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Comment Re:Careful there (Score 5, Insightful) 391

Often I fear for the future of this world, seeing the kind of people our socio/economic/educational climate is generating these days... Part of me feels that I'm just getting to the point where I no longer understand what it's like to be young, dumb, and full of reproductive fluids

CanHasDIY, 2012

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint"

Hesiod, 8th century BC

Comment Re:Careful there (Score 1) 391

Ah, I see - you're a member of that particular age set. Explains it all.

Indeed. Someone went to a public forum and spoke unfairly ill of a demographic to which I belong, to which I have no choice about belonging, and which is fairly apparent to those around me, causing a personal effect on my life when people believe it is appropriate to generalize about that group and apply those generalizations to me. I see little difference between this and the reply "I see - you're a member of that particular race. Explains it all" to someone who accused you of racism.

Hey, want to know what's more funny than accusing someone of being "ageist?" Doing so, then going on a 3 paragraph rant in which you A) make assumptions about the person's age, and B) lambast prior generations for perceived wrongs.

While I did make a guess as to your age, none of my arguments were based on it - it was the conclusion, not the assumption. And I never did "lambast prior generations" for anything. If you care to read my comment, I make no claims about the behavior of those older than myself whatsoever.

Also "a three-paragraph rant" is a particularly dishonest way to characterize one paragraph summarizing a mathematical computation, one paragraph stating (but not arguing, as I do not agree) the views of others, and one paragraph of conclusion - the only one with any emotional content at all.

You kids crack me up...

This quote is more insightful than expected. By using this group identifier ("you kids" indicating all of us, even though only I am talking) you are evoking stereotypes of my demographic against me, and simultaneously attempting to attribute my actions in this thread to all of "you kids". Suppose that my actions in this thread are inappropriate - where you crossed the line into ageism is where you assumed that this reflects on the rest of my age group.

Comment Re:Careful there (Score 2) 391

Why do I get the sinking feeling this particular AC falls into the 'under 25' age group?

Perhaps because you are ageist.

With the current life expectancy in the US (a hopefully appropriate assumption in a thread about minnesota) of 78.1 according to google and an assumption that nobody under the age of 13 has the patience or interest to hang out on a tech discussion site, you are guessing that a particular AC falls within (25-13) / (78-13) ~ 18% of the pool of candidate ages. To level that out to be a reasonable guess, we would need to assume that those under 25 are 50%/22% ~ 2.8 times more likely to fail to understand social responsibility. That's quite a gap, to assume we are almost 3 times as likely to eschew social responsibility.

While I certainly have no data, this seems to even be counter to largely accepted stereotypes of youth. I thought we were supposed to be bleeding-heart liberal hippies, letting our idealism prevent us from getting anything done? Stereotypically, the gray-haired investment banker in the fancy suit is the one who rejects social responsibility.

Why do I get the feeling you're in the "definitely over 25" age group? Hint: It's because paint us with such a broad stroke that clearly you have already dichotomized the world into "you all" (the "adults") and "us" (the "children" - many of whom have mortgages/rents, bills, responsibilities, retirement accounts, careers and credit histories by the way).

Comment Re:Still breakable (Score 5, Informative) 126

The resistor stuff solves an orthogonal problem to OTP. OTP gives you perfect secrecy when you share an unknown secret key with the other party you are communicating with. This "resistor stuff" is how you get an unknown shared secret key with the other party. OTP still requires key distribution, which is what this does. The two are complementary, neither replaces the other.

Comment Re:Still breakable (Score 4, Informative) 126

Tampering detection is all that is required for perfect security. The trick is that you do not transmit the message itself over this channel, you instead transmit a random stream of bits. Once both sides share a random stream of bits that they know has not been overheard, they can use that random stream as the key to a one-time-pad that can be transmitted over any traditional eavesdrop-able channel. You could just email the ciphertext over the public internet, since you know that you have an (unknown to any attacker) shared secret key, you have perfect secrecy.

Comment Re:unbreakable been around for a while (Score 4, Interesting) 126

The important point that people seem to be missing is that quantum encryption *is* one-time pad. The system of quantum encryption consists of using entangled particles to be the shared source of randomness. Because both parties would be aware if anyone besides the two of them were observing the shared randomness, they can't exactly communicate via entanglement, but they can reach an arbitrary (ie. not decided by either of them) consensus on the values in a random stream. This random stream is then used as the key of a one-time-pad where the ciphertext is transported over a traditional channel of communication.

For this reason, I consider the term "quantum encryption" to be a bit of a misnomer - nothing about the actual en/de cryption is quantum. A better name would be "quantum key distribution" or "quantum consensus generation"

Comment Re:Until you can prove them wrong (Score 1) 1359

Not really,

The atheistic point of view is to say that you believe there isn't a god. I understand the limits of epistemology, and I also recognize that many definitions of "god" are carefully constructed to be untested and non-falsifiable, thus making it obviously false to "know" its truth or falsity.

That said, I find the existence of God to be roughly as likely as the existence of dragons, unicorns, and flying reindeer and slightly less likely than the existence of the Chupacabra. I think that level of disbelief separates my point of view from those of the agnostics, justifying the use of a different term.

