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Comment: Re:I beg to differ (Score 2) 385

by TimFenn (#45860547) Attached to: Isaac Asimov's 50-Year-Old Prediction For 2014 Is Viral and Wrong

Most divergent of all, he believed that increasing automatization of labor would spawn not inequality or joblessness, but spiritual malaise.

How is this different from what we have now, I insist and ask ?

The 60s were different in that they were one of the few times when there wasn't increasing inequality/joblesness - people married young and could hold on to a job for 50 years - which is the outlier, not the historical norm. Just look at the 19th century by comparison. For a bit more discussion, see here.

Comment: Re:Take a breath, get some perspective. (Score 1) 312

by TimFenn (#44587223) Attached to: NSA Broke Privacy Rules Thousands of Times Per Year, Audit Finds

My bad. Those 900 or so errors were for one quarter. The whole year is 2776, with 2012Q1 being the worst. Also, the trend is increasing.

Of which, 1,904 (2/3) involved cases in which a foreigner whose cellphone was being wiretapped entered the United States, where court warrants are required for most eavesdropping. A spike in such problems in a single quarter, the report said, could be because of Chinese citizens visiting friends and family for the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday. “Roamer incidents are largely unpreventable, even with good target awareness and traffic review, since target travel activities are often unannounced and not easily predicted,” the report says.

I think this is an important point to keep in mind, although that still leaves approximately 900 "real" errors.

Comment: Re:Why Nate? (Score 2) 576

by TimFenn (#41923943) Attached to: All of Nate Silver's State-Level Polling Predictions Proved True
Its also worth pointing out that his commentary tends to be unbiased, honest and refreshing in a world of pundits that will say just about anything with little to no conviction or evidence. Take away all the statistics, and I'd still read his site just as a reassurance that yes: there are other rational thinkers out there.

Comment: Re:Big Surprise (Score 2) 172

by TimFenn (#40312961) Attached to: Drug Company Disguised Advertising As Science

You should check out some of the latest biologic-based treatments for psoriasis that are "in the pipeline:"

Biologics typically have the benefit of being very specific against their target with few - if any - side effects. The downside is usually the cost/method of treatment, but thats another story...

Comment: SNL's take of Assange on Zuckerberg (Score 4, Funny) 520

by TimFenn (#36006782) Attached to: Assange: Facebook 'the Most Appalling Spy Machine' Ever

"What are the differences between Mark Zuckerberg and me? Lets take a look.

I give you private information on corporations for free, and I'm a villian. Mark Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money, and he's man of the year.

Thanks to wikileaks, you can see how corrupt governments operate in the shadows, and then lie to those who elect them. Thanks to facebook, you can finally figure out which Sex and the City character you are."


Survey Shows That Fox News Makes You Less Informed 1352

Posted by samzenpus
from the fair-balanced-and-simple dept.
A survey of American voters by World Public Opinion shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. One of the most interesting questions was about President Obama's birthplace. 63 percent of Fox viewers believe Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear). In 2003 a similar study about the Iraq war showed that Fox viewers were once again less knowledgeable on the subject than average. Let the flame war begin!

The First Photograph of a Human 138

Posted by samzenpus
from the fist-cheese dept.
wiredog writes "The Atlantic has a brief piece on what is likely to be the first photograph (a daguerreotype) showing a human. From the article: 'In September, Krulwich posted a set of daguerreotypes taken by Charles Fontayne and William Porter in Cincinnati 162 years ago, on September 24, 1848. Krulwich was celebrating the work of the George Eastman House in association with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Using visible-light microscopy, the George Eastman House scanned several plates depicting the Cincinnati Waterfront so that scholars could zoom in and study the never-before-seen details.'"
First Person Shooters (Games)

Gamer Plays Doom For the First Time 362

Posted by Soulskill
from the new-is-relative dept.
sfraggle writes "Kotaku has an interesting review of Doom (the original!) by Stephen Totilo, a gamer and FPS player who, until a few days ago, had gone through the game's 17-year history without playing it. He describes some of his first impressions, the surprises that he encountered, and how the game compares to modern FPSes. Quoting: 'Virtual shotgun armed, I was finally going to play Doom for real. A second later, I understood the allure the video game weapon has had. In Doom the shotgun feels mighty, at least partially I believe because they make first-timers like me wait for it. The creators make us sweat until we have it in hand. But once we have the shotgun, its big shots and its slow, fetishized reload are the floored-accelerator-pedal stuff of macho fantasy. The shotgun is, in all senses, instant puberty, which is to say, delicately, that to obtain it is to have the assumed added potency that a boy believes a man possesses vis a vis a world on which he'd like to have some impact. The shotgun is the punch in the face the once-scrawny boy on the beach gives the bully when he returns a muscled linebacker.'"

Comment: Mathematica/MATLAB/octave (Score 1) 434

by TimFenn (#32303718) Attached to: Most Useful OS For High-School Science Education?

