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Comment Oh, good... (Score 1) 292

... It's not just my Toyota's IVI that sucks. 2014 Corolla S: voice recognition is slightly less useful than my belly button. iPod controls are so bad that it's easier to unplug the iPod, pick a song, press play, then plug it in. It has the ability to play mp3's off a flash drive, but if the flash drive is larger than 512Mb it takes 30-60 minutes to index it before it'll allow you to play anything, and that 30-60 minutes starts over if you switch music sources or re-start the car.

I'm open to hacking it, if anyone has suggestions on where to start.

Comment Suggested replacement videos? (Score 1) 376

I'm a physics professor at a mid-sized non-MIT university. I teach introductory physics using a "flipped" classroom, and I have in the past used Lewin's 8.01 lectures on YouTube as one of several online learning references for my students.

They are really good lectures, and I consider them a valuable tool for my students. But I also agree with MIT's decision to remove them from the OCW site: Lewin's alleged behavior is reprehensible and I do not want to promote him in my course.

So my question is, can anyone here suggest a replacement for his set of 8.01 lecture videos? I've found a few online, but nothing so far that is as high-quality as what I've been using from MIT. Suggestions are welcome! (and no, Khan Academy isn't there yet.)

Murphy's law: the semester started this week.

Comment It's a trap. (Score 5, Interesting) 1121

It does no good to debate these people; any evidence against their position is considered inadmissible.

You can point out that chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis tell different and incompatible creation stories: they'll claim that you must read them with the guidance of the holy spirit to truly understand them. Been there, done that.

Genesis says we're all descended from Adam in about 4kBC, and we're also all descended from Noah in about 3kBC (since the rest of mankind was destroyed in the world-wide Genesis flood.) You can bring in the roughly 10k years of Egyptian genealogies which make no mention of Adam, or Noah: they'll claim (without the slightest sense of irony) that the Egyptian genealogies are merely ancient writings of suspect provenance and uncertain accuracy. Been there, done that too.

You can bring in the entire science of geology, which gives zero evidence for and an entire scientific discipline worth of evidence against a world-wide Genesis-type flood: they'll bring in some mouth-breathing "geologist" who got a degree from one of the all-too-numerous fundamentalist "universities" to argue that the question isn't really settled yet, there's still scientific debate. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

You can point out that Genesis 1 is a poem. Instead of rhyme in sound, it rhymes in idea --- just like most other ancient poetry --- with day 1 corresponding to day 4, day 2 corresponding to day 5, 3 to 6, and then day 7 as a finale. You can point out that nobody takes Shakespeare's sonnets literally: "Ah," they say, "But this poem comes from God!" Yes, BTDT too.

Arguments from biology abound, of course: 5k years is insufficient time for one man's genes to diverge into the breadth of human genetic diversity seen today; you can't fit two of every species of insect in an ark, let alone the rest of the fauna; analysis of mitochrondrial DNA puts "Eve" at orders of magnitude before 4kBC; and then there's the whole fossil record of course. All the evidence in the world makes no difference: evidence does not change non-evidential belief.

And you're supposed to convince a JUDGE? That's the trap. Judges are pretty good at determining legal questions; they're about as good as a coin-flip when it comes to scientific questions. We bring in scientific evidence, this nincompoop argues legal blather, which will the judge best understand? If he was serious about the bet being fact-based, he'd offer to have the bet be settled by someone trained in determining the truth or falsity of factual claims. There are such people: they're called "scientists".

When I say "been there, done that", I mean just that. I was raised in a fundamentalist sect, and had most of my education in church schools. I spent 25 years being indoctrinated (it didn't stick, apparently) then 15 years trying to bring the church into the 20th century, and the last 5 years taking what is apparently the only productive approach. Here's the approach, for those who haven't figured it out yet: JUST LEAVE THE POOR IDIOTS ALONE.

Comment Here is actual data. (Score 1) 345

I got sick of hearing AT&T tell me that everything was working fine, so I measured my actual DSL speed. Every 15 minutes. For more than a year. As you can guess, EVERY measurement was, as advertised, "up to 1.5 Mbps". Usually less than half that. Results here: http://hacks.ayars.org/2012/05/for-past-several-years-weve-gotten-our.html

Comment Is there a fix for this in snow leopard? (Score 1) 556

I trust Apple as much as I trust any other corporate entity, so... How do I go about fixing this? Where in Snow Leopard is the location information stored? Can someone point me to a file containing my laptop's location information? I'd happily write a script to either keep that file empty or replace all location data with 371406N 1154840W, if I know what file to hit.

Comment iCal update as well? (Score 1) 981

Are they going to use this opportunity to update the to-do-list functionality of iCal? It would be great to have the do-list features of palm desktop (repeating todos, to-dos that carry over if not done, etc.) in iCal. I like the rest of iCal, but I'm still using Palm Desktop for the job list. Since the useless list from iCal syncs, this means that the do-list on my palm is useless...

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Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming