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Comment: Key bits (Score 1) 772

by sammy baby (#47110419) Attached to: Belief In Evolution Doesn't Measure Science Literacy

So, there are a few key takeaways here. I'm just going to blatantly steal the author's version:

First, there is zero correlation between saying one "believes" in evolution & understanding the rudiments of modern evolutionary science...
Second, "disbelief" in evolution poses absolutely no barrier to comprehension of basic evolutionary science...
Third -- and here we are getting to the point where the new data come in! -- profession of "belief" in evolution is simply not a valid measure of science comprehension.

Okay, well and good. But I'd argue that he's also eliding a key epistemological question. Namely, can you lay claim to fundamentally understanding a theory of science if you're wrong about it?

Let's say I'm Tycho Brahe. My contemporary, Nicolaus Copernicus, has published a book in which he suggests that the Sun is the center of the solar system. Based on my knowledge of astronomy, mathematics, and religion, I propose an alternate view, one which says that it's actually the sky spinning around the Earth. After all, the Earth is way too heavy to spin like Copernicus suggests.

So with regard to this subject, does Tycho Brahe understand the science?

Comment: Re:Further disconnect from the "GOP". (Score 1) 1010

by sammy baby (#45824873) Attached to: New Study Shows One-Third of Americans Don't Believe In Evolution

Republicans are such a perverted facsimile of what used to be a very reasonable party. If 6 years of Obama has taught us anything, it's that the empty can gets the grease. USA Politics desperately needs the GOP to fork into two factions - there are enough independents currently voting "D" to jump over to make a center-right candidate feasible. Center-right by US Standards, that is.

I'd say that's pretty self-evident - the last two presidents that ran on the Democratic ticket were both center-right candidates.

Comment: Re:alternatively (Score 3, Insightful) 193

by sammy baby (#45446105) Attached to: Nathan Myhrvold's $500 Cookbook Now an $80 iPhone App

There is actually a separate edition of the book called Modernist Cuisine at Home which is specifically tailored to home chefs who want to try out the techniques, for substantially less money than the full version. Actually, the ebook which is the topic of the article is based on the "at Home" edition, which means the price differential between the ebook and dead tree version is only about thirty bucks, not several hundred.

Comment: Re:Technology costs? (Score 1) 336

by sammy baby (#44422681) Attached to: How Outdated Data Distorts Doctors' Pay

First of all - werd. To just about all of this.

Secondly I want to add that it's not as if there is some other definitive source that the government can use to determine the appropriate reimbursement rate for procedures. Hospitals have something called a "chargemaster list," but the prices on those lists vary wildly from hospital to hospital. And most hospitals, when quizzed as to why the prices seem so out of whack, argue that it doesn't matter because consumers "rarely" ever pay those prices.

Steven Brill had an amazing article on this subject in Time magazine, but it's now behind a paywall. You can find it here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2136864,00.html.

And the Washington Post has a brief discussion of the article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/23/steven-brills-26000-word-health-care-story-in-one-sentence/

Comment: Today in the annals of unfortunate capitalization: (Score 3, Insightful) 84

by sammy baby (#44351905) Attached to: Google Now Serves 25% of North American Internet Traffic

Just to be clear: the title of this story should be interpreted "The combined traffic of Google's internet properties now account for 25% of all Internet traffic in North America."

Not, as I thought upon my first reading, "Google's mobile device software package, "Google Now", accounts for 25% of all Internet traffic in North America." That made me do a spit-take.

Comment: Next: white walker countermeasures (Score 1) 139

"The area around and to the southwest of Oklahoma City, where more tornadoes were striking Friday night, 'has perhaps the greatest frequency of tornadoes in the U.S.,' said John Snow, a professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma.

Hurricane season is coming.

Comment: Re:Differential equations is not advanced math. (Score 1) 656

by sammy baby (#43875759) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Important Is Advanced Math In a CS Degree?

The irony here is that I found discrete math and data structures to be far, far easier than many of my other math classes.

On the other hand, I'd already had an introduction to topics like predicate calculus. I had the feeling sometimes that the comp sci professor teaching my discrete math course didn't understand the topic much better than I did.

Comment: Re:Reciprocity. (Score 1) 272

by sammy baby (#43625115) Attached to: What Modern Militaries Can Learn From Battlestar Galactica

They do actually address this in a couple of episodes. Part of the explanation of the retrograde technology on board the Galactica is that the Cylons were just so much better at cyberwarfare that the colonists essentially ceded that field - all computer systems were isolated so that even should one be compromised, it could not be used to stage attacks on other systems. There was a good deal of hocus-pocus involved, but at least there was an effort to explain it.

Comment: Warning: snark. (Score 1) 931

I'm sorry, my inner snarky atheist is about to chime in. Please ignore the rest of my comment if you're not in the mood.

Ahem:

In the study, published in the current issue of Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers comment that people with a moderate to high level of belief in a higher power do significantly better in short-term psychiatric treatment than those without.

...researches also identified a notable exception to this phenomenon. Certain types of psychotic disorders, notably delusional disorders concerning the existence of supernatural entities, were strongly associated with belief in god.

Comment: Re:Only because you are a Mac fan (Score 2) 367

by sammy baby (#43051991) Attached to: Among Servers, Apple's Mac Mini Quietly Gains Ground

Do you see the obvious contradiction in what you just said? The article focuses on the birth of these Mac colo companies, which can make money in an extreme niche of the market because they're in a small group of services providers standardizing on Mac hardware. Because they have stayed almost identical between model years, the provider can just by them by the truckloads as little commodity services, knowing that if one goes that they can just swap another one in.

The in house IT department, which you like to deride, doesn't have that luxury. They're not going to buy a dozen Mac Minis just to support one small group which is completely wedded to one server platform. So in the end, everyone is happy: the colo companies get their niche business, the fledgling web business gets their preferred platform, the data center admins get to stick with their core competencies, and schmucks who have never had to run a large data center get to call them assholes. Everyone wins.

Comment: How comfy is your work environment? (Score 1) 683

by sammy baby (#42470027) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can I Explain To a Coworker That He Writes Bad Code?

Depending on your relationship with your coworker, you could try something like this:

"Dude! What the fuck is with this? This whole module reads like it was written by David Foster Wallace after sustaining a concussion!"

Then, having gently broached your general concern, you could offer a few helpful suggestions. "How about actual English names for some of your variables, instead of packing everything into a global array called "Stuff"?"

I'm actually only half kidding here. I'm lucky enough to work with guys with a sense of humor, so when one of us screws something up we expect a certain amount of ball-busting. I really do feel that this is a valuable practice, so long as the critics don't go too far with it and the critiqued can keep a good sense of humor.

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." -- Albert Einstein

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