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Comment: Re:Interesting but... (Score 1) 207

by tlambert (#49776779) Attached to: Elon Musk Establishes a Grade School

Well, what problem is this making a dent in other than a billionaire setting up a small private school for his kids and some of his employees?

Because if the entire story is "billionaire sets up private school for own kids" ... who gives a shit?

Well, he worked on the Tesla battery technology for years, and then open sourced the patents.

I expect that as soon as he's satisfied it's tweaked to the point it's working as intended, he will open source the curriculum for the school.

I suspect that, should this happen, it's not going to change much about education, since really public education is how to get promoted to the point you are an administrator, and can start raking in the 6 figure salaries, and really has dick-alll to do with teaching kids these days.

Comment: Actually, it's closer to Montessori (Score 2) 207

by tlambert (#49776693) Attached to: Elon Musk Establishes a Grade School

Actually, it's closer to Montessori.

There's nine Montessori schools in the Los Angeles County area, so it's not like he couldn't have just paid for the kids to go to one of those.

There's not a lot of public Montessori's, however they are becoming more common (e.g. North Shoreview and ParkSide Elementary in San Mateo), but they tend to be Magnet schools, and there tends to be a lottery to get in because everyone wants their kid to get in. On the plus side, if you have multiple kids, once the older one gets in, there's a bump in the lottery for your remaining kids, and (A) once in, a kid generally gets to stay as long as the parent remains in the area, and (B) they don't totally screw up.

Frankly, if it's a choice between sending the kids to a private school, and building your own, and it's going to pretty much cost your the same for tuition either way, it's a hell of a benefit he's giving his employees (IMO).

Comment: Re:Time for a change? (Score 4, Interesting) 207

by tlambert (#49776527) Attached to: Elon Musk Establishes a Grade School

The old way had the teacher directly teach the older kids an the age rage, who would then be responsible for teaching the younger kids themselves. This is a great system: you learn better through mentoring, you develop better critical thinking skills when the person teaching you is sometimes wrong, and you likely develop leadership skills along the way.

Having spent part of my time in a system set up like you describe... it's the *ABSOLUTELY WORST* thing you can do to a high achieving kid: take away their opportunity to reach even greater heights, in exchange for keeping them busy by becoming an unpaid teaching assistant.

Thankfully, it really didn't work out (having a 4th grader teach 6th graders math just gets that 4th grader beat up during lunch and after school), and they backed off eventually. Which was fine with me, because I was already working on calculus, organic chemistry, and college level reading that the bookmobile lady snuck me after doubling my number of books checked out quota over everyone elses.

If you want to go back to the "Little House On The Prairie"-style one room schoolhouse, good on you, but please do not drag high achieving kids back there with you, or worse try to "socialize them at their grade level", because I'm telling you, you might as well buy them a T-Shirt with a target on it.

Musk may not being anything new -- and he's really, reading the 3 articles, just describing Montessori with a couple of tweaks, like taking the grade level away -- but at least at his school I don't think you'd be holding back those who are able to vastly outpace the slower learners.

Comment: Re:Is a reduction (Score 1) 84

by TopherC (#49775659) Attached to: Bats' White-Nose Syndrome May Be Cured

Thanks for this explanation. I was wondering earlier that if the problem was only as bad as "decimation", had scientists considered the various unintended consequences of this treatment? But seeing that the disease is likely anthropogenic, and that it is really wiping out entire populations, it sounds like this treatment can only be a Good Thing.

Comment: Re:Is a reduction (Score 3, Informative) 84

by Dutch Gun (#49773187) Attached to: Bats' White-Nose Syndrome May Be Cured


Very few people nowadays the word "decimation" with it's original meaning, and I'm guessing the author didn't here either. Or rather, we should probably say that the word has evolved to mean "an arbitrarily large percentage" and not just 10%. I see that definition listed as #3 in Merriam-Webster, where the original meaning is #1. Those should probably be reversed now. #2, in case you're wondering, is related to taxation. Go figure.

I went to the article to find out that this fungus was apparently introduced ten years ago, which obviously seems to indicates human involvement, and explains why the bat have no natural defense. I think this also justifies human involvement in finding a solution.

Comment: Re:Looking better (Score 2) 225

by Dutch Gun (#49769225) Attached to: Microsoft Tries Another Icon Theme For Windows 10

It's not "beyatching", it's feedback, and Microsoft is ASKING for feedback regarding Windows 10. As a beta user and long time customer, it's perfectly reasonable to let them know I think their icons look horrible. I've given feedback for more substantial improvements, but I make sure to let them know about any aesthetic issues I see as well.

Is it really a major deal? No, not really. Part of it, though, at least for me, is the notion that all the way up the chain of command at Microsoft, there isn't one person who looked at those icons and said "My God, those are hideous! Someone fix those damned icons!". It just feels sort of pathetic, I guess, in a "King's New Clothes" sort of way. The designers that made a mess of Windows 8 have apparently convinced everyone that ugly is the new sexy.

