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Comment Re:plain-text OS? (Score 1) 433

The only implication is that the passwords must be stored somewhere in a manner that would allow the password for an individual user to be provided to the police. Any half respectable organization would still use hashes for authentication and quite separately encrypt and store the passwords. Obviously this still increases the security risks and is highly problematic, but it does not prevent the use of hashed passwords for authentication.

Comment Re:Do they account for hypothesis-mining? (Score 1) 226

You're pulling probability distributions from nowhere now.... Whatever, the point is moot--I'm certain a random /.'er who admits his lack of understanding of statistics could poke a hole in these researcher's analysis.

What you call nowhere I would call high school level probability theory, such as the Binomial distribution. I'm not sure if your last sentence is meant to be sarcastic or not.

Comment Re:Do they account for hypothesis-mining? (Score 1) 226

10,000 from

"A new analysis of 10,000 proton-antiproton collisions..."

1 and 250 from

"showed a weird result a couple hundred times ..." and "In about 250 times more cases than expected..."

Looking at the paper it appears these two numbers are more like 150 and 0.6, which gives 1E-722, so my guesses were only off by about 400 orders of magnitude in the result... Of course this is not how one would really analyze such data, but it is enough to suggest that multiple testing issues are not going to be a major issue.

Comment Re:Virtual Personal Translation Assistant (Score 1) 159

I would be astonished if it was close enough to 100% accurate on free-form translation on 170 languages with no need for training to each individual's speech to provide useful translations on open ended questions. However I assume that this works through a decision tree process with limited options at each step and using diagrams to help; 'Point on the screen to the part of your body where it hurts the most" etc.

Comment Re:More to come? (Score 1) 197

It is not clear from your post if the providers are violating HIPAA or violating management directives, which are often not the same thing. Especially when HIPAA first came out there was a lot of confusion about what could or could not be done, and, at least from what I have seen, the lawyers would err on the side of caution towards breaking HIPAA, often imposing rules far exceeding those required by HIPAA. HIPAA is also a good way to kill projects you don't like while appearing to support them.

Comment Re:Can someone make sense? (Score 1) 108

"The aircraft is larger and heavier than an average hummingbird, but is smaller and lighter than the largest hummingbird currently found in nature." --- I don't really get that sentence, can someone explain?

Sure, it means that he aircraft is larger and heavier than an average hummingbird, but is smaller and lighter than the largest hummingbird currently found in nature.

Comment Re:Scientific Research Run Amok... (Score 2) 144

For starters it is a very convenient laboratory to test social networking theories. Do current theories about social networks in the real world apply in the virtual world? What aspects of virtual social networks apply to the real world? Theories about those aspects that do apply can potentially be tested much more easily in the virtual world than the real world.

It's a great place to make predictions, for example, about anxiety. Do we know how social networks effect our health? Good place to try and differentiate between effects of face-to-face contact and friendship.

What can virtual social networks tell us about the real world? Can they be used to predict disease outbreaks?

People studying facebook for these kinds of things are usually not interested in facebook, but rather using it because it is a convenient way to examine social networks. Kind of like examining Drosophila in biology.

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