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Comment Re:Missing information... (Score 2) 393

If 40% of those university graduates are still overqualified by their mid-thirties, they've already been typecast by their experience in the 25-35 range.

That's certainly a problem with the data provided--it bundles together the fresh-out-of-school 25-year-olds with the decade-plus-in-the-workforce 34-year-olds. There's a lack of resolution. It could be that 40% of 25-year-olds and 40% of 34-year-olds are "overqualified". Or it could be that 60% in the 25-29 age group are overqualified, and just 20% of the 30-34 bracket.

Actually, that brings to mind another confounder to the interpretation of these data. As more young people get more years of formal education (3-year college diploma to 4- or 5-year bachelor's degree to 7-year bachelor-plus-master's degree) they enter the workforce later. A 25-year-old with a high school diploma might have been working for 7 years (and is also more likely to be working in a job for which they are not "overqualified" by their lower level of formal educational attainment). A 25-year-old with a master's degree might have graduated this summer and could still be job-hunting.

Comment Missing information... (Score 2) 393

... an increasing number of university graduates are overqualified for their jobs.... 40 per cent of university graduates aged 25-34 were overqualified for their job.... The problem is bigger than that, because those young workers spent money, time, and resources to get those qualifications.

It could be a problem, but we're missing some information. This is looking at people aged 25-34. A lot of them are taking crappy entry-level jobs. A lot of them don't have any significant work experience, and have trouble breaking into their preferred fields. A lot of them have student loans and other financial obligations, and just need to take a job - any job - to keep food on the table and a roof overhead. (That, in itself, is another kettle of problems that I'm not going to go into right now.)

An important question is, then, how many of them are still overqualified by the time they're into the 35-44 age bracket? Was the extra education actually "wasted", or did they eventually come out ahead because they didn't have to drop out of the workforce later on to go back to school to get the education they missed in their twenties? Did their extra "unnecessary" knowledge help them move up the ladder faster than they would have without it? (I'm not looking for anecdotes - of which I am sure there exist examples to suit any preferred narrative - but rather real data.)

And that leaves aside the rather more philosophical question of whether or not it's generally a Good Thing to have more university-educated individuals in it, even if they don't need those degrees specifically as job training. Are universities now only vocational schools, and only of value to society in that context? If I can't cash in my degree for a high-paying job, is it worthless?

Comment Re:amazing no ground scale or even strain gauges (Score 4, Informative) 366

...but then the stupidity of taking off at less than 100% throttle to save a little bit of fuel at the expense of increasing risk is also a pretty dumb thing to do, engineering wise.

Taking off at less than 100% throttle means reduced acceleration, which reduces stress on the airframe (and passengers). It reduces wear on the engines and - more important - reduces the risk of turbine failure. It makes the aircraft easier to control (less unbalanced thrust) if it does lose an engine immediately before or after takeoff.

So...not just to save fuel.

Comment Re:Turn key back on? (Score 1) 350

There is no diffraction...20,000 miles is nothing. A laser beam that measures several microns wide at it's origin will still be several microns wide at it's destination.

This is fundamentally incorrect. Even under ideal conditions laser beams will diverge in proportion to their wavelength and in inverse proportion to their narrowest diameter. Effectively, the laser light interferes with itself - diffracts - as it passes through the aperture from which it emerges. At visible or near-infrared wavelengths, a "collimated" 10-micron-wide beam will be more than 30 meters across at 1 km from its source. (I confess to doing the math in my head, but the order of magnitude is about right.) At 20,000 miles, the beam will be more than 100 km across. Wikipedia has the formulas if you'd like to play with them: beam divergence.

You can improve performance by increasing aperture (beam diameter) and wavelength, but there are limits. Beam divergence gets a hell of a lot better with a 1-centimeter (or 1-meter) rather than a 10-micron beam, but also puts about one millionth (or one ten-billionth) as much power down per unit of area on the target.

This isn't to say that space-based anti-satellite lasers aren't possible, but your assumptions about the behavior and performance of lasers over long ranges (and the associated technical challenges) are not grounded in adequate physics knowledge. The Soviets took a stab at launching an anti-satellite laser weapon back in 1987. Polyus weighed 80 tons, required a massive booster, used a 1-megawatt carbon dioxide laser, and was still only intended for low-orbit targets. (And suffered a launch failure, but that's not important.)

