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Comment: Re:USB DACs (Score 1) 502

Would you mind advising on a suitable (preferably inexpensive) USB DAC? I have a gaming card in my PC so I'm covered in that regard.
I have a Starving Student headphone amplifier that I built but my laptop audio output is fairly poor and it's the device that I listen to most of my music on.

I'm handy enough with a soldering iron but there are a dizzying array of kits on ebay and from enthusiasts so I feel lost in all of the choice and opinion. Much of the opinion I am wary of as it has an element of snake-oil salesperson to it.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Comment: Real world implications (Score 1) 124

by martinux (#46232825) Attached to: Why P-values Cannot Tell You If a Hypothesis Is Correct

Any researcher worth their salt states a p-value with enough additional information to understand if the p-value is actually meaningful. Anyone who looks at a paper and makes a conclusion besed solely (or largely) off a p-value without thinking about how meaningful the results are from a clinical or real-world perspective is being lazy or reckless.

I guess there are quite a few insightful XKCD strips but this one seems most apt, here: http://xkcd.com/552/

Comment: Re:I am reminded of pigs and engineers here (Score 1) 593

by martinux (#46157215) Attached to: Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live

Ok, ok. You got me!

I am in fact part of the massive global worldwide conspiracy of scientists and old earth religious believers who have agreed to manipulate data to destroy the truth. You sir put forward such a magnificent case that I could no longer maintain the paper-thin cover that millions of us have constructed.

It is a sad sad day.

BRB. Calling the Vatican, most protestant denominations, muslims and all other persons whos ancestors have helped us keep the lie alive through the centuries. The cat is well and truely out of the bag.

Comment: Re:I am reminded of pigs and engineers here (Score 4, Insightful) 593

by martinux (#46153887) Attached to: Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live

While I agree with the general concept that everything should be examined and not taken at face value I would stress that this is not equivalent to "my non-fact based theory deserves as much time and attention as your evidence-based theory."

Ken Ham cannot provide a reasonable point-counterpoint because all he can do is make assertions that sound like science but are in fact not. It doesn't matter how polite and well spoken he is.

As Issac Asimov stated:
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

The only value that this 'debate' will have is it will further reinforce exactly how delusional creationism is.

Comment: Re:Wait, 3-year ban? (Score 2) 141

by martinux (#45813579) Attached to: Iowa State AIDS Researcher Admits To Falsifying Findings

Given that you consider all scientists and the peer review process to be entirely corrupt who would you trust to be knowledgable and honest enough to sit on this 'Truth Panel'?

I'm not sure if you're a troll or you are just deeply cynical. I just hope that at some point you recognise that we all have an inbuilt bias to inflate the effect of negative aspects of reality and miss the positives https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negativity_bias. Then again, I can see the benefits of being a pessimist: You're going to swing between being either correct or pleasantly surprised.

Comment: Re:Wait, 3-year ban? (Score 4, Interesting) 141

by martinux (#45811679) Attached to: Iowa State AIDS Researcher Admits To Falsifying Findings

I would agree to an extent that quantity of research is being pushed as the be all and end all (as Prof. Higgs lamented). In the UK people are attending university to get a sheet of paper that proves their marketability. There are an increasing number of 'fluff' degrees requiring an increasing number of lecturers who can teach 'fluff' who are being pushed to prove that their fluff not only is valuable fluff but is the best fluff by the accountants and marketers running the universities. As a result you get researchers pushing out reams of crap in journals with low impacts simply to give the illusion of productivity and allow marketers to print a long list of studies beside their photos in university profile pages.

The knock on result is that all researchers are being pressured to publish an equivalent number of papers as anything less just proves they're lazy and unproductive in comparison to the fluff producers by bureaucrats who equate all studies as equal.

You're nodding along with me now as I'm painting a pretty bleak picture that agrees with your assessment. However, your blanket statement that nobody cares about research quality is profoundly incorrect. I know many many scientists who get their work done despite the aforementioned pressures and who 'care'. I know it's easy to tar everyone with the same brush but many of us are still doing science because we want to learn and report new things.

Taking a cynical view is easy but as TFA points out, there are more than enough people that care ensuring that fabrications are discovered.

