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Comment: Re:Perspective (Score 1) 170

Welcome to science! In 10 years, a lot of what we believe today will be somehow invalid bullshit!

Say it with me: current theory suggests....

I'm an engineer. When the entire field of cognitive science rolled over on its back for K. Anders Ericsson, I said, alright, the research is funny, but the conclusions are useful. So it's all fucked up, full of bullshit and misunderstood data. Ericsson's hundreds of papers and books all boil down to one thing: experts become experts by a principle he calls "deliberate practice", whereby a person must have goal-oriented, technique-focused practice strategies with constant and immediate feedback. Cognitive scientists now define "practice" as some sort of activity that GENERATES ERRORS, having decided you don't learn if you're not fucking it up.

So maybe they don't understand all this bullshit; but they understand now that the prior theory--10,000 hours of rote mechanical behavior to become skilled in something--was bullshit. As an engineer, I don't care that the new theory is full of holes; all I care about is they definitely know that time doesn't really correlate with expertise, except by the confounding of more types of activities occurring in longer time. If you've done something for 10 years, you'll have made and corrected for more mistakes in your career as if you've done it for 10 minutes. The new theory? You have to pick a technical facet of the skill, practice that directly, and do so in a manner that strains your abilities and forces you to make mistakes you can learn from. I'm on board with that, because it works; at least, it works better.

In 10, 20, 50, 100 years, they'll come out and say, hey, we figured out you're like 5 times more effective if you practice in this way, and that whole "deliberate practice" pseudotheory bullshit was just missing this key common behavior among practitioners of deliberate practice! I'll be like, hey, that's cool, we'll do that then, because it works better.

Current theory suggests playing complex songs you can already play on the piano day after day won't make you any better; playing difficult songs will make you better very slowly; and determining what piano musicmanship skills you're weak in and drilling them directly in a fashion demanding skill beyond yours such that you make mistakes of a nature you are able to identify and correct for *will* advance your skill *very* quickly. Maybe current theory is full of bullshit, but all of these statements are verifiable as true, and so I know how I'm practicing my skills.

Comment: Re:What is the obsession with tattoos... (Score 4, Interesting) 393

by bluefoxlucid (#49585897) Attached to: Tattoos Found To Interfere With Apple Watch Sensors

I look at the whole human body as an aesthetic. I'm not usually looking at women in a sexual way at first glance; the first things I notice are body shape, skin tone consistency (blotchy and ragged or smooth and soft?), hair, and so forth. I see a complete picture, a canvas I guess you could say, all these elements brought together to express the physical state of a person; it even goes so far as exactly how they move, what expressions they show, and, of course, what they're wearing.

After taking all that in, I decide what category of attractiveness she falls into, if she's sexually attractive, if she's intimidating, or whatnot. All the normal stuff. You'd be surprised how much sexual attraction falls squarely on a good smile, a good voice, body movement, the emotional regard of personality (yes, even for a sociopath with no real empathy). The first look is to see what image I'm looking at, how it flows, and how visually pleasing it is; the second is to see how I feel about it, if I want it, and what I want it for.

Tattoos are art. Unfortunately, they're the kind of art you get by printing out RWBY fanart and gluing it into the middle of a Van Gogh: maybe the artist has really good lines and anatomy, and the picture is really great, but it fucks up the Van Gogh.

Comment: Re:Not every tattoo (Score 1, Insightful) 393

by bluefoxlucid (#49585809) Attached to: Tattoos Found To Interfere With Apple Watch Sensors

I'll be bangin' 18 year olds when I'm 40, because the fad will finally be over and I can get some women whose skin doesn't have blue and black blotches like the fucking bubonic plague all over it.

Tattoos look nice, but they don't look nice on your body. It's like grabbing piles of cool shit and plastering it all together in a house: you have the ugliest fucking house in existence. If you would learn to theme it properly, you'd get a nice interior design. Problem: tattoos don't make for a nice body design; they're a blotch on your body. They make for nice pictures and fantastic decals on your car.

Comment: Re:Agile - like everything else it is good and bad (Score 1) 208

by bluefoxlucid (#49585729) Attached to: IBM CIO Thinks Agile Development Might Save Company

Adaptive project life cycle, a project life cycle, also known as change-driven or agile methods, that is intended to facilitate change and require a high degree of ongoing stakeholder involvement. Adaptive life cycles are also iterative and incremental, but differ in that iterations are very rapid (usually 2-4 weeks in length) and are fixed in time and resources.

PMBOK on Agile, which it terms "Adaptive project life cycle." It's just iterative and incremental in small bites, which can be planned and executed exactly like all other projects.

There are a lot of implications to fixed time and resource iterations. At the end of the month, anything that didn't make it has now exposed how far you can get in X time, rather than how much time it takes to produce X result. all risks and implications are factored based on this behavior. It's essentially your standard project management using iterative and incremental techniques, but paced to a metronome.

