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Comment: No, the liberal arts are too easy (Score 1) 580

Every major field that's taught in university has vastly more information than can be taught to students. The STEM fields are hardly unique that way.

What's odd is that the science and technology majors make an effort to push students as hard as possible, and the other majors choose not to. Look back on the standards at schools 100 years ago and you'll often see that the liberal arts curium seems way more difficult and thorough than it is today.

Comment: Assuming they use cookies (Score 1) 177

by NitWit005 (#44197769) Attached to: Student Project Could Kill Digital Ad Targeting
A lot of ad platforms already have a non-cookie mechanism working. Storing hashes of user agent and IP address is common. You have to go through a proxy or otherwise change IP address for that not to work. It's easy to find services advertising this as a feature: http://www.ipfingerprint.com/we_dont_use_cookies.aspx The truth is that cookies aren't that great for tracking. People want to know your activity across browsers and devices. That requires using additional information like phone unique identifier (sent by apps), website logins, billing address fields, coupon usage, and so on. That information can be tied together to track you. You're not going to be able to prevent that kind of tracking by messing with cookies.

Comment: Re:Computers can't bluff (Score 1) 352

by NitWit005 (#43473745) Attached to: Why Self-Driving Cars Are Still a Long Way Down the Road
Google's cars already have some social interactions like this built in. If it's at a 4 way intersection with stop signs and people aren't obeying the rules to let it through, it will eventually assert itself just like a human driver would. Any defensive behavior a human does is programmable. They're all fairly simple when you get right down to it.

Comment: Perception Issue (Score 1) 208

by NitWit005 (#43145827) Attached to: The Hypocrisy In Silicon Valley's Big Talk On Innovation
There is definitely less risk taking, but there is a big issue of perception. Things just don't seem mind blowing after a while, even if there is tons of work left to be done in that area. You see this again and again: cars got boring, planes got boring, nuclear energy got boring, space flight got boring. Everything gets boring eventually. Most computing related areas have lost their cultural edge. It's hard to pitch things as being innovative, even if they really are, and have people buy the idea.

Comment: I'd question "unwittingly" (Score 1) 473

by NitWit005 (#43145737) Attached to: Facebook Knows If You're Gay, Use Drugs, Or Are a Republican
I'm going to go ahead and suggest that most people know the message they are sending when they like a page like "Republican National Comittie" or "GAY SEX CLIPs". The whole point of liking it is to 'tell the world'. In fact, if my wall is any indication, that's the ONLY reason people like things. Okay, that and websites that trick them into it.

Comment: You'll probably be horrified at the cost (Score 2) 238

by NitWit005 (#43022553) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should We Have the Option of Treating Google Like a Utility?

People underestimate how much is spent advertising to them. At one point the New York Times had an article on Facebook that noted you were only worth $5 a year to Facebook, when the NYTimes was getting $1000 annually per subscriber with their "declining" print business.

Would you pay $1000 annually for the New York Times? Probably not. Newspapers used to be very expensive and people rarely bought them. The model of putting ads in them caused a huge surge in sales. The ads were annoying as hell, they didn't cost you anything personally.

There are paid competitors to many Google products. People chose to use free versions with ads instead.

Comment: Re:Stop worrying about Google. (Score 2) 238

by NitWit005 (#43022507) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should We Have the Option of Treating Google Like a Utility?

The behavior tracking services that I've seen also anonymize it . They generally require that you use some gibberish ID for the person, or do some sort of ID sync where you tell them what IDs you want to use for each person.

Where you often see a mapping to individual humans is with opt-in databases. Think of the act of signing up for an Amazon account, Safeway card or something similar. You've told them your name and where you live and they know exactly what you've purchased.

Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell

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