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Submission + - But are they getting rid of Vine Reviews? (slashdot.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Amazon recently announced that they are overhauling their review system. As previously covered on slashdot, many of the reviews from Vine Reviewers are a joke. Ever since reading that article, then the reviews on the book linked to in the article, then following the removal and then reinsertion of the poor reviews, along with Amazon's treating the slashdotted book as if it had been the target of bury brigade, rather than determining whether the reviewers had simply caught the attention of a community that actually understood what the book was about and attempted to alert Amazon customers to the issue, I've started paying close attention to products that have Vine Reviews, and I have to say that this component is possibly the worst of any review system.

A recent example that I came across is Amazon Vine Reviewer cortezhill. I saw a 5-star book review that was nothing but content quoted from the book, followed by "--- excerpt from book's Introduction." I only had to browse to page 4 of the user's reviews to find a review that was not a glowing 5-star review of an item. This is simply the stupidest part of any review system I have ever heard of: send people free stuff and receive positive reviews. Isn't this what review apparatus is supposed to protect against? Amazon's keeping it provides complete transparency on their objective.

Submission + - Using Nonsense Math to Trick Non-Math Majors (sjdm.org)

MyFirstNameIsPaul writes: "Abstract from a paper titled "The Nonsense Math Effect," by Emmo Eriksson: Mathematics is a fundamental tool of research. Although potentially applicable in every discipline, the amount of training in mathematics that students typically receive varies greatly between different disciplines. In those disciplines where most researchers do not master mathematics, the use of mathematics may be held in too much awe. To demonstrate this I conducted an online experiment with 200 participants, all of which had experience of reading research reports and a postgraduate degree (in any subject). Participants were presented with the abstracts from two published papers (one in evolutionary anthropology and one in sociology). Based on these abstracts, participants were asked to judge the quality of the research. Either one or the other of the two abstracts was manipulated through the inclusion of an extra sentence taken from a completely unrelated paper and presenting an equation that made no sense in the context. The abstract that included the meaningless mathematics tended to be judged of higher quality. However, this "nonsense math effect" was not found among participants with degrees in mathematics, science, technology or medicine."

Submission + - InTrade bans U.S. customers. (intrade.com)

MyFirstNameIsPaul writes: "In an announcement dated Monday, Nov 26, 2012, Dublin based InTrade stated "that due to legal and regulatory pressures, Intrade can no longer allow US residents to participate in our real-money prediction markets." The Washington Post reports that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed a complaint in federal court against InTrade for "illegally facilitating bets on future economic data, the price of gold and even acts of war," demonstrating just how far the long arm of U.S. law can reach."

Submission + - Analysis of CRU Files Concludes They Were Leaked (smalldeadanimals.com) 3

MyFirstNameIsPaul writes: Through an analysis of the files themselves, and not their content, Lance Levsen concludes that the CRU files were leaked. Here is his conclusion:

"It is most likely that the FOI Officer at the University put it on an anonymous ftp server or that it resided on a shared folder that many people had access to and some curious individual looked at it.

If as some say, this was a targeted crack, then the cracker would have had to have back-doors and access to every machine at UEA and not just the CRU. It simply isn't reasonable for the FOI Officer to have kept the collection on a CRU system where CRU people had access, but rather used a UEA system.

Occam's razor concludes that "the simplest explanation or strategy tends to be the best one". The simplest explanation in this case is that someone at UEA found it and released it to the wild and the release of FOIA2009.zip wasn't because of some hacker, but because of a leak from UEA by a person with scruples."

The significance being that a leak indicates a worker unhappy with the integrity of the organization. Or someone who likes ot make big messes.

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