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Comment Re:He's not doing "astrophysics" (Score 1) 207

I have to disagree on your "number of pages" position. Some mathematical proofs can go on for pages, especially if they use techniques in discrete mathematics.

I think "number of concepts" might be a better gauge to unreliability. If a paper's well-written, that should closely correlate to "number of subheadings", right?

Comment Re:Social Media is incompatible with Social Justic (Score 2, Insightful) 151

And *I'd* say guilt, guilt all around. Since when is it sociable or any other effective human virtue to ruin people from behind a screen?

I've been using computer communications since the early 1980's and this trend will not go away: people get online, they feel the power of either distance or anonymity, and they abuse it. Most users will abuse distance or anonymity at least once in their online life, to say things that they wouldn't say IRL or F2F, or to cast calumny on someone and ruin their life with lies and undue social scorn.

Well in the 1980's we had what, maybe a dozen new modem users in a given town, in a year. Outside of business and academic circles, you could expect very few new "faces" on local access BBS's. With the internet, it's more matched to the rate of population growth. So while you could study and isolate this abusive phenomenon fairly easily in the 1980's, from the 90's onward it just becomes the new normalcy.

So SJW's are nothing more than the flamer crowd from the BBS scene, ruining message bases with arguments that nobody is looking for. As flamers, they're the most likely ones to pull crazy feats of logical fallacy and outright lies in order to vent whatever angst is driving them.

Now stir in a nice whipped cap of the weird pseudo-Taoist Reality Bites/Friends type people (Wired readers) who believe that the internet is "empowering" and that information has some kind of mystic energy, inject this putrid newage mixture into the veinous growth of the internet and you've got your modern SJW (social junkie waif).

The other big difference from the 1980's is video. Video used to be expensive and very time consuming to put onto your computer, let alone to transmit to another computer. These days we can thank Youtube for making everyone believe their opinion is utterly fucking important just by virtue of the inflated egos and self-opinions of everybody else *around them*, all because pop culture says that if you have an image then you're important -- and now everybody's dog and baby has an image, shit even peoples' dead birds in their driveways have an image, now.

Comment Re:i want to see facebook fold (Score 5, Funny) 151

It would be funny if Zuckerberg was wandering around with his "End Of Data" sign hanging from his neck, and all people would do in response is to walk past him with their thumbs-up sticking out. Or just say yell "LIKE!" at him. Or hand him pictures of their cats/babies/dogs/concerts/bathrooms.

Comment Re:Myhrvold might be right... but don't bet on it (Score 1) 207

> > 1. He only posts in his personal field of interests.
> Being "interested" is, unfortunately, no guarantee of being correct. Crackpots are all interested, that doesn't make them right.

I'd call him more of an egg-head than a crackpot. Did you read his paper? And his pet theories are just that: his pet theories.

> > 2. He has no personal benefit, except for his own knowledge gain..
> Translation: nobody is actually paying him for this work. Translation of translation: he's not actually a professional in the field.

I'd argue that the guy does have some kind of personal benefit, especially since it's all an effort on behalf of him to show that his personal interests are the most important personal interests.

> once you get rich, people start telling you how smart you are. And stop telling you when you're acting like an idiot.

Or acting juvenile, in Myrhvold's case. I mean, he starts off with a very sound criticism of the NEO search competition in general, and makes some really good general criticisms about the state of the science. To call the NEO search misled wouldn't be too harsh, but he at least keeps his criticisms from getting that hot.

egghead: check.
juvenile: check.
rich: check.

He perfectly fits the stereotypical rich academic who lets his money convince him he's right in his thoughts and actions. Like I said in another comment; he's the kind of person I'd expect to break things other people value because he feels rich enough to make up for it.

Comment Re:Coat tail rider looking for fame again... (Score 1) 207

As abusive as the patent office of their own system, personally I find it hard to have qualms with people who abuse the patent office in turn.

