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Comment Re:A practical algorithm for manuscript quality. (Score 1) 128

The average quality hovers somewhere between execrable and toe-curlingly awful, and they get dismissed after a glance through the first page.

And yet 99.999% of the remainder still gets rejected.

Why don't all publishers move to purely electronic submissions with simple algorithms to spell and grammar check each incoming MS? There are even well-researched, validated reading-score algorithms that might also be used for further filtering.

This would instantly reduce the role of human readers to almost nothing, according to the definitive statement of virtually every publisher or editor who has ever written anything about submission quality.

That is, if slush is so obviously, screamingly, overwhelming bad, why aren't publishers streamlining their filtering of it, and in the best case rejecting everything being caught by the filter instantly, thereby reducing their turn-around time on everything else?

One suspects that either the quality of slush isn't so bad, or the publishers are just massively incompetent.

Comment Re:Obligatory (Score 1) 294

Sounds like a great idea, let's find the biomarker (a.k.a. genes) which identify violent behavior. Then what? Lobotomies? Indefinite internment? Put them on an island where they fight to the death on pay-per-view? Deny them the full rights accorded to them as citizens of the United States?

I think these suggestions speak far more directly to the sick, demented, punishment-obsessed society you live in (I'm assuming you're an American...) than any probable response from the civilized world to this knowledge.

Maybe I'm naive, but outside of the US I can't see those kinds of responses getting any play. I can, however, see funding being directed toward ensuring that people who carry a genetic propensity to violence (assuming such a thing exists, which is not completely insane) get counseling and nurturing to ensure that they are less likely to find themselves in the grip of their genetics.

Comment Re:AC Post (Score 1) 294

They are trying to "find all motherfuckers who resemble the motherfucker who killed our child".

I admit to not having RTFM'd, but there seems to me a perfectly ethical, non-vengeful way of motivating this work. I personally would love to know if one of my children was genetically predisposed to violence, so I could help them deal with it early and stay out of trouble.

Only an idiot who believes in genetic determinism (but I repeat myself) would think that anyone ought to be punished or singled out for anything other than special nurturing based on their genes.

Comment Re:AC Post (Score 1) 294

So what do we have here? If you carry that gene you are more sensitive than others to violence against you. You run higher risk than others to become violent yourself if exposed to abuse. Such individuals then would require a tad more consideration rather than being already stigmatized as "potential troublemaker". See how this research will do the opposite of what they supposedly intent?

No, I don't see that at all. What I see is people with a primitive, stone-age view of morality applying the results of this research in a completely inappropriate way.

The research does not force anyone to do anything. Idiots who build their moral codes around the stories their ancestors told them will use it as faux justification for their primitive, anti-Bayesian, gibberish ideas. Bayesian humanists will use it to identify individuals who could benefit from special protection from certain environments, or who might need particular care during their formative years.

Lots of parents would want to know if their offspring was prone to violence, as it would give them the opportunity to support them and teach them to deal with their genetic heritage before the fact, rather than dealing with the punitive "justice system" after the fact.

Comment Re:Mod me down, but I believe it serves a purpose. (Score 1) 1501

Being verbally abusive like this basically helps you to tell more objectively how much people does actually care about something, and it works very well with people who just likes to argue for the sake of being right.

Piffle. You are a bad project manager if you can't tell who is arguing for the sake of argument (or "being right" or whatever.)

I'm all for being blunt and direct (see above). That is distinct from being abusive (which can be fun on /., but is bad management practice.)

Comment Re:From the laundromat (Score 0) 88

A friend took his new underwater camera case to the area, and it is full of small sharks, perhaps there is warm water attracting them.

The waters all over southern California are full of small sharks. I've seen them zooming along the breaking waves in La Jolla, far from any nuclear plant. So thanks for the baseless speculation! [Hint: if you want an issue to actually matter, provide a baseline comparison. Don't just say something ridiculous and meaningless like "You can light the water from their tap on fire!!!!" as if that was somehow interesting without any baseline or comparison to contrast it with.]

