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+ - What Sports Can Teach About the Cautionary Side of Big Data->

Submitted by mjjochen
mjjochen (638603) writes "From the Chronicle of Higher Education comes this missive on "What Sports Can Teach About the Cautionary Side of Big Data"

So what might sports teach higher education about data mining?In academe the stakes are higher than in baseball, but progress toward making good use of data has been uneven. Nonetheless, colleges are busymining students’ data trailsto build software that does things like suggest what mathematics problems they should work on or even what classes they should take. During a panel on Wednesday about the cautionary side of Big Data, colleges got some insight from Steve Hirdt, a 45-year sports-data veteran who is executive vice president at theElias Sports Bureau,the official statistician to the major North American professional sports leagues. Elias records game statistics—hits in baseball, yards gained in football, points scored in basketball, etc.—and supplies data to teams and news-media clients. When you watch Monday Night Football, Mr. Hirdt is the guy off camera feeding the announcer facts like “Seattle 135 yards: fewest for a winning team in the NFL in the last three years."

First off, what you initially find in a given data set may turn out to be flat-out wrong upon closer scrutiny.

“A wrong conclusion from a cursory look—to me that’s the real cautionary side of Big Data,” Mr. Hirdt said. “If Big Data is going to amplify the possibilities for misapplication, as well as the possibilities for application, we might be in for a little bit of a rocky road.”

"

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Science

+ - Making Sense Of Colors And Shapes In The Toilet->

Submitted by mjjochen
mjjochen (638603) writes "Just in time for the big American eating festival known as Thanksgiving, comes this NPR story on the shape and color of our bodily waste products. Discussion on the color, shape, smell, & even taste are included. Now we can have just as much fun analyzing things after the meal as we did consuming the meal — for the scatologically inclined, read on!

"Here at Shots, we're all for "breaking the taboo around the toilet" (see our recent posts on squatting and fake feces). And we get the sense that there's more confusion out there about what ends up in the toilet than most people would care to admit. And so for World Toilet Day, we're sharing a couple of infographics we stumbled upon recently.""

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Data Storage

+ - Hard Disk capacity set to increase up to five times ->

Submitted by Dupple
Dupple (1016592) writes "A technique that enables the nanopatterned layers that store data in hard disk drives to assemble themselves has been improved to better suit mass production, and could enable disks that store five times as much data as the largest available today.

Using self-assembly instead of machines that print or etch out features has long been considered a potential solution to a looming barrier to expanding the capacity of hard-disk designs. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have now worked out a solution to a problem that made self-assembly incompatible with existing factories."

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+ - Lessons learned from Sandy on power outages?->

Submitted by mjjochen
mjjochen (638603) writes "National Geographic reports that the U.S. power industry (& government) should be making an investment of about $30 billion a year over the next 20 years to upgrade distribution systems. This in reaction to the vulnerabilities highlighted (yet again) with the latest storm to wreak havoc with electricity distribution systems in the U.S. Should we try to leverage the recent focus on power outages to improve our grid and infrastructure to make our distribution system more robust, more "intelligent", better, stronger than it was before? Or will we just nod our heads approvingly that this needs to be done, then promptly forget about it till the next storm/disaster?"
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+ - WW2 carrier pigeon and undecoded message found in chimney->

Submitted by
BigBadBus
BigBadBus writes "The BBC is reporting that the remains of a World War 2 carrier pigeon were found during renovation of a chimney in England. What is interesting is that the pigeon's remains still had its message attached to the leg ring; even more interesting, this is the first recorded instance of a code being used rather than plain text. The successor to WW2 code-breaking HQ Bletchley Park, the GCHQ, is trying to decipher this unique code. Maybe a slashdot reader can beat them to it?"
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Comment: Re:Yogurt does the same thing (Score 5, Interesting) 183

by mjjochen (#41786673) Attached to: Gut Bacteria Cocktail May End Need for Fecal Transplants
I would never ever wish C-Diff on anyone, not even my worst enemy. After the wife was put on broad spectrum antibiotics for an ear infection, then came what we thought was a bit of the flu or stomach virus (a.k.a. the trotts). Never-ending trotts. After exploratory colonoscopy & cultures to verify, & several different rounds of antibiotics, what finally worked for us was one last round of antibiotics combined with an insane intake of yogurt & probiotics (as we were finishing off the antibiotics). I think it was the combination that worked for us. We now start a (paranoid) regimen of yogurt & pro-biotics whenever someone is on antibiotics. Would we have gone for the "shit enema" (as unappealing as that sounds)? Perhaps. Let me put it this way, after weeks of the most debilitating pain (doubled over in pain), not eating for days, and blood literally pouring out your hind end, you are ready to grasp at anything that might work. Wife said that child birth had nothing on the C-Diff pains (& she went through 2 births with not so much as an aspirin -- another story. . .). I'll joke about a lot of things, but not this. So if this works (faster), more power to it. Oh yeah, cases of C-Diff are on the rise -- yay ( http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mens_Health_Watch/2010/June/clostridium-difficile-an-intestinal-infection-on-the-rise & http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/03/06/148072242/deaths-from-dangerous-gut-bacteria-hit-historic-highs ).

Comment: Workweek Saving Day (Score 4, Funny) 395

by mjjochen (#39322907) Attached to: Did Benjamin Franklin Invent Daylight Saving Time?
Since many of us are interested in shifting clocks to allow for a more productive work day, and save lighting expenses, I propose a new twist to this system: the Workweek Saving Day. It is a very simple concept, really. Each Saturday night, instead of it becoming Sunday at the stroke of midnight, it becomes Monday. How awesome is that?! This way, we can all provide one more productive day of work to our beloved employers and do busy busy things to make the big cog-wheel turn. Come on li'l gipper, ya with me?!

Comment: Enter port knocking. . . (Score 2) 92

by mjjochen (#39315061) Attached to: Reinventing the Clapper With a Knock-Based Home Automation Controller
Can I set this up with port knocking. So maybe every time I get a knock on 22, then 23, and eventually 80, in any particular order on my external IP, that my lights go on and off? That would be cool. Maybe rig it to the stereo system, too. 137/138 would control the volume. Fun times.

Comment: Re:What about false positives? (Score 2) 104

by mjjochen (#39247269) Attached to: Microsoft Seeks Patent For "Search By Sketch"
Um, two things:

1. Lesson Plan
2. Prepare before going into the classroom

Seriously, if you are planning your lecture while doing it, you're doing a huge disservice to your students. That's not to say that open discourse and exploratory learning aren't good in the classroom, this can be great - let the discussion go where the students take it. But on the technology/course material side, I would be very concerned with adding material to my class at the last minute. What happens if that image/movie/website that you were counting on weren't there? What if your connectivity tanks when you wanted it? What if you get that huge phallus instead of the ICBM that you were looking for? I download anything that I want to use ahead of time.

If you are doing this last minute, to me that demonstrates that you are not taking your planning/prep seriously (or that you are lazy), and that you are putting your laziness ahead of the learning of your students. They (the students) deserve better than that.

Now that I've nibbled at the troll-bait, I think this is seriously off course - search by sketch, search by term, they all have the same possibilities to return content that someone out there may find offensive. So I fail to see how this is any different. That's the glory & risk of the Internet - use at your own risk.

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