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Comment: Isn't that science? (Score 1) 333

by slew (#49776531) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

In their quest for telling a compelling story, ... retrofit hypotheses to fit their data.

Can someone tell me how this isn't just unseemly science rather than bad science? Sure it might seem like you are "cheating", but if the data tells you something that you didn't expect going in and you change your hypothesis along the way, you still are presenting data and you simply just took a shortcut publishing your second paper and just tossed-out your initial attempt at writing a paper.

To me, bad science would be cherry-picking your data to fit your original hypothesis (or perhaps your ideology or world view).

Comment: Re:It's a freaking Weapon ICMB test for their nuke (Score 1) 77

by slew (#49753035) Attached to: India Targets July/August To Test Its Space Shuttle

I don't see why it's not obvious for everyone that this is a test for the Indian nukes for ICMB under cover of a space program. It's interessting to see that we don't apply the same understanding for North Korea than to India. Both have Nukes, both wants to go further with those nukes.

I'm pretty sure if India attempts to land this thing without warning anyone (e.g., designating a no-sail-zone) into Arabian sea just 200km outside of Karachi, I'm sure that people will be looking at this as an "unwarranted action" like North Korea.

Comment: Re:Force his hand..."Sue me! Sooner than later..." (Score 1) 377

by slew (#49752517) Attached to: Student Photographer Threatened With Suspension For Sports Photos

definitely not realistic. I never went to school with Ally Sheedy or Molly Ringwold. Most of the girls at my school looked like Kelly McGillis or Rosie O'Donnell. Either one where the iron had been left on their face for too long.

Speak for yourself, Bond girl Carey Lowell attended to my high school (not that I ever met her)...

Comment: Re:Force his hand..."Sue me! Sooner than later..." (Score 2) 377

by slew (#49747705) Attached to: Student Photographer Threatened With Suspension For Sports Photos

As a former troublemaker, I never understood how suspension is a punishment. I considered a three day vacation from school to be supreme good fortune.

You're, apparently, not the only one and why one of my English teachers got her Ph.D. on the concept of Saturday Suspension in the late-1960s, early-1970s, where you have to go to school on Saturday (or a series of Saturdays) as punishment. I really disliked Dr. Kershes!

Or as in the '80s the movie the "Breakfast Club" (of course not realistic). However, there are some actual real school districts that implement Saturday School.

Comment: Re:Backdoors for truth and justice! (Score 1) 42

by slew (#49746403) Attached to: How 1990s Encryption Backdoors Put Today's Internet In Jeopardy

So you implictly trust NSA's changes to Rijndael, to turn it into AES?

Unless you think there was a pre-submission conspiracy (e.g, a manchurian candidate), AFAIK there were only 2 changes made to Rijndael during the AES competition:

1. Restrict the officially supported block size to 128 bits (rather than support any block size a multiple of 32-bits)
2. Restrict the officially standardized key sizes to 128, 192 and 256 bits and the number rounds associated with them.

No algorithmic modification were made to Rijndael during the AES competition (unlike the DES where the NSA tweaked the S-tables to strengthen IBM's submission against differential cryptanalysis.

I'm not sure how to argue that restricting the block size to 128-bits is an NSA conspiracy (that was a NIST requirement). Also as it turns out that it's more than likely that greater than 256 bit keys aren't going to be that great in Rijndael (even 256 bit keys are suspect to have fewer than 256-bits of security)

Of course it might be reasonable to argue that the NSA lobbied hard to pick Rijndael for AES because it was potentially easier to break (lowest security margin) than Serpent, but it wasn't because of imaginary *changes* made to Rijndael by the NSA...

Comment: Re:Are we not men? We are devo. (Score 1) 228

by slew (#49731087) Attached to: Marvel's Female Superheroes Are Gradually Becoming More Super

Why do liberals tend hate comic books?

It's because it suggests to people that government is at best impotent and more often then not evil. However, some rich dude can be a hero (e.g., ironman, batman) can come in an save the day (generally against yet another rich evil dude, not an ideologue). This generally isn't the narrative they want to hear. Of course comic writers throw the liberals a bone once in a while (e.g., a gay character like iceman)...

However, most comic books are simply apolitically anti-establishment, not catering to any ideology other than angst and self-reliance of socially isolated individualism. This caters to the aspirations of their target reading audience, which is generally not aligned with liberal/conservative politics, but weakly aligned to a libertarian/progressive slant. The most common morality plays in comics appear to revolve around fate, fear, revenge, jealousy, penance, and sometime just spite which generally don't fall along political party lines (or maybe they do), but tend to move the plot along...

Comment: a new software release, not a sw install problem (Score 5, Informative) 120

Some thing appear to have been lost in translation.

According to most other English language sources, apparently this A400 had a new software release that enabled it to control the fuel tank trim during some new types of maneuvers. It appears that some bug in this software triggered a situation where fuel was actually cut-off from the engines or perhaps the engines shut-off leading to a temporary engine stall (which proved to be unrecoverable). It's not clear exactly what happened yet, but I think they are close to ruling out a defect in the installed ECU (electronic control unit) itself, but not the software running on it.

