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Comment Re:Yawn (Score 5, Interesting) 525

I'm normally not one for coarse language and insults, but, given that the atypical neurogenic tic disorder that the individual suffers from can lead to both life-threatening asphyxia and tachycardia, I would have to say that you are a massively apathetic twat. I hope that you never become afflicted by any debilitating condition, let alone wind up in a similar situation and encounter someone insouciant who denies you access to medicine or necessary sustenance, as I doubt you'd have the fortitude to stand up to your ilk.

Fortunately, your pococurante attitude served some purpose beyond broadcasting your own inadequacies: it spurred me to pledge several thousand dollars for this guy's legal fund.

Comment Re:What's next? (Score 1) 124

As you noted, the project was fun to undertake, even though it was only a sub-component to a much larger endeavor. I may yet go back, visit it, and submit an extension as a nice stand-alone article.

To answer your questions, though, I relied on a pool of around seventy subjects, equally distributed across genders and with a tri-modal distribution for age, many of whom were nudists that had heard about the data collection through some friends of mine. I also had a couple of adventurous fellow students and peers sign up to contribute; even my girlfriend at the time had no qualms about being filmed.

In any event, while there was some inherent selection bias in who I chose, mainly because I needed footage of as many different body types as I could capture, so as to allow the underlying model to generalize well, I do admit to being elated whenever people with certain body types were incredibly eager to help. Granted, I did, at the later stages, have to turn some people away, since I was spending too much time acquiring data.

For the experiments themselves, people had multiple options for what to wear for the various training phases, aside from the different changes of loose- and tight-fitting clothes that I'd ask them to bring and don. I did my best to provide multi-sex body suits of different sizes, which provided more than sufficient constraints when coupled with manually-derived measurements of quantities such as chest circumference, stomach circumference, and so forth. Others opted to strip down to their undergarments and a fair amount, surprisingly many of them women, wore nothing at all.

Regardless of what they wore or didn't wear, each subject executed a series of actions, such as walking, sitting down, standing up, skipping, and climbing. I used six pairs of stereo vision cameras to record the events. I had hoped to use Vicon cameras for the ground truth, but the professor that had them in her lab, even though they hadn't been turned on in a year or so, was aghast over my intended application and barred me from borrowing them.

Comment Re:What's next? (Score 5, Interesting) 124

What you proposed isn't that far-fetched, as I ended up having to contrive and implement the equivalent of this, i.e., passive, automated estimation of body shape under clothing, either from a single image or from multiple video frames, for some work I did in action recognition that required a fairly accurate representation of the person's proportions. Others, e.g., A. O. Balan and M. J. Black, "The naked truth: Estimating body shape under clothing," in Proceedings of the European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), 2008, pp. 15–29, have come up with solutions too.

Comment Re:Get a EE degree instead (Score 1) 176

How long ago? How common were computers?

Unless you are even older then me, I call bullshit.

I matriculated when I was fourteen, about two years before the turn of the second millennium, and finished both degrees before I turned twenty. Despite starting early, I was far from the youngest graduate, as one of my peers managed to complete an S.B./M.Eng. CS by the time he was sixteen.

In any event, in both my situation and his, let alone those of others I have encountered, we all had little prior experience dealing with electronics and computers yet plenty of natural aptitude for and budding interest in the subject. In my case, I was fascinated, and still am, about the possibility of furthering statistical machine vision and managed to find the perfect adviser to not only spur my creativity, but also put up with my astounding initial ignorance. In his, he wanted to advance computer graphics and wound up submitting some excellent, now heavily-cited papers to SIGGRAPH and Eurographics.

Comment Re:It doesn't really add up (Score 1) 101

It's hard to believe that he could really be that oblivious to how the real world works.

There are more than a handful of people who grow up in affluence or are sheltered most of their lives from the denizens of seedy places that might prey on others. Ergo, they have little recourse, mostly in the form of previous experience or tales from their associates, to guide them in such matters.

I know that, in my case, it was not immediately apparent that I was a potential drug mule target, when I was accosted, late one evening, by a buxom, beautiful, crying woman in Ybor City. The only factors that ultimately saved me from helping her were that: (i) I had never been anywhere near the Central/South Florida area and hence was lost looking for a sushi restaurant at which I was to meet some fellow research conference attendees and (ii) I was incredibly late due to having canvassed the area on foot several times without finding the restaurant.

Comment Re:Get a EE degree instead (Score 1) 176

If your [sic] going into college and you haven't coded anything yet, give up on CS or EE. You can likely do both, but you will never be really good. You don't love it enough. You better be open to being a better coder though.

For EE I'd raise the bar some more. If you don't already know how to use basic bench equipment don't go into EE.

What a crock of shit. I hadn't programmed or played around with circuits before heading to university, yet managed to leave, the first time around, with an S.B./S.M. EECS, either sole or first authorship on more than ten top-tier journal papers, a handful of patents, and more than enough money on which to retire from having worked at and propped up a start-up company.

