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Comment: Re:What's the Point? (Score 3, Informative) 81

by slimak (#43169813) Attached to: Technology To Detect Alzheimer's Takes SXSW Prize

Looking for treatment and prevention requires a good way to measure if a therapy is working. Using clinical progression to Alzheimer's disease (AD) requires a huge multi-year study to get any real statistical power. Not everyone goes on to develop AD, people die from other stuff, etc. If a treatment doesn't work, you've just wasted lots of $ and time to find that out (e.g., Maybe you had your dose wrong, maybe you had the timing off, ... The search space for a treatment is HUGE, there has a to be an efficient way to quickly (relative here) and accurately determine if a therapy works. Having a way to detect and monitor neurodegenerative diseases would be awesome from a research standpoint. It would allow therapy to be tested using a cross sectional study rather than a longitudinal study.

Comment: Simple Mobile (Score 2) 246

by slimak (#42708361) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Pay-as-You-Go Plan For Text and Voice Only?

Wife and I recently signed up for Simple Mobile. It works with TMobile or unlocked GSM phones and is $40 for unlimited talk/text/data (ok, data is probably not really unlimited, but enough for my basic needs). I've only had about 10 days but seems fine. I also found that I can buy the plan online (I used a place called pinzoo) and then avoid tax. May not be best for you since you really only want texting.

Comment: Re:Editorial work? (Score 2) 162

by slimak (#42626239) Attached to: Mathematicians Aim To Take Publishers Out of Publishing

Where do you publish that you do not check galley proofs? I too have had a few articles published and am always forced to approve the galley proofs before they document goes to press. Maybe there are journals that don't require this, but I know many have it mandatory step. If you choose to blindly accept the proof without changes that reflects more on you than the publisher. Not submitting revisions either means you write perfect and no reviewer/editor has any questions/comments (congratulations if this is the case) or that you are able somehow avoid the revisions.

I do agree with you that its tough to see the value added by journals from the journals other than the perceived clout they carry. From a CV standpoint, its "better" to publish in IEEE TMI than slimak's wonderful world of science. But, that is only because of the weight our peers assign the journals and really not a real value (to me).

Comment: Re:just like speed writing (Score 1) 776

by slimak (#42545679) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Timed Coding Tests Valuable?

I agree that relying on spell check is bad, but I don't know a single person that turns off spell/grammar checks. I'm sure they exist, but I don't see anything wrong with spell check. Catching all typos in proofreading is difficult for any moderately long text (I'll probably have at least one in this ultra-short text). Having done technical and scientific writing for many years I still prefer LaTeX over Word with two exceptions: Word does nice enough change tracking for collaborating/revising and spell check saves a bit of time.

Comment: Re:Dropping DRM is a step in the right direction (Score 2, Insightful) 397

by slimak (#42109003) Attached to: GOG: How an Indie Game Store Took On the Pirates and Won

I've seen this a few times lately and am curious why this belief is held. Maybe (probably) I'm missing something but I would think that source code would be an asset and potentially valuable in a few cases:

1) A complex system that took significant time to develop. Something like MS Word. While it may not be your favorite it certainly is an assest and has a value. A word processor is easy to think of, but Word is difficult/time consuming to implement (I'm guessing).

2) Software the implements a trade secret. Something like an auto stock trading system or the Google search results ranking algorithm. Again, you may hate these and they are of no value to you, but if your livelihood was on the line would you want to release the source?

I completely agree that the source code to a generic sorting algorithm of your favorite memory copy routine has no value, but even and AC must see there are exceptions. Of course, I could just be stupid.

Comment: Re:That's not the most important problem (Score 3, Informative) 119

by slimak (#41561899) Attached to: Boston Airport Replacing X-ray Body Scanners

In the US virtually all x-ray machines (including medical) are operated by un-certified radiologists. Radiologists interpret the images, they do not (typically) run the imaging devices. Radiographer or radiologic technologist (or just "tech" as they are typically called in the field) run the devices. Fortunately, the techs in medicine are typically well trained and certified. I'm not sure about the TSA team, but probably not so much. So your overall point is probably still accurate.

Comment: Re:Why not just wait? (Score 1) 133

by slimak (#39773277) Attached to: Brain Scan Can Predict Math Mistakes

From what I recall the GRE also does (or did 10 years ago) a similar adaption. Sounds like the CPA exam is similar. As a side benefit of such adaption you can somewhat tell how you are doing. If the test is easy you are doing either very well because you are so super smart, or very poor because you fall in the less-desirable part of the intelligence bell curve!

Comment: Re:Two Words: Lesson Plans (Score 3, Insightful) 568

by slimak (#39554265) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Aren't Schools Connected?

That is BS in general. There are certainly some teachers that this applies to but any parent can request an observation to see exactly what is being done in the classroom. If you to examine you can. A teachers job is to teach the kids, not show the parents what is being taught. If you want to know what they are doing, go and check it out or ask the teacher outright. I am not a teacher, but have always found the district my child attends to be open and helpful.


Balancing Choice With Irreversible Consequences In Games 352

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-takebacks dept.
The Moving Pixels blog has an article about the delicate balance within video games between giving players meaningful choices and consequences that cannot necessarily be changed if the player doesn't like her choice afterward. Quoting: "One of my more visceral experiences in gaming came recently while playing Mass Effect 2, in which a series of events led me to believe that I'd just indirectly murdered most of my crew. When the cutscenes ended, I was rocking in my chair, eyes wide, heart pounding, and as control was given over to me once more, I did the only thing that I thought was reasonable to do: I reset the game. This, of course, only led to the revelation that the event was preordained and the inference that (by BioWare's logic) a high degree of magical charisma and blue-colored decision making meant that I could get everything back to normal. ... Charitably, I could say BioWare at least did a good job of conditioning my expectations in such a way that the game could garner this response, but the fact remains: when confronted with a consequence that I couldn't handle, my immediate player's response was to stop and get a do-over. Inevitability was only something that I could accept once it was directly shown to me."

Comment: Re:How to defeat a touchscreen fanboi (Score 1) 332

by slimak (#34782770) Attached to: Will Touch Screens Kill the Keyboard?

I agree that writing and typing a good skills today and I really had using touchscreens and the tiny keyboards on mobile devices, but we have to adapt. We used to record history on stone or clay using hieroglyphs, I'm really glad that fad passed. I sincerely hope that a few hundred years from know our descendants will think of us as Neanderthals that had to didn't even had neural implants (or something even more amazing that I am too primitive to even dream of).

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 4, Informative) 349

by slimak (#28841555) Attached to: Should Copyright of Academic Works Be Abolished?

Most scientific journals that I have experience with to not pay authors in any way. This is certainly the case with all IEEE journals and several other scientific journals. Signing over the copyright is the cost of entry if you want your work published. There are probably exceptions to this, possibly for work that is easily identified as ground breaking. But my experience has always been that there is nothing paid when the copyright is transfered. In fact, most journals still ask for printing charges. This are usually optional (and I opt out) except when color figures are included in the manuscript. If there are journals paying authors I would like to know.

Comment: Re:Thomas Edison ??? (Score 1) 124

by slimak (#28813287) Attached to: Wireless Power Demonstrated

Edison has gotten far more coverage in the history books (at least US ones), He was probably best at business, although he is known as an inventor. On the other hand, Tesla was, without a doubt, the greatest engineer that has ever lived. He is proof that a formal advanced education is not necessary for scientific greatness. It is too bad that most people don't realize the impact he truly had.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin