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Comment Re:How About Some Actual Data... (Score 1) 181

I think the knee jerk reaction is that Rick Scott has spent most of his time as governor trying to weaken environmental protections to appease his donors so he can run for senate in 2018. This is the same governor that sent out a memo that basically says the state isn't allowed to acknowledge global warming.

Comment Re:Another day in paradise... SNAFU (Score 1) 181

I live in Florida and I'm amazed that Florida residents are so anti-government we'll cut off our nose to spite our face. The Indian River Lagoon is facing a pretty severe cyanobacteria crisis right now. The last time we had this issue was right before an election, where Rick Scott basically refused to do anything useful. Martin County (the county where much of the lagoon crisis is occurring) re-elected Rick Scott 55% to 40%.

Comment Re:I'm just waiting for.... (Score 1) 278

Mod this up a thousand times. We need to start addressing the fact that people are the ones carrying this stuff out. If we can understand them and why they do it, maybe we can intervene years in advance. We seem obsessed with getting rid of the tools for destruction and/or stopping them 30 seconds before they act.

After 9/11 one of my neighbors had a sign on his lawn "Kill 'em all and let god sort them out." That pretty much sums up the world's interest in understanding the brains of terrorists.

Comment Overconfidence (Score 3, Interesting) 213

I've seen this happen in several industries. I'm not sure if there's an official name for it, but I call it the "Netflix effect." Data mining and machine learning work really well for certain things like shopping. This causes people in other industries to assume they can use the same data mining techniques in their industries. I've seen it happen in education as well. There are two fundamental problems I see.

First, big silicon valley companies can afford the best statisticians and computer scientists in the world. They have the resources to train and validate very complex models. Then an industry specific company without those resources says "bring netflix-like data analytics into your industry!" They might offer something simple like linear regression and call it a day. Or even worse, make up a "score" that has no theoretical basis and use a misleading metric like accuracy to promote it.

The cost of misclassification is not the same across all industries. Misclassifying a movie suggestion is way different than deciding how to treat humans.

Comment Latent variables (Score 2) 213

The fundamental problem with using data like this is that race is often hidden in the data. A simple question like "Do you feel you have ever been singled out by police" might be highly predictive of race. Combine that with several variables w/ interaction in a complex model and race is almost guaranteed to be a factor.

What makes the problem worse is that the best machine learning models can be very difficult to interpret. After doing dimensionality reduction with stacked autoencoders and using boosting with decision trees, the model will most likely produce good results and be a "black box." This is fine if you're trying to predict someone's next shopping purchase, but becomes a civil rights issue when used to determine whether they are allowed to be released from jail.

Comment Most of the time RTOS not needed (Score 1) 266

For equipment like this, it's pretty common that the PC does very little and an RTOS is probably not necessary. Anything important or real-time is done on the equipment itself and the PC is just a dummy terminal. If the PC goes haywire, a watchdog timer probably puts the system into a safe state. I think that's why it's so common to use Windows.

I'm not saying it's right. In fact, it's all the more reason to use as simple and streamlined OS as possible. Something like a customized RHEL that only has enough installed to run QT.

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