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Comment Re:brighter? (Score 1) 376 376

Did you know that common kitchen knives can also be used by Billy Joe Bob to blind someone, or worse kill them? Just wait until you manage to tick Billy Joe Bob off. This cannot end well.

Clearly, kitchen knives should not be made, either.

Look, if people are going to attack, maim, or murder someone, they've got plenty of options already. Adding one to the potential arsenal, especially one that would take significant technical know-how to be able to turn into an actual weapon, isn't really going to change things.

Comment Re:Common sense? In MY judiciary? (Score 5, Insightful) 457 457

Seems as though the police should actually want people to know about the speed traps. I mean, the ultimate goal for the police is to have everyone follow the law. If people know about an upcoming speed trap, then they'll slow down to the speed limit. If they don't know about the speed trap, then they'll continue to endanger those around them by driving too fast. </delightfully naive> Of course, we all know that what the police really want is ticket revenue. The more law breakers there are, the more revenue they get, and hence they will try to stop people from warning others to obey the law. This system is rather broken.

Comment Re:Basic Statistics (Score 1) 312 312

Clarification. Chebyshev's inequality is not going to help you with distributions that have no mean or standard deviation. Note also that the standard deviation mentioned in Chebyshev's inequality is the *population* standard deviation, and NOT the *sample* standard deviation.

Comment Re: Basic Statistics (Score 1) 312 312

Careful. Chebyshev's inequality doesn't help you if you are sampling from a physical process with a Cauchy distribution. Be careful not to confuse the *sample* standard deviation with the *population* standard deviation. The former always exists. The latter is what you use with Chebyshev's inequality... *if* it exists. In the case of a Cauchy distribution, your sample standard deviation would mislead you into thinking that the probability to fall outside N sample standard deviations had some particular bound that it did not have.

Comment Re:The big picture (Score 1) 312 312

I hope he has more examples than just the temperature (no, I didn't RTFA). For the temperature in a day, most people are satisfied with the minimum and maximum, and don't need any more complicated measure. The MAD would actually be LESS informative for temperatures within a day...

Comment Re:So you want to retire a statistical term... (Score 1) 312 312

He's rather requesting the people start using a different statistical measure of spread, the mean *absolute* deviation, rather than the square root of the mean *squared* deviation (the standard deviation). I'm not familiar enough with it's particular characteristics to say whether or not this would be an improvement in any rigorous sense, but I'd be surprised if it were. So "Get bent." is probably still the right attitude.

Comment Re:Would those data scientists with PhDs (Score 3, Insightful) 312 312

I know several people who have left high energy physics to become data scientists. Nobody in HEP calls themselves a "data scientist", but that's (some of) what we do anyway. It's just analysis of very large data sets. Unlike in the life sciences, both HEP and many commercial / industrial environments have sufficiently large data sets that very complex questions can be asked and answered. You can never have "enough data" -- if you think you have "enough data", then you aren't asking hard enough questions.

Comment Re:Impossible (Score 2) 237 237

The interplanetary medium can carry sound waves. Of course, it is moving faster than the local speed of sound outward from the sun (the solar wind). So if you shouted really loud from the ISS, someone in the asteroid belt might be able to hear you. But not the other way around.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

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