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Comment Re:An honest question (Score 4, Informative) 72

If I remember correctly, the noise floor of the previous instrument was approximately the level of the signal they were looking for. A better detector may help.

Indeed. It's hard to overstate the sensitivity of these instruments, or the vulnerability of these instruments to noise. To take one example, here's an ArXiv preprint that calculates that the original LIGO detectors would need to be physically shielded from tumbleweeds, since the the impact of a wind-borne tumbleweed on the building exterior (100 feet from the detector) could produce a vibrational or gravitational transient sufficient to appear to be a spurious gravitational wave signal.

Comment Needs more statistics (Score 4, Insightful) 181

Neither the summary nor the linked article provide the necessary statistics to tell us how well this algorithm actually works. We're told it has a 68% success rate, which presumably means that 68% of the time it gives the same answer as de Vries (the human subject/programmer).

The problem is, we're not told anything about the sensitivity or specificity of the technique. What is the rate of false positives? False negatives?

Let's say that de Vries typically finds 1 out of 3 (33%) of the profile pictures "attractive". His computer could score 67% accuracy just by rejecting every single picture. (Such an algorithm would have zero sensitivity, but perfect specificity, and a terrible false negative rate. The "reject-everything" algorithm also scores better the more picky de Vries gets.)

This sort of story is only interesting if it includes specific information about where and how his algorithm fails (and succeeds).

Comment Re: Stupid people are stupid (Score 2) 956

The only area of education not dominated by women in the past ten years is STEM, and men are also far behind women in biology & related sciences, and math, leaving really only computer science and the engineering fields, and physics to men.


Looking at the 2012/13 numbers, women do indeed significantly outnumber men as recipients of bachelor's and master's degrees. Women received about 1,052,000 bachelor's degrees to men's 787,000. (That's 57% to women.)

The source of that disparity - about 265,000 degrees - is interesting. About a quarter of the difference (a surplus of 61,000 degrees) is in education--principally teaching degrees. Another third (a surplus of over 84,000 degrees) are in nursing. Another quarter (another surplus of about 61,000 degrees) come from psychology. There's a good-sized surplus in social work and other social and community services (14,000), family and consumer sciences (18,000), and in visual and performing arts (21,000). That's about a quarter million degrees right there.

In other words, a lot of that surplus is 'job training'- or 'job certification'-type degrees, mostly in areas that are traditionally associated with soft, squishy notions of womanhood, and often in occupations associated with relatively lower salaries.

Comment Re:Why didn't his teacher stand up for him? (Score 3, Informative) 956

Presumably he made this for a class, and if so, why didn't that teacher stand up for him and tell them it was for his class?

And if it wasn't for a class or club or something, that does admittedly seem a bit suspicious.

He brought it to school to show the teacher in his engineering class, and then kept it out of sight in his bag. The alarm on the clock beeped during an English class later in the day, so he showed the project to his English teacher after class by way of explanation.

The only obviously wrong thing he did was (presumably inadvertently) let the alarm go off during a class. If he were a kid with a cell phone, the teacher would confiscate the phone for the rest of the class and possibly assign some other standard, trivial punishment. And that would be fine. Instead, we have a hopelessly irrational overreaction, almost certainly enhanced by the kid's race.

Comment Re:That was easy (Score 5, Insightful) 867

When you have an SSD that boots Linux in less than 20 seconds, who the hell *cares* if it doesn't hibernate correctly.

Presumably people working on multiple documents and/or in multiple applications who don't want to have to restart those applications, reopen their files, and rearrange their windows every time they go from home to office. (Or office to train. Or living room to desk. Or whatever.)

Comment Re:So then the question becomes (Score 1) 450

There's no persuasive evidence to indicate that Ashely Madison didn't fake female profiles. There IS evidence they faked profiles. Assuming they were only female seems a bit biased, no?

Note that your objection about fake profiles not chatting doesn't really hold up. Fake female profiles also don't chat. The idea is to keep presenting pictures and profiles that you like, to keep the hope alive.

I'm not sure if I'm being particularly unclear, or if you haven't looked at the original article and so are unfamiliar with the context for my remarks.

One of the flags that the analysis used to estimate relative proportions of "real" to "fake" accounts were a couple of data fields that were maintained in AM's private data but not accessible from the public-facing side of the site. These fields included information on when an account holder last checked his or her messages (if ever), when an account holder last used the AM chat system (if ever), and when an account account holder last replied to a message (if ever).

The number of male accounts which had carried out at least some of these activities at least once was on the same order as the total number of male accounts. (Of 30 million male accounts, about 20 million had checked their messages.) The number of female accounts which had carried out at least some of these activities was only a minuscule fraction of the total number of female accounts. (Of about 5 million female accounts, a few thousand had checked or sent messages.)

Do the data we have support the notion that fake females vastly outnumbered real females? Yep. It it possible that there were faked male profiles as well? Sure. Do the data we have support the notion that fake males make up any but a minority of male accounts? Nope.