Comment: Re:The real question here (Score 1) 180

by bluefoxlucid (#49585651) Attached to: How One Tweet Wiped $8bn Off Twitter's Value

Every extra dollar you pay to reduce the principle on a loan is equivalent to taking that dollar and investing it with a rate of return equal to the interest rate on the loan.


Every dollar you pay to reduce the balance of a loan is equivalent to investing with an instant return of the principle-to-interest ratio of the total payments that would naturally decrease that loan.

Let's say your next five $1000 payments each drop your loan balance by $20, $20.01, $20.03, $20.04, and $20.05. In common terms, these are your principle payments, and the rest is interest. Over the next five months, you will pay $5000; $100.13 will go to principle, and $4998.87 will go to interest.

If you pay $1080.13 this month, you'll skip the next 4 months. $100.13 will go to principle, and $980 will go to interest; for that $80.13 invested in your debt, you will have saved yourself $4018.87 in interest--a return of 5,000%!

You might argue that the loan is 30 years long, so it's only like 10% for 30 years--but that's only $1600, and the actual amount saved is 250% of that. Likewise, you've just reduced what you owe; keep it up and you'll have a 30 year mortgage paid off in 3 years (I did, and at 2.5% interest, making 4x or 5x payments each month). As well, you're paying interest on accrued interest: each month, you accrue a brand new $980-ish interest, which you are continuously compounding interest on until you make your payment; you're paying interest on the average $490, approximately, which is still bigger than that $80 you invested.

Any way you look at it, putting a small prepayment on a loan with a big balance reduces your debt--thus provides you income--a shitload bigger than that amount of money accruing interest over the life of the loan.

Comment: Re:The real question here (Score 2) 180

by bluefoxlucid (#49585529) Attached to: How One Tweet Wiped $8bn Off Twitter's Value

In one scenario, you're paying $980 of interest and $20 of principle on your first like 50 payments (not exactly accurate: you're accruing $980 of interest, then paying $1000, moving your balance down by a net of $20). Paying $20 extra bypasses $980 of accrued interest in the end, saving you money.

In another scenario (low interest rate), you're still paying $1000/mo for 360 months; but even the earlier payments are like $850 of principle and $150 of interest. Whereas each $20 will save you $980 off the total cost of the house, you have to put down $5553 extra on each of those early payments to save $980.

With a lower interest rate, the sale price is higher: since much of the cost of the loan is not interest, you can't dismiss it by prepayment. Whereas $120k of sale price and $330k of interest can be reduced to $220k in total (saving $230k) by adding an extra $300/mo, low-interest rate markets turn this into $330k of sale price and $120k of interest, while requiring heroic efforts (extra $5000/mo) to shave off half your interest, in the end reducing only to $390k (savings: $60k).

You're better able to reduce the total cost to yourself with minimal additional capital investment when interest rates are high and loan terms are long. The natural inflation (increase in salary) or your ability to manage your finances will provide you with additional money over time, allowing you to increase your loan payment; with high interest rates, small increases in prepayment become huge savings off the total loan cost.

Comment: Re:The real question here (Score 2, Interesting) 180

by bluefoxlucid (#49580467) Attached to: How One Tweet Wiped $8bn Off Twitter's Value

people realized although such was the value on paper, no one could actually sell at that price and receive anything near the current "market value".

I keep telling people we need our high-interest-rate market back because it'll force home prices down. Home prices go up when interest rates go down, because people are still buying the same houses for $1200/mo; the difference is whether it's a $120k house or a $350k house that you're paying $450k for. Also, with high interest rates, putting an extra $20 on your mortgage cuts off tens of thousands of dollars from the total cost; with low interest rates, you need to take heroic efforts, like tripling your payments, to save any real money.

They tell me that people just won't be able to afford houses, and that the prices won't come back down. Houses will just go unsold, forever.

Comment: Re:Agile - like everything else it is good and bad (Score 2) 208

by bluefoxlucid (#49580357) Attached to: IBM CIO Thinks Agile Development Might Save Company

Your old, vanilla-style Waterfall sets the whole project up to start with, with all the planning done, and then runs with it. It's a terrible way to manage the risks inherent in running a project: changes require re-work and re-planning, and propagate down through the project.

Agile project management breaks projects down into iterative and incremental phases. An agile project will use the same methodologies as a Waterfall project, but will break down major parts of single-projects and single-phases into iterative and incremental deliverables. An iterative deliverable supplies a foundation--such as a set of core communications systems for network software--which is then iterated upon--for example, by adding facilities to carry different types of message payloads, APIs for interfacing with the networking software, and so forth. An incremental deliverable supplies a component from a larger system--for example, a core networking library--which is examined before building the rest of the project.

Iterative project management lets you build huge, monolithic things in even layers to make sure it all fits; incremental project management delivers each single, solid piece so that the stakeholders can examine further components components in the context of what's already been built. If things change, you have tools and platforms ready to incorporate into the newly adjusted project target; you can also modify these tools and platforms without rework of further work dependent on them, since that work hasn't yet been done until late in the project.

I would not run a 5-year project without iterative and incremental project management.

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein