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Comment Re:How did you plan to authenticate the simulation (Score 1) 265

Well, start with whether the results agree with common sense. If you close 2/3 of the lanes serving Fort Lee, then traffic coming up Routes 1 and 9 backs up onto the streets of Fort Lee and you get a slight improvement for through traffic coming up I-95. The actions taken were so drastic it doesn't take an expert to predict the consequences -- which is why the "study" was so fishy.

But suppose you have a legitimate need to be absolutely sure what would happen if you did something so boneheaded as close 2/3 of the traffic in a major artery that flows through the streets of a 3 square mile town. Then run your model, and shut down *one* lane for *one* hour to see if your model predicts correctly. Or shut down both lanes for a full day, if the information is absolutely critical to operations (which nobody argues it was). But don't run the experiment for *five* days, when all it is telling you is what common sense and a gas station map could tell you.

Comment Re:Fast and Furious (Score 1) 265

Not analogous at all. The point of Fast and Furious was to track the guns and catch the people transferring them to Mexican drug cartels. In principle this is a reasonable, though risky strategy to catch people who couldn't be caught be mere simulations. In practice ATF was too poorly organized to track the guns to the drug cartels and obtain indictments.

The supposed bridge study was statistical in nature and could easily be simulated from data obtained by counting cars.

Comment Re:YES there is LOTS to help! (Score 1) 384

The hunger tip is an interesting one, worth trying, but you should accustom yourself to fasting first. You don't have to fast entirely, you can limit yourself to 1/4 the calories needed to maintain your weight on a fasting day. Also, you probably shouldn't fast back to back days. Hunger is stress -- like exercise. Moderation and rest are the best training advice.

Comment Re:See a psychologist. (Score 1) 384

This is good advice.

I'll also give you the advice I gave my daughter going off to college. Problems will arise, you'll have bad days and sometimes bad course. Give yourself every advantage. Start by taking good care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, and sleep. Pace yourself. Cramming is the most inefficient way possible to study, so study in smaller chunks more frequently -- every day in fact. Always keep up or a little ahead of the course to avoid pointless cramming.

You can't remember what doesn't pass through your consciousness, so pay attention, and take notes. You don't have to look at the notes again, but the process of engaging the brain enough to translate a lecture into notes helps fix it there. Also, some people need to move to remember, and note taking, even doodling can help. In extreme cases you might need to play back lectures on your iPod while you walk (many schools make lectures available on video).

Comment Some suggestions (Score 1) 384

First of all, google is your friend. This is something that has been studied by many people, and many effective are available for you to use. For example, I happen to like the Method of loci which I use to memorize the main points of speeches and lists.

Different people like different methods, and there's a buffet of effective methods to choose from. Again, google is your friend.

That being said, here's the psychological answer:

If you want to increase your long term memory, you start with the theory of memory. Our brains remember things that are important to us, which means that either the information has perceived value or emotional content.

Emotional content in lectures is hard to get in a college setting - it's an aspect that good lecturers use - but you can use tricks to increase your retention. Get together with some friends and make up a "game" of reviewing the information. Play Jeopardy, make up funny physics stories, try to make puns from equations... anything that causes you and your group to laugh or think deeply will do. For example, how would "Ming the Merciless" destroy the Earth using magnetic fields (from your recent physics lecture)? Analyze it tongue-in-cheek with your friends to see if the idea is viable.

High value is anything that will get you towards your goals, but you can choose your goals. Pick an appropriate goal and you will sop up information like a sponge. Imagine starting your own company... what's your dream situation? All the MBA classes you are taking will now have new meaning: everything you are taught will cling to that goal like ornaments on a tree. Resolve to be an amateur astronomer who discovers a new comet, a teacher who wins "teacher of the year", a writer that wins a Hugo award... dream big and convince yourself that the information will get you towards that goal.

Learning is actually fun, and it's something your brain is evolved to do. As a consequence, and as a survival trait we get pleasure from learning. If you can tap into this basic function, you'll find that learning is both fun and easy.

Comment Re:or maybe (Score 1) 732

If you don't see the data, it's because you're actively avoiding looking for it.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, it was revealed today that IBM were paid 44.8m euro in consultancy fees for setting up a billing system for Irish Water, a service that will bill, at most, 3 million customers.

Computer aided automation is not universally more cost efficient, or efficient in general. In fact, a lot of the time, computer automation is little more than an excuse to overpay the corporate class bonuses and consultation fees. See also: SAP installations.

