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Comment other options ... (Score 1) 1067

I've often used "1" as a drop in when dividing by zero. also the logarithm of zero, i usually am working with information units, so it's plnp, and if p = 0, i just say that plnp = 0, and that's kind of like saying ln0 = 1.

i think mathematically infinity or negative infinity would make the most sense, unless its 0/0, in which case you'd apply l'hopital's rule. but i don't think the computers going to do that. another way is you could create another number system, that would run a tally of divides by zeros or multiplies by infinities, minus multiplies by zeros or divides by infinity. (and flipping the sign on negative infinity.)

Comment definitely c ironically the most object-orientatd (Score 1) 211

definitely c ironically the most modern programming language of the bunch.

maybe some day apple will finally get with the times and use an existing popular modern object orientated programming language like c++ or java.

you know, shortcut the whole process f making a feature-incomplete idiosyncratic and verbose programming programing language with inconsistent syntax and skip ahead to what everyone else had half a century ago.

why oh why don't they just use c++ or java?


Comment author evidences how bad U.S. science literacy is (Score 1) 795

the author shows by his very writing of the article just how bad science education is in the u.s. that is, he himself is a victim of the very low standards and the lack of teaching and emphasis on philosophy of science. the author should be ashamed and embarassed for being a shining example of everything that is wrong and antiquated with science education in america. his philosophy belongs to the pre-socratics; the sophists. there is nothing new in what he is saying, it is embarrassingly old. and embarrasingly banal.

if the article proves anything it's by way of example: the author is an excellent example of the people that our education system has left behind.

Comment planing to fail? (Score 1) 269

so what i get from the article.

1) they start by using a measure that's not at all even correlated with what they're interested in.
2) they then completely switch the measure, so then you have two completely unrelated filters on the data - and the data (dna) is very high dimensional, so your final result set is of course going to be miniscule and effectively random. and woe and behold, that's what they got.
3) on top of that they looked at the correlation between the first filter and the second and found woe and behold their method has no chance at all of telling them what they want to know - which we already knew in step 1.

so... uh... do they see what's wrong with their methodology? could it be more obvious? this was botched really badly.

Comment it varies wildly (Score 1) 2

it will vary widely depending on a number of things, including database indexes, system tables, machine specs, operating system, machine specs, recent table usage, table size, whether an execution plan is cached etc.

* machine specs - obviously, memory, cpu, hard drive bandwidth and seek time, etc.
* operating system - this will determine the memory paging, process threading, disk caching, etc.
* indexes - an execute statement on indexes vs not an indexes will make orders of magnitude difference, especially for larger tables
* recent table usage - determines whether the database is paged into memory.
* table size - determines how much of the tabe is paged into memory, and how many comparisions it will need to do to get a resultset, etc.
* system tables - contains optimization parameters that will effect performance and execution plan creation, such as how many rows are expected in the table. if these are off from reality, the database could use a poorly performing execution plan. system tables can also effect paging and other global parameters that effect performance.
* whether an execution plan is cached - determines whether the database will have to re-design an execution plan

all these things are going to add so much variance that it's gong to totally swamp any chance of apples-to-apples comparision.

to do a real comparision you really have to look at it on the logical level rather than the empirical level. what database algorithms will optimize better? etc.

all in all, you're probably just not doing it right. they should be about the same, except in exceptional cases.

Submission + - When Beliefs and Facts Collide

schnell writes: A New York Times article discusses a recent Yale study that shows that contrary to popular belief, increased scientific literacy does not correspond to increased belief in accepted scientific findings when it contradicts their religious or political views. The article notes that this is true across the political/religious spectrum and "factual and scientific evidence is often ineffective at reducing misperceptions and can even backfire on issues like weapons of mass destruction, health care reform and vaccines." So what is to be done? The article suggests that "we need to try to break the association between identity and factual beliefs on high-profile issues – for instance, by making clear that you can believe in human-induced climate change and still be a conservative Republican." But given the propensity of all humans towards cognitive bias and even magical thinking, should we just resign ourselves to the idea that democracies will never make their decisions based purely on science?

Submission + - Democracy crusaders scrambling to cross crowd funding finish line 1

SingleEntendre writes: Time is running out for the Mayday PAC to reach its latest crowd funding goal of $5M. The total currently stands at $4.5M. Led by Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, the Mayday PAC seeks to reduce the influence of money in US politics by 2016, primarily by identifying and supporting congressional candidates who share this vision. If phase 2 is successful, with matching funds the total raised will be $12M. A self-imposed deadline arrives at of midnight tonight, July 4th, Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HAST).

Submission + - Qualcomm Forces 100+ GitHub Accounts Down Over DMCA Notice (

An anonymous reader writes: Qualcomm has forced GitHub to remove over 100 GitHub repositories over "unauthorized publication, disclosure, and copying of highly sensitive, confidential, trade secret, and copyright-protected documents." Among the repositories taken down were for CyanogenMod and Sony Xperia. The issue though is that these "highly sensitive" and "confidential" files are Linux kernel code and reference/sample code files that can be easily found elsewhere, including the Android kernel, but GitHub has complied with Qualcomm's DMCA request.

