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Comment: Re:soo.... (Score 2) 327

by VorpalRodent (#48514797) Attached to: You're Doing It All Wrong: Solar Panels Should Face West, Not South
This may not be what you intended, but I really like the idea of a modular solar farm. I pay up front for one or more solar panels to be installed in a desert somewhere, managed by a third party, then get dividends from the power that is produced and sold. I'm not directly affecting my local power bill, but I'm contributing to a solution and offsetting my bill from the power generated. It would work a whole lot better than trying to capture sunlight during my 6 months of winter (or fighting the neighborhood covenant that believes all solar power is an eyesore).

Big Talk About Small Samples 246

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: My last article garnered some objections from readers saying that the sample sizes were too small to draw meaningful conclusions. (36 out of 47 survey-takers, or 77%, said that a picture of a black woman breast-feeding was inappropriate; while in a different group, 38 out of 54 survey-takers, or 70%, said that a picture of a white woman breast-feeding was inappropriate in the same context.) My conclusion was that, even on the basis of a relatively small sample, the evidence was strongly against a "huge" gap in the rates at which the surveyed population would consider the two pictures to be inappropriate. I stand by that, but it's worth presenting the math to support that conclusion, because I think the surveys are valuable tools when you understand what you can and cannot demonstrate with a small sample. (Basically, a small sample can present only weak evidence as to what the population average is, but you can confidently demonstrate what it is not.) Keep reading to see what Bennett has to say.

Comment: Nifty Overview (Score 4, Interesting) 37

by VorpalRodent (#48270839) Attached to: Hacking Team Manuals: Sobering Reminder That Privacy is Elusive
Questions about government overreach and whatnot aside, the analyst's manual is quite a nice read on how mundane intelligence analysis can be. They've apparently got a very nice application for establishing persons of interest and automatically creating a directed graph of who knows whom based on address books / calendars, but the rest is still human analysis. I particularly liked the pictures which clearly showed location information as being "somewhere in this two block radius".

Comment: So...? (Score 1) 168

by VorpalRodent (#48213899) Attached to: Austin Airport Tracks Cell Phones To Measure Security Line Wait

I don't see the need for a tinfoil hat here. If my phone is actively searching for a network, and the airport is using that information in a way that doesn't identify me, doesn't make my phone think it should be sending any other data, and generally makes my experience better, I don't see a problem. They're even letting me know that they do it.

I love my privacy, but this use seems perfectly sane. Yes, they could hire a Walmart greeter to sit on a stool and watch the line, periodically holding up a chalk board with an estimated wait time. But then we'd be decrying the creepy guy who keeps staring at us in line.

How about we actually see how some innovations play out before deciding that the airport is going to stalk us?

Life is a game. Money is how we keep score. -- Ted Turner