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Comment Re:Math is a Chore (Score 1) 215

The way math is taught, Math is a chore

Well, it is being taught by teachers who don't actually understand it all that well, so that is the way it has to be.

Now, I don't actually know what goes for "advanced maths" in primary and secondar education in the States, but I hope it is something that tries to dive into the actual, intuitive foundations of the subject and tries to impart real understanding of mathematical reasoning. Take elementary set theory as an example; when I learned about it in primary school, it was rather vague and hard to find interesting; compare that to Halmos' famous book: Naive Set Theory (, which is the same thing, but with loads of insight into why it is the way it is - how the intuition results in mathematical concepts.

Comment Re:I am not a physicist but... (Score 1) 329

At any rate, WTF are you going to actually *do* with a citation? This is Slashdot, not Wikipedia, and you're not a scientist - I know because this is endemic across the entire board of studies, you'd know about it if you were a scientist or even just an enthusiast. Either way, there's a whole shit-ton more articles (and actual published research) on China's reputation in all things science.

As you can already see from somebody else's reply to your comment, there is in fact controversy, when it comes to China's status in science. In my opinion the fact that you would not even have thought it necessary to do a search is a symptom of intellectual laziness; and when you did, it was only for "chinese scientific fraud" - try substituting "chinese" with, say "american" and so on, it isn't hard. But the results don't prove your point, which is to say "Look, China is Bad".

I know applying your intellect in arguments isn't the popular style on /. - but that doesn't mean that it is bad style trying to do so; and if you had bothered with trying to understand what I was talking about, maybe you would have found that I didn't actually say that I don't know about fraud in Chinese research. I was simply hoping to raise the level of discourse to one where you don't just spew out the same old, tired prejudices, but instead bring something new to the table - something worth reading. But never mind - you can't win them all.

Finally, as for being a scientist: what do you know about that, actually? Not a lot, it would appear - you argue like a teenager: start with your conclusion, then find the "facts" that match.

Comment Re:I am not a physicist but... (Score 1) 329

There have been some "big announcements" in other hard science fields from China in the past decade or two that have turned out to be bogus.

Examples, quotations, please. There continues to be a lot of ill will against China and too much preparedness to accept stories that claim everything coming from there is crap. The same used to be said about Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and in fact all emerging economies, so to rule out the suspicion of bias, quotation is needed, IMO.

Can someone comment on the likelihood of this being real?

It sounds real enough to me - it is progress on the kind of scale that you would expect, I think. 'Progress', to the extent that one can define and measure it, seems to tend to happen on an exponential scale, at least in the beginning - at first, the steps are very small, but for a while they tend to double in size over constant time intervals; just think of integrated circuits, or gene technology. It isn't that long ago that they idea of having what is essentially a 80es supercomputer in your pocket was beyong science fiction, or the idea that you could read whole genomes and edit them was ludicrous at best. If this rate of progress holds for fusion research, we may think of it as something trvially obvious in less than 50 years' time.

I have found that all too often what holds us back from making the best of what we could potentially have is simply lack of courage and vision. I have absolutely no doubt that we can, quite easily, overcome all the troubles that lie ahead - if only we don't cower down in the face of having to make changes to the way we do things.

Comment Re:Subservient? (Score 1) 504

Can I assume that you don't use INTERCAL ( much? To quote:

INTERCAL has many other features designed to make it even more aesthetically unpleasing to the programmer: it uses statements such as "READ OUT", "IGNORE", "FORGET", and modifiers such as "PLEASE". This last keyword provides two reasons for the program's rejection by the compiler: if "PLEASE" does not appear often enough, the program is considered insufficiently polite, and the error message says this; if too often, the program could be rejected as excessively polite. Although this feature existed in the original INTERCAL compiler, it was undocumented

Comment Re:How is this newsworthy? (Score 1) 293

Governments don't give rights...

I think you would be taken more serious if you didn't simply issue this kind of dogmatic crap. Basically, you only have a 'right' to something if you are able to hold on to it; if you want to live in a society - or any group - your right are limited by what that group allows you. You can leave the group if that doesn't suit you; but to be part of the group and enjoy the benefits of it, you have to accept the limits imposed by the relationship with the group. You may think that picking up arms is a way to take more rights from the group, but I don't think it is a fruitful strategy in the long run, since you will have to be on your guard 24x7; and your actual freedom will less than what you would have had otherwise.

But you are right - governments don't give rights - society does. You can call it 'infringement' if you like, but it isn't, really, it is simply part of the price you pay for being in a given group. It is of course very reasonable to argue for changes to the rules - it has obvious benefits for the group that its members do so, but dogmatic arguments are weak. It would be better to argue in a way that people can relate to intelligently.

Comment Re:Go one step back in the reasoning (Score 1) 668

- The lack of critical thinking in analyzing the merit in complaints.

I'm sure you can do better than trying to imply that I don't think critically. And I note you havn't addressed my criticism: that people have feelings, and that it is relevant to show consideration simply for that reason. It is always possible, in my experience, to criticise without going out of your way to hurt people's feelings; not even trying is at best mental lazyness, and at worst deliberate aggression.

Comment Re:Hard to Believe (Score 1) 217

I do want to see adverts.

