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Comment In re: Your former editor's comments (Score 2) 111

Boyce Rensberger, your erstwhile editor at the Washington Post, said this a year ago in the comments section of this article:

Gladwell is the same Gladwell as when I was his editor at The Washington Post. At first, I fell for his approach and brought him over to the science pod from the Post's business staff. Then I realized that he cherry picks research findings to support just-so stories. Every time I sent him back to do more reporting on the rest of the story, he moaned and fumed.

When I read his proposal for "The Tipping Point," I found it to be warmed over epidemiology. It was based on a concept and a perception so old it was already an ancient saying about straw and a camel's back. But gussied up in Malcolm's writing style, it struck the epidemiologically naive as brilliant. Brilliant enough to win an advance of more than $1 million.

What's your response?

Comment Re:I live in Arizona, and it's a pain (Score 1) 613

I think that you're out of touch. Sure, plenty of people TiVo their drama programs or just download them. But tens of millions of Americans schedule their Sundays around their team's football game and their weeknights around basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer. Live sports are still a multi-billion dollar industry and will be for at least several more decades.

Comment Article Is Wrong (Score 3, Informative) 469

Read an account about it here:

First of all, the violinists were able to tell the difference between old and new violins.

It was a double blind study about which violin the violinists preferred to play. And since musicians that play the same instrument have different ideas of what kind of sound they prefer, it should not be a surprise that some preferred newer models. Of course, no two violins are created equal, and some Stradivariuses sound better than others. There were some constraints to the study, however. The older violins are worth several million of dollars and they were loaned on the condition that they could not be tuned.

Comment Re:What's that smell? (Score 3, Insightful) 103

This story isn't bullshit, and might make for mildly interesting cocktail party chat, but it isn't really newsworthy.

As future versions of the AI improve, the end result could be an artificial intelligence that "understands" human storytelling in a way no species on Earth can match.

This probably does qualify as bullshit, and it was only was only added because the author thought the story itself isn't strong enough to stand without it. Tech writers have to fill quotas. The problem with this peroration isn't just that it's stupid and wrong—it is—the problem is that it gives people the wrong expectations for what AI can do. AI has already had significant payoffs. The Dynamic Analysis and Planning Tool (DART), an "intelligent agent" (a dirty word after the AI winter) written in Common Lisp and used by the U.S military was introduced in 1991 and by 1995 had saved enough money to pay for all of the money DARPA has spent on AI in the previous thirty years.

Comment No (Score 1) 1

I suspect that if they made a map of which tipples are popular in red counties and which are popular in blue counties the results would be similar, even if they ignored the political affiliations of individual voters.

Democratic drinkers are more likely to sip Absolut and Grey Goose vodkas

Grey Goose was invented in the 1990s as a "luxury drink" for the young (insecure enough to think that buying "premium" or "luxury" drinks is classy) and nightclub market. The biggest cities have the trendiest nightclubs, and the biggest cities almost always vote Democrat, so this isn't really a surprise.

The results are fascinating: Analyzing voting habits of those who imbibe, Dube found that 14 of the top 15 brands that indicate someone is most likely to vote are wines.

Lots of young people don't vote in the US. Older and wealthier people, who are the most likely to vote, prefer wine; this explains this "fascinating" revelation.

Comment Re:Strange advice (Score 1) 230

Recently, cryptanalysts have found collisions on the MD4, MD5, and SHA– 0 algorithms; moreover, a method for finding SHA–1 collisions with less than the expected amount of work has been published, although at this time SHA– 1 collisions have not yet been demonstrated. Although there is no specific reason to believe that a practical attack on any of the SHA–2 family of hash functions is imminent, a successful collision attack on an algorithm in the SHA–2 family could have catastrophic effects for digital signatures. NIST has decided that it is prudent to develop a new hash algorithm to augment and revise FIPS 180–2. The new hash algorithm will be referred to as ‘‘SHA–3’’

This was published in 2007. My joke was about the general uneasiness in the community about SHA-2, even if it hasn't been broken yet. Unfortunately, it seems that the members of \. who responded to me were too thick to understand this. You could have just pointed out that SHA-2 hasn't been broken yet. Instead you evinced your lack of ability to make clever insults. dolt...You're clearly an ignorant fuck.

If you use the word "dolt" in conversation in a non-facetious manner it means that you're either a horribly self-conscious member of the middle class who is afraid of appearing "unprofessional", or a dummkopf who hasn't learned that using "dolt" is a shibboleth of immaturity. If you're going to call someone a motherfucker, as any other confident fellow with an iota of social intelligence would, please do it at the outset. Your prose will have a more even tone and you won't be downmodded for flaimbaiting.

Submission + - Patent war goes nuclear: Microsoft, Apple-owned "Rockstar" sues Google (

GODISNOWHERE writes: So this is what "thermonuclear war" looks like.
The complaint against Google involves six patents, all from the same patent "family." They're all titled "associative search engine," and list Richard Skillen and Prescott Livermore as inventors. The patents describe "an advertisment machine which provides advertisements to a user searching for desired information within a data network.

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