Comment Re:So then the question becomes (Score 1) 450

There are reasons to fake male profiles. Having lots of male profiles with nice pictures and soothing, non psychopathic text helps with recruiting females and maybe getting them to stick around.

Sure, that's a hypothetical possibility.

In practice, though, there's nothing about the evidence at hand to suggest that that has happened. And you haven't presented a particularly persuasive case (or any case) to suggest why the fake male accounts would log in to read and reply to messages, where the female fake accounts would not. On its face, one would tend to expect the opposite behavior--AM would have benefitted directly (financially speaking) from encouraging the men to keep chatting with the fake women.

Comment Re:So then the question becomes (Score 3, Informative) 450

I suspect the truth is that whoever did the numbers in the OP article fudged them juuuust a bit.

For example, I see no references made to controlling for fake MALE profiles. Apparently only the female ones can be fake?

The analyses shown provided the data for both male and female profiles, which you would know if you had just read the article. The article also explicitly acknowledged that we don't know if the leaked data were manipulated or scrubbed in some way--of course, it's not like we're ever going to be given access to known-genuine data.

That said, there wasn't an obvious incentive for AM to fake male profiles. Unlike males, females were not charged to use the service. (Presumably because it *is* difficult to recruit women to these sites. It's not like we don't see offline parallels--there's a reason why bars have Ladies' Nights.) AM only made money when men contacted women. AM doesn't make money if real women send messages to fake men. Heck, it would cost them money, since those real women wouldn't be interacting with AM's paying male customers.

Comment Re:There's truth on both sides here (Score 1) 1044

Either we have a dialog or we do not. You want to tell me your opinions? You get mine in return. Attempts to make it only flow one way will be rejected.

Then why is it that you're replying to - and arguing with, and lecturing about - so many things that I didn't write?

I guess some of us are able to better handle the terrible burden we heft as straight, white males. And I'm sure that if I were a bisexual woman, I would understand and appreciate your honest and heartfelt attempts to advise me on how to handle bigots.

You can reply, or not. I won't be reading further messages.

Comment Re:There's truth on both sides here (Score 1) 1044

The whole rivalry between the SJW and sad puppy people makes it clear that this is the new normal.

I think that hits the nail on the head, though probably not quite the way you intended. The Sad/Rabid Puppies have chosen to label themselves, and self-selected their membership to only include individuals who pass their own internal litmus tests of conservatism, manliness, or dear-God-not-feminism--and who actually want to appear under their banner. (We know there were a couple of authors who were - apparently without their consent - nominated as part of a Puppy slate and who withdrew from the Hugo ballot because they didn't want to be associated with the Puppy project.)

Then the SJWs - the Social Justice Warriors - who just seem to be...everybody else. They didn't need a banner to crowd behind. They're not a shadowy cabal or powerful movement. They're just...a bunch of fans with a whole bunch of independent (and sometimes mutually contradictory) viewpoints about both SF literature and society.

It doesn't strike me as sensible, or constructive, to reduce it down to Well, it's just A versus B, I guess we should agree to disagree, try to get along, and make sure both "sides" get equal airtime--when we've let one little group draw boundaries and then assign a label to everyone else. It gives disproportionate attention, weight, and power to the loudest argument, rather than the best one. Compromising with extremists doesn't result in an improved consensus, it just tends to encourage the extremists. (Witness all of U.S. politics.)

If I were bisexual as you said you were... I'd have to be very tolerant of people that didn't understand or accept that. There are too many of them. Much of the world doesn't understand or accept bisexuality or homosexuality.

Wow. Not sure where you got that. I didn't say word one about my sexuality. You've gotten it wrong, and it's irrelevant to the discussion anyway. I am impressed, however, that you are willing to helpfully explain to non-straight people that bigots exist and are plentiful (because, after all, non-straight people would be totally unaware of that without your advice), and that non-straight people have to be very tolerant of bigots, in order to keep the world running smoothly.

Incidentally, a word of advice. Adding an "I'm not a bigot" disclaimer at the end of a post never helps, and definitely doesn't work the way you think it does.

Comment Re:There's truth on both sides here (Score 1) 1044

Though they cite people getting blackballed for politics like Card and that's a valid point. Card is Christian and he doesn't support gay marriage. I mean... hold any opinion you want on that but that has nothing to do with whether someone should or shouldn't get an award for writing.

I dunno...Card has been phoning it in for a while now. I had been reading his new stuff more out of habit (it's easier to read the next book in a series than it is to go and discover new writers). 2008's Ender In Exile lost the 'fire' that the previous post-Bugger-War Bean-series books had; I was willing to suspend my disbelief regarding the implausible political victories achieved by Peter and Bean in the earlier books, but the Ender-versus-Achilles'-son subplot in Exile tied off too easily. All of the main characters just felt over-powered.

