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Comment Re:Who needs a startup? (Score 2) 25

As Richard Horton put in his essay (What is medicine's 5-sigma), 'As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”'. There is pressure for 'measurable progress'. This has a number of nasty side effects. Things which do not lead directly to publishable results fall by the wayside, and things which serve no other purpose than to potentially explain desirable results as experimental errors, again, offer little which would result in 'measurable progress'. More and more, career scientists are being forced to chase jobs and funding, and to either produce what will yield future funding, or find a new career. Somebody who takes three times as long to produce less remarkable results, and at greater financial cost, will most likely struggle for work. Somebody who does enough to get published, and gets twice as much published in the same time, and costing less, will appear to be better to financial pen-pushers. This places a negative pressure on standards.

Comment 30,000 KWh per year? (Score 2) 212

Doing the maths, that works out at a continuous average of 3.4KW, which is slightly more than a single 13A socket in the UK. If we multiply by 3 (an overcompensation) assuming that those 30,000 KWh are collected during 8 hours of each day, that is still only enough to simultaneously run 3 kettles.

Comment Thoughts (Score 1) 238

Some thoughts:

Ultimately, maths, despite its abstract nature, is a human endeavour practised by humans. Humans have emotions. They like fun, joy, beauty etc. and dislike boredom. Once somebody dislikes maths, forcing them to learn can make them dislike it a lot, and quickly. Thus the fun and joy part are of critical importance. Knowing the territory where the child is exploring, and being able to guide them gently, but let them explore, is important.

Some books like Ian Stewart's 'Cabinet of curiosities' and suchlike, and Knuth's surreal numbers are worth _you_ having, and having a look through, so as to have ideas and exposition lying around for in future (assuming the child stays interested in maths). Likewise, fractals and fractal generators are worth having handy. For me, (back in the early 90s), the curiosity sparked by the brief history in the fractint documentation did a lot to lead me to do maths at uni.

In short, cultivating a child's interest in maths, science and computers is a long process, and it is worth thinking a long way ahead. And for as long as possible, being a fellow traveller who knows the road a few steps ahead is a good thing.

Comment Re:My favorite quote (Score 2) 76

The only issue with the quote is 'just'. Any recursive process is a feedback loop, feeding the state at stage n as input to produce the state at stage n+1. Likewise, any dynamical system is 'just' a feedback loop, the state at time t being input to a set of rules that determine the state at time t+dt (before you do the limiting stuff, though you can use nonstandard analysis to avoid issues with dt being infinitely small).

Something as complex as consciousness would surely be impossible in the absence of feedback loops.

Comment One of my favourite applications of CGI... (Score 1) 232

One of my favourite applications of CGI is in the Les Miserables movie. You'll struggle to spot it, but the actors sing with clip on microphones, so that the performance can be captured in one take, with long, medium and close cameras and microphones. Visible microphones were then airbrushed out. (This, at least, is what the Sound on Sound article on it said.) The trouble with CGi is that, what is the state of the art 10 years ago is within reach of a hobbyist today. But non-CGI special effects that take great effort still take great effort.

Comment Re:Is it solved then? (Score 1) 117

Think before you type... 10^1=10 has TWO digits, and ONE zero _after_ the 1. 10^2 =100 has THREE digits, and TWO zeros _after_ the 1. So 10^48 has 49 digits, and in base 10 has a 1 followed by 48 digits. But yes, so big we don't have a sensible 'giga' or 'mega' adjective even for the base10 logarithm...

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