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Comment p-value research is misleading almost always (Score 5, Interesting) 208

I studied and tutored experimental design and this use of inferential statistics. I even came up with a formula for 1/5 the calculator keystrokes when learning to calculate the p-value manually. Take the standard deviation and mean for each group, then calculate the standard deviation of these means (how different the groups are) divided by the mean of these standard deviations (how wide the groups of data are) and multiply by the square root of n (sample size for each group). But that's off the point. We had 5 papers in our class for psychology majors (I almost graduated in that instead of engineering) that discussed why controlled experiments (using the p-value) should not be published. In each case my knee-jerk reaction was that they didn't like math or didn't understand math and just wanted to 'suppose' answers. But each article attacked the math abuse, by proficient academics at universities who did this sort of research. I came around too. The math is established for random environments but the scientists control every bit of the environment, not to get better results but to detect thing so tiny that they really don't matter. The math lets them misuse the word 'significant' as though there is a strong connection between cause and effect. Yet every environmental restriction (same living arrangements, same diets, same genetic strain of rats, etc) invalidates the result. It's called intrinsic validity (finding it in the experiment) vs. extrinsic validity (applying in real life). You can also find things that are weaker (by the square root of n) by using larger groups. A study can be set up in a way so as to likely find 'something' tiny and get the research prestige, but another study can be set up with different controls that turn out an opposite result. And none apply to real life like reading the results of an entire population living normal lives. You have to study and think quite a while, as I did (even walking the streets around Berkeley to find books on the subject up to 40 years prior) to see that the words "99 percentage significance level" means not a strong effect but more likely one that is so tiny, maybe a part in a million, that you'd never see it in real life.

Submission + - Wikipedia and the Oligarchy of Ignorance 1

Andreas Kolbe writes: A recent news story reported that a Wikipedia editor had take it upon himself to make tens of thousands of volunteer edits to eliminate a single perceived grammatical mistake ("comprised of") on the online encyclopedia's pages. In Wikipedia and the Oligarchy of Ignorance, David Golumbia looks at what motivates people to become involved in a crowdsourced project like Wikipedia. He finds lust for power, and concludes that even though Wikipedia purports to be engaged in a democratisation of knowledge, its structurelessness has actually made it a "breeding ground for tyrants". Golumbia approvingly quotes Mako Hill and Shaw, both enthusiastic supporters of the crowdsourcing concept, who nevertheless found that "the adoption of peer production’s organizational forms may inhibit the achievement of enhanced organizational democracy".

Comment Re:US Centric? (Score 2) 167

Infobitt founder/CEO here. We want to solve this problem by creating a separate homepage for each nationality, or perhaps simply by filtering the news in a certain clever way that I won't bother to describe. The great thing about a big online community coming together to build Infobitt will be that we can indeed compare different sources. Perhaps your impressions of U.S. news is correct. Perhaps when stacked up directly with other reporting, you'll find it's not as bad as you think. We'll be able to tell much more easily because facts from different sources will be rubbing shoulders within the same bitts (stories = collections of facts).

Comment Re:Online news (Score 3, Interesting) 167

Infobitt founder/CEO here. Hey, I love Google News. But what they don't do is summarize the stories, nor do they make a credible effort of organizing the news in a way that makes it possible to get caught up with the news quickly and efficiently. Suppose you want to really learn about a story that is being covered by many different news sources. Google News provides the awesome service of letting you find all the coverage quickly. But what they don't do is make it any easier to extract original reporting from among the facts contained in those articles. You can read one article, and that will get your fingers on one part of the elephant...but if you want to handle the whole elephant, you'll have to wade through all the other articles as well. A community of newshounds could do that for you, summarizing all the unique facts in a nonredundant way, putting them in order of importance. That's what we're trying to do.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 5, Informative) 167

Hi, I'm the Infobitt founder/CEO. No, it's not the same thing at all. Wikinews doesn't address itself to the problem of making sense of the news in the face of facts being scattered among repetitive articles, clickbait, etc. Traditional citizen journalism just gives people a platform to write articles and pretend to be journalists. We're not doing that. We're inviting people to find, rank, summarize both individual facts and stories (which we call bitts, which are made up of facts). Our mission isn't to add to the cacophany of the news, but to organize it.

Submission + - Is a "Wikipedia for news" feasible? (larrysanger.org) 5

Larry Sanger writes: Online news has become ridiculously confusing. Interesting bits are scattered among repetitive articles, clickbait, and other noise. Besides, there's so much interesting news, but we just don't have time for it all. Automated tools help a little, but give us only an unreliable selection; we still feel like we're missing out. Y'know, back in the 1990s, we used to have a similar problem about general knowledge. Locating answers to basic questions through the noise of the Internet was hit-and-miss and took time. So we organized knowledge with Wikipedia ("the encyclopedia that Slashdot built"). Hey, why don't we do something similar for the news? Is it possible to make a Wikipedia for news, pooling the efforts of newshounds everywhere? Could such a community cut through the noise and help get us caught up more quickly and efficiently? As co-founder of Wikipedia, I'm coming down on the "yes" side. I have recently announced an open content, collaborative news project, Infobitt (be gentle, Slashdot! We are still in early stages!), and my argument for the affirmative position is made both briefly and at length.

Comment timing - which year (Score 2) 72

I travel a ton and stay in dozens of different hotels every year. Domestically, and in maybe 50% of the foreign cases, the high priced hotels had worse and slower internet up until a couple of years ago. For the last 2 years they have gotten better, on the average. Oh, I was in a 5-star Vegas resort last night that had horrible bandwidth. In the past, my joke was accurate that the difference between a Four Seasons (just an example) and a Super 8 is that at the Super 8 the internet worked and was free. The most important thing to me in a hotel is computer use. The fancy suites in major hotels are often set up for entertaining friends and DON'T even have a computer desk. I ask my wife to book me into Super 8's whenever possible.

Comment Re:The question to me seems to be... (Score 1) 148

End goal: change the constitution. We need a start. It's easy to see how hard this will be and to give up early, but some of us feel the imperative to fight for it. We can change things. The vast will of the masses (corporation political donations are not equivalent to the free speech we enjoy as individuals) needs to be strategically gathered. Critical mass could take decades, as with things like gay marriage.

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