San Onofre has always had an excellent environmental record, as have most nuclear plants. Their economic record, now...

The problem with nuclear power comes in two forms:

1) relatively simple repairs are really expensive because they are heavily regulated

2) relatively small errors in operation result in (at best) the total destruction of the plant (i.e. Three Mile Island) and (at worst) the release of pretty significant amounts of radiation into the environment (i.e. Chernobyl, equal to perhaps a few months of American gun violence in terms of total deaths, unless you believe hysterics of nutjobs like the anti-scientific clowns at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which doesn't actually represent a significant fraction of the nuclear physics community.)

Comment Re: 1.4 Billion and off to retirement (Score 1) 176

Prototypes are expensive, mate. Cost of progress

What is this "progress" thing of which you speak?

It's certainly nothing to do with the ability to kill people in an almost entirely consequence-free way so the empires of the 20th century can extend and preserve themselves by sowing death and discord across the globe, all using technology that if deployed for peaceful purposes could alleviate many of the problems that those empires were created to solve.

The pity is that there are people smart enough to build systems like this machine for killing, but stupid enough that they think doing so is a better idea than applying their genius to things that will create peace and prosperity, rather than war and poverty.

Comment Re:It's not contamination (Score 3, Insightful) 62

I've read TFA, and thanks for adding some clarity, but I still have to wonder when they'll sequence the DNA.

Apparently you neither read the TFA nor the reply to your original false assertion that they didn't sequence the DNA.

Nor does your claim "if it's just an already known species then it's just contamination" make any sense.

I was on a remote island recently. I picked up an odd feather on the beach. I brought it back home and used it to identify the bird it came from. It was a known species.

There is absolutely no basis in that observation to support the claim that my backpack had somehow become contaminated by feathers from that species, and DNA is no different from feathers in this regard, when subject to ordinary standards of careful handling for such samples, which were obviously applied in this case (that is: the people doing the research are not and should not be presumed to be complete idiots.)

So you're completely wrong about all that, but have a nice day anyway!

Comment Re:"may head off backlash" (Score 1, Troll) 229

That is what environmentalist want.

This is why people calling themselves environmentalists have opposed:

1) all hydrocarbon development of any kind, including natural gas and fracking (which oddly enough plays well with the coal lobby...)

2) wind power because of the non-existent "negative health impacts of infrasound"

3) solar power under the false auspices of "concerns about toxins"

4) long-range power transmission (building new transmission lines or upgrading/expanding old ones) because of concerns about the non-existent "electro-sensitivity" of some psychologically disturbed individuals

5) nuclear power development because "environmentalists" have prevented anything being done to improve waste disposal or development of newer and safer reactors over the past 30 years

And so on.

Every self-proclaimed "environmentalist" will tell you they are all for "new technology" but turn out to be absolutely against any particular project you specifically mention.

Given that someone calling themself an "environmentalist" is opposed to every single option other than returning to the stone age, it is a little difficult to reclaim the term at this point.

Comment Re:wow, stupider than MAD! (Score 4, Insightful) 192

just ask yourself: what would a "thinking war machine" actually "think" about? it's not as if war is just a boardgame - heck, it's not as if the political and military moves we make are even carefully thought-out at all!

In fact, war itself is well-known to be fundamentally irrational. There's even something in economics called the "war puzzle" or "war problem": under the economic model of rationality, war is irrational.

Actors can always generate better outcomes by negotiation, and in real-world case studies typically both sides believe they have a much greater than 50% chance of winning (which violates the law of conservation of probability...)

As Clausewitz might have said if he'd known about Darwin: war is reproductive competition carried out by other means.

As such, creating bigger and bigger machines to prosecute wars is the stupidest thing humans could possibly do. On the other hand, if you think a weapon is a tool for changing your enemy's mind, then machines that educate are the most powerful weapons of all.

