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Comment: Statistics (Score 1, Informative) 230

In 569 allegations of excessive or inappropriate use of force (arising from 363 incidents), only seven were sustained—meaning 99 percent of cases were dismissed.

Okay, those are some numbers. Are they good? Are they bad? What percentage of dismissals would be "good" if - as is implied - this statistic is indicative of something being wrong?

In a less rhetorical tone, how does this compare to other similar-sized forces around the country?

Exoneration rates were only slightly smaller when looking at all the cases — of the total 2,232 allegations, 284 were sustained.

Exoneration rates might be "slightly smaller" - 87% down from 99%, which isn't that slight - but if you look at it the other way, the "sustainment" rate is over 10x higher. Tricky things, numbers.

Among some of Rachner and Mocek's findings: a total of 1,028 SPD employees (including civilian employees) were investigated between 2010 and 2013. (The current number of total SPD staff is 1,820.)

Okay, sounds pretty bad. What were they investigated for? Do all the automatic procedures that get launched when someone discharges a firearm, for example, count as an investigation? What if there was a leak of information, and that one investigation initially covered 500 members of staff before quickly being whittled down to Gary in HR?

Without more context and some comparisons to other forces, I'm not really sure how much I should be tutting and shaking my head in dismay.

It's like when someone tells you that all the lego bricks in the world would cover London to a depth of six inches. At first glance, wow, that's a lot, but then I realise I really had absolutely no idea of what the number might be with which to compare the truth.

Comment: Apostrophes/who said that?/Simpsons did it (Score 2) 208

by wonkey_monkey (#49628671) Attached to: Self-Driving Big Rigs Become a Reality

Gollum writes:

"Given a big trucks'

*rolled up newspaper swat* No! Go to your bed!

long stopping distances and limited maneuverability, driving one requires the ability to correctly predict what's going to happen far out ahead. That requires foresight and intuition that are difficult to program into computers."

Wait, who said that? It's just an unattributed quote stuck at the end of the summary.

Also, Simpsons did it.

Comment: Who's saying it is a warp drive? (Score 4, Insightful) 406

by wonkey_monkey (#49616223) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

While some are claiming this means things like warp drive [...] are right on the horizon

Who are these "some"? The article linked to by the sentence makes no mention of any claims of it being a warp drive.

And then this from the Forbes article:

When you come across an announcement like the one made by NASA Spaceflight a week ago: that NASA has made a successful test of the EM Drive — a propulsion engine that uses no propellant, seemingly violating one of the most fundamental laws of physics, while warping space in the process — you’d better make sure you aren’t fooling yourself.

The linked announcement makes no mention of warping space, so the bolded section seems inaccurately disparaging.

It sounds to me like the guy who wrote the article has fooled himself into believing that someone has claimed it's a warp drive for the purpose of being able to find something to write indignantly about.

Come to think of it, the writer doesn't even seem to be sure of who's who in this scenario. "When you come across an announcement [...] you'd better make sure you aren't fooling yourself." Why would I be fooling myself by simply reading an announcement? Surely it's the people who make the announcement that should make sure they're not fooling themselves. Which I might think they were, if they'd said anything about warping space. Which they didn't.

So just who are these apparently imaginary people that the summary/article is railing against?

Comment: Re:The question is (Score 5, Insightful) 406

by wonkey_monkey (#49616139) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

If I understood correctly,

You don't.

it allows you to pre-warp some space ahead in your journey

No-one - that is to say, no-one with an ounce of scientific credibility - is claiming it's a warp drive. There's no reason to even start to consider the idea that it might be a warp drive. The article linked to by the summary with the words "some are claiming this means things like warp drive..." doesn't even mention any claims that it's a warp drive.

The Forbes article links to another article with these words:

When you come across an announcement like the one made by NASA Spaceflight a week ago: that NASA has made a successful test of the EM Drive — a propulsion engine that uses no propellant, seemingly violating one of the most fundamental laws of physics, while warping space in the process — you’d better make sure you aren’t fooling yourself.

And that linked article also doesn't even mention warp drive. Seems to me like some journalists need to calm down a little. "ZOMG! It's not a warp drive!!!" - yes, thanks, but no-one seems to saying it is.

It's a thing that appears to produce thrust by unknown means. That's all. It's very interesting, but it has nothing to do with anything that anyone would call a warp drive.

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 178

by wonkey_monkey (#49613355) Attached to: Why Scientists Love 'Lord of the Rings'

Nonsense

It's precisely why I can't stand these books. I can't suspend my disbelief that middle earth exists, that magic exists, not the way they use or describe it.

You do know there are other people on this planet who aren't you, right?

I would imagine more scientists get into comics

And I imagine that... well, you can make your own joke there. But it doesn't make it true.

If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing on my shoulders. -- Hal Abelson

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