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Comment Re:Me too! (Score 1) 238

I hate to do this, but no AC has jumped in with a helpful "whoosh" and I'm feeling particularly pedantic today, so I'm going to give you a short lesson in mathematics, the internet, and life in general. I hope you find it useful (I'd like to think you will).

First, as I hope you realize, my post was a joke. A joke wrapped around what I think is an interesting idea, but a joke nonetheless. Since you didn't get the joke I have to assume you didn't get the idea. Let's start with the idea and work our way up from there. You're right about Newton and Leibniz, but what you're missing is that a lot of ideas in math have the same history; that of being developed independently by different people at around the same time. In fact, if you crack open a random math text and point to a random theorem, there is a good chance that there is either an ongoing controversy about whether the person after whom it's named is it's discoverer, or that person is uncontroversially recognized as not being responsible. This phenomena is not limited to math. Inventions and other feats of engineering have the habit of popping up in different places at the same time. Things as everyday as the locomotive, light bulb, and telephone all have multiple independent inventors credibly claiming paternity. The thing to understand here, is that this is not rare, but common. Cocks is a mathematician; he knows about the calculus kerfuffle, he knows that some things named after Newton were probably Simpson, many things named after Gauss were really other people, and many things named after other people were really Gauss (who supposedly kept a stack of unpublished theorems on his desk to hand off to editors when they had space in journals they needed to fill). What I find so interesting is that, Cocks, who knows all of this, is still surprised when he learns that another team of researchers has independently invented the same algorithm he and his team had only a few years earlier. Do you get it yet? Maybe? Let's continue.

Take a moment to reread my post and GP. You heard the Newton/Leibniz story for the first time in Calculus, right? Just like everyone else on the planet. What do you think are the odds that someone posting on Slashdot has never been in that class? I understand that text, divorced from tone of voice and body language, can be hard to interpret, but look at the tone of GP. It's very silly, right? Look at the tone of my post; much more serious, right? What seems more likely: that I'm expressing sincere skepticism at GP's claim of discovering relativity, or that I'm using a little irony to make a point? Feel free to open up a tab and google the definition of irony, I'll still be here when you get back. Okay? Good. Look how my own mock surprise at the idea of multiple independent discovery mirrors that expressed by Cocks in the article. I know, I know, you didn't RTFA. I know that 90% of Slashdot is trash, but there's a solid 10% there, so please, at least sometimes, RTFA. You'll be a smarter person, maybe a better person, for it and girls will like you more*. Now you have the idea and the joke. Is it funny? It's probably not funny after all this. That's okay, it wasn't very funny to begin with.

Finally, please, use some fucking punctuation. Your post is almost unreadable. It's hard to tell who you're saying claimed they were what first. If I didn't already know exactly what you were talking about when I read your post, I wouldn't have been able to figure it out. If you can't communicate your ideas to other people, they're effectively worthless. What if Newton discovered the calculus, but then was unable to explain it to anyone? The paternity of calculus would be even more fucked up then it already is (which is something no one wants).

So, in summary, multiple independent discovery/invention is common, have the self awareness to recognize in yourself that which you see in other people, think longer before you write (or speak), and please, please, please, for fucks sake, use some punctuation and grammar.
I sincerely hope you found this useful; good luck in all your endeavours,

(seriously; no irony this time.)

* You were probably expecting a disclaimer here, but this is actually true. Unless you are a girl, then the reverse, with boys, but even more so.

Comment Re:First Line (Score 1) 439

It's outside of my department, but two effects that spring most readily to mind are: availability of pornography and availability of accurate information on reproduction. Availability of accurate information seems like an open and shut case for downward pressure on unintended pregnancy (which, of course, leaves out intended ones). As for porn; possibly the availability of porn results in boys putting less pressure on girls to put out and illustrates to both genders a host of alternative sex acts that are, if you'll pardon a euphemism, non-reproductive.

If I had to guess, I'd say these effects are probably strong, but I'd pity the poor soul who tried to sell them politically.

