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Comment: Re:Another Advantage for State Level Control (Score 2) 279

by dcollins (#48138023) Attached to: Who's In Charge During the Ebola Crisis?

One state doing the wrong thing + free travel = nation-wide epidemic. That seems pretty obvious. If the chance for one state to get it wrong is just 2%, then the chance of a nationwide epidemic is 1-(1-0.02)^50 = 64%.

And as usual, the thinker who came up with the parent post couldn't get their nonsense argument even grammatically correct ("Ebola can be transmitted by airborne infection...")

Comment: Or Exactly the Opposite (Score 1) 389

by dcollins (#48084161) Attached to: Is It Time To Throw Out the College Application System?

Here's article by Scott Aaronson that argued precisely the opposite last month. Here are some high points:

- "Standardized tests were invented as a radical democratizing tool, as a way to give kids from poor and immigrant families the chance to attend colleges that had previously only been open to the children of the elite. They succeeded at that goal—too well for some people’s comfort."
- "We now know that the Ivies’ current emphasis on sports, “character,” “well-roundedness,” and geographic diversity in undergraduate admissions was *consciously designed* (read that again) in the 1920s, by the presidents of Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, as a tactic to limit the enrollment of Jews. "
- "I’d say the truth is this: spots at the top universities are so coveted, and so much rarer than the demand, that no matter what you use as your admissions criterion, that thing will instantly get fetishized... So, given that reality, why not at least make the fetishized criterion one that’s uniform, explicit, predictively valid, relatively hard to game, and relevant to universities’ core intellectual mission?"
- "I admit that my views on this matter might be colored by my strange (though as I’ve learned, not at all unique) experience, of getting rejected from almost every “top” college in the United States, and then, ten years later, *getting recruited for faculty jobs by the very same institutions that had rejected me as a teenager.*"

Then at the bottom there are links to two anecdotes like this: Teenager is a math prodigy, has already professionally published papers in math, is strongly lobbied for by math faculty to get them in their program... and is refused at multiple schools by the undergraduate admissions officers (because they are "insufficiently well-rounded"). Has to go abroad in order to get undergraduate degree. Acceptable or not?

http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=2003

Comment: Re:Double standard (Score 2) 907

by dcollins (#47996123) Attached to: Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

What you do see are articles complaining when supermarkets that throw out food at the end of the day, and say, shoo away hungry homeless people from taking it. Or a regulation in New York City that prohibits a restaurant from donating day-old bagels or soup to a food pantry like they used to. Or mortgage-wracked homes standing empty for long periods of time when homeless people roam the streets. These complaints do in fact get legitimate traction. And leaving a perfectly good car disabled in your driveway when you need to get to the hospital, or disabled in a bad part of town or cruising down the highway, when clearly no one else can make use of it, smacks of the same Scrooginess and bad-neighborliness.

Comment: Re:I was there.... (Score 2) 479

by dcollins (#47980691) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Finding a Job After Completing Computer Science Ph.D?

Good lord, just think about what you wrote there.

"For a start, bosses are always intimidated with your superior intellectual brain and over the top communication skills (and don't forget, most bosses will be at your age too). Other aspect is, rest of your co-workers been there or has cut-teeth in corporate politics, so in an event of political power-struggle, quite literally you don't know what to do. Also most firms has no idea what to do with a PhD qualified human resource..."

Comment: Re:Maybe... (Score 1) 196

by dcollins (#47968951) Attached to: The Future According To Stanislaw Lem

Note that 3 days after you wrote that, the U.N. specifically had to revise the target number upwards to 11 billion in 2100, because (surprise, surprise) the optimistic predictions of tailing-off growth have not been happening on the ground.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/09/140918-population-global-united-nations-2100-boom-africa/

Comment: Misunderstand Religion (Score 1) 795

by dcollins (#47967571) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

"by definition, religion concerns the ultimate causes of things and, again, by definition, science cannot tell you about them"

That is not the definition of religion. It's a common trope that scientists try to "wall off" religion with some kind of very small, trivial extent, such that they can go about their work without being bothered or engaging in conflict/contention (I tend to refer to this rhetorical move as "Gouldianism"). But neither religious people, nor scholars of religion, agree with that.