Comment: Yeah, no. (Score 3, Insightful) 403

by fyngyrz (#49765031) Attached to: What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

Except that the opinion of people like Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and Elon Musk is definitely worth more than any "majority" thinking differently.

Nosense. That's just hero worship mentality. Very much like listening to Barbara Streisand quack about her favorite obsessions.

Bill Gates' opinion is worth more than the average person's when it comes to running Microsoft. Elon Musk's opinion is worth more than the average person's when building Teslas and the like. Neither one of them (nor anyone else, for that matter) has anything but the known behavior of the only high intelligence we've ever met to go on (that's us, of course.) So it's purest guesswork, completely blind specuation. It definitely isn't a careful, measured evaluation. Because there's nothing to evaluate!

And while I'm not inclined to draw a conclusion from this, it is interesting that we've had quite a few very high intelligences in our society over time. None of them have posed an "existential crisis" for the the planet, the the human race, or my cats. Smart people tend ot have better things to do than annoy others... also, they can anticipate consequences. Will this apply to "very smart machines"? Your guess (might be) as good as mine. It's almost certainly better than Musk's or Gates', since we know they were clueless enough to speak out definitively on a subject they don't (can't) know anything about. Hawking likewise, didn't mean to leave him out.

Within the context of our recorded history, it's not the really smart ones that usually cause us trouble. It's the moderately intelligent fucktards who gravitate to power. [stares off in the general direction of Washington] (I know, I've giving some of them more credit than they deserve.)

Comment: Re:That's recklessly endangering America! (Score 1) 135

by fyngyrz (#49761711) Attached to: NSA-Reform Bill Fails In US Senate

You are crazy. Here is an example of the democratic process working, yet you desperately have to search for some conspiracy theory to continue your irrational hatred of the USA.

No. It's an example of a republic not working. What history books tend to call "decline and fall" when it's happened in the past. It is what happens when governments completely lose sight of, and concern with, and respect for, the principles that brought them into being.

This is real life, not a Tom Clancy novel.

Oh, we know. In Clancy's works the US TLAs are the good guys. That's not been the case for decades now.

Comment: Re:Any materialized predictions? (Re:Sudden?) (Score 1) 267

they predicted that Antarctic sea ice would increase in a warming world

But they DIDN'T predict growing sea ice in a world that is NOT warming, did they? [Jane Q. Public, 2015-05-22]

Good grief, Jane. They also didn't predict growing sea ice in a world that's infested with leprechauns. But neither of those silly objections are relevant, because the real world is warming. Remember?

"We know the Earth is warming, you idiot. That's not the issue here." [Lonny Eachus, 2010-07-01]

Since these conditions are not the conditions presumed in the model, in fact they have not predicted anything. You are just a master at inappropriately shifting contexts, as I have pointed out many time. You don't get to say that they predicted a result given THESE conditions, then say the same result under OTHER conditions constitutes a "prediction". Especially given the uncertainties involved. That's bullshit. [Jane Q. Public, 2015-05-22]

Nonsense, Jane. Manabe et al. 1991 predicted that increasing atmospheric CO2 warms the planet and causes a slight increase in Antarctic sea ice. This certainly constitutes a prediction because these conditions are happening. After all, as you've said, nobody is denying it's warming.

The next time you want to keep ignoring the predictions of Manabe et al. 1991 and all these other confirmed predictions, it might be more honest to just say that you reject all those confirmed predictions, rather than trying to pretend that they never happened.

You aren't using "all the available data". Once again, you are using the data that is convenient to you. ... [Jane Q. Public, 2015-05-22]

That's absurd, Jane. I've repeatedly linked to Polyak et al. 2010 and Kinnard et al. 2011. Polyak et al. reconstructs Arctic sea ice back to 1870, and Kinnard et al. goes back 1,450 years.

... I will ask you again: would the slope be the same if you chose 2000 for a starting point, or 1850? No, it would not. I made a simple comment based on a simple fact: 1981 was at or near a local maximum, and using it for a starting point of your "average" is questionable at best. That is an accurate statement. If you chose 1930 instead, as another local maximum you would again have to justify that as a starting point. You don't get to weasel out of that. [Jane Q. Public, 2015-05-22]

I don't have to "weasel out" of anything, because despite your baseless accusation I've always advocated using all the available data. In the context of using a single dataset, that means not cherry-picking the starting point, and instead using the entire dataset.

That's why it was so baffling when Jane baselessly accused Layzej of cherry-picking when he loaded the entire UAH dataset, then Jane suggested only using data since 1998. Jane was the only person in that conversation who suggested cherry-picking a starting point, rather than simply loading all the data in the dataset. Then Jane did it again.

And now Jane keeps asking what starting point I would use. Again, I wouldn't cherry-pick a starting point. I'd load the entire dataset into the trend analysis code I've already shared with Jane. Here's that example. The black line on the second page shows the UAH trend ending in 2012, for different starting years. The error bars are shown in red; they're 95% confidence uncertainty bounds.

