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Comment Ok here's what we do... (Score 3, Insightful) 144

We, as concerned budget conscious citizens, point out that these drones can do the work of 10 ordinary beat officers (10,15 whatever the number is irrelevant). This, we continue, allows the county/city/state to reduce the number of officers on payroll. Then we sit back and watch the police union take care of problem for us.

Comment Re:Make it illegal (Score 1) 1199

Maybe. But what about outdoor activities? Extreme sports of any kind? Diets heavy in red meat? Speeding? These are all activities that people knowingly and deliberately take part in, knowing full well that their participation elevates their long term medical expenses and thus the burden "on the rest of us". Should we ban participants in the Boston Marathon? Those selfish bastards could get the same health benefits while greatly reducing joint and soft tissue damage by running on an elliptical at the local gym. This is a horrendously slippery slope. Will we ban the consumption of salad dressings next? They offer next to no nutritional benefit and are loaded with calories. Clearly their consumption can only be seen as a deliberate, selfish decision which increases insurance rates for decent, hard working Americans.

Comment You guys are weird. (Score 1) 490

I wish you 'Correlation != Causation' nutjobs could put down the sauce and actually consider the issue.

Have you EVEN CONSIDERED that the concepts taught in Algebra II might in fact have a CAUSAL relationship with later success? Look through the core concepts listed below and ask yourself (A) would knowing these concepts be critical for success in pure science and engineering coursework? (B) would knowing these concepts be useful for social sciences? (C) could the mental gymnastics practiced in algebra 2 help develop the critical thinking necessary for harder subjects?

You guys go on and on about how politicians etc. have no science background and then go batshit crazy the moment someone suggests that 'hard' math/science should be part of a core curriculum. As a practicing scientist I use the below core concepts literally every day (matlab ftw), and I certainly wish more people were walking around with a working knowledge of these subjects. Even english & art majors would benefit from knowing these concepts.

Absurdity note: As probability and statistics are part of the algebra 2 core, a person would HAVE TO KNOW ALGEBRA 2 to even understand the 'correlation != causation' arguement.

Per random googling, here is a basic algebra 2 core:

  1. Equations and Inequalities
  2. Linear Equations and Functions
  3. Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
  4. Matrices and Determinants
  5. Quadratic Functions
  6. Polynomials and Polynomial Functions
  7. Powers, Roots, and Radicals
  8. Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
  9. Rational Equations and Functions
  10. Quadratic Relations and Conic Sections
  11. Sequences and Series
  12. Probability and Statistics
  13. Trigonometric Ratios and Functions
  14. Trigonometric Graphs, Identities, and Equations

Comment Re:Why do we keep talking about her? (Score 1) 1425

Here's an interesting tid-bit that I think may help you to identify lunatics like Ron Paul:

Add the phrase "because he/she believes it is a Jewish conspiracy" to a person's political views. If that statement still accurately describes the person then you have identified them as a insane.

For example: "Ron Paul is anti-war ... because he believes it is a Jewish conspiracy"
YEP! That's Ron Paul all right, now can we please stop pretending this whack job has any legitimacy?

Comment Re:No questions about QA? (Score 1) 175

The elephant in the room is that WoW essentially has zero beta testing. Oh sure, there is a 'beta' phase where you can copy over a character and try out the changes, but that system is broken. The reality is that the vast majority of beta players are just practicing the new raid zones so they can compete for world first boss kills as soon as the content goes live. So major flaws in mechanics go unreported & unfixed, while inane boss tuning gets all the attention.

Comment telling yourself what you want to hear (Score 1) 624

I understand that the general idea is to find news about things you care about, but I can't help but feel that at the end of the day this 'solution' and many of the resulting responses simply amount to collective self delusion. If I'm actively sorting out and associating myself with like-minded individuals how can the result ever be anything but tribalistic warfare in the society at large?

Comment How does this influence the available namespace? (Score 1) 147

A lot of the responses are focusing on (A) is this a new method and (B) how it can/can't be easily dealt with. But personally I'm more interested in how this affects the available namespace. Surely many on slashdot have their own domains /projects out there and are familiar with how difficult it is to find a catchy/marketable domain name that isn't taken. These spam tactics would seem to both further limit the available namespace in the short term and poison the well in the long term if those names stay on RBLs etc long after the spammer lets the registration lapse. Anybody have thoughts/experience with this?

Comment Re:Scum (Score 1) 312

> They disincentivize ignorance and stupidity...

That strikes me as a touch cynical. You might argue the victims are naive, but I see no grounds for calling them stupid.

