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Comment: Re:What are the implications for the textbook mark (Score 1) 166

by tlhIngan (#48640725) Attached to: Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

Since I don't know your specific situation, I could be completely misinterpreting what you mean. But it seems you have 0% "figure out the problem".

Math isn't a subject that has to be learned the way foreign language or geography has to be learned. If you don't have something described to you in a book, then you absolutely need another reference to learn most subjects (such as a TA, Lecture, or Internet).

But with math you never need a reference for anything but definitions, and most definitions should be obvious anyway. There is always a first person to solve a math problem, and he had no references.

Like I said, I could be completely misreading your situation, but from what you wrote, it sounds like if there isn't a template for how to solve every single problem type that you give up. If all you know how to do is follow methods and change numbers around here and there, then you aren't learning math.

The greatest instruction anyone can give a person who pursues math is simply to ask a question that they can solve if they try. Many of us who study math seriously love nothing more than to be given a problem that's just barely out of reach.

That and Physics is the same way.

It's probably why those subjects are "hard" because they require creativity and inspiration to actually do - it's problem solving at its simplest level and it's what those in the engineering fields thrive on.

Anyhow, if you're struck trying to do math problems, you have to realize that they all follow the same pattern. After the subject is introduced, the first few problems will be solved by direct application of the lesson. Then the next few will be ones applying the current lesson and previous lessons. It all accumulates until the final set of problems involves a bunch of skills from the text, from your past math education, and so on.

And if you're struggling, the goal is not do just the required problems, but to start at the beginning of the problem set.and do them all. Yes, it's beyond the assignment, but you have to realize that the assignment is just the tip of the iceberg - a good prof already tells you that the problem set they assign is hard, and to really do it, a good student needs to do the entire set.

Same goes for physics problems. The first few questions directly apply equations and formulas from the chapter. Then the next ones apply several concepts together until you get to the mega one that pulls in multiple methods. And many even have multiple ways of tackling the problem that are correct. (Previous problems will lead y ou down each path thent he final one lets you decide which one you use). On an exam, that's a lifesaver because it lets you try both ways and if you don't get the same answer, you messed up.

The goal is to realize that the text is giving you the tools, the probme is to string those tools together. It's like programming or engineering.

And sometimes the most satisfying problems are the ones that look like they're impossible,but when you start realizing what you have, where you need to go, and little brain power and then AHA!

Hell, one trick I do is you write down everything you know that was given in the problem. Then figure out what you need to answer, and figure out what gets you there. And draw pictures, schematics, whatever to illustrate those factors you know, what you don't, and the pieces you do have. And the pieces that are implied

Comment: Re:How? (Score 5, Informative) 83

by tlhIngan (#48623789) Attached to: Over 9,000 PCs In Australia Infected By TorrentLocker Ransomware

This malware relies on weakness in wetware rather than software. No general-purpose operating system can save you from PEBKAC issues, at most partially mitigate them. Unix-style execute bit rather than Windows' extensions reduces the number of vulnerable idiots by like 2-3 orders of magnitude, but you can bet that if the webpage kindly provides instructions, a good number of marks will still manage to get infected.

It's really just another form of Dancing Pigs social engineering attack. You give the user a plausible reason for downloading and installing software, and you'll find users go out of t heir way to install it.

Doesn't matter the OS. And it can be anything - be it porn, a "private porn browser" or other such tool and any OS is vulnerable. (Yes, "private porn browser" - download now and browse your porn in privacy and even your wife won't find out...).

Comment: Re:Does the job still get done? (Score 1) 658

by tlhIngan (#48617793) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

There has always been a small percentage of aristocrats in society who do not have to work because of their amassed wealth. Looking at how they spent their time is probably a decent indicator of how most of the population will spend their time 50-100 years from now. My guess is most people will put far more effort into their hobbies, and many of those hobbies will turn into part time jobs. All basic and even most non-basic needs will be covered by social welfare programs paid for by publicly owned mostly-automated industries. People will only work because they want to, and the very few undesirable jobs that can't be automated will pay excessively well.

At least that is the best possible outcome. Their are plenty of dystopian possibilities as well.

AI replacing jobs is fine - as long as they're getting rid of grunt work jobs people hate doing and replacing them with higher quality, higher paying jobs that are more challenging.

Crap work jobs are the kind that offer no form of mental or physical stimulation or physical challenges that generally embody "good work". Physically demanding jobs like oil rig workers, (crab) fisherman, etc., appeal to few folks who really do enjoy the physical punishment and pain for a challenge they can do with their hands, while more creative industries like technology and culture appeal to those who wish to use their mental powers.

Crap jobs AI can probably take over would be stuff like janitorial work, simple assembly line style work where there is no physical challenge other than repetitive-strain injury and barely any mental stimulation.

As for the outcomes, unfortunately, the masses who toil will be the ones out of work and homeless while the rich buy up the land. Money is power, and power is not something that an AI really replaces. (It's actually those in power that will use AI to replace jobs to save on labor costs. The former employee is now jobless and has less money and thus power than when they were employed).

