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Comment: long history (Score 1) 81

by slew (#49595523) Attached to: American Psychological Association Hit With New Torture Allegations

The APA has been collaborating with the military for a long time.

I suspect the first large scale collaboration between the APA and the military started with Robert Yerkes back in World War I. Back then the controversy was eugenics (more specifically to justify the popular idea of the mental inferiority of and second wave European immigrants and African Americans).

Apparently, this time it was to attempt to assess enhanced torture methods in use for "safety, efficacy, and health impacts".

Somehow, it never seems to go well when these two organizations start cooperating...

Comment: Re:John Carmack is "only" a multi-millionaire (Score 1) 76

by slew (#49595113) Attached to: Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Launches Its First Rocket

John Carmack is "only" a multi-millionaire but there is Armadillo Aerospace. Carmack always could do more with fewer resources.

Although the original Armadillo Aerospace as funded by Mr. Carmack is effectively no more, in true trickle down form it has been resurrected as a kickstarter campaign...

Given that their goal is only $125K and Carmack spent $8M, they would be attempting to do something with even *fewer* resources...

Comment: Re:It is better (Score 1) 123

by slew (#49580807) Attached to: Crowdfunded Android Console Ouya Reportedly Seeking Buyout

If I really want a share of the business, nothing stops me from going to them directly and offering that.

Although there is nothing that stops you from going to a company and offering them some money for a share of the company, there is probably something that prevents them from taking you up on that offer: the SEC.

You can of course always give your money to the company (e.g., kickstarter), but your money is not legally protected the same an investor (e.g, share of the profit, no liquidity, etc). Basically the SEC rules say you can only invest in a non-public company if you are qualified investor (basically have enough money so that you can lose your shirt on this investment and/or you know the principals of the company well enough like friends/family, random people on the internet don't qualify).

Even if you are a qualified investor, a company can only take on so many investors before it is required by the SEC to file financial reports. In practice this means companies can only really accept a few big investors unless they want to be a semi-public company subject to reporting requirements (and the financial costs and scrutiny they bring). Most companies when they reach the stage of a semi-public company, they just do an IPO to gain better access to capital markets.

However, there is a loophole in the law so that small investors could put their money in an specialized "investment" company and that investment company can perform the investment in a startup as a single qualified investor on behalf of the small investors (because the investment company itself is subject to reporting requirements). The problem is that to date, no companies emerged as "investment" companies for crowd-source investors to invest in startup companies. I guess that is probably because of the risk and the overhead of being a middleman company is not compelling given the potential return of starting such a company.

Comment: Re:Which patent trolls ... (Score 1) 40

by slew (#49562791) Attached to: Google Launches a Marketplace To Buy Patents From Interested Sellers

Patent trolls are simply motivated by money, and they hardly care about being anonymous (or shamed). I suspect that all this will enable is patent sellers to create a virtually unstoppable army of mini-patent tr0lls that brings the industry to it's knees.

Mini-patent tr0lls will exactly how real-estate tr0lls currently work. Real-estate tr0lls buy up irregular lots (often thin-strips of property that border streets and various rights-of-way) that appear to have no commercial value, but they use them hold them hostage when a developer want to develop the adjacent land and shake them down for lots of money. Of course you really have to know the terrain and the local real-estate market (not to mention schmooze with local planning officials and city council members) to execute this strategy, but if often doesn't take much money. And why yes I have direct (painful) experience dealing with real-life real-estate tr0lls when my parents were trying to develop a subdivision.

Tragically, the MLS (multi-list service for property) made this real-estate tr0ll strategy available to less sophisticated investors in a similar way the MLS enabled small-time chinese investors to invest in the real-estate market in the US. Even though all real-estate transactions (principals and the sale price) are public record, there are so many of them, it creates a form of anonymity.

This new breed of patent-tr0ll instead of having lots of money, will instead use their domain knowledge to looks for specific low-cost patents that they can use to hold the industry hostage. Using this type of patent clearing house will make it easier and lower risk and multiply the number of people trying to do this. Maybe I should think seriously starting a new career as a mini-patent tr0ll... Or maybe I can just patent the idea ;^)

I don't think a patent clearing house like this is even *remotely* a perfect solution and will likely just trade a few well funded pariah patent-tr0ll companies (e.g., intellectual ventures), for a virtual army of anonymous mini-patent-tr0lls...

