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Comment This is silly. (Score 1) 120

Machine learning won't 'solve' the economics problem (a problem which the TFA doesn't really define). The problem with math in economics is that economic time-series is extremely chaotic -- a practically infinitesimal change in initial conditions vastly changes the outcome of the system. Hey, remember how we can only predict the weather out 15 days *max* (using big ass supercomputers along with lots of soil moisture content, temperature, wind and other seasonal data)?... well the weather is just one of the tiny effects that propagate through economic time-series. Don't forget about psychology, trading strategies, oh yeah, and the fact that people are actively trying to trick your trading strategies into losing money.

No, machine learning is only natural to takeover a human's limited computational ability, but it doesn't solve the problem of unpredictability. In fact, it will make the market harder to predict for joe blow.

That said, TFA did rightly point out that economics is filled with lots of bullshit conjecture and over-rigorized high-brow nonsense.

Comment meh, keep OS X on your macbook (Score 1) 435

If you're interested in using windows, keep it on your desktop. In my experience, macbooks mesh a little better in research/workplace environments than windows laptops. For desktops on the other hand, where you might actually need some power (for gaming, design, personal computation, etc), windows is still king of compatibility.

Comment This is good. (Score 4, Interesting) 60

Improvements in battery technology are one of the most important stepping stones in getting us to that Star Trek utopia. Obviously they're used everywhere, but with 'perfect' battery technology, you don't need to worry about peak load energy production (ie, you can produce clean energy sporadically and save it if power demand isn't high enough), you don't need gasoline for cars, and your smartphones won't take hours to charge.

It seems that the main advantage of this breakthrough is, among other benefits, eliminating the heating problems associated with high energy devices like car batteries. One of the biggest problems people have with electric cars is that you can't charge them faster than you can fill up a tank of gas. FTFA:

The electrolyte in such batteries — typically a liquid organic solvent whose function is to transport charged particles from one of a battery’s two electrodes to the other during charging and discharging — has been responsible for the overheating and fires... The lithium itself is not flammable in the state it’s in in these batteries.

This is big, and I'm excited. Don't get me wrong, this isn't an overall solution to our dirty energy practices and clunky smartphones, but it's a big step in the right direction. Surely there will be design hurdles to overcome, which will probably delay implementation for some time, but this century is going to be great if we don't fuck it up too bad.

Also, if you can get past the paywall, here's a link to the nature materials article that the article didn't have:

Comment For the politically uninclined: (Score 1) 686

I don't spend a lot of time seeking out candidates that represent my views. In fact, it's really hard to find a candidate that represents even half of my views.

Here are some quizzes that I took that helped me solidify my political views. The first one ( was more extensive, and in my opinion, a bit better. It addressed net neutrality and gerrymandering, both of which I find very important:

Before I took this quiz, I was expecting to side with Hilary Clinton, but it turns out that I'm a bit more closely aligned with Bernie Sanders, partially because his platform is more clear on political values. While I support education, science, and thwarting environmental threats, I tend to agree with republicans on most other fiscal issues. The quiz gave me some republican candidates that I can tell my dad about (who is undeniably conservative).

Comment Free alternatives? (Score 0) 90

There don't seem to be very many good free alternatives other than microsoft's default package. I've wondered if it's possible for me to make my own security system, but I've never given it a good amount of thought.

If classification is the name of the game, couldn't you use some machine learning techniques based on what malware does and write your own classifier?

Comment Re:No compelling evidence? (Score 1) 663

It doesn't have to. At any given moment your body requires a certain amount of energy to maintain its current level of functionality. If there is more than that available, it will store the surplus. A prolonged surplus will result in the creation of fat to store it for the long term.

So if you routinely eat more calories than your body needs, you'll get fat. It doesn't matter how much of what you eat gets absorbed or what your specific caloric needs are or any other factors that change what your body needs at any given instant - eat too much, too often, you get fat. =Smidge=

Like you say, and as I said, calories certainly contribute to weight gain, but they are an imperfect approximation, and they take no account of how the type of food you eat interacts with metabolic processes and neurochemistry. For instance, one common measure of caloric content of food approximates the human metabolism as taking 85% of the energy content available in food. See

Comment Re:No compelling evidence? (Score 1) 663

So in other words, they do help you lose weight as long as you don't change your other eating habits.

Not exactly. Artificial sweeteners in general have an impact on your gut chemistry. Here's a study that links non-caloric artificial sweeteners to metabolic diseases like diabetes:

How the hell else do you get fat? You consume more calories than you burn, your body mass will increase. It's really basic thermodynamics at work here...

It's true that eating more calories will contribute to weight gain, but it's not simply 'thermodynamics'. If you put chemicals in your body, a chemical reaction happens! Just like drugs, all food is based on nonlinear dynamics and chemical reactions. Your metabolism doesn't extract 100% of available calories, that depends on the bacteria in your gut along with a slew of other chemical activities.

Not to mention, food (and drugs) have an appreciable effect on our mood and actions. At this point, psychology depends on neurology, which in turn depends on metabolism, which depends on what chemicals you're putting in your body. The concept of a calorie is imperfect just like our aspirations of looking sexy are imperfect.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.