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Comment: Sesame Street and Bach (Score 1) 59 59

by madro (#49292009) Attached to: "Open Well-Tempered Clavier" Project Complete; Score and Recording Online

OK, so listening to this, I just now realized (30+ years later) that an alphabet tune that has been stuck in my head forever looks like it's based on the Well-Tempered Clavier.

Fugue No. 2 in C minor, BMV 847 (track 4) vs. start of Alphabet Chat (Found one for the letter L; still funny to me.)

"A-B-C-D-E C-D-E-F-G H-I-J-K L-M-N-O-P Q-R-S-T-U R-S-T-U-V S-T-U-V W-X-Y-Z and ... A ... B ... C."

Comment: Satire *and* Parody (Score 4, Insightful) 255 255

by madro (#49173411) Attached to: Gritty 'Power Rangers' Short Is Not Fair Use

Parody of Power Rangers. No one is mistaking this for an actual official Power Rangers movie. (Compare with Hustler v. Falwell.) The difference in fan fiction is that when looking at an excerpt of text, there is the potential that a reader might mistake a piece with officially sanctioned/published material. Non-commercial work faces a lower bar for being judged as fair use. (Thus firms are more likely to obtain permission/licensing when making a product or film.)

Satire of grimdark and remakes/reboots. "In the grim future of Hello Kitty, there is only war".

The video was interesting in spots; this article wasn't.

Comment: Re:Helpful links for intelligence community devs (Score 1) 275 275

by madro (#46591941) Attached to: TSA Missed Boston Bomber Because His Name Was Misspelled In a Database

Health care applications typically don't have access to a master list of names. They use multiple criteria in addition to names to do master patient indexing. Similar names are an important component (Jaro-Winkler is a nice metric to consider), but are given less weight when the last name or first name is common. But if you include birth date, government identifiers (ssn, driver's license, medicaid/medicare), current/past addresses (allowing again for transposition or similar errors), your accuracy gets much better.

No idea if government intelligence apps do this, but I would expect they do (or at least there are staff members who know what to do, if they could only convince higher-ups).

Comment: Re:If they charge $15,000 for a ten week course... (Score 1) 374 374

by madro (#46120337) Attached to: California Regulator Seeks To Shut Down 'Learn To Code' Bootcamps

There are price levels where the risk of fraud and abuse may outweigh the costs of enforcement and compliance. People who travel to other countries cannot carry more than $10000 in cash without reporting it. The risk is money laundering and drug running.

Regulating everything or regulating nothing always leads to huge Type I/Type II errors. Reasonable people can disagree on the appropriate level of compromise.

Comment: Re:More garbage (Score 2) 353 353

by madro (#45969791) Attached to: Programmer Privilege

The article was adapted from a longer blog post. In the adaptation, they linked to Psychology Today (ugh) to discuss "micro-inequities" as the initial term for phenomena that were later covered under the term unconscious bias or implicit bias. Having it doesn't make you racist or sexist; it's as human as risk aversion and loss aversion, both well studied. But like risk aversion or loss aversion, implicit bias can dissuade humans from making an optimal, economically rational decision. It takes self-awareness and practice to overcome these tendencies (and then only sometimes).

If you can't explain it, and you can't define it, and you can't trace it back, perhaps it's not real.

These have been studied for decades in psychology, social psychology, and sociology. Do you really expect a full lit review in an article in the popular press, adapted from a blog post by an academic who is speaking from personal experience about topics not in his core field?

We are scientists.

We are humans. With quirky, bug-prone wetware.

Comment: Re:paper, re-sold (Score 1) 39 39

by madro (#45401699) Attached to: Digital Textbook Startup Kno Was Sold For $15 Million

In the 80's, I learned calculus in a US public high school with a textbook from the 1960's. Well, that, *and* a great math teacher. Making an e-book that presents the material is easy ... making an e-book that actually helps students gain understanding is pretty darn hard.

Comment: Da Vinci was great for me, maybe not for others (Score 5, Interesting) 99 99

by madro (#45334737) Attached to: Robotic Surgery Complications Going Underreported

I needed mitral valve repair surgery, and I was a good candidate for robotic surgery: relatively young, good health (other than the valve), not obese (fat gets in the way). Instead of sawing my sternum and spreading my chest open, the surgeon (who has a lot of experience in both robotic and open heart surgery) was able to go in through my right side and leave a 3-inch scar and three puncture wounds. I was in the hospital Tuesday morning, and out Friday afternoon. I'm grateful to have had access to this technology. The benefits of robotic surgery compared to open heart surgery are clear (at least in my case).

But when a hospital has a large fixed cost to acquire technology, it is all too tempting to spread that cost out over a greater number of surgeries. The benefits are not nearly so clear in surgeries that don't require bone-breaking or bone-sawing. If someday I need gall bladder surgery, or if my spouse needs a hysterectomy, I would have a strong preference to avoid robotic surgery unless a skilled surgeon can make a compelling argument that the specifics of our case are a good fit for robotic assistance. (And believe me, I read as much of the medical literature as I could in making the decision: when one of the surgical steps is, basically, "shut down the heart," you want to know as much as you can. Open heart surgery for valve repair is a well-understood, well-practiced technique, but for me the decision to use the robot was about the reduced shock to the body, shorter recovery time, and reduced scarring.)

Comment: Re:Americans doing the right thing (Score 1) 999 999

by madro (#45151809) Attached to: US Government Shutdown Ends

Part of the credit for the deficit decline under Clinton goes to George HW Bush, who broke his "read my lips, no new taxes" pledge for the good of the country. I remember being really concerned about the revenue increases that Clinton signed early in his first term because I was familiar with Republican talking points about taxes being automatically bad for the economy. Then I saw that the world didn't end, I took some basic econ courses (micro/macro) and learned to take macro theories (left or right) with huge handfuls of salt when considering the real world.

Comment: Re:Wow. (Score 3, Insightful) 999 999

by madro (#45151743) Attached to: US Government Shutdown Ends

A common fallacy is that governments should run their finances like a family. A family does not (1) live forever, (2) print its own currency, (3) collect revenue as a matter of law, or (4) have a duty to provide public goods like a national defense. Maintaining debt in perpetuity makes sense as long as the economy grows over the long term and as long as that debt doesn't get "too big" (with pretty fierce debate over what that means -- 100% of GDP is not necessarily too big by historical standards, but reputable minds can disagree).

But in terms of the maturity level of *this* particular Congress, this is pretty spot on.

Loan-department manager: "There isn't any fine print. At these interest rates, we don't need it."