Comment Re:Now... (Score 4, Insightful) 107

That is a distinct viewpoint known as Deism - also commonly discussed as a "watchmaker God". It is a means of reconciling belief in a deity with the apparent lack of evidence for one. However, Deism directly contradicts intelligent design - the two are as irreconcilable as evolution and intelligent design.

Intelligent Design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design . The very undirected process a hypothetical Deist god would set in motion (evolution) is specifically what Intelligent Design claims does not work.

It's not that evolution and religion cannot coexist - if I'm not mistaken, evolution even has the Papal seal of approval. They can. But intelligent design is not religion - it's a dogma pretending to be science. Only the form of pseudo-science they chose to make their defining point is so clearly refutable that they wind up with less credibility than if they had just gone with "faith" as their explanation.

Comment Re:Now... (Score 5, Insightful) 107

I know you made a joke, but this right here is why believing in intelligent design and evolution etc are not necessarily incompatible with each other.

No, it is not. They are incompatible.

Intelligent Design comes in two forms. The first is when we admit that it is just a euphemism for creationism. In this case, the theory of evolution (as well as most of the field of archaeology) clearly contradicts the story of Genesis, thus rendering the two incompatible.

The second is the form in which ID, in an attempt to distance itself from religion, rests upon the principle of irreducible complexity. The basic idea is that certain constructs represented in nature today (the human eye is an oft-used example) would have been useless in a less-complex or less specific form, and thus these traits would not have evolved (a half-formed eye is an evolutionary disadvantage, a being is better off not wasting the calories keeping that useless tissue alive). Since these traits could not develop through incremental changes, some traits must not evolve, but must have been put there by some intelligent agent.

This second form is not so much a scientific theory as it is a fundamental misunderstanding of stochastic processes and the field of mathematical optimization. This form of ID is basically the claim that evolutionary optimization can never escape local optima to discover global optima - something a competent applied mathematician knows to be false.

Comment Re:What about ladyboys/shemales? (Score 4, Interesting) 270

While I'm not sure what part of the world you're in, I know that a large portion of the slashdot readership resides in the USA. And here (possibly other places, but I can only reliably talk about here), male-to-female transsexuals are generally offended by the term "shemale". They seem to prefer either "trans-women", "MtF" or just "women". That may explain your -1 troll.

That said, it seems humorous to complain about how trans-erasure has kept people from acknowledging male-to-female transsexuals while also ignoring female-to-male transsexuals. At least trans-women are noticed because they are sexualized - trans-men seem almost wholly ignored in the populace.

But to answer your question more directly, the reason nobody talked about them in *this* article is because they are not a lucrative target market for advertisements. The homosexual male community is not targeted for advertisement because they are so numerous, but because the retail and marketing world believes that gay males spend a lot of money and, more importantly, influence the fashions and tastes of the heterosexual people surrounding them. Clothing stores see gay men as trend setters, so they believe that getting gay men to adopt their clothes will lead the heterosexual people to follow. Because of rampant discrimination and erasure, trans people are not perceived as having the same trend-setting appeal.

Comment Re:past history (Score 1) 91

Good catch. I meant an alpha of 0.2 - which as you note is 80% confidence.

50% is not as low as you go, because of the way brackets are scored. You predict the outcome of *all* the games in the tournament before *any* games are played. Which means that errors in the first round mean that you haven't even properly predicted who is playing in the second round. If the team you picked as winning a game doesn't even play that game, then you automatically lose.

If we simplify the tournament, we can pretend there are 64 teams (there are really 68). Thus, if you flip a coin, you expect to average 50% in the first round. However, in the second round games fall into one of two categories:
  • games whose participants are who you predicted (1/2 of all games, and you get 50% of them right)
  • games with one participant you predicted (1/2 of all games, and you get 25% of them right)

As you can see, this causes the proportion of games you properly predict to go down with each level of the competition. Now consider that the scoring is weighted by round - games in round 2 are worth twice as much as games in round one.

That's how coin-flip gets you worse than 50%.

Comment Re:past history (Score 5, Insightful) 91

I worked in a research group in college that worked on exactly this problem - predicting NCAA tournaments with a graph-theoretic approach. That is exactly how you test the algorithm. And the cited estimate of 70-80% accuracy seems made up. People who research the field know that there is far less certainty than that. At something like 20% confidence, your prediction should be something like 20%-90%.

The problem stems from the fact that we traditionally predict a team will win if it is a stronger or better team, and we use our graph theory to produce relative team ratings. And if each game of the tournament were played over and over again with the winner of the majority going to the next round, then our methods would work even better. As it stands though, we are trying to predict a single sampling from a probability distribution - which will necessarily have error. Informally, the real tournament has upsets (when a weaker team beats a stronger one). Our algorithms can't predict these, the best they can do is gain a better understanding than humans as to which team is better.

Add to that the fact that the tournament is structured hierarchically - a mis-prediction in the first round prevents you from even attempting to predict later games (and by NCAA bracket scoring, that counts the same as mis-predicting those later games). So early upsets can potentially have large negative outcomes on brackets.

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