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Government

US Justice Department Urges Supreme Court Not To Take Up Google v. Oracle 222

Posted by timothy
from the leave-well-enough-alone dept.
New submitter Areyoukiddingme writes: The Solicitor General of the Justice Department has filed a response to the US Supreme Court's solicitation of advice regarding the Google vs. Oracle ruling and subsequent overturning by the Federal Circuit. The response recommends that the Federal Circuit ruling stand, allowing Oracle to retain copyright to the Java API.
Science

Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed? 411

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-in-it-for-me? dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Richard Horton writes that a recent symposium on the reproducibility and reliability of biomedical research discussed one of the most sensitive issues in science today: the idea that something has gone fundamentally wrong with science (PDF), one of our greatest human creations. The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. According to Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, a United Kingdom-based medical journal, the apparent endemicity of bad research behavior is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world or retrofit hypotheses to fit their data.

Can bad scientific practices be fixed? Part of the problem is that no-one is incentivized to be right. Instead, scientists are incentivized to be productive and innovative. Tony Weidberg says that the particle physics community now invests great effort into intensive checking and rechecking of data prior to publication following several high-profile errors. By filtering results through independent working groups, physicists are encouraged to criticize. Good criticism is rewarded. The goal is a reliable result, and the incentives for scientists are aligned around this goal. "The good news is that science is beginning to take some of its worst failings very seriously," says Horton. "The bad news is that nobody is ready to take the first step to clean up the system."
Science

A Plan On How To Stop Sexism In Science 613

Posted by samzenpus
from the working-it-out dept.
StartsWithABang writes: If there's nothing else that science has to offer, it's this elegant notion: that anyone, anywhere, at anytime, can investigate and uncover the mysteries and workings of the Universe simply by asking it the right questions in the right ways, listening to its answers, and putting the pieces together for themselves. Anyone can do it. Only, for various and sundry reasons, not everyone gets to do it. Some people don't have the economic ability, some don't have the sustained drive or interest, and some simply can't cut the mustard. But some people — some really, really good people — are driven from their passions for a sad, simple and completely unnecessary fact: that they were treated in unacceptable ways that they refused to just accept. And in a great many cases, that unacceptable treatment came simply because of their gender. Sexism sometimes looks like what you expect, and sometimes not. Here's one opinion on what we can all do about it to create the world we really want: where science really is for everyone.
AI

Baidu's Supercomputer Beats Google At Image Recognition 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.
catchblue22 writes: Using the ImageNet object classification benchmark, Baidu’s Minwa supercomputer scanned more than 1 million images and taught itself to sort them into about 1,000 categories and achieved an image identification error rate of just 4.58 percent, beating humans, Microsoft and Google. Google's system scored a 95.2% and Microsoft's, a 95.06%, Baidu said. “Our company is now leading the race in computer intelligence,” said Ren Wu, a Baidu scientist working on the project. “I think this is the fastest supercomputer dedicated to deep learning,” he said. “We have great power in our hands—much greater than our competitors.”
Medicine

California Senate Approves School Vaccine Bill 545

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-your-shots dept.
mpicpp writes: California state senators have passed a controversial bill designed to increase school immunization rates. SB277 would prohibit parents from seeking vaccine exemptions for their children because of religious or personal beliefs. California would join West Virginia and Mississippi as the only states with such requirements if the bill becomes law. "SB 277 is about increasing immunization rates so no one will have to suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases," said Sen. Ben Allen (D- Santa Monica) who coauthored the bill with Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento).
United States

Religious Affiliation Shrinking In the US 866

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-how-will-we-polarize-our-voters dept.
gollum123 notes new U.S. demographic data from the Pew Research Center which show that the percentage of Americans declaring affiliation with a particular religion has declined sharply since 2007. Americans identifying as Christian dropped from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Those describing themselves as atheist, agnostic, or simple having no affiliation took up most of the slack, rising from 16.1% to 22.8%. Members of non-Christian faiths collectively rose from 4.7% to 5.9%. Despite the overall decline, the demographics within the Christian group are getting much more racially and ethnically diverse. The willingness of respondents to marry outside their religious affiliation is also on the rise. The median age of unaffiliated adults is dropping, while the median ages of mainline Protestants and Catholics are rising. The study estimates that 85% of adults age 70 and over are Christian, while only 56% of adults ages 18-24 are Christian. They also say that each individual generation has shown a slight decrease in religious affiliation compared to their statistics in 2007.
Microsoft

