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Comment: Re:A SYN flood at the Tour De France (Score 1) 213

by woodsrunner (#37718574) Attached to: Scientists Build Wireless Bicycle Brakes
Imagine how today's racer bots would be absolutely lost without the wireless heart rate details, power meter details, derailleurs and race radios to get detailed instructions play by play instructions from the boss. If wireless brakes were in the mix.... it might not be funny. Although it would separate the guys who rely on brakes and the guys like Hinault (if any still exist) who keep theirs adjusted so the brake pads barely touch the rims until the levers meet the bars.

Lady Ada has a cool RF Jammer that fits in a cigarette box that I've always thought would be fun to sneak onto a pro bike (you'd actually be surprised as to how many cyclists smoke, particularly sprinters. Always amazed me to watch the dash after the field sprint where the sprinters would race to the nearest hideway to lightup.)

As mentioned elsewhere, the failure rate on wireless derailleurs is dumbfounding like when the batteries die the things drop into the largest gear. The real blindspot in implementation thus far is why should the batteries ever fail? Why not recharge the batteries either through a frictionless generator in the hubs or the very least a solar panel. Bike designers are always looking for ways to keep their lightweight machines above the UCI mandated minimum weight so why not?

http://www.ladyada.net/make/wavebubble/index.html

Comment: Fortunately, I am an engineer. (Score 1) 196

by woodsrunner (#37452704) Attached to: Senators Slam Firm For Online Background Check
Facebook is a fake passport you self publish with engineered data. Better alma mater, highlights from my interesting past, fabrications of even more fantastic stuff. Friends with many olympians, nobel laureates, and big wigs, post in many languages. Don't really dwell on my living in a trailer, meth use or criminale past. No mention of life on the pogue, binge drinking, whoring or gambling... just well engineered posts of my frequent workouts and workday successes.

Comment: Noticeable Loss of Control (Score 1) 115

by woodsrunner (#36679538) Attached to: Tilting Bike Uses Google Maps To Simulate Routes
Computer monitored Indoor training has replaced road work for many riders to the extent that they can produce the wattage to ride fast, but are incompetent in basic driving skills. This can be seen even at the elite levels with crashes in the straight aways and cornering without the slightest calculation of the apex.

Admitted, I am an old bastard who raced in wool shorts, toe straps, leather shoes, leather helmets and analog gearing where a ten speed meant 5 cogs and two chain rings. An American, I was racing in Luxembourg before the Schleck brothers were born. My first race in Belgium over half the guys at the start line were on cross bikes partly because it's all they could afford and partly because it was raining so hard there was corners with water levels over the bottom bracket.

In general there wasn't the road furniture that takes out so many. And I wouldn't dare imply that the very top riders are in many ways better riders than back in the day due to the more challenging course features. But the rest pedal squares and corner like they're sitting on a sofa.

Comment: Re:Eliminate the BS Ph.S. programs (Score 1) 487

by woodsrunner (#35940026) Attached to: Reform the PhD System or Close It Down
While there will always be a need for professors in the Liberal Arts, this does not imply that University doctoral degrees are Vocational schools preparing their students for jobs.

Hey, without the lit and philosophy majors, who are you going to talk to in the bars? Who's going to correct your grammar or point out the pun in the title "Eliminate the BS"?

The difficulty in a PhD in these fields is the requirement to do unique work. This is hard to do in the context of an artist like Shakespeare or Milton who have been thoroughly researched over the centuries. You either focus on newer artists or revisit a classic topic under a new lens of popular critical thinking (i.e.: Freudian, Marxist, Feminist, Post-Modernist, etc).

Just because something is difficult or obscure doesn't mean it shouldn't be pursued. However, to teach at University level the minimum requirement is a terminal degree. This is an indication of both commitment to academia as well as an ability to contribute to the body of critical work. For some fields, such as writing, an MFA is considered a terminal degree.

If a school does not have a good reputation in a specific field, receiving a PhD is of little value. The market will decide if a school should keep a department open. If it cannot attract students it will need to evaluate whether it is better to improve or cull the department.

On the topic of being able to attract students I would posit the homeland security restrictions placed on foreign students to engage in Scientific research will be a greater barrier to attracting students than potential employment. For this sake, if roughly half of US students seeking advanced degrees are foreign, American universities may be better off focusing on the Liberal Arts.

Comment: Anecdotal Data driven Algorithm (Score 2) 138

by woodsrunner (#35110168) Attached to: Algorithm Contest Aims To Predict Health Problems
By my algorithm you'd be forced to get another doctor that wasn't a waster or pay more. Okay, maybe it's simple, but it is effective which I can prove with personal experience.