How many times on slashdot have we as a collective proposed having infected PCs simply cut off the network by the ISP. "Of course of course", we argue, "they would be given a warning prior to cutting the line." Well how do you think such a scenario would play out in real life? It would be damn near identical to this scam. The ISP would call the client and inform them of the issue, then any real ISP is going to refer the client to a 'preferred vendor', and plenty of those are going to be the in-house guys at the ISP/store hybrids here in the midwest US.

Now maybe you can argue this just falls under the general umbrella 'never trust a cold call', but even that isn't reasonable. You propose that they simply hang up and call up Microsoft... who pray tell do you expect them to call? Corporations in the real world have divisions spread all over the place, with no particular expectation that every division knows what every other division is up to. Suppose you DID receive a real call from Microsoft that you doubted, who of their bagillion employees worldwide would you call back? Do you honestly expect the front line support to know what anyone up the chain is doing?

Comment Re:Doesn't matter. (Score 2, Informative) 764

I would like to clarify a few things as someone who is both an engineer and an academic.

Academics don't have to produce anything (besides words).

In the lab across the hall from my office sits the world's first diffuse optical tomography platform capable of imaging and mapping multiple fluorescent lifetimes. My office mates have built a high-density NIRs grid currently being used to map brain function in infants to help clinicians diagnose and treat early neural trauma and other related disorders. We academics build plenty. Moreover even those involved in more theoretical aspects (like say the mathematicians we collaborate with) have to produce models of light propagation that actually work. Are there papers that show problems with current methodology? Sure, but those are only one aspect of academia, and the same people that write those papers then go on to demonstrate new methodologies superior to the old (which is the entire reason they examined weaknesses in the old models).

I have to put a product out that works. There are time limits.

How difficult it must be to live in a world with project deadlines. OH WAIT! I bet that's damn near identical to our grant submission and progress report deadlines. If we miss those the lab either never receives or loses existing funding

"Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach..."

Lets not be a jackass about these things. In reality anybody worth a damn is both doing AND teaching as much as their time permits. As a production engineer you may not be teaching in a formal setting but I would certainly expect that you both give and receive informal instruction to the other engineers on your teams

Comment Re:Biased much? (Score 1) 601

Ok, so less than 5% reduced denials on 11% less requests...Sounds like statistically likely evidence that denials are more likely.

I don't mean to offend but this is an absurd usage of statistics. The entire problem with comparing the number of FOIA requests is that there is no inherent connection between the datasets. One year you could have 100 requests regarding factual information for NASA programs, the next you could have 100 requests for Dick Cheney's cell phone number. Obviously the statistics from the 2nd year would show an absurd increase in FOIA rejections, but that wouldn't actually mean the government was 'more closed' the second year.

Comment Re:First rebellion (Score 3, Insightful) 703

In fact, manufacturing in the U.S. is doing very well. Productivity is at an all-time high, and the amount we are producing has not been in decline, as is commonly believed.

I'd have guessed that greater than 95% of the products I purchase and use on a regular basis are manufactured outside of the U.S. Would you mind providing more information as to what sectors are producing 'at an all-time high'? I'm not trolling or even necessarily disagreeing with you, but there appears to be a distinct disconnect here.

Comment Re:It's the freeloaders time (Score 1) 1051

Why can't I get ads I would be even remotely interested in? Gadgets deals, hardware deals, game deals, interesting bands, interesting books ... you know ... geek stuff?

You mean ads personally tailored to you? based on your interest? As long as you are willing to provide a good deal of personal information to the site and in turn to advertisers, including information linking your online activities to your real world ones, then go for it. But the next time a Slashdot headline comes across touting the latest in user identification and tracking you'd better not bitch about the invasion to your privacy.

Ideally there might be a neutral trusted middleman. But that mechanism requires a good deal of infrastructure and would then itself be subject to exploitation.

Comment Re:This will be one of the shorter X-Prize contest (Score 3, Interesting) 175

I work in an optical imaging lab doing whole animal and human brain imaging studies. As you've mentioned two key points should be stressed for those outside the field.

(1) The project is laughably underfunded. Think more on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars plus for these types of projects to make it through the full FDA approval process. Human trials are phenomenally expensive, to the point where whole established companies can be driven to bankruptcy through the process (ART in Canada comes to mind).

(2) Many of the smaller pieces HAVE already been invented. By many different groups scattered around the globe. It will take some sort of insane IP wizardry to combine all of these patents along with the additional research required to meet the specific aims of the challenge.

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