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Comment: Re:redundancy (Score 1) 211

by umafuckit (#48424979) Attached to: Congress Suggests Moat, Electronic Fence To Protect White House

But I guess we as human beings still have minds from 50,000 years ago and we want to see a leader to our tribe. The concept of shared leadership is brilliant, but too advanced for our stone-age brains.

I think the evolutionary psychology line is going too far. I don't think anyone is suggesting that losing the president will make us all leaderless and lost. Instead, that losing the president is a substantial blow that's best avoided. The reason for this is that the "shared leaders" you describe do not have equal seniority. So if you lose the top one, you still require a reshuffle and there will still be disruption. Further, the president is the figurehead of the nation and it is a blow to morale if he is taken out. For similar reasons, there was a big security boost around the statue of liberty following 9/11. Symbols matter, that's all.

Comment: Re:Sorry, this is bullshit photoshopped "art". (Score 1) 35

by umafuckit (#48406013) Attached to: 3D Printed Art Smaller Than an Ant's Forehead
The point spread function of a 2 photon microscope is about 3 microns in the axial direction for 900 nm light. So it could plausibly be 1/3 here because they're using UV. I suspected they indeed created the blurrier looking figurines toward the bottom of the page with the rest being being representations of what the figurine would look like on other objects. Yes, it would be visible with a light microscope, since it was created with a light microscope.

Comment: Re:analog computer (Score 1) 91

by umafuckit (#48344415) Attached to: fMRI Data Reveals How Many Parallel Processes Run In the Brain
Every neuron isn't independent of the rest. A neuron is node in a network and its output depends very heavily on its inputs, which are from other neurons. Thus it's not independent. Nearby neurons involved in similar tasks often share the same noise, indicating that they are very tightly coupled (either because they share inputs or because they are connected).

Comment: Re:Have we discovered all there is to discover? (Score 1) 221

I think we've reached the stage some time ago where the term "life" has outlived its usefulness. It seems it's no longer helpful to attempt to classify stuff as alive or not alive. We know what viruses and prions are and how they operate. So we know what's important. Deciding whether or not they're alive is just semantics and you can tie yourself in knots that way pretty quickly. You ask if a prion is form of life, for instance. Well, it's just protein so insulin also to be considered a form of life? Prions just form aggregates--they self-assemble. So can we consider anything that does that alive? Salt crystals? What about saying that stuff that maintains its environment is a alive? So is a buffer solution alive?

Comment: Re:Two things. (Score 4, Interesting) 330

by umafuckit (#48291839) Attached to: Reactions To Disgusting Images Predict a Persons Political Ideology
Indeed. I've just returned to Europe following a 6 year stint in the US. There were a lot of things I really liked about America, but what I won't miss is watching the news, seeing how increasingly fucked up and dysfunctional is the whole political system, and hearing the meaning of the word "freedom" being twisted out of all recognition. It's all together rather depressing.

Comment: More annoying presentations (Score 1) 158

by umafuckit (#48286645) Attached to: Tao3D: a New Open-Source Programming Language For Real-Time 3D Animations
In my experience, a lot of the best talks I see are the ones with the most simple slides (e.g. little text and little distracting material). Speakers who pull this off are generally the ones who know their shit and are good at conveying it. Talks with too much text, too many images on one slide, or too many effects (ahem) are less likely to be good. These really over-the-top presentations are like excalamation marks after the punchline of jokes. If what you have to say isn't interesting then you won't make it so by embelishing it with irrelevent crap. For this reason I have not motivation whatsoever to invest time in making flashy presentations.

Comment: Re:The hardest part.. (Score 1) 51

by umafuckit (#48259797) Attached to: Getting Lost In the Scientific Woods Is Good For You
Glaciers being responsible for carving geological features is another one. This was widely ridiculed when first proposed. I don't think relativity was ever ridiculed and it was accepted pretty quickly. In fact, Eddington's early results were quite equivocal but the theory was accepted by consensus nonetheless. Cosmology is the name of a whole field, so it doesn't really fit on your list. It's like asking how long it took for "biology" to be accepted by the scientific community.

Comment: Re:Don't wear a condom, it thwarts God's will (Score 4, Insightful) 669

by umafuckit (#48259573) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right
I don't personally give a shit what the pope thinks. However, it's clear that millions of other people very much do give a shit. In this instance, the pope is obviously trying to discourage creationism and reduce the friction between science and religion. At least some creationists are likely to listen to the pope and accept what he's saying, in a way that they wouldn't listen to scientists. So I don't see this as the pope giving his seal if approval to the theories in question. Instead, he's giving his seal of approval for catholics to accept the theories. Given that the religion isn't going away any time soon, I consider this to be of value.

Comment: Re:MatLab is not really a good programming languag (Score 1) 205

by umafuckit (#48176041) Attached to: The One App You Need On Your Resume If You Want a Job At Google

The presence or absence of semi-colons is not really an important factor in choosing a language. Yes, there's shitty MATLAB code out there by self-taught people. But if those people were self-taught in Python, then they'd be producing shitty Pyhton code instead. You can't judge a language by the code quality of its inexperienced users. You can write crap in anything.

I've work with both MATLAB and Python and I see MATLAB has having various advantages. It has excellent syntax for matrix manipulations--much nicer than numpy. It has huge collection of highly optmised functions that generally work very quickly. I do a lot of image processing and when I ported my MATLAB code to Python it generally ran much slower. I spent ages on Googling and talking to people in forums. I couldn't get it to run faster. In MATLAB it just worked quickly with no extra effort on my part.

With MATLAB you get a huge collection of algorithms at your fingertips. They're generally very well tested and the syntax is consistent throughout. The documentation is excellent, too. Python, on the other hand, is a network of libraries which often have rather different syntax to each other. It's common for version updates to lead to regressions.

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234

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