Here's the algorithm:

If ((you can pass your doctor on the street) && (they don't recognize you)){
you = in trouble;
}else{
you = good;
}

Here's the anecdotal proof:

A few years ago life seemed to be really coming together. Happily married, just bought my favorite house in the area, was coding like a rock star and arguably the healthiest person in the office. Didn't smoke, drink or eat restaurant food. Also, was riding my bike 100 k / day round trip to work and getting really into carving out a perfect life putting one good day in after the next.

Like you, my doctor was a tosser but I figured, I'm fine.

A cold snap before Thanksgiving caught me off guard and got a slight chill. No big deal. But spent the long holiday in bed and went to see my doctor on Monday. He hardly looked at me, not tests just said I had strep gave me a mega dose of antibiotics and a note for my boss.

Swell. My neck it did. The pills did nothing. Called and to get another appointment. But just got more pills. I was feeling like crap. Felt like my doctor's nurse wasn't even relaying my messages. It was futile to rely on him so I went into the walk in clinic and saw a physician's assistant. He walked in and saw right away what was what. I saw it register in his eye the second he walked in the exam room after which he just blurted out he could see I had lymphoma. He had to back pedal a bit. Protocol and all. But arranged to have me see a doctor that afternoon.

Went home for lunch and they called from the hospital to see if I could come in sooner. So that could be another calculation, if you wait less time to be seen your fucked. Scratch that, they'll use that as an excuse to extend waiting.

Soon I was diagnosed Stage 4B. They don't say terminal any more. And why should they, you've gotta enough to deal with surgeries. Well they could have done em all at once because my surgeon could see what needed to be done but that's not approved by my apparently top notch insurance.

It just seemed so unreal. One day I'm making back of the envelope calculations from the numbers out of my Garmin that if I kept at it and focused I could be competitive enough to ride the pursuit in the next Olympics in London and then it turns out I just had an unnaturally high red blood cell count that any pro cyclist would covet because I had cancer. Did working out help me? I'd like to think so. Like to think maybe my training didn't get me to the Olympics but allowed me to survive. But maybe it did me in. My fat smoking sister didn't get cancer.

Another data you could use but would require surveillence to gather would be the number of doctors, nurses, cleaning ladies and orderlies who sublty as John Cleese wink wink nudge nudge advise you to not use more than one dose of Fentalyn patch as two would kill you, that's an indication that you might soon cease to be.

Another good data point they might want to focus on is the coincidence of spending a month in isolation because you've got like zero white blood cells and corresponding occurences for getting written up for tasks you failed to complete while on disability. Getting fired for taking too many sick days would be a potential data point to calculate in the algorithm as well.

Here's the thing. What ever happened to duty? I must have been focusing on doing my job and missed it but at some point the word lost meaning and worse is now the new euphamism for #2. I mean what kind of business model is it that puts the burden of performance on the customer? I had never heard of fentalyn before, but suspect that so many people know what it is is because they are as high as the arrogant shites who would abrocate responsibility to fluff up their bottom line long tail be damned.

So maybe my anecdotal data is tainted. I've seen too much. I know first hand the dark truth that for the insurance company it doesn't matter because they reserve the right to deny any and all coverage at any time they please. One click of the mouse and you are on the hook for all the pre approved treatment they no longer approve of. How do these people live with themselves? My boss, he's a minister and says the cancer was God's punishment. Oh thanks for the clarification boss. I am so lucky the big guy added him to my torment. I don't care how much prozac you take. You lead your life like that and by the final act your halucinating knives like Lady MacBeth.

But the data backing up the value of actually providing service and doing ones duty to civility is readily available. But if it means getting off your fat ass and doing your job well, it's just not feasible is it? Much easier to put up a prize to get someone else to stilt the data for you. You want your data points, look up a study called "Million Dollar Murray". It lays out the argument pretty well with real world scenarios and clear dollar savings.

What the study did was identify the people who ran up the biggest bills on the healthcare system at a hospital. And it turned out the majority of all costs were just a few people. One patient alone ran up over a million dollars a year just because he drank a lot and was clumsy. So rather than wait for him to come in to the ER, they put him in an apartment and had round the clock nursing care. This solution which would appear extravagant, saved a million dollars.

