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Comment: Re:Why not? (Re:No. Just no.) (Score 1) 204

>strangely enough there's a section in the constitution that actually makes vague laws of no effect. Can't remember the section.

That's funny.

Vague laws are the bread and butter of prosecutors.

If you want to read more on the subject, check out the book Three Felonies a Day.

Comment: Re:Why not? (Re:No. Just no.) (Score 2) 204

by ShakaUVM (#48265649) Attached to: Is the Outrage Over the FBI's Seattle Times Tactics a Knee-Jerk Reaction?

>Does not apply to sting operations...

Your reference says nothing about wire fraud.

Here's the actual law -

"Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both"

It's malleable enough that prosecutors can make it apply to basically anyone.

Comment: Models of the Heart (Score 1) 61

by ShakaUVM (#48265139) Attached to: Why Every Cardiac Patient Needs a Virtual Heart

I used to work in the "new" field of computational medicine about 15 years. (Is 15 years new? I don't think so - and some of those heart models well before my time.) The Cardiac Mechanics Computational Group at UCSD, if anyone cares.

Personalized medicine was a very big driver for the models we were working on. You could introduce ischemias or other defects into the modeled heart tissue and observe how it changed the propagation of potentials across the tissue surfaces.

I personally worked on smaller models of just one heart cell, with the purpose being that you could see what the impact various drugs would have without needing to do millions of dollars of testing. Got a drug you know will change the sodium permiability or whatever? Alter the constant in the model, and run it. Proctor and Gamble funded the research that funded me, and was pretty happy with the results, I think.

Comment: Re:Impressive (Score 1) 216

by ShakaUVM (#48219017) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

>Yes, his accent was horrible.

Yeah. I flinched at it. And his sentences were pretty basic. (Wo tai tai shi zhong guo ren, for example.)

That said, it's a nice gesture. When I went to China, people were constantly surprised at seeing a foreigner speak their language. It's a really diplomatic move on his part.

Comment: Re:Fox News? (Score 1) 460

by ShakaUVM (#48045269) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

In the lead up to the war, yes, old munitions were one of the big reasons for invading. Remember all the weapons inspectors kicking around Iraq?

And no, they're not duds. They were degraded, not harmless. They could still deal a lot of damage.

In any event, the point is that people keep pointing to this issue as an area where Fox viewers are misinformed, but in reality, it is the other crowd that has it wrong.

Comment: Re:Fox News? (Score 1) 460

by ShakaUVM (#48022903) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

>False equivalence. Although equal airtime for all views is silly, Fox intentionally distorts facts and dialog to fit their agenda. WMD's in Iraq? A certainty, well after all the other news outlets have given up on that

This is a meme that unfortunately puts you on the wrong side of the truth. WMDs were found in Iraq - their old chemical weapons stores were not all destroyed, as promised.

'On June 21, 2006 the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released key points from a classified report from the National Ground Intelligence Center on the recovery of a small number of degraded chemical munitions in Iraq. The report stated that "Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent." All are thought to be pre-Gulf War munitions.

These munitions meet the technical definition of weapons of mass destruction, according to the commander of the National Ground Intelligence Center. "These are chemical weapons as defined under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and yes ... they do constitute weapons of mass destruction," Army Col. John Chu told the House Armed Services Committee. The munitions addressed in the report were produced in the 1980s, according to Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples. Badly corroded, they could not currently be used as originally intended, though agent remaining in the weapons would be very valuable to terrorists and insurgents, Maples said.' -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction#Chemical_Weapons_Recovered

Comment: Re:Fox News? (Score 1) 460

by ShakaUVM (#48022791) Attached to: Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

> Eight committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct.

Sure, there was no fraud or scientific misconduct.

However, the commission findings did confirm a lot of shitty things they were doing, such as coming up with arguably illegal tricks to avoid having to complete FOIA requests, strongarming journals that publish dissenting views in climate science, and a general lack of transparency in a field that requires data openness.

Comment: Re:It's sad (Score 1) 427

>This is effectively Google's response to OEMs (especially Samsung) putting on atrocious crapware that was ruining the Android experience for many users. e.g. "this is why OEMs can't have nice things".

You have it backwards. The Samsung bloatware is a response to Google's strong-arming vendors on their apps.

Ever wonder why Samsung installs a fucking duplicate app on your device for everything Google does? Samsung Calendar, Samsung memo, Samsung voice, Samsung Apps Store, Samsung Translator, etc?

It's so that they have leverage over Google when Google threatens to remove their apps and force a vendor to use the stone age equivalents. Having duplicate apps means that the threat carries a lot less teeth.

The only people hurt by this conflict are the customers, who have to deal with the shitty situation of two sets of competing apps on the same device.

Comment: Re:STEM =! Convergent Thinking (Score 1) 58

by ShakaUVM (#47842469) Attached to: Music Training's Cognitive Benefits Could Help "At-Risk" Students

>STEM was never, is never, and will never be a product of "convergent thinking"

Which is what I said, if you go back and re-parse my sentence.

>And I have a problem with your description of art being the source of "divergent thinking"

I never said it was, merely that art *trains* divergent thinking.

>Take the so-called "art" that we have, for example - Music ... these days you listen to one song you listen to all songs --- all of them sound so similar as everybody tries to sound like everybody else --- the beats, the rhythm, who the fuck cares anymore who sings what since they all sound just so much alike

We're not talking about listening to the radio, but art classes in school. Art classes are about the creation of new art, or sometimes the active critique of existing art, but is never the passive garbage you claim it is.

Comment: Arts in Education (Score 5, Insightful) 58

by ShakaUVM (#47832679) Attached to: Music Training's Cognitive Benefits Could Help "At-Risk" Students

While (correlation != causation) and all that, there really is a pretty extensive research base showing the benefits of music (and the arts in general) for students.

Education these days has been very, very focused on something called convergent thinking - basically, being able to choose the right answer from a short list. We've bought into the myth that all you need to succeed in STEM fields is convergent thinking, so that's what's taught.

The arts, by contrast, develop divergent thinking. Creativity, and the ability to generate multiple possibilities for the same problem. ("Should I lay out my artwork this way or that way? What if I try improvising a new melody in this part?")

In reality, we need both. Students who are "Masters of STEM" in K-12 often run into trouble when they realize the world isn't full of convenient lists from which we have to pick the right answer.

Think about the job of the guy who has to build a bridge over a river. He isn't handed a list of four bridges, conveniently labelled A through D, and has to pick between them. No, he first needs to generate a variety of possible bridges (divergent thinking) and then sort through them to find which one is most optimal for his constraints (convergent thinking). There's often not a clear "right answer" - one bridge might be 20% more expensive, but 2% less likely to collapse in a major earthquake.

So even if you don't use the arts directly, they can be very useful for cultivating a different mindset from what we're beating into our students these days.

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