Any ways, Myhrvold seems kind of egg-headed to me. See you got your academics, and then you got your jaded academics who spring off into being intellectual-tower types. And if they spend enough time in their intellectual tower, recursively they become egg-heads in their own little world.

Myrhvold strikes me as somebody who picks his pet theories and in the case of NEO search picked his pet project, and pushes other people to see those as the best possible ways of thinking ever.

I have some qualms with his kind-of sort-of juvenile dinosaurs and asteroids obsession: I have my own pet theories about comet fragment impacts that have nothing to do with asteroids at all but instead a very large comet that we haven't located or observed yet in modern history (but which appears to have been recorded in ancient history) that appears to come near Earth every so many thousands of years, dropping fragments on us. What good does it do us to look for slow, tumbling rocks if there's a fast, large comet that would spell civilization's doom by the time we even detect it?

See, if you pick your pet theory, you can mash someone else's. If you read Myhrvold's paper you can see him cherry picking projects, and cherry picking functions and data sets in order to make a case. But it's very clearly political in his eyes. He makes a strong argument that the myriad NEO search projects should all be working from a public accessible standard of simulation, and bewails that there is no such current standard to work from. I wholeheartedly agree: my first question was why the hell didn't this competition start with a collaborative effort to create a platform that everyone can agree on and the public can use?

But then he goes on to (very hypocritically IMHO) use inaccurate data to test the accuracy of other projects. He should have spent his time petitioning to get this standardized platform created, accepted, and foisted on the startled money-grubbers competing in the NEO search. Instead he hedged his bet and hell I dunno what he thinks he's doing, maybe he figures he can stall for time.

The guy might be smart and everything but I think he's kind of a juvenile egg-head. Not as eccentric as other people here are saying, but I have to give credit to people who question his reliability based on how much money he has. Sometimes money makes people feel superior to other people and causes them to self-inspect less than they maybe should. And I think Myhrvold might be suffering from that kind of "affluenza": reading his comment regarding people coming looking for money from him and his "millionaire friends", I can't help but feel like this is the guy who'd get drunk and break my car windows with a bat because he feels rich enough to make up for it later.

Comment Re:Pah, some people never happy. (Score 1) 207

Why not wonder why Myhrvold wasted all of his and our time with all of this, instead of creating the larger data set to back the more accurate standardized system of functions that all of these projects should be working from?

If you read his paper it becomes pretty apparent that this is a piss fight. And in fact the entire NEO search competition now looks really shitty in my eyes. I can't believe they're all out there waving their dicks in the wind, hoping to catch some loose money. What a failure.

Comment Re:Media Bomb in the Cyber War (Score 1) 55

I didn't realize you were mostly focused on criticizing Fortune's lack of sound method in journalism. That is disheartening; but I don't read Fortune, any way.

I thought maybe you were shilling for Xiaomi. After all, if they have a public stock available, you might be invested in them and hope to counteract any negative publicity. That's sort of how it looked.

China may not have "started out on misinformation campaigns", but ever since WW2 the U.S. has reported that the Chinese are ahead of us in signal intelligence and counter information. And if anything's obvious to the public, it's that China is a major player on the world's disinformation and propaganda stage.

We're talking about a Chinese knock-off company that is doing ludicrously well. So from my personal point of view, we're already talking about large numbers of people who basically do business completely outside of ethics. Everybody who buys stock in this company or who buys their products are doing some form of harm IMHO. Quibbling over the politics of harming their image is not at all interesting to me -- hurt away! I don't like their very existence.

Comment Re:The big claim here is....... (Score 4, Interesting) 207

That's kind of an interesting take on it. I wasn't sure what his motivation was; it read to me like Myhrvold was trying to say there aren't as many asteroids in the regions in question as NASA was trying to claim.

Is that what you picked up from his rant? That he's trying to say NASA is underestimating the size of the objects?

(Deciding to read TFA & his actual paper, now, to see what's going on...)