So just to clarify my so poignent anecdotal data, I did not kill myself, I was fired for having cancer and thus denied the pogue, UI and / or dole until I was granted a hearing to contest it some six months after the fact. But am also cut off from the health insurance I had paid into all these years and unable to get coverage because I am one big pre-existing condition.

But I carried on. Sold a lot of my bike gear to meet COBRA payments. Studied, applied for jobs many offers were retracted once my boss had a chance to slander me.Although, to be honest, coming into a job interview looking as if you just crawled out of the morgue doesn't make the best first impression. And you know you only get one chance to make a first impression.

But I soon found work once I had a decent resume posted on job sites. Head hunters were eagerly scooting me through security clearance and into positions which is sweet because it's rather humiliating to have to give some wag a copy of your prescription from your oncologist. Yeah, they put it bold text they don't hold it against you. Call me paranoid, but I don't buy it.

And on the cancer, my oncologist said I have it beat. The shit thing is, I got mono dragging my corpse into the office because my boss said it was unfeasible for me to telecommute which makes sense as I spend 95% of my time in my office alone with the door shut coding. And if he let me he'd have to let everyone and already half the staff do so his hands were basically tied.

For him it was a bargain. He could use it to intimidate me and shore up his budget with a little insurance fraud. If I missed work my pay would be docked to the 70% disability covers and I'd be written up for not doing my job. So in order to finish treatment, I'd take that time as "disability" but because work I did at the office after 4:30 to keep from getting written up for being late "didn't count" I'd be putting in 40+ hours many weeks while wasting another 20 at the hospital so he'd be getting me at half the price and literally had power over my life and death. What they call a win/win. And for the record I was the best in the office at hitting deadlines when I wasn't laying around in Isolation.

So I've beat the cancer, but in the process of trying to keep my job I've had mono for the past two and a half years. And mono really sucks. At least with cancer you have death to look forward to. Mono is just pain, pain, and more pain.

Fuck. But actually, this whole post is thus far has been pretext to discuss another interesting data factoid I recently learned: apparently British teenage girls spend on average 3 hours per week on sex web sites. How this is relevant is that I just wanted to brag that I've got that beat in spades. In fact, the past few months I've been putting in a good 80 -100 hours a week on a sex website and getting paid to do it!

How's that for karma? Yeah. Well, okay it's not all that great cause it's actually a site about sick sex stuff.

No I mean the really sick sex stuff: HIV, AIDS. It's a hard job. No not that way big boy. I could whine about the poor architecture of the software I am supporting is but it would more reveal that I'm not yet the rock star I once thought I was. It's the other stats I heard about kids these days: they're having more sex than I did at that age and they don't seem to worry anymore about AIDs or chlamydia or ghonorrea, syph. Heck, there's a television station now called syph. Yet the band plays on.

What gets me is how under funded and pressed any organization that does work, particularly in the face of the data I work with every day. These aren't just numbers or boolean equations. They're human train wrecks plowing through society. My biggest fear is fucking up. I don't want to give those greedy self serving bastards one iota of an argument that it is money wasted. Because it's coming to a theater near you soon. The next wave is going to be bigger than the first. The next wave isn't going to be just fags or spades but a class of people nearly as invisible to the greedy cretins, their very own kids.

But in the end you can either use the data to shield yourself from the humanity or use it to find some answers and the only answer I've come up with is we have got to start doing a better job. Duty is not shit, but shit you've got to do. My anecdotal data suggests that while we think we're golden, it's likely it's just an anomaly of the immune reaction already fighting an unknown we have yet to diagnose. If there's a turd floating in the punchbowl, drinking from the other side of the bowl isn't going to work.

Still, there's only so many unknown knowns we can know. And I hope I'm wrong about AIDs. I know I don't know. But I do know this, if your doctor can pass you on the street and not recognize you, you're fucked.

You can pay me the prize in cash, check or paypal.

Comment: Change Your Language, Change Your Life (Score 1) 1153

by woodsrunner (#34082190) Attached to: How Much Math Do We Really Need?
Cardinal Richleau famously decreed "Control the langauge, control the people" and was the basis for his establishing L'Acadamie Francais which to this day enforces what can and cannot be used as a word in the French langauge. I believe there is still a legal ban on the word "Le Weekend".

Arch-Romantic and symboliste genius Arthur Rimbaud, inspiration for the film series Rambo, saw this sameinsight from the other perspective: change your language, change your life. This insight led him to abandon his incredible literary achievements at 17 to go off an lead a life of adventure, travel, gun running and decadence.

