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Comment: Re:Maybe in the past (Score 1) 168

by iMadeGhostzilla (#49754753) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

Yes, you had to have a sense that what you were playing was something that you could actually make yourself, given the time and effort. That has absolutely been the case for me with the ZX Spectrum in the 80's -- I played game then made them and knew all about Z80 and Spectrum's hardware. Playing a multimillion dollar game is the same as watching a Hollywood blockbuster and thinking I can make movies too -- doesn't happen.

That said, what Zuckerberg is saying may be right if kids are encouraged to play *indie* games?

Comment: Re:Irresponsible. (Score 4, Insightful) 120

Example: I always get hives immediately after eating strawberries. But without a scientifically controlled experiment, it’s not reliable data. So I continue to eat strawberries every day, since I can’t tell if they cause hives.

Comment: Re:11,000 years ago, not 300 (Score 1) 56

by iMadeGhostzilla (#49682209) Attached to: The Milky Way's Most Recent Supernova That Nobody Saw

You're right. I can only say that my detection of light from the exploding star and the detection of alarm clock going off have happened simultaneously. And if my alarm clock is 11,000 light years away in another direction, if I detect its light and the star's light simultaneously, I can infer that the alarm and the star went off at the "same time". At the same time for me, that is. For someone who was moving at the time, not necessarily.

I'm still not quite convinced that I can talk about events that I can't measure/observe in principle. I.e. the detection of the exploding star's light in my telescope is an event I can observe. It appears that the explosion of the star itself at its point in space is not. But I think I see that I can use this inference about a non-observable/imaginary/abstract event to establish order and therefore potential causality or lack of it among events, which is the utility of the theory. Thanks for explaining that.

Comment: Re:11,000 years ago, not 300 (Score 1) 56

by iMadeGhostzilla (#49673609) Attached to: The Milky Way's Most Recent Supernova That Nobody Saw

I think the problem is that the question "did the star really explode now or 11000 years ago?" is philosophical as it tries to go beyond the theory. The only thing that matters is that the light -- the information -- has just reached our frame of reference. (Actually 300 years ago.) "Now" only has meaning in our frame of reference.

Simultaneity as you said is a better term, and "according to the special theory of relativity, it is impossible to say in an absolute sense that two distinct events occur at the same time if those events are separated in space." So if, say, I see my alarm clock go off at say 10pm and just then see a star exploding, then the explosion and the alarm activation are happening simultaneously -- as far as I'm concerned.

Now if I had a premonition and wrote down 11,000 years ago "that one star will explode" and indeed the light of its explosion reached me today, then it's true, I had to wait that long, but my writing that down didn't happen simultaneously, in my reference frame, with the star exploding -- it happened 11,000 years before it.

Comment: Re:11,000 years ago, not 300 (Score 3, Insightful) 56

by iMadeGhostzilla (#49670765) Attached to: The Milky Way's Most Recent Supernova That Nobody Saw

No that is the whole point of the Relativity Theory. There is no absolute time or "God time", there are only points in timespace. 300 years ago here on Earth if you could see the photons of the explosion, you were witnessing the explosion exactly as was happening. "Now" spreads at the speed of light so when you see something, it's happening, as far as you are concerned, right now.

Comment: Re:Most tabs shouldn't be closed (Score 1) 147

by iMadeGhostzilla (#49649793) Attached to: Technology and Ever-Falling Attention Spans

I wish there were an option for browsers to release the resources for any tabs I haven't accessed in say an hour. Keep the URL but release the page and reload when I revisit, it's only the URL (and title) I care about. Maybe leave the option to flag a tab as "never release" if I expect notifications from it.

Comment: Re:inventor? (Score 1) 480

by iMadeGhostzilla (#49618151) Attached to: New Test Supports NASA's Controversial EM Drive

You're welcome, I was quite surprised as well. Coming from comp-eng background I kind of guessed that things would have worked with or without Norbert Wiener's theory, but thought that computer engineering was the exception and in real sciences theory always comes first. But that theory came first is written in the textbooks by theoreticians, it seems.

I guess many of us were raised to believe in theory first -- here's another slashdot comment on the topic:

"Actually this is the one criterion missing from the list of "what would it take to convince you that it is real": a viable theory as to how the drive works which makes a prediction that can be tested by another experiment."

and a reply that set the record straight: "That the device works is proven engineering. Why it works is unresolved science."

