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Comment Google manipulates search results to favor its own (Score 1) 195

That is a naive conclusion. Google's algorithm adjusts search result ranking based on popularity. If google products are popular, should google up the rankings of less popular products?
I see lots of microsoft bing ads on youtube and I don't like them. If I switch away from the ads and google's ranking adjusts so it doesn't show me more of them how is that google's bias?
I don't see how you can separate out the user's preference from google's bias without examining the google ranking algorithms. I could see if google's products were worse than their competitors and everyone widely hated them, that it would be odd to see them ranked higher than their competitors. But when the opposite is true, then there is no need for manipulation on google's part.
It seems the governments wants google to produce an inferior ranking system and it is most likely the government is clueless on the technology and is responding to lobbying. My tax dollars hard at work ...

Comment meat vs poison (Score 1) 687

I work from home. Many of the events, in the article, don't happen for me. I don't wake up until I want to. The only tech I care about relate to health care and food production. The luxury tech I would like to see make it are google glasses and low-cost high-speed global wi-fi. The tech that might make a huge difference to me is the d-wave quantum computer applied to AI. I suspect we need another 1K to 100K increase in cpu performance to create AI that will replace me in the workforce. I am not sure we can get there in 15 years.

Comment google doesn't "read" email ... (Score 1) 171

google doesn't understand what information is actually in the email! "google" doesn't read the way humans "read" email. some google server turns email into a feature vector (set of numbers without meaning). some other server predicts the best ad from the feature vector. there is a feedback loop, when you click on an ad, the system learns which ads are best to display. no employees at google actually reads the user's email. the initial data for making prediction is taken from other sources. the advertiser has no access gmail users' information. with 500 million users sending 100s messages through an automated system, there are bound to be cases where ads seem creepy. no google employee can tell you why their complex system acts creepy because the feedback loop means there is data affecting the prediction that no google employee has created or can understand.

google does make money from content generated by other people. some of those people would like to be paid for the benefit they provide to google. but they are a drop in the ocean of information, google doesn't need them. In a way google does pay for that content by offering its services for free. even the ads are priced on their value to advertiser.

in the end, google is far from perfect but their benefits clearly outweigh their "evilness" unless you produce that tiny drop of information. that is life. sue because it is like buying a lottery ticket.

Comment Recycling water is inexpensive ... (Score 1) 318

There are very cheap ways to recycle water that we don't use enough now but we must in the future. Desalinization is still too expensive but the costs are coming down. Solar/wind powered desalinization could work in poor areas for drinking water but probably not fast enough for farming. Ice mining is also an option we should consider since it is going to melt anyway.

Comment cycle of life ... (Score 2) 172

Maybe they will open source their code and the IP won't entirely go to waste. As for the money, well, it is in someone's bank account. It is not lost, just redistributed. Every day we make bets that seem stupid later but such is life. Sometimes stupid bets payoff (I'm looking at you instagram).

Comment Re:Khan doesn't have much for advanced material (Score 1) 190

I couldn't agree more. Look at the lectures on probability and compare it with Khan classes and you see a very large gap. The khan class gives you a foundation but it is really just the bottom 30% of what you need to know. Then compare the lectures on NLP with the NLP class at and you see another large gap. So we need each education site. Each one tends to focus on a different range of the education path and on a different level student. Sometimes, it just helps to hear the same fact taught in a different style.

Comment the solution is anathema (Score 2) 663

It is hard to be competitive without funding... We need a yearly funding drive effort like NPR. The biggest problem (and strength?) is that we have a lot of duplicate solutions. We are a large fragmented democracy fighting a well-funding dictatorship with a great PR department. If only we could elect a leader for 2 years and unite against Apple and MS. The irony is that we can't beat them without becoming them...

Comment I'm running into this issue now... (Score 1) 738

I've interviewed at companies with a 20-something workforce and it is very awkward. They make it very clear, they only want older employees if they are in the top 5% of the workforce. You have to be a well-known expert (e.g. owing a github project with a large following, published and selling well in the app store, highly ranked on stackoverflow) to have their respect. It doesn't matter if I like that or not; the 20-something people make the decisions. It is evolve and get facebook like jobs or die at a boring company.
My solution, which isn't easy, is to start my own company. I think the 20-something crowd feels that it is so easy to start a company, if a 35+ year-old employee hasn't started one then there must be something wrong. It is a lot like high-school; you have to be hard to get for them to want you.

Comment do they really matter? (Score 1) 672

What is your opinion of the impact of this law? I suspect it has always been the case that the majority of people believe in creationism. I wonder if a tendency to hold religious beliefs is an advantageous adaption. We argue about the incorrectness of a belief in creationism when ironically, it may be society's tendency to hold religious beliefs that have helped our species survive. We may not need those tendencies anymore but I'm not sure they can safely disappear overnight. I don't see a need to change someone's belief creationism even though I don't share it. Science can do amazing things that will change their minds. Science is so powerful that it seems silly to worry about the misconceptions of the deeply religious. Democracy means the majority gets to create laws which are a mistake but the system allows us to fix them later when we're culturally evolved to accept it. Maybe the best way to reduce the belief in creationism is to teach it along side evolution.

Comment what a coincidence? (Score 2) 479

There is an earlier /. article today on a new way to think about learning. It would be great if there were interactive educational applications like the ones that Bret Victor talks about.

This article is also very interesting. It points out that, when we learn we need to focus more on recalling the information. Sites like khanacademy present the information in small chunks that are easy to understand but if the student doesn't practice recalling the information, then she/he is at a disadvantage.

Finally, there is this video by Sir Ken Robinson which talks about the issues pretty well.!

Comment so much easier to sign a peace treaty (Score 1) 278

I just don't get it. China is a major trading partner and holder of american debt. It would be so much easier to sign a peace treaty. The biggest issue I think is taiwan so let's work out a deal to integrate taiwan like they did with hong kong. In exchange for taiwan, we should ask them to strongly motivate north korea to integrate with the south. There are other issues but I don't think they are big enough to go to war over. The richer they become the less problems we will have.

Comment switch from technical to people skills ... (Score 5, Interesting) 416

1) Move up the management chain. Stop moving up when you can't take the bs. You don't code anymore. You are still paid well. You have to reduce your reliance on technical skills and switch to people skills. It is messy. I find it hard because the goals are harder to understand. People don't act in their best interests and so doing something illogical (e.g. not allowing an employee to build a better solution because the current solution is owned by someone with more influence than you have) is the better choice if you want to keep your job. It is really hard to avoid becoming the dilbert manager when a dilbert manager decides your fate.
2) Move into sales or marketing. Again you have to tone down your technical skills in favor of people skills. If you move into writing white papers you can keep some of the technical skills but you will need to understand people well enough to influence them. It takes getting used to. I didn't like it at first but so far it has been easier than coding, a little boring but I feel my work is useful to the company and customers. If you move into technical presales you typically get a bonus but you also have to travel a bit more.

Comment Natural [self] selection ... (Score 1) 159

We are becoming smart enough to control our natural selection process so that the only selection process that remains is one in which humans to kill each other. It is a catch 22. We're getting smart enough to survive anything the nature can throw at us so we only have ourselves to limit our growth. There are other ways that seem more logical but survival of the best killer has always been the dominate method. We want to think that we've evolved past it but our wars indicate otherwise. As mentioned before, Islam and Judaism share a common origin. Our conflicts are silly. It reminds me of when Nixon escalated the bombing into Cambodia because he didn't want to be the first American president to lose war. Several million people died because one person didn't want a sentence written in a book that one day no one will read.

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