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Comment Re: In three years ... (Score 1) 194

A formal logic class (whether heavy on symbols or not) would be a good idea for everyone.

Can you point to any evidence whatsoever that people trained in "formal logic" actually make better real life decisions?

Formal logic is not even particularly useful for logic design. The software tools do it for you. I haven't written out a Karnaugh map in 20 years.

Comment Re: Good for them (Score 1) 191

And how long would it take before they realize that they can cut years off their time by taking a easy course ?

Most inmates don't serve their full sentence, and many are released early for dumber reasons that this. We have way too many people in prison, so almost anything that gets people out earlier is a step in the right direction.

Comment Re:Good for them (Score 2) 191

Summary is that re-offend rates were 32% for non participants & 23% for participants.

This is an uncontrolled study, so it is not very meaningful. The participants were self-selecting, and likely those already more motivated to straighten themselves out. You cannot confidently say that the program did any good at all.

Comment Re:Are we blaming Microsoft for this? (Score 5, Insightful) 209

in situations such as "Economics Research" that there are all sorts of incentives to cook the book

This is not unique to economics. Most scientific fields have problems with replication. Journals are strongly biased toward publishing positive results, and nobody gets tenure for negative results or replication. I believe the last Nobel Prize for a failed experiment was Albert Michelson in 1907. There are strong incentives to cheat, or at least cut corners.

Comment Re:Good for them (Score 5, Interesting) 191

who cares about correlation vs. causation.

I care. If it reduces recidivism from 40% to 2%, then enrolling more inmates could save billions in incarceration rates and reduced crime. If the class size was limited, an obvious comparison would be the recidivism rate of graduates vs. the rate for applicants that were turned away.

Comment Re:How about more offensive public mailing lists? (Score 5, Insightful) 688

Who judges merit?

The users.

How do they judge it?

By using, or not using, code.

Is it a fair judgement?

It is the only judgement that matters, whether it is "fair" or not.

What about all the biases that everyone has?

No one gives a crap about the gender of the person that wrote the code. When I submit a patch to an open source project, no one asks me about my gender. It is irrelevant, and often unknown.

Comment Re:Why do they need ANY info? (Score 3, Insightful) 416

To block passengers in your car from doing useful tasks

Most modern cars have weight sensors in the front seats, so the computer will know if there is someone in the passenger seat. If the car is in motion, and there is no passenger, then it is reasonable to change the UI behavior.

This nanny corp crap really needs to go away.

You may feel different when some distracted driver runs over your kid. This isn't just about protecting people from themselves. Distracted drivers are a danger to other people as well.

Comment Re:Labor reduction (Score 2) 91

Labor may be overpriced; but you can't reduce costs by just reducing labor price.

This is not just (or even mostly) about unit labor costs. Rice farming in Japan is incredibly inefficient. Japan does not have a good climate for growing rice. It is too cold, and the rains come at the wrong time. Land ownership is highly fragmented, so you see tiny little plots, far too small for normal farm machinery. So instead you see a 70 year old with a roto-tiller preparing his plot, and then later stooped over, planting individual plants by hand. In a first world country, that is an insane waste of manpower. If/when the subsidies end, these farms will immediately switch to producing high value fruits and vegetables, which are suited to the climate and require far less labor.

Comment Re:improve the world by gutting jobs? (Score 2) 91

improve the world by gutting jobs?

Prosperity comes from the production of goods and services, not by "keeping people busy". Japan has a declining population and serious labor shortages. Labor intensive rice farming in Japan makes no economic sense, and is only kept going with massive subsidies funded by taxing the productive economy.

The automation and sensors described in TFA are also stupid, since they just make a stupid system slightly less so. A far better solution would be for Japan to buy rice from countries with lower labor costs and climates friendlier to rice production. The the rice farmers in Japan can find productive employment. For instance, they could grow high value fruits and vegetables.

Comment Re:Labor reduction (Score 1) 91

Fewer man-hours, more rice from less work, fewer farmers, less time spent working, less paid in wages, more produced, cheaper rice.

The way to get cheaper rice is for Japan to ratify TPP, kick these farmers off the dole, and buy rice from Thailand or Louisiana for a tenth the price.

We still have people claiming value and wealth come from land, not from labor.

In this case, it comes from neither. I comes from massive subsidies, tariffs, and artificial price supports.

"The Mets were great in 'sixty eight, The Cards were fine in 'sixty nine, But the Cubs will be heavenly in nineteen and seventy." -- Ernie Banks