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Comment: Re:so far, not proof that it's not him.. then. (Score 1) 182

by jnana (#46432873) Attached to: Satoshi Nakamoto Found? Not So Fast

Think about it also; why would this guy Satoshi suddenly log in to his account after 5 years, just to get back involved in something he doesn't even care about, unless he really saw it as a threat that his identity had been exposed? Satoshi would have just been trying to hide the fact that he really was Dorian Nakamoto by doing this.

Perhaps he read the Internets Thursday morning like I did and saw people talking about how Dorian Nakamoto was going to become a target for extortion and possibly vigilante "justice" from people who've lost money or know that he's sitting on hundreds of millions. I personally think that only a heartless bastard wouldn't post to try to clear the name of an innocent person, as long as the risk to oneself was minimal.

Comment: Andrew Wiles on exploring the dark (Score 1) 114

by jnana (#46415677) Attached to: Mathematicians Are Chronically Lost and Confused
Andrew Wiles made the following comment that has always stuck with me:

Perhaps I can best describe my experience of doing mathematics in terms of a journey through a dark unexplored mansion. You enter the first room of the mansion and it's completely dark. You stumble around bumping into the furniture, but gradually you learn where each piece of furniture is. Finally, after six months or so, you find the light switch, you turn it on, and suddenly it's all illuminated. You can see exactly where you were. Then you move into the next room and spend another six months in the dark. So each of these breakthroughs, while sometimes they're momentary, sometimes over a period of a day or two, they are the culmination of—and couldn't exist without—the many months of stumbling around in the dark that proceed them.

Education

College Board To Rethink the SAT, Partner With Khan Academy 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the abba-cadaba dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to the NY Times, 'Saying its college admission exams do not focus enough on the important academic skills, the College Board announced on Wednesday a fundamental rethinking of the SAT, eliminating obligatory essays, ending the longstanding penalty for guessing wrong and cutting obscure vocabulary words. ... The SAT's rarefied vocabulary words will be replaced by words that are common in college courses, such as "empirical" and "synthesis." The math questions, now scattered widely across many topics, will focus more narrowly on linear equations, functions and proportional thinking. The use of a calculator will no longer be allowed on some of the math sections.' The College Board will also be working with Khan Academy to provide students with free, online practice problems and instructional videos. The new version of the SAT will be introduced in 2016."

Comment: Re:Go Amish? (Score 2) 664

by jnana (#46309031) Attached to: Stack Overflow Could Explain Toyota Vehicles' Unintended Acceleration
People can't reliably handle all the driving situations that arise. The actual target for driverless cars should be something more like handling situations that arise at the 95th percentile compared to human beings. When they are as good as the very best human drivers, that should be good enough, although at that point, it will probably not be too much longer until they're at the 99.999th percentile level.

Comment: Re:Duh (Score 1) 311

by jnana (#32654692) Attached to: Why Being Wrong Makes Humans So Smart

Saying "it is probably the case that it is [100%] true " is pretty meaningless in computing terms unless you can enumerate what "probably" means in that sentence.

The "probably" in that example was enumerated in the previous part of the sentence that you failed to quote:

whereas "probably true [or 90% chance of being true]" means that "it is probably the case that it is [100%] true

The 90% gives the meaning that reasoning systems that use probabilisitic logic exploit. Whether you think it's meaningless or not though, the fact remains that fuzzy logic deals with degrees of truth, and probabilistic logic deals with probabilities of truth that do not admit of degrees. When a person talks about partial truth, they are appealing to the intuitions that fuzzy logic is founded upon, and when they talk about likely or unlikely truths, they are appealing to the intuitions that probabilistic logic is founded upon. There is no reason that they can't be combined (e.g., something is probably mostly true, which might in one particular case mean I think it's 85% likely (probabilistic logic) that it has truth value between 0.7 and 0.95 (fuzzy logic)), but they are distinct, and "probably" refers to probabilistic logic more than fuzzy logic, which was my original point.