I'm a postdoc that works mostly with biochemist-ey types, and I'd highly recommend adding a math package to whats available to your students. With something like mathematica, you can do:

  • curve fitting/minimization
  • general math (probability distributions, convolutions, Fourier transforms, etc)
  • peak integration
  • statistical analysis
  • image analysis
  • check formulas and their characteristics (being able to verify derivatives, for example, is very important for fitting models)

what I also like about the math packages is the ability to synthesize "test" data to illustrate what can't be done simply in lab (or not at all, depending). And I think its also a great way to start learning a bit of programming/scripting without requiring too much CS (for those not interested in CS), but at the same time getting enough exposure to it so that they won't be completely lost when they see a conditional loop. And, I can personally tell you that science types use them quite widely.

I'm a little surprised you seem more concerned about the OS the programs run on. As long as the students can run the stuff you've listed along with some sort of math package to learn about handling data, just go with what the IT guys are most comfortable with.

But to answer your question: most science labs run whatever they want, but some hardware and/or proprietary analysis software for some equipment can dictate the OS.


Do Gamers Want Simpler Games? 462

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'd-say-no-but-i-used-to-love-frogger dept.
A recent GamePro article sums up a lesson that developers and publishers have been slowly learning over the last few years: gamers don't want as much from games as they say they do. Quoting: "Conventional gaming wisdom thus far has been 'bigger, better, MORE!' It's something affirmed by the vocal minority on forums, and by the vast majority of critics that praise games for ambition and scale. The problem is, in reality its almost completely wrong. ... How do we know this? Because an increasing number of games incorporate telemetry systems that track our every action. They measure the time we play, they watch where we get stuck, and they broadcast our behavior back to the people that make the games so they can tune the experience accordingly. Every studio I've spoken to that does this, to a fault, says that many of the games they've released are far too big and far too hard for most players' behavior. As a general rule, less than five percent of a game's audience plays a title through to completion. I've had several studios tell me that their general observation is that 'more than 90 percent' of a game's audience will play it for 'just four or five hours.'"

California's Santa Clara County Bans Happy Meal Toys 756

Posted by timothy
from the when-self-righteousness-attacks dept.
WrongSizeGlass writes "The L.A. Times is reporting that Santa Clara County officials have voted to ban toys and other promotions that restaurants offer with high-calorie children's meals. 'This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's love of toys' to sell high-calorie, unhealthful food, said Supervisor Ken Yeager, who sponsored the measure. 'This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes.' Supervisor Donald Gage, who voted against the measure, said, 'If you can't control a 3-year-old child for a toy, God save you when they get to be teenagers.' The vote was 3 - 2 in favor of the ban."

Comment: How to opt-out (Score 4, Informative) 128

by TimFenn (#31884382) Attached to: Comcast Customers Urged To Opt-Out of Settlement
It took me a minute to dig this up on Robb Toploski's Journal, I think its worth posting here:

ACTION REQUIRED - IMPORTANT: To opt-out from the settlement, simply write "I want to opt-out of the settlement" along with your name and address and mail it by May 13th to: P2P Congestion Settlement Claims Administrator; c/o Rust Consulting; P.O. Box 9454; Minneapolis, MN 55440-9454. Ask your friends to please do the same. If we want a meaningful settlement in this case and open Internet in our future, it's important to spread the word and send a strong message to Comcast and the industry.

Linux Business

SoftMaker Office 2010 For Linux Nearing Release 110

Posted by timothy
from the put-your-words-in-a-row dept.
martin-k writes "SoftMaker Office is a Microsoft-compatible office suite that competes with Its creator, German software publisher SoftMaker, is nearing completion of the latest release, SoftMaker Office 2010 for Linux. This new release offers document tabs, high-quality filters for the Microsoft Office 2007 file formats DOCX and XLSX, and presentation-quality charts in the spreadsheet. It also brings integration into KDE and Gnome, using the system's colors and fonts. A release candidate is available as a free download."

+ - Myth-TV 0.22 released, project updates!

Submitted by Greg Johnsen
Greg Johnsen (666) writes "Myth-TV 0.22 has finally been released (Release notes). Everyone start your P-V-Rs!

There has been changes to the Myth-TV Project. Jean-Yves Avenard has been named project manager. You might know the name from his work adding V-D-P-A-U, ffmpeg-mt, A-C-3 digital output, H-D-P-V-R support, a fully rewritten M-H-E-G engine, and other notable improvements for 0.22. In this new role, he will be reassessing the development team and holding them to a much higher standard then in the past. As a result of all the time he has put into the project adding these extensive new features, he is asking for donations. These donations will help Jean have the time to take the project to new levels!

Also, Jean has shared some of his goals for 0.23. With the developers no longer in the United States, the project's previous viewpoint on bit-torrents and media sharing will be revisited. Look out for Myth-Torrent! Also there is going to be sweeping changes to how Live-TV is presented to the user, to make it usable. There will also be a theme overhaul, paid for by Jean (Another place where your donation can help!) to help make them much more user friendly.

Jean is also looking for new developers to take over some of the existing, unmaintained plug-ins. He needs developers for Myth-archive, Myth-browser, Myth-Flix, Myth-Gallery, Myth-Movies, Myth-Music, Myth-News, Myth-Weather, Myth-Web, and Myth-Zoneminder. You can send in your CV to the mythtv-dev mailing list.

Please join us in welcoming Jean to the MythTV team."

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll