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Comment: Biased (Score 4, Insightful) 156

by ShakaUVM (#47780237) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

"[O]nly 25% of Canadians surveyed agreed with the statement "We depend too much on science and not enough on faith", as opposed to 55% in the U.S. and 38% in the E.U."

Seriously? I was expecting a survey of scientific literacy to be about, you know, scientific literacy, not asking people the relative merits, as it were, between science and religion.

I'm not sure how this proves, quote, "Canada is a nation of science geeks." It's a complete non-sequitor. It doesn't even match the data, in which 58% of Canadians couldn't understand basic science concepts from newspaper stories, and in which Canada ranks 19th out of 29th in science degrees (by percentage).

Contrawise, Americans, sure, value religion probably more highly than other countries, and might even think that we could use more religion, but that is not a question of scientific literacy or attitudes towards science in and of itself. It seems to presuppose the long-discredited Conflict Thesis, which states that religion and science are inherently always in conflict.

The clincher for me - which indisputably shows the authors' bias - is that Canada ranks #1 in people protesting GMOs and nuclear power, and the authors consider this a good sign that their population is scientifically literate!

The authors should get back to euphorically sniffing their own armpits, and stop pretending to be scientists. Or whatever you call the people that work at science museums.

Comment: Re:Just proves the point (Score 1) 1081

>In my opinion, her videos are, in places, poorly researched with many leaps of logic mixed with heavy opinions. But, they still contain very valid points and can be civilly debated.

Yeah. I've watched a couple of her videos. I can see why people could be enraged by them - she says pretty provocative things with lousy justifications. For example, video games that show violence against women, and deplore violence against women and encourage the main character to take a stand against violence against women, according to her, *encourage* violence against women by normalizing it. Except, when, I guess, it's in an indie game. In which case it becomes a "naunced critique".

I do agree with her than the "violence against prostitutes" trope is overused, and certainly agree that women tend to be sexualized a lot more in video games than men (my lord, Ivy from Soulcalibur gets more ridiculous with every release), but her videos struck me as being borderline trollish. Trollish, defined here, as deliberately sculpted to provoke controversy.

That said, I find it unconscionable that people would actually threaten a journalist with her life for criticizing video game tropes. For fuck's sake, we don't live in Pakistan. If her videos irritate you, just don't watch them.

Comment: Re:What could possibly go wrong? (Score 1) 174

>Don't believe me? Fine, don't take my word for it. Heck, even that bastion of free enterprise, The Economist got behind that idea!

Neither of those sources have run the numbers on what reforestation would cost. I have.

>So, why is not implemented on a large scale?

It's too expensive, it will require too much water (which we don't have), and consume millions of acres of arable land - which we also don't have without water.

The Almighty Buck

Women Founders Outpace Male Counterparts In Certain Types of Kickstarter Funding 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the gathering-the-cash dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes Women outpace men when it comes to raising money for technology projects through crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, according to a new study by researchers at New York University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Jason Greenberg (NYC) and Ethan Mollick (Wharton/UPenn) chose 1,250 Kickstarter projects in five categories: games and technology, where founders were predominantly male; film, with an even gender distribution; and fashion and children's books, both populated with more female founders and backers. They analyzed additional factors such as "industry typing" (a theory in which people 'often hold conscious or unconscious biases about what gender is the archetype employee in a particular occupation or industry') and restricted the data set by geography and how much money each Kickstarter project wanted (a project aiming for less than $5,000 may attract an inordinate percentage of family and friends as funders, skewing results). After crunching the data, they found that female founders of technology projects were more likely than males to achieve their Kickstarter goals, a finding that didn't extend to the other four categories. "It appears female backers are responsible for helping female founders succeed in specific industry categories that women backers generally disfavor," they theorized, adding a little later: "The value of crowdfunding is that it enables access to a pool of potential female backers particularly inclined to support women in industry categories in which they believe women to be underrepresented."

Comment: Re:Why isn't call recording a smartphone feature? (Score 1) 368

by ShakaUVM (#47656447) Attached to: Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

>Is it just because of "wiretap" laws? It seems like it would be a pretty trivial feature to add to smartphones. It's also easy to see how it could be very easily enhanced beyond simple audio files -- automated or selective recording of only some calls ("Answer and record", "record all calls" flag in contacts, speech-to-text, and so on).

Apps already exist that do all that. I use CallX on my phone, but I keep it disabled since I live in California. But before calling the IRS or whatever, I'll turn it on and ask the agent if it's okay to record the call.

>Recording calls USED to be very easy -- $5 telephone pickup from Radio Shaft and a cassette recorder.

Even easier now. Just tap a button and there you go.

Comment: Re:Blade Runner's script had little to do with Rid (Score 2) 144

Phillip K Dick wrote the novel by using the I Ching to randomly create plot points. The I Ching features pre-eminently in the novel.

I'm not sure how well that will translate to the big screen.

Certainly the whole "The Axis Won WW2!" thing will translate over easily, but the book really isn't about that.

Comment: Re:Inconceivable! (Score 1) 119

by ShakaUVM (#47541775) Attached to: AP Computer Science Test Takers Up 8,000; Pass Rate Down 6.8%

>So they've found that encouraging students to take CS courses based on their skin color or genitals is less effective than encouraging students who have an interest or aptitude for the subject? Gee, I never would have guessed that result.

Yes, this is well known.

What traditionally happens is that teachers are very concerned with their pass rate, so they filter kids out of their class that they think won't pass the AP test.

I worked for a College Board program for four years designed to address this problem, as a lot of the people getting filtered out might very well pass anyway, and therefore be denied an opportunity for an advanced class and college credits for no other reason than the teacher's ego.

So they stopped talking about pass rates entirely, and heavily discourage teachers from using the term, instead quantifying teacher success based on *numbers of students who pass* instead. So even if little Timmy only has a 50% chance to pass, it would still encourage the teacher to let him try, since the expected value of letting Timmy stay in the class is better than if the teacher filtered him out.

Unfortunately, the fucking article perpetuates the old model of thinking, which is to emphasize the pass rate over the actual number of kids passing the AP test, and demonstrating that they have a freshman in college-ish level of understanding of the subject.

Comment: Meh (Score 3, Insightful) 90

by ShakaUVM (#47537333) Attached to: How Stanford Engineers Created a Fictitious Compression For HBO

Anyone who knows anything about compression knows that universal lossless compression is impossible to always do, because if such an algorithm existed, you could run it repeatedly on a data source until you were down to a single bit. And uncompresing a single bit that could be literally anything is problematic.

I sort of wish they'd picked some other sort of woo.

Comment: Re:Not news (Score 1) 342

>>Hallam said it best: there has never been a time when humanity has successfully and peacefully coexisted with nature.

Out of the 2,000 or so species listed on the Endangered Species Act written 40 years ago, exactly three have gone extinct. And they were already endangered to begin with.

Seems like we're doing reasonably well here in America.

Comment: Re:String theory is not science (Score 1) 147

by ShakaUVM (#47504573) Attached to: Can the Multiverse Be Tested Scientifically?

>You know what's not a science but uses a lot of math? Economics, which is 3 parts ideology and 1 part math.

It sounds to me like you're running on three parts ideology and one part math.

Economics is actually very much a science! They make empirical studies of the world, and test them to see if they hold up.

Math is very much not a science.

Comment: Re:String theory is not science (Score 1) 147

by ShakaUVM (#47498675) Attached to: Can the Multiverse Be Tested Scientifically?

>Maths is a science

Um, no. There's a reason why you get a BA in Math, not a BS.

Math is an exemplar of a priori thinking. You can literally do math in your head by just picking some starting axioms and deriving from there, with no reference to the outside world.

Science is an exemplar of a posteriori thinking. You make empirical observations about the world, generate hypotheses, and see if the evidence matches the model.

Comment: Re:I wanted to write about this place (Score 1) 424

by ShakaUVM (#47470159) Attached to: French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

>... Replace with cheap bland French beer? I know they have not-so-great beer, and if not, definitely some cheap staple table wine. So change the complement to suit the location. He didnt literally mean it had to be bud light.

Actually, Budweiser is appallingly popular in France. I saw teens everywhere drinking it.

Can't open /usr/fortunes. Lid stuck on cookie jar.