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Comment: Precalculated (Score 1) 85

by aaaaaaargh! (#49495303) Attached to: For the most recent tax year ...

Where I currently live you download a program from the tax authority which in turn downloads almost all data you need from their servers (including your salary, health care expenditures, etc.). You then fill out 2-3 missing points like where you live or some additional deducible items, and by the press of a button the program gives you a 100% accurate estimate of your tax returns. When you press another button it sends the declaration back to their servers, and it's done.

Comment: Re:0.6? Are you serious? (Score 1) 213

by aaaaaaargh! (#49492141) Attached to: GNU Hurd 0.6 Released

It may be irrelevant now, but it could become very relevant from one day to another if Microsoft decided to attack Linux, either directly or indirectly indirectly (e.g. by funding SCO again), in order to grab royalties and thereby delay their own inevitable demise. That's not such an unlikely scenario, and it seems good to have something else up one's sleeve...

Comment: Re:What is the objective of the research? (Score 1) 63

what are the practical applications of this observation

Mathematicians don't need practical applications. When they speak about "applications" they mean "applications to other fields of mathematics". And that is good so.

That being said, I know Diaconis primarily for his earlier work on ranking methods, which have many practical applications in CS -- like page ranking algorithms, for instance.

Comment: Re:Out of touch with the world she lives in (Score 1) 538

Sorry I don't buy it. No matter which age, anyone who doesn't roughly understand how the internet works after detailed explanations can only be a complete moron or demented, or both. It's not like these people have to go to the public library to find out how the internet works, they have a support staff and access to expert panels. Or, they could just grab a phone and ask someone who knows.

Comment: Re:Oh For Crying Out Loud (Score 4, Insightful) 161

by aaaaaaargh! (#49368869) Attached to: Europol Chief Warns About Computer Encryption

They are crying now because some companies no longer want to cooperate with them by developing deliberately weak standards (e.g. cell phone encryption) and by providing illegal backdoors for wiretapping without warrant. So they want to be able to force them by law, which means that they need to convince politicians first.

In my pessimistic opinion, the most probable outcome of this debate is that companies will bow (again) to the authorities like they did before and provide the backdoors voluntarily, presumably in the form of vulnerabilities that are not published.

Comment: I don't care about hoax papers (Score 2) 61

by aaaaaaargh! (#49358369) Attached to: Hoax-Detecting Software Spots Fake Papers

What bothers me is that in the humanities there are whole communities and sub-disciplines in which there is barely any real peer reviewing. These are small niche areas in which everyone knows everyone and basically the whole research is based on invited contributions and papers that are not properly blind peer reviewed - they are cursorily scanned by colleagues who know who wrote the article. In such a field there are about 5-10 journals in total and the authors jump back and forth between them. Most of them are unable to publish articles in top journals of the discipline as a whole. I personally know professors who have built a whole career on the basis of quoting themselves and by doing light editorial work. I know a cross-disciplinary field of study in the humanities that is entirely dominated by two professors, all the rest are scholars of them, and each of them wrote around 40 books, always on the same topic, and all of them more or less repeating the same two pseudo-competing themes over and over.

It's pretty sad to see these people recognized as experts when at the same time in other fields there is hard work and real progress.

Comment: Re:Yeah: Europe - The Shithouse Of Humanity (Score 2) 213

by aaaaaaargh! (#49318657) Attached to: Finland's Education System Supersedes "Subjects" With "Topics"

LOL, another right-wing history crackpot...

Einstein lived one year as a toddler in Württemberg, he was educated in Munich and Switzerland (Aarau and Zürich). Later he worked at Zürich, Bern and Prague, and then for the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Prussian Academy of Sciences, before he emigrated to the US because of the nazis in 1933, where he spent the rest of his life mostly at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton.

He loved your Eberhard's Württemberg so much, he even denounced his citizenship of Württemberg in 1896 in order to avoid military service!

Comment: Re:Not a watch (Score 1) 111

That's not entirely true. There are watches with standard movements that are not handmade except for final assembly. These are relatively cheap, and most of the popular garbage/fake brands belong to this category. Some of them bought a name that rings a bell, but has in reality no real tradition in watch making or has been revived only for the branding.

But there are also chronographs whose movements are assembled by hand, and these are, for obvious reasons, very expensive. There are also huge differences in overall quality and precision of mechanical watches. For example, you will definitely not find a cheap mechanical watch that is in fact waterproof (and doesn't just claim to be). That's because it's damn hard to make a mechanical watch waterproof.

I've got all the money I'll ever need if I die by 4 o'clock. -- Henny Youngman

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