Comment: Re:inventor? (Score 1) 480

by iMadeGhostzilla (#49607807) Attached to: New Test Supports NASA's Controversial EM Drive

I understand they did intend -- from what we know now -- to build some sort of engine but the theory was not available to support it so they tried everything to see what sticks -- which was a reference to the EM drive. This is what the search turned out (was surprisingly difficult I'll admit) -- Phil Scranton is a professor of history of technology at Rutger who researched the subject:

"Philip Scranton used the history of the development of jet propulsion in the United
States after 1945 to probe the validity of the linear model, and found little
to no support for it. In critical areas of technology, basic science could not
offer help because it was in too rudimentary a state. Jet engine innovation was
“Edisonian,” Scranton concluded, as “it was a contingent, negotiated struggle with the material world’s
capabilities and limits, a fierce effort to defeat failure along with the Soviets [...]"

This is the original text, Antifragile by Nassim Taleb where I read that first:

"Scranton showed that we have been building and using jet engines in a completely trial-and-error experiential manner, without anyone truly understanding the theory. Builders needed the original engineers who knew how to twist things to make the engine work. Theory came later, in a lame way, to satisfy the intellectual bean counter. But that's not what you tend to read in standard histories of technology: my son, who studies aerospace engineering, was not aware of this. Scranton was polite and focused on situations in which innovation is messy, distinguished from more familiar analytic and synthetic innovation approaches, as if the latter were the norm, which it is obviously not.

I looked for more stories, and the historian of technology David Edgerton presented me with a quite shocking one. We think of cybernetics—which led to the cyber in cyberspace—as invented by Norbert Wiener in 1948. The historian of engineering David Mindell debunked the story, he showed that Wiener was articulating ideas about feedback control and digital computing that had long been in practice in the engineering world. Yet people—even today's engineers—have the illusion that we owe the field to Wiener's mathematical thinking. "

Comment: Re:inventor? (Score 1) 480

by iMadeGhostzilla (#49606349) Attached to: New Test Supports NASA's Controversial EM Drive

You may be surprised but same was true with jet engines: some people put together something that works, no one understood why, and they kept improving it experimentally, while the theory came later, in "lame, bean-counter kind of way" as Nassim Taleb describes, in an attempt to account for what happened. Even with the theory, they couldn't make more engines without calling in the guys who made the original ones worked. I checked the references (you can google for it), appears to be true. In fact turns out most of the discoveries were made in the lab, without knowing why, and theory came later. Only in the last couple of generations we were made to believe that understanding "how"/"why" i.e. the theory comes first.

Comment: Re:39/100 is the new passing grade. (Score 1) 174

I'd argue the opposite -- it's the "Physics Envy" i.e. basing psychology on the classic scientific model of objective measurement that makes it worse, and now it gets 39/100 score. And we don't even know how important those 39% that passed are -- it may be some stupid stuff few people care about while the big ones failed.

The reason is in psychology you simply can't measure reliably -- often times your measurement is asking people what they think or feel, or you observe some behaviors that depend on a thousand other factors. And we do have a first hand access to our minds, why pretend that the mind is the black box? But most importantly, the utility of psychology is supposedly to make people feel better and more meaningful, and that escapes any objectification.

I have read some Jungian literature and while it's in no way what we'd call proper science it seems very useful. (It was for me, that's the only thing I can claim.)

Btw not saying that all of the objective psychological approach is not useful, IMO it's useful for small/mechanical we do stuff (that can still be important).

Comment: Re:39/100 is the new passing grade. (Score 1) 174

There is. Not to *accept* the study but to be on the lookout whether the pattern that the study claims to exist really exists, if it useful for you, so you can validate it first hand.

Example (not a great one but will do) -- suppose a new study that seems reasonably well done claims that drivers of black cars are significantly more prone to road rage. You drive a car, so if this pattern holds, it's relevant to you. Then from time to time when you see a black car on the road you give it a little extra attention to see if there's something that indicates the rage thing might be true. After a few "experiments" you decide for yourself.

IMO the patterns they discover would almost certainly be less than they generalize it -- perhaps the black car drivers thing is true only in the U.S. Or, it's only true in in bad economic times. Or, it's only true during the 2008 recession. And, only in suburban areas. And so on. Compared to hard sciences, the individual and group behaviors are much much less constant -- the systems are more complex, there are far more interactions, so the patterns are much less stable, a behavior hold for a while and then people move on and it never comes back. (Life sciences are somewhere in between.)

Come to think of it -- given the fickleness of those patterns, you should pay attention to a new psychological/sociological study only if it could be *very* useful to you if true.

Comment: We got burned on security (Score 4, Interesting) 197

by iMadeGhostzilla (#49522913) Attached to: Concerns of an Artificial Intelligence Pioneer

by designing it after the fact, so it may be a good idea to establish some principles and put them in practice. Not to prevent "evil" AI but to thinking what kind of damage can be caused by an algorithm that makes complex decisions if it goes haywire. Not that different from defensive programming really.

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