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Comment: Reefer Madness (Score 1) 382

by FredGauss (#45927655) Attached to: Daily Pot Use Tied To Age of First Psychotic Episode

There has been evidence of this association floating around for ages. On the balance of evidence there may be reason for concern, but in particular as with anything in medicine, the right decision for any individual may come from presence of the right (or wrong) risk factors.

See e.g. : http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114083928.htm http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2012/01/11/the-neuroscience-of-pot-researchers-explain-why-marijuana-may-bring-serenity-or-psychosis/

One factor that would seem to be relevant is the proportion of THC and cannabidiol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabidiol) present in plant strains, and change in ratios from decades past as plant breeding has changed the landscape of what effects may be expected from a particular plant.

The extreme reaction of "Reefer Madness" is almost certainly misguided, but there is reason to suggest that more science is needed towards ascertaining that the full benefits may be had, and risk factors removed (e.g. via genetic tests and controlled breeding/testing of plant strains) whether for medicinal purposes or otherwise.

Comment: The solution is easy (Score 1) 259

by FredGauss (#45623257) Attached to: Elsevier Going After Authors Sharing Their Own Papers
See the following. This isn't the only case of this, or the first but a representative case of things to come I hope:

http://www.sigir.org/forum/F2001/sigirFall01Letters.html

Many journals (Elsevier even) now have an "open publication model" if you're willing to pay them $2-$3K up front to cover costs. Some other open journals have a similar model. The cost for libraries to subscribe to journals as an institution is massive. If funds were instead allocated to paying basic fees for editing in lieu of subscription costs, this would be circumvented. One problem is older stuff stuck behind paywalls.
In any case, the tide will turn. Publishing companies must evolve if they hope to avoid being a tiny footnote in history 50 years from now. (Assuming there's space in the margin)

Comment: Re:"how attractive" is wrong, Chris Brown Pavarott (Score 2) 192

by FredGauss (#45562549) Attached to: AI Reality Check In Online Dating
As you suggest "how attractive" is more nuanced than a 0-10 score on a linear scale. As I see it, this is no different than other recommendation systems. e.g. Netflix knows what you watch, knows what other people watch, and can make recommendations based on commonality in patterns. But each person is unique, and recommendations can take on this nature as well. Some users of the site may be relatively insensitive to physical appearance, while others might respond preferably to individuals with certain characteristics that can be quantified by a statistical model (whether this slice looks like Chris Brown, Pavarotti, or both). I'd also expect that this type of analysis will become increasingly common in dating sites, but elsewhere too. Anywhere that there are quantifiable measures that can be attached to people, and commonality established between people, there is the potential for "intelligent" recommendations to be made. Whether this works well in practice is another story, but time will tell. It's also the case that the devil is very much in the details for this type of work, so it's not as though this study means that this "problem" is solved.

Comment: Many hominid populations? (Score 1) 238

by FredGauss (#45482913) Attached to: Mystery Humans Spiced Up Ancients' Sex Lives
I should preface this question with two disclaimers:
  1. i. It is borne of an ignorance for how classification takes place with respect to ontology/phylogeny.
  2. ii. It could be received in a fashion that may be regarded as controversial, but the question derives from curiosity of this area of science and nothing else.

With respect to i., I'm hoping there's a biologist out there that is able to shed some light on a general question in this area of study:

  1. 1. If one were to examine humans that exist on earth today subject to the general criteria for grouping populations of hominids, are there multiple branches?
  2. 2. Related to 1, is it the case that a classification tree has been built on a relatively objective measures, or driven by proximity in observed samples (bone, DNA and otherwise). If the latter is the case, is it reasonable to expect that if the criteria for classification were based on e.g. the current population on earth, that one would observe distinct groupings of hominids?

Does the conclusion of this work amount to more than "one branch of a classification tree derived from observed data is more intermixed with another branch of the tree than previous data showed"?
I'm not trying to say anything about differences in people, or comment on methods in this area of study - but rather to understand the broader context of the reported results. Is the critical consideration that evolution tends to follow a continuum, but there are critical junctures where a mutation or two significantly changed the population dynamics subject to time, competition and environmental conditions? Is it a matter of coarse-grained as opposed to fine-grained changes over time, and where does one draw the line for coarse?

