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Comment Re:Easy (Score 1) 250

Don't believe in IP either, I'll bet.

Try reading Pirate Cinema . Absent evidence to the contrary, I think the hero in this book is a self-centered solipsistic me-firster who is more than a little representative of the type ... "finder's keepers and all that" ... yeah, right.

But then again, the evil-doers in the book are front-page news today IRL as they try to write their ownership tags on infrastructure items like the internet. Sort of as if I were to go paint a great big "This road is mine, pay toll at the stop sign", which I would back up by standing by said stop sign with a squeegee and a can of spray paint, so I could deliver the appropriate thank you to the people who deign to drive "my" highway.

Comment Cheaters never prosper (well, maybe they do) (Score 1) 511

Seems to me that you can either play fair games with friends or play unfair games with cheaters. Auto-aim bots make FPS games no fun at all if you are playing against a random set of players. But giving up your browser history to get a fair game? Ought to be offered as an Opt-In and be done with it.

Comment A story I wrote (Score 1) 745

A story I wrote is based on this idea, in particular, a mathematician working with NSA on quantum cryptography finds that a physical process is being randomized using an eight-bit (think 6502) pseudorandom number generator which he concludes is an example of a legacy code that was never updated (think of the sin() function, when is the last time you looked inside that?).

Of course, the story is about the discovery process more than the discovery itself.

And the movie Thirteenth Floor is a much better look at this idea than the Matrix is.

Comment First world thinking ... (Score 1) 888

First worlders may think we are transitioning to a post-scarcity world, but the third world remains unconvinced, whether they are in SE Asia or Detroit. The question you should ask yourself is whether we are on the path toward "Children of Men" (less the issue of no children for 20 years) or "Star Trek" (less the warp drives).

Comment Look at flying buttresses to see why (Score 1) 716

The science of software testing is still in the Gothic tradition ... build it and see if it will stand. Throw in a flying buttress or two if it starts to bulge out. Brick laying is just more advanced and we do not expect errors as described and the artisan is rightly on the hook. Give me a way to automatically test all branches in a program (without me having to specify the language) and I'll start selling the software as "Underwriters Lab certified", which STILL does not guarantee correct, but does guarantee it passed the state-of-the-art testing done by UL. It's just that our expectations are much out of line with the practice, and a client who demanded free repairs for life would have to subsidize up front or buy a maintenance package. Any market for either?

Comment Re:Depends on why you need grades (Score 1) 264

By the way, when I was sitting on a selection committee we grabbed a few years worth of data (in a military graduate school, so everyone who was admitted stayed for the whole plan, whether or not they graduated). We did a regression to see what predicted final success (GPA, did graduate, and a couple of other endpoints). Turned out that age was the best predictor (older students did better, we thought perhaps because they had real world experience). These were mostly engineering and applied math students. Also turned out that we could not use the model to pick new students anyway, so back to the old subjective systems.

Comment Depends on why you need grades (Score 1) 264

As a statistician I have to ask why we give grades at all? If the purpose is to measure performance against a standard, as in I wanted you to learn your ABCs and you did, therefore you get an A, that leads to one answer, and the comment that a C reflects bad teaching is correct. But when I am sitting on a selection committee looking for whom to admit to graduate school I also want to know if you are a better student than other applicants, in which case I would prefer to see some C's even if I would not admit them. Of course, it is easy to give A's in courses that don't have good standards, just as it is easier for judges to give all gymnasts 10's, but harder to give all baseball teams wins. Boils down to the difference between art and sports, and A vs C boils down to who do I want serving me coffee and who do I want designing bridges.

As an aside, when I came home with my first standardized test scores I excitedly told my dad I was in the "top 99%". He, of course, pointed out that even lichens are in the top 99%, being in the 99th percentile was, however, considered laudable. Deflated a bit, but always learning. Thanks, Dad.

Comment Undecidable (type 1) (Score 1) 593

Just as in mathematics there are things that are undecidable. The real question is not whether evolution exists, it is whether god exists and if so, did it create the universe yesterday, last Thursday, 6,000 years ago, 13.7B years ago, -Aleph0 years ago, in parallel or in series, as a quantum (over the Rational), or continuous (over the Reals) space.

Myself, I think the universe exists as a serial expression of all possible states in a countable universe (-Aleph0 to Aleph0 in every direction, x,y,z,t, others) and we travel through it as an information set on top of that universe, with the possibility that we can exercise free will over that countable universe using randomness generated over the Reals, not over the Rationals. That makes our decisions unpredictable in every sense, even if our choices are countably infinite. But that is actionable (it gives me a foundation for making decisions) but not testable (yet). It may never be testable.

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