Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:It's a Fire Sale (Score 3, Funny) 134

Tobias: Oh, my God, we’re having a fire. Sale. Oh, the burning! It burns me! Evacuate all the schoolchildren! (Screaming. Singing “Amazing Grace.”) This isn’t a fever! (Continues singing.) Can’t even see where the knob is! (Dramatic sigh.) And scene.

Roger Danish: Um... would you like to try that a little simpler... maybe?

Tobias: No.

Comment: Re:Reading vs writing (Score 1) 161

by RadioElectric (#46325695) Attached to: The Neuroscience of Computer Programming

The neuroscience doesn't lie: the region of the language processing center lights up; portions of programming are similar to foreign languages.

Woah, hang on there! "The neuroscience" is NOT some fMRI data figure showing a bit of the brain being more active in one condition than it is in some other condition. Neuroscience is a set of theories, skills, and tools that allow us to ask and answer such questions as: "What conditions do we scan patients under in order to isolate the effect we are interested in?" "What does the strength and location of the BOLD signal we pick up in our fMRI scan actually mean?", and "How can these results be interpreted in a higher-level framework for how these cognitive tasks are performed?"

Trying to pick faults in this study is part of "the neuroscience".

You want to see bits of the brain "lighting up"? You're going to need to get some genetically modified mice. If you want to understand the brain it's not that simple.

Comment: Re:sensationalism (Score 1) 212

by RadioElectric (#45329349) Attached to: Tesco To Use Face Detection Technology For In-Store Advertising

This is not facial recognition attached to a database of faces.

Not yet.


And "not soon" either. The performance of face recognition systems with large databases is pretty terrible. I recommend checking out Peter Kovesi's talk on why "Video Surveillance is Useless" for identification.

Comment: He seems to have it completely back-asswards... (Score 1) 564

by RadioElectric (#44109995) Attached to: Why Engineering Freshmen Should Take Humanities Courses
He may have found a way to teach the humanities that "give you uncertainty, doubt and skepticism" but those concepts are fundamental to understanding how science works and students should be getting them in their science courses. As much as some scientific education is didactic fact-loading, it is equally possible to deliver a humanities course which is dogmatic - and possibly more common seeing as the route between a text and its accepted interpretation might be significantly more difficult to lead a student through than the route between some scientific evidence and the theory that it supports.

I am also confused at how him defining psychology as a "soft" science then allows him to lump it in with the humanities?

Comment: Re:Well, I never (Score 1) 47

Here's a good impartial look from somebody who understands debt:

Point 8

"Many people worry that with the much higher levels of student debt, cash will be too tightly squeezed to live on once post-2012 starters graduate. Yet actually, today's university starters will have MORE cash in their pockets each month than those students who've just graduated. Graduates who started their course before Sept 2012, repay 9% of everything earned above £15,795. Those starting in 2012 and beyond see that increased to £21,000. That means those earning above the £21,000 threshold have £470-a-year more in their pockets than now."

Point 20

"The maximum possible loan combining tuition fees and maintenance is £16,675 a year; £50,000 over a three-year course. This is a frightening amount, and indeed many are frightened of it. Yet it's important to not just jump at this figure, but look at it in regards to how much of that you'll actually have to repay. In fact, when you examine this debt, it's far more like an additional tax than a loan for the following reasons:
It's repaid through the income tax system
You only repay it if you earn over a certain amount
The amount repaid increases with earnings
It does not go on credit files
Debt collectors will not chase for it
Bigger borrowing doesn't increase repayments
Many people will continue to repay for the majority of their working life"

Comment: Re:Well, I never (Score 2, Insightful) 47

by RadioElectric (#43546045) Attached to: British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg 'Kills' Snoopers Charter
The new system is "a fairer alternative" to the previous system for people on low incomes however. The number of people from the lowest economic stratum applying to university has increased under the new system. One of the major issues it has introduced, claims that young people can "no longer afford to go to university", is an atrocious lie that will cause more harm than the system it is attempting to attack.

I have problems with how the change in funding arrangements will affect universities structurally (further marketisation) but to the students it is arguably a better deal. The only case I am aware of where it does cause problems is where students are taking a second undergraduate degree (which the state is not obliged to give them a cushy loan for).

Comment: Re:How I feel about this (Score 1) 118

by RadioElectric (#43102821) Attached to: <em>Planescape: Torment</em> Successor Funded In 6 Hours
Although you shouldn't think of it this way if you don't want to get burned eventually, people see funding a Kickstarter as an investment they put in to get something back from it. With science that wouldn't work, because you cannot honestly guarantee that you will get a result. It's the wrong format. I wonder about the relationship between Kickstarter games and illegal downloading. It would not surprise me if Kickstarted games avoided some of the losses that normally come from pirates ripping the software off because people need to put the money in initially for the project to get funded. You cannot count on pirating the sequel to Torment because if not enough people pay for it then it won't get made etc. Even if it is already funded, your own money going into it will add more capacity and make the game better.

Comment: Re:Well no shit (Score 1) 118

by RadioElectric (#43102801) Attached to: <em>Planescape: Torment</em> Successor Funded In 6 Hours
I agree, Dreamfall was a disappointment. It felt like work to get through, and most of that was fueled by my love of TLJ. The gameplay was awful (and hard! I don't know many people who bothered to finish it because there were some sequences that were a brick wall difficulty-wise), and the story finished with a very unsatisfying cliffhanger ending. For a couple of years after I played it I would have been excited to find out what happened next. Now though I have kind-of written it off. If I hear it is good when it comes out I will pick it up.

Comment: Re:Don't apes have colour vision ? (Score 1) 97

by RadioElectric (#42795509) Attached to: Glasses That Hack Around Colorblindness
I don't subscribe to Changizi's theory, but that objection doesn't really work. Apes do not have infinitely dark faces where no changes in colour can be distinguished. It's not necessarily all about the face anyway. I happened to have Changizi's book on the shelf next to me and he does address this... sort of.

Comment: Re:iterative innovation (Score 3, Insightful) 417

by RadioElectric (#42760433) Attached to: Are There Any Real Inventors Left?
I think what is frequently seen as a "breakthrough invention" is actually judged from an instrumental perspective. Does the thing you've created either satisfy a recognised need (frequently these "inventions" are called "discoveries"), or does it create a new need (for example, that for instantaneous voice communication over long distances)? I think one of the driving factors is that in the rich parts of the developed western world there aren't many long-standing needs left to be met. New things have come along but they require more separate people and technologies involved to make them work. The ability to be continuously connected to an all-pervading mobile internet service is, I think, the latest of these invented "needs".

Administration: An ingenious abstraction in politics, designed to receive the kicks and cuffs due to the premier or president. -- Ambrose Bierce