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Comment Academics doesn't deserve live performances? (Score 4, Interesting) 212

"With modern technology, if all there is is music, we don't need musicians to do it. ... Get 'em to do it once, put it on the Web, and fire the musicians."

Careful where you go with that line of thinking. And if anyone says, "there's a difference between a physics lecture, and something creative like music," I would respond that you've never had a good physics teacher. Physics is very creative, once you start getting into the upper levels.

Eric Mazur gave a talk here at the University of Waterloo, and his talk was not about getting rid of lectures, per se. That's something the NPR reporter seems to assume, to the point where (s)he inserted soundbytes from an entirely different physics prof. Mazur's focus is about making the classtime much more interactive, to give students feedback about whether or not they really grasp the concepts. Again, it's about guided creativity. And no, you can't get rid of the professor in that situation.

(Yes, I was a physics major.)

Comment Wording of this question favours the young (Score 1) 336

The younger you are, the younger it's possible for you to have gotten email. Old hat techies who were born in 1940 wouldn't be able to break the 50% mark no matter how hardcore they are, but anyone born 1990 or later will probably be able to truthfully pick one of the latter two options.

It's funny, because this is the opposite of how these polls usually go.

Comment Should take more of a shrink-wrap license approach (Score 5, Funny) 581

What are they thinking? The doctors aren't thinking outside the box enough. Really, instead of getting people to sign old-fashioned contracts, they should emulate the EULA. You know, by putting up a plaque in their office which says something like this:

By entering this building, you agree to transfer to this establishment copyright on all creative works you own including but not limited to written works, drawings, photographs, spoken-word works, in perpetuity.


Comment Re:Ugh (Score 2) 537

Without arguing that social hygene is a good idea or in some way fair, don't you have to be at least a little stupid to get involved with hiding Jews knowing that you could spend your days alternating between having to telemarket and being pounded in the ass as a result?

I mean, there's lots of things I'd like to do that I don't agree with the laws on, but orange jumpsuit is a terrible look for me and so I don't.

I know I've Godwin'd the thread, but it illustrates my point: it's a bad idea to blindly follow the law, and it's poor critical thinking to blindly condemn those who don't. There are good arguments for not getting involved with drugs, but that's not one of them.

Comment Re:LORD (Score 1) 186

I remember that. There were only a few of us who signed onto the local BBS, and only one other who was playing LORD as regularly as I was. But it made for a compelling reason to log on every day. "If I don't dial in and take my turn, that other guy is going to kill me."

Comment Give me the small, indie rental place any day (Score 1) 390

Blockbuster's selection sucked. If you only rented the most popular of movies, you'd probably never notice. But they'd have an entire wall of DVD-release-of-the-week, while completely lacking titles which were only a little out of the mainstream.

Have you ever found Mystery Science Theatre 3000 in a Blockbuster? I haven't, and people looked at me funny when I asked. But it's available at this little local rental place with shelves, stuffed floor to ceiling, with movies. They also have a basement full of obscure anime. That's the rental place which is going to stick around. Places like Blockbuster which trade only in common content will have their lunch eaten by NetFlix and download services. But the stores run by actual local movie nerds offering every obscure title under the sun will still have a reason to exist.

Buh-bye Blockbuster. I won't miss you.

Comment Numbers in the article don't match the summary (Score 1) 206

"Without any prior knowledge of the planned crime in our mock terrorism scenarios, we were able to identify 10 out of 12 terrorists and, among them, 20 out of 30 crime- related details," Rosenfeld said. "The test was 83 percent accurate in predicting concealed knowledge, suggesting that our complex protocol could identify future terrorist activity."

(Emphasis mine)

In fairness to Timothy, the linked story does have the "100 percent accuracy" soundbyte in it. I'm guessing the journalist took something the researcher said out of context.

Comment Old memo deja-vu (Score 5, Interesting) 438

From here:

BEN-VENISTE: Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that [President's daily briefing]?

RICE: I believe the title was, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."

Was anyone else reminded of that little gem?

Comment Getting punished for "doing the right thing" (Score 2, Interesting) 318

It's sad that Google is getting punished for "doing the right thing" and being honest about their screw-up.

Google: Oops! We accidentally collected all this data we weren't supposed to. Sorry, but we thought you should know. We'll just be deleting* that now... Germany: NO! You don't respect EU laws! Turn that data over!

If Google had just kept quiet and didn't admit their wrongdoing, nobody would have known about the issue, and there wouldn't be any of the wrangling we see now. But should a company keep quiet whenever it fucks up? A culture of denial is worse. It's sad, because it's exactly this sort of persecution which creates a culture where companies never admit anything, ever.

* Except the legal department probably advised them against deleting the data right after the confession, just in case something like this happened.

Comment Re:Great. What's in it? (Score 2, Interesting) 97

Wow, way to read into my post, dude.

Something most Slashdotters probably know is that science journalism is very derivative. Since a lot of journalists don't know squat about science, most of them just end up regurgitating stuff. Sometimes random irrelevant facts are added, sometimes important information is stripped out. Mentioning that both hearts are from sows without mentioning why seems strange. There could be a reason why, or it could have just been an extraneous fact that was included..

Now, the sentence from TFA ("Thatte and his group harvested two female pig hearts and placed them in two different containers.") is very similar to a sentence in a cited source here ("The researchers harvested hearts from female pigs, stored them in one of the two solutions, then biopsied them at several points over the next four hours.") Was there an original story somewhere that said why sow hearts were preferable, or was it just a random detail that someone added without context? Unfortunately, I can't access what appears to be the original paper at the moment to find out either way.

I have been paid to work in a research lab. I have also been paid to work for a newspaper. The interaction between science and the media fascinates me. And in my experience, there's a lot of truth to this comic.

Why would the gender of the heart donors matter?

The question is, why wouldn't it? Do you know? I don't.

Yeah, I'm hoping for a response from someone who does know. Thanks for making gross, incorrect assumptions about me, though.

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A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems. -- P. Erdos