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Comment: Re:Wooah! (Score 1) 74

by jensend (#47872013) Attached to: Reanalysis of Clinical Trials Finds Misleading Results

But frequentist analyses aren't any more "objective," they just hide biases from view and include inductive biases that aren't even rationally compatible with any consistent state of belief.

With Bayesian analysis your starting point is out in the open and must be justifiable and defensible; analysts are accountable for their priors.

You can also, of course, examine what would follow from several different priors. This is much more straightforward than trying to shake the hidden biases in a frequentist model.

Comment: Balderdash. (Score 1) 129

by jensend (#47462511) Attached to: Mozilla Doubles Down on JPEG Encoding with mozjpeg 2.0

Any "nerd" who posited that bandwidth and storage concerns would be so totally irrelevant that we'd happily waste 10-20x as much of them for practically zero benefit was not so much a "nerd" as a total idiot. Having more bandwidth means you want to do more with it, not waste it for no reason.

Real "nerds" worth the cred understand that not only does lossy compression provide great results at small fractions of the sizes of the best lossless representations, but research into lossy compression also helps us understand the structure of real-world information, intelligence, and human perception in new ways.

A future where we have lossy formats which achieve results equal to today's formats in a quarter the bandwidth because we've come to better understand the structure present in real-world signals and the ways humans perceive and interpret information is a cooler and more exciting future than one in which we [url=]waste exajoules of energy and help destroy the planet[/url] by sending each other millions of terabyte-sized high resolution lossless cat videos.

Comment: Re:No Flash, though, please. (Score 2) 57

by jensend (#47422201) Attached to: Homestar Runner To Return Soon

Oh, by the way, one of my pet peeves is seeing vector animations from Homestar Runner, AtomFilms, etc uploaded to raster streaming video sites. The original vector animations had bitrates low enough for dial-up, ran smoothly on a Pentium III, and scaled flawlessly to any resolution. The raster (usu. H264) versions frequently look much much worse despite 20x the bitrate and dedicated processing hardware.

Comment: Re:No Flash, though, please. (Score 4, Insightful) 57

by jensend (#47422177) Attached to: Homestar Runner To Return Soon

Vector animations like Homestar Runner are the original purpose of Flash- the one thing it is actually quite good at, and has been quite good at since Macromedia released Flash 3 in 1998. That's part of how it became ubiquitous- it did one thing and did it well. Even now there isn't really a better alternative- there's nothing that has the capabilities, the cross-environment rendering consistency, the install base, and the tool support Flash vector animations have.

It's just really unfortunate that after the Adobe acquisition Flash became a way of shoehorning a subpar and insecure "rich content platform" into that ubiquitous install base. For quite a while now streaming raster video has been a dominant use of flash, where it's been inferior to other solutions and only used because of its large install base and its support for DRM.

Comment: WHAT THE HECK HAS /. COME TO (Score 1) 340

by jensend (#47405313) Attached to: On 4th of July:

+4 for somebody who thinks the internet was created using "the html"?

What about ARPANET, CSNET, etc? TCP/IP? Email? FTP? NNTP? Gopher? (all US inventions by the by)

They may not have started calling it the internet until 1982 but it'd been around for ~19 years before CERN hooked up to it, over 21 years before TBL's Christmas 1990 invention of the WWW, and over 24 years before the WWW really started picking up in late 1993 as the later-but-more-popular Gopher (U of Minnesota) dwindled due to shortsighted license problems and Mosaic (U of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) gave people a new vision of what was possible.

I'm under 30 and I remember using Gopher, Mosaic, and Netscape 1.0. GET OFF MY LAWN.

Comment: Re:We have those in South Carolina too (Score 2) 325

by jensend (#46731949) Attached to: Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

How about not recklessly endangering others' lives and not showing contempt for democracy and the rule of law?

If you want to spend a few trillion dollars of your own money to build your own private road network where you can drive at whatever speed you darn well please, go right ahead. But if you want to use the road infrastructure paid for by your fellow citizens, you need to live with the rules your fellow citizens have put in place.

Protecting the rest of us from numbskulls like you is not just honest work, it's a great benefit to society. You could do the rest of us a benefit too by not touching a steering wheel or gas pedal ever again.

Comment: Re:The spokesman for the AHA said... (Score 1) 408

by jensend (#46704653) Attached to: Australia Declares Homeopathy Nonsense, Urges Doctors to Inform Patients

Perhaps tomato soup may have some beneficial effects, but if you really want to find feelings of well-being and contentment, you should have more ketchup.

Ketchup contains natural mellowing agents which help you stop worrying about your minor medical ailments. You don't need homeopathic medicine; you don't need a placebo. All you need is to relax, have some ketchup, and let your body take care of things naturally.

These are the good years, in the golden sun,
A new day is dawning, a new life has begun,
The river flowing like ketchup on a bun.

Ketchup. For the good times.

A message from the Ketchup Advisory Board.

Comment: It may be short but it has a weight problem. (Score 1) 371

by jensend (#46696771) Attached to: Smart Car Tipping Trending In San Francisco

Our old Chevy Sprint- a 5 passenger hatchback- weighed < 1500lb and got 44mpg city / 53 hwy. For the sake of "safety" the Smart Fortwo- a dinky two-passenger car with little cargo room- weighs 2250 lb and gets 34 city/ 38 hwy. The engineer giveth, and the safety inspector taketh away.

Safety involves tradeoffs, and people should be able to make their own informed decisions about their own safety and the risks they will tolerate. Safety regulations should be based on the damage your car does to other cars (and to pedestrians and cyclists), since you shouldn't get to decide what risks other people face.

Failing to admit that safety involves tradeoffs, and regulating cars only based on their own occupants' safety, has led to a curb weight arms race. The easy way to be safer, if you ignore the tradeoffs, is to make your car heavier compared to the average; but when the average weight rises everyone is less safe (especially pedestrians and cyclists), all the advances in engines and materials are outweighed, and MPGs stay stagnant.

Comment: Re:Bullshit Made Up Language (Score 2) 512

by jensend (#46612833) Attached to: Why <em>Darmok</em> Is a Good <em>Star Trek: TNG</em> Episode

The problem is: we may think it strange that a universal translator that does such a miraculous job everywhere else would be so nonfunctional with this language, Trekkies will come up with some silly technobabble explanation, but the only real reason is that a universal translator is just a handwaving plot device for writers' convenience, and here for once they found it inconvenient. Their way of dealing with it may be illogical, but tossing the crutch for one episode allows them to explore new ground.

Almost every piece of technology in Star Trek is there for one of two reasons: it made the writers' jobs easier (e.g. universal translator, replicator, the badly overused holodeck) or it made the set designers' and special effects guys' jobs easier, esp. in the original series (e.g. transporter). In each case, these technologies would have vast and far reaching impacts that the series never took into account because it wouldn't serve the items' purpose as handwaving conveniences. You have replicators, but whenever you want to have an object be valuable or difficult to obtain, somehow the replicator just can't get it quite right. You have transporters that can teleport tremendously fragile objects like people instantly across thousands of miles, but whenever you want characters to have an adventure physically retrieving an object, or whenever you want characters to be in real peril off ship, somehow the object is inherently untransportable or the transporters can't get a lock on people.

Fridge logic and dubious explanations abound, yet somehow the show goes on.

Comment: Re:And that's exactly what I asked for. (Score 1) 2219

by jensend (#46180803) Attached to: Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

As I've said in another post here, a lot of the problem is that you sent people back to beta again and again to solicit more feedback before the very most basic problems- esp. content width and comment section information density - had been addressed at all.

This gave people the impression that those things weren't going to change, and solidified in people's minds the idea that beta was horrific and that a redirect to beta was a reason to scream.

Though the present beta isn't ready, it is enough of an improvement over the earlier betas as to reassure me somewhat about the future of the site. But until a few minutes ago I had no idea of its improvements because previous horrific betas' lack of improvement over the months had trained me to avoid beta like the plague.

Comment: Part of problem: previous betas were even worse (Score 1) 2219

by jensend (#46180617) Attached to: Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

Because of how awful previous betas were, and how gradual and unannounced the improvements have been, the knee-jerk reaction to "oh, we're going to try redirecting you to beta!" is "OH HECK NO YOU DON'T."

The beta is still terrible, but it is substantially less terrible than the versions I looked at last year. During that time, I and many others gave careful feedback but it seemed like there was awfully little improvement over time. It got to the point that a redirect to beta just instinctively causes panic and anger because people have had such terrible experiences with it in the past.

I'm afraid that in the past couple of days some of the complaints and feedback I've given were no longer accurate for today's beta.

I still think the information density and the comment system have a long way to go. I still think the (thankfully slightly rarer now) stock photographs are uninteresting, uninformative, stupid, uninformative, and a total waste of space.

But at least you're not only using a third of my screen's width for content, making it so only ~3 comments can be seen on screen at a time, etc. like previous betas did. That was horrific. Before you redirect anyone to beta, help them know about what's been improved with beta and apologize for past mistakes.

And for pete's sake, give people the option to switch the silly color scheme. Should be simple enough.

Comment: Call and let them know (Score 3, Informative) 135

by jensend (#46180023) Attached to: Why Robot Trucks Could Be Headed To Afghanistan (And Everywhere Else)

Calling the number Dice lists for Slashdot results in a recording which in turn tells you to call 415-625-0856.

The receptionist type who answered was polite, said they'd already had several calls today, jotted down my complaints to relay once more to a guy who's involved with the beta, and said "we're withholding his snacks until this is fixed." They said it was nice to realize there were people out there who were passionate about the site.

Make your voice heard. Let them know that wasting screen space, butchering comment sections, etc are going to result in their visitors leaving en masse. If the phone is ringing all day, day in and day out, with users who don't want to see this place ruined, perhaps things will turn around.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)