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Comment: for nerds.. (Score 1) 402

by njnnja (#46804807) Attached to: In a Hole, Golf Courses Experiment With 15-inch Holes

How about....because advances in materials technology over the last hundred years have allowed many members of the upper middle class to afford light shafts and gigantic golf club heads that have disproportionately made hitting the ball long distances, straight, much easier than it used to be. However, putting has remained at about the same level of difficulty as it always has been. So the game is greatly changed, and they are examining a rules change to re-balance the difficulty of the long game and the short game to be more consistent with what it was long ago.

Comment: Re:It's crap (Score 0) 1615

by njnnja (#46768511) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Actually, the whole point of the 2nd amendment is that the government should not have a monopoly on the use of deadly force. The ability of any individual to use justifiable lethal force ensures that individuals are not merely wards of the state, dependent on a (possibly corrupted) army or police force to defend themselves from bad people. That is the "free state" that is being referred to in the text.

People who argue that the point of the second amendment is to possibly use arms against the government are being far too literal (just as those who argue that the point of the second amendment is to form state militias are too).

Comment: Re:WTF?? (Score 1) 797

IANAL, but based on accounts that I have read elsewhere, PA only requires two-party consent if there is an expectation of privacy. Since this was recorded in the middle of a classroom with dozens of kids in it, there should not be an expectation of privacy; therefore this crappy ruling should be overturned on appeal.

Comment: Re:Another thing (Score 2, Interesting) 135

by njnnja (#46755623) Attached to: U.S. Biomedical Research 'Unsustainable' Prominent Researchers Warn

Real actuary speaking here. Societies generally put resources into producing things that the society wants. They put more resources into things that they want more of *relative to other things that they don't want as badly*. It is that relative allocation that is important. If we didn't want to live longer lives, we would spend our resources on present day consumption rather than on medical services. The fact that the cost of health care keeps going up and up is merely a reflection of the fact that (in the 1st world) we have (more than) enough food, adequate shelter, and plenty of shiny things to keep us happy, so what we really want to spend money on is a pill that keeps our bodies younger for longer. So unless we "unlearn" all the things that give us this phenomenal productivity (through natural catastrophe, war, plague, etc.), we don't have to worry about decline.

One lecturer put it well by saying that he couldn't wait until we are spending 99% of GDP on health care, because at that point all of our wants and needs for food, shelter, entertainment, intellectual challenge, etc will be satisfied for pocket change so the only thing actually worth putting society's resources into is extending life.

Comment: Re:Surely ironic (Score 1) 275

The BYTE editorial that the cover was based on was about how new technologies were shrinking computing, such as the 3.5" disk and the Osborne 1. The toshiba "tv-on a watch" was a fail but it's interesting that they noted 2 products of actual historical significance. The editors also made the astute observation that "Osborne is currently seeking approval from the FAA to operate the unit on board a plane". Only took 3 decades!

Comment: Re:They need more publicity (Score 4, Insightful) 157

by njnnja (#46750577) Attached to: Will This Flying Car Get Crowdfunded?

you need much more than publicity.

... only if their goal is to actually create a company that manufactures flying cars. If, however, their goal is to take a lot of people's money without giving them any legally recognized equity ownership or role in corporate governance, then I think that publicity is exactly what they need.

Comment: Re:Can't fire a Nazi? (Score 1) 1116

by njnnja (#46698587) Attached to: Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law

I have to interject my $0.02 because I don't think you have seen through to the logical conclusion of your position. What if a group of people decided that they didn't like the rules of the government, so they begin to campaign against the entire government itself? Should they have the freedom to do that?

And when that proves unsuccessful, they start an armed revolt to change the government. Should they have the freedom to do that?

And when they are successful, they begin to rewrite every law in the book. Should they have the freedom to do that?

One of the laws that they add says that if you fire somebody because of a political contribution, they will imprison you or take your money. Should they have the freedom to do that? If not, why not? Shouldn't they have the freedom to not associate with people who would do that kind of firing?

It is impossible to say everyone should have the freedom to make whatever associations they want because every freedom granted is a limitation on somebody else's freedom to stop you from doing that thing. Re-read your Coase.

So instead of making an appeal to any particular fundamental right (which you won't be able to get everyone to agree to anyways), you need to get everyone to agree to a *process* for making the rules, and once everyone agrees to abide by the rules that are made through the proper process, then you follow that process and abide by the laws you like and go through the process to change the laws you don't. It's obvious that you disagree with this law, but do you have a much better way of making laws than the sort of representative democratic republic generally followed in the US (other than declaring RightSaidFred99 supreme monarch)? Not once in any of your comments have you mentioned that you felt that the law was improperly passed, merely that it is a bad law because it impinges on the freedom of people you would prefer to have freedom and gives freedom to people who you would prefer did not.

