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Comment Re:tacit admission (Score 4, Informative) 465

It's a psychological spiel. What a polygraph does is to note down reactions, both voluntary and involuntary. When you get asked questions, your body reacts. The idea is now that lying requires more "work" from you than telling the truth, since you have to fabricate it.

In reality, though, the way you react is dependent on so many facets that whether you lie or tell the truth plays a minor role, if any. It's like saying that you can tell what TV program someone is watching by looking at how much power he uses. While technically, in theory, possible, there are so many other appliances running in his house (or not) that their combination pretty much drowns out that information in way too much noise.

What is left of the polygraph is that people might THINK it works, and hence react differently. The goal is to give you the impression that it not only can, but WILL tell, without a doubt, that you're lying if you lie. So you get told that it can easily spot when and how you lie (it cannot), that it will be used in court against you (it cannot), that they used it multiple times to convict people (they have not) and so on.

The psychology around it is the actual "value" of it during an interrogation. Just like in medieval times showing the instruments of torture were usually enough to extract confessions, so does telling people about the polygraph. The main difference probably being that the instruments of torture can actually deliver what is promised, something the polygraph cannot.

Comment Re:Nope. The US has a long way before that. (Score 1) 165

That's what the NSA is supposed to do from the US point of view. But then again, all the accusations are from an US point of view too, while the rest of the world won't give a rat's ass about them. For all I care, Snowden didn't do anything wrong. Sure, he wronged the US, but why the heck should that bother me?

And, bluntly, I don't think the US justice is the place where the truth matters in this particular case. The US justice has been about making examples lately a bit too much to put any kind of faith in the system behind them. The closest this could come to an impartial and fair trial would be an international court. Let's be honest here, a US tribunal would not be far from a witch trial in its most literal sense, since in the trials held by the RCC on witchcraft matters accuser and judge were rolled into the same person. It would be very much the same for this trial where the US accuse and in turn the US is also the party that will cast the verdict. If you consider that a "fair trial", your and my definition of fair differ quite a bit.

And yes, that's a pretty fine definition of a kangaroo court. It's like having a judge preside over the trial of a guy who raped the judge's wife.

Comment Re:Do Some Homework Allison (Score 0) 545

Except in a study in Indiana after they became the 48th state to adopt DST in 2006 (where all the population is at least as far north as San Francisco and most are near the northern border of CA in latitude) that showed springing forward immediately increased energy consumption by 1%.

And there is no state in the Union as schizophrenic about time as Indiana. Good luck trying to argue that any change there, better or worse, is independent of all other factors.

Comment Re:how about getting rid of timezones entirely (Score 1) 545

If someone isn't in already you can usually find something else to do in the mean time.

Like taking your business elsewhere.

Flex time or no, no business exists in a vacuum. You have customers whose money you want, and you have suppliers whose product you want. And if you can't be bothered to coordinate with both, they will find someone else who can and will.

This is why we have clocks to begin with.

Comment Re:Most of it is born (Score 1) 251

As I mentioned in another post, in math (and many other fields) it's those who find new surprising and useful paths in the "jungle" that are real geniuses.

Once those paths are found, following them is easier. Even I might be able to follow them once they have been found, but I may never have found them on my own.

You can probably teach people to find new paths (and prove that they work). The focus seems to be mainly learning/memorizing the old paths - which can be useful - since you do need to use them in some fields, and also you do need to know the old ones so that you don't waste time re-finding them ;).

As I said those who find the new great paths first tend to count more than the 10th person who manages to find them independently. And those who can merely follow long established paths are useful but if that's all they can do they'd be more easily replaced by computers. Just being able to follow is overrated.

Comment Re:College too hard? (Score 1) 279

Well, where does it end? University? Dumb it down...

Problem is, sooner or later you get confronted by reality and it refuses to bend over and get easier just 'cause people are too stupid to comprehend it. And this is generally where the system breaks down because at one point in life people should stop being on the receiving end of information and start producing some themselves (whatever that "information", i.e. creation of order, may be now, be it research or production). If education fails to produce that, it fails at everything.

No matter how good it may make some idiot feel about himself.

Comment How Google finds people (Score 4, Informative) 195

Google has other approaches to hiring. At one time, if you searched for topics associated with mathematical proof of correctness, you got a Google employment ad. I've been contacted by Google recruiting because of things I posted on Usenet comp.lang.c++ about how to improve the language. They do pay attention to who's doing what in computer science.

The striking thing about Google is that they've never developed a second profitable product. Revenue is still over 95% from ads, with 2/3 coming from search ads, and 1/3 from DoubleClick ("AdSense") ads. Google+, Android and Google Docs don't generate significant revenue. They're defensive measures against Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, respectively. All that brainpower, and no new profitable products in a decade.

"The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. That sucks." - Jeff Hammerbacher, Facebook research scientist

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