Comment: Re:That last sentence... (Score 1) 529

by slew (#49711287) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

Your updated numbers are okay, but your conclusion is crap.

Of course Caltech looks at race, but unlike Harvard, it's a more of a STEM pool that it's drawing from, so it looks like the STEM pool of applicants. In fact when I attended, often admissions reviewers (who were mostly white-male faculty) would openly lament the multitude of applications from the asian-with-glasses-plays-piano-or-violin stereotype.

FWIW, the big push over the last 20 years at Caltech was to increase the number of women attending (not different races), so it is totally unsurprising (to me) that the asian population went up since the time I attended because it probably just mirrors the female-STEM high school population in California.

As for graduating on time, well, it's a tough school, but statistics don't bear out your assertion that rich asians are under-represented in the didn't-graduate-in-4-years-or-at-all pool. When I attended there, one of my school newspaper reporters looked at the statistics for an in-depth admission report and there is very little correlation with anything in the didn't-graduate-in-4-years rate (other than parents being a California resident).

Most potentially negative educational outcomes often were somewhat correlated with being a California resident (even though being private school, there is no tuition break for a California resident), because not being a well-known national institution (but more even with Harvard internationally in the STEM area, but behind MIT) the student pool is somewhat self-selecting having more qualified folks be out-of-state and international students. Also most other things being equal, California residents matriculate at a higher rate (east coasters accepted to multiple schools matriculate at Caltech at a much lower rate), and more likely to transfer to a UC school before they graduate if they are having trouble (rather than stick-it-out).

Of course the fact that California-resident Techers are also more Asian than the out-of-state/international pool, creates some Asian correlation in every statistic. However, with an entering class size of only about 200-250 people, the statistical significance of any trend is probably dubious as well. According to federal statistics, in 2006, 100% of underrepresented minorities graduated, but this fell to 80% in 2007, I think that was a result of 1 person less.

Although 80% average graduation rate means 40 folks don't graduate on-time, but in my class, I know of 10 folks that actually flamed out after 1 year. Also, if you look at the statistics of the student residence houses, the highest graduation rates are Lloyd and Fleming house and the lowest graduation rates are Dabney and Avery. Knowing the typical populations of these houses, I would say that a generalization that somehow accepting more Asians would help bring up the graduation rate is somewhat dubious (Avery and Lloyd house might be a poster-child for asian high-achievers, Fleming is much more representative of the population at large, and Dabney probably isn't representative of any population that is tracked by admission statistics). If manipulating statistics was the goal, Caltech should be simply accepting fewer Californians (which it's been trying to do for quite a while)...

Comment: Re:What? (Score 1) 126

by slew (#49700639) Attached to: How SpaceX and the Quest For Mars Almost Sunk Tesla Motors

Put simply if Tesla had reached pay day and been unable to make the payment then it would have been insolvent and it would have been illegal for them to continue *to employ people*.

FTFY. Not being able to make payroll applies to public and non-public companies. Tesla became a public company in 2010 and Elon was discussing these pre-IPO events that occurred in 2008 before they were publicly trade-able.

Insolvent just means the company doesn't have access to enough free/unimpaired assets to operate legally, not that a company doesn't have enough assets (e.g., receivables, contracts, intellectual property, or business goodwill which are not liquid). If a company is bordering on insolvency, many companies choose massive equity dilution and/or a fire-sale of assets to recapitalize the company just to stay alive.

Of course *exchange listed* companies must be solvent or they become delisted, but generally not immediately the day it misses a payroll but after it declares bankruptcy. However, you can certainly trade ownership in unlisted and/or insolvent companies and they can also continue to operate in quasi-legal form. If they continue to operate they will build up lots of liability (including payroll liability) to the principals and directors during the time they operate and these liabilities may or may-not be shield-able during bankruptcy, so in this situation, generally the principals immediately file for bankruptcy protection and/or lay-off all employees to protect themselves.

However, in practice, even though not-paying employees is illegal, in most jurisdictions (like California) when you get a wage-judgement, there isn't such a thing as a wage-lien, so you generally need to sue to get your wages or wait for the bankruptcy settlement. Odds are pretty bad in both cases of ever seeing a dime if the principals of the company don't happen to have a pile of cash stashed in bank accounts (although having a principal like Elon might be an exception to these odds).

Why yes, I have sadly had direct experience with this :^(

Comment: Re:Will Fox clone his voice? (Score 2) 214

by slew (#49694289) Attached to: Harry Shearer Walks Away From "The Simpsons," and $14 Million

With 573 episodes to pull from and even more studio tape they have sufficient material to clone his voice. All they need is some other anonymous slob to read through all the hours of old material which they can do for a lot less than 14 million dollars. The question is will they?

In case you have forgotten, someone executed a similar plan at least once before resulting in one of the highest rated season premiere on the comedy central network...

Will they try it? Probably not, but it's not unheard of...

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