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Comment: Red Light and School Zone Cameras (Score 1) 145 145

In Washington, red light cameras and school zone speed cameras presume the owner of the vehicle is at fault. Under penalty of law someone can sign an affidavit saying that they were not driving the car at the time of the infraction to get out of it. Not wanting to lie, a cheap hack is to register your spouse's car in your name and vice versa. That way, the registered owner is usually never the driver and the $240 ticket goes away without ever breaking any law.

Comment: Hackability (Score 3, Insightful) 292 292

Considering that the major change in campaigning strategy over the last 15 years has centered around using statistical techniques to hack an election, this probably is not a bad thing at all. It means that defining a wedge issue and engineering the entire political discourse toward that wedge might have some uncertainty. Maybe the candidates can talk about things that they actually believe.

Comment: Stack Overflow (Score 1) 144 144

There's an interesting analogy in Stack Exchange, the offshoot of Stack Overflow. While many Stack Exchange sites exist for a wide ranging array of topics (physics, electrical engineering, statistics, parenting, etc.), I've found that the others basically don't work. The questions often don't get answered since the community is way smaller than Stack Overflow, and they are often answered in unhelpful ways with opinions rather than expert suggestions. I think non-engineering tickets would linger for too long, lack widespread adoption, and be 'resolved' with wishy washy opinions.

In short, I don't think it would work! Engineers are a special breed.

+ - Autism: Are Social Skills Groups and Social Communication Therapy Worthwhile? 1 1

vortex2.71 writes: I imagine that enough of us on Slashdot are on the Autism Spectrum or were once diagnosed as having Aspergers that this might be the right venue for this question. My son is on the spectrum, but is in a mainstream classroom at a private school. We have spent thousands of dollars on a bunch of different social skills groups, speech communication therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. We've found that the specific skills and intuition that the therapists possess is much more important than their credentials and are frequently disappointed by the overwhelming mediocrity of special education teachers, speech therapists, and OT/PT therapists. We are at the point where we wonder if our time is better spent with playdates with peers that are facilitated by us than continuing with the groups. I'm curious if there are adult Slashdoters who are on the spectrum who participated in these therapies as children who can weigh in on this? What was your experience with social skills groups and social communication therapy? Did they help?

Comment: Do what Microsoft and Amazon does (Score 0) 101 101

You should hire lots of talented foreign workers at lower wages than domestic workers make using short term visas. Then, you can argue that the workers that you've spent the last year training have skills that no domestic workers have and use this to justify permanent work status (green cards). This will take 3-5 years to process, so you will benefit from the cheaper wages for a good amount of time before they are able to jump ship. Finally, rest assured that most big tech companies engage in this practice, so you are very unlikely to be prosecuted for immigration fraud :-)

+ - Two Data Driven Investigations of 'Deflate Gate'

vortex2.71 writes: In light of the NFL 'Deflate Gate' scandal, Slate.com has a pair of articles on the New England Patriots’ statistically unlikely prevention of fumbles and on the change in their fumble rates after Tom Brady lobbied the NFL to allow teams to provide the balls for their own offenses in 2007 . Regardless of your team allegiance, the articles provide interesting statistical insight into the debate from a data science perspective.

+ - Two Data Driven Investigations of Inflate Gate 1 1

vortex2.71 writes: In light of the NFL 'Deflate Gate' scandal, Slate.com has a pair of articles on the [New England Patriots’ statistically unlikely prevention of fumbles](http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2015/01/ballghazi_the_new_england_patriots_lose_an_insanely_low_number_of_fumbles.html) and on the [change in their fumble rates after Tom Brady lobbied the NFL to allow teams to provide the balls for their own offenses in 2007](http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2015/01/stats_show_the_new_england_patriots_became_nearly_fumble_proof_after_a_2006.html). Regardless of your team allegiance, the articles provide interesting statistical insight into the debate from a data science perspective.

Comment: Driving Frequency? (Score 1) 25 25

I've always been surprised by the Beast Quake phenomenon as I wouldn't imagine that fans screaming and stopping would occur at a frequency that resonates with the ground's natural frequency. If someone herw knows something about geology and earthquake harmonics, I'd be interested to hear a better explanation. Is it just that there is one rather large jouncing type event that is felt some distance away or is there a sustained resonance?

Comment: Laptop Dummy Terminal (Score 1) 325 325

I am a strong proponent of running a laptop as a dummy terminal that connects with both a high power desktop and a cluster/server/supercomputer. Various configurations work fine, but I've been happy with the speed/latency of using VNC over a VPN. The only issue comes in high latency (satelite) internet, which various regions of the country are constrained by. The cluster/server/supercomputer interface can either be through a batch scheduler, or SSH or whatever. Further, if the cluster and the high power desktop are co-located, data can be quickly transferred between them or they can both be served by the same data server.

Comment: Drake is Obtuse (Score 4, Interesting) 334 334

I've always felt that the Drake Equation is not worthy of the term 'equation' since its just a simple probabilistic estimate from multiplying a ton of other probabilities and instances together. Consider for instance, the Schrödinger equation, which has a differential formulation that provides solutions to so many physical situations that arise in quantum mechanics, or Maxwell's equations, which explain all of electrodynamics, including light, and were the inspiration for Einstein's theory of special relativity.

Algebraic symbols are used when you do not know what you are talking about. -- Philippe Schnoebelen

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