For those who might come across HornWumpus' comment, do not, even for a brief moment, feel discouraged. Anyone, regardless of his or her background, can go into EE or CS and make fantastic contributions to either field. All that ultimately matters is finding the right environment to nurture your innate talents, the tenacity to see your ideas come to fruition, and the willingness to learn, even if it takes more than one try.

Comment Re:Retailers went too far (Score 4, Insightful) 393

Developers/publishers need to fight back against pre-owned, as game retailers really started to take the piss, and it's really been hurting the people who make the games. [...] This directly hurts publishers and developers, who need the new sales and make no revenue from pre-owned. Publishers have been way to slow and scared to respond, they should have clamped down much earlier.

By this logic, you should be all for contractors demanding and receiving a percentage of the sale price for any building they constructed, car companies forbidding the use of any second-hand vehicle, and all other sorts of wonderful nonsense.

Comment Re:Pay? (Score 2) 133

Well, that's fine. The interns don't have any useful skills anyway, they're not even up to the level of entry-level fresh grad. And 99.9% of them think programming is all about social apps or other web sites. If they go somewhere else to get trained at someone else's expense then there's no problem. Interns are a major pain to hire, you have to hand hold them the entire time because they have little idea how a corporation works, how their computer works, how to work independently without bothering everyone else. Or you get an EE intern doing a job requiring some programming and you have to waste time telling them why their program doesn't compile.

I interned at a start-up while working toward my S.B. EE/dual Ph.D. and left a self-made millionaire before completing the latter due, in no small part, to all of the contributions I had made, ideas I handed out, and so forth; one of the other interns there, who was also from my alma mater and working toward her Ph.D., also left a millionaire for the same reasons. Suffice to say, your comment about interns being worthless and having no skills is utter nonsense. Moreover, I'm sure there are plenty of students from places like MIT, CMU, Cornell, UIUC, Princeton, GaTech, Stanford, and Berkeley who could corroborate this assertion.

Comment Re:Finally doing what Microsoft should have done.. (Score 1) 181

How would something like this make money for Microsoft? I'm serious. It's a cool research project, but it has few concrete applications, in the near future, at least, and a very high chance of failure.

There are an enormous number of applications for this type of functionality, especially once they stop running NEURON (http://www.neuron.yale.edu/neuron/) on supercomputing clusters and start developing smaller, more computationally efficient hardware-based solutions.

In machine vision and learning, for example, there would be an enormous potential for a simulated brain that could accurately mimic most, if not all, of the same visual and low-level thought capabilities as humans. As an overview, such a system could be deployed in nursing homes, independent living facilities, and homes to detect falls, monitor residents for early warning signs of various critical events/conditions and alert the appropriate staff, remind those with early Alzheimer's disease how to perform certain activities of daily living, and so on. In robotics, the same system would allow for the development of fully-autonomous platforms that would be aware of their environment, complete verbally-supplied instructions, work together to complete complex tasks, and much more. Both of these applications, let alone many others, would be multi-billion dollar industries for Microsoft, the former due to the sheer number of elderly people that would spring for such a system, especially if it was reasonably priced, so that they could "age in place", and the latter for basically revolutionizing the automated manufacturing industry.

Comment Re:Dairy for 25k years? (Score 4, Interesting) 77

Lactase persistence into adulthood is a relatively recent, as you speculated, and is thought to have been introduced approximately 10,000 years ago. For a nice overview, you can peruse:

D. M. Swallow, "Genetics of lactase persistence and lactose intolerance", Ann. Rev. Genet., 37: 197-219, 2003
E. J. Hollox, M. Poulter, M. Zvarik, V. Ferak, A. Krause, et al., "Lactase haplotype diversity in the Old World", Am. J. Hum. Genet., 68: 160-172, 2001
M. Slatkin and G. Bertorelle, "The use of intraallelic variability for testing neutrality and estimating population growth rate", Genetics, 158: 865-874, 2001
M. Slatkin, "Balancing selection at closely linked, overdominant loci in a finite population", Genetics, 154: 1367-1378, 2000
J. Metneki, A. Czeizel, S. Flatz, and G. Flatz, "A study of lactose absorption capacity in twins", Hum. Genet., 67: 296-300, 1984
G. Flatz, "Gene dosage effect on intestinal lactase activity demonstrated in vivo", Am. J. Hum. Genet., 36: 306-310, 1984
T. Sahi, "The inheritance of selective adult-type lactose malabsorption", Scand. J. Gastroentrerol., 9: 1-73, 1974
G. Flatz and H. W. Rotthauwe, "Evidence against nutritional adaption to tolerance to lactase", Humangenetik, 13" 118-125, 1971

Comment Re:I have a very amazing and interesting reponse . (Score 3, Informative) 82

Most, if not all authors, will be more than happy to send you the final copy of the manuscript if you email them, even if you aren't affiliated with a university or a researcher yet want still to learn about their work. In the case of old papers that can't be found on the Internet, which is common for some math journals that are no longer in print, I've found authors to be especially accommodating in sending hard copies.

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