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Comment Re:thought the article was joking ... (Score 1) 445 445

Obviously this is a grievous error which should be fixed, but I can definitely see how a machine learning system could pick up this answer as a false positive with no foul play*: extinction through biblical flood may be the most commonly held hypothesis in the US.

42% of Americans believe in creationism, and it's not unlikely that they'd all believe dinosaurs were killed in a flood.

The other 58% could be split between asteroids, volcanos, continental drift, "other" and "don't know", with no single group having a share over 42%.

* Centuries of generally teaching BS to kids notwithstanding

Comment Re:This isn't a question (Score 1) 623 623

If you really think you can make one, go ahead,

The stated challenge is to make a reasonable argument against gay marriage, not against marriage inequality, so any arguments in favor of abolishing all marriage as a legal concept (gay, straight and others alike) would technically qualify.

I agree in spirit, but it wouldn't be slashdot without several pedantic, belaboured "well, actually" comments.

Comment Re:How parallel does a Word Processor need to be? (Score 1) 449 449

How parallel does a Word Processor need to be?

Don't forget the complementary question, "How fast does each individual core have to be to run a single threaded Word Processor at an acceptable speed?"

Imagine if instead of 4x 3ghz Xeons you had 4,000x 486s or 4,000,000x 286s.

Comment Weapons and dangerous items? (Score 1) 1 1

Another source gives "nail scissors" as an example of a dangerous item smuggled past security.

Until they list the actual guns, bombs and machetes smuggled past security, I'll assume that this was a momentary lapse in the airport's fear mongering and security theater division.

Comment Re:Oh great (Score 4, Insightful) 549 549

"rrrybgdts" is a nursery rhyme. It doesn't even have to be written on a sticky.

This is a really bad way of choosing passwords.

The number of verses of songs, nursery rhymes, poems and paragraphs that people would tend to think of probably number less than a million.

Your particular example has 946 hits on Google.

Comment Re:Because... (Score 1) 253 253

CPUs have been fast enough for the mainstream users for 30 years now. It's by definition: nothing becomes mainstream if it's not "good enough".

Screencasting/bluetooth as a desktop replacement is still far too slow. LZMA takes seconds per megabyte. IDEs run like molasses. Video editing is awful. Offline voice recognition sucks. Heavy web apps are laggy. Stitching a photosphere takes minutes.

Let's not stop now.

Social Networks

Human Language Is Biased Towards Happiness, Say Computational Linguists 86 86

KentuckyFC (1144503) writes The idea that people tend to use positive words more often the negative ones is now known as the Pollyanna hypothesis, after a 1913 novel by Eleanor Porter about a girl who tries to find something to be glad about in every situation. But although widely known, attempts to confirm the hypothesis have all been relatively small studies and so have never been thought conclusive.

Now a group of researchers at Computational Story Lab at the University of Vermont have repeated this work on a corpus of 100,000 words from 24 languages representing different cultures around the world. They first measured the frequency of words in each language and then paid native speakers to rate how they felt about each word on a scale ranging from the most negative or sad to the most positive or happy. The results reveal that all the languages show a clear bias towards positive words with Spanish topping the list, followed by Portuguese and then English. Chinese props up the rankings as the least happy. They go on to use these findings as a 'lens' through which to evaluate how the emotional polarity changes in novels in various languages and have set up a website where anybody can explore novels in this way. The finding that human language has universal positive bias could have a significant impact on the relatively new science of sentiment analysis on social media sites such as Twitter. If there is a strong bias towards positive language in the first place, and this changes from one language to another, then that is obviously an important factor to take into account.

Comment Re:This is telling (Score 1) 365 365

"And you can get a keyboard for it, and OF COURSE, it runs Microsoft Office"

'Cause THAT'S what people do with tablets...

It's what they did with the MBAs they're trading in, and it's what people can do with a tablet that isn't just an electronic etch-a-sketch.

It's sad that people are carrying around devices with multicore CPUs, several GB ram and storage, wifi and HD screens, and they still have to say "sorry, I can't -- I didn't bring my computer"

Comment Re:That is not the whole truth (Score 1) 370 370

They tend to take a bit longer to finish a project, but that project is usually of higher quality and better architecture

How much of the speed difference would you say is directly attributable to younger people unwittingly cutting corners on edge case handling and infrastructure?

Comment Re:No steering wheel? No deal. (Score 1) 583 583

What kind of judgement calls are more likely to be useful in an accident situation?

1. Solving hard ethical dilemmas, such as swirving to avoid a baby carriage at the cost of running over an elderly person.

2. Out-of-the-box ingenuity, such as ramping off of the guard rail and balancing on two wheels to avoid the accident.

3. Stomping on the brakes as early as possible.

Human judgement definitely excels at 1 and 2, but in all honesty, I think 3 is the most practical. It also happens to be the one a computer would be best at.

If you exchange the 1 second human reaction time for a 1ms computer reaction time, you will go about 18km/h (11mph) slower when you hit something, dramatically increasing your and their chances of survival.

Obviously I know that you personally would be able to deftly maneuver to avoid the accident and that you'd react way faster than 1 second because you're always alert and a better than average driver (and it's not illusory superiority, because you'd have to be an idiot to believe you're good when you're average).

However, you're just one incredibly good driver, while there are a hundred million average ones. Statistically, it makes way more sense to opt for the 11mph reduction in impact speed.

Comment Re:WTF does it do for me? (Score 1) 272 272

why is paying by phone so much better than with plastic?

Why is paying with plastic so much better than by phone? Here's a transaction I had yesterday at Toys'R'Us:

1. In line, I unlocked my phone and found my loyalty card
2. The cashier pointed a scanner at my phone and read it
3. I already had the phone unlocked in my hand, so I touched it to the payment terminal.

What would I have gained by putting down my phone and taking out and swiping my credit card instead?

Comment Re:Still waiting.... (Score 1) 205 205

This is not an insightful, quirky observation about modern, overengineered gadgets that try to do everything but fail to do anything well.

It's a tired and overused rant being perpetually parroted by people who don't even want what they're asking for.

If you were actually looking for such a phone, you'd have done a simple web search and found plenty of phones in the $30 range with over a month of standby time, like the Nokia 105.

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