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Comment Re:Lack of background, nuance (Score 1) 1229

That's irrelevant. The issue here is that a bunch of people went out and destroyed someone else's scientific experiment by force. It wasn't a protest. It wasn't a counter-argument. It was a bunch of thugs going out and trashing an experiment because its implications scare them. This is an obviously illegal and immoral action which these activists should be ashamed of.

Comment Re:There's some validity to this idea. (Score 1) 418

University/College is only an educational institute. It teaches you nothing that you can't learn yourself in your chosen field through self-study and research.

In theory, maybe. But I'm having a hard time envisioning learning all about the stability of linear time invariant ordinary differential equations or how to left-pseudo-invert a 7 dimensional Jacobian without being prodded along by a professor. The thing is, most of what I've had to learn in college has been dreadfully boring, but INCREDIBLY useful. I would never have learned these things outside of college, because I would never have been motivated enough to get past the title of the goddamn chapter. I personally have to be eased into these things to even know where to begin. I suspect that's true of most people.

But if you do choose to attend later, after you gain some real-world experience, you have a much better capacity to understand and learn what it is you are being taught.

That has some real value.


Now this I agree with. That's why I would recommend an internship during the summer. Not dropping out. After I had my first real internship in the industry, I started to understand what all the weird mathematics were for, and it made my college career much easier.

Comment Re:Please (Score 1, Informative) 334

I'm not sure I agree with your contention that "closer to the book = good", especially with your example of Lord of The Rings vs. Starship Troopers. Personally, I thought the Lord of the Rings dragged far too much, and had ridiculously maudlin, wordy segments of dialog which made the films massively dull. I think they could have cut out a few things and made the movie much better for it, particularly in the gruesomely boring end sequence of III. The Starship Troopers book, on the other hand, was originally a thinly veiled endorsement of fascist ideology with long segments devoted to political debates on the subject. Would you really want to see that on the screen?

Comment Re:Just ask about vegetables eaten and vitamin D (Score 2) 167

And get probably 75% of medical issues diagnosed and cured, as they are mostly nutritional deficiencies... :-)

Not true. Most are pathogenic infectious diseases and accidental injuries. Most in the west are chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. These both have links in genetics, and yes, even diet (in the case of heart disease).

As is a good night's sleep, friends, family, a connection to that which is beyond us, meaningful work, daily exercise walking and such, and that kind of stuff.

Evidence please? I Know that sleep can have adverse effects on health, but it certainly won't cure "75% of diseases.'

And obviously avoid smoking, excessive alcohol, and obvious environmental toxins at work and play.

Please tell me what an "obvious environmental toxin" is.

The focus on magic bullets is unfortunate.

No. It isn't. It happens to work! Please study the history of modern medicine.

As is a focus on diagnosing things like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes that are mainly signs of vegetable deficiency disease and lack of vitamin D (and to a lesser extent those other issues).

This is a complete lie. Please stop spreading your nonsensical blather on the internet. Heart disease caused by "vegetable deficiency?" Cancer caused by lack of vitamin D? Do you live in the 15th century or something?

Most health rests on the basics. It's true that there are exotic genetic diseases and so on, but what causes the most chronic misery and early death in the industrialized words is these basic nutritional (and sunlight) problems.

Please provide evidence.

You see, what you seem to be promoting is called "holistic medicine." It was a cute practice of the ancient Greeks which sustained itself for many centuries. It was also, unfortunately, mostly wrong. We've made great advances in medicine since then. Please don't attempt to drag us back to the dark ages.

Comment Re:The earth is round, p .05 (Score 1) 916

How the world *should be* should be based on the way it is.

That's absolutely false. You're employing a formal bit of rhetoric known as the "is/ought fallacy" here. The way the world "ought to be" has nothing at all to do with "the way it is." The world is unjust and imperfect and even a little bit insane. It doesn't have to be, and so it shouldn't be that way.

Codes of Ethics are best based on psychology and empiricism. If you wish to create an ethical construct "You should be monogamous with a member of the opposite sex and faithful for your entire life." Then you should have evidence to support that the outcome of that rule results in the maximum happiness/success/productivity/etc.

Only if you're a staunch rule utilitarian. I, on the other hand, am a deontologist. The outcomes of a moral maxim are irrelevant to its ethical standing. I believe 100% that we should follow moral maxims in spite of their consequences, whether we like them or not. In the words of Kant, "Let the whole world suffer, should justice be done." Giving up a moral maxim simply because it will make you unhappy is not a reasonable thing to do. Asking people to do what makes others happy simply because of the vague and arbitrary notion that "happiness is good" does not constitute a sound ethical theory.

Stuff about religion.

I agree with this. Religion does not deserve a free pass. They're making claims that fall into the realm of other fields which need to be addressed by the tools in that field.

