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Comment: Re:Poker Night with Pinocchio. (Score 4, Informative) 210

"After investing $1 billion in behavior detection techniques and training since 2007, the Transportation Security Administration has little to show for its efforts, the New York Times stated in a new report. According to the newspaper, critics of the TSA’s attempt to read body language claim there’s no evidence to suggest the agency has been able to link chosen passengers to anything beyond carrying drugs or holding undeclared currency, much less a terrorist attack. In fact, a review of numerous studies seems to suggest that even those trained to look for various tics are no more capable of identifying liars than normal individuals. 'The common-sense notion that liars betray themselves through body language appears to be little more than a cultural fiction,' Maria Hartwig, a psychologist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, told the Times."

http://rt.com/usa/tsa-spent-billion-body-language-937/

Comment: Re:A sane supreme court decision? (Score 3, Informative) 399

"they clearly have not actually reviewed the use of the dogs themselves..."

False; this was ruled on by SCOTUS in a 2013 case. They unanimously voted that drug-sniffing dog alerts are inherently trustworthy. A terrible decision, IMO.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court-sides-with-drug-sniffing-dog/2013/02/19/1d9f7414-7aac-11e2-82e8-61a46c2cde3d_story.html

Comment: Re:Wow. Just wow. (Score 2) 325

by dcollins (#49490939) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan

That does sound bad and you have my sympathies.

But on the other hand I do teach a remedial basic arithmetic class here in New York City and today I had a roomful of college students, none of whom could even give an estimate for the value of 6 3/4 x 2 1/3. The U.S. culture is very jungle-y, poor folks are kind of thrown to the wolves, and we're perennially at the bottom of international rankings in math and science (and also low pay and preparation and support for teachers).

Comment: Re:Contracts (Score 3, Insightful) 131

by dcollins (#49476217) Attached to: How Mission Creep Killed a Gaming Studio

Well, as an ex-game-developer (and my s/o worked for game company funded by MS), I'm going to take a stab at reading between the lines and guess that they had a series of tiered project milestones that MS got to approve/disapprove for pretty much any reason they liked. So the developer is under the gun to make them happy however they can, or else the money tap gets shut off at the next milestone. A lot of companies are sufficiently near the edge (it's a very boom-or-bust industry) that they take a "hail mary" shot, betting everything on the score with the big company. It's basically the dark side of Pascal's Wager.

But the subtext does read to me like some pretty poor management on the part of the developer company. I've seen that a lot at game companies (weak or really inexperienced "management"). The good managers I've seen that made some money immediately parachuted out of the industry to something more predictable.

Comment: Re:ignorant hypocrites (Score 1) 347

by dcollins (#49144477) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

...if they were familiar with that medium, then they could give you a very good estimate.

That's a keenly important conditional. My partner is a fine artist in fabric and mixed materials. She commonly has to spend weeks experimenting with new joint compounds, procedures, etc. (which can take days for one to dry to see if it works, etc.) For her next project she wants tapestry-sized plastic weaving to be glued stiff so it can be hung in space without a curtain rod. How long will it take to determine the right process? Is it even feasible? We don't know yet.

Arguably software development is more like that; you're always writing new material procedures on most new projects.

If management is asking the devs for their estimate, then how in the hell is it management fault for any of those timelines?

The last time I worked software, management took all my estimates and arbitrarily cut them in half, saying, "We're smarter than most other companies, so we can do it in half the time." Used that to close the contract with the outside client, etc.

Comment: Re:Not Censorship (Score 2) 285

by dcollins (#49119871) Attached to: Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View

Here's your problem (and it's a common one): You are primed to jump down someone's throat if they say "1st Amendment rights!" and correct them, saying "1st Amendment rights are only about government actions", which is true. But when someone says "This is censorship!" and you go "censorship is only about government actions", that is false.

The 1st Amendment is the specific restriction on government censorship. But many other bodies can and do practice censorship -- like TV networks and now Google.

Comment: Re:Goodbye college football (Score 2) 94

by dcollins (#48961841) Attached to: What Happens When the "Sharing Economy" Meets Higher Education

This has been the dream for, like, a century now... but schools are simply not structured to permit that. Actually about 20 years ago in the USA we/they doubled-down on the issue; the phrase "tracking students" into different classes or programs by ability was effectively prohibited everywhere, and is considered inequitable, immoral, and kind of offensive to even mention in many educational circles. The standard response in recent decades is that the bright kids should spend their time group-tutoring the slower kids.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein

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