(f.y.i, used "tr0ll" to avoid the lameness filter)

Comment: So where do these super-teacher come from? (Score 1) 352

by slew (#49562351) Attached to: The Future Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher

My guess is that people aren't born super-teachers, but cut there teeth in classroom getting direct feedback on what works and what doesn't. If we eliminate the path to create new super-teachers, how will we ever update these "super-lectures". Even if you believe that these core subjects don't change, you must be forgetting about the ever-present "politically-correct" movement (which will no doubt render recorded versions of lectures obsolete after about 10 years and even likely forcing the super-teacher into oblivion as their clever stock presentation becomes dated).

To pick a more droll example, look at comedians at the top of their game. Nearly all of them still pop-in to dive comedy clubs to test their new material before unrolling it to a more general audience.

If we ever go down this route, we will be dooming ourselves like the companies (or countries) that allow brain-drain until they can't recreate the magic that they had originally.

I guess it makes me sad that people even want to suggest this route. They have to know what the end result it if you kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Maybe that's the one lesson they never learned in school...

Comment: Re:Help me out here a little... (Score 2) 533

by slew (#49506999) Attached to: Utilities Battle Homeowners Over Solar Power

That would work if the power distribution network was ideal and didn't have any resistance/reactance.

In real-life, the spike from all the solar installations would cause network instability unless controlled distributively (i.e. measured and limited at the spike sources). The question of who would pay to maintain that type of system is one of the major issues that needs to be solved. Of course the people who pay for solar want to shove all the power they can back on the grid to help subsidize their costs, so it unfortunately, isn't in their best interests to limit power to promote grid instability (unless they would be causing electrical fires on their own property/equipment), and the power company wouldn't want to help people cut the cord, so here we are...

Comment: Re:And once this school fails to get women interes (Score 1) 599

Can we drop the pretense that "computer science" in high schools is nothing more than programming and turning out code monkeys.

In my experience, "computer science" in high school wouldn't even qualify anyone for being a code monkey...

If by high school you haven't taught yourself programming, you aren't going to learn it taking a class in high school or community college or even university well enough to code yourself out of a paper bag.

If you finally do learn programming later in life, it will probably later when you actually have a job (or if you are one of those recent folks that are learning to code in a boot-camp).

Comment: Re:Feminism ruins society again... (Score 1) 599

I doubt that the STEM program at the mixed school my son would have to go to if I lived in this district will be on par with the shiny new facilities at the new school that specializes in STEM (for girls). Separate...but I doubt equal.

Since this is the LAUSD, perhaps of those schools will probably get those ipads with pearson software... Since they aren't buying that stuff anymore, maybe the larger population will get something "better"...

I don't put much faith in the LAUSD in making this type of school work. If I were in the district, I wouldn't be opposed on the grounds that it is unequal opportunity for boy/girl students, but that it's likely to be a FUCKING WASTE OF MONEY that could be better spent elsewhere...

On the other hand, sometimes, you might just win, by losing.

Comment: Re:I thought we were trying to end sexism? (Score 1) 599

Sexism isn't just excluding or discriminating, there is one other vital component: harm. It's like having a girl's bathroom and a boy's bathroom. The girl's bathroom might even have more facilities (tampon machines/disposal). It's not sexist because it doesn't disadvantage either gender, it's simply discriminating for a perfectly legitimate reason.

Unless someone can show that this school will somehow harm boys then it isn't sexist.

It may not be sexist, but it might be illegal. Title IX, explicitly prohibits excluding students from participation in or the benefits of ANY education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

The most issue addressed by Title IX is spending money supporting a football and wrestling teams (which is predominately boys). Title IX pretty much says if you spend that money there, you have to spend an *equivalent* amount of money providing sports opportunities for girl on the grounds that in a zero-sum game of money, girls are *harmed* because you spent that money on something that only benefits boys.

