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Comment Re:Siri doesn't have free will (Score 1) 401

The ethical implications of a statement and its truth are largely orthogonal concepts. That we are biological machines and that free will is an ill-defined concept (making anything having it impossible as it currently stands) may have ethical implications we don't like, that does not make them less or more true.

I have a sense of free will sure. I have the impression I make choices. But closer examination reveals that the only way to make sense of this is to define me as the state of my brain and body and then define my choices as being the consequences of me being me. If my brain were different, that is, if I were not me I would do something different, but it is what the configuration of my brain is (with some random chance I have no control over) that determines the actions I take. In this sense me being myself makes choices. But this is very, very far from what most people mean when they say free will. Unfortunately no one has ever been able to give me a clear definition of what this other kind of free will is.

On the above world view we are always trapped in a cage, the laws of nature, the laws of physics bind us tightly at all times and free will is little more than a delusion.

Comment Re:Siri doesn't have free will (Score 1) 401

Then the proof is obviously flawed as your choice empirically invalidates it.

If you don't have free will you cant choose anything, although you may have the illusion you do. In the case above if the proof was sound you would either believe it or not believe it, but you would have no choice in the matter.

Comment Re:And Fire qualifies for many definitions of Life (Score 1) 401

You do realise that if Cleverbot was to provide you with a sound argument it would be just as sound as an argument you came up with yourself right? Since your post expresses a clear value for rationality this Cleverbot doesn't have to matter to you, or even in the abstract, for its argument to persuade you.

As for your 'properly basic belief'. Just call it an assumption. We all have to make them and pretending you don't is just silly.If you don't think this is an assumption, proove it to yourself. Keep in mind that since the possibility you don't exist is on the table you cant trust your senses, your intuitions, anything. "I exist and have will" is a perfectly acceptable assumption to make, but we both know you aren't going to convince anyone free will exists by saying "Free will exists because I assume it does!".

Comment Re:Bicameral system (Score 1) 668

You left out the bit about why lower houses have this power, they are generally the most democratic portion of the system, that is they best represent the populace at large. When it comes down to the wire and we are talking about the day to day needs of having a government the last laugh is rightly with whoever best represents the people.
This is precisely the reason many people are concerned about the UK having an elected second chamber, if the Lords are elected, especially if they are elected by a more representative system, then shouldn't they have primacy?
Now I know what you're going to say, the lower house in congress is the more democratically elected of the two houses. There are more members and they represent roughly fixed numbers of people while the senate represents the States. This would be a good objection if the House of Representatives wasn't so horribly gerrymandered that the statement was laughable.
There is no failure of recognition of powers here, the House of Representatives does not have the ability to unilaterally revoke the Affordable Care Act. And they cannot unilaterally pass a budget. This is, as the previous poster pointed out, because the American system is fundamentally broken and stupid. There is a reason the parliamentary system is a reasonably successful export while virtually no one has managed to run an American style democracy. Okay there are lots of reasons, but this bullshit with the budget is a big one.

Comment Re:Still want it? (Score 1) 193

No you don't. You do need a properly randomised sample though. Asian people are generally shorter than Caucasian, and people from North Korea even more so, so a sample which was not properly random (say taking 30 men from North Korea and 30 women from rural Germany) would be misleading. But a sample of 30 random people across the entire planet would not, even if we didn't control for height. Weighting for regional height differences would give us a better understanding, and increase our statistical power, but you do not need to control for all variables, and in fact in most research controlling for all variables is impossible. Even in something like basic physics what you are suggesting is impossible. All g-2 measurements for the electron for instance have been conducted on Earth. We have no way of knowing if that works outside of a stars gravity field or in a black hole. It is still reasonable to assume it is.

The sample in climate research is adequately controlled, sufficiently random and the noise is well enough understood that it is likely most of the conclusions of the research are useful and predictive.

Comment Re:Still want it? (Score 3, Informative) 193

Mmmmm those cherries are so good, I see why you picked them:
http://www.climate4you.com/GlobalTemperatures.htm#Global temperature trends
Care to admit why you picked 10 years and not 15 or 20?

If you grab a sample of 2 women and 2 men you may well find the women are taller, and you wont be able to say based on that sample if men or women are taller on average. But given 20 or 30 women and 20 or 30 men the answer becomes obvious.