If we want to dump billions into making the world safe for American Imperialism, teaching machines of the kind envisioned in "The Diamond Age" would be a far better investment than exa-scale hardware that won't be able to think, but will be able to knock one more decimal place of uncertainty off of opacity coefficients for thermonuclear simulations.

But human beings are too stupid and irrational to do that, and would far prefer to engage in the least efficient, least effective strategy for solving any human problem: war.

There are people who are so stupid that they believe, for example, that because war was required to end slavery in the US that it was somehow a good solution, and they are so ignorant that they are unaware that slavery was eliminated in many other places without warfare. Simply because some bunch of idiots somewhere were too stupid to solve their problems without war doesn't mean that war should be the go-to solution for any problem that faces us.

Comment Re:Optical density, schmoptical schmensity! (Score 1) 182

What they are actually using is two photon absorption, the two beam setup allows them to have a tighter distribution of two photon absorption events.

Reading the actual paper it seems to be more about the chemistry of the photopolymerizable substrate than anything else: my impression is the two-photon technique was known previously (although it's extremely clever, as the two-photon absorption probability changes very rapidly with the beam intensity, making the sub-diffraction-limited spot size possible.)

But this also appears to be a write-only system, and there's nothing about speed, and while the new resin is "hard" there's no data on longevity in a real storage conditions. Such small spot sizes require very little flow in the material to screw them up.

So I'm with the other posters here who think this is an interesting laboratory demonstration of a technique we will almost certainly never see on our desktops.

Comment Re:Genius judge (Score 4, Insightful) 540

I offered you a plain donut, you accepted a plain donut, that's the contract. Offer and acceptance. And that would probably be the last free donuts the office got.

Now in plain fact YOU didn't offer anyone a "free donut": the corporation did. This is a critical distinction.

Corporations exist solely by virtue of Nanny State interference in the operations of the Free Market.

This gives corporations--which offer internships--a vastly privileged position in the negotiations they undertake with potential employees, interns, etc.

Again: corporations are a privileged form of social organization by statute (the reforms to the Companies Act in Great Britain in the 1850's, and similar acts passed by parliaments and congresses around the world.) I own a corporation, and when I incorporated I did not engage in free an uncoerced trade with my fellow humans: I filed forms with the government that upon approval gave me as a corporate owner certain legal, state-defined and state-protected privileges that my employees do not have the benefit of.

Advocates of Corporatism like yourself tend to forget this little detail: you as the owner or agent of a corporation have the backing of the massive, coercive power of the State. Your employees do not.

So quit pretending you live in some mythical Free Market where the Nanny State hasn't tilted the scales massively in your favour. Show a little humanity and humility and decency, and remember that what the State giveth the People can damned well take away.

Comment Re:If it were a "modest" encroachment, ... (Score 1) 341

And if the metadata so meaningless, why collect it?

Precisely. The organs of the State want us to believe both that a) the metadata can be used to infer everything about "terrorists" and b) the metadata can't be used to infer anything about YOU.

If metadata is so useful (which it plausibly is) as to be an efficient stand-in for content in many cases, it should have substantially the same legal protections as content.

When President Obama says, "No one is listening to your phone calls" he should be adding, "because we don't have to: getting the metadata is sufficient to let us use powerful algorithms to tell us everything we want to know, which we would otherwise have to listen to your phone calls to get."

Comment Re:Early Crimefighting Crowdsourcing in Salem (Score 1) 270

But that's not the same as a lynch mob.

"Better than a lynch mob!" is hardly the standard the American legal system once aspired to. Although I guess people with darker hued skins might disagree.

There are innocent people being held in Guantanamo Bay without access to the rights that the American legal system was supposed to protect.

Shrugging and saying, "Well, at least we aren't burning anyone at the stake! I don't see what you're making such a big deal over!" is not a civilized response to this situation, and making out like the procedural snafus were the biggest issue kind of misses the point.

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