Comment: Factors that contribute to math genius (Score 2) 251

by FredGauss (#45281829) Attached to: Root of Maths Genius Sought
Root of Math Genius sought? If math genius can be quantified, then there's certainly multiple roots that should be considered. Some might seem irrational or even imaginary on the surface, but it should be easy to verify that these are indeed roots. I doubt that this study will result in anything transcendental in understanding the roots of math genius.

Comment: Re:Stupid users to lazy to read (Score 1) 150

by FredGauss (#45112053) Attached to: NY Comic Con Takes Over Attendees' Twitter Accounts To Praise Itself

When you connect your social media account to somethiing, it's reasonable to expect that every permission that they describe they are requesting they are actually going to use. If you're not comfortable with this, then don't connect the account to the service. Period.

"Stupid users" is a bit harsh. I'm sure that there is a reasonably large group of individuals that are relatively intelligent, but don't understand the technology and what they're signing up for. "To(o) lazy to read" is also pushing it. Terms of service, EULA's etc. are typically exceedingly long, and also sometimes verge closer to legalese than what many are used to reading. Prior to the inception of "big data", and privacy concerns coming front and center, I'm sure that many people were in the habit of simply clicking "agree" since it didn't matter all that much. Today this is much less true. The notion that "stupid people" should know better than to "agree" to something without knowing what they are agreeing to is potentially a dangerous doctrine to be pushing. Consider a con artist, or e-mail scam, or any scenario where there is someone gaining at the expense of someone else. Perhaps some blame lies with the victim, but certainly there are many scenarios where the finger can be pointed squarely at the aggressor.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 256

by FredGauss (#45075343) Attached to: AMD Intentionally Added Artificial Limitations To Their HDMI Adapters

The thing is that our purchasing power is the only real "rolled up newspaper" that we have when it comes to corporations crapping on the rug that is our beloved tech...

Can't help but wonder if the phrase "rolled up newspaper" will still carry relevance with corporal punishment increasingly being frowned upon (I assume this is true for animals too)? It would be nice though... if the penalty for these kinds of shenanigans were a public spanking for all the executives. It might not solve anything, but would make for good entertainment.

Comment: Re:Speaking of classic literature... (Score 1) 211

by FredGauss (#45063159) Attached to: All Your Child's Data Are Belong To InBloom

Sounds to me like those people think the essentials of education can be quantized. Sure some measurements are important, but that's not all there is to learning. And those students probably will start valuing themselves by their ranking, and only have those numbers in their heads. I can see how HR departmants will be fans. Another method, like the IQ statistic, to assign numbers to people. What a dumb idea to get yourself ranked.

This is very true. An additional core issue, is 1. the impact of measuring behavior on behavior that is observed and 2. feedback into the overall loop. Regarding 1. If someone is prone to picking their nose, do they do so more often when people are watching, or privately? Some sports players are known for shining under intense pressure, while others crumble at the most critical moments. For a more complex "monitoring" system, it's difficult to discern what the impact might be on behaviors that one might observe if the system were not in place. Regarding 2. For the basic loop of: a. Collect data on behavior b. Model/Analyze/Form Policies c. Use b. to "guide students" changing a. Assuming b. is sensible, is the goal of the system to have observations in a. driven towards the maximum of an objective function defined by b. (What is the guarantee of convergence?). The biggest problem perhaps, is even in assuming that the policies in b. do meet some ideal (that everyone agrees is ideal etc.) to assume that it is possible to drive the dynamics of the overall system in a fashion that has predictable consequences may be very misguided. The medicine can also easily become the disease. (looking at you Bufo marinus)

Comment: Re:Sorry (Score 5, Insightful) 337

by FredGauss (#44853307) Attached to: Study: Our 3D Universe Could Have Originated From a 4D Black Hole

Turtles all the way down.

Funny, but also Insightful? Turtles all the way down, or turtles all the way up? If we inhabit the 3D manifold that resides in a black hole within a 4D bulk universe, and observe 3D black holes (with a 2D event horizon), does this imply 1D black holes inside of the black holes that we observe (with 0D black holes inside...). Is the 4D bulk universe a black hole in a 5D hyper-bulk universe within a 6D ... Is there a physicist in the house that can shed more light on this than the article/paper?

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

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