"There are numerous definitions of religion and only a few are stated here. The typical dictionary definition of religion refers to a "belief in, or the worship of, a god or gods"[22] or the "service and worship of God or the supernatural".[23] However, writers and scholars have expanded upon the "belief in god" definitions as insufficient to capture the diversity of religious thought and experience... Peter Mandaville and Paul James define religion as "a relatively-bounded system of beliefs, symbols and practices that addresses the nature of existence, and in which communion with others and Otherness is lived as if it both takes in and spiritually transcends socially-grounded ontologies of time, space, embodiment and knowing".[24]... Edward Burnett Tylor defined religion as "the belief in spiritual beings".[25] He argued, back in 1871, that narrowing the definition to mean the belief in a supreme deity or judgment after death or idolatry and so on, would exclude many peoples from the category of religious, and thus "has the fault of identifying religion rather with particular developments than with the deeper motive which underlies them"... The anthropologist Clifford Geertz defined religion as a "system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic."[26]..."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion#Definitions

Someone who gets wrong something so complicated and far-ranging as that fills be with disbelief that the rest of their argument has any value.

IANRBIHAPD (I am not religious but I have a philosophy degree)

Comment: Re:Maybe... (Score 3, Insightful) 196

by dcollins (#47899363) Attached to: The Future According To Stanislaw Lem

In principle, I'm all for this. Practically, however: life always expands to take up all the space/resources available to it. The Star Trek economy needs either infinite resources (impossible) or population controls (distasteful) to be feasible. Otherwise at some point you'll get a virus such as a religious doctrine that says have as many kids as you can and suck up as many public resources as possible, and do nothing else with them, and we'll be right back at the edge of scarcity and collapse.

"Which is the greater danger - nuclear warfare or the population explosion? The latter absolutely! To bring about nuclear war, someone has to DO something; someone has to press a button. To bring about destruction by overcrowding, mass starvation, anarchy, the destruction of our most cherished values-there is no need to do anything. We need only do nothing except what comes naturally - and breed. And how easy it is to do nothing."
-- Isaac Asimov

Comment: Re:Dear God, no (Score 1) 368

by dcollins (#47869025) Attached to: Report: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Studio For $2bn+

"We all work so that we can pay the bills... go on and do bigger and better things that 2BN dollars can provide."

Will the work on the things post-2BN also be to pay the bills? Seems like a contradiction. I wonder what proportion of people are actually not working to pay the bills.

Comment: Re:...like dash cams. (Score 3, Insightful) 455

by dcollins (#47794287) Attached to: Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

Skeptical; citation needed. This goes against millions of cases of city payouts for rights violations. Google "payment for false arrest": 4.95 million results.

Here's just one that's on-topic from earlier this month: "Brooklyn man wins $125,000 settlement after claiming he was arrested for recording stop-and-frisk"

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/125g-deal-vid-stop-frisk-article-1.1906965

Comment: Re:Who signs the checks (Score 1) 371

by dcollins (#47692395) Attached to: Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

This is a great story and thanks for posting it. The best companies are where the engineers are founders, in charge, or co-in-charge (as in your story). When the founding engineers leave, basically, engineers will never again control the direction of the company and it becomes more or less zombie-fied thereafter.

I have a lot of friends who have indie businesses like artists, musicians, one-person fashion design shops, etc. One thing that becomes highly evident is that you have to be a great and dedicated artists, yes, but then you also have to double your effort by spending an equivalent time on the business side (bookkeeping, billing, promotions, sales, etc.) It's hard. But it's kind of telling that most of the posters in this thread are bellyaching about how helpless they are in the face of businesspeople, without talking about the "find or found an engineer-driven company", which is the real solution. To the extent that someone wants to put their head in the sand and avoid business issues (as I did when I was younger), then you're handing over just this power to people whose personality tends towards taking advantage of the vulnerable.

Or engineers could unionize, but we all know they're not willing to fight for themselves in that way.

Air is water with holes in it.

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