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Comment: Is this the ob luddite post of the day? (Score 1) 108

First, to criticize the computer marking of exams one has understand the human process. In the human process readers are trained to use a rubric to award points for the presence of certain attributes. On objective subjects like maths and science, the readers will generally train until everyone gets the same score for the same work. On less objective tests, some variation is tolerated. For instance on my GRE essay, I receive two different scores that were averaged. It was the same essay, and from an assessment point of view the variation in grade is purely attributed to the personal preference of the reader.

Therefore the only task of those who write software to grade essays is that the variation of the machine is no worse that the variations of the humans. There is some success in this. Edx has a module that will grade essays. As far as I know the value in this is quicker and more uniform feedback for practice essays. Of course humanities majors, who have generally have minimal understanding of advanced technology, hate it. This, of course, includes journalists.

This is not to say that computer graded essays are going to be as good of an assessment as human graded essays. However, it may be good enough, and better than other objective measures, such as fill in the bubble tests. In fact anything that minimizes the cost of open ended free response assessment is going to benefit anyone. Securing multiple guess test is very expensive, and the value of them are highly questionable. They tend to overestimate the value of student how have vague passive knowledge, and underestimate the value of those who have an ability to actively apply knowledge.

Comment: Re:flashy, but risky too. (Score 1) 81

by fermion (#49578053) Attached to: Uber Testing Massive Merchant Delivery Service
There is a lot of counterfeiting as well. While insurance, if Uber has it, will protect the consumer and vendor, the consumer will not be protected from counterfeit bags.

I even doubt there will be suitable insurance or bonding, as one reason Uber can be so cheap is because they externalize most costs to the driver, which means consumer do not have the protection they normally expect. I mean if something happens on the trip, or to a product, who are you going to sue? The driver who doesn't even hold the title to the car? The driver's insurance company that specifically is not going to cover commercial activities?

Even with proper insurance and bonding, it still leaves the consumer open to receiving counterfeit property. The driver substitutes the counterfeit for the original, gives the authenticity card to the customer, and end up with an authentic $2500 bag for the costs of counterfeit.

Comment: Re:typical college class... (Score 2) 353

by fermion (#49570611) Attached to: University Overrules Professor Who Failed Entire Management Class
While TAM Galveston is above the level of a community college, it is not up to the level of the more legitimate universities in the State even though it shares a name with some. Also, it has a reason to exist apart from the greater system, namely a maritime emphasis. That said, the flagship universities do have a tendency to shift less desirable students to these outlying branches. Students want to go to these education not for the education, but so they can say they went. The universities encourage this by have 'former student associations' instead of 'alumni organizations'

In any case I am sure these problems exist a the colleges that occupy the space between community colleges and legitimate universities, where such problems are much less dominate. That is why it still makes a difference where one goes to school, and why some schools can charge a premium.

Comment: economics (Score 2) 78

by fermion (#49538455) Attached to: Africa E-Waste Dump Continues Hyperbole War
My suspicion with these so-called African landfills, or anywhere, is where is the economics of transporting heavy waste ten thousand miles just to dump it. yes, the US and European laws make dumping it a home expensive, but just to dump it elsewhere for the kid to play in? Does not seem to add up. Transporting it to be used for a few years and them dumping it, that makes sense. That still has the problem of concentrating toxic waste in places where there are not good regulations to protect the populous, but that is a different issue.

Comment: Re:Pirating: it's the better product. (Score 1) 368

by fermion (#49538365) Attached to: iTunes Stops Working For Windows XP Users
This is why I do not buy DRM videos from anyone. At some point something will happen where you can't play them. The music is OK because it was never particularly hard to remove the DRM.

That said, the same thing can happen to pirated content. You hard disk can crash, the file can corrupt, the content can be taken down. If you have good backups you are ok, but in my experience backing up terabytes worth of content is non trivial.

It is convenient have your licensed content on the cloud. It off course is a trade off.

