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Comment Not prediction at all... more like guessing. (Score 1) 148

Instead of A coin flipped for 20000 days, they take data on... say... 100 coins.
VARIOUS data. Weight, color, date on coin, number of scratches, source of coin, air temperature, does flipper of coins like dogs or cats...
Then they flip those coins for some number of times and write all that data down too.
Including the sequence of results - heads, heads, heads, tails, tails, heads...
They get a BIG pile of data to mine.

Then, and this is a clincher, they "Distinguish between causal effects and attributes".
In other words - they come up with a theory of "what" influences the results and "how".
They don't go into why just yet - they only look for nice regressions between their independent variables and their dependent ones.

Anyway, now they have all that data and outcomes based on various attributes.
They can cherry pick those results they like and build their coin-flipping models based on attributes which fit to desired results.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc + confirmation bias? Nah man... Regression analysis.
Then, based on that, they build a model and plug into it new data from a new sample of coins.
Then they dump all that into regression trees and go looking for "predictions" of results they would like to see - thus providing the "why".
http://www.nasonline.org/progr...

I.e. Make a lot of guesses "based on" previous "maybes" - then pick ones you like.
Now... someone get me a 20-something blonde female, dog lover with a degree in flower arrangement and a 1956 Australian penny with a bluish-greenish tint.
My model predicts a 50% chance of getting either head or tail under those conditions.

Comment Re:Stats (Score 1) 290

Yeah, the problem is that as always with capturing such metrics, they only tell half the story.

If someone can no longer see movies listed that are big hits, then it destroys the perception of value people have in the service, even if they never watch those movies.

So sure such movies might not get as much click through as their value implies, but if they're gone then the service appears less premium and no longer worth the cost.

Comment Re:You're opening the door to your competitors... (Score 1) 290

"They either need to pay more or drop the content, so dropping the content they are."

Actually that's the whole reason I take take issue with this. They're dropping content AND hiking the subscription fee.

They just increased the UK subscription rate only two months ago by 7%, and now they're slashing content.

So now, I can pay £89.88 for a year of Netflix, with all this content removed, or I can pay £79 for Amazon Prime where I get just as good content, free next day delivery 7 days a week, access to prime music which gives me access to millions of songs for free, and some cloud storage to boot.

I think your thoughts are quite accurate for the most part, but when Netflix is hiking their price to already be less competitive against their already more competitive competition I don't think it's an excuse that holds merit anymore. I think it's simple profit gouging, but the sort of profit gouging that's likely to hurt them in the long run.

As many companies do as they get bigger and seek to maintain the sort of persistent rapid growth they saw when smaller and younger, they get so desperate to grow their margins that they end up self-harming in the process because they put too much emphasis on growing profits by cutting costs, not realising that those costs are actually one of the pillars maintaining the existing profit in the first place.

I think this is a key example of that, I don't see Netflix maintaining their UK userbase at least by hiking the price of the most popular package whilst removing some of the most popular films. Justifying to their userbase a 7% hike whilst inflation is running at a mere 0% - 0.1% in the UK is difficult enough in itself, but doing so whilst also drastically reducing the amount of content they offer? Good luck with that - "pay more for less" isn't going to make anyone happy.

Classic Games (Games)

Unearthed E.T. Atari Game Cartridges Score $108K At Auction 62

MojoKid writes: Hundreds of Atari 2600 cartridges of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial that were excavated last year from a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico collectively raked in nearly $108,000 through eBay auctions. Some $65,000 of that will go to the city of Alamogordo, while the Tularosa Basin Historical Society will receive over $16,000. Over $26,600 went to shipping fees and other expenses. A team of excavators led by operational consultant Joe Lewandowski unearthed the E.T. cartridges in front of a film crew. The high profile (among gaming historians) dig was the basis a documentary called Atari: Game Over, which is available for free through the Microsoft Store.
Communications

Ask Slashdot: Suggestions For Taking a Business Out Into the Forest? 145

An anonymous reader writes: I'm a huge fan of primitive survival reality TV. I am also self-employed in web troubleshooting and hosting services. I have to be available 24/7, but a lot of my work is just being online for a few minutes at a time. I often think about taking my business 'outdoors', camping, 3-7 days or so at a time — but staying online. Has anyone had experience with this? How did you do it, in terms of internet connectivity and portable power? Satellite internet or long distance Wi-Fi antennaes and a very tall pole? I've looked at some portable power stations with solar attachments, but the idea of hand-cranking to recharge if it's overcast isn't fun, after all, the point is to relax. But I'm willing to manually recharge if it's realistic (would prefer pedaling though!) I happen to have a Toughbook CF-52 (I just thought it was cool) but I may need to replace that with a more eco-friendly laptop as well. Thanks!

Comment And then they can make fun of '80s hairstyles... (Score 1) 87

You are missing the point.

You can make fun of everything. You can jam in jokes anywhere.
Hell... just put a laugh track on it and some people will laugh at anything.
Just like with that show where people tune in to laugh at how awkward nerds are.
You can also parody SciFi up the kazoo. Most of it has already been done by Red Dwarf though.

The fact that there is room for jokes can't change the fact that Galaxy Quest was not about joking about SciFi tropes or making fun of such shows or its audiences.
That's what The Big Bang Theory is about.

Galaxy Quest is your classic "the dream is real and I am secretly a hero king" story.
And THAT story can't be stretched out for too long before it becomes a genuine story of heroics and NOT a parody.
Galaxy Quest ends by becoming Galaxy Quest the Journey Continues.
It stops treating the show or the work of those actors on the show as a joke - but as a real and highly important MISSION.

They are no longer actors. They are an ACTUAL HEROIC CREW of NSEA Protector which was a real starship.
They are no longer acting. They are on a diplomatic mission, sending messages into outer space.
They have a real living alien with them on the set. They KNOW things and they did things that have changed them and the entire universe they live in.
The ending changes the GENRE for the audience. It becomes obvious that it is not a SciFi parody but genuine SciFi.
Because it is a love letter - not a parody. Goofy characters become heroes.
Seen Guardians of the Galaxy?
Seen Antman?

MASH never stopped being a comedy, turning around and making every joke actually just a bizarre scene in a gritty war drama. If it did, it would be Kafkian.
Neither did Hogan's Heroes.
Nor did Lost in Space or Star Trek get a laugh track and started being about crazy hijinks of a wacky crew.

They can try doing that, sure, but all they'll end up with is just another lame "reference is a joke" show, like that crap Seth MacFarlane keeps churning out.

Science

How Close Are We, Really, To Nuclear Fusion? 395

StartsWithABang writes: The ultimate dream when it comes to clean, green, safe, abundant energy is nuclear fusion. The same process that powers the core of the Sun could also power everything on Earth millions of times over, if only we could figure out how to reach that breakeven point. Right now, we have three different candidates for doing so: inertial confinement, magnetic confinement, and magnetized target fusion. Recent advances have all three looking promising in various ways, making one wonder why we don't spend more resources towards achieving the holy grail of energy.

Comment Not a parody. A love letter. (Score 2) 87

This was my thought, especially it they made it as much a parody of Star Trek as the movie was of the cast and culture.

The same actions, characters and tropes that movie is poking fun of, turn out first heroic then triumphant by the end.
They really become heroes they were playing on a show, they save the world, help out friendly aliens, redeem their fans AND they get a revival of their show.

I doubt that the same effect can be achieved with a lesser (cheaper) cast and as a running gag over a season or more.
Sam Rockwell alone already used up most of those jokes.
While being awesome and ultimately - heroic.

Trying to copy Rickman on the other hand... simply won't work.

Comment A bullet may have your name on it... (Score 1) 180

...but tear GAS is addressed "To Whom It May Concern".

As for those other "less lethal" weapons... aiming skills are not the issue.
Fact that they are LEGAL means that should they want they can employ any kind of technique to achieve that hit with a drone.
Be it "painting" the target with a laser by a human or any and all AI or assisting technology available EVER in the future... Doesn't matter.

The fact that this legalizes drones equipped for "less than lethal" drone strikes against civilian population is what matters.
Drone strikes against civilians. It has a certain ring to it, does it not?

Government

North Dakota Legalizes "Less Than Lethal" Weapon-Equipped Police Drones 180

According to the Daily Beast, writes reader schwit1, North Dakota police will be free to fire 'less than lethal' weapons from the air thanks to the influence of a pro-police lobbyist. That means beanbags, tear-gas, and Tasers, at the very least, can be brought to bear by remote. It's worth noting that "non-lethal" isn't purely true, even if that's the intent behind such technologies. From the article, based partly on FOIA requests made by MuckRock into drone use by government agencies: The bill’s stated intent was to require police to obtain a search warrant from a judge in order to use a drone to search for criminal evidence. In fact, the original draft of Representative Rick Becker’s bill would have banned all weapons on police drones. Then Bruce Burkett of the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association was allowed by the state house committee to amend HB 1328 and limit the prohibition only to lethal weapons. “Less than lethal” weapons like rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and Tasers are therefore permitted on police drones.

Comment Yawn. Nobody's talking about making guns illegal. (Score 1) 468

Clearly, AK he had was already illegal.
And clearly, everyone knows where to get illegal guns.
And clearly, everyone knows that there are A LOT of illegal guns.
And clearly, Belgium has gun permits and other regulation.

