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Comment: Re: GIGO (Score 2) 59

by Rei (#49608161) Attached to: Microsoft's AI Judges Age From Snapshots, With Mixed Results

I agree. Duh, the program is obviously not perfect and screws up sometimes. But I'm amazed by how good it actually is. Even being able to just ballpark it some of the time would be impressive, but the fact that it gets pretty reasonably close most of the time, I find that incredibly impressive.

Someone on my Facebook feed was complaining about how in a washed-out picture of three children the picture guessed only two of them right, but saw one (a young boy) as an adult woman. My response was to crop out just the washed out face, take it out of context, and point out, if you saw this face, not understanding anything about the context, could you guess it? I certainly couldn't have. But that's exactly what the software has to do.

I took a number of pictures of myself in different angles, making different faces, etc, and its range on age guesses was only 3 years. My brother-in-law managed to get a 20-year difference in guesses by making faces, but I couldn't manage it, and neither could most people I know who tried. Again, computationally, it's very impressive.

Comment: Re: Transphobic assholes (Score 1) 141

by Rei (#49607621) Attached to: Statues of Assange, Snowden and Manning Go Up In Berlin

And how exactly do you know what her DNA is? There are XX men and XY women.

And seriously, of all of the stupid measures of who someone is, DNA has to take the cake. "Okay, okay, this Stephen Hawking guy seems to be smart, but that doesn't matter, what does his DNA say? Does his DNA say he's smart? If not then I don't care what he has to say."

Comment: Re:Popular support (Score 1) 171

by Rei (#49604743) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

I don't think NASA needs to make the fictional heroes; I think every piece of sci-fi that comes out helps inspire the next generation. I guarantee you that there's tons kids and young teens who saw, say, Gravity and think that's what it is to work at NASA and have set that as their aspiration. "Astronaut" is usually in the top 10 of what kids want to be when they grow up.

More than anything else, I see the main point of having astronauts is just to inspire kids. Just knowing that there's people going up there is enough - they don't need ot be doing big stunts that cost hundreds of billions of dollars to put a footprint on a distant body; they simply need to be twirling around in zero G in LEO.

Comment: Re:Popular support (Score 2) 171

by Rei (#49604707) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

How many current astronauts can you name?
How many current astronauts can anyone here name off the top of their head?

The time of astronauts as heroes has passed. Far, far more people today do care about MESSENGER and New Horizons than they do about what astronauts are doing in space. They get more coverage in the popular press too. MESSENGER hasn't been a big public eye-catcher (except briefly when it crashed) but there was lots of attention about Rosetta, MERs, MSL, Cassini periodically (for example, the geysers of Enceladus, the Huygens landing, etc), and you better believe New Horizons is going to get a lot of coverage when it does its Pluto flyby (the public has a lot of interest in Pluto, more than in a long time due to the "demotion" controversy)

Yes, the percentage of Americans who read about these sort of things when they come up in the news (let alone follow them in depth) is probably in the 10-20% range. But so? How many specific sub-programs in the Social Security Administration or Internal Revenue Service can you name? NASA still captures the public imagination in a way that no other part of the federal government does. It doesn't take a moon landing to do that.

Comment: Re:Did a paid shill write this summary? (Score 1) 171

by Rei (#49604651) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

It's about time someone defunded this utterly ridiculous and transparent scam.

Indeed, it's about time they defund SLS/Orion!

Don't get me wrong, NASA should be in the launch systems business. In the revolutionary launch systems business. Government programs are supposed to exist to do the important thing that private industry is unwilling or unable to do - in the science field this means things like such as science without immediate commercial applications, very expensive basic research, etc. There is no shortage of private companies now competing over the launch market, and indeed even for the heavy launch market. It's no longer some sort of monopolistic scenario.

NASA needs to be working on rocketry techs that are seen as too much cost / too much of a long shot for private industry to try - that is, until someone else (such as NASA) can prove them. Metstable fuels, nuclear-steam rockets, liquid airbreathing rockets, scramjets, solar sails, magnetic sails, fission sails, advanced ion propulsion technologies, fission fragment rockets, ballistic launch, launch loops, antimatter-initiated microfission / microfusion rockets, nuclear saltwater rockets, nuclear pulse propulsion, and on and on, plus advanced non-propulsion techs for landing, transit, sustaining a base/colony, new communications technologies, advanced robotic systems, etc - with all exact schematics, production instructions, consultations with the developers to serious parties, etc made available at no charge. I'm also of the opinion that NASA should produce and make available at low cost to private space companies and researchers the sort of large-scale analysis and test facilities whose capital costs would break a startup.

Basically, they need to be filling in the gaps in advancing space technology, not trying to do everything, even those things that other parties are more than happy to do on their own with their own money.

Comment: Re:usually the complaints are for too much politic (Score 3, Informative) 171

by Rei (#49604579) Attached to: NASA Gets Its Marching Orders: Look Up! Look Out!

That might be true if this was some sort of dispassionate commentary on the bill. But it's not, it's a ringing endorsement of a highly partisan bill. Surely you see the difference.

For those who are serious, here's the Planetary Society's commentary, with a link to an indepth but nonpartisan analysis at SpacePolicyOnline. The Planetary Society is very happy with the planetary science numbers, not happy with the earth science numbers, and couldn't seem to care less about the funding for SLS/Orion.

Comment: Re:More religious whackjobs (Score 1) 255

by Rei (#49602743) Attached to: Native Hawaiian Panel Withdraws Support For World's Largest Telescope

It's the same reason why many of the oppose geothermal power, keeping Hawaii reliant on burning oil for most of its electricity. Also why there's opposition to even trying to redirect lava flows as most countries do when their people are threatened (with a number of successful redirects having been achieved).

Apparently Pele wants people to be ignorant of the cosmos, to destroy the climate, and to lose their dearest possessions without putting up a fight.

Comment: Re:She has a point. (Score 1) 563

by mellon (#49602087) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

It's the face of a woman in a highly sexualized setting, arranged specifically to titillate. There's nothing wrong with this, and I agree that it's pretty mild compared to porn, but that's not the point. The point is that it presents a context in which hormone-fizzed young men (I've been there, I know!) will want to say something inappropriate, and some of them probably will. It doesn't make the young men bad people, but it can be pretty crappy for a young woman in that environment, and can even be unsafe for her, depending on the particular young men who happen to be in the class.

It should be dead obvious to any college instructor that this is inappropriate. She is absolutely right to call them out for it.

Comment: She has a point. (Score 2, Insightful) 563

by mellon (#49600643) Attached to: My High School CS Homework Is the Centerfold

The Lena Rossi image is famous, but tossing it into a CS class with a bunch of eighteen-year-old men is just asking for a hostile work environment for any women in the class. The really sad thing is that the instructor is so in love with the old photo that he (I'm guessing) couldn't anticipate the problem and didn't come up with a better photo to use. That particular image is so low-resolution and has such poor colors that using it as a standard for doing CS instruction in 2015 would be stupid even if it weren't a problem in any other sense.

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