Comment: Re:I guess he crossed the wrong people (Score 1) 320

by fermion (#49498205) Attached to: Columbia University Doctors Ask For Dr. Mehmet Oz's Dismissal
Most guilty people will immediately try to become the victim. Ignore the fact that I convince gullible people to buy junk that at best is useless and at worst will harm them. Ignore the fact that I use my medical degree to trick people. Look at the big bad corporation over here that wants to attack me. Ignore the fact that I am in the arms of a big bad corporation that airs my tv show and wants rating no matter what.

My problem with Dr. Oz is not that he appears to be a unethical charletan that will prostitute himself to any snake oil salesman who asks. My problem is, n the few shows I have seen, is that he actively is teaching his audience bad science. This is not surprising as doctors are not scientists. For instance, there was one show on fat where his depiction of fat was completely inaccurate. The demonstration was there to be visually exciting, but at the expense of any real science. I can imagine the people who saw it going to their doctor and arguing a point, thinking Dr. Oz is right, and their doctor is wrong.

It is entertainment. I agree that persons who are fundamentally entertainers and not seriously committed to medicine should probably not be the medical staff.

Comment: Re:Smug Alert (Score 1) 290

My concern is that we might see a rise in muggings again. Like those white cords coming out of your ears that marked the wearer as a victim, we might see that a wearer or a the distinctive watch is a victim.

Of course it will be a while before many people have a watch. Those who ordered in the first couple minutes will get it before May. Those who ordered in the first hour may get it by mid may. ten hours after the watch was on sale the shipment date was almost the end of June.

So will we see retail sales for the watch before the end of summer? I think for the Watch Edition and other Watch that are far north of $100.

It is interesting that most Watch sold are Sports model. Buying an expensive Watch now seems really silly. Spending $500 is smug and borderline senseless. This is not a device one is going to use for a generation. In the next two years the Watch that one might keep for a couple years will be on the market. One has to admit the electronics for this Watch is going to seem obsolete in 6 months. And you won't even be able to go the pawn shop and sell the gold for gold.

Comment: Re:Seems expensive for sure... (Score 1) 108

by fermion (#49447485) Attached to: ICANN Asks FTC To Rule On<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.sucks gTLD Rollout
I don't see why legitimate companies would want to own this TLD. Let is go to people who want to attack the company online. If you have a good product your customers are not going to be overwhelmed by the negative reviews on a site that that has the sole purpose to be negative. New customers are going to see negative reviews, on a site that is intended to be negative, but again if the product is good they will also see other reviews elsewhere

The only thing a .sucks is going to do is provide a platform for negative opinions. It will not necessarily be a popular or dominant platform. The exception might be organizations that are not really flexible enough to handle criticism. So Scientology and many other religions, most politicians, and Coca Cola will probably have to buy the domains, but $2500 is not a huge expense for them.

This is speculation and some will profit but I suspect it will not be a long term thing. It is like when the domains names cost huge amounts of money and people spent huge amounts of money buying them up hoping to resell. Some people made a lot of money, but I suspect most did not.

Comment: Re:Crossed lines (Score 1) 166

by fermion (#49419711) Attached to: The Arrival of Man-Made Earthquakes
The science on this is good. The lawyers will eventually get payments and may make the cost of current water disposal prohibitively expensive. That is not going to stop the earthquakes in Oklahoma because Oklahoma does not have a diverse vibrant economy, so voters, in general, are not going to ask officials to stop water disposal or fracking.

Compare this to Texas where local bans are in place and it is only oil industry bribes at the state level that keeps fracking.

Comment: lots of history (Score 1) 167

I have not been in New Mexico when the Trinity site has been open. I need to just fly out for the weekend and see it one day...

However, I have been to The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque(where bugs bunny always goes). It is a nice museum, apparently on a tight budget, with many interesting planes. They usually have a good traveling exhibit.

109 East Place is a good book on the secret site in Los Alamos. It was so secret that all communication and travel when through 109 East Place in Santa Fe.