If it language doesn't change perception, why is so much effort put into double speak? The verbal Frankensteins created by today's spin doctors would make Orwell blush or more likely vomit. And it's done at such a granular level it goes unnoticed. I remember reading an interesting thesis that the word 'like' was injected into the hippie subculture to weaken their mindset on the simple premise you may recall from poetry class that a simile is much weaker than a metaphor. Whether it was intentionally planted or evolved organically, it was like totally bogus in helping the like counterculture gain any like credibility.

Both words and numbers can hide meaning. Nothing zen to it other than the basic premise of maya or all things are an illusion. But even the Buddhists find enlightenment in contemplating words. Basho's frog comes to mind.

The enlightened however are able to see there is truth in everything, even lies. Particularly lies. Something the counterculture of the 60's / 70's could perhaps grasp but not express. Much of this was due to a lack of mathematical understanding and poor verbal skills that left them inarticulate and ineffective.

Vietnam was a military failure much in part as it was based on faulty maths much based on Game Theory and the Prisoner's Dilemma and other works of paranoid schizophrenic John Nash. While Nash's works hold critical insight, those who attempted to apply them had little grasp on what those insights were. Where Nash realised insight in numbers, the pentagon just saw them as something to punch into adding machines. It wasn't necessarily garbage in garbage out, but just the wholesale download of data into the garbage disposal for shredding with the results interpreted by certifed tea leaf readers.

Body counts and other meaningless quota systems gamed the system against victory because the theory failed to recognise that humans are not calculators. Sure some weird freaks are, and until recently the word calculator referred not to machines but to someone good at calculating numbers. Overall, most humans are bad with numbers but good at lazy (different than the greedy that was used to incorrectly apply game theory) and being able to build odd logic systems when forced to meet meaningless imaginary goals such as quotas. Numbers are easy to fudge, and if you don't fudge them you can always get bonus points in the body counts by killing anyone and labelling them as enemy afterwards. The mathematical results did little to realise the martial goals originally set out upon.

One thing I have found strange in all the recent talk in the US regarding healthcare is that it seems much of the mess we're in was a result of these same bad maths strategy of Vietnam were later applied to the US Healthcare system when Robert Macnamera played his same numbers game as consultant for the US and later at the invitation of Margaret Thatcher in the 80's to apply his 'wizardry' to the UK system. Both applications were utter failures worse than Vietnam. But like there were no hippies, like complaining. Instead, they turned to alternative medicine which is based on even less reliable principles.

Comment: Bread and Circus or Godel and Bach? (Score 4, Interesting) 1153

by woodsrunner (#34081754) Attached to: How Much Math Do We Really Need?
Speaking as someone who has a degree in English Literature, I can safely say I use the maths every day. Although I should preface that I work as an analyst and the fields of mathematics I do the most research result in receiving an inordinate amount of CIA recruiting adverts from google adsense. On the upside, I can google "eclipse" and get zero vampire results.

That I ended up in a maths intensive vocation is not unusual. I didn't realise it at the time, but as a kid I had freakish abilities. I just thought it was not unusual. Actually, I believed my teachers who thought I was retarded. I could score 99th percentile on the maths portions of standardised testing, I just couldn't read, write or speak and was severely withdrawn.

Part of this was due to the fact that my father taught me the three R's at an early age and let me write left handed. At school I was required to switch to be right handed. Much later, a teacher advised me to try typing and it helped a lot.

Rather than pursue an Honours Engineering course at University of Illinois, I majored in Lit and Philosophy at a small liberal arts college to become a part of society. I had a fear of becoming an alienated scientist bullied by the same jocks from school into making nuclear weapons.

One could argue that there's no need to pursue literacy beyond the basics. And the author of the article mentions this. But really, what a dismal waste of one's life. It reminds me of the cliché Italian mobster who justifies a sociopath existence banking on a deathbed prayer can absolve him and get him to heaven -- it shows a true lack of understanding in the concept of statistics and risk analysis that someone in that line of work will even have a death bed beyond an unexpectedly cold sidewalk.

Society as it is far too unaware and lost. Literature, Science and Math are what glue our society together. Without it, there's just bread and circus and a general abuse of nerds. Do we really want a culture that would murder Archimedes or make a lampshade out of Einstein or Godel? It's not like we're that removed from that culture of violence today.

Life without intellectual stimulation is a banquet of white bread and margarine washed down with kool-aid while watching the football on the big screen. You can say it's adequate, but it's not my cup of tea.

Yes, one may rarely use the quadratic equation in everyday life, but that doesn't mean the neuron pathways developed in learning this formula doesn't help one make more rational and strategically better decisions in subject matter far removed from the ethereal world of numbers.

