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Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 219

Actually there was a guy at one of the big think tanks (Bell Labs or something) that started reducing his arguments to really small steps, skipping nothing. He kind of set up subsets of the proof like subroutines, referring you to later pages to get the details, etc. He found that a lot of things he thought he had proven actually had holes in them. He went back and looked at his previous papers and found that some large fraction of them were wrong (I don't remember the number, something like 1/3). At first he thought that he had been fooling himself all along and that he was a terrible mathematician. Then he started applying the same analysis to other published work, and he found the same ratio.

It wasn't that the results were necessarily wrong. In other words, what they were claiming might still be true. It was just that they hadn't proven it. There were holes in the places they had glossed over with a "clearly" or "we know from X that Y".

Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the guy or find his paper now. (Look! I'm a crackpot!)

Anyone else remember reading that?

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 0, Flamebait) 219

The harm, I think, is that it's not a well-enough-known crackpot theory; a respectable publisher (NY Times et al) has given him a plethora of journalists as his own private fan club. This makes it more difficult for the electorate trying to intelligently guide policy (e.g. moveon.org) to sort the wheat from the chaff. It also allows other crackpots to come off as more credible by citing crackpot articles which have a veneer of respectability. Imagine if a "documentary" based on Hollywood's belief about global warming were being played off as if it were real science by the media, and you have some idea of how big a problem this is.

There, fixed that for ya.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 219

Perhaps it's an experiment: He's a mathematician. Now he's just demonstrating how the Impact Factor is a poor metric, and will soon present a superior measure that correctly ranks the journal poorly. ;)

And another article on the problem of where to publish the article describing that measure.

Comment Re:Sorry... (Score 1) 664

Yeah, that too. I think it's a good thing to have it pointed out that, at least in America, you can blame "the people" for how things are. You want to change the way a company does business? Boycott their products until they listen. If you don't like the way things are in the government, elect someone else. There are controls here and there that are hard to get around, but in general I think we're still free enough that we could have just about any change we want.

Sadly when people do get off their butts it's usually in hysteria...

But getting back to the point, it's not lawers, the government, corporations, it's the people that hire the lawyers, the people that don't do what a jury should do when faced with absurdity, the people that buy the products of the corporations, and the people that elect the government that we should be angry with and trying to change the behavior of.

Comment Re:Sorry... (Score 1) 664

If we can't get people upset and up in arms about trampling of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Police SWAT teams acting like mini-Army battalions, what the hell makes you think they'll get motivated enough to stop buying Apple stuff?

Beautifully said!

Comment Re:Exactly !!! (Score 1) 404

But understand this: copyright and patents are not natural rights, they are granted by the society.

All rights are.

No, no, no, no, no!

The government in America is granted certain powers by the people. The government does not grant us our rights.

Read the Famous Constitution.

Comment Re:Terrible Idea (Score 1) 498

as a Nobel winner, he has been proven to be extremely intelligent and a good choice

That's exactly what I'm talking about! Imagine you had said this: "I'm glad you married him, because as a Nobel winner, he has been proven to be extremely intelligent and a good choice." See how it's the part after the "and" that is completely unfounded? OK, so maybe everyone's bad at relationships. How about this: "I'm glad he was made dean of the college of arts and sciences, because as a Nobel winner, he has been proven to be extremely intelligent and a good choice."? People can be really good academically, and catastrophically poor administrators.

You've never noticed how people can be extraordinarily good at one thing (say, coding) and spectacularly bad at something that is nominally very closely related (like customer support for the very code he himself wrote)?

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Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.