Microsoft Releases PowerShell DSC For Linux 265

Posted by timothy
from the do-what-you-want-to-do dept.
jones_supa writes: Microsoft is announcing that PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) for Linux is available for download in form of RPM and DEB packages. DSC is a new management platform that provides a set of PowerShell extensions that you can use to declaratively specify how you want your software environment to be configured. You can now use the DSC platform to manage the configuration of both Windows and Linux workloads with the PowerShell interface. Microsoft says that bringing DSC to Linux is another step in the company's "broader commitment to common management of heterogeneous assets in your datacenter or the public cloud." Adds reader benjymouse: DSC is in the same space as Chef and Puppet (and others); but unlike those, Microsofts attempts to build a platform/infrastructure based on industry standards like OMI to allow DSC to configure and control both Windows, Linux and other OSes as well as network equipment like switches, etc.
Open Source

Why Was Linux the Kernel That Succeeded? 469

Posted by samzenpus
from the belle-of-the-ball dept.
jones_supa writes: "One of the most puzzling questions about the history of free and open source software is this: Why did Linux succeed so spectacularly, whereas similar attempts to build a free or open source, Unix-like operating system kernel met with considerably less success?" Christopher Tozzi has rounded up some theories, focusing specifically on kernels, not complete operating systems. These theories take a detailed look at the decentralized development structure, pragmatic approach to things, and the rich developer community, all of which worked in favor of Linux.

Comment: Re:Simple methodology (Score 1) 347

by StormReaver (#49146519) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

One would hope that a good manager would have enough practical and direct experience in writing software to at least come up with a half-decent estimate, no?

No.

I've been writing software for 30 years, and I have never calculated an estimate that was even remotely accurate. Every project is unique, and must be treated as if it has never been done before (which it hasn't). Time estimates are snake oil sales.

[unrelated rant]

I hate, Hate, HATE, HATE!!!!! Slashdot's forum rules. Who has the time to wait a billion years between postings?! Who's the moron who comes up with this shit?! I registered at soylentnews.org a few days ago, and this stupid Slashdot notice:

Slow Down Cowboy!

Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.

It's been 3 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment

is the last straw. I've been on Slashdot for about 18 years now, I think, and I've had it with all the stupid site decisions of the last couple years. I'm done with Slashdot. This is my last posting to Slashdot. Hello, Soylent News!

[/unrelated rant]

Comment: Re:Hard to believe (Score 1) 166

by StormReaver (#49146439) Attached to: Microsoft's Goals For Their New Web Rendering Engine

And [Microsoft has] done some great work on a lot of software engineering fronts, including secure development, powerful tools, integrations, and are even dabbling in open source,[sic]

Only until they can find a way to subvert it. Don't let Microsoft's current worries confuse you into thinking that that company has changed in any way, shape, or form. The moment Microsoft management think the coast is clear, they will drive their hidden knives into your back. It's one of the few things Microsoft does well.

Comment: Re:Bad Advice (Score 1) 286

by StormReaver (#49106381) Attached to: An Evidence-Based Approach To Online Dating

How is this in contradiction of the age old advice?

Is that representative of who you are? Are those things that represent your personality, or are you just doing those things because someone told you to do them? What happens when you are on your own? Or are you going to look on the Internet hoping to find an answer to every one of your life choices?

If it's not how you would have portrayed yourself, you're going to lose when you're on your own and have to stand on your own personality. You will eventually expose yourself as a fraud.

Make your own decisions about how to show who you really are, and be true to who you are and what you want in a lifelong mate. This article is a "Getting Started In Gaming The System" guide, which is the same as projecting yourself as a liar. I wouldn't have wanted any woman who was attracted to that, regardless of how much I thought I would have been happy with a woman who was attracted to that.

