Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Sexy job (Score 4, Interesting) 193

by TapeCutter (#48177705) Attached to: The One App You Need On Your Resume If You Want a Job At Google
Statistics and Logistics were a major part of my CS degree way back in the late 80's, more so than writing programs. If you think the only place statistics are used in tech companies is in marketing material then I have to conclude you have never worked as a corporate plumber and have no idea what they do. The core reason developers have always attracted good salaries at large corporations is that they can sift through mountains of data and tell the managers something about their business that they didn't know.

I'm not that far from retirement but that job will disappear in the near future, the technology in IBM's Watson will "democratise" data analysis in the same way the PC has "democratised" programming. Experts will have a "conversation" with the computer in which man and machine will both "learn" something, Google style search engines will look as quaint as a "ready reckoner" book of maths tables. And yes, Watson relies heavily on statistics, it doesn't actually give you an "answer" it gives a range of answers with an associated probability. Sounds kinda flakey but the fact that it can beat the world's top trivia buffs in an open ended problem domain is old news.

When it won the Jeopardy championship a few years ago it needed 2 tons of air-conditioning alone and was an exclusive toy for IBM devs. Today it fits on a "pizza box" server and IBM have recently opened the API to the public.

Disclaimer: Worked for IBM in the 90's, not shilling, just my personal opinion that "cognitive computing" may turn out to be more significant to human history than anything else that's happened since WW2.

Comment: Re:Why Cold Fusion (or something like it) Is Real (Score 1) 339

by TapeCutter (#48175341) Attached to: The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real
Earth sciences such as climate science are what is known as a "systems science", the aim is to model the behaviour of a system using accepted physics, chemistry, economic behaviour, etc. That's why technically a climate model produces a "forecast" not a "prediction". Also although we don't have a replica Earth, we do have Venus and Mars, planetary science has taught us a lot about our own planet. Some people complain that it's "just statistics" but they don't seem to mind that temperature and pressure are also "just statistics".

Comment: Re:Makes sense (Score 1) 76

Don't bet on that, Cheerios have a lattice like internal structure that has orders of magnitude more surface area than what it would have with a smooth surface. You're intestines work on the same principle, they are lined with microscopic "fingers" that maximise the surface area used to absorb nutrients, without those fingers you would starve to death in a matter of weeks.

While on the subject there's a good chance that rocks that have an internal structure similar to cheerio are an essential part of the hypothesis that life emerged from volcanic vents on the sea floor. The tiny bubbles in the rocks (think charcoal,scoria,etc) are perfect for forming lipid bubbles - primitive cell membranes that spontaneously arise from the lipids found in clay, clay only forms under water. Volcanic vents are the #1 suspect in the hunt to find where life arose on Earth...interesting stuff, you can google the rest with "abiogenesis Harvard"

Comment: Re:Prison population (Score 2) 399

by TapeCutter (#48172757) Attached to: As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal
Depends what you mean by "welfare", many people on the right of US politics would argue that spending tax money on health and education is welfare. Good governments don't create jobs they create new markets and opportunities via regulation. A wise government equips their people with the tools to recognise and exploit those opportunities in a way that benefits society as a whole.

Comment: Re:Prison population (Score 1) 399

by TapeCutter (#48172503) Attached to: As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal
Lead pollution and abortion may well have some influence, however the reason the US has more prisoners that any other nation is its absurd practice of locking up people for possessing a banned substances. You guys have the highest incarceration rate in the world, higher than oppressive hell holes like Sudan or Saudi Arabia and 7X that of China. In fact in raw numbers the US has almost as many drug war prisoners as the EU has prisoners for ALL crimes.

It a good thing to see the US is finally starting to moderate that socially destructive policy, I hope the numbers continue to drop.

Comment: Re:So confused (Score 3, Insightful) 376

by TapeCutter (#48154607) Attached to: Pentagon Reportedly Hushed Up Chemical Weapons Finds In Iraq
It was common knowledge that Saddam had chemical weapons as far back as the 80's. Bush and co were pushing a bogus "mushroom" line and worse still they knew they were doing it (although I think Powell may have been set up as a fall guy), that slide show at the UN made a lot of people (including me) angry, but to be fair Saddam was pretending he had them so maybe they did believe it, who's to say what a politician actually believes? - What Bush and co actually believed at the time we will never really know, but we are left with two unflattering explanations, either they were incompetent ideologues or despicable warmongers.

Comment: Re:Designed in US, Built in EU, Filled in Iraq (Score 4, Interesting) 376

by TapeCutter (#48154417) Attached to: Pentagon Reportedly Hushed Up Chemical Weapons Finds In Iraq
How do you suggest we help these sex slaves, carpet bomb their village? The west could wipe out ISIS in a week, faster if we used tactical nukes, the reason we don't do that is that we value the lives ISIS are so eager to sacrifice. Containing these arseholes to one patch of desert is the best we can do right now, they have bitten off way more than they can chew. We tried a ground army and it made things worse, we don't need to spill our own blood purging Saddam's generals from the desert, time is rapidly turning their own tribe against them.

In a historical sense ISIS may have actually done something useful, they concentrated the command and control of islamic extremists into one place and have united the Sunni's, Shiites, and Kurds in a fight against a common enemy. They are penned in on all sides by nations that are hostile towards them, they have no hope of expanding beyond Syria/Iraq (and possibly Afghanistan) via military means. What happens after ISIS is gone I don't know, but the idea of a caliphate where they are not in charge is scaring the shit out of all of the tribal leaders right now and may just force the three tribes to find a more civilised way of disagreeing.

This war is a muslim war, if we charge in now boots and all it will revert to a muslim vs the west war which is precisely what ISIS wants, they want us to try and root them out because they believe that would line up the tribes behind them (better the devil you know and all that). The best thing the west can do now is work with Russia to avoid falling into the old cold war pattern of fighting proxy wars using impoverished nations as their pawns. If the west and Russia start openly fighting for influence in the region, we are in a different and much more deadly ball park.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.