each time. Call it the scientific method if you want but as Keynes once observed – “in the long run, we are all dead.” How-about we get our answers now?

How about a real microscope on one of these missions, not just a camera that can take photos of small objects -- far short of microbial dimensions – then insist on calling it a microscopic imager. Hell, why not a scanning electron microscope?

Most of the scientific instrumentation seems focused on geology. Granted Geology can be related to conditions for life and is important knowledge, but what we really want answered is “is there life on Mars”, not “is there hematite on Mars?” OK hematite on Mars is cool to know, but not as important I think as the Life question.

When we went to the moon there were far less important questions to be answered. How can the Life question on Mars be so much less a priority when it could up-end so much of scientific knowledge?

One final note to my rant – is it possible there is some drag on this quest so as to maintain the status quo and not upset a largely religious electorate that assumes we should only be concerned with our fate here on Earth as their God has decreed, or that life on Mars might raise too many uncomfortable questions.

Comment: The Possibility Doesn't Necessitate (Score 1) 755

by DumbSwede (#48704553) Attached to: Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God

There may or may not be a God, his properties other than omnipotence and omniscience would be unknown and probably unknowable to us. There is probably some reason for the Universe, call that God if you must or want, it isn't anything you can do something with in the real world.

When people get worked up about “You can't prove God doesn't exist,” it's usually because they assume if you concede there could be some kind of God any kind of God, then their version of religion is somehow validated and that you must be talking about a God that intervenes in our lives.

Fine, there may be a God, but all major religions are still hogwash.

Comment: The problem is in postulating one special Universe (Score 2) 755

by DumbSwede (#48700493) Attached to: Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God

Increasingly science has been coming to the conclusion our universe is much larger spatially than previously imagined, (areas that have expanded out of our causal connectivity) and may in fact be infinite. If so, then a reasonable robust set of physical laws would probably lead to intelligence somewhere, somehow, but more than this, the universe is probably infinite in multiply definable ways (see: Tegmark's Mathematical Universe Hypothosis) including how you can define physical laws, and all those universes large enough with complex enough laws probably all lead to intelligent life. The solution to Fermi's Paradox may be that sufficient advanced beings have escaped to the other extra-dimensional Universes.

I'd say Quantum Mechanics is a strong indicator of infinite overlapping Universes and if the Universe is infinite in this way, why not infinite in all ways including how to cook up physical laws? With the God theory you get one highly anomalous and inexplicable Universe. Whereas if you just allow everything, well then – here we are, with infinite Universes we'd have had to pop up somewhere.

Comment: Actually a Great Step Forward (Score 1) 130

by DumbSwede (#48620875) Attached to: Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At

Computer learns to pick out salient features to identify images. Then we are shocked that when trained with no supervision the salient features aren’t what we would have chosen.

I see this as a great ah-ha moment. Humans also have visual systems that can be tricked by optical illusions. The patterns presented while seemingly incomprehensible to us make sense to computers for the same reason our optical illusions do to us -- taking short cuts in visual processing that would fire on patterns not often or ever seen in the real world. Which BTW means even as is, this type of visual identification is still useful, since the random images generating false hits aren’t just any random images, but ones that have visual features similar to the targets identified, even if we humans can’t see the similarities or even if they look like white noise.

Now that we know what computers are picking out as salient features, we can modify the algorithms to add additional constraints on what additional salient features must or must not be in an object identified, such that it would correspond more closely to how humans would classify objects. Baseball’s must have curvature for instance not just zig-zag red lines on white.

Comment: Re: Disruptive If We Say So Ourselves (Score 1) 55

by DumbSwede (#48493253) Attached to: Martin Jetpack Closer To Takeoff In First Responder Applications

(been on vacation)
Sorry to have been snarky.

But if the contraption can't lift both responder and victim out (like the basket can), then I really think this has limited use. I suspect the weight of two people and the geometry of the contraption make impractical for evacuation -- which is the most common rescue work I imagine.

Most public domain software is free, at least at first glance.

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