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Comment: Seen before? (Score 2) 31

by wlj (#49257687) Attached to: Algorithm Clones Facial Expressions And Pastes Them Onto Other Faces

I believe I saw a demo of this technology back at Uncertainty '99 when Matthew Brand presented a paper titled "Patter discovery via entropy minimization" (TR-98-21 from MERL ("A Mitsubishi Electronics Research Laboratory")). The demo was a video of an infant who started to lecture the audience on the technique. I was quite impressed. I recently found a copy of the paper via google.

Comment: Re:What exactly do you mean by "Fraud"? (Score 2) 786

by wlj (#48783889) Attached to: Michael Mann: Swiftboating Comes To Science

The point about communication is particularly important. Just "knowing" the situation is never enough. If you cannot explain it, you might as well not know it.

Take a look at Tufte's review of the graphics explaining the effect of temperature (cold) on shuttle o-rings at the run-up to the Challenger launch. The engineers "knew" what the problem was, but it was not communicated. The graphics actually hid the information (or at least obscured it). Richard Feynman's on-camera demo (not experiment - he knew what was going to happen) finally got it across. (Read his account of this in his autobiography, it shows how hard it is to communicate even the desire for a glass of cold water to some people.) Feynman at this point was the educator/communicator we needed.

Comment: Re:Outsource (Score 1) 176

by wlj (#48441501) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

This is the best high-level advice I have seen so far in this list: business infrastructure FIRST!

Don't forget, that includes a "business model" (basically, what do you plan to offer and how will you make money in the process of delivering it) plus "customers" (you know, the people that pay for what you plan to offer).

Good ideas are important, but a business really needs the model and customers. Otherwise, it is called a "hobby".

Good luck. :-)
 

Comment: Thinking ahead. (Score 1) 983

by wlj (#46463181) Attached to: How Do You Backup 20TB of Data?

From my own (painful) experience: if you don't plan for it up front, you are always fighting fires (playing catch-up). Organizing your data can help a LOT! If it is media, arrange it by genre (e.g. video animation or video classical or whatever) to keep a particular grouping small enough to backup easily. If it is data, arrange by some category that works for you (e.g. current financial projects or past analytic projects).

The most useful guide I have found for resources allocated to backup: how much is it worth to me to re-create this resource? ("Worth" can be money, time, sentiment, or any other measure(s) or combination you chose.)

My current feelings: disk is the most versatile and cost effective.

Comment: Focus! (Score 1) 313

by wlj (#44573563) Attached to: Using Laptop To Take Notes Lowers Grades

As a university instructor who encourages the use of laptops in class, I feel it is mostly a matter of focus. (I am teaching intro stat and operations research.) I tell the students to bring a laptop, but it is a tool and we will be looking at how to use that tool to solve problems. (I also tell them that if they want to watch youtube or hulu they should sit at the back of the class and use headphones to keep the distraction down for the other students.)

Comment: Re:A couple of thoughts (Score 1) 559

by wlj (#40283203) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Ambitious Yet Ethical Software Jobs?

I would disagree w/ "Most academics are pretty clueless about statistics", but agree that there are opportunities there. Big Data is opening more possibilities for computer intensive statistics and the GPUs are a current tool to make these possible in a "reasonable" amount of time. For example, check out the book "Bootstrap Methods and their Application" by Davison and Hinkley - it is old at this point, but very worth reading. (Inter-library loan can come in VERY handy here. :-)

Working in Statistics generally can be interesting. I have gotten paid fairly well to have experts teach ME about their field and specialty so that I can then advise them on how to analyze their data. (If you don't know where it came from, you can't really interpret the data.) For me, it was like having a hobby I got paid for ... I even hung around long enough to get a PhD.

Finally, formal training and credentials are helpful (but not ALWAYS necessary) in Academia. Results are critical in or out of Academia. You can freelance or look for someplace that has an in-house consulting group. Getting a "client base" takes time but could be a path for you to start a freelance practice.

Good luck.

Transportation

Porsche Unveils 911 Hybrid With Flywheel Booster 197

Posted by timothy
from the yeah-well-I-get-better-mileage dept.
MikeChino writes "Porsche has just unveiled its 911 GT3 R Hybrid, a 480 horsepower track vehicle ready to rock the 24-hour Nurburgring race this May. Porsche's latest supercar will use the same 911 production platform available to consumers today, with a few race-ready features including front-wheel hybrid drive and an innovative flywheel system that stores kinetic energy from braking and then uses it to provide a 160 horsepower burst of speed. The setup is sure to offer an advantage when powering out of turns and passing by other racers."
Image

Political Affiliation Can Be Differentiated By Appearance 262

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-it-looks-like-a-liberal-and-quacks-like-a-liberal dept.
quaith writes "It's not the way they dress, but the appearance of their face. A study published in PLoS One by Nicholas O. Rule and Nalini Ambady of Tufts University used closely cropped greyscale photos of people's faces, standardized for size. Undergrads were asked to categorize each person as either a Democrat or Republican. In the first study, students were able to differentiate Republican from Democrat senate candidates. In the second, students were able to differentiate the political affiliation of other college students. Accuracy in both studies was about 60% — not perfect, but way better than chance."
Google

+ - Google accounts disabled->

Submitted by bryanlb
bryanlb writes: Many users woke up this morning to find their Google Accounts "disabled" for some unknown reason (http://groups.google.com/group/Gmail-ABCs/topics). This includes all Google services such as: Gmail, Talk, and Reader among many other services. It is currently unknown what Google is going to do to resolve this issue. Meanwhile, thousands of users are without email over the Christmas Holiday. Merry Christmas.
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Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"

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