Comment Re:What about the rights of those injured by firea (Score 1) 1165

What I am claiming is that the difference between fatal and non-fatal injuries in a mass attack comes down to the same lottery luck as the election analogy. The (relative) skill of the attacker and defenders is more critical when determining the total number of victims, and less so when determining the extent of any particular injury.

Comment Re:What about the rights of those injured by firea (Score 1) 1165

Let me give you a second example.

Rather than taking the effort to tally all the votes cast in an election, let's throw all the ballots into a giant pile, mix them about (maybe in a cement mixer) so they're completely random, and pull one out. Whoever is on that ballot wins the election. If you fully believe that randomness is not bad for public policy, then you must conclude that there is no drawback to this voting system, and the lower work required to determine the winner makes it superior to the systems in use today.

Comment Re:What about the rights of those injured by firea (Score 1) 1165

What's wrong with your maths?

I could ask the same question of you—because from my perspective, the only difference between victims being injured or killed is a matter of luck. I consider it an error of the highest order to include that sort of randomness in the factors which drive public policy.

Comment Re:What the hell is wrong with people? (Score 1) 1165

A person with issues made what might have been a final plea for help the night before and everyone just blew it off.

"Online" is such a vague description. Was this somewhere like Facebook or G+, where tying your activity to your offline location is simple, or was it on 4chan or Xbox Live where the "identity protections" in place may have prevented properly contacting the police department in the correct local area?

Comment Re:What about the rights of those injured by firea (Score 1) 1165 you think someone can commit mass murder on this scale with knives and baseball bats?

It does not matter what I think, I happen to know it has happened. While typically these events are "less fatal" I don't think a 0-deaths attack should be considered better if victim counts remain high. Personally, I wonder why you prioritize guns, when nearly every previous mass shooting perpetrator has shown poor mental health? (It's still a little early in the reporting cycle for a solid analysis in this latest attack.) Since this is such a universal factor, even past the availability of firearms, I would say improving our treatment of mental health issues should take a higher priority in responding to mass attacks.

Comment Re:An honest question (Score 4, Informative) 72

If I remember correctly, the noise floor of the previous instrument was approximately the level of the signal they were looking for. A better detector may help.

Indeed. It's hard to overstate the sensitivity of these instruments, or the vulnerability of these instruments to noise. To take one example, here's an ArXiv preprint that calculates that the original LIGO detectors would need to be physically shielded from tumbleweeds, since the the impact of a wind-borne tumbleweed on the building exterior (100 feet from the detector) could produce a vibrational or gravitational transient sufficient to appear to be a spurious gravitational wave signal.

Comment Needs more statistics (Score 4, Insightful) 181

Neither the summary nor the linked article provide the necessary statistics to tell us how well this algorithm actually works. We're told it has a 68% success rate, which presumably means that 68% of the time it gives the same answer as de Vries (the human subject/programmer).

The problem is, we're not told anything about the sensitivity or specificity of the technique. What is the rate of false positives? False negatives?

Let's say that de Vries typically finds 1 out of 3 (33%) of the profile pictures "attractive". His computer could score 67% accuracy just by rejecting every single picture. (Such an algorithm would have zero sensitivity, but perfect specificity, and a terrible false negative rate. The "reject-everything" algorithm also scores better the more picky de Vries gets.)

This sort of story is only interesting if it includes specific information about where and how his algorithm fails (and succeeds).

Comment Re:as a linux user, i can explain. (Score 2) 165

I have a laptop running Gentoo as its' sole OS. The fact there is a cron service installed at all is because I wanted one. Whether the system boot manager is OpenRC or systemd was my choice, not somebody in charge of the distribution. For any compilation option that can be turned on or off, there is a good chance that it is exposed to the package manager and thus I chose its' state when installing. (If not, portage is the simplest manager I've seen when altering installation scripts, so overriding that choice is very easy.) Most packages don't automatically include their software into a runlevel: you also choose if (and when) they would run.

That control was why I chose Gentoo: not for privacy or a protest against "stealth software" (the Steam client is installed), but because by having to touch each and every part of the system I get a clearer idea of how these parts mesh. I would highly recommend setting up a machine in this fashion: it's a very educational experience.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.