Comment common and fun (Score 4, Interesting) 301

Doesn't everyone who can proram do this? Just like gun fans identify and count shots for each weapon they see?

From the (mistaken? wise?) use of a .300 in an IPv4 address in The Net, to the identification of some kind of 6502 assembly code in the Terminator's red overlay, it's always been something to try to do in the theater without freeze-frame available.

Submission + - Suggestions for a Simple Media Server 1

rueger writes: We live and breathe Netflix, but sometimes want to watch programs downloaded from the 'net. I've been carrying them downstairs on a USB stick, but would prefer to run a small media server on my Mint Linux box.

As usual, I thought this would be simple. Install a package on my PC, and use our Netgear NeoTV Max box to play stuff off of the server.

Plex was highly recommended, and installed easily, but will see some mkv files, but not others, for no obvious reason. The one file that does show up plays fine, except that subtitles don't work. And it completely refuses to see the partition full of music. A quick tour of the Plex forums suggests that making this work would take more hours than I'm prepared to spend.

Serviio looked good too, and "sees" my music, and sees the movie folders that Plex couldn't, but won't show the actual mkv files. And again, it looks like configuring the thing could consume half of my life.

So I'm asking — is there a fairly simple, works right out of the box, fairly resource friendly, media server that will just allow me to play movies that I download without a lot of headaches?

(Notes: one obvious issue is that movies and TV shows downloaded can be in a any of a dozen formats. I'd love it if the server dealt with that. Second note: Used to own Apple hardware, and don't care for it, especially iTunes. Third note: I'm also open to suggestions for a Roku style box that does Netflix well, but which will also play nicely with a media server. And if any or all of these things can also let me play streaming video off the web (like BBC Iplayer content) I'll be in heaven.)

Comment Re:They don't understand the difference (Score 1) 517

The restrictions on teaching in America are severe. The restrictions in the UK make it doable, for now, but the backlash against Free Schools will likely end that.

I'd love to get off my high horse. I'm getting vertigo. The problem is that educating people has got so much red tape and legal bumfluff involved. PLEASE let me educate! It is my natural state of being!

Submission + - Swiss PostFinance web site double-dipping standing orders

An anonymous reader writes: Blogger Daniel Pocock has shared documents from the Swiss Postfinance web site showing that they are double-charging standing orders set up for Switzerland's mandatory health insurance. Switzerland was once legendary for the reliability and privacy of financial services but this looks like evidence of the same type of IT cost cutting that is hitting customers the world over from the recent ANZ glitch in Australia to the sequence of RBS meltdowns in Britain

Submission + - ChefJet 3D Sugar Printer Showcased At CES (

kkleiner writes: Pastry chefs who want to wow their clients with intricate sugar sculptures can now embrace the future of manufacturing, 3D printing thanks to the ChefJet 3D Sugar Printer. A firm called Sugar Lab, now part of 3D Systems, created the $5-10k printer which prints intricate sugar-based sculptures and showcased their creation at this year's CES. This is just another example of how 3D printing continues to expand the range of fabrication domains even as prices for the devices continue to drop.

Comment Re:Sure (Score 1) 517

For me, and many other like me, it boils down to this: How accurate is the science on climate change?

If it was accurate then there would have been a consensus predicting these events. Instead what we see is many groups throwing out different predictions, and when everyone is guessing something different there is inevitably some who are right and some who are wrong. However, the fact that there is no consensus means that there isn't accuracy in the field of Climate Change and the fact that the most public predictions have been so diametrically opposite to the results demonstrates a lack of precision.

You have to be more precise. What predictions are you talking about?

No field of science can or should tolerate inaccuracy and imprecision. Until scientists can agree on models that correctly and reliably predict the effects of carbon on climate, the field of climate change study acts more like a religion in that it asks us for faith instead of facts.

This is just silly. Accuracy and precision are two entirely different things, and *every* scientific discipline tolerates imprecision.

This would require models that make precise predictions that are reliably accurate.

Give an example of a precise *climate* prediction, so we know what you're talking about.

Even the ones that do predict well are not consistent, and quite often contain constants that are not understood and certainly weren't predicted.

Your definition of science rules out physics, which is full of arbitrary constants. For example you may remember the equation for gravitational force from high school physics: F = G *m1*m2 / r^2, where G, the universal gravitational constant, is chosen experimentally to make the equation work. It rules out chemistry and materials science because we measure the physical properties of compounds rather than predict them. It rules out electromagnetism because of the empirical factors ( e.g. 8.854187817 x 10^12 farads/m) needed to make Maxwell's equations work.

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