Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Why do these journals still exist? (Score 1) 137

Several methods I can think of. First, just leave the printing stage off, let any libraries that find that important just print off their own copies, and remove that excuse for high fees. That's like version 0.01.

After that, you can experiment (which is sort of being done) with proper reputation systems to replace the "we're a big organization with $X, no one else can play" model. Sure - the big organizations would still dominate most of those, and scoring 'points' in such a system would still require money - but that money should hopefully go more towards people doing work, and less towards organization fees, licenses, etc. That would get you to something like version 0.35.

Getting to this point would involve lots of scandals - but proper ones that really should happen. To get further, you'd want replace the flawed "because we're older and got more mentions" system with a proper interactive vetting process, where replications are worth a larger percentage, even if they don't get 'published'. You can start to bring the newer system into the hiring process instead of 'must have published in x or y' process we've got now. That would get you around 0.5.

To get further than that, you'd have to get outside parties interacting with the process better. Imagine a world where not only free access, but journalists would actually use it, because it's mostly as convenient as 'industry sources' info. That, and being able to contact often obscure scientists to ask a question without having to wait for days in administrative limbo as often.

I'm not coming at this from a 'oh, why won't they support my pet topic' perspective - but as someone whose had friends that have had to deal with the system as it has existed, and who is into proper James Randi-style skepticism (not "science skepticism"), who sees flaws in journals and journalists covering topics lead to mass public misunderstandings greater than just a few simple scandals.

Any system is going to have flaws - I just don't see the journals as useful to anything at this point, when expert gatekeeping can be done so much better in other circles.

Comment Why do these journals still exist? (Score 0) 137

They are absurd. They exists purely for the purpose of acting as gateways to science, except they're largely privately owned, and often deeply corrupt.

It's not helpful anymore. All the benefits of such a system can be achieved in far better ways in the modern era - peer review doesn't need a publishing system anymore, nor does statistical analysis, replication studies or metastudies.

The closest thing to a remaining benefit would be reference count - but even that's a dubious statistic, since so many journals exist largely to provide networks of references.

I mean, the whole process has always been somewhat corrupt in the past too - but better options can be built, and better standards should be valuable to enough people to be worth replacing these absurd journals.

I agree with the notion that we need networks to separate science from psuedo-science, but making everything crazy expensive is NOT fulfilling that logical need, nor is it reducing fake science reported as real when you get right down to it.

A real modern science network would inform journalists and laypeople about the best science available as much as the current approach. This is desperately needed, but instead, we still have journals dominating the field, to the point where jobs depend more on the journals than the actual science...again, truly absurd.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Sounds about right... (Score 3, Interesting) 80

Sounds about right, for the circumstances.

I'm working on a project right now using CMU Sphinx (because it's free/open source) to identify word starts/ends for the sake of syncing word display to audio. All the tools available for speech-to-text are going to require human editing:

Comparrison of commonly used speech-to-text tools

...lots of words end up word salad with any tools, even custom-trained, but the tools are nice for being able to at least have the words show up on beat once they are human-corrected.

Syncing video frames of talking without the audio has got to be even more ambiguous, with more reliance on context.

Sounds like a good challenge for a learning system to pick up on. The 5000 hour mark seems almost analogous to what a human child might pick up raised watching TV in a language different from their family.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Re:Better option... (Score 1) 1368

Agreed, actually - I was just saying for the motivations expressed, the better technique towards the same end would not be secession, but equal vote counting. Easier to accomplish, since liberals don't work in that headspace that would allow breaking away from a common governance.

Lots of compelling arguments against that, just this approach suits the desires of those same tech guys.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Better option... (Score 1) 1368

Just put a indentation stamp into every product you sell, stating "replace the electoral college with actual democratic representation".

Provide details on why the Electoral college exists, and why it's a horrible idea. Tell how the founders wanted to prevent democracy, and how that has hurt us, and how we're now stunted by our lack of actual democratic representation through equal vote impact for citizens in each state..