Comment diff. bits maybe, diff. protocols, not so much (Score 1) 337

okay so there's a public safety issue, and the traffic is prioritized, great. then the program at the other end receives the info and sends out a text message to first responders. and guess what? text messages are treated as low priority, so the overall delay is actually _increased_.

to make matters worse, let's say the public safety thing is spamming the alert, (maybe a design flaw in the program, maybe not), well that spamming is now prioritized, over, again, text messages, maybe even ip telephony, etc.

now you're causing congestion in times when congestion is the last thing you need.

and then a first responder finally gets on sight, and they don't know a medical procedure, so they look it up on the web, but guess what, web traffic takes the slow lane. or maybe its a video hosted by comcast - which isn't paying time warned the royalties it needs to not get throttled.

there's no telling before hand what information is needed, over what channels, over what protocols, and by who.

yes, all bits are of different value. but you don't know what that value is. that's the whole point of net neutrality.

Comment Re:Maybe it doesn't measure science literacy (Score 1) 772

For example, Science by Definition is amoral. It will tell you how to build a bomb, but it does't ask if we should build a bomb.

That's not because of any limit of science, but because it's impossible to answer the question "should" without stating a goal. once you state the goal, the answer is trivial, provided you know the science. e.g. should i remove the squirrel form under my porch? i don't know. do you want it under you porch? yes = leave it, no = remove it. see how that necessarily needs two parts? for a more complicated problem you'd need science. e.g. should we vaccinate? that's a moral question. should you inject a needle into everyone containing a dormant virus? well that depends... what's your goal? okay, lets say our goal is to avoid physical pain. then science tells us the answer is no. what does religion tell us? nothing. it doesn't tell us if it's going to hurt or not. science tells us that. you want to minimize pain in the long run? science tells us we should do it then. religion, again, tells us nothing.

- It claims to have an answer for how the universe began but it has no repeatable experiments to back it up.

i believe someone already pointed out this is false.

- It appeals to "just take it on faith" that the universe "spontaneously" came into existence from nothing, not realizing the physical universe has always existed.

no, as much as i personally think the big bang theory is incredibly presumptions, it doesn't take it on faith.

- It makes claims that there "must" be "Dark Energy" and "Dark Matter" yet has no way to measure it, let alone see it.

dark matter/energy is a placeholder term for excess gravitational effects that have been observed and measured

- It still doesn't have a clue what gravity is, what consciousness is, what magnetism, why EMF is linked, why time flows in one direction, why we dream, what Lucid Dreaming and the Out-of-Body Experience is, the different types of consciousness, why we even exist in the first place, the purpose of the Universe (Answer: Relationships), etc.

firstly, this is the annoyingly common "god of the gaps" argument. secondly, a whole lot of that is just plain wrong and a whole lot is a bad question.
* gravity - yes it does. there's a problem of joining general relativity with quantum physics. that's a mathematical problem, not an empirical one.
* consciousness is a word we use to give ourselves pride. it's really not meaningful / useful beyond that.
* why we even exist is already assuming way too much and making some serious philosophical blunders. firstly, it's assuming teleology. and anthropocentric teleology at that.
* purpose of the universe - same problem, teleology. and anthropocentric teleology at that.

Science is not interested in pursuing ALL answers to questions such as:

+ What happens before Life?

yes it is. there are many facets to that question. do you want to talk about sperm and egg cells? astrology? proto-life? be more specific and yes, since is very interested in that.

+ What happens after Death?

a lot. but usually, there's a funeral, and your body slowly decays or maybe is cremated. here's an experiment: take a plant, don't water it. observe.

Because there are ZERO equations with consciousness in them.

again, not meaningful

Scientists and Science is stuck in the archaic Reductionism and Materialism model that it can't think outside the box and grasp that meta-physical DOES exist, such as Time, Numbers, etc.

Carl Sagan once said

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality."

Max Planck wrote the biggest criticism of Science was:

Science advances one funeral at a time.

If Science was focused on THE fundamental question:

"Know Thyself!"

and if Scientists were more honest and admitted that Science has _some_ of the answers, instead of pretending it has _all_ the answers, if Science was used as a means to augment our understanding instead being a pseudo-replacement for Religion, of being genuine interested in pursing ALL knowledge answering "How" instead of letting ego get in the way pretending it has the answers to "Why", THEN it might be respected by everyone.

you have a WHOLE LOT to learn about the philosophy of science. As, sadly, do most people in America. that is why it does not get the respect it deserves today. the era of enlightment, it got a lot more respect. and you know what we now call that era? the era of enlightment. but yeah, you have a lot to learn. pick up a book on it. maybe an introduction book, maybe some of the greats - popper, newton, descarte, russel, aristotle... there's plenty to read.

[1] Proof that the Physical Universe has always existed:
1. Einstein showed us Energy and Matter are equivalent
2. Thermodynamics shows us that Energy can not be created nor destroyed only change form.
3. Ergo, the Physical Universe has always existed.

yeah... you got a few things wrong there. not even worth it.
though i do agree that the universe has "always" existed. that's a tautology. to say there was a time the universe did not exist... well, time implies universe, so that's self-disproving.

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome. -- Dr. Johnson