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Comment: It nearly makes sense (Score 3, Interesting) 634

by DCFC (#49568039) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

I entirely believe you can fill one "relevant" course with 50% women, what does that prove ?

It proves there is some demand, not that there is a horde of women desperate to learn how to drill wells in the 3rd world. ...maybe there is, but there is no evidence for it.

I'm a science grad, I like this "evidence" thing.

There are a good number of people studying the Klingon language, yet I rather suspect that if every university offered such a course the places would not be filled.
This is the same logic, "I've got a course that we get people to take, therefore it can scale"

Of course I don't *know* that the demand for Klingon is relatively small, *because I require evidence* before I know anything.

The whole idea of relevance strikes me as deeply patronising, the idea that women shouldn't concern themselves with men's issues, like money and innovation, but should be some sort of carer, either wiping things up if from a poor parental background or doing a PhD in caring for 3rd worlders if she has richer parents.

Comment: p-value research is misleading almost always (Score 5, Interesting) 208

by SteveWoz (#49495363) Attached to: Social Science Journal 'Bans' Use of p-values

I studied and tutored experimental design and this use of inferential statistics. I even came up with a formula for 1/5 the calculator keystrokes when learning to calculate the p-value manually. Take the standard deviation and mean for each group, then calculate the standard deviation of these means (how different the groups are) divided by the mean of these standard deviations (how wide the groups of data are) and multiply by the square root of n (sample size for each group). But that's off the point. We had 5 papers in our class for psychology majors (I almost graduated in that instead of engineering) that discussed why controlled experiments (using the p-value) should not be published. In each case my knee-jerk reaction was that they didn't like math or didn't understand math and just wanted to 'suppose' answers. But each article attacked the math abuse, by proficient academics at universities who did this sort of research. I came around too. The math is established for random environments but the scientists control every bit of the environment, not to get better results but to detect thing so tiny that they really don't matter. The math lets them misuse the word 'significant' as though there is a strong connection between cause and effect. Yet every environmental restriction (same living arrangements, same diets, same genetic strain of rats, etc) invalidates the result. It's called intrinsic validity (finding it in the experiment) vs. extrinsic validity (applying in real life). You can also find things that are weaker (by the square root of n) by using larger groups. A study can be set up in a way so as to likely find 'something' tiny and get the research prestige, but another study can be set up with different controls that turn out an opposite result. And none apply to real life like reading the results of an entire population living normal lives. You have to study and think quite a while, as I did (even walking the streets around Berkeley to find books on the subject up to 40 years prior) to see that the words "99 percentage significance level" means not a strong effect but more likely one that is so tiny, maybe a part in a million, that you'd never see it in real life.

Comment: NASA PR treated as fact (Score 1) 160

by DCFC (#49428731) Attached to: NASA's Chief Scientist Predicts Evidence For Life Beyond Earth By 2025

The 10 year horizon offers no step change in our space exploration to discover life.
We certainly won't visit the gas giant moons that seem promising within a decade, NASA can't send humans to Mars within a decade, SETI continues good but unrewarded work, we have no new physics to peer more closely at extrasolar planets and even if we did, NASA can't build *anything* new in less than a decade.

So you basically have to ask, "will today's tech with a slight upgrade do something basically different in the next decade ?"

Maybe, but probably not.

NASA exists only to distribute pork according to the demands of incumbent politicians.

What we have here is in no useful way different from the Disney Hype for the next Star Wars film.
Indeed I expect more surprises from SW7 than from NASA in the next decade, which is bloody sad.

Comment: Re:The man in the high castle (Score 1) 175

Wasn't making that comparison, indeed Hitler had much little personal for most of his time, even when the war started. Also of course he fought for country in WWI doing a very dangerous role, got decorated. Obama never served, GW Bush's daddy got him the job of defending Florida from North Vietnam, Clinton dodged the war altogether, Reagan never saw action, etc.

McCain did do serious military service, yet in free and fair elections the American people rejected him for President.

I mention this because of the sheer number of films where the US President is portrayed as a cross between a Captain America and Batman., Independence day, White House Down, Olympus Has Fallen, Air Force One et al.

Yet the reality is that US Presidents cower in corners.

Comment: The man in the high castle (Score 5, Funny) 175

As a loyal citizen o Her Britannic Majesty, I ind this whole thing hilarious.

You need a castle mate.
All this bollocks about fences "looking like a prison" is failure of imagination on a galactic scale.
For centuries people from less happy lands have crossed our silver sea to raise the hand of war against out kings and queens but their knavish tricks have been frustrated by our castles.

They are so aesthetically pleasing that millions of tourists flock to them, The Tower of London has no moat but would remain fast against any plausible attack. We use it to store the Crown Jewels.

If your Mr. Obama would care to contact Her Majesty then I'm sure she would supply the plans as a gift, I have her address if you need it.

Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Queen of Canada,Queen of Australia,Lord of Man,Overlord of Sark Defender of the Faith
Buckingham Palace

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