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Comment: Re:Not PC (Score 2) 55

by spune (#49189527) Attached to: Ubisoft Has New Video Game Designed To Treat Lazy Eye
~Actually~, lazy eye is not a physical malady, but is a condition where the brain suppresses visual input from one eye, for whatever reason. Misaligned, crossed, or drifting eyes are reasons why some people develop lazy eye, but there are other causes that have nothing to do with "kinetically challenged" eyes. The misimpression that amblyopia is necessarily a physical problem is stoked by it's colloquial name "lazy eye," but humorless nerds should know better.

Comment: Re:ridiculous statistic (Score 1) 55

by spune (#49189435) Attached to: Ubisoft Has New Video Game Designed To Treat Lazy Eye
How do you know? Are you sure you aren't confusing lazy eye (amblyopia) with some of the physical conditions that can cause lazy eye, such as crossed eyes or a drifting eye? Without looking through your classmates' medical records or personally conducting eye exams on all of them, you really have no way to know how many of them have brains that suppress vision from one eye.

Comment: Re:The Brock string (Score 2) 55

by spune (#49189405) Attached to: Ubisoft Has New Video Game Designed To Treat Lazy Eye
Misalignment or poor coordination of the eyes (strabismus) is just one cause of lazy eye, so this therapy can help a subset of people with lazy eye. It's worth noting that drifting or crossed eyes can cause lazy eye, but lazy eye itself is an error in the way your brain processes visual information regardless of whether the cause is simply structural.

Comment: Re:on *average* (Score 5, Insightful) 245

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49177303) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

It needs a lot more qualifiers than that.

For a start, as with an unfortunate number of academic studies, it appears that the sample population consisted of undergraduates and recent graduates. That alone completely invalidates any conclusions as they might apply to experienced professionals with better judgement about when and how to use refactoring techniques.

Even without that, there seem to be a number of fundamental concerns about the data.

One obvious example is that they consider lines of code to be a metric that tells you anything useful beyond the width you need to allow for the line number margin in your text editor. I doubt most experienced programmers would agree that a LOC count in isolation tells us anything useful about maintainability or that the mere fact that LOC went up or down after a change necessarily meant the code had become better or worse in any useful sense.

Another concern is that they talk about "analysability", but this seems to be measured only by reference to a brief examination of a small code base in one of two versions, unrefactored and refactored. I'd like to know what the actual code looked like before I read anything at all into that data -- what refactoring was performed, what was the motivation for each change, and how do they know those two small code bases were representative of either refactoring in general or the effectiveness of refactoring on larger code bases or code bases that developers have more time to study and work with?

I'm all for empirical data -- goodness knows, we need more objective information about what really works in an industry as hype-driven and accepting of poor quality as ours -- but I'm afraid this particular study seems to be so flawed that it really tells us very little of value.

Comment: Re:Did *everyone* miss the point here? :-( (Score 1) 375

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49166827) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

It remains the case that either my original statement is true, meaning a counter-example for the reliability of fact-based ranking has been identified, or my original statement is false, in which case the statement itself becomes a counter-example because it is widely repeated but incorrect.

Comment: Did *everyone* miss the point here? :-( (Score 1) 375

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49164283) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

Oh, the irony!

Erm... It was intended to be ironic. Well, paradoxical, technically. Compare my final sentence

Remember, not so long ago, the almost-universal opinion would have been that the world was flat.

with the classic "This statement is false".

If my statement were true, it would illustrate a problem with Google's proposal.

But as my statement is false, it is itself a demonstration of the problem, because it perpetuates a myth sufficiently popular that it even has its own Wikipedia page. I was a little surprised that I couldn't also find it on Snopes.

Anyway, it's disappointing that no-one seems to have noticed that. Were none of you even a little suspicious about a post that in one paragraph said "Just because something gets repeated a lot, that doesn't make it factually correct" and then repeated one of the most popular myths there is? Really?

