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Comment: Re:Graphing the data would help a lot of the time (Score 1) 180

by umafuckit (#49498991) Attached to: Social Science Journal 'Bans' Use of p-values
In our field we call "bean plot" a violin plot. I agree it's better than a box plot, but it's basically just a histogram. Beanplot or boxplot, I think it helps to overlay the jittered raw data. Even a box plot is far better than a bar chart (which is distressingly common and little better than a table).

Comment: Graphing the data would help a lot of the time (Score 4, Insightful) 180

by umafuckit (#49494871) Attached to: Social Science Journal 'Bans' Use of p-values

I don't think you even need to be pushing people to do Bayesian stats. You just need to force them to graph their data properly. In *a lot* of biological and social science sub-fields it's standard practice to show your raw data only in the form of a table and the results of stats tests only in the form of a table. They aren't used to looking at graphs and raw data. You can hide a lot of terrible stuff that way, like weird outliers. Things would likely improve immediately in these fields if they banned tables and forced researchers to produce box plots (ideally with overlaid jittered raw data), histograms, overlaid 95% confidence intervals corresponding to their stats tests, etc, etc.

Having seen some of these people work, it's clear that many of them never make these plots in the first place. All they do is look at lists of numbers in summary tables. They have no clue in the first place what their data really look like, and know good knowledge of how to properly analyse data and make graphs. Before they even teach stats to undergrads they should be making them learn to plot data and read graphs. It's obvious most of them can't even do that.

Comment: Re:Why stop there? (Score 1) 137

by umafuckit (#49468321) Attached to: UW Scientists, Biotech Firm May Have Cure For Colorblindness

Jerry's experiments with electrodes on individual visual neurons and work with other colleagues made very clear that much of vision is edge detection in the retina itself, which explains why that silly dress color illusion works so well. The cortex does not get raw color: it gets pre-processed information about "this region is much redder than that region,

I have worked on the retina, as it happens. :) What the retina sends the cortex is information about the relative intensity of red/green or yellow/blue in light reflecting from surfaces. This light is heavily influenced by the illuminating light source. So much so that it's possible for, say, an apparently green surface to be reflecting mostly red light. Yet you see it as green. Up until visual area V4, neurons are reporting that the surface is not green but red. In V4 we first see "colour constant" cells, the activity of which relates to perception. The dress illusion surely has its explanation here and not in the retina. The phenomenon is called "colour constancy" and requires neurons that have access to large regions of the image at the same time. This doesn't occur in the retina but only later in cortex.

Comment: Re:Why stop there? (Score 4, Informative) 137

by umafuckit (#49461589) Attached to: UW Scientists, Biotech Firm May Have Cure For Colorblindness

Many birds have four color receptors. Some have five.

Mammal eyes suck. Primates have about the best color perception of all mammals, and even the best is still pretty poor by bird standards.

It's not so cut and dried, actually. A lot of colour vision requires processing in the cortex so there isn't necessarily a clear cut relationship between the number of cone classes and an animal's colour acuity. A great example is the mantis shrimp which has a large number of different cone classes yet has crap colour vision. I don't know what bird colour acuity is or how it compares to our own, but don't assume it's necessarily better because they are tetrachromats. For instance, the wikipedia says that pigeons are pentachromats but they may not have access to the fifth channel. Many birds also have colour oil droplets in front of some photoreceptors in order to further tune their range. In effect, this may give them more than 4 cone classes.

Comment: Re:BASIC (Score 1) 315

by umafuckit (#49444663) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Introduce a 7-Year-Old To Programming?

I'm always searching for something that does a good job of being an intermediate level - I can get my kids to do a lot of the intro / visual programming stuff and they like it, but then they run into this seemingly huge chasm when they try to go beyond that.

One option for this is Arduino. It's exciting to make stuff in the real world happen, plus they'll learn other skills like soldering. The gap between commercial stuff and what you're doing is either smaller or non-existent (if no commercial solution does what you want).

Comment: Re:But But But It's the Handouts That Are Bankrupt (Score 1) 370

by umafuckit (#49420851) Attached to: How the Pentagon Wasted $10 Billion On Military Projects

But my conservative friend sent me an opinion article from two years ago about a woman on WIC driving a Mercedes Kompressor to pick up her groceries! Sometimes I think your political alignment just reveals where you ignore graft from: conservatives ignore overspending from the top; liberals ignore overspending from the bottom. And the argument between the two is just which is more burdensome.

Whatever your political alignment, I'd hope you base your opinions and (in the case of politicians) policy decisions on more than anecdotal articles. Articles like that appeal on an emotion level, but that's all. You need to look at aggregate data on the state/nation level to evaluate how a policy is working. You can't do it based on an article your mate sent you.

Comment: Re:people are going to be saying (Score 1) 737

by umafuckit (#49344003) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

air travel is so much safer than driving statistically. but at least when you die in a car, it's for mundane, hum drum reasons usually. when something goes wrong in the air, it's cinematic drama, emotional and blood curdling. disgusting

Hence terrorism involving aircraft causes mass panic but road deaths do not. A large part of the reason we have this problem is due to our reaction to these events. Same goes for crazy shooters in malls and schools.

Comment: Re:I don't see how this delivery model can scale.. (Score 1) 110

They currently are offering this service to 25 ZIP codes - likely those directly surrounding a distribution center. However, there are several logistical factors that just seem to make this unworkable to scale

It's always been Amazon's stratergy to take a loss when entering a new market. They'll do that here too.

Comment: Re:What's more interesting to me... (Score 1) 110

But it's no the high street that's responsible for the decay of the high street. Those shops that you mention don't exist any more because the manufacturing of the products they would sell has changed. Our electronics are cheaper and they are changing faster than ever (some of that is planned obsolescence, of course). It's often cheaper to buy new than to repair. Consumer electronics are now so well built and and idiot-proof that you don't need smart people to sell or explain them. Instead you need marketing and fancy adverts to persuade people to buy. The high street never stood a chance.

Comment: Re:Grammar isn't pedantiv (Score 1) 667

by umafuckit (#49269947) Attached to: Why There Is No Such Thing as 'Proper English'

Funny you should bring this up as your example of an absolute rule. "Correct comma placement", is actually the source of biggest ongoing stylistic argument in the English language: the Oxford comma. Its like the "vi vs. Emacs" of the literary world. This is one of the strongest arguments you could have picked supporting the point you were looking to refute.

Massive example fail.

The Oxford comma is a style issue, sure. Commas in general are not, since their presence or absence can change the meaning of a sentence. I don't think the comma is an "example fail" or anything like the vi/Eamcs wars.

Comment: Grammar isn't pedantiv (Score 4, Insightful) 667

by umafuckit (#49265245) Attached to: Why There Is No Such Thing as 'Proper English'
The grammatical rules invoked by pedants aren’t real rules of grammar at all. They are, at best, just stylistic conventions.

This is a silly blanket statement. It's true of some things, such as the split infinitive. Other things, such as correct comma placement, play an obvious role in understanding a sentence. I agree that languages evolve, but I don't think "text speak" is part of that evolution. Text speak is just lazy.

According to the latest official figures, 43% of all statistics are totally worthless.

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