Comment Re:First Line (Score 1) 439

In the late 90's some education researchers did a randomized controlled trial of gift laptops on test scores somewhere in post-soviet eastern Europe. The details escape me (I can't remember who did it or where it was published), but in the end there was no significant difference in test scores between treatment and control.

As an interesting aside, the pregnancy rate of the control group dropped way below trend for the treatment period and the rate for the treatment group fell off a cliff (something like a ~%70 reduction.)

Comment Re:Angry? (Score 1) 569

funny, I would have thought it would have had more to do with doing a entire project (not just the proposal) and getting squat for it?.

It's worth noting that in many other industries where the criteria for determining the product quality is very subjective, bids will often take the form of nearly complete projects. Think here of architectural or fashion design, writing fiction, popular music, etc...

Comment Re:More details and downloadable archive (Score 1) 578

Presumably this is a holdover from when coding was dominated by applications of linear algebra (I'm thinking here of von Neumann). I imagine the first code for a loop through each element of a matrix was preceded by a thought along the lines of:

"In the direction of i, from 1 to n; in the direction of j, from 1 to m"

Comment Synchronicity! (Score -1, Offtopic) 701

From the section titled Reasons Why This Is Bad, Even If You're Not a Troll:, ninth bullet point:

Some people think anything you do or say is attention-whoring, even if you never wanted the attention. If a guy makes a joke in a forum post, he's a funny guy. If a girl makes a joke in a forum post, she's an attention whore. If a guy makes a good argument in a forum post, he's a smart guy. If a girl makes a good argument in a forum post, she's doing it for attention. She's ESPECIALLY an attention whore if people like her or agree with her.

Comment Re:also: more doctors, less pay, more compassion. (Score 1) 584

Furthermore, we need to eliminate the debt load for student doctors. You can't expect doctors to work for lower salaries (as I propose above) when they are graduating with hundred of thousands in debt.

Would these lower salary expectations not put downward pressure on education costs? After all, if we shift the burden of costs to those who cannot make individual cost/benefit decisions, have we not re-created the very health care market dysfunction we seek to remedy?

P.S. A comparison of average general physician salaries across countries: http://www.worldsalaries.org/generalphysician.shtml

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 542

It is unfortunate to see that the paper -- http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/25may2010/1376.pdf -- does not include a statistical test to evaluate that the results are due to chance, but it seems significant ... anyone care to do a ANOVA?

On what? The numbers '9' and '5'?
Umm....they're different.

Don't waste your time thinking about this paper; it's garbage.

Comment Sloppy, sloppy work (Score 1) 542

They only had 2 hives in their experiment?

No, they had four. Two treatment (T1 and T2), one placebo (B, a dummy phone), one control (C). You wouldn't know it though, the data sheet in the paper shows only two columns, one titled control and one titled treatment. No mention of the placebo, no indication that there are two treatment groups, no test statistic (or it's power) is reported, no model is ever described.

(Direct link to paper: http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/25may2010/1376.pdf)

Comment Re:I reject the notion that man isn't a cosmic ent (Score 1) 91

I feel that this notion ingrained in our environmental education that anything and everything human beings do is bad and/or unnatural is just wrong. The universe is a vast place. And in the big picture, we are all part of it. Nothing we could possibly do is out of the bounds of nature on a universal scale. We have as much right to explore, seed, and shape the cosmos as any other creature in the universe. If we disturb the habitat of any other planet, so be it. It's the laws of the universe at work.

Seldom have I seen this sentiment put so well.
I hesitate though, to single out environmental education for an idea that pervades our culture so thoroughly. Whether it's the remnants of a self flagellating religion, the relentless search for authenticity that is the reverse side of our popular culture, baked into the human mind, or a mixture of these and more, teaching kids about pollution is only this strand's most obvious outlet.
There is however, a legitimate question beneath surface: To what degree, if any, should we maintain areas of the universe as 'wild'? Is there an intrinsic value to an area from which we are absent, or does this value, if it exists, come from rarity?

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