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Comment: Re:Oblig XKCD (Score 5, Informative) 124

by xQx (#46233537) Attached to: Why P-values Cannot Tell You If a Hypothesis Is Correct

While I agree with the article's headline/conclusion - They aren't innocent of playing games themselves:

Take their sentence: "meeting online nudged the divorce rate from 7.67% down to 5.96%, and barely budged happiness from 5.48 to 5.64 on a 7-point scale" ... Isn't that intentionally misleading? Sure, 0.16 points doesn't sound like much... but it's on a seven point scale. If we change that to a 3 point scale it's only 0.06 points! Amazingly small! ... but wait, if I change that to a 900,000 point scale, well, then that's a whole 20,571 points difference. HUGE NUMBERS!

But I think they missed a really important point - SPSS (one of the very popular data analysis packages) offers you a huge range of correlation tests, and you are _supposed_ to choose to best match the data. Each has their own assumptions, and will only provide the correct 'p' value if the data matches those assumptions.

For example, Many of the tests require that the data follow a bell-shaped curve, and you are supposed to first test your data to ensure that it is normally distributed before using any of the correlation tests that assume normally distributed data. If you don't, you risk over-stating the correlation.

If you have data from a likert scale, you should treat it as ordinal (ranked) data, not numerical (ie. the difference between "Totally Disagree" and "somewhat disagree" should not be assumed to be the same as the difference between "somewhat disagree" and " totally agree") - however, if you aren't getting to the magic p0.5 treating it as ordinal data, you can usually get it over the line by treating it as numerical data and running a different correlation test.

Lecturers are measured on how many papers they publish, most peer reviewers don't know the subtle differences between these tests, so as long as they see 'SPSS said p0.5' and they don't disagree with any of the content of your paper, yay, you get published.

Finally, many of the tests have a minimum sample size that should ever be analysed. If you only have a study of 300 people, there's a whole range of popular correlation tests that you are not supposed to use. But you do, because SPSS makes it easy, because it gets better results, because you forgot what the minimum size was and can't be arsed looking it up (if it's a real problem the reviewers will point it out).

(Evidence to support these statements can be found in the "Survey Researcher's SPSS Cookbook" by Mark Manning and Don Munro. Obviously, it doesn't go into how you can choose an incorrect test to 'hack the p value', to prove that I recommend you download a copy of SPSS and take a short-term position as a lecturer's assistant)

Comment: Re:Copyright violation. (Score 5, Interesting) 119

by xQx (#46004325) Attached to: Nagios-Plugins Web Site Taken Over By Nagios

This battle was lost years ago when this volunteer organisation gave control of their domain to Nagios Enterprises to avoid trademark issues.

So they've been able to continue in their priviliaged position paying Nagios Enterprises SFA for theses years, until finally some mid-level bureaucrat decided that the money they were getting ($0) from community group doesn't outweigh the brand-risk that they pose, and they brought the website back inhouse.

Wow, I would never have seen that coming!!

Sounds to me like Nagios Enterprises is readying its self for sale.

This is the open source business model. Cisco have been at it for years. Get used to it.

Comment: Re:Guesses as to end effect? (Score 4, Insightful) 202

by xQx (#45758849) Attached to: Plans To Accept Bitcoin

Parent should be modded up.

Also, what is this "plans to accept" BS. There are heaps of online retailers who take bitcoin, and if they were serious they would have just used someone like to do the merchant service for them and convert it back to USD on the fly.

Slashdot - stuff that matters.... It will be news when ACCEPT bitcoin, not when they do nothing more than release a press release that they PLAN TO ACCEPT bitcoin some day in the future.

Thanks Slashdot for your thinly veiled Christmas advertising. Anyone wanna buy some Viagra?

Comment: So not news! (Score 1) 413

by xQx (#45710589) Attached to: Exponential Algorithm In Windows Update Slowing XP Machines

This whole article is interesting, but so not news.

I'm surprised that Microsoft is spending *any* time trying to fix this issue, given that the whole windows update process will be replaced in 4 months with the following:

if( operatingSystemVersion 6)


Comment: Re:Oh great (Score 2) 131

by xQx (#45593357) Attached to: SpaceX Launch Achieves Geostationary Transfer Orbit


SpaceX started merely as a loss-making venture poaching ex-government and contractor employees, and taking government money - it really had nothing meritocratic to bring to the table.

Very good point. I'd just like to clarify two minor things...

