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Comment Re:Now... (Score 4, Insightful) 107

That is a distinct viewpoint known as Deism - also commonly discussed as a "watchmaker God". It is a means of reconciling belief in a deity with the apparent lack of evidence for one. However, Deism directly contradicts intelligent design - the two are as irreconcilable as evolution and intelligent design.

Intelligent Design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection" . The very undirected process a hypothetical Deist god would set in motion (evolution) is specifically what Intelligent Design claims does not work.

It's not that evolution and religion cannot coexist - if I'm not mistaken, evolution even has the Papal seal of approval. They can. But intelligent design is not religion - it's a dogma pretending to be science. Only the form of pseudo-science they chose to make their defining point is so clearly refutable that they wind up with less credibility than if they had just gone with "faith" as their explanation.

Comment Re:Now... (Score 5, Insightful) 107

I know you made a joke, but this right here is why believing in intelligent design and evolution etc are not necessarily incompatible with each other.

No, it is not. They are incompatible.

Intelligent Design comes in two forms. The first is when we admit that it is just a euphemism for creationism. In this case, the theory of evolution (as well as most of the field of archaeology) clearly contradicts the story of Genesis, thus rendering the two incompatible.

The second is the form in which ID, in an attempt to distance itself from religion, rests upon the principle of irreducible complexity. The basic idea is that certain constructs represented in nature today (the human eye is an oft-used example) would have been useless in a less-complex or less specific form, and thus these traits would not have evolved (a half-formed eye is an evolutionary disadvantage, a being is better off not wasting the calories keeping that useless tissue alive). Since these traits could not develop through incremental changes, some traits must not evolve, but must have been put there by some intelligent agent.

This second form is not so much a scientific theory as it is a fundamental misunderstanding of stochastic processes and the field of mathematical optimization. This form of ID is basically the claim that evolutionary optimization can never escape local optima to discover global optima - something a competent applied mathematician knows to be false.

Comment Re:What about ladyboys/shemales? (Score 4, Interesting) 270

While I'm not sure what part of the world you're in, I know that a large portion of the slashdot readership resides in the USA. And here (possibly other places, but I can only reliably talk about here), male-to-female transsexuals are generally offended by the term "shemale". They seem to prefer either "trans-women", "MtF" or just "women". That may explain your -1 troll.

That said, it seems humorous to complain about how trans-erasure has kept people from acknowledging male-to-female transsexuals while also ignoring female-to-male transsexuals. At least trans-women are noticed because they are sexualized - trans-men seem almost wholly ignored in the populace.

But to answer your question more directly, the reason nobody talked about them in *this* article is because they are not a lucrative target market for advertisements. The homosexual male community is not targeted for advertisement because they are so numerous, but because the retail and marketing world believes that gay males spend a lot of money and, more importantly, influence the fashions and tastes of the heterosexual people surrounding them. Clothing stores see gay men as trend setters, so they believe that getting gay men to adopt their clothes will lead the heterosexual people to follow. Because of rampant discrimination and erasure, trans people are not perceived as having the same trend-setting appeal.

Comment Re:past history (Score 1) 91

Good catch. I meant an alpha of 0.2 - which as you note is 80% confidence.

50% is not as low as you go, because of the way brackets are scored. You predict the outcome of *all* the games in the tournament before *any* games are played. Which means that errors in the first round mean that you haven't even properly predicted who is playing in the second round. If the team you picked as winning a game doesn't even play that game, then you automatically lose.

If we simplify the tournament, we can pretend there are 64 teams (there are really 68). Thus, if you flip a coin, you expect to average 50% in the first round. However, in the second round games fall into one of two categories:
  • games whose participants are who you predicted (1/2 of all games, and you get 50% of them right)
  • games with one participant you predicted (1/2 of all games, and you get 25% of them right)

As you can see, this causes the proportion of games you properly predict to go down with each level of the competition. Now consider that the scoring is weighted by round - games in round 2 are worth twice as much as games in round one.

That's how coin-flip gets you worse than 50%.

Comment Re:past history (Score 5, Insightful) 91

I worked in a research group in college that worked on exactly this problem - predicting NCAA tournaments with a graph-theoretic approach. That is exactly how you test the algorithm. And the cited estimate of 70-80% accuracy seems made up. People who research the field know that there is far less certainty than that. At something like 20% confidence, your prediction should be something like 20%-90%.

The problem stems from the fact that we traditionally predict a team will win if it is a stronger or better team, and we use our graph theory to produce relative team ratings. And if each game of the tournament were played over and over again with the winner of the majority going to the next round, then our methods would work even better. As it stands though, we are trying to predict a single sampling from a probability distribution - which will necessarily have error. Informally, the real tournament has upsets (when a weaker team beats a stronger one). Our algorithms can't predict these, the best they can do is gain a better understanding than humans as to which team is better.

