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Comment: Re:Hilarious! (Score 1) 183

by slew (#49800879) Attached to: Chinese Nationals Accused of Taking SATs For Others

Well it may not show how well they party, but the SAT has a large essay portion

I don't remember an essay portion on the SAT. Is this a new thing (as in the last 25 years)?

The SAT was redesigned in 2005 to eliminate the stupid analogies, add reading comprehension, free-form math, and added another section to test essay writing to test sentence/paragraph formation and general grammar (now scored on a 2400 point scale instead of a 1600 point scale).

They are re-redesigning the test again this year to make the essay optional (back down to 1600 points) and changing the grading of the essay to actually have some content of the essay factor into the score (in the 2005 version of the test, you could have scored perfect on the essay by writing total fictitious nonsense as long as it was grammatically and logically correct), eliminating the penalty for guessing (to match the ACT), and adding more achievement testing (also to match the ACT).

Comment: Re:Hilarious! (Score 1) 183

by slew (#49800763) Attached to: Chinese Nationals Accused of Taking SATs For Others

Although it's true that many colleges ignore the SAT essay, but multiple choice portion of the test is *not* highly correlated with academic success. The highest correlation is (sadly) family income, followed by weighted/normalized high-school grades (e.g., not GPA, but a weighted GPA), and only then standardized tests. Also above a certain high score (~1400/1600 on the SAT), there is nearly no correlation at all with higher scores and educational and post-educational outcomes (and yes I used to work with admission committees for a university that cooperated with other highly-selective university to compile statistics on this subject over many years back in the '80s).

The idea that the SAT matters is a myth propagated by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) corporation. In fact the creation of the competing ACT test was prompted by the fact that the SAT origins were an *aptitude* test (that can draw it's lineage from the US army IQ testing recruits in WWI) , not an *achievement* test (testing things that you should learn in school).

Colleges wanted an achievement test, but were dismissed by the ETS, however because of the use of the SAT in ivy league schools, the University of California signed on in 1960 and made the ETS/SAT into a juggernaut. Now because of discontent by UC and other schools on its predictive value, the ETS has changes the SAT twice in 10 years, which in its latest form, now looks more like an *achievement* test (like the ACT was).

Of course there is open debate in higher education on even requiring tests like the SAT or ACT. For example this study tracking 123,000 students over 33 universities found only minimal correlation of academic success with even submitting SAT scores to the school to evaluate (let alone what the score actually was).

Comment: Re:Russian rocket motors (Score 1) 62

by slew (#49787029) Attached to: SpaceX Cleared For US Military Launches

As I understand it, Russia threatened to, but didn't actually withdraw the supply of rocket motors (i.e., the RD-180 used by the Atlas V), but the US Congress has prevented any military contractors from giving Russia any money (e.g, ULA for rocket motors) because of the Crimea/Ukraine situation. Sadly, Russia probably just inadvertently seeded the idea to the US congress and they ran with it...

Apparently, there is an out. In the event of a national emergency, NASA can actually finish purchases of these rocket motors from Russia and sell them to the ULA because the ban technically only applies to military contracts, not civilian contracts. This is totally stupid as either way the bulk of the money is going to the same Russian company: NPO Energomash. Of course the biggest beneficiary of the ban this might be SpaceX (and maybe even the ULA if you count the additional money the congress threw at them to get the votes for the ban and the fact that they will probably eventually get permission to buy enough engines to tide them over until Vulkan launches).

Comment: Isn't that science? (Score 1) 396

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) 379

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)...


India Targets July/August To Test Its Space Shuttle 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the hurry-up,-the-ISS-needs-pizza dept.
New submitter gubol123 writes with news that India is close to launching its own space shuttle for the first time. Their space program, ISRO, is planning the shuttle's first test flight for some time in July or August. The unmanned shuttle will fly to a height of approximately 70 kilometers before splashing down in the Bay of Bengal. Oddly, the vehicle itself probably won't be recovered. When it lands in the water, it will sink, and there are no plans to try to bring it back to the surface. The most important obstacles are surviving re-entry and simply staying intact during splashdown. Scientists and ISRO engineers are hoping the shuttle program, when finished, will drop the cost of placing objects in orbit by a factor of 10.

Comment: Re:Force his hand..."Sue me! Sooner than later..." (Score 2) 379

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.

We have a equal opportunity Calculus class -- it's fully integrated.