Math is neither an art, nor a science; it is the magic that holds the two hemispheres together; writing code seems to be a composite of both: poetry with numbers.

Sure one could do without either, but as Calvin's tiger Hobbes said, without it would be "nasty, brutish and short." For society's sake, we need more maths. I teach junior high economics and personal budgeting through JA and believe me when the teacher asks you quietly after class how to calculate percentages, you know mathematics is not valued enough in our culture.

Something to consider today, the birthday of John Keats, a man who so beautifully combined poetry and science to envision discoveries, such as the workings of the nervous system, not to be revealed through the scientific method for some time later.

Comment: Outsourcing is all about forgetting (Score 1) 508

by woodsrunner (#33392084) Attached to: Wired Youths In China & Japan Forget Character Forms
My dad taught me to write before I started at school. And I was left handed and did great. But at school the nuns wouldn't have none of that sinister writing and forced me to relearn with my right hand. Which led to what I guess would be called learning disability these days.

Fortunately, a guy in my bike club figured this out (he was a writer) and got me to try typing. I got a big 3/4 ton Adler and went to town. It solved a lot of left / right hemisphere problems.

So I've been a touch typist before I got my first computer (Apple IIe). And stuck with the Adler through University.

My hand writing is not as good as it used to be. But I also fill notebook after notebook. Reams of data. I take notes at meetings, phone conversations, etc. A lot of times, I have to copy out by hand the text I am trying to learn. When I'm cracked on a coding problem, I often write out my code by hand or it's to the window with the dry erase pens.

Over the years, I've gone from being left brain / right brain to pure amygdala. It seems that switching it up gets the whole brain working again. To me, it's like how artists switch medium to get their creativity driving again.

But the amnesia part of the story hit home. I hate the forgetting part. For example, I do some coding in python. I'd say I am a medium to experienced coder in the language. Well, I probably wouldn't but that's what the brainbench test said. I usually feel like I suck.

But anyways, hadn't used python for a week. Went back to a project and could not remember Idle. Just stared blankly at the screen saying ACK!! like Bill the cat.

Thankfully Google brought it back. Made me wonder what outsourcing our memory to Google will do to the species. Will it dumb us down and smarten us up like text did?

Comment: Re:Don't lose out on experiencing her life with he (Score 2, Interesting) 527

by woodsrunner (#33254190) Attached to: Preserving Memories of a Loved One?
You'll find the right balance. My dad died when I was young. Before grade one. Relatives tried to archive him with the tech of the day -- audio tapes, photos, etc. But I don't have anything but his watch.

I have many memories of doing yard work with him or sitting on the back steps going over the financial pages of the newspaper. Probably one of the few four year olds who knew what a P/E ratio was -- knowledge that served me well in the dot com bubble, I might add.

I may not have a photo of him, but feel connected to him following the markets, doing maths or working in the yard.

Comment: Guns Attract Criminals (Score 1) 825

by woodsrunner (#33164738) Attached to: Where To Start With DIY Home Security?
The downside of guns, is they tend to attract criminals as they are useful tools in committing other crimes and have a ready black market: for a stolen item, you get the most buck for the bang as opposed to trying to flog the action figures, comic books and decrepit hardware with weird OS's that most geeks tend to hoard.

Guns are light, easy to transport (as opposed to a large LCD) and unless you're into shooting sports the large investment leave you unprepared to defend your home. And even if you are a good shot, chances are it's either not at hand when needed (locked in the other room), the breakin occurs whe you won't be around to use it and just have it straight out stolen, or worst case ontario have it or use it on yourself in the heat of the moment.

The one time I had a home invasion, the first thing I did was hide my gun, a beautiful Israeli AK-47, as I didn't want it to be involved in the pending brawl.

I come from a family with a long tradition of shooting and piss off my ATF cousins when I outshoot them at family get togethers. Still I don't own anything more than a pellet rifle. Shooting anything beyond that is an expensive sport that I don't find compelling enough to invest in either the time or gear.

There have been a number of break-ins recently in my area. The place two doors down has had three. In general, the targets had one thing in common: gun owners.

The fact that I have a yard full of sled dogs and my house is clearly visible from the road are probably two factors I have not yet been victimized. And to be honest, would appreciate some kids hauling off my collection ancient hardware just to avoid the recycling fees.

Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches. If the vending machine doesn't sell it, they don't eat it. Vending machines don't sell quiche.

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