And don't get me started on the Formic Wars books. The first one (2012's Earth Unaware) put me off the series for life. The physics were just so nails-on-blackboard bad. The idea that ships in interplanetary space need to come to a stop (relative to where, exactly?) before a spacewalk...arghhhh! You get the impression that he thought ships docking in space would be like semi-trucks side-by-side on the highway, fraught with danger and the risk of swerving or getting blown off course by the wind. What happened to the Ender's Game author who so thoroughly grasped zero-gee combat and advised us that the enemy's gate is down? Is he getting lazy, or arrogant, or not listening to his beta readers, or what?

I didn't find out about Card's execrable views until after I had already paid for, and was thoroughly irritated with, the weakness of his later books. I can get my pulp somewhere else; learning about his hateful attitudes (and actions) just cemented a pre-existing feeling that sending him more royalties was a poor investment for me.

Comment Re:The Sad Puppies won. (Score 1) 1044

The Sad Puppies won. Yes, they didn't win a single award -- in fact, some really good works lost to No Award, seemingly just to spite them.

But that was the point. seems to me that they created circumstances where they could pick a narrative claiming "victory" no matter what the outcome was.

If they hadn't successfully stuffed the nominations with their slate(s), then they would have claimed victory type #1: The SJW cabal is too powerful, and their conspiracy has suppressed our nominations!

Since they did successfully stuff a number of nomination categories, they claimed victory type #2: The SJW cabal was too powerful in past years. It took a dedicated bloc of True SF Fans to get Real Stories on the ballot!

If they had successfully won Hugo awards with their stuffed nominations, they would have claimed victory type #2A: Our nominations of previously-suppressed Real Stories were what Real Fans really wanted, representing the sort of works that the SJW cabal has been keeping off the ballot. This outcome is arguably the only one that would have lent meaningful-but-inconclusive support to their original thesis (that SJW cabal members have been skewing the Hugos).

Since they lost the Hugo awards for all of their stuffed categories (resulting in no award), they have claimed victory type #2B: Despite nominating Real Stories for Real Fans, the SJW cabal's concerted effort to suppress us during voting was effective. We have thereby shown that the award is hollow, and our (super secret) goal of destroying the SJW Hugo is a success!

It's worth noting that Victory #2B wasn't the victory that the Puppies (Sad or Rabid) announced at the beginning (or in the middle) of their campaign. It's just the sour-grapes face-saving revision they started using recently, when they realized that Hugo voters weren't going to give awards to a bunch of not-very-good stories.

Comment Re:Fill the plane to the absolute brim? (Score 1) 373

If you plan to cram even more seats into the plane, and then fill it up with passengers and luggage to its maximum take-off weight, then this is a good idea.

So are they actually getting anywhere near doing this? Last I checked, the answer was no.

I think the idea is that they would like to be able to do this. Air freight is a respectable chunk of revenue even aboard "passenger" aircraft. Maximizing that revenue would be desirable for the airline.

Of course, it's also not necessarily about getting to the maximum allowable takeoff weight. If you're underweight (and know by how much) you can carry less fuel, which saves weight, which means you burn less fuel for a given distance travelled. Cutting the fuel bill by a few percent gets into some real money.

Comment Re:Why is safety in scare quotes? (Score 3, Informative) 373

Why should people that don't drive as much subsidize those that do through road taxes?

They don't. This is what taxes on gasoline are for.

Actually, in the United States the largest share - roughly half - of the cost of roads comes from general revenues, not from user-specific taxes and fees. For example, in 2010, state and local governments spent $153 billion on roads. They collected $41 billion in fuel taxes and $13 billion in tolls and other transportation-related non-fuel taxes and charges related to usage. Another $23 billion was paid in vehicle licensing charges (your flat "access" fee). The remaining $76 billion comes from general revenues. (And then there's an infrastructure deficit - deferred maintenance, repair, and replacements - that isn't being paid for right now but is accumulating nevertheless. Right now we're something like $300 billion in the hole just for bridges which need to be replaced.)

So yeah, non-drivers are very much subsidizing the driving population. One can certainly make an argument that the overall economic benefit of having a functional road system is good for society as a whole, but don't for one minute try to suggest that drivers are actually paying their own way.

Comment Re:Inadequate Buffer (Score 1) 142

100 feet of buffer is inadequate. How the hell do you measure your AGL when you're flying? You either use a radar altimeter ($25K installed on an airplane worth $20K) or you use the baro altimeter, which has an acceptable calibration error, plus the local altimeter setting (atmospheric pressure) which has an error band, and there's error because you're not right over the reporting station.

Well, if you had a good GPS receiver and sufficiently detailed topographic maps on board you could also guesstimate AGL that way--but I agree that it's still a dubious and non-robust approach. And your radar altimeter doesn't have to run $25K if it only needs to work up to a few hundred feet and only be "hobbyist" or "drone" rated.

But really, forget measurement--that's probably not even the biggest problem. I suspect that it would be very technically challenging for these craft to physically maintain their permitted altitude. A good gust, an up- or down-draft, and your plus-or-minus 100 feet goes by in no time.

"Live or die, I'll make a million." -- Reebus Kneebus, before his jump to the center of the earth, Firesign Theater