Comment: Re:Solved problem (Score 1) 162

by njnnja (#46693109) Attached to: Judge (Tech) Advice By Results

What I know is that the issues that you are trying to address, namely, exposure to an intervention vs. effectiveness of that intervention, is exactly what real researchers deal with all the time when they say something like "Telling people to eat less and exercise more is/is not an effective weight loss strategy." It's not hard to get appropriate metrics for it and interpret those metrics to make a conclusion like that if you know what you are doing. Just because you are ignorant of them doesn't mean it can't be done. Rather, it means that if you are genuinely curious about the question of evaluating recommendations then you have to hit the books and educate yourself. I gave you a recommendation - start there.

Here's my advice to you (that probably has very little value because I'm sure you're not going to take it lol): Be humble. When you think you have something novel, ask yourself, "Why am I so smart and they are so stupid?" If you can't come up with a good answer for that, then you probably aren't, and they aren't either.

What I think happened is that you wrote your essay about laptops and was upset about the feedback that you got, so you wanted to defend yourself and came up with this gibberish to sound like some kind of expert in decision making, not realizing that you were stepping into an area that already has tools and techniques far beyond what you currently understand. Why should we use "WABR" (which apparently even you don't know how to measure), when there already exist methods that can actually be used to make those kind of evaluations?

It takes a big man to admit he's wrong, and I hope that at some point you are able to follow the first law of holes and stop digging. You don't have anything new here. But if you actually had familiarity with the field I'm sure you could have written a good introductory essay about how social scientists test the effect of interventions such as advice, which could have been quite nice and useful. However, what you have now (recommending that we should compare values of a metric that can't actually be calculated) is just kind of silly and pointless.

Comment: Re:Solved problem (Score 1) 162

by njnnja (#46690163) Attached to: Judge (Tech) Advice By Results

tl;dr Yes I would modify your approach. You are proposing a solution that grossly oversimplifies the problem by making a huge assumption that rarely holds in real life. It's not even wrong

Take 100 volunteers, divide them randomly into two groups...
...But if you're giving your advice to 50 people in Group 1, and someone else is giving different advice to 50 people in Group 2, the samples are large enough that the proportion of unmotivated people is going to be about the same in each group -

That is a huge assumption that will not be true. Simply dividing a group randomly does not make the raw results coming out the other end meaningful. Do the 50 people in group 1 have the same starting weights as group 2? Same disposable incomes? Same amount of free time? Same stress level at home? Same family history? What if people move out of the area or otherwise lose contact? If you select groups of 50 randomly you will almost certainly have different distributions of underlying factors that could all plausibly have an impact on compliance with the regimen and effect of a well-followed treatment.

Maybe if you have a sufficient budget you can increase the sample size so that you are more confident that the two groups overlap. But are you sure? You don't even want to look at inputs and instead look only at end results so you will never be sure. And even if you could increase the sample size, with a sufficiently high multidimensional problem (which is generally the most important kind of problem) you can never truly ensure equality between groups.

So what would I do? First, I would do a better job splitting up the groups. No I won't explain how I would do it but you can find plenty of information on good experimental design elsewhere. Second, even with careful experimental design I probably wouldn't get perfect overlap, so I would build a model to test the effect of intent to treat on treatment rates and then treatment on the end variable, and do poststratification on the model versus the population to evaluate the intent to treat. The difference between what real researchers do and what you propose is like the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it.

Comment: Re:Solved problem (Score 1) 162

by njnnja (#46688097) Attached to: Judge (Tech) Advice By Results

Yes I have a better alternative, and I'll do the best to help you out in the length of a comment. Everyone who runs social science experiments nowadays knows that there are problems with interventions; namely, some people who are assigned to the intervention group will not do it (e.g., proper diet and exercise) and some people who are assigned to the control group will actually do the intervention (e.g. they will eat healthy and exercise even if you don't tell them to). Modern statistics deals with these issues pretty well, and is able to give us metrics about how effective the actual treatment is, how well people are able to follow advice, and how good the advice actually is.

To get up to speed, you can read a good text such as this. If you already have a good stats background, you can go straight to chapter 9 and read from there.

To understand a program you must become both the machine and the program.