That's not to say it isn't impossible to have a place where humans are able to do work for the betterment of humanity than just toil around, but it needs to be a carefully designed and planned environment.

See Marshall Brain's Manna.

Comment: Re:Peripheral STEM career - technical writing (Score 1) 279

by tlhIngan (#48613177) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

With your current background, you could get a job in technical writing. Every firm that does engineering needs people like you who:

* Understand the subject matter
* Can write about it readably

Exactly. An English major already has a leg up provided they can communicate in writing. And the more engineering classes you can take related to the field your company works in, your writing's only going to improve as you're able to understand the engineers better and write fairly decent documentation.

Heck, get a job in communications with a company that does STEM work you like - sure you'll write PR and all that in the beginning, but that's the point - skills like communications are VERY valuable, and if you can better yourself by understanding more about what the company does by taking classes in the field, you can only go up from writing marketing copy to documentation, both internal and external.

If you can augment it to interfacing with customers, you're instantly a manager - able to take vague notions of what customers want and translating them into nice neat requirements that the engineering team can understand.

Practical arts skills like languages are typically undervalued everywhere, but are extremely useful. Businesses need to communicate, both internally and externally so you've already got positions you can slot yourself into. Just find a company doing the STEM things you like and try to fit yourself in.

Comment: Re:I'm shocked. (Score 2) 191

by tlhIngan (#48612267) Attached to: Apple Wins iTunes DRM Case

Anti-trust concerns usually do benefit the consumer in the short term. And as the article points out, the jury specifically wrote that the features have an immediate benefit to the consumer.

Usually anti-trust problems are not immediately bad for the consumer. In the short term the consumer sees a lower price, easier access, and other conveniences.

In the long term the market ends up with monopolies and oligopolies, a loss of vibrancy, a slowdown in innovation, less desire to follow expensive advances, and worse customer experiences. Think of your local telco and cable companies as prime examples.

Or in this case, rendered utterly irrelevant.

Because iTunes sells unprotected music. Just like Amazon and many other music stores. iTunes is still #1, but their market share is sliding.

The iPods are on life-support - they don't make Apple much money anymore but Apple keeps them around because there's still a tiny demand for them.

And streaming services have basically taken over music sales - sales from iTunes and other stores is far lower nowadays while streaming services like Pandora and others are rising.

Whatever harm iTunes did, seems to have resulted in a far more vibrant marketplace now than it was years ago.

Comment: Re:Mass production ? (Score 1) 187

by tlhIngan (#48609337) Attached to: Graphene: Fast, Strong, Cheap, and Impossible To Use

When you say pencil, I'm pretty sure you mean "graphite". A lovely and useful substance, to be sure, but not especially close to graphene.

Actually, graphite is merely disorganized graphene - the layers of graphene in graphite are in general layers (which let you lay down a line fairly easily), but they're not particularly big nor particularly long - it's really a disorganized heap of graphene molded together. When you write with a pencil, the line is composed of a lot of little pieces of graphene.

Heck, one of the first production methods involved regular tape and pencils - the pencil was rubbed onto paper and tape applied to the spot which lifts off the graphene.

Comment: Re:Interesting, but ... (Score 1) 148

by tlhIngan (#48609301) Attached to: Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

Language also embeds within it history. And history is important for many reasons (many of which are related to "if you don't study it, you'll repeat it").

Europe's an interesting study - you have the Barbaric English, the Germanic Germans, the Romantic French/Spanish/Italians, and so forth. All of which reflect the interesting history and empires of Europe. (Romantic - sure we like to think of the French as good at love, and that may be the origins of the word "romantic" in English, yet it refers to the more practical Roman Empire roots which is why they're quite similar today, despite millennia of independent evolution).

Heck, the modern day is shaped by culture too - internet memes manage to worm their way into our language. The rise of smartphones brings about the rise of the use of the word "selfie" (despite cameraphones being popular prior to the smartphone, and many often had mirrors to enable selfie taking, the word itself pretty much arose post-iPhone).

Language is culture. If you want to learn a language without culture, you need to go for an artificial one. Learn Klingon. Or Esperanto.

Even in the Internet age language is evolving to accommodate new aspects of internet culture that crop up. To claim it all as empty and vapid really denies the fact that languages evolve because of the culture of the day.

Comment: Re:You mean Tata (Score 1) 191

by tlhIngan (#48609201) Attached to: Jaguar and Land Rover Just Created Transparent Pillars For Cars

It takes about 15 years of steady progress to get from "shitty ______ car" to "I'd consider ______ cars these days"

The Korean cars are very acceptable in quality, and the price difference between them and the Japanese of similar models is almost enough to make the switch.

For a manufacturer perhaps. For a consumer who got bitten by buying a "sh*tty car" well, it can take far longer to never.

I know back in the 80s when Hyundai first went into cars and introduced the POS Pony to North America. A car that would only start if you managed to twiddle the radio knob, the phase of the moon was right, it was sunny outside and you blinked the headlights 3 times. And maybe even honked the horn.

Oh and yes, sunny day required. If there was a hint of moisture, it would stall.

These days though, Korean cars aren't too shabby - they took a lot of design cues (and designers) from Europe, a few engineers from Japan and end up producing decent looking and performing cars with quite high quality.