Comment: Re:Duh (Score 1) 311

by jnana (#32649000) Attached to: Why Being Wrong Makes Humans So Smart
Sounds much more like Probabilistic Logic than fuzzy logic. Fuzzy logic would be "is mostly true [or is 90% true]" (like whether a man who is 6 ft 2 inches "is tall"), whereas "probably true [or 90% chance of being true]" means that "it is probably the case that it is [100%] true (like whether my ten-sided die will roll a number other than 4)". Fuzzy logic admits degrees of truth and isn't talking about probabilities at all, whereas probabilistic logic admits only the standard true or false, and the probabilities refer to our best estimate of how likely it is to be true (that's one interpretation of probability, anyway).

Comment: Re:Slashdotter? (Score 1) 103

by jnana (#30868282) Attached to: 15-Year-Old Student Discovers New Pulsar

28.8K MODEM! Waiting to load on a 28.8K MODEM, you say! Bloody hell, you had it easy. We would have loved to have the luxury of waiting, or even having a real modem.

When I was a kid, we had to get up at 1 o clock in the morning, run 7 miles into town and back for no reason at all, and then get down on all fours and push a big wheel around like donkeys all day in order to generate electricity to do our 'web surfing' in the evening. When I say 'web surfing', of course, I mean that our 1 bit per day telegraph receiver would deliver a single bit, yes or no, and if it was yes, our dad would whip us with a cat o' nine tails until we went unconscious, and if it was no, we would get no gruel for the day and have to work in the fields overnight instead of sleeping.

With apologies to to those who really had it hard...

Education

How To Teach a 12-Year-Old To Program? 799

Posted by timothy
from the hypnotherapy-might-work dept.
thelordx writes "I've got a much younger brother who I'd like to teach how to program. When I was younger, you'd often start off with something like BASIC or Apple BASIC, maybe move on to Pascal, and eventually get to C and Java. Is something like Pascal still a dominant teaching language? I'd love to get low-level with him, and I firmly believe that C is the best language to eventually learn, but I'm not sure how to get him there. Can anyone recommend a language I can start to teach him that is simple enough to learn quickly, but powerful enough to do interesting things and lead him down a path towards C/C++?"

Comment: Re:ask some questions (Score 1) 958

by jnana (#27313845) Attached to: How Do You Deal With Pirated Programs At Work?

When making the case to the boss that they do need to purchase the software and have licenses and proof, the best strategy is to appeal to his self-interest and his desire to cover his own ass.

Explain that if just one disgruntled former employee wants to take revenge against the company, (s)he can make an anonymous report to the BSA and that the fines can be extremely severe.

No sane manager will want to be potentially held responsible by his superiors for millions of dollars in fines and attorney's fees, based on what probably amounts to at most tens of thousands of dollars.

Comment: Re:Scholarpedia? (Score 1) 263

by jnana (#24321763) Attached to: Google's Knol, Expert Wiki, Goes Live

Like I said, it doesn't have a lot of content but much of the content that it does have, like the two articles I noted, is very high quality and authoritative, by experts in the field (i.e., far superior to Wikipedia).

The fields they currently list are astrophysics, computational neuroscience, computational intelligence, dynamical systems, and physics (it looks there is stuff planned for quantum field theory and related: http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Category:Quantum_and_Statistical_Field_Theory).

So yeah, if you want to use it as an encyclopedia to search for random things, it is nearly useless. If you want to browse it for high-quality, authoritative articles by experts, it is a useful resource.

Programming

Practical Django Projects 151

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Chromodromic writes "Apress's newest Django offering, Practical Django Projects by James Bennett, weighs in lightly at 224 pages of actual tutorial content, but trust me, they're dense pages. Filled with pragmatic examples which directly address the kinds of development issues you will encounter when first starting out with Django, this book makes an important addition to the aspiring Django developer's reference shelf. In particular, the book's emphasis on demonstrating best practices while building complete projects does an excellent job of accelerating an understanding of Django's most powerful features — in a realistic, pragmatic setting — and which a developer will be able to leverage in very short order." Read below for the rest of Greg's review.
Biotech

Key Step In Programmed Cell Death Discovered 80

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the is-it-the-step-that-stops-it? dept.
Investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have discovered a dance of proteins that protects certain cells from undergoing apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death. Understanding the fine points of apoptosis is important to researchers seeking ways to control this process. In a series of experiments, St. Jude researchers found that if any one of three molecules is missing, certain cells lose the ability to protect themselves from apoptosis. A report on this work appears in the advance online publication of Nature.

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy

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