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Comment: Re:"Paleolithic diets" now vs then (Score 1) 281

by excelsior_gr (#47752833) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

People in the Minoan civilization (which is still more modern than paleolithic) had a life expectancy of only 30 years. However, you have to factor in that they were completely vulnerable to disease and even trivial accidents could be fatal. I would therefore not call them unhealthy, as those individuals died probably at infancy.

Back then food was hard to come by and demanded a great deal of physical activity. So I would go on a limp and say that, having survived your childhood, you would be rather healthy. Until you cut your hand trying to skin that rabbit.

Comment: Re:speaking as a senior engineer (Score 1) 160

by excelsior_gr (#47683709) Attached to: The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

Fluent is now ANSYS.
Probably you know this already, but I just wanted to get this out of my system: Letting ANSYS buy Fluent Inc. (they had to go through a competition committee or something of the sort) was a huge blow for the industry. Now ANSYS owns *two* of the most powerful simulation tools in the chemical engineering industry (CFX and Fluent) and has virtually no competition. The only way to bitch and whine about their high prices is to threaten them that you will switch to OpenFOAM, to which they will reply with a "ya, right...".

Anyway, I just wanted to get this out. Thanks for listening.

Comment: Re:Shenanigans! (Score 1) 371

by excelsior_gr (#47632745) Attached to: Oracle Hasn't Killed Java -- But There's Still Time

As if people follow the links to the actual articles. You should be an old enough user to know that Slashdot is not the kind of news aggregator where you go to follow the links, it's the site where you go to listen to what other people have to say. It's more like: here's the topic; discuss.

User snydeq is a paid shill? Absolutely!
The status of java is an interesting topic for the community? Yes it is!

Disclaimer: I always enjoy a good argument.
BTW: The above is the reason why if the Slashdot comment mechanism ever breaks (Beta, I'm looking at you), it will mean the doom of this community.

Comment: Re:biased algorith (Score 1) 177

by excelsior_gr (#47623979) Attached to: Algorithm Predicts US Supreme Court Decisions 70% of Time

I beg to differ. While constructing a model there are often unknown relationships and parameters between variables for which you have to make assumptions. Like, for example, you suspect that two variables are related, but instead of digging in deeper and deeper in order to exactly resolve the relation you assume an e.g. linear relation, you fit the parameters to some data and move on. As long as you clearly present your methodology, I don't think there is anything wrong with this. The next guy can look closer and walk the extra mile, figure out a more rigorous relationship between the variables and improve your model. This methodology is not only common, it's also necessary: often the relationships between variables is so complex that being more rigorous does not improve the model because you add physical parameters/constants that you know little of and cannot measure with enough accuracy (or at all), so you're better off fitting them anyway (inverse problem). As to the usefulness, scientists "tamper" with the models all the time: Kepler tampered with the model of Copernicus, and Newton tampered with the model of Kepler. "Tampering" Newton's law for improving the result accuracy led to general relativity.

Your comparison to the Turk is just wrong. That was a straight-out hoax. An algorithm "trained" to represent some data still has value in representing these data, no matter how simple/non-rigorous it is. If the model is good, then it might even have some value in predicting the behavior of the system (in our case, the supreme court) even under different conditions (the "future"). In the model there are certainly correlations that the maker figured out by examining some data. Thus, the model can only be as good as the data that it is based upon. There is nothing wrong with improving the model as more data become available. Stubbornly sticking to the initial (wrong) estimates would be like saying that we should have dumped Newton's law of gravitation at birth because we didn't have a good value for G, instead of measuring G with higher accuracy.

Comment: Re:Newspapers are one of the most annoying blocker (Score 1) 113

by excelsior_gr (#47603079) Attached to: Spain's Link Tax Taxes Journalist's Patience

So, publishers/news sites/magazines spoiled the development of true micro transaction, micropayment systems.

I beg your pardon, but from your very comment I draw the conclusion that the credit card companies spoiled the development of true micro-transactions by demanding a very large amount for each transaction. If they had realized the size of the economies of scale we're talking about here they would have settled for much less than a cent per transaction, but I think that their short-sightedness and greed got in the way.

A memorandum is written not to inform the reader, but to protect the writer. -- Dean Acheson