It's more likely to succeed, and if it does, population centers like California would essentially govern the nation from a more progressive stance going forward.

Secession isn't really a hallmark of modern liberals anyway - they want to make government WORK, and won't really fight to break a government the way modern conservatives will. Instead, they'll tend to only really agree to a fight to defeat profound inequities, like ethnic cleansing or terror - but having their vote not count as much as a rural state might just be enough if it's presented strongly enough.

There's plenty of counter-arguments against this line of reasoning - but for what you're asking for, seems that's your best choice.
Ryan Fenton

Comment Ever play an antihero video game? (Score 4, Interesting) 187

You know, where the character is actively rewarded for, and celebrates some 'negative' ethical attribute? Dungeon Keeper, God of War, most action video games, etc.

Well, if they're paying you money to lie, and more money to lie bigger, then seems to me that's the same dynamic. It's a reward loop, with a context. Doesn't seem to me that this would be any more likely to cause an increase in general preference for lying, than the millions who played Dungeon Keeper being more likely to turn to workplace abuse as a first resort.

That said, context adds a lot - the classic Stanford Prison experiment and similar studies showed how far context and roles can push people with very little prodding.

Seems to me, that more thought should be put into what roles we're building for folks, especially with things like the stock market, the legal system, and managerial roles. Unbounded reward loops have a way of being pushed until something really bad breaks, even with 'normal' people.

Comment Stickers... (Score 2) 113

Now available in my "NotExista' store page, I have large stickers featuring the following civic-minded messages:

"Remember kids, look both ways before crossing the street, to prevent accidents!"


"Be on the lookout for police brutality! It's all our jobs to record police in order to prevent crime!" ...along with the FINEST of google-translated Swedish-language versions. Yours for only 50kr! Or get 2 for 80kr! Some shipping and taxes may apply.

Transform your old-fashioned 'drone' into the latest in mobile crime-prevention and accident-prevention platforms today!

Ryan Fenton

Comment Plastic vs metal on those controller rails? (Score 2, Interesting) 269

Fortunately, looks like the controllers will function disconnected - but I'm just wondering how durable those controller slide rails will be.

One of the problems with the NDS series has been that the screen hinge often gets stressed and broken through normal use.

Here, the 'hinge' will be the connection between the controllers and the device you're connecting them to. Just looking at the grip style, I'd thing it would be a constant thing for players to tighten/angle their grip during play. I'd be interested in seeing the hardware reviews before buying to see if stress on those rails might flex the entire shell of the device over time.

On a similar note, I'm wondering if those slide rails also function as a controller charging mechanism, and how that might play into durability.

Still, looking very much forward to playing the upcoming Zelda game someday, just have to decide if it'll be on this thing, or buying a cheap used WiiU eventually.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Everything is easy. (Score 1) 179

In retrospect.

Suddenly those spent costs no longer seem like they should have cost as much.

And those lessons learned? We should have just known those!

It's why industry refuses to spend anything on basic research anymore. SOO inefficient, and with priorities that make no sense to some random consultant or investor.

Pff - NASA, I could do better than that! Here - I'll just make up an ideal, say, random number generation that I just happen to have a library of code on, and WOW - I do SO MUCH BETTER than them. Not impressed, NASA, not impressed.

I don't even have to bother understanding the ideals that their code was actually built towards!
[end sarcasm]

Ryan Fenton

Comment Something that always bothers with these stories.. (Score 3, Interesting) 69

Neurons work primarily in terms of communicating - I'd say they're basically communicating machines as much as muscles are movement machines. They store states, query other neurons, take external inputs, and work together to do virtually everything an animal can do, as a macroscopic being. As they grow, they have to figure out their particular role based on their inputs and outputs.

So, why can't we just query them for their contents? With stories like this, we're making artificial nerves - shouldn't there be some way we can signal the nerves, push some simple neurotransmitters, and experiment until we get enough singnal+noise to figure out the 'language'? Even in simple creatures, it seems like we should be able to do this enough to ask a neuron its contents, then query neighbors, until we at least get a loose map of queryable resources.

