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Comment: Re:Why are you a corporate shill? (Score 1) 111

by dr_canak (#48414391) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Malcolm Gladwell a Question

'..Why did you..."

because he's an idiot. And one of the most overrated, over-hyped idiots of the last 20+ years. It's hard to think of anyone who comes to mind even comparable.

Gladwell has a gift to take something that *easily* can be explained in a few pages, and turn it into an entire book, full of the same repetitive idea, chapter after chapter.

How he has become so popular is beyond me. The only thing I can guess is that he deludes people into thinking they are smarter for reading his stuff. I read a couple of his books and immediately saw him for what he was.

And really, why is this even a Slashdot interview?

Comment: An interesting caveat (Score 5, Insightful) 216

by dr_canak (#47185901) Attached to: $57,000 Payout For Woman Charged With Wiretapping After Filming Cops

" settled Thursday in a move that the woman's attorney speculated would deter future police "retaliation." ... "

But then this:

"...that she was "exercising a clearly established First Amendment right when she attempted to film the traffic stop in the absence of a police order to stop filming or leave the area."

Seems to imply that if the police had ordered her to stop filming or leave the area, then she could have been arrested had she continued.

So really, doesn't this just mean that Police will now simply order people to stop filming or leave the area in order to end the filming?

Comment: Re:Offensive (Score 1) 622

by dr_canak (#41970265) Attached to: With NCLB Waiver, Virginia Sorts Kids' Scores By Race

Here,

let me fix this for you:

[edited for clarity]
"Passing should be the same for everyone. How long did we have racial profiling laws that made it impossible for equality to exist? Now, in one move, Virginia wants to completely defeat that. If they are going to profile kids based off their race, do they also seat kids based off their skin color; black kids at the back, Asians at the front so they can answer the question more easily, whites in the middle to be forgotten, with Hispanic students seated where ever? This is the same idea, just a different spin. This entire concept is offensive and unethical."

Good thing you are a black, disabled student. Otherwise you would not pass your writing test in Virginia. Feel free to graduate and move on.

Comment: Re:Whats the difference... (Score 1) 486

by dr_canak (#40616043) Attached to: Hackers Steal Keyless BMW In Under 3 Minutes

But those numbers do not appear to be adjusted for inflation, which you have to take into account when making comparisons like you are. In 1990, the median income was around $49,000, in inflation adjusted dollars. In 2010, it was also just a tad under $49,000.

http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p60-239.pdf

take care,
jeff

Comment: Re:Without remorse there is no rehabilitation. (Score 1) 161

by dr_canak (#37380006) Attached to: Kevin Mitnick Answers

While i agree he likely didn't cause "some of the most ammoral and harmful acts in modern computing history", when you say this, "he didn't really damage much of anything" who then is he aplogizing to?

"However, I do regret the effects that my activities had on my family and the companies that were damaged by my actions."

jeff

Google

HTC Sues Apple Using Google Patents 342

Posted by samzenpus
from the litigate-or-die dept.
AlienIntelligence writes "Apparently to stay viable in the IP wars, HTC secured some patents from Google (who purchased them originally from Palm Inc., Motorola Inc. and Openwave Systems Inc.) on the 1st of September. The patents were used to fire a new salvo of shots across Apple's bow today, September 7th. HTC filed infringement claims against Apple in federal court in Delaware, suing based on four of those patents that originally were issued to Motorola. Additional complaints were filed with the U.S. ITC based on the other patents."

Comment: Interesting presentation on TED re: Child Safety (Score 3, Informative) 493

by dr_canak (#36837950) Attached to: Can a Playground Be Too Safe?

Came across this TED presentation last year:

http://www.ted.com/talks/gever_tulley_on_5_dangerous_things_for_kids.html

Definitely an interesting take on this whole issue of child safety regulations. The book (written by the presenter in the video above, Gever Tully) entitled "50 Dangerous Things (You should let your kids do)" is a really nice read.

jeff

Comment: Re:Kinda (Score 1) 456

by dr_canak (#33076112) Attached to: Man Wants to Donate His Heart Before He Dies

While I certainly understand the sentiment, the issue here is that this person cannot end their own life. They require, are requesting in fact, that someone end their life for them.

So, one could make the argument that someone should be free to do what they want with their body, provided what they do doesn't impinge on the lives of others. On the other hand, no one is obligated to honor this individual's request, simply because this individual wants to exercise control over his own body.

jeff

Comment: Another outstanding reference for R: "R in Action" (Score 3, Informative) 91

by dr_canak (#32954044) Attached to: R In a Nutshell

Not having read the O' Reilly book,

I can't draw a comparison between the two, but I have been extremely pleased with "R In Action" by Robert Kabacoff

and it can be found here:

http://www.manning.com/kabacoff/

It's a work in progress, in that some 90% of the book is written. Pre-ordering the electronic version gives you the ability to download chapters as they are written, plus a final e-copy (or hard copy if you pay more) when it's completed.

