Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment The risk of false positives outweight the risks... (Score 1) 253

The change in policy stems from good mathematics, namely good statistics. Where the number of people who are subjected to a test may suffer from one of two failures,

a) false negative - that is the test fails to detect the presence of a disease and thus incorrectly reports a negative results, and
b) false positive, the test incorrectly reports a positive result, but the disease is not actually present.

The problem is that with a large pool of test population and a small affected sub-population, the misleading results are counter-intuitive, and can end up causing more harm (otherwise healthy individuals undergoing unnecessary biopsies, radiation, and chemotherapy increase mortality rate) to the overall population.

See The dangers of false positives by Dr. Dave Richeson, don't take my word on it.

Comment Re:Digital Signatures (from distributions) (Score 1) 147

this is entirely and precisely why distros such as debian go to such lengths to place GPG digital signatures on the downloads; why they go to such lengths to enact extensive GPG key-signing web-of-trust exchanges etc. etc.

And Microsoft has gone to considerable lengths to promote and strongly encourage the usage of code signing for installers of Windows software. In fact many if not most of the larger Open Source projects that have a large Windows community sign their code too.

The problem is that people are use to ignoring the security warnings from Microsoft, compared to most administrators (or root/sudo users) read and heed security warnings in Linux and *BSD package management.

Comment I grab my soldering iron... (Score 1) 422

and build retro micro-computer kits, like the Replica 1 (Apple I clone, MOS Tech 6502), and Spare Time Gizmo's COSMAC Elf 2000 (RCA CDP1802 CPU). I also have an unfinished N8VEM Z80 single board computer (SBC) with an optional S-100 like backplane called ECB, and multiple expansion boards

Who needs more than 4 MHz, I can't type 50wpm anyhow; :-)

Comment Re:Apple has almost always been worse than MS (Score 1) 297

I'm sure Stallman and the FSF / GNU had a serious hate-on towards Apple years ago when Macintosh were still running on 68x00 and PowerPC CPUs (i.e. 1990s).

Apple was walled garden back then too, it was just that they were merely the size of most PC clone manufacturers / OEMs so no one else really cared.

Comment Re:This will turn off some portion of students (Score 1) 169

You did note that it is an education program for teachers, designed to give them material to teach to public school (primary / elementary and secondary school) level students, that is under 18.

And because it is important to stress this point, this material is intended to be taught by teachers, not programmers, to any student. The goal of such a program should be basically to look behind the curtain of prepackaged applications and understand the basics, in general terms, of how computer systems (hardware and software) work. Whether they become programmers (or do other IT job) is irrelevant, the first goal of education is knowledge. It is also an opportunity for students to try to experiment, and to be creative, where students with strong mathematics, logic and analytic skills may find easier to express themselves creatively rather than in essay writing assignments in English (or other language) classes where linguistic and writing skills are more ambiguous and subjective when it comes to evaluation.

Motivational agents for children include: social contact (& status), monetary, and entertainment. Most kids don't have much real-work that needs to be done / automated. Of course there are exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions.

Comment Re:He will shortly find himself in court... (Score 1) 236

Not true. Canada does it's on clinical trials and usually takes a little longer in their process which is why you'll see the same drugs approved in Canada a year or two later.

The government (Health Canada or FDA) does not do their own clinical trials, (phase III, IV in US parlance IIRC), though the pharmaceutical company may do them in Canada, as an adjunct or alternative to US, as the test subjects have free basic (normally not drugs) health care, which can reduce the cost to underwrite the study and potentially raise the averge health of test subjects (i.e. not necessarily just looking for free health care), thereby improving their results (healthy subjects will normally tolerate side effects better, and with fewer complications). I don't know if a weak Canadian dollar was a secondary benefit (to reduce cost), but that's not true currently.

The clinic trials are done (through a contractor, hired by the manufacturer) as evidence submitted to the regulator agencies requesting approval to market the drugs. This is what allows so many "dirty tricks" to be played by manufacturers against the regulators; who's rank and file, in general, try their best to act in the public good.

Most often drugs from major manufacturers are available in the US for 1-2 years before being finally approved in Canada. Europe is often slightly slower than Canada, I believe; I don't watch availability there in general, but that statement is based on comments of medical researchers, and my own doctors.

Comment Re:Oh, Good."Gifted Masters Student." We're Saved! (Score 2) 139

Unfortunately, for every "gifted Masters student" writing in Wikipedia there are three angry fourteen-year-olds focused like lasers on advancing some social agenda or another.

Oops, ths software most of drop a word in your comment, let me fix that for you...

... there are three thousand angry fourteen-year-olds ...

Comment Re:Jesus. (Score 1) 167

One thing it does not do, which you may be expecting, is make any judgement about /proper/ usage. It is descriptive, not prescriptive. If you are expecting guidance as to good usage, look elsewhere.

Don't fret poor logophiles (or linguists) Oxford University Press has that covered too, Fowler's Modern English Usage, 2004 edited by R. W. Burchfield, is about as suitable as anything to be the authority in a single volume.

Comment Re:Oh dear God, no. NO. (Score 1) 167

Precisely, the OED is a record of language, not a guardian of it.

Obviously you are not British*. Of course Oxbridge's presses (OUP, CUP) are the guardian of English as much as L'Académie française is the guardian of the French (sorry, française) language. Don't let the Telegraph tell you any different.

* Wait, you may be. Sod it.

Comment Re:$16.5 million = peanuts (Score 1) 107

Compared to the $110-115 million for a single F-35 next generation fighter jet (per unit in quantity), it seems very low.

Admittedly the research grant seems to be focused on just the jet engine, not the vehicle (jet airplane), it does still seem like a small amount to build even a single prototype. While a healthy grant as far as research grants so, it is still pretty small compared to other things. Then again, compared the average R&D spending of $0.0 (USD or Euro) in most areas of engineering and science presently, it's a good (faint) sign.

Slashdot Top Deals

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.

Working...