So do I - when I am looking for something and want to find the best deal. But I don't want sharks circling me in the hope of an easy kill. Which means, I don't want to be tracked and probed by smarmy gits in a suit, hiding behind false smiles (wow, that sounded almost poetic). I am perfectly capable of deciding when I need or want things without 'help'. These people are not "friends" who want to provide "the best value for money" - they are predators, simply.

The decline of Yahoo, to me least, looks like a symptom of an ailing internet; we have seen the explosion of WWW fueled by advertising from nearly nothing just a decade ago. I don't think it is sustainable; one things is that there is far too much advertising, and it will, by necessity, decline, and it may collapse suddenly. But even if there is a reasonable amount of advertising, it still rests on an unsustainable amount of credit fueled consumerism, which will have to come to an end, obviously (since it is unsustainable). Basically, credit is really only sustainable, if it leads to investment with a sufficient return to the debtor - credit for consumption doesn't, in general. So, consumerism driven by credit must come to an end, and the WWW as we have it now, fueled by advertising, cannot continue. Convince me that I'm wrong, but be warned - I'm don't fall for references to higher authority.

Comment Re:Go one step back in the reasoning (Score 1) 668

There is some involuntary comedy in the fact that people here seem to be complaining loudly about how they have to tolerate all this intolerance ...

When someone complains about hurt feelings,...

Well, the right to criticise is of fundamental importance to society, democracy and all that, of course. But we have to remember that complaining about hurt feeling is also a form of criticism, and having to tolerate criticism applies to everbody. The right to offend comes with a duty to be considerate; a good comedian is able to find that balance, sometimes even to the extent that the 'victim' joins in the laugh.

Comment Re:Hard to Believe (Score 2) 217

Well, the basic problem is that there is too much advertising - far too much. When you reach a certain degree of saturation, it no longer makes any difference - people just ignore it, and I suspect adding more after that point actually leads to a decrease in effect, when people start to react negatively to it. Hence the widespread use of ad-blocking, script blocking, tracker blocking etc. We have had enough, simply. I don't know of anybody who actually wants to see adverts.

So, with this being the case, it seems obvious that companies whose only way to generate revenue is advertising, will get into trouble, sooner or later. I think it is quite likely that Google too, as well as Facebook, Twitter, etc will end up feeling the squeeze. The problem isn't that these services don't attract users, but that companies will begin to realise that this form of advertising isn't worth the money.

Comment Re:They will run out of birds before drones. (Score 4, Insightful) 137

Another in a long list of moronic solutions that will never work against an intelligent attack, or even a large number of idiots.

Firstly, this is research; so, they are saying "could this work?" Research is what you do when you don't know, but want to find out. Secondly, they are not talking about large, sustained attacks - hopefully there will better ways of handling this, but there is a need to protect certain areas, like airports, from the occasional, stray drone.

One reason it seems attractive to use a trained animal is that animals are already fully autonomous. If you can train large birds of prey to attack drones, you can pretty much leave it to patrol the area. Birds are territorial, so they will tend to stay within an area, if there is enough food available, and it is already well known that these birds can be trained to always come back to their handlers for food. All in all, it might not be a stupid idea to try to get it to work.

What really made me decide to comment on this was the never-ending contraryness that always meets news about things people don't understand or don't feel fits in to their own, narrow field of interest. Looking back, it seems to me like most of the best things innovations started as something that people didn't understand and couldn't see the point in. If it had been obvious to most, it wouldn't have been much of an innovation, really.

Comment But why? (Score 1) 220

But what if everything was optimized to fail all at once?

The only ones to benefit from this are the ones selling the crap - and they don't see any incentive either. What difference does it make whether people discard their old HW because 1 compnent is broken or because all of them fail? A far better concept, for the consumer at least, would be if all gadgets were repairable and upgradeable. It is perfectly doable from tachnical point of view; it is not really a big challenge, whether is is phones, tablets or computers - or even cars. The only reason we don't have it is that producers don't like it, as it would cut into their profit margins. Just imagine a world where all parts for all cars were standardized, so you could find any spare part for any car from a large number of producers - and even better: you would be able to gradually upgrade from you smallish, cheap set of wheels to a flash superbeast. Suddenly car manufacturers wouldn't have a virtual monopoly on certain things. Same thing with everything else. The technology needed to make a small computer like a smartphone repairable and upgradeable is well understood, and again the only reason we are not already heading down that way is that manufacturers don't want to. Well, that and historical reasons: concepts like modular computer systems, clustering etc have evolved alongside the hardware, but we could actually do it now.

Comment Re:Don't Worry (Score 3, Interesting) 96

Apparently one of the gases is "probably not carcinogenic" and the other is only classed as a "possible human carcinogen" so really the title should read "Desktop 3D Printers Shown to Emit Gases some of which might be hazardous". Not to mention that if the safe exposure level is 50g/m^3 that's almost 5% by weight of air so either someone messed up the units or one of the gases emitted are safer than carbon dioxide and nobody suggests that we ban candles.

The good old "it won't happen to me"? Unfortunately, reality isn't as kind as that, as I'm sure you know. The purpose of this research is not to get 3D printing banned, or even to "discover" that it is hazardous; we already knew that there are hazards connected with working with hot, melted plastic. We just hadn't quantified the hazards well enough, yet. It makes sense to figure this out, so we can make informed decisions about how to mitigate the problem.

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