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Comment: Re:Evolution.. (Score 2) 588

by SoVeryTired (#35646692) Attached to: 12-Year-Old Rewrites Einstein's Theory of Relativity

Have you ever met someone who is *actually* autistic? Not someone who has Asperger's and is socially awkward, but someone who has the full-blown condition?

When I was in secondary school, we took a course where we interacted with autistic people on a day-to-day basis. Autistic people can not be expected to care for themselves in any way. Forget taking advanced maths. It's a hard slog to get these guys washed and dressed every day.

I think both the OP and the GP are romanticising the condition. Yes, sometimes people on the so-called autistic spectrum have "sitzenfleich" - the ability to sit down and slog through difficult technical material, day after day, hour after hour. Don't count on it though. In general, it's just a very sad condition that limits a person's ability to understand and communicate with others.


Geologists Say California May Be Next 258

Posted by timothy
from the you-can-find-yourself-after-the-quake dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Newsweek reports that first there was a violent magnitude-8.8 event in Chile in 2010, then a horrifically destructive Pacific earthquake in New Zealand on February 22, and now the recent earthquake in Japan. Though there is still no hard scientific evidence to explain why, there is little doubt now that earthquakes do tend to occur in clusters: a significant event on one side of a major tectonic plate is often — not invariably, but often enough to be noticeable — followed some weeks or months later by another on the plate's far side. 'It is as though the earth becomes like a great brass bell, which when struck by an enormous hammer blow on one side sets to vibrating and ringing from all over. Now there have been catastrophic events at three corners of the Pacific Plate — one in the northwest, on Friday; one in the southwest, last month; one in the southeast, last year.' That leaves just one corner unaffected — the northeast. And the fault line in the northeast of the Pacific Plate is the San Andreas Fault. Although geologists believe a 9.0 quake is virtually impossible along the San Andreas, USGS studies put the probability of California being hit by a quake measuring 7.5 or more in the next 30 years at 46 percent, and the likelihood of a 6.7 quake, comparable in size to the temblors that rocked San Francisco in 1989 and Los Angeles in 1994, at 99 percent statewide."

Comment: Re:This game is random , you can't outsmart someon (Score 1) 292

by SoVeryTired (#35428188) Attached to: Can You Beat a Computer At Rock-Paper-Scissors?

I guess the point is that people tend to deviate from this strategy and the computer can take advantage of those deviations.

I would be very interested to know how the learning algorithm works. Given that the program is taking advantage of your deviations from the 1/3-1/3-1/3 strategy, it follows that the computer is itself deviating from that strategy. Therefore there should be some strategy that beats the computer on average.

I guess you could continue this reasoning ad infinitum, but I would say that the meta-meta-meta strategies would converge to 1/3-1/3-1/3 pretty quickly.

Comment: Erdos Prizes (Score 2) 170

by SoVeryTired (#35312930) Attached to: Erdos' Combinatorial Geometry Problem Solved

Erdos offered many prizes for the solution of problems that he thought were difficult or out of reach of the mathematics of his time. These prizes were sometimes huge, worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of US dollars in today's money.

Erdos used to joke that he would get in trouble for violating minimum wage laws.

Comment: Re:In English (Score 2) 117

by SoVeryTired (#34962520) Attached to: Euler's Partition Function Theory Finished

There's a brilliant historical example of this. G.H. Hardy, one of the foremost mathematicians of his day, once gave number theory and general relativity as examples of mathematical disciplines that were interesting in their own right, but which were unlikely to ever produce anything useful. Nowadays, relativity underpins the GPS system, and number theory provides the basis for a large amount of cryptography.

It just goes to show that you never can tell...


Next Generation of Algorithms Inspired by Ants 106

Posted by samzenpus
from the bugs-for-bugs dept.
letsurock writes "Ants' capability to find the shortest route through a maze in an hour, and to find the second shortest route when the first path was obstructed, has inspired researchers creating algorithms for the future. From the article: 'Finding the most efficient path through a busy network is a common challenge faced by delivery drivers, telephone routers and engineers. To solve these optimization problems using software, computer scientists have often sought inspiration from ant colonies in nature — creating algorithms that simulate the behavior of ants who find the most efficient routes from their nests to food sources by following each other's volatile pheromone trails. The most widely used of these ant-inspired algorithms is known as Ant Colony Optimization (ACO).'"

"Pascal is Pascal is Pascal is dog meat." -- M. Devine and P. Larson, Computer Science 340