Of course things cannot be totally equal in every situation, so there is a 3-part test to be evaluated

1. percentages of M/F students in an activity (e.g., like sports) that accepts federal funds are about the same as the student population (this is the easiest way to show compliance)
2. equal opportunity exists for M/F students in that activity (very hard to show if you exclude 1 gender), OR
3. school is fully providing opportunities that meet the interests and abilities of M/F students

I suspect where this whole things falls downs is #3. By excluding boys from this STEM program and only providing a Language Arts option for boys if there is a significant number interested in STEM (I'm guessing, there are quite a few of them), I don't think this will survive an equitable legal challenge (imagine if it were the reverse). Having said that, legal challenges today are intertwined with politics and judicial activism, so it's hard to say what the result actual legal challenge result might be.

Comment: Re:You Can See (Score 1) 113

by slew (#49489743) Attached to: An Engineering Analysis of the Falcon 9 First Stage Landing Failure

Although I'm willing to take it on faith that it might be 'stiction' on the actuator side, I'm pretty sure extreme variations which can cause unanticipated phase lag from a measurement system (say a gyro or a flow meter) is equally disruptive to a control system and can generically explain control system oscillation events as well.

Sometimes you never really know until you set up the conditions and simulate the crap out of it in an controlled testbed as it is much harder to distinguish the difference in a "live" situation.

Comment: Re:Wow. Just wow. (Score 1) 325

by slew (#49489127) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan

To be fair, they can't really run a controlled experiment on an individual patient, so they have to do some guessing.

That's why they call it *practicing* medicine...

But seriously, most doctors (esp pediatricians) simply follow protocols. For example, see a certain progression of symptoms, combine with a little patient history and what they have observed during their time in the field, and then proscribe a course of action associated with that, and monitor to adjust course. That's the protocol.

Doctors aren't generally doing anything remotely scientific unless they happen to be experimenting on your kids with an untested protocol, (which sometimes happens), or perhaps if they are trying to get a complaining parent out of their hair (but even though that might be an experiment, it's generally w/o a control group which isn't very scientific)...

Comment: Re:No I don't agree (Score 1) 342

Proportional Integral Derivative (a very primitive type of feedback loop controller that modifies the control input a fraction proportional to the error signal, another fraction relative to the integrated/smoothed error signal, and yet another fraction relative to the first derivative of the error signal). In the old days people spent lots of time "tuning" these fractions (e.g., like ziegler nichols) to get acceptable performance.

I suspect they don't use anything this primitive in their control loop (at least I hope they don't). That's control-systems 101 in college before you get to smith controllers and state based systems feedback (which is also quite primitive)...

Comment: Re:Sounds like internet.org is offering (Score 1) 75

Apple seems to offer quite a spacious jail with lots of useful apps/amenities.
They also seem to charge more for the experience.

If you can offer an attractive cage at a discount, maybe no one will care they are in a white-washed cage instead of a gilded cage...

Comment: Re:We have already figured most of this out. (Score 2) 365

by slew (#49472989) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

Asphalt is aggregate (usually crushed rocks) stabilized with petroleum tar products. Concrete on the other hand uses similar aggregate, but is bonded with cement (often portland cement), which although doesn't contain petrol products, but takes a lot of energy to mine and kiln fire which gives it a large carbon footprint which is only partially offset by the fact that during the "setting" process, cement actually absorbs carbon dioxide from the air (converting calcium-hydroxide into hard interlocking calcium-carbonate crystals).

FWIW, they already have a way to make asphalt equivalent material by replacing tar with pine-rosin and pitch.

Comment: Re:C64 had a cassette drive (Score 1) 74

by slew (#49464847) Attached to: 1980's Soviet Bloc Computing: Printers, Mice, and Cassette Decks

You never had a 3.25" floppy. You mean 3.5".

Perhaps you are talking about an ANSI X3.171-1989 90mm drive? ;^)

Which some people in the UK occasionally called a 3.5" "stiffy" to distinguish it from its larger/floppier predecessor like the 8" floppy and the 5.25" mini-floppy...

FWIW, although I never personally had a 3.25" drive, one of my buddies did purchase the Amdisk 3" compact floppy disc system for his Apple ][+....

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"