Add to that the fact that the tournament is structured hierarchically - a mis-prediction in the first round prevents you from even attempting to predict later games (and by NCAA bracket scoring, that counts the same as mis-predicting those later games). So early upsets can potentially have large negative outcomes on brackets.

Comment Re:Another reason (Score 5, Informative) 346

There have only been two - Vietnam and Korea

My current political knowledge and world history are insufficient to comment on the exact number of wars that have occurred since 1945, but I'm quite certain it's more than those two. I think perhaps you mis-interpreted the issue as the number of wars the U.S. has been involved in.

And that's not really true. Yes, our executives have recently avoided the legitimacy of getting a declaration of war before mounting a large-scale military invasion of a nation, doing combat with the armed forces of that nation, and ultimately replacing the government of that nation. However, just because they haven't had the integrity to use the word "war" doesn't mean we didn't go to war - it just means our Congress should be upset that its constitutional role was usurped by another branch of government.

Comment Re:No he didn't (Score 1) 311

And just to shake up the traditional Slashdot vibe...

Your citation was helpful. Thanks for the correction. I was wrong to incorrectly mention only those two uses of quotation marks.

That said, wikipedia lists the following correct uses:
  • direct quotes
  • irony (I called it sarcasm)
  • unusual usage (as mentioned by parent)
  • use-mention distinction (as mentioned by parent
  • titles of works
  • nicknames and false titles (Nat "King" Cole)

It also mentions the incorrect, but increasingly common amongst the un- or insufficiently-educated, usage of quotes for emphasis ( "No" food or drink in the theater).
That said, none of these categories explain the use (I was referring to the title) of quotes around "too intrusive". Context clues still indicate to a reader that this is a direct quote, but he did not say it.

Comment No he didn't (Score 1) 311

Maybe it's a nitpick, but if you employ quotation marks, you are denoting one of two things - sarcasm or direct quotation. Given the context, it does not appear to be sarcasm. RTFA shows that Torvalds did not use the words "too intrusive".

Sure, it's one somewhat questionable paraphrase of what he said, but to use quotation marks there is dishonest. His complaint was not even over the amount of effort, but rather of whom the effort was required. That is, non-root users were being required to know the root password for routine tasks.

Comment News? (Score 0) 305

Seriously? This is months old! You know how old this is?

It's a collection of new C++ features, and prominent compilers have already added support for it. Getting C++ compiler vendors off their butts to implement new features takes freakin' forever, but I can already play with lambdas, auto, and variadic templates - at least.

That said, as a professional C++ developer working in HPC, this is exciting.

Comment Re:Oh, come on, Slashdot! (Score 1) 554

I think medcalf is specifically referring to the precedent set by Wickard v Filburn (

tl;dr: Federal government used ICC to set wheat farming maximums (to drive prices up). A farmer grows more than his quota, but not for sale - only personal consumption. Supreme court rules that ICC applies even though the situation doesn't relate to interstate commerce because, had he not produced his own wheat for his own consumption, he *might have* bought it, and he *might have* done so from a farmer in another state.

So, under current Supreme-Court precedent, yes they could take away your hand-blown bulbs. You are correct to point out that they would not under current law, but medcalf is correct that they *could* (if the law were changed).

But just in general, the federal government does a lot of things that are outside its constitutionally enumerated powers. Whenever this fact is brought up in relation to a specific law, it is usually ICC that is used to justify it.

Comment Re:Doesn't Block Ads (Score 1) 260

As much as we complain about obnoxious flash ads and the like, it's pretty rare to see a website where made up of more than 25% advertisements.

We should be careful about how we define what "25%" is a percentage of? Your estimate is right on if we're discussing screen real-estate.

But screen real-estate doesn't contribute to anyone's bandwidth cap, so maybe we should consider bytes. In that case, most blogs have >75% ads, since they consist of text content (small) a logo (cached after loading once) and flash video or image ads (very large, reload each time you open a new article or refresh the same article).

And many of us still have connections whose caps we never go near, so we really care about load time. For a great many websites (most with ads?), ads again take a majority, because many ad networks us javascript hacks to ensure that the content doesn't load until *after* large images or flash are pulled from an overloaded server.

Comment Re:Speed things up, Cut out the middle man (Score 1) 215

Actually, this just might work!

To: Vic Toews
From: Me

Hey, all I did today was post on Slashdot.

To: Vic Toews
From: Me

Oops, forgot to mention I also emailed you my internet activity for today.

To: Vic Toews
From: Me

Oops, forgot to mention I also emailed you an update to my internet activity for today.

To: Vic Toews
From: Me

Oops, forgot to mention I also emailed you an update to my internet activity for today.

ad infinitum

Comment Re:Solve for X is already registered trademark (Score 3, Informative) 80

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