Comment: Re:What's really behind this hue and cry? (Score 2) 421

by fermion (#49409771) Attached to: Powdered Alcohol Banned In Six States
Do not underestimate the religious wackos that have been elected to state government over the past few election cycles. Their fear that someone might be having fun somewhere cannot ever be discounted as a cause.

That said commercial interests are often combined intricately with religious desires to dictate how people live. In many states alcohol sales are overly regulated to insure that states and the corrupt religious organization that engage with them in defrauding the public of funds through the regulation. In such states powered alcohol could lead to reduction in power of these corrupt officials.

That said, I fail to see the legitimate market value of this product. If I go on an outing, and want to take booze, I have a flask, as for most people it does not take much to get tipsy. I even have a one shot key chain flask. If I to on the river, I have a six pack in the water to stay cool.

I do see a case where governments weigh the benefits of this product to the costs. The costs being the ability to sneak alcohol into where it is prohibited, the ability for children to drink, and the ease of not properly diluting it making it easier to drink enough to cause death. Some of these are clearly religious issues, but other of these are valid public health issues.

Comment: Re:no problems w/o it (Score 1) 394

by fermion (#49394081) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Living Without Social Media In 2015?
The only reason that anyone has a Facebook account is to spy on their kids. Last time I mentioned Facebook around a bunch of teens, they all said no had Facebook anymore, or at least did not use it. Look how quickly Myspace became something kids did in middle school, but not high school because it wasn't cool.

I think for people 20-40, Facebook is still a pretty big force. We see that people in college are still embarrassing themselves on Facebook. I agree that the college students should get punished for what they do on facebook, not because of the content, but because they were dumb enough to think that putting it on facebook was a good decision. I suppose I think it is a good way to be social, which is of course a code word for lots of sex. In reality every new group of adults is going to redefine what social means for them, and it will be a little different than the group before them.

I have seen Linkin, OTOH, be useful for some of my friends in terms of professional contacts. Business tends to move much more slowly, so something stodgy is still of benefit.

Comment: Re:Sure (Score 4, Interesting) 172

This is the nature of science, which in many respect only fully matured at beginning of the 20th century when all this was happening. It depends on observation, and without observation all one has is religion.

Here is what is now thought when science is done. An observation is made. If we take Galileo as an example, he observed bones in animals. Then We make a mathematical model. In that case it was the relationship between mass the bone volume that was needed to support the mass. Then we make testable predictions based on that model, Galileo made the prediction that Giants do not exist, which is true, and could not have existed, which is one of the things that made the Church mad.

Relativity and Quantum mechanics both depend heavily on the mathematical model to make predictions on things that are not part of our everyday experience. This is different from classical physics where the mathematical models were based on things that most people observe. Classical physics is a ball falling and bouncing off the floor or light refracting through a prism. Quantum mechanics is a ball tunneling through the floor or light refracting around a galaxy. What I find interesting is that people take Relativity at face value and have a problem with Quantum Mechanics. It is true that we see a limit in velocity in the macroscopic world, but that has to do with friction, not relativity. There is nothing in our experience that says we cannot go as fast as we have the energy to accelerate. Certainly our mass does not increase if we are traveling at 80 miles and hour in a car instead of 30 miles an hour.

OTOH, our experience does tell us that second and third hand information is unreliable, and we are often better off making direct observations if possible. Are we just going to let some stranger bury our cat on the statement the cat fell off the roof and died? No, we want to see the cat, and until we do we hope the cat is alive, but there is chance the cat is dead. Is it both? No, it is uncertain, which is the key thing that people do not learn about science. Uncertainty.

In Quantum Mechanics this is called a wave function, and the cat is in a superposition of wave functions that represent all possible states. The wave function collapses when we make an observation.

Here is another interesting thing. Quantum Mechanics came about to a problem with infinity. Relativity never solved it's problem with infinity, at least not completely, and when combined with Quantum Mechanics develops more infinities. This is what does not make sense.

This is now. Later is later.

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