Comment: Re:Wait, 3-year ban? (Score 5, Insightful) 141

by martinux (#45810985) Attached to: Iowa State AIDS Researcher Admits To Falsifying Findings

It's a defacto lifetime ban. Short of moving to another country he will have the stigma of this for as long as he tries to get a job in science. Any research he previously reported will now be subject to significant scrutiny.

Just imagine him, or anyone attached to a group he's attached to, trying to get future federal funding; "We've decided to turn down your application for [insert any reason]."

He's now a liability to any university or research group. The only people who might hire him are some unscrupulous company who need a yes-man who will provide 'sympathetic' findings. Even then the work will most likely be under a pseudonym and will have to survive all of the extra scrutiny a 'sponsored' research study gets.

Thankfully, science is a self-correcting mechanism as this uncovering has demonstrated.

Comment: Re:How about the latest batch of the Rx 200 cards? (Score 4, Interesting) 213

by martinux (#45687947) Attached to: Surge In Litecoin Mining Leads To Graphics Card Shortage

The general consensus is that the newer cards are faster but they are also drawing more power per 'unit of work' and thus are not as good a solution. Note that this has not stopped people using these cards (and indeed, older, less powerful cards) as one can still make a small profit on relatively modest hardware.

Ultimately the aim of the coin miner is to find the hardware that provides a reasonable mining rate whilst costing as little to run as possible. At some point the value of a litecoin may increase to the point where electricity costs become less of a factor in the choice of mining hardware. You'll start to see people moving to the newer cards if this happens.

Another thing to consider is ASICs. These devices are generally expensive in terms of R&D but their performance can be orders of magnitude higher than GPUs. The problem described in the article is that ASICs are not ideal at solving scrypt. However, I think it's inevitable that hardware specifically designed to mine litecoin is inevitable if the value continues to rise.

Comment: Re:Ummm Bullshit (Score 5, Informative) 213

by martinux (#45687763) Attached to: Surge In Litecoin Mining Leads To Graphics Card Shortage

What in fact has happened is the availability of a number of optimal* cards - particularly the Radeon 7950 - have massively decreased due to miners buying them. As you would expect market demand has resulted in a significant price hike. Radeon cards provide higher hash rates than nVidia cards and so they are more popular to miners in general. There are a number of benefits to litecoin, particularly the faster transaction time. If you're a litecoin miner decryption is optimised for GPUs rather than ASICs (which have a much, much higher uptake in bitcoin mining) and thus is not the realm of high-cost ASICs or FPGAs.

Whilst I do appreciate that bitcoin and litecoin are 'hot topics' at the moment there are many interesting consequences that have emerged as a result of the uptake in both the currency and technology required to maintain the currency. Thus, I do think there is something to talk about here.

* The cards are optimal in that they give the fastest hash-rate to power-consumption ratio.

Comment: Re:Five Sigma or Bust (Score 3, Interesting) 182

by martinux (#45410335) Attached to: Weak Statistical Standards Implicated In Scientific Irreproducibility

I work in this field and usually see power calculations recommending samples of non-viable size.

I can see recruiting hundreds of subjects as being feasible in the US or a large european country but in smaller countries one simply has to state clearly in a paper's limitations that any findings must be interpreted in light of the available sample.

Comment: Re:Largest Amateur telescope. (Score 1) 101

by martinux (#45370749) Attached to: Cold War Spoils: Amateur Builds Telescope With 70-Inch Lens

William Parsons (Lord Rosse) cast and figured his mirrors with 1845 technology that he helped improve through his own efforts. It doesn't matter what the sensitivity or apparent size is in relation to a mirror created with 20th century technology developed by Lockheed with unknown millions in government funding. The Leviathan has a larger diameter mirror which is the criteria many news sources are using to claim that Mr. Clements's telescope is the largest ever built.

I'm saddened to see that this has turned into some kind of competition.

A guy in Utah built a 70 inch telescope using a prefabricated mirror smaller in diameter than one that was created over 200 years earlier, the fact that it's not a world record does not undermine his achievement. Reporting it as being the largest amateur telescope ever constructed is inaccurate at best no matter how one reasons it out.

Clements deserves serious kudos for his efforts but comparing them to those of Parsons is unreasonable. Parsons achievements far exceed those of Clements.

Remember the good old days, when CPU was singular?

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