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Submission + - Why Standard Deviation Should Be Retired From Scientific Use ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Statistician and author Nassim Taleb has a suggestion for scientific researchers: stop trying to use standard deviations in your work. He says it's misunderstood more often than not and also not the best tool for its purpose. 'It is all due to a historical accident: in 1893, the great Karl Pearson introduced the term "standard deviation" for what had been known as "root mean square error." The confusion started then: people thought it meant mean deviation. The idea stuck: every time a newspaper has attempted to clarify the concept of market "volatility", it defined it verbally as mean deviation yet produced the numerical measure of the (higher) standard deviation. But it is not just journalists who fall for the mistake: I recall seeing official documents from the department of commerce and the Federal Reserve partaking of the conflation, even regulators in statements on market volatility. What is worse, Goldstein and I found that a high number of data scientists (many with PhDs) also get confused in real life.'

Submission + - To OLPC or not to OLPC (

koubalitis writes: A friend of mine, an elementary school principaly in Greece, has asked me to help him evaluate the following situation, An ex student of the elementary school, now in his 70', wants to make a donation in the form of computer laptops. He is willing to buy a laptop for every student in the school, arround 150. He suggested getting OLPCs which cost arround 250-280euros per piece (including shipping and import taxes) but he is open to other alternatives. The principal gave me a sample OLPC XO-4 unit for evaluation. The truth is i wasn't impressed. It doesn't have support for Greek (UI or keyboard layout), the screen is too small, it feels too slow and the whole environment is too restrictive. On the other hand i liked the ruggedized plastics and the battery life. 300euros can get you a descent 11'' dual core netbook with linux preinstalled . So the question is this. Should we go for the OLPC or an alternative netbook/laptop/tablet? Does any slashdoter have experience with OLPCs?

Submission + - "Permissionless Innovation" or Why You Have No Privacy (

An anonymous reader writes: Why do apps take our information and sell it without our permission? Why is the Internet of Things a tangle of insecure devices? It all boils down to a theory — "permissionless innovation" whereby businesses and other innovators act first and apologize later. This piece explores what it is and whether, in the context of the Internet of Things, it's a danger.

Submission + - Why Birds Fly in a V Formation ( 2

sciencehabit writes: Anyone watching the autumn sky knows that migrating birds fly in a V formation, but scientists have long debated why. A new study of ibises--where researchers took to microlight planes and recorded birds strapped with GPS in-flight--finds that these big-winged birds carefully position their wingtips and sync their flapping, presumably to catch the preceding bird’s updraft and save energy during flight.

Comment Re: 153 GOP voted to default (Score 1) 999

There is no need for tax. In a system where the government can create money directly, government projects which create "civilization" can be funded by simply creating the extra cash. Doing so devalues the existing cash (because now it's less rare) so this cash creation needs to happen in moderation, but it does work.

And this is how things work now. Tax does not fund the government. If it did, we wouldn't be taking out loans and racking up debt. As this situation proves, tax provides a very small amount of the government funding.

And that's fine. I like the government being able to create money. I like roads and schools and national parks and NASA. In fact, creating money is the perfect tax- the dollar decreases in value and therefore those with a lot of dollars lose more than those with only a few. And there's no administration to be done to facilitate it.

What's not fine is the only mechanism the government has to create money is to borrow it from a bank. People like to rant about which banks it borrows from (the fed, china, wherever) but that's short sighted.

The problem is the fact we end up paying interest on ever dollar the government creates.

And that's what isn't sustainable. Paying tax to pay interest is unacceptable.

The idea behind defaulting is to get away from this ridiculous idea that the government of this nation has to borrow money to create money. Going about it this way would have been horrible, but seriously considering breaking the tie is worth real consideration.

Comment Tomorrowland Terrrance (Score 1) 273

One of the features I'm most proud of I coded almost entirely at the Tomorrowland Terrance Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom (WDW Florida).

Quiet places can be found just about anywhere. All you need is electricity, and for the most part you can bring your own these days (laptop batteries are way better than they used to be).


Submission + - Increasing wireless network speed by 1000%, by replacing packets with algebra (

MrSeb writes: "A team of researchers from MIT, Caltech, Harvard, and other universities in Europe, have devised a way of boosting the performance of wireless networks by up to 10 times — without increasing transmission power, adding more base stations, or using more wireless spectrum. The researchers’ creation, coded TCP, is a novel way of transmitting data so that lost packets don’t result in higher latency or re-sent data. With coded TCP, blocks of packets are clumped together and then transformed into algebraic equations that describe the packets. If part of the message is lost, the receiver can solve the equation to derive the missing data. The process of solving the equations is simple and linear, meaning it doesn’t require much processing on behalf of the router/smartphone/laptop. In testing, the coded TCP resulted in some dramatic improvements. MIT found that campus WiFi (2% packet loss) jumped from 1Mbps to 16Mbps. On a fast-moving train (5% packet loss), the connection speed jumped from 0.5Mbps to 13.5Mbps. Moving forward, coded TCP is expected to have huge repercussions on the performance of LTE and WiFi networks — and the technology has already been commercially licensed to several hardware makers."

Submission + - US Patent Office Invalidates Apple's "Rubber Banding" Patent (

bhagwad writes: "The patent that was the cause of so much grief to Samsung in the recently concluded trial with Apple has been tentatively invalidated by the USPTO. The challenge was filed anonymously, but it obviously could have been filed by any smartphone manufacturer. Will this have an effect on further proceedings in the case or perhaps more importantly on the inevitable appeal?"

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