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Comment: Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (Score 1) 52

by CodeBuster (#47447047) Attached to: How To Fix The Shortage of K-5 Scholastic Chess Facilitators

Similar process here, use it or lose it.

I haven't played a serious game of chess since I took up programming decades ago. Why spend time learning to play chess when I can write a program that will beat most humans? Even a novice programmer could create a very strong chess AI using information that's publicly available. Chess was an early area of interest in AI and game theory but it's largely a solved problem now, used as an example of minimax search in undergraduate textbooks on the subject.

Comment: Re:An absurd "crisis"! LOL (Score 1) 52

by CodeBuster (#47446979) Attached to: How To Fix The Shortage of K-5 Scholastic Chess Facilitators

Every minute spent training for a marathon is useless because we have cars.

Training for a marathon improves physical conditioning and fitness which is arguably useful in it's own right. Cars satisfy transportation needs, but they do little or nothing to improve physical conditioning or fitness. They're different things and not really comparable.

Why is learning about algorithms useful? For every algorithm you learn, there are at least a dozen implementation of the said algorithm.

It's the algorithm that's important, not the implementation. Algorithms are discrete methods of abstract problem solving and study of them improves both abstract thinking and general problem solving capability. The game of chess for example is well solved by minimax searching of decision trees with a few chess specific evaluation functions thrown in. Further refinements and sufficient processing power allow even the best human players to be reliably defeated, but the basic concept remains the same: minimax search of decision trees. The game of chess can be part of a course on game theory or an introduction to algorithms, but the grand parent is correct that any more serious study or effort at mastering the game, outside of subjective entertainment value, is largely wasted given that computers are better at it than most or even all humans. Moreover, the mastery of chess doesn't seem to provide any special educational or intelligence benefit that couldn't also be had with many fewer hours of more generally applicable study of game theory, algorithms, computer science or mathematics.

Comment: Re:Kinda minimizes "consensus", doesn't it? (Score 1) 96

by mpe (#47446943) Attached to: Elite Group of Researchers Rule Scientific Publishing
Some economists at Harvard got busted publishing fake crap that support hokey rightwing anti-tax ideology and nothing happened, they just said "oops, gosh, we just made a mistake using Excel" and it blew over. The lamest part is it was published in a supposedly peer reviewed journal yet their fraud was only exposed by an undergrad a public university.

Most likely "peer reviewers" only checked that the paper is consistent with "economics" (or whatever the specific "science" in question is). How often do they look for errors with mathematics or logic? No doubt such reviewers also tend to assume things like measuring instruments, software packages, etc being used correctly and that things which depend on another science havn't been misinterpreted/misunderstood.
Also this case appears to be a "genuine mistake". Whereas with actual fraud you'd expect at least some attempt at obsucation.

I have a lot of respect for physical sciences but these "human sciences" like economics and psychology are full of shit.

Those possibly arn't even the best examples. This sort of thing even has a specific term in the field of medical research :)

Comment: Re:Um, here's a glaring fact (Score 1) 96

by mpe (#47446899) Attached to: Elite Group of Researchers Rule Scientific Publishing
Some of the papers in the field are highly cited, yes, because well, and here's the problem, everyone keeps citing each other in circles regardless of the actual impact.

Which can create a sort of positive feedback when it comes to citation. There will also be people who will take the amount of citations as being a measure of "quaility". Even when what they actually have is a "circular argument".
Then there's the issue of what happens if someone, especially an "outsider", discovers a problem with the original paper. With "lynch the kid (and deny the problem)" being the alternative ending to "The Emperor's New Clothes". (Possibly especially where there is no evidence of malicious action.)

Comment: Re:result of the lab/funding system (Score 1) 96

by mpe (#47446799) Attached to: Elite Group of Researchers Rule Scientific Publishing
The trick to being a lead researcher is finding a rich problem space for the students to work on that will attract grants.

This is likely to also result in all sorts of politics being attached to getting funding. At best only a subset of possible research areas, which happen to be PC, will get funding. At worst getting the "wrong" results means it then becomes even more difficult to attract grants.
Such a situation can easily lead to "research" which is either poor, even pseudo, science. Since there can be a lot more money in attempts at confirmation than attempts at falsification.

+ - Traffic lights: There's a better way

Submitted by stephendavion
stephendavion (2872091) writes "MIT researchers develop an improved system for timing of urban lights to minimize commuting times. Anyone who has ever driven a city street and been frustrated by having to stop again and again for red lights has probably thought that there must be a better way. Now, researchers at MIT have developed a means of computing optimal timings for city stoplights that can significantly reduce drivers’ average travel times.

Existing software for timing traffic signals has several limitations, says Carolina Osorio, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at MIT. She is lead author of a forthcoming paper in the journal Transportation Science that describes the new system, based on a study of traffic in Lausanne, Switzerland."

Comment: Re:Children (Score 1) 348

by AK Marc (#47446601) Attached to: Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills
Care to fix the goalposts? You complained about it being available. Now, proven wrong, you are complaining about the cost. If the cost were $0, you'd still complain about something. I've gotten a card for $0. So where are the goalposts going next? Why not just state your objection, rather than arguing with everyone over every little detail?

Comment: Re:Cash Needs To Go Away (Score 1) 348

by AK Marc (#47446569) Attached to: Predicting a Future Free of Dollar Bills
I don't pay a 3-5 percent convenience charge on anything. It's a violation of the rules in the US for them to charge it. And cash isn't free to the merchant either. BoA is at about 0.3% cash handling fee (some "free" each month, but a business account with large cash deposits will get charged a fee for using cash.

Also cash is much more likely to be stolen by employees or others, or just plain get lost.

Comment: Re:Not France vs US (Score 1) 258

It has been. The french government is democratically elected.

So then sex with Monica Lewinsky has been decided to be a good thing because Clinton was elected?

Not every action by an elected government is the will of the people or the "right thing". And given that people are arguing here that it isn't even protectionism, makes me think that it isn't as settled as you assert.

Comment: Re:Speculative. (Score 1) 149

by swillden (#47445719) Attached to: How Deep Does the Multiverse Go?

Anything dealing with multiverse is speculative. Math does not constitute evidence.

By that argument, everything we know about stars, quasars, black holes, and virtually everything else that isn't on our planet and relatively close to the surface is all speculative, too. Nearly everything we know about the stuff not immediately at hand is based on mathematical models, calibrated against "observations" which are often very, very indirect and themselves dependent on many layers of mathematical models derived the same way.

I don't know enough about QM and many worlds theories to know how much really is well-supported, but from what little I've read, the many-worlds hypothesis seems to provide a much better explanation of the spooky action at a distance effects we observe than the alternatives.

"Engineering without management is art." -- Jeff Johnson