Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: no longer need to hire ... anyone, actually (Score 1) 96

by fygment (#49100301) Attached to: How Machine Learning Ate Microsoft

PhD in machine learning or ...:

secretaries - because we can all do our own docs
car repair mechanics - because it's really just about replacing modules or the whole car
architects - because there's lots of free 3-D drawing apps out there
carpenters - because, hey, how hard is it to nail wood together
lawyers - because just a little reading and memorization will tell you what you need to know
engineers - because they're like carpenters, only with metal and bigger things
programmers - because anyone can learn 'hello world', and it doesn't get much harder than that.

And so on. But remember, you get what you pay for.

Comment: Japan ... about to need _more_ electricity ?! (Score 1) 215

by fygment (#49059655) Attached to: Japan Now Has More Car Charging Points Than Gas Stations

Go go Japan, everything electric ... but where will the electiricity come from? Will they:

a) cover thousands of acres of arable land with solar panels;
b) build and run more nuclear power plants; or
c) build and run more "fossil' fuel power plants?

It's lovely to get on the 'all electric' bandwagon, but really, the problem becomes creating that electricity and then efficiently converting it to useful work.

The same holds true for other countries like US, but at least the latter can claim to have:

a) land for solar (not necessarily easy to distribute it due to NIMBY attitude);
b) stable enough geography for nuclear power proliferation (not necessarily a good political/social climate for them though);
c) abundant natural resources for 'fossil' fuels (not necessarily cost effective ... yet :-)

Comment: Cant understand this but _can_ predict climate ? (Score 0) 77

by fygment (#49010171) Attached to: Mystery Ash Clouds Rain In Parts of Washington, Oregon

No this isn't "weather", this is large scale transport of particles in the atmosphere. And that is kind of critical to understanding climate (and weather).
Which simply tells you that the models, while possibly precise, are not accurate.
And when you are talking about sweeping changes in government policy or, more frighteningly, attempts at geo-engineering, then your models should be very accurate.
Or come with a warning and a statement of margin of error.

Comment: LDA Equivalent is also used in Climate Models (Score 2) 60

by fygment (#48957421) Attached to: Test Shows Big Data Text Analysis Inconsistent, Inaccurate

In the latter it's PCA/SVD and it's used to reduce the dimensionality (compact) of large numbers of variables eg a linear approximation is almost as good as accounting for all the variables individually.
The problem in both text analysis and climate (or any other) models is that PCA/LDA/etc. are linear, and the data they are applied to are generally nonlinear.
The latter means that the solution space has many (infinite?) number of sub optimal solutions.
That in turn means PCA/LDA/etc. return a linear approximation to one of those solutions, and those solutions can be very different.

So, yeah, there is a margin of error. And yeah, the reasons for that error varies. No surprise, because text understanding (and the climate) are hugely complex and nonlinear problems.

BUT at least maybe more people will become aware that models are pretty much flawed ... so don't base legal or public policy on them.

Comment: Most state support, because most are idiots. (Score 1) 458

by fygment (#48946281) Attached to: Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change

They have:

A poor appreciation of what's actually happening.
A poor appreciation of what's at stake.
A poor appreciation of the cognitive abilities of the average politician in understanding any science.
A poor track record of taking any _personal_ action to address issues.

Put it all together and most are likely stating support because they know that that's the right answer to give in the current political space of climate change.
Individually, some of the most brilliant people on the planet.
As a group? Idiots.

Comment: Biologists surprised ... again ... as always! (Score 0) 79

by fygment (#48903471) Attached to: Fish Found Living Half a Mile Under Antarctic Ice

Adding to the body of evidence that biology is not a science, simply 'butterfly collecting'. With no first principles, biology simply makes guesses based on what it has found in the past. It has zero capacity to predict the existence of life (even life 'as we know it'), let alone the nature of life.

Comment: Nuclear Weapons - Climate Change, Comparable? (Score 0) 145

by fygment (#48874081) Attached to: Doomsday Clock Could Move

Seriously? Proliferation of chemica/biological weapons doesn't register a nod over something as nebulous and topical as climate change?

What an example of bald-faced political commentary. Regardless of its origins with scientists, this is now just another meaningless and pretentious art show.

"Truth never comes into the world but like a bastard, to the ignominy of him that brought her birth." -- Milton