Every once in a while I search google scholar and the like to see what folks are doing along these lines, and I never seem to see anyone take this approach, or even attempt to reach for mechanisms of this form. But if we can see, learn, imagine in real-time, and so on, there has to at least some analogue of an informational query system we can use, static purpose neuron maps just wouldn't make sense even with the scale, even with specialization.

Ryan Fenton

Comment *Gasp* NO! (Score 5, Funny) 176

No - no, it could NOT be! Those zero-sum *whackos* got to Slashdot too! It's not true I tell you - everything is a positive sum game, where you more you reward the rich and *deserving*, the more resources just *exist* to better serve the sheer excellence of the intentions of those in the market!

Entropy is a lie! Hope must win! If we only *trust* in the market enough, it WILL provide! Rational skepticism will only doom us all!

And with enough sarcasm, I might *just* be able to express how little a surprise this but of news is!

Ryan Fenton

Comment Re:Whenever I want really... (Score 1) 239

I know, it DOES sound absurd, and in practice, it is. Now, it's "only" around 800 individual products actually delivered fresh each year, but because I'm having to touch and test older games as a part of that process, I'm in effect coding for thousands of shipped products per year, just to make it as sane as possible to continue each product line.

And yes, that means each day, I'm jumping between 15 minute mini-projects, reviewing and raising issues on design documents, throwing together project directories and rapidly configuring them, throwing those project into automated testing suites of tools (which I'm also cross-developing), testing the various inputs/outputs of other teams to make sure nothing will prevent delivery to spec.

I'm making active progress on around a dozen separate projects each day, contacting clients as needed to hammer out shared documents, then reacting to rare but important issues as they are raised.

Ryan Fenton

Comment Whenever I want really... (Score 2) 239

I code for thousands of mostly-unique commercial software products a year, using 8 languages (mostly C#), for many dozens of major customers, and lots of smaller ones.

Because of this, I have a huge chain of demands I keep track of, and methods of automation in order to collectively manage a constant flow of data requirements, and of course tracking issues both shared and common between these scenarios.

When I'm coding, I've got to code in a way that communicates these details to myself, consistent between all the languages I might have to touch for coding, scripting, database, reporting, and specialized languages a client may suddenly require.

Because of that, my code has to be a loose framework, a late-binding train station of logic, where demands may switch at any moment, and limitations imposed from other teams may similarly pop up.

My code is littered with multi-paragraph discussions of a technology I once had to interact with (customers often switch back), large sections of functions commented out rather than deleted, and other 'bad' practices just to give me landmarks and a 'flavor' of what a customer is occasionally interested in, amidst a never-ending avalanche of context switching between products and customers.

I've redesigned these several systems from the ground floor once (they used to only handle a small fraction of the work, using an antiquated language), and am working with a team to do a better design... but it's been very difficult for a team of perfectionists to understand how to react to an unlimited flow of changing requirements. Fortunately, the code itself has been quite usable, and they're using the same languages, but no system can really handle these demands truly consistently - I'd call it NP ridiculous. It's basically the "mythical man month" writ live, where I've got to do my work, and train a team whose work process may never really be able to do what I can do - definitely healthier long term, but can't help but result in some amazing process failures.

I actually would have made most of these design changes myself, but at the time, I was forbidden by management from making those choices, since I was doing my work directly at the production level - so it's actually a bit of a relief to see someone at least allowed to make some of the better choices.

In short (and yes, for this scenario, this is short), because I'm doing alone, for years, what a team of almost any size would struggle to approximate, as many of us seem to be doing, I've got no choice but to code how I need to in order to have a system that I can sanely maintain in an insane set of requirements. There's not really a choice in the matter, if your put in a position where "oh, we suddenly need this" exists as a live production task in a growing industry.

Ryan Fenton

Slashdot Top Deals

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.