1. I agree with you, that it is very easy to start a business putting stuff into space that makes money from the outset. There are plenty of real-life examples where real innovation is achieved without any requirement for up-front capital (loss-making business models), usually it's funded from initial sales.

I forget the example business models and companies.... can you remind me of them?

2. Prior to getting "poached" by SpaceX, which "really had nothing meritocratic to bring to the table.", there have been DECADES of intense innovation in the space industry thanks to an overwhelming support and encouragement from government. This intense innovation has been _so succesful_ that NASA have recently retired their last government owned space shuttles.

Elon Musk was just standing on the shoulders of giants by proposing the incremental innovation of having rockets land intact...

Wikipedia has let me down... are you able to point me in the direction of the space innovation that's recently come out of the US government organisations, making Space-X's work redundant?

(sarcasm is often lost in text, so let me be direct: IMHO, private companies like Space-X are facilitating innovation in space travel. This is their contribution to society. You can piss & moan because private people are making money out of it, but it's better than government money being wasted on useless bureaucracy supporting (or causing) scientists resting on their laurels.)

Comment: Remember, it's $1000 AUD, not $1,000 USD (Score 2) 206

by xQx (#45296899) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Package Redirection Service For Shipping to Australia?

If you import something for $999 USD today, it would be assessed as a $1,056.25 AUD import.

This would probably attract and additional:
$55 Customs Processing Fee
$50 Import Duty (assuming the standard 2.5% import duties)
$105.63 GST

It needs to be less than $1,000 AUD per shipment.

Comment: Re:They are right, but (Score 2) 634

by xQx (#45130147) Attached to: China's State Press Calls For 'Building a De-Americanized World'

They are right, the world needs a better currency. Preferably one not regulated by nation states or corporations: maybe bitcoin or a descendant with its flaws fixed.

Okay, I'll bite (because I might learn something).

What are the flaws that need to be fixed in bitcoin, and given the world adopted democracy, Microsoft windows, and Keynesian economics despite their flaws, what makes you think bitcoin won't be accepted despite its flaws?

Comment: Re:Placebin (Score 3, Insightful) 291

by xQx (#45032063) Attached to: My favorite brand of snake oil is ...

Actually, there are numerous scientific studies that prove that a placebos improve medical outcomes (compared with not administering any drug).

Here are some cool facts* about the effectiveness of placebos:

This is why you can actually say [homeopathy/snake oil/Magnet Therapy] etc. all are "scientifically proven to improve your outcomes" and be telling the truth.
The real question is if [homeopathy/snake oil/Magnet Therapy] is any "more effective than a similarly administered placebo".

Comment: Re:Are you serious? (Score 1) 682

by xQx (#44989671) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Suitable Phone For a 4-Year Old?

IIRC, Zuk didn't get just sit at home all day playing computer games, he also went to Harvard Business School.

Bill Gates didn't go to school, but he also didn't sit at home all day and play computer games.

Neither of them had a mobile phone at age 4, both of them didn't come from broken families.

Steve Jobs on the other hand, was adopted, didn't go to college, and got insanely rich. I think he even played computer games as a kid. But he died at age 37.

Comment: Re:4 years (Score 1) 682

by xQx (#44989609) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Suitable Phone For a 4-Year Old?

And no, it's not every parents fault if a kid grows "fucked up". That is likely more due to the influence of ignorance coming from society, as you have so deftly demonstrated.

Again, had you a shred of experience in this matter, you might have known that.

Hi, I have kids. I agree with GP. Sure, you can't be responsible for all instances of your kids growing up "fucked up", but generally speaking, doing stuff like divorcing the child's mother, giving them a phone at age 4, giving them games consoles and buying their love - it ain't exactly giving your kid the best start at life is it?

"Life Happens", but when you have kids, you can either say "it's the influence of society, things don't always work as planned, its not my fault you're fucked up", or you take control, be a f*cking man, and work that shit out for the sake of giving your kids the best start in life.

Comment: Re: 4 years (Score 0, Flamebait) 682

by xQx (#44989549) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Suitable Phone For a 4-Year Old?

Agreed - you suck as a parent.

But to answer the original question: piss off all the requirements for video games, the only thing worse than not being with your child is letting him play video games all day.

Then buy one of these phones, so they can call you, mom, and nobody else:

Best thing is, with the GPS you'll be able to see where your other half is taking him.

A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing. -- Alan Perlis