Comment: Bad Advice (Score 5, Insightful) 286

by StormReaver (#49104913) Attached to: An Evidence-Based Approach To Online Dating

Anyone who follows this advice deserves what they get.

The age old advice still stands: be yourself.

If someone wants you for who you're not, rather than who you are, you are better off just moving on. Here's what I posted on my blog years ago after marrying a wonderful woman I met on Plenty of Fish:

I was recently reading the front page of plentyoffish.com, a dating web site where my wife and I first met (we recreated a joint account to submit a testimonial), that provided a very long, detailed opinion piece to a young man about how to behave in order to win a girl that he was very attracted to. It was from a so-called dating expert, and contained some of the worst drivel that men cling to in hopes of landing a wife.

The given advice was to act distant, indifferent, and aloof; that showering her with affection made him look desperate and goofy. We men turn to this kind of garbage when we're not having much luck with women. We turn to this crap when we actually do become desperate.

It took me a long time to realize what should have been self-evident all along: the old advice of just being yourself is, by far, the best advice you could possibly get. Being yourself isn't intended to improve upon the quantity of women you attract. It is intended to improve upon the quality of women you attract. Not surprisingly, the exact same advice applies equally to women. Don't follow those stupid "rules" such as not making the first move. All those rules are complete and utter crap, and will just make you even more miserable than you already are.

All the little head games and misdirections that you have learned are intended to achieve one thing: a brief relationship. They are not the doorway to a lasting marriage, but rather just the path to multiple meaningless disappointments. You will not be able to maintain the charade you have built, and will always fail in the long run. She will always see through you eventually. You will eventually slip up and expose yourself for the fraud you are, and you will be back to square one.

If she is not interested in who you really are, then you do not want her (regardless of what your hormones may tell you). It doesn't matter how pretty, gorgeous, sexy, or otherwise desirable she may seem. If she is not attracted to who and what you are, then any meaningful relationship with her is doomed. She will eventually (but usually quickly) tire of you, and move on to the next guy.

I am a software developer, and spend most of my time in front of a computer. When I was dating, I tried hard to hide that from my dates. All the advice I had been given was that women were turned off by the kind of geeky guy who spent that much time with his computer. I tried to list other interests on the dating site (tenuous as those interests were), tried focusing on what I thought women wanted, and every other trick I could think of that was even remotely true (and some that were very much not true when I reached a certain point of disillusion). Maintaining the illusion was very difficult, as that isn't who I am.

In the end, it was those very traits that my wife tells me were the most attractive to her. It turns out that her life had been full of too much stress, anxiety, and drama. An easy-going, caring, intelligent, homebody of a man is exactly what she had been looking for, and couldn't find, for a very long time (we were both in our late 30's). She would not have been at all interested in the man I had tried pretending to be, but was hopelessly in love with the man I actually am. Who we really are is what allows us to connect on a very deep, lasting level.

It took us both a very long time to find each other (strictly speaking, she found me), and we both suffered some horrible emotional scarring in our prior lives apart, but that scarring is what allowed us to appreciate what we have together.

So although it may hurt in the short term, it's better to be rejected by women for who you are than to be accepted by women for who you are not. You will eventually find that woman who will love you for who you are, even if you have to go through many painful rejections along the way. The women who accept you for who they want you to be will always desert you. No exceptions.

AI

The Robots That Will Put Coders Out of Work 266

Posted by timothy
from the uber-drivers-will-be-replaced-by-robots-oh-wait dept.
snydeq writes Researchers warn that a glut of code is coming that will depress wages and turn coders into Uber drivers, InfoWorld reports. "The researchers — Boston University's Seth Benzell, Laurence Kotlikoff, and Guillermo LaGarda, and Columbia University's Jeffrey Sachs — aren't predicting some silly, Terminator-like robot apocalypse. What they are saying is that our economy is entering a new type of boom-and-bust cycle that accelerates the production of new products and new code so rapidly that supply outstrips demand. The solution to that shortage will be to figure out how not to need those hard-to-find human experts. In fact, it's already happening in some areas."

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