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Comment: Re:You can bitch and whine all you want (Score 1) 580

by f97tosc (#39969415) Attached to: Only 22% of California 8th Graders Pass National Science Test

The problem isn't the system, or the money, or the tests...it's the parents. All the money and great teachers and fabulous facilities do is set the stage for learning. If the parents can't do their part, it will - by and large - be wasted.

So you would explain the signficant differences in states by different parent behavior? That doesn't seem very plausible.

Comment: It was about execution, not about the concept (Score 2, Insightful) 184

by f97tosc (#39692905) Attached to: Microsoft Passed On iPhone-Like Device In 1991
Sony-Ericsson actually DID release iPhone-like devices (e.g. P800,P900) before Apple. They did not sell very well, at least not compared to iPhone. They just weren't as slick. And Microsoft isn't exactly known for releasing very slick products either - so even if they had released it it is far from obvious that they had been successful.

Comment: Re:I'll stick with Netflix streaming, thanks (Score 1) 105

by f97tosc (#39576903) Attached to: Google Strikes Deal With Paramount

Redbox for newer release movies, and Vudu for when I've got to watch it now

I used to do same, then I realized the saving in redbox vs Vudu really was not worth it. If you drive a few miles to nearest red box (back and forth, twice) you probably spent a dollar on gas, for a total price delta of less than $2. And you spent thirty minutes of your life to get this saving.

Comment: Actually modern American English sounds more... (Score 5, Interesting) 516

by f97tosc (#39527835) Attached to: Why Are Fantasy World Accents British?
"For Americans, I would assume it's because we associate fantasy with the Old World because that's where most of our myths and legends originate."

Yes, but we associate wrong because modern American English actually sounds more like old English than does modern British English.

Comment: Re:That's how it's done... (Score 1) 294

by f97tosc (#39444213) Attached to: Blackjack Player Breaks the Bank At Atlantic City

There are 3 such games: Craps, Blackjack and Baccarat. Poker is promoted so heavily, because it makes the Casinos so much lucre.

It may be true that they make more money on poker, but it is still an easier game to beat, because you primarily fight other players and not the house.

In black jack, only the most extremely skilled players under very unusual conditions can generate a positive average return based on their strategy.

In poker, there may be one player at every table of 10 (i.e. 10%) that shows a positive average return based on their strategy.

Comment: Re:That's how it's done... (Score 4, Insightful) 294

by f97tosc (#39444105) Attached to: Blackjack Player Breaks the Bank At Atlantic City

Not a game - or entertainment or luck. Just calculation of reall odds and risk.

Luck is a huge component, as the winner himself said he was ready to walk away with a $400k loss which could have happened had the cards come out differently.

Only if you have an infinite amount of time and an infinite loss tolerance (or if you cheat) can you avoid the impact of luck.

Comment: No $100 needed domestically for frequent fliers (Score 2) 527

by f97tosc (#39374095) Attached to: Pay the TSA $100 and Bypass Airport Security
Just a clarification. There is an international program called Global Entry, that is $100. You can get invited to the domestic program PreCheck either by being a frequent flier or being part of Global Entry. I am a frequent flier and participated in PreCheck, did not cost me anything. I did not pay $100 to join the Global Entry program. And btw, they still randomize more thorough searches.

Comment: Re:Contractors (Score 2) 135

by f97tosc (#39356711) Attached to: Study Confirms the Government Produces the Buggiest Software
I think in general it is very difficult to have two groups of separate people, one who understands the problems, and another who understands how to write code.

IN theory you let the users write down a list of specifications, but it rarely works into problems. You always run into trade-offs and conflicts involving functionality vs complexity for example, only somebody who understands both the software and the problem situation can resolve this well.

I agree with you that the best solution is to have the users learn how to code, or possibly let the coders learn how to run the business. Unfortunately I think it is rare to find the right combination of talent. And certainly users without coding talent are not going to declare themselves incompetent to manage in business with increasing software content. And coders are all too comfortable letting somebody else specify what to code and not taking ownership for a product that actually adds value.