Note that my analysis uses the entire dataset, and allows one to immediately see the calculated trends and uncertainties for many starting points at once, going all the way back to the first value in the dataset.

If you'd like, I could modify that code to load Arctic sea ice extent data, then share the new code and results with you. Or maybe you'd like to show off your programming skills instead? Either way, just let me know what dataset you'd like to investigate and we could actually start analyzing that entire dataset, with no cherry-picking of starting points at all.

But I doubt we'd find much support for Jane's claim, because neither this graph of the NSIDC Arctic sea ice index or Polyak et al.'s Fig. 2(a) show a clear local maximum in 1981 or 1979, either for the minimum or maximum sea ice extent.

... I will ask you again: would the slope be the same if you chose 2000 for a starting point, or 1850? No, it would not. I made a simple comment based on a simple fact: 1981 was at or near a local maximum, and using it for a starting point of your "average" is questionable at best. That is an accurate statement. If you chose 1930 instead, as another local maximum you would again have to justify that as a starting point. You don't get to weasel out of that. [Jane Q. Public, 2015-05-22]

Jane introduced "1981" here which seems to be a reference to this NSIDC Arctic sea ice extent plot. Once again, Jane hasn't actually presented any evidence that 1981 was at or near a local maximum. But let's humor Jane and pretend that 1981 was a really huge local maximum for Arctic sea ice extent. NSIDC calculated the average Arctic sea ice extent from 1981-2010. As Jane asks, would the slope be the same if the NSIDC chose 2000 for a starting point for their average? (*)

If the NSIDC chose to use a 2000-2010 average, that wouldn't change the calculated trends/slopes like these on page 2 here. That's because the NSIDC isn't cherry-picking data starting points when they use a 1981-2010 average. They're still using all the data, but just comparing that data to an average over 30 years.

Sadly, many people seem to be confused about calculating an average and using it as a baseline.

That's why I've said that confusion regarding baselines makes me think that plotting the trends and error bars is better than plotting the timeseries with an "ideal" baseline. Since the trend is the time derivative of the original timeseries, the constant baseline is irrelevant.

Another way of appreciating this point would be to notice that absolutely nothing would change on this NSIDC Arctic sea ice extent plot if that hypothetical really huge local maximum happened in 2010 rather than 1981. Again, that's because the NSIDC isn't cherry-picking data starting points when they use a 1981-2010 average. They're just calculating an average, so whether the maximum occurs in 1981 or 2010 is irrelevant.

Once you realize that the NSIDC is just calculating an average, it should be clear that the most important criterion is how long a timespan that average covers. That way, a hypothetical really huge local maximum gets averaged together with other years. I've said that I like plots with 30 year baselines because that's long enough to define the climate. Since that NSIDC plot uses a 30 year long baseline, it seems okay to me.

Jane, can we agree that a 30 year baseline is better than a 10 year baseline (like 2000-2010) or even a ~1 year baseline because longer baselines average out more weather noise? Can we agree that any choice of baseline is irrelevant to calculating trends/slopes like these on page 2 here?

(*) Obviously the NSIDC couldn't choose a starting point of 1850 on their satellite data plot because the modern satellites were launched in ~1979, but it seems unlikely that Jane will ever concede that he was wrong to insist that "your precious warmism sources consistently start THEIR charts in 1979, and if that isn't cherry-picking, nothing is."

Once again, this is completely backwards. In the context of using a single dataset, loading that entire dataset isn't cherry-picking. Arbitrarily cherry-picking a starting point of 1998 is cherry-picking. This isn't complicated, Jane.

If you should ever start actually using "all the available data", and were honest with yourself, I think you might start softening your tone. [Jane Q. Public, 2015-05-22]

Once again, Jane's concern about my tone is incredibly ironic. And Jane, keep in mind that you were cussing and insulting me while defending your Latour nonsense... which you finally admitted violates "kindergarten-level physics".

But you obviously can't admit your "silly gradeschool-level" mistake, even after defending it while calling me a goddamned stupid dumbshit despicable human being fraudulent dishonest lying fucking moron idiot asshole malicious lying sonofabitch.

After all that, don't you see even the tiniest bit of irony when you criticize my tone and repeatedly claim to be happy to admit your mistakes?

Comment: Re:AT&T 210M Trimline (Score 1) 312

by tlambert (#49756311) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Dumb Phone?

Is it made out of bakelite? I hope it has a dial, none of this DTMF crap either!

It has DTMF, but there's a switch to make it pulse dial instead of using tones.

PS: Do you perhaps live in St. George Utah? I know for a fact they installed an exchange with stepper relays instead of DTMF decoders a while back, and since they amortize equipment over 20 years, the thing's still inservice.

Blessed be those who initiate lively discussions with the hopelessly mute, for they shall be known as Dentists.