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Comment: Incorrect headline (Score 3, Insightful) 464

by matthewncohen (#34656436) Attached to: Scientifically, You Are Likely In the Slowest Line
The video actually says that, mathematically, you are likely (2 out of 3 times) not to be in the fastest line.

In his example of three lines, there is still a 2/3 chance that you are not in the slowest line. So unless "one in three" has become "likely," the headline demonstrates a failure at basic maths.

Comment: Re:Homeopathic Medicine (Score 2) 430

by matthewncohen (#34651910) Attached to: Placebos Work -- Even Without Deception
I think you misunderstand the homeopathic point of view to believe that this weakens the legitimacy of their approach at all.

I'm not an expert in the field, but my understanding is that Homeopathy is based on the idea that there is a fundamental vital force that is responsible for overall well-being, which can be strengthened by taking particular concoctions that resonate with this force in the person. Maybe these placebos inadvertently had a homeopathic quality that was helpful for IBS sufferers.
The Internet

The Perils of Pop Philosophy 484

Posted by kdawson
from the bloggers-beware dept.
ThousandStars tips a new piece by Julian Sanchez, the guy who, in case you missed it, brought us a succinct definition of the one-way hash argument (of the type often employed in the US culture wars). This one is about the dangers of a certain kind of oversimplifying, as practiced routinely by journalists and bloggers. "This brings us around to some of my longstanding ambivalence about blogging and journalism more generally. On the one hand, while it's probably not enormously important whether most people have a handle on the mind-body problem, a democracy can't make ethics and political philosophy the exclusive province of cloistered academics. On the other hand, I look at the online public sphere and too often tend to find myself thinking: 'Discourse at this level can't possibly accomplish anything beyond giving people some simulation of justification for what they wanted to believe in the first place.' This is, needless to say, not a problem limited to philosophy."
Input Devices

NYU Researchers Create Cheap, Flexible Pressure-Based Interface 55

Posted by timothy
from the where-would-you-put-it? dept.
Al writes "A super-cheap, thin and flexible touch interface developed by researchers at New York University and could be used to add touch sensing to all sorts of gadgets and devices. It measures a change in electrical resistance when a person or object applies different pressure. The "Inexpensive Multi-Touch Pressure Acquisition Devices (IMPAD)" consists of two sheets of plastic containing parallel lines of electrodes. The sheets are arranged so that the electrodes cross, creating a grid and each intersection acts as a pressure sensor. The sheets are also covered with a layer of force-sensitive resistor (FSR) ink, a type of ink that has microscopic bumps on its surface. So, when something coated in the ink is pressed, the bumps move together and touch, conducting electricity."

Comment: Re:You can test this yourself (Score 2, Interesting) 96

by matthewncohen (#26864977) Attached to: "Microsaccades" Help To Refresh Your Field of View
As a long-time meditator I can absolutely attest to this. It does not always happen, but there are certain states of relaxation in which my eyes stop doing this and whatever is in my field of vision becomes gray/green blurry outlines or eventually nothing at all until I move.

Comment: Craigslist (Score 3, Informative) 262

by matthewncohen (#26302181) Attached to: Getting Started With Part-Time Development Work?

Have you checked out Craigslist? Look at both the jobs and the "gigs" sections. I see ads for single-project development all the time as well as some ongoing stuff. I know a few people who do this sort of thing freelance full time and make a pretty penny too.

I live in one of the more tech-active areas in the country (Boulder, CO) so this may or may not apply...

Social Networks

+ - Social networking a liability?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "As one of the early adopters of facebook (when it was first specific to only your college and not even linked to other colleges yet), I've seen social networking come a long way--too far to be comfortable for my taste. As my younger relatives are now getting online I find it more and more of a liability to have my party photos from 2004 flashed around. Ranging from the slightly embarrassing to the downright ruinous if Aunt Mabel ever heard of this, I'm beginning to wonder if it wouldn't just be better to be shot of the whole thing. I'm aware of the privacy settings, but like most others my mushrooming list of contacts (near 300) means that I'll be actually secure, not even close. So what makes me hold off from deleting my profile or at least sanitizing it to the point where even Aunt Mabel would be bored rigid...? I genuinely want to preserve those memories: the wall posts, the comments, the pictures and videos, along with the convenience of being able to click a profile and get an update on their current status. Can anyone suggest a way of preserving the frolicks of yesteryear without falling into hot water for the year ahead?"
Security

+ - No shame for "Import your contacts" featur

Submitted by
Stefano Borini
Stefano Borini writes "I am negatively astonished by a recently diffused practice of many networking websites: during the registration process, they ask your webmail's personal username and password, so to login on your behalf and import your address book contacts. Apart of the obvious security implications, there's also a fair chance that doing so you are violating the webmail terms of service, which normally state that your password is confidential. But what I consider even more dangerous is to let this practice be passed as "normal" or "acceptable" just because it looks convenient and easy. Apparently, I am not alone on this concern. I would like to know the Slashdot crowd's opinion not about the fact itself, but on the apparent lack of action and general indifference on the issue for what I consider a highly offensive and dangerous habit. Is the average user so entrenched and desperate for networking to disregard even basic security practices? Why are so many websites performing this request without any sign of shame, and why are the webmails allowing this without claiming violation of TOS?"

Comment: Just the beginning (Score 1) 353

by matthewncohen (#26285447) Attached to: 400,000 PCs Infected With Fake "Antivirus 2009"

I have uninstalled this parasitic piece of crap from the same guy's laptop no less than four times over a period of months, even doing my best to educate him about the situation. The Malware Removal Tool is not going to make any difference if the user is intent on reinstalling it as soon possible.

An actually responsible thing to do might be for Microsoft to run a friendly educational campaign about malware and viruses... a lovely dream.

Operating Systems

+ - Getting a Windows refund the new way?

Submitted by SgtChaireBourne
SgtChaireBourne (457691) writes "Getting a Windows Refund on the unused, pre-installed operating systems used to involve a slow but well-documented and predictable checklist of actions and contacts with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Lately, white box systems are still rate, and new systems that don't come with either Linux or OS X pre-installed seem to be missing the EULA. In previous versions of Windows, upon first boot, there was a dialog box which asked if you agree or disagree with the EULA. The new ones seem to be missing this fairly crucial step.

Many people I am responsible for will be getting new notebooks within the next six months and the extra 150 EUR save from not bundling Windows could be put towards peripherals or better hardware. What is the new best practice for getting a Windows refund?"

"The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, preserved their neutrality." -- Dante

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