Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Re:Clean room implementation? (Score 4, Informative) 223 223

Yes. Exactly.

It's all about the term of copyright versus the term of patent. Patent lasts only twenty years at present, while copyright is effectively perpetual (whenever Pooh and Mickey might enter the public domain, the legislators fix it). If copyright governs interfaces, that part of the law will keep the government from stealing IP away from its rightful owners after twenty years.

Comment: Re:Security clearance (Score 1) 420 420

In fact, holding another citizenship in addition to your US citizenship is normally disqualifying. I do wonder what they do with military personnel from friendly countries engaged in liaison activities, some of whom seem to be embedded in ways that give them access to secret information.

Comment: Re: We Remember things which Affect Us (Score 1) 301 301

While the full extent of atrocities was not known until after the war, that massive atrocities focussed on Jews were being committed was in fact known to the allies by the end of 1942. For example, the Polish government in exile submitted a report on the extermination of the Jews to the United Nations in December, 1942.

Comment: p-value research is misleading almost always (Score 5, Interesting) 208 208

I studied and tutored experimental design and this use of inferential statistics. I even came up with a formula for 1/5 the calculator keystrokes when learning to calculate the p-value manually. Take the standard deviation and mean for each group, then calculate the standard deviation of these means (how different the groups are) divided by the mean of these standard deviations (how wide the groups of data are) and multiply by the square root of n (sample size for each group). But that's off the point. We had 5 papers in our class for psychology majors (I almost graduated in that instead of engineering) that discussed why controlled experiments (using the p-value) should not be published. In each case my knee-jerk reaction was that they didn't like math or didn't understand math and just wanted to 'suppose' answers. But each article attacked the math abuse, by proficient academics at universities who did this sort of research. I came around too. The math is established for random environments but the scientists control every bit of the environment, not to get better results but to detect thing so tiny that they really don't matter. The math lets them misuse the word 'significant' as though there is a strong connection between cause and effect. Yet every environmental restriction (same living arrangements, same diets, same genetic strain of rats, etc) invalidates the result. It's called intrinsic validity (finding it in the experiment) vs. extrinsic validity (applying in real life). You can also find things that are weaker (by the square root of n) by using larger groups. A study can be set up in a way so as to likely find 'something' tiny and get the research prestige, but another study can be set up with different controls that turn out an opposite result. And none apply to real life like reading the results of an entire population living normal lives. You have to study and think quite a while, as I did (even walking the streets around Berkeley to find books on the subject up to 40 years prior) to see that the words "99 percentage significance level" means not a strong effect but more likely one that is so tiny, maybe a part in a million, that you'd never see it in real life.

Comment: Re:Disturbing. (Score 1) 106 106

Not true. In Japan statements that are harmful are actionable even if they are true, if they are not in the public interest. If you reveal defects in a product, for example, that's in the public interest. If you say that the CEO wets his bed, even if true, that's just gratuitously embarassing him - it doesn't have anything to do with whether people should buy the company's products, so it is actionable.

+ - Yet another government software failure, nominated for award

belmolis writes: The Victoria Times-Colonist reports that British Columbia spent C$182 million on a new case management system for social services, whose system was so bad that in 2012 Judge Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Special Representative for Children and Youth, issued a public safety warning. According to a report by the Auditor General, the system only performs 1/3 of the functions of the systems it is intended to replace and fails to protect private information or monitor inappropriate usage. The defective system was nominated by its managers for the Premier's Award for Innovation and Excellence in the Civil Service.

Comment: Re:Yes, a variety of ways (Score 1) 183 183

The UK is putting its judicial system under tremendous financial pressure at the moment, to the extent that some criminal cases are just being abandoned because there's insufficient money to run them. They're (finally!) starting to experiment with allowing small claims court cases to be resolved over the phone, and also looking at decriminalising TV license violations to reduce pressure on the system. But you get the idea - the judicial system innovates extremely slowly even when being sliced to the bone. So don't hold your breath.

They're also moving the low-level courts to use a lot more technology to support them, things like video links so remand prisoners do not need to be brought to court, tablet computers with the legal texts on them in searchable form, that sort of thing. These are the sorts of things that technology can definitely help with, even though they definitely change the nature of justice somewhat.

Comment: Re:Judicial "system"? (Score 1) 183 183

This is one reason the US (which only funds healthcare for Federal employees, Federal retirees, 65-year-olds, and the poor) actually paid more per capita for health care then the Canadian Federal government did, despite the fact that the Canadian Feds provide 100% of health funding in that country.

The real key is that there is a body in Canada (other than the ordinary Joe on the street) who wants prices to be kept down, and which has the power to actually make that happen. Because keeping charges down is a priority, use of generic drugs will be more widespread, as will the use of programmes to improve general public health (because they tend to be very cost effective overall) and the more rapid progression from diagnosis to treatment. That last point can be both good and bad: good because if they got it right, you're getting treated sooner instead of having more expensive (and possibly invasive) tests done, and bad because if they got it wrong, you're not being treated for what's wrong at all.

Comment: Re:Helping Castro (Score 1) 166 166

Israel has NEVER restricted the supply of staple foods to Gaza and presently imposes no restrictions whatever on the supply of food to Gaza. Nor do humanitarian organizations, such as the UN, not exactly Israel's best friend, say that the blockade has caused any humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In any case, were there restrictions on the transfer of supplies from Israel, the Gazans could get them via Egypt.

"Intelligence without character is a dangerous thing." -- G. Steinem

Working...