The issue is that Belgian cops are not doing anything about it.
I.e. There is NO ENFORCEMENT OF REGULATION of clearly and obviously illegal guns.

Making guns illegal is a thing that exists in your head.
The article and my point are about easy access to guns (through lack of enforcement of regulation) making everyone LESS safe.

Comment Riiiight... let's hide behind the linguistics (Score 1) 186

I never claimed there was a conspiracy, I claimed that people commonly call things "science" in order to manipulate the public and provided examples which are easy to find and validate.

That "people" lying i.e. "call things science" in order to manipulate - that's a description of a conspiracy by definition. ANY definition.
If it walks like duck... Meeh... you know the rest.

As for examples "easy to find"... Go find me a James Bond movie I'm thinking off right now. Here's a hint: he kills a guy in it.
You provided vague anecdotes you only half remember as "examples" of your conspiracy theories about manipulators of the public calling non-science science - and you expect everyone else to know your thoughts.
Onus probandi much? No?

You do realize that the examples I gave (without handwaving "it's out there... find the truth yourself") ARE science?
Nothing unscientific about them.

It's just that their methodology and conclusions are (probably) tainted by biases.
BUT! Because it is science, the proofs and examples where they went wrong are RIGHT THERE, in the studies. Built in.
No one had to manipulate, lie, hide, conspire...
They wrote down exactly where they fucked up. That's a feature of the scientific method.
What you are describing sounds like tabloid "science" and conspiracy theories.

Manipulation does not require one form, it takes many forms. Similarly dishonesty is not simply a lie, but can also be withholding information or re-ordering information to present a false reality.

You don't seem to understand the difference between a scientific study and a tabloid article.

Main feature of science is that it can be taken apart because - it is science.
And it MUST be taken apart during scientific work because - it is science.
You can't "re-order" or "withhold" gravity or any other established law of nature or a finding proven previously.
It is not some secret art. It is all out in the open already. You WILL be called out as a bad scientist and a kook if you try to do that.
Richard Feynman called out Linus Pauling as a "vitamin C cures cancer" kook in a damn song.

All you can do is fiddle with numbers and hope no one tries to replicate your results while you live.
P-hacking is obvious, mislabeling too, using vague survey questions, badly set up controls...
It is all obvious and it will be right there in the paper. Or it will not be - WHICH WILL MAKE IT EVEN MORE OBVIOUS.

You are basically tossing ad hominems (though maybe unintentionally... you seem to have a misunderstanding of topics you are arguing), strawmen (again... maybe you don't understand the scientific process) and demanding of people to prove that you are right.
Which is ironic... cause my original post was supporting yours, though through a more moderate explanation.

But you seem to be too enamored in your "EVERYONE LIES!!! ALL THE TIME!!!" theory to realize that.
Then again... you find it "amazing" that 1 in 5 Americans comes out to "about 63 million people" in my guesstimate and in the "BS study you referred to".
As if dividing about 318 million with about 5 should change significantly depending on who does such basic math.

I have a feeling that when you say "science" you do not think it means what it actually means.

Comment Easier? Like Charlie Hebdo easier? (Score 1, Insightful) 468

which would have made everything a lot easier.

And I'm not talking about that executed police officer.
Or the executed Protection Service officer (French version of Secret Service), assigned as a bodyguard to Stephane Charbonnier.

I'm talking about this guy reportedly getting his guns and ammo at the same place where terrorists in France have been getting it "traditionally" - Belgium.
From TFA:

Matthew Holehouse writes from Brussels:

The attack on the Thalys train brings fresh scrutiny on the ease of purchasing weapons in Belgium.
The gunman is believed to have entered the train at Brussels Gare du Midi, Belgium's busiest station and the terminus of the Eurostar rail link to Britain.

He was carrying a short-stocked Kalashnikov assault rifle, at least five magazines of ammunition, a handgun and knives, according to witnesses.
It comes eight months after the terrorist attacks in Paris in January. The weapons used in those attacks were bought from criminal gangs and arms dealers in Belgium.

Amedy Couliby, whose attack on a Kosher supermarket killed four Jewish Parisiens, bought his Scorpion machine gun and Tokarev handgun in Brussels and Charleroi.
The Kuoachi brothers, who slaughtered 12 people at Charlie Hebdo magazine, received their weapons from Coulibaly, who bought them near Gare du Midi for around £3,800.

The scruffy backstreets around the station host a large market and the area is well known as a marketplace for illegal arms.
Many weapons are thought to be left over from the wars in the former Yugoslavia. Typically, a Kalashnikov automatic rifle, could be bought for several hundred euros in Bosnia, and then sold on in Belgium or the Netherlands for use in organised crime for ten times that sum.
Earlier this month police in Charleroi broke up a suspected international arms smuggling ring, alleged to be using crude forged paperwork to import Glock and Sauer handguns fitted with silencers, Browning rifles, and shotguns.

Gun ownership is permitted under licence in Belgium, although automatic and military-grade weapons are illegal.
There are around 900,000 firearms circulating in the country of 11 million, of which around 300,000 are thought to be unregistered, according to official estimates.

Easy access to guns is what has made this attack in France and those before possible.
What prevented it from becoming a tragedy were people willing, ready and able to rush and tackle the gunman.

Comment Modern diets? (Score 1) 381

Modern diets are only about 10,000 years old, and the calorie rich eating of today is less than 100 years old.

That's a bit of a fallacy there.

Corn, potato, beans, tomato, turkey, cocoa, peanuts, sunflowers (8-11% of vegetable oil comes from its seeds)... and many more.
All those didn't exist as far as the world is concerned until the discovery of America.
And so many more would only become common and thus cheap after being transplanted to Americas and farmed there on all that empty and rich land, with free slave labor, then traded with the rest of the world.
Sugar was known for thousands of years, but it didn't "take off" until 18th century.

And that's all just before we changed those foods to be better. Wind the clock back mere decades and look up Norman Borlaug.
The bread we eat today could not exist mere 50 years ago.

So, from one side, 10000 years as a limit to the "change in our diet" due to agriculture is nonsense.
From another, we didn't go out there into the wild, experimenting willy-nilly what to grow agriculturally.
We just picked the BEST food for US and planted and cultivated MORE of it.

We have an enzyme which takes a rather rare (in nature) sugar called sucrose and splits it into fructose and glucose so we could both get energy and save energy (eat our cake and have it too) from a single molecule.
We EVOLVED to be able to do that - so we planted crops that make more of that molecule.
Some of us have an enzyme which allows us to digest lactose and get energy from that too - after we wean off from our mom's milk.
So we bred cattle that produce THAT molecule (and fat, and meat, and hides...).
Some Japanese can digest cellulose cause they have special gut bacteria with enzymes which allow them to get energy from algae.

Why all those various ways to harvest energy from all those plants and animals?
Because there never was enough of it. We went hungry.
Again - India mere decades ago. Parts of Africa today. Europe and Americas before that, mere decades not centuries ago.
Heck... centuries ago we had nearly no way to preserve food.
Canning is an early 19th century invention. Refrigeration took decades more. Modern refrigeration took even longer.
Before that we ate when we could, what we could, stored some dried foods and prayed for short winters.
And we went hungry.

We did not "change our diet" 10000 years ago by content, nor did we do it by quantity until recently.
The fact that we ARE getting fat off of modern food PROVES that we have evolved to eat that kind of food.

We did not evolve to not spend those calories by sitting the whole day working, sitting while going from place to place, spending winters in comfortably warm rooms with all that cheap food we don't have to hunt, or plant, or harvest or even steal... right there at our arms reach.

There's no "modern" diet, in a biological sense. Same food, just more of it, more easily.
There IS a modern lifestyle and modern technology. Like cars, electricity, penicillin...
That's the bit we haven't yet figured out how to adapt to ourselves in a way that we get more benefits.
Just like we fixed plants to be more nutritious. Or edible.

There's a technology we figured out long ago that allows us to digest otherwise indigestible or poorly digestible food.
I.e. To get more benefits out of food by adapting it to ourselves.
It's called cooking.

There is a science that's equivalent of cooking for modern life, but it is in its infancy.
It's called ergonomics.
But it is where cooking used to be back when we would scour the ground after a forest fire, looking for animals that got cooked alive.

Comment You almost had it there. (Score 1) 379

See, most of their customers, including their largest customers, are very likely to be unaffected by the change as they're not buying off-brand or foreign toner cartridges.

This is not about off-brand or foreign cartridges.
Those things are bulky. Any profit made on the favorable exchange rate gets eaten in transport.

This is about "developing markets" in "emerging economies" being forced to buy local models of Xerox machines - instead of far cheaper refurbished ones which got replaced by new models in the "first world".
At the same time, this would force local cottage industries that provide refills in those countries to start importing "first world" used Xerox cartridges.
And since those things are bulky, it would eat at their profits and many if not all would have to shutter their stores.

It's a win-win-win.
It forces sales of "third world" models in the "third world", it forces sales of original cartridges AND it takes a swing at the refill cottage industries all over the world, at least for some time.
In theory.

Only issue is that the entire idea revolves around the notion of people respecting their rules of regional encoding.
Instead of finding a way to get around them.

We don't really understand it, so we'll give it to the programmers.

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