Comment: Wheels on luggage patented in 1972 (Score 1) 389

by f97tosc (#39242581) Attached to: Why Did It Take So Long To Invent the Wheel?
When discussing why it took so long to invent wheels it is interesting to note that the luggage with wheels was invented in 1972 by a Mr Sadow, who initially had a hard time selling his idea to luggage manufacturers. If you went to a station or an airport before this time you would have seen everyone lifting or perhaps dragging their bags. In retrospect wheels and wheeled bags seem obvious, but it is not obvious before you have seen a lot of other people use it.

Comment: Re:No one see's a problem with this? (Score 1) 278

by f97tosc (#39178547) Attached to: US Military Working On 'Optionally-Manned' Bomber

There's nothing that can't be hacked!

Including people. Point is, "zero" is not a reasonable basis on which to evaluate new risks and technologies. A reasonable basis of comparison is current technologies. Sure, computers can get hacked, but people can get tired and make mistakes, or defect for that matter. Not to mention they are very costly to train and keep trained (and support after they retire). There is little doubt that the cost/benefit/risk equation for bomber aircraft has shifted significantly in favor of robots.

Comment: Profit maximization (Score 1) 507

by f97tosc (#39055341) Attached to: Sony Raises Price of Whitney Houston's Music 30 Minutes After Death
Of course Sony tried to maximize their profits before Whitney Houston passed away as well. It was just that then the demand pattern was different and the optimal price was lower.

Most people seem generally OK with the notion that companies set prices to maximize their profits. It is only in those special situations where supply- or demand- side events causes the profit-maximizing price to shift upward that there are cries of greed, manipulation, etc. The old price sets a mental frame as to what is "normal" or "fair" and the new price becomes "abnormal" and "unfair".

Comment: Yes but (Score 3, Interesting) 437

by f97tosc (#39054917) Attached to: Scientists Study How Little Exercise You Need
Maybe it is true that 10x1 min high-intensity training is just as good as 20, 30 or even 40 minutes of easier training.

But for most people I am not sure if it is any more fun or easier to commit to.

As a pretty serious long distance runner (running Boston Marathon this spring), I don't doubt that intervals can make me faster and I will do some before the race, but that is easily the worst part of my training. It is just very unpleasant to run at >90% of max capacity. I even prefer 15 mile long runs over intervals.

Comment: Re:light gas gun and RANGE (Score 1) 277

by f97tosc (#38971117) Attached to: U.S. Navy Receives First Industry Built Railgun Prototype
Range is also a huge aspect. If they get it to work they will may get a range that is an order of magnitude greater than conventional artillery (~hundreds of miles rather than tens of miles). Which means you can cover two order of magnitudes greater area with a gun and stay rather safe from potential counterattacks. Difficult to underestimate the strategic signficance of this.

It is true that you can get same range with cruise missiles but they are two orders of magnitudes as costly per pop... And can get shot down.

Comment: Re:Yes - sounds like "grant time" (Score 1) 285

by f97tosc (#38742078) Attached to: Multicellular Life Evolves In Months, In a Lab

selecting for the bottom-clumpers is certainly VERY DIFFERENT from having gravity serve as the "selection pressure."

No it is not. Selective pressure just means that individuals have different survival rates depending on some variable. This is exactly what happened. Sure it would have been more elegant if they had a volcanic heat vent kill off the floaters but selecting them by hand will set up the same pressure. The key point is that they picked them based on actual physical behaviors and characteristics, and in doing so they set in place incentives for genetic drift and, yes, for new mutations to take hold.

INTERESTING evolution would be a group of mutations that lead to a multicellular outcome. That's NOT what these guys 1) demonstrated happened (multicellular DNA base-pair-causing mutations) or 2) proved was the actual genetic cause at the molecular-biology level.

Not sure why you are so convinced that A) No mutations took place and B) this makes the result not interesting. Claerly A) is complete speculation on your part, and as to B) the editors of PNAS apparently disagree.

Comment: Re:Why? OWS, for one thing... (Score 2) 405

by f97tosc (#38666892) Attached to: Who's Flying Those Drones? FAA Won't Say

It amazes me how many people support the restriction of our rights (or resist anyone upsetting the status quo) because a bunch of fucking assholes crashed hijacked planes into buildings 10 years ago.

What amazes me even more is how many people make this very argument, but then vote for a mainstream politician whose voting record clearly shows he or she is working hard to restrict our rights.

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.

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