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Comment: Re:What whas the problem in the first place? (Score 5, Insightful) 250

by ObsessiveMathsFreak (#47271863) Attached to: TrueCrypt Author Claims That Forking Is Impossible

Reading between the lines here, it seems fairly probable that Truecrypt has either

a) Very serious security bugs, or
b) Had backdoors introduced by the NSA.(Does Truecrypt use elliptic curve cryptography?)

In either event the code is basically tainted and shouldn't be used for any future projects.

The vague and sometimes bizzare nature of the statements from the Truecrypt dev team, including this one, lead me to believe that they have been placed under a standard NSA gagging order and have decided to burn Truecrypt rather than see it be turned against its users. Comments like "Forking is Impossibe" appear to be an open code for communicating that they are essentially unable to communicate, but that Truecrypt is no longer a trustworthy piece of software.

Reading though the Lavabit case, it's clear that those placed under NSA gagging orders have very, very little room for legal/media maneuver, but nevertheless still retain the freedom to walk away from their projects and tell others not to use them. Such actions appear to be the last defense of cryptographers in the US, and I think that is what we're seeing with Truecrypt.

Comment: Space (Score 2) 170

Launch the data into oputer space on a satellite, programmed to transmit the data after a set time period. For best results, send the machine on a massive period orbit to the outer solar system, or in a pinch, crash land it it on the Moon or Mars.

Governments will either have to give up, or else fund massive space project. Either way, we win.

AI

Data Center With a Brain: Google Using Machine Learning In Server Farms 26

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the skynet-online dept.
1sockchuck (826398) writes "Google has begun using machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze the oceans of data it collects about its server farms and recommend ways to improve them. Google data center executive Joe Kava said the use of neural networks will allow Google to reach new frontiers in efficiency in its server farms, moving beyond what its engineers can see and analyze. Google's data centers aren't yet ready to drive themselves. But the new tools have been able to predict Google's data center performance with 99.96 percent accuracy."

Comment: Re:danger will robinson (Score 1) 688

by ObsessiveMathsFreak (#47084263) Attached to: Professors: US "In Denial" Over Poor Maths Standards

321
- 148.

Doing this in your head the traditional way would be hard.

I would not do it in my head. I would take out a pen and a piece of paper, and slowly work through the problem step by step until I had a final answer I was confident in. If the pen was in front of me, I'd probably finish faster than someone trying in their head, and I'd be guaranteed to be more accurate into the bargin.

Mental arithmetic should not be the goal of primary education, outside of the times tables. Children need to learn methods which reward care, patience and effort to find the final answer. This has benefits beyond the classroom.

Comment: Re:danger will robinson (Score 1) 688

by ObsessiveMathsFreak (#47084241) Attached to: Professors: US "In Denial" Over Poor Maths Standards

A kid shouldn't be allowed out of sixth grade if they cannot quickly answer the following questions:

40 - 16
8 * 9
1/2 - 1/3

I must disagree here. Quick mental proficiency should not be the ultimate goal. (Times tables excepted)

What should be expected of a sixth grade student is that they be able to take out pen and paper, and carefully through systematic methods to obtain the correct answer. In addition to this, they should have enough sense of number to know whether the answer is reasonable.

Pen and paper proficiency should be preferred over all other mathematical skills in primary education. Students should feel confident in their own ability to, with patience and care, work out the answer themselves.

Comment: Re:danger will robinson (Score 1) 688

by ObsessiveMathsFreak (#47084191) Attached to: Professors: US "In Denial" Over Poor Maths Standards

You can teach kids to do the "borrowing" from the next column, and they will be able to do it, but they won't understand why they are doing it, which is a bad precedent to set.

There comes a point in mathematics, at all levels, where understanding of "why" needs to stop and being able to "do" becomes more important. Ultimately, we learn mathematics so that we can actually solve problems, learn technologies which make calculation simpler and which given us a robust platform for moving on to more powerful techniques.

A student who needs to use the Common Core methods to add and subtract will forever be hobbled as they progress through mathematics. While they may "understand" these simple operations, in practical terms they will be solving questions with a screwdriver instead of the power-drill they could have learned to use instead.

This isn't a subtle point or academic issue.

Of course you need to know the shortcut way to do it, but if you learn just that then you won't really be learning division, you will just be learning an algorithm which gives you the answer.

I think Dijkstra's quote about long division in Medieval universities is relevant here. It's worth noting that the invention of logarithms, printing of their tables, and their "rote" application to multiplcation, division and exponentiation is regarded as one of the keystones of the scientific revolution. We can talk about understanding until the cows come home, but at the end of the day we do need to teach students how to "do" things, and give them the tools to do them quickly and accurately.

Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment. -- Robert Benchley

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