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Comment: Re:That's a lot of lifetimes (Score 3, Informative) 54

by slew (#48907467) Attached to: "Once In a Lifetime" Asteroid Sighting Monday Night

Sort of. Haley's comet only comes around every 75 years, so for most of us that's a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

However, there are oodles of asteroids and comets out there, so in general you will have plenty of opportunities in your lifetime to see some. So feel free to get some sleep tonight if you need to.

AFAIK, these things don't happen too often. The next big asteroid viewing opportunity is likely to be in 2027 when 1999-AN10 makes a near pass (and should be brighter than 2004-BL86). Although asteroid 2004-BL86 will revisit our neighborhood in 2050, it won't be as close as it will be tonight for another 200 years...

Comment: Re:Plot synopsis (Score 1) 136

by slew (#48878487) Attached to: Simon Pegg On Board To Co-Write Next Star Trek Film

You forgot the plot point where Kirk seduces and makes love to some sexy 80's icon girl, creating a time paradox baby that grows up and can be used in #14.

Key scene in #14: Daughter confronts Kirk (his father) and, as the camera is zoomed close up to her face, Kaley Cuoco screams "DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD"

FTFY... Wouldn't be the first time a movie was inspired by a cheezy advert...

Comment: Re:Mental note: (Score 4, Interesting) 180

by slew (#48877751) Attached to: Silk Road Journal Found On Ulbricht's Laptop: "Everyone Knows Too Much"

Mental note: When establishing a questionably legal site for definitely illegal transactions to be made through, don't keep any logs about it, nor your conversations regarding it.

Observation: if you have a big enough ego to think you can create such a questionable site and get away with it, you have probably can't stop yourself from feeling invincible in whatever you do and dismiss any possibility that your logs will get compromised *ever*. Conversely, if have enough doubt about the eventual security of your logs in the event you might eventually get caught, you probably don't have the balls to go through with it in the first place...

Comment: Re:Poor delusional old man (Score 1) 190

by slew (#48858047) Attached to: Japanese Nobel Laureate Blasts His Country's Treatment of Inventors

The U.S. patent law is federal law.

(Federal) Patent law does not address the ownership question, it simply grants patent rights to who the owner is. The actual ownership is an issue of contract law (or more specifically the imputed contract of employment between employer and employee). Although there are some federal legal issues in employment contracting (e.g., EEOC, minimum wage, working conditions, etc), most of the legal aspects of employment contract law is set by the states (e.g,. right to work, living wage, etc) and local rules which further restrict the federal rules. AFAIK, when patent ownership issues arise in federal courts, they are obliged to look at the applicable state statutes to make the ownership determination.

For example, in California (where silicon valley is), California Labor Code Section 2870 specifically prohibits employers from co-opting inventions made by employees except those made for hire.

2870. (a) Any provision in an employment agreement which provides that an employee shall assign, or offer to assign, any of his or her rights in an invention to his or her employer shall not apply to an invention that the employee developed entirely on his or her own time without using the employer's equipment, supplies, facilities, or trade secret information except for those inventions that either:
      (1) Relate at the time of conception or reduction to practice of the invention to the employer's business, or actual or demonstrably
anticipated research or development of the employer; or
      (2) Result from any work performed by the employee for the employer.
      (b) To the extent a provision in an employment agreement purports to require an employee to assign an invention otherwise excluded from being required to be assigned under subdivision (a), the provision is against the public policy of this state and is unenforceable .

Other states (e.g., Texas) have different laws that favor the employer. This is likely one of the many reasons a large amount of entrepreneurial economic activity has continued to exist around Silicon valley and not elsewhere in the USA despite the high cost of doing business in the state. Another provision that helps Californai is the prohibition of generic non-compete clauses (which sadly is a real problem in other potential hi-tech areas such as Canada).

Comment: Re:PayPal Fees (Score 1) 100

by slew (#48857593) Attached to: Google Pondering $1 Billion Investment In SpaceX's Satellite Internet

$1 Billion usually can move with the help of the US Treasury Bank... every real bank has a large supply of money there, destroyed and waiting to be reprinted.

Okaaaay... Now, what planet did you say you were from again? ;^)

On the odd chance you were attempting to be serious, you probably are thinking about electronic transactions through FedWire or CHIPS (the industrial strength versions of ACH and EFT). The US Treasury doesn't move any money around for anyone but itself, nor does any bank actually reprint money that is transferred...

However, it is unlikely that these would be used for a simple equity transaction like this. More likely you would see such a transaction clear through DTCC, although with a private company like SpaceX, there may be other simpler arrangements...

Comment: Re:Galactic Fracking (Score 1) 121

by slew (#48853031) Attached to: Astronomers Record Mystery Radio Signals From 5.5 Billion Light Years Away

Or maybe say this radio signal was bait/chum and we (or perhaps our planet) are the game in someone else's sport.

Apparently nobody has a clue about these so called FRBs, so nobody can prove us wrong ;^)

On the other hand it appears that these signals are pulse compressed a bit by some kind of intergalactic dispersive media (electron gas?) so if someone was actually looking for some thing in the intergalactic void, this is a pretty plausible analogy to deep seismic sounding the cosmos...

Comment: Re:More people should be serious about this (Score 5, Insightful) 136

by slew (#48851797) Attached to: Drug Company CEO Blames Drug Industry For Increased Drug Resistance

It's not like drug-resistant bacteria are going to rise up and kill us all at once some day in a weird, snotty epidemic...

Actually, it may be like that... tuberculosis and pneumonia are quite capable in ravaging through our population if unchecked.

In the years right before the wide availability of antibiotics in the US (1930's), just these two bacterial infections were responsible about 20% of all deaths in the US (not including other bacterial infections). If you've seen someone suffering TB, perhaps it might be considered your weird snotty epidemic...

Also, those mushroom-based antibiotics aren't the ones of last resort. The nasty antibiotics with all the nasty side-effects are the modern ones (that are basically injectable pesticides that doctors often hold back as last resort). If we don't clean up our act we might be going back to something more akin to a pre-anti-biotic Victorian era with people dying of consumption (not some quaint 60's ampicillin pill-poping rehash).

Comment: And then there was canadian football (Score 1) 779

by slew (#48833391) Attached to: Parents Investigated For Neglect For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone

Then there is Canadian Football which has two "50-yard" lines resulting in a 110 yard playing field + two 20 yard end zones being 150 yards.

This, of course, is a result of Canada being a metric nation ;^)

But when you say football field, many folks think of a 100-110m FIFA compliant field which is just about matches American football field + endzones which seems to make some sense. On the other hand, I don't have any idea what the Canadians were thinking, except that nobody is going to play their sport except in stadiums in Canada.

Comment: Re:It worked on me (Score 1) 218

by slew (#48832673) Attached to: Study: Belief That Some Fields Require "Brilliance" May Keep Women Out

It isn't as easy to spot the "fakers" as you might imagine. Especially if you don't speak the same "language".

A personal example come to mind when I say this. A very good friend of mine has a very deep background in math and statistics, but from an economics background. My math and statistics background is mostly physics and control theory based. Over time we've worked with quite a few people and although I was quite able to tell people that were faking through the math when we talked an engineering language (e.g., ergodic process IIR filtering, numerical stability, etc.), but when we started talking about that same stuff from an econometric point of view (e.g., ARMAX modeling), constant translation between the two in my head made it much more difficult for me to tease out the subtle clues that trigger my BS meter...

Earlier in my dealings with my friend, I found my BS meter triggering all the time with his econometric spin on statistical modeling, but as I got to know him better, I realized my BS meter was just faulty. He knew the statistics stuff as well or better than me, but he was speaking a different language to describe the same mathematical concepts, and the papers he read had different set of seminal authors and the common data regularization procedures went by different names. I eventually took the time to learn his econometric vocabulary, but I can say I doubt I will ever be fluent in his way of talking about statistical mathematics. Having experienced this constant translation issue over time, I can say it really makes it hard to have an effective BS meter because you are constantly questioning if your own translation is accurate enough...

