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Comment: Re:Sunk Costs (Score 1) 21

by JanneM (#46802403) Attached to: $42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

Idk about you, but I'd think an obvious robot hand would be easier to deal with than a fake looking piece of plastic mimicking a human hand.

It's probably impossible to know until you are actually in the same situation. There have been highly functional, highly useful hand prosthesis long before robotics - the classical hook is just one example - but the vast majority of patients have always preferred a hand mimic, even when it is completely nonfunctional and even when the mimiry is far from perfect.

Not getting stared at, and fitting in, is critically important to people, in this case as in others. Should'nt be too surprising when you think about it in such terms.

Comment: Re:I prefer to browse real bookstores (Score 2) 83

by JanneM (#46744263) Attached to: Seattle Bookstores Embrace Amazon.com

Welcome to the minority you share with the employees at Amazon HQ.

What minority? Most people do work or have other income sources (even though unemployment is alarmingly high the world over). And my income is slightly less than the average for people my age where I live.

My point was that books are not an expensive indulgence; not in absolute terms and not compared to other everyday extras ranging from movie tickets, coffee-shop coffe or music buys, to weekend beers or tobacco.

I'm not saying the price difference doesn't matter for anybody, or for any kind of book. I am saying that for many people the limit for book buying is not how many books you can afford, but how many you have time to read. And after all, if you're hard up for cash, used book stores or the library are excellent sources for reading material as well, and cheaper still than Amazon.
 

Comment: Re:I prefer to browse real bookstores (Score 2) 83

by JanneM (#46744129) Attached to: Seattle Bookstores Embrace Amazon.com

After you browsed through the real bookstores, where did you buy them?

I usually both browse and buy at real bookstores. In fact, I sometimes browse on Amazon (the ratings are very useful), then buy at the bookstore.

Why? Because even when the price difference is large, the absolute price is still quite low. Besides, these days the price difference often isn't actually very large anymore, once you add the cost of shipping. The difference may be that of a plain cup of coffee or less for a book I may spend weeks enjoying. And I can get the book right then, right there, not have to wait for shipping and schedule a pick-up time.

I work and I have disposable income. I don't, however, have a lot of free time. I can buy far more books than I will ever have time to read without making much of a dent in my personal play money. The limit is not money but time. Books I can't find elsewhere I order from Amazon or Rakuten, but otherwise I prefer the physical store.

Comment: Re:Singapore (Score 1) 386

by JanneM (#46722851) Attached to: UN Report Reveals Odds of Being Murdered Country By Country

So what about Japan then? That's a large, heavily populated country with both huge urban conglomerates and a sparsely populated countryside. Or Sweden, about the same size, with a diverse mix of cultures.

Of course, there's relatively small income equality in both cases. it would be intereting to see how income inequality correlates with murder rate in general. I wouldn't be too surprised if it turns out to be as important as, or even more important than, average income itself.

Comment: Solving the wrong problem (Score 2) 273

by JanneM (#46661253) Attached to: Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

The post says the total number of exits is fixed. You're just shuffling the order of the queue. A limited benefit, if any benefit at all - the people in the general queue will wait even longer, with more breakdowns and medical emergencies as a result.

And the post itself mentions the solution: Make off-site parking more viable so more people get in and out on buses. That would benefit everybody, rather than pitching one subgroup against another.

Comment: Re:One thing's for sure... (Score 1) 870

by JanneM (#46581235) Attached to: Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

In the longer term you're absolutely right. And in the longer term I don't think automation is an overall bad thing. I suspect that those of us in the industrialized world will be in for a rude awakening when we realize that it's the developing countries that will reap most of the benefits, but that's a digression.

What I meant with my comment was that the only people that benefit specifically from lowering wages* to stave off automation are the employers. It's a short-term event - buying people a few years or so - and effectively won't be reflected in the long-term price level changes. And the effect on the wage level spreads to areas that are not otherwise immediately affected by automation. The employers are effectively reaping the benefit of automation a bit early; a margin profit that we're unlikely to see.

* Wages can be lowered in other ways than reducing the pay. Adding to the workload, no compensation for inflation, more responsibility, night or shift work, or split shifts; they are all effectively the same as lowering the wage.

Comment: Re:One thing's for sure... (Score 1) 870

by JanneM (#46580873) Attached to: Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

"The higher the minimum wage, the more incentive there will be to automate those minimum-wage jobs.

The wage really doesn't matter. What matters is if automation is able to do the job at all - where "able" of course includes social acceptance and other non-technical factors as well. But once you are able to replace it, the cost of that replacement will drop, and will drop below the human wage sooner or later.

Trying to race automation to the cost bottom is an exercise in futility; it's a race humans will not win. The only ones that benefit from it are the employers that get cheaper labour faster as a result.

Comment: Re:Bad news for ecologists--new license needed (Score 4, Insightful) 136

by JanneM (#46339669) Attached to: Major Scientific Journal Publisher Requires Public Access To Data

On the other hand, if I don't have your data I can't check your results. If you want to keep your data secret for a decade, you really should plan to not publish anything relying on it for that time either. Release all the papers when you release the data.

Also, who gets to decide when a study is a replication and when it is a new result? Few replication attempts are doing exactly the same thing as the original paper, for good reason. If you want to see if it holds up you want to use different analysis or similar anyway. And "use" data? What if another group produces their own data and compares with yours? Is that "using" the data? What if they compare your published results? Is that using it?

A partial solution, I think, is for a group such as yours to pre-plan the data use already when collecting it. So you decide from start to publish a subset of that data early and publish papers based on that. Then publish another subset for further results and so on.

But what we really need is for data to be fully citeable. A way to publish the data as a reserach result by itself - perhaps the data, together with a paper describing it (but not any analysis). ANyone is free to use the data for their own research, but will of course cite you when they do. A good, serious data set can probably rack up more citations than just about any paper out there. That will give the producers the scientific credit it deserves.

Comment: Re:Robots are incapable of evil (Score 1) 176

by JanneM (#46328273) Attached to: Apocalypse NAO: College Studies the Theological Ramifications of Robotics

People project personhood on lots of things already. Apart from the obvious - search the net for what people think about their roombas - even stuff like cars are designed to evoke it. And it's not as if there's been a dearth of research on these issues already.

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