Comment What the Flying Fuck? (Score 1) 1855

Well here it is, ladies and gentlemen. Ten years later and I get the same feelings again. No, not patriotic fervor, but a feeling of utter dread and confusion. Why is there a crowd of people gathering on the whitehouse lawn cheering "USA?" Why is this being construed as a "victory" in a "war?" Why do we still have forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan?

How, might I ask, did a criminal act (though an extremely potent criminal act, I must admit) get turned into a catalyst for insane nationalism? It was misconstrued as an "attack on America," and we were treated and brainwashed by hysterical propaganda designed precisely to unite us in support of costly, pointless foreign wars. Osama bin laden did not "attack" anything. He set up an international criminal organization and pulled of a terrible crime. He pulled off several. In many countries. Sure, he was doing this for political/ideological reasons, but so was Timothy Mcveigh, and the Unabomber. Did the Unabomber "attack us?" Why wasn't there a "war on terror" when Timothy Mcveigh blew up a government building? Is it because he was a white, Christian American? Why didn't we unite in flag-waving awe when Osama tried to blow up the world trade center the very first time? Was it just because he wasn't successful that time?

Folks, we've been duped. We let our rhetoric turn an event into something it never was. There should have been no "war on terror," Osama shouldn't have been killed by US forces in Pakistan, but arrested by the CIA or some other foreign law enforcement agency and put on trial in some suitable, neutral Arab country. The USA should have never invaded Afghanistan or Iraq. It should not have conducted military operations in Pakistan, nor killed "extremists" there with drones. This has been a massive, unbelievably terrible series of diplomatic blunders on the USA's part, and we just made another one. Good grief.

Comment Re:AI isn't far off (Score 1) 129

I'm exaggerating only slightly, there should be one less zero there. Sensors for robotics cost an absurd amount of money. Velodyne lidars, for instance, cost $30,000 each. Infrared range cameras cost between 5 and 10 thousand dollars. Typical high speed stereoscopic navigational cameras typically cost about $3,000 each. 45 degree laser range finders typically cost a few thousand dollars as well. The computer we put on board the robot for the grand challenge cost $11,000, and so on and so on.

Comment Re:AI isn't far off (Score 1) 129

You're simultaneously overestimating and underestimating the state of computer vision. It's really kind of cute. It's actually very easy to make a 3D model of the world from sensor data now using a variety of simple, fast methods. The difficult part is perceiving what this data IS!

As a researcher in AI and robotics, I can assure you that we're a very, very long way off from having artificial intelligence which is even close to functioning autonomously in a human environment. I'd put the level of understanding and sophistication of current AI algorithms at about the level of a fly, or perhaps a cockroach if we wish to flatter ourselves. I think the closest we are to commonplace autonomous robotics is having autonomous cars, but even that has significant hurdles to overcome before it becomes commonplace (the typical $1,500,000 price of the sensors, for instance).

Comment .NET Is cool. (Score 1) 758

the .NET languages (C#, F#, etc.) are some of the cleanest, most usable languages I've programmed in, and they're all integrated into one virtual machine -- which is incredibly useful. The problem with .NET languages is, as the article suggests, they hide a lot of functionality from the programmer. If I have an odd problem I want to solve in .NET, I either have to jump through hoops to implement a solution myself, or use standard .NET features in a way in which they weren't designed. That said, the features .NET languages do have are often so extensive that most problems can be solved with a couple of lines of code.

So yes, I have .NET on my resume, but I also have C, C++, Python, Ocaml, Perl, ObjectiveC and Actionscript. Is it a crime that I actually LIKE the .NET languages?

Comment Hmm (Score 1) 755

I'm very glad I managed to make it through Carnegie Mellon's CS program (graduating in a month!) before this change. All of my introductory courses were taught in Java, though apparently the freshman last year switched to Smalltalk and python, without any focus on object-oriented programming. I'm not sure if it was a good or bad thing to be taught object-oriented programming first. I've been told that I write C++ and Python with a "Java accent," but in my opinion, this just makes my code infinitely more readable and modular than it would be otherwise. At the same time, I've had employers complain that I've abstracted too much of my code with OO to improve readability at the cost of a large amount of performance overhead. However, OO is just such a useful paradigm that can be applied to so many useful things, that I think its a shame that our department is no longer going to focus on it.

Comment Re:Enjoy. (Score 2) 607

The rest of the "civilized" world (Europe for example) is being slowly overtaken by Islamofacist poised to send your nation to the far right~ at warp speeds. Better get brushed up on sharia law as I don't see the rest of the "civilized" world doing anything to stop it.

Ironic, because that's exactly the kind of bullshit rhetoric the far-right in Europe uses!

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