FWIW, I'm pretty sure have met a some real 1%-ers in my time at Caltech, and yes some of them are so out of my league that they could been BS-ing me and I still wouldn't know it. One of my classmates would sometimes look at our homework and then come up with some proof that applied some far out algebraic principle and later grin and say, well just kidding, I made that up I don't know if that proof is true, but doesn't it sounds right. Who knows if he was BS-ing or not, as he could talk circles around us in Algebraic-Category theory (and he also managed to learn how to juggle 20+ balls and ride around on a unicycle which was also way beyond me too). However, we never let him divide up the restaurant bills though as we never did fully trust his arithmetic abilities when it came to actual money ;^)

Comment: Re:It worked on me (Score 4, Insightful) 218

by slew (#48826385) Attached to: Study: Belief That Some Fields Require "Brilliance" May Keep Women Out

What in the world that has to do with gender, I don't know.

Actually, your response exemplifies the issue...

You mentioned that you met folks and felt you didn't measure up.
In my experience, many men in the same situation wouldn't factor in if they thought they measured up in their decision making.
If they wanted to get into that field and they thought they had some aptitude, they would simply adopt a fake it until they made it approach.

I think that is the part has to do with gender.

Not that it's totally of biological gender origin, but probably mostly gender social conditioning in our society (although there may be some statistical gender bias when it comes to risk taking or blind confidence that is inherent in the fake it until you make it approach to life).

As I've come to realize over time, there are quite a few people that appear to speak a language (say like math, or computer science) but sometimes are just faking their way through it with only a cursory understanding... Sadly, it's sometimes hard to distinguish between them in a general conversation (say like a 45 minute interview or in a social siutation)...

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 512

by slew (#48806713) Attached to: Publications Divided On Self-Censorship After Terrorist Attack

Well, the similarly "radical Christians" are nowhere to be found.

Actually, the option that I pick is that there are similarly "radical Christians".

E.g., the IRA, the LRA, the Nagaland rebels in India, Lebanese Christian Militia groups, the US based Christian Militia groups such as those involved for Ruby Ridge, and Waco, and even some lone-wolf radicalized persons such as the ones responsible for the 2011 Norway attacks on top of the the clichéd plethora of abortion bombers...

Just not finding them discussed by the daily talking head mass media makers dominated by Judeo-Christian populace doesn't mean they don't exist. Pretty much every other mass religion has a high enough quantity of deluded followers to cause potential substantial misrepresentation of a religion (even if the mainstream opinion media doesn't drill it into our collective talking points)...

Like many religions, over time they tend to branch and secularize and sometimes these sects evolve divergent and potentially violent belief that are not held by the majority of adherents. You many dismiss the studies of theologians as merely pandering to the extreme fringe that you see in the over-reported in the media but that itself is a dismissive and radical view. It gives too much weight to the media who appear sometimes to have inadvertently conspired with the media to hijacked the narrative... Okay maybe that was a bit tin-foil hat, but hopefully you get the point ;^)

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 512

by slew (#48799207) Attached to: Publications Divided On Self-Censorship After Terrorist Attack

there are very few cases, when a Christian criminal claimed to be following his faith in contradiction to the secular law.

I'm not sure you are entirely on logical footing here. Theologians are those that study the bible as a professional career, probably not a large overlapping set of folks to those that are Christian criminals (unless you think most theologians are criminals, or that most Christian criminals are christian theologians). When I claimed most theologians interpret these things, I meant those that study the bible as a professional career.

Today the overwhelming opinion of Muslims is approving of the Paris murders [theguardian.com]

Again, as cited by the article you linked, you conveniently omitted the opinion of Muslim extremists on the internet qualifier, as if they were somehow representative of all Muslims or Muslim clerics.... Citation of statistically valid poll required please... (to paraphrase your rules).

Except Koran — which is the God's word entirely — adds quite a few of its own.. .But Mohammed, having seen the sort of idolatry Christians succumb to with their icons and "holy relics", has made his laws a lot stricter.