Comment: Re:FEO (Score 5, Insightful) 375

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49161057) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

"Fact optimization" is already behind more than one multi-billion dollar industry: advertising, political lobbying...

And this is why I fear this initiative, no matter how well intentioned, is doomed to failure. Just because something gets repeated a lot, that doesn't make it factually correct. Moreover, censoring dissenting opinions is a terrible reaction to active manipulation and even to old-fashioned gossip, because it removes the best mechanism for correcting the groupthink and promoting more informed debate, which is introducing alternative ideas from someone who knows better or simply has a different (but still reasonable) point of view.

Remember, not so long ago, the almost-universal opinion would have been that the world was flat.

Comment: Re:Monopolistic: Do no evil? (Score 3, Insightful) 185

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49154799) Attached to: Google Taking Over New TLDs

Now will ICANN put its foot down

It had better hope so, because giving entire TLDs to specific big companies could easily be the straw that breaks the camel's back in terms of the rest of the world accepting US-led administration of the general Internet. There's plenty of scepticism already, but organisations like ICANN are tolerated because frankly no-one has much of a better idea or wants to take on the responsibility. However, it is not difficult to think of a better idea than letting big businesses rewrite the established rules in arguably the most important address space in the world today for their own benefit.

Comment: Re:One thing for sure (Score 1) 531

by dhasenan (#49144833) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion

Religions served to concentrate wealth, historically. Furthermore, several of them offered strong reasons to tend the sick, investigate the natural world, and so forth -- probably more so than a typical local lord would have.

Religions also served to unite farflung lands. A researcher in Isfahan could correspond with one in Marrakech. A monk studying flowers in Edinburgh could share his findings with a nun in Osel. Without religions, you need another set of well-funded institutions with a tradition of correspondence and interaction to provide the same benefits. Today we have universities and research organizations like Oxford and Brookhaven National Labs. The concept of a university grew out of the Muslim monastic tradition, though, starting with the University of al-Qarawiyyin, founded in the 800s.

Of course, you can still get the same benefits without religions. But we have no reason to think we'd be even this advanced without the monastic traditions of Islam and Christianity.

Comment: Re:Amateurish (Score 1) 514

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49143063) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

I tend to agree about the icons, but I do think flat design is particularly bad in this respect. By its nature, it removes tools that could otherwise be used for distinguishing different types of content, establishing hierarchy, and directing the user to important details.

The Microsoft style of flat as seen here isn't as bad as the more extreme "monochrome line art" version that is plaguing web sites at the moment. Even so, all those subtle lighting-based effects we used to see, and even the not-so-subtle styling of say Apple's older metallic or aqua looks, could serve practical purposes as well as creating a signature style for a platform.

Comment: Re:Amateurish (Score 1) 514

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49137147) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

The thing that really hit me about the screenshot was how crowded it looks. The example is presenting information with a clear underlying structure (a file system) and a small number of actions I can take, and probably half the area of that window is empty space. And yet, my immediate reaction is that there's no clear structure to tell me where to look, and the design desperately needs more visual hierarchy and better use of whitespace.

Of course, this is a recurring problem with the current trend for flat designs, bright colour schemes with limited contrast, and very rectilinear graphics and layout. It's still disappointing that Microsoft seems to be chasing Apple and Google down that blind alley, though, instead of coming up with something more interesting, distinctive, and most importantly, usable.

Comment: Re:Clearly, we must regulate comments! (Score 1) 267

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49078913) Attached to: What Your Online Comments Say About You

Here in the UK, our journalism professional doesn't exactly inspire a lot of confidence in its ability to police itself. As you may be aware, we just had a long and very public judge-led enquiry into press behaviour, including some of the outright criminal actions that some parts of the media engaged in to get their stories. At least one newspaper collapsed as a result, and several industry heavyweights are doing jail time. So I'm not sure appealing to journalistic ethics over the law of the land is any better as a strategy for promoting the responsible use of protected speech.

It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.

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