I have a high degree of familiarity with SPSS and SAS, and am learning R to get around the crazy licensing issues of the aforementioned programs. I have been very pleased with Kabacoff's book, as I had *no* familiarity with R before grabbing "R in Action." The publisher/author support a forum where purchasers can identify errors and/or make suggestions for improvements before the book goes to final press.

Not sure if it is competition for "R in a Nutshell" or simply an additional reference, but worth checking out if you want to learn R. It's been very helpful for me.

jeff

Comment: Re:Bluff City is south of Bristol Motor Speedway (Score 4, Informative) 680

by dr_canak (#32497532) Attached to: Anti-Speed Camera Activist Buys Police Department's Web Domain

Having been to Bluff City and the Bristol race for many years now,

I can assure you that during race weekend a car goes anything but fast. The traffic in and out of the track is brutal, starting Friday and going well into Monday. 6+ hours before the race, traffic is already backed up for several miles, in both directions. After the race, it can take several hours to get out of Bluff City and be on your way. There are about 500 police officers (local, county and state) and a squad car about every 500 feet for a good mile in each direction because the pedestrian traffic is so heavy. I've arrived at the track 6 hours prior to the green flag and have parked 2+ miles away and walked, just because the traffic so obnoxious.

These camera's in Bluff City have very little to do with Nascar, and I would imagine speeding tickets on race weekend generate but a tiny fraction of the revenue these cameras otherwise generate.

jeff

Comment: Re:Already done (Score 1) 89

by dr_canak (#32137592) Attached to: Wikipedia Offers a Book Creator

I'm not necessarily condoning their business model,

But in two of the first four links from what you posted, there is a direct mention in the "Editorial Reviews" specifically stating that the content is from Wikipedia articles. Of course, the value of this "disclaimer" is predicated on the purchaser seeing that and still making a choice to purchase one of these titles, which may or may not be happening. And it doesn't appear to be there for all titles. But it is there for some.

jeff

Comment: Re:easy stuff (Score 5, Informative) 377

by dr_canak (#31092434) Attached to: What Objects To Focus On For School Astronomy?

I totally disagree with this comment,

and +4 informative is way out of whack, even for the slashdot moderation. I live about 10 miles outside of Chicago, just north of the airport. The light pollution is awful. With an 80mm lens (just under 4 inches), I can easily make out the cloud bands of Jupiter, including the red spot. The moons of Jupiter are clearly visible, and are easily distinguishable from background stars (first and foremost, they don't twinkle). The rings of Saturn are clearly visible (even with small binoculars), and will look like a little UFO in the lens. Andromeda and the Pleides are visible to the naked eye as light smudges, but through a 4 inch lens are easily broken down into the major elements making up these DSO's. The whispy structure of the orion nebula is clearly discernible. Again, this is from extremely light polluted skies. In reasonably dark skies, a 4" scope is plenty for amateur observing.

The parent post is hardly informative.

just my .02,
jeff

Comment: "Turn Left at Orion" (Score 1) 377

by dr_canak (#31091086) Attached to: What Objects To Focus On For School Astronomy?

As someone previously mentioned,

"Turn Left at Orion" would be a good resource, because everything in TLaO is viewable through a 4" telescope. Further, there are pencil drawings of what one should see through the scope, which is a much more accurate depiction than what a person sees in magazines such as "Sky and Telescope" and "Astronomy".

I would certainly plan ahead. There are really four categories of targets easily accesible with a 4" scope: (a) moon, (b) planets (really, just Saturn and Jupiter) (c) *some* deep sky objects and (d) the sun. Looking for binary stars, comets, variable stars, and such is just not going to be very fruitful, except in the very best of conditions with a very good instrument. Using general resources on the Web or the Sky and Telescope web site specifically (or the magazine for that matter) can tell you what is even available for your planned evenings and times. It's been awhile since I looked at TLaO, but I think it's broken down by late evening viewing for each season. In other words, what the Eastern sky looks like at 11:00p in winter is very different from what it looks like in summer.

Weather can be your best friend or worst enemy, for obvious reasons. But picking a night of full moon to look at deep sky objects is equally bad. This is why planning ahead of time is so important. You can also set expectations ahead of time of what will be observable, and what it might look like through the lens. Again, the beautiful pictures from Hubble are a far cry from what someone sees in a telescope. So, it can be very easy for a new observer to feel let down if their expectations aren't addressed early.

If you go for some deep sky objects (See the Messier Catalog), make sure you spend a night before hand figuring out how to find these objects on your own and what they look like. You don't want to be fumbling at the telescope trying to the find Orion Nebula while everyone just stares at you, and then not know if you have even found what you're looking for. Same could be true of Saturn and Jupiter, but it's much easier to tell if you've found the right target. The moons of Jupiter, albeit tiny points of light, are always interesting, especially if you observe on consecutive nights. The moon goes without saying. Moon observation is a hobby unto itself.

Observing the sun is really dependent on sun spot activity. If there are sunspots to observe, that's at least something to see. Otherwise, through a plain 4" scope, the sun isn't particularly interesting aside from a bright orb that looks like a balloon (look up Coronado telescopes if you really want to see how amazing the sun can look through a telescope. The pictures you see is what it looks like at the lens).

good luck. hth,
jeff

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming

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