Comment: Re:Perhaps the need a bigger highway? (Score 2) 594

by tlhIngan (#48604433) Attached to: Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

Eminent domain those house and get some more lanes in.

Probably better to put a new highway in off to one side or another, considering it's LA go with both.

Actually, LA is the #1 example of trying to out-build congestion. And traffic engineers have observed and pretty much concluded that traffic expands to fill all lanes. Build another lane and it's full and congested in relatively short order.

So no, trying to build more lanes of traffic just leads to ever worse traffic in the end as it expands to fill the new space up. The goal instead is to try to promote more efficient use of the road - a whole city block of (single occupant) cars can be cleared up by one bus carrying the same number of people.

Comment: Re:I think the relevant points got left out... (Score 1) 114

by tlhIngan (#48604233) Attached to: Apple and Samsung Already Working On A9 Processor

Very forward looking behavior from apple. You're going to need 64 bit to use more than 2GB of ram without major pain (32 bit addressing is a bitch and workarounds are slow) By the time the rest of the industry is going to be faced with the inevitable transition apple will already have years of experience with 64bit in their mobile platform.

Actually, Apple didn't do it for memory, they did it because AArch64 is a more efficient architecture. I.e., it's a lot faster. ARMv8 over ARMv7 running 32-bit code is only around 10-20% faster. But run the same code in 64-bit mode and it screams.

It's how people got the "2x faster" figures on the A7 SoC - in 64-bit mode things are way faster on the A7 than if you ran it in 32 bit mode.

Android will get similar speedups once it's fully 64-bit...

Comment: Re:Sounds like Interac in Canada (Score 1) 156

by tlhIngan (#48602301) Attached to: Small Bank In Kansas Creates the Bank Account of the Future

Except that Interac has been doing realtime debit transactions for many years, across all Canadian banks, both at point of sale and at ATMs. It's good news if the US is moving in this direction, because it is an excellent system, but it would be a stretch to call it the bank account of the future when it has existed for years.

The thing is, in most places in the world, Canada included, there aren't that many banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. The number is small enough that they all can rapidly agree on new standards and proposals and all that. Heck, the vast majority of banking in Canada is done by the "big three" banks.

In the US, that doesn't hold - there are literally tens of thousands of banks and credit unions and other financial institutions. If you ever wondered why US cheques don't seem to be taken at a lot of places ("money orders" only or the sort of thing), well ,that's why - getting it all sorted out is a mess.

So a problem is just getting all of them to talk to one another and cooperate. And some of these are literally some old lady sitting around with a ledger whose only excitement is having to connect the computer to the phone line and downloading the day's transactions.

And given how independent-minded Americans are, there's probably a ton of those kind of banks who are basically run by 2-3 people.

Comment: Re:Terroir (Score 1) 876

by tlhIngan (#48602013) Attached to: Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

Fundamentalists. They hate us for our chocolate.

I understand, once I tried Lindt chocolate, too.

Given the chemistry of chocolate, conching and termpering take place at VERY specific temperatures or you get poor results.

Notice how hot the middle east is? Well, it's so hot that chocolate just doesn't conch or temper at all without cooling, so if you keep chocolate outside, it gets nasty.

So yeah, they don't have good chocolate at all.

(While the actual temperatures are closely guarded, tempering is usually done around 31.5C, while conching times and temperatures are proprietary trade secrets for every company)

Comment: Re:Not really missing vinyl (Score 1) 433

by tlhIngan (#48601971) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

You ain't telling me nothing because I have a customer who has all the early Kiss albums on the very first CD releases and he came to me complaining that "These new CDs don't sound right, I think my PC is messed up" but when I threw an MP3 rip of Strutter from his first run CDs in Audacity? There was peaks, valleys, actual HEADROOM on the recording. Took the exact same song from the exact same album from his recent box set? it was just a fucking wall, literally it was just slammed to the max from the first note to the last and sounded like shit.

I have a compilation CD that was obviously from various masters. There was one track on there that was notable in Audacity - because while all the other tracks were squiggly with peaks, valleys and stuff, this one song was a solid blob on the timeline; And the CD was normalized, so the solid blob didn't touch more than 70% or so.

Was such an interesting sight - you had songs and then you had this solid blob in the middle of it.

Comment: Re:1968? (Score 1) 263

by tlhIngan (#48601893) Attached to: Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

why in the world is it still under patent?

You're not understanding how patents work.

For drugs, the drug (chemical) itself is not patentable. The process used to make the drug IS patentable. That's what's actually patented.

You see, part of the problem with making chemicals is the process you use. You want a process that uses little energy (energy costs money), has high yields (every chemical reaction has an equilibrium point and for some processes, it means your desired product is only 10% of the entire thing at the end), etc. etc. etc.

So when they tweak the process to produce slightly modified versions of the drug, that can generate a new patent because the patent describes exactly how to produce that drug - start with raw materials A, B, C, ... Z, then mix A and B and heat, ... etc.

In fact, it's possible for a generic drug manufacturer to come up with a different way of making the drug before the patents expire.

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