Comment Re:slow (Score 1) 222

Very strongly depends on what you are doing with MATLAB vs. scipy and numpy as to which is faster, although my experience is that on the whole MATLAB is a bit faster (although my experience is pre-MKL so maybe MATLAB is much faster now, if so my colleagues haven't noticed). A factor of 2-10 seems reasonable. On the other hand I have regularly ran into memory problem with MATLAB when I've used it with large data sets that I don't encounter with python, of course that is probably because I'm much better with python than MATLAB (which is the other problem with MATLAB vs. python, I find it much easier to vectorise stuff for numpy so it might be theoretically possible to do stuff faster in MATLAB but in practice I just cant get the behaviour I need).

Octave is nice, but painfully slow, at least when I've used it. I mostly use it when I have to teach students who have used MATLAB and I need a substitute. If you are in a position where you need MATLAB day to day I don't think octave is there as a replacement yet.

Prototyping in MATLAB is okay, but I find it is at the ugly spot in my discipline where it is no faster than python for the quick stuff because fractions of a second don't matter, and too slow for the slow stuff. I also think python has a slightly nicer syntax and structure, and is easier to teach to students, so long as I find them a text editor that doesn't balls up the whitespace. I find they learn much faster and their code is generally cleaner.

Bottom line is if I needed speed that badly I would write in C++, C, or FORTRAN (yup, trained physicist). For me a factor of 10 isn't worth the extra time it would take me to prototype, and if I need speed that badly, I probably need a lot of speed.

Will look into gnuradio, hasn't crossed my radar before.

Comment Re:There's both a glut AND a shortage (Score 1) 284

Simply using the word 'shortage' is advocating against workers. That is arguing for anti-worker actions. Education funding is directed in part in accordance with what businesses say they need. You saying there is a shortage when there is none does damage to workers interests.

You say you wish that but I suspect your actions speak otherwise. How much did your business donate to your local university for the purposes of supporting elite students? How much do you spend on open ended training of your employees (and no, indentured servitude where they have to agree to stay with the company for X years in return for training does not count, I'm talking about them getting training and then you paying them more as a result with them remaining free to leave if you try to swindle them). Mentoring your employees doesn't count either, I'm talking about something they can take to the bank, something that gets them paid better.

The only way someone who owns and runs a business gets to complain and have me take it seriously is if they put large sums of their money where their mouth is, otherwise they are just trying to screw us.

Comment Re:There's both a glut AND a shortage (Score 1) 284

Then pay seven figures. You pay your CEO seven figures so if you really need someone with an advanced skill set you are prepared to pay for it. If they aren't that valuable to you then you don't need them and there is no shortage. Is basic economics really this hard to understand?

Look it is very simple, to show a shortage (which is a short term phenomena) you need to show some event which is causing either supply or demand to sky rocket and a resulting rapid shift in price. For example after an oil shock there is a shortage of oil because oil is partly controlled by a cartel so the market is slow to respond and can be manipulated. If say a virus went round killing 90% of all STEM workers then we would have a shortage while we trained up new people and in the mean time STEM workers salary would rise until it matched the highest offers on the left of the demand curve. You want to show me a shortage, show me that STEM workers salaries have ballooned, show me where all the dead tech workers are, the rapid drop in STEM graduates, the sudden rise in people looking to employ STEM workers. You want to know what a shortage looks like? It looks like the dot com boom. That was a shortage of tech workers. Price of tech labour sky-rocketed to absurd levels, a new source of demand rapidly opened up faster than the labour market could respond and we had a shortage.

Show me a dot com boom or a supply shock or shut up and stop trying to make arguments whose obvious purpose is to build support for policies that will screw labour.

Comment Re:There's both a glut AND a shortage (Score 3, Informative) 284

If there is no problem, there is no shortage. Don't call it a shortage. Don't argue for anti-worker actions that would address a non-existent shortage.

I want chocolate ice cream in a cone. I'm not under the delusion I don't have to pay for it though. And when I walk into the store and don't see them priced at 20 cents a piece I don't complain there is a shortage of them. I don't try to get government to give me a subsidy on chocolate ice cream. I shut the fuck up and pay the market price. Shut the fuck up and pay the market price.

Comment Re:There's both a glut AND a shortage (Score 1) 284

Don't care how you do it, the free market will solve the problem. If you have an actual shortage you would do it. You are not doing it, ergo you don't have a shortage. The market sets the price, your rates are not reasonable if you cant fill them, by definition. This is the lesson people in business have taught worker, forced on worker, mandated to workers for years now.

Is differentiating the great from the adequate? Pay for universities to run harder more advance courses so you have an easier time differentiating candidates. If it mattered to you, you would pay for it. Or any number of other options you could do. You don't, so it doesn't.

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