I don't think you are understanding the origin of the Koran correctly if you use the word of "has made his". Mohammed was an illiterate prophet who allegedly received the word of god and communicated it to scribes which is recorded as the Koran. You can choose to believe what you wish, but I suspect many followers of Islam might use this slip up mischaracterization as a signal that you really have no idea what Islam is about or what the motivation of followers are.

BTW, I am not Islamic, or even religious in the slightest (now or in the past), but have studied the Bible quite in depth in the past (grandfather was a minister) and the Koran more recently just out of pure curiosity and contrast.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 512

by slew (#48780051) Attached to: Publications Divided On Self-Censorship After Terrorist Attack

You are comparing the common practice of westernized Christians to that of radical Muslims.

FYI, the christian bible is somewhat ambiguous on the tenant of following secular law vs god's law. As I remember it, although much of the gospels deals with the idea you bring up about submission to the laws of man, in Acts 5, the apostles clearly state that "We must obey god rather than men." when confronted by authorities with illegally prothesizing their new Jesus worshiping religion. The take-way by most Christian theologians on this topic is that the bible says you should always honor the laws of man, but you must fear and obey God's word when it conflicts.

That kind of pulls the rug out from your so called saving grace depending on how you interpret God's word. If you think god is telling you to stone someone, you should "fear god" and obey, but if it's something simply described that someone else stoned for some specific reason in the bible and God didn't tell you to do it, well, perhaps you should honor to the laws of man (this is a paraphrase of Peter 2). Kind of a slippery slope for a radicalized religious type isn't it?

In case you aren't aware, the reason the Muslim and Christian (and Jewish) religions seem to be so close is that they hold several common old testament scriptures as canon. It is these old testament books that have the aformentioned description of religious law and punishments. The main difference of Christianity is the identification of the prophet of Jesus and how he may or may not be the embodiment of god (depending on how the Christian sect interpretation of the trinity, etc). The gospels which recount the early days of the christian church and the Revelations about the second coming and salvation are really the only "technical" differences in the basics of the religion. The details are really in the interpretation of the same texts and unsurprisingly track each other very closely (e.g., like halal and kosher foods, similar but not the same)...

Comment: Re:Free? (Score 1) 703

by slew (#48772959) Attached to: Obama Proposes 2 Years of Free Community College

FWIW, providing much of the information about institutions such as graduation rates, student debt, etc is already required by Title IV... Except for faculty pay and overhead.

Although that information might be interesting for a typical community college, that information is likely silly for a typical private prestigious research universities. Basically private universities charge whatever they want and don't even bother computing the fraction of pay for "teaching " for hot-shot faculty members (who are basically hired as research grant rain makers), but still teach as part of department rotations (or even for "fun"). Also splitting the administrative costs for research and teaching at these types of institutions would be difficult at best. List price tuition at these types universities are basically funny money. Nearly every student pays a different amount due to private grants given to gross up loans and required parental contribution to the full tuition amount.

For most prestigious private schools, I suspect if they were required to do this crap, they would simply opt-out of the loan programs and finance loans through their endowments. This wouldn't impact their application rates, nor the tuitions they charge at all, it would likely only punish middle class students (who rely the most on these programs). The ~$5000/year cap on most of these programs is a drop in the bucket for the institution, but a big deal for the middle class family trying to put their kids through these types of schools. Once free of federal direct loans, all your other proposed requirements would then be moot for those institutions.

As for your loan repayment suggestions, I suspect you already realize this means it isn't a loan you are getting (with someone fronting the money and expecting to get paid back with enough interest to make it worth the risk). This would make it basically more like an entitlement program (like social security or medicare or unemployment insurance, or worker's comp) which needs to be funded somehow by a combination of fees (getting payments from those that can "afford to pay back") and taxing others to make up the difference. Not that this is wrong, but you should call a spade a spade. It is no longer a student loan, but a progressive tax you pay for taking advantage of a reduced cost education.

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