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Comment Donations never replace real funding. (Score 1) 159

Great. 500000$ are maybe 20 teachers (without infrastructure) for 1 year. It is indeed great that Google donates money to schools and I do not want to belittle that fact. However phrases like these leave me baffled:

  Google aren't prepared to wait for government or someone else to fix the problems...

Not Google, nor any other private company or entity is going to fix the education system. That is the whole point of having public schools. Without the state committing to education you are screwed. There is not a single example in history where a private education system succeeded in the long run.

The Internet

Submission + - the piratebay launches free vpn

bs0d3 writes: The Piratebay team is going to be making the RIAA angry, with the launch of a new ad supported VPN service. PrivitizeVPN is available for free from thepiratebay. Instead of earning revenue through subscription as ipredator does, PrivitizeVPN comes packaged to install babylon search bar (adware). PrivitizeVPN appears to be available for windows users only at the moment. The Piratebay staff has a long history of promoting services that have no logs; e.g. , you can't get in trouble if your anonymized ip is subpoenaed by government officials. Although PrivitizeVPN is being released silently, with no press coverage, no official statement, and no comments from The Piratebay of any kind, people are assuming that PrivitizeVPN will have the same familiar data protection policies. A backup download location has been setup here for people who have limited access to thepiratebay domain.
Science

Submission + - The Sweet Mystery of Science

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Biologist David P. Barash writes in the LA Times that as a scientist he has been participating in a deception for more than four decades — a benevolent and well intentioned deception — but a deception nonetheless. "When scientists speak to the public or to students, we talk about what we know, what science has discovered," writes Barash. "After all, we work hard deciphering nature's secrets and we're proud whenever we succeed. But it gives the false impression that we know pretty much everything, whereas the reality is that there's a whole lot more that we don't know." Teaching and writing only about what is known risks turning science into a mere catalog of established facts, suggesting that "knowing" science is a matter of memorizing says Barash. "It is time, therefore, to start teaching courses, giving lectures and writing books about what we don't know about biology, chemistry, geology, physics, mathematics." Barash isn't talking about the obvious unknowns, such as "Is there life on other planets?" Looking just at his field, evolutionary biology, the unknowns are immense: How widespread are nonadaptive traits? To what extent does evolution proceed by very small, gradual steps versus larger, quantum jumps? What is the purpose of all that "junk DNA"? Did human beings evolve from a single lineage, or many times, independently? Why does homosexuality persist? According to Barash scientists need to keep celebrating and transmitting what they know but also need to keep their eyes on what science doesn't know if the scientific enterprise is to continue attracting new adherents who will keep pushing the envelope of our knowledge rather than resting satisfied within its cozy boundaries. As Richard Dawkins writes: "Mystics exult in mystery and want it to stay mysterious. Scientists exult in mystery for a different reason: It gives them something to do.""

Comment Re:Nonlinear least squares for dummies? (Score 3, Informative) 44

Least squares is also often used in parameter fitting. Suppose you have a simulation with an somehow unknown parameter p. First you use a first guess as a value of p. That you run your simulation and get observed values y_obs.

Now you compare the computed values y_obs with the measured values y_mes using squares: cost = (y_obs - y_mes)^2.

By computing d p / d cost you may adapt p and redo the above steps till the squares are minimized... thus a least squares problem.

Comment Re:New economy - post industrial age (Score 1) 373

This is too simple as an explanation for me. People as those on the streets during the London riots are the espected long-term effect of 30 years of Thatcherism. They are not "well-fed" in terms of dignity and education. To just name a few lacking key features of a sane human being. Of course they can shovel in burgers and PS3 games all day long.

Comment Re:thanks for whoring quants (Score 1) 339

This sounds rather narrow minded to me. We just live in a society of human beings. That's the way it is. You benefit from a lot of achievements done by other people. In fact I assume that most of us profit more from the achievements of other people than the other way around. At least this holds true for myself.

After any salary raise, you will have less money at the end of the month than you did before.

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