Well, it looks kind of odd to me. In the article, he says he was approached by B612 but stresses that he did not give them any money. He says "they came looking for me and my millionaire friends". Okay, so is it safe to assume there's a possibility that Myhrvold has taken a personal interest in B612's proposed model and is out to shoot down their competition?

In his paper, he mentions Sentinel (B612's project) in a terse paragraph but just before that he mentions LSST in a sort of verbose fashion. Then he goes on to write even less about Sentinel, and there he mentions B612's search for private funding. So maybe Sentinel isn't his pet project -- maybe B612 pissed him off during fund-raising (or maybe for soliciting funds from him at all.) Which would make sense if he'd already familiarized himself so much with LSST and had already adopted it as his pet project.

He cites the National Research Council as having determined that "LSST offered the most cost-effective and lowest risk approach". He seems concerned that LSST won't be finished on time, and therefore now I'm guessing that he hopes he can prove the other projects wrong so that LSST's long shot has a better chance.

(Sorry, writing this as I read his paper)

A few paragraphs later, he complains that simulation code used by the various projects isn't available for public scrutiny. I have to side with him on that much. If it's publicly funded, maybe at some point there should be a fundamental basis of experimentation that's also publicly available. It's sort of disheartening to read that each individual project is working from potentially grossly different simulation models. Hasn't some academic body somewhere already come up with the best model for these projects to use? Shouldn't that have been the first goal of the NEO search community?

He also mentions that each project can also add code simulating the results that competing projects might come up with. That's interesting, too. It sounds like the entire thing is very highly political. How many teams are publishing simulation results that downplay the accuracy of other teams? That doesn't seem very academically sound, at all.

He then goes on to say what I just concluded (that it's not very academic) and says exactly what I was also thinking:

"Ideally, the community would produce an open model that can simulate the NEO search performance of IR and visible-light telescopes, whether based on the ground or in space, with consistent assumptions and consistent input distributions of NEOs."

My sentiments, exactly, and I'm still just going paragraph by paragraph, here.

Later on in "Asteroids In Reflected Light", he selects his favorite functions, does some integration, and then iterates that theoretically derived functions that might be in use haven't been applied to a sufficiently large set of data. He says plainly that he prefers to use an older standardized model that is no longer the de-facto standard because the newer standards also suffer from lack of experimental data.

So, wait a minute. He has all this time, why isn't he simply trying to get more telescopes to focus on supplying the experimental data needed to make the newer standard (H, G1, G2) more immediately useful?

Well, he's just going on applying the assumption that the data from a known less accurate standard can be relied on within some margin of error to show whether newer models are accurate or not.

It seems a logical assumption that the margin of error that should be applied to the older model is a wide open variable. We're talking about tumbling rocks in space, here. From what little I understand about the science, based on what little I've read, it's not at all a highly accurate science and in fact it's very hard to detect these objects accurately to date. My guess is that this is why the NEO search contest etc is going on in the first place, to get people to compete in the hopes that the science itself finally reached maturity.

But that also points a finger at the tools Myhrvold is using; they might simply not be all that useful.

And then I see what his qualm is with using the newer standardized models, based on them not having been applied over enough data: he's trying to make a case against as many different projects as he possibly can and has to rely on some foundation of authority to do so, and the only way to reliably do so is to use the largest data set possible to reflect on their own.

Well, what's scientific about that? That's not science, that's politics. Like I said, if he really cared he'd push people to try and increase the data set backing the more recent standard model. Or he'd just gum up and join one of these project teams himself, and see for himself whether their simulation-derived or theory-derived model is all that accurate for himself and if it isn't, to help them tweak it until it is. Its not as if they'd have to go back to the drawing-board on their hardware -- the observatories they're drawing up are based on formulae as are the cost estimates. The grander scheme of the observatory, where it should be placed in space, what kind of instruments will be placed on it, etc aren't going to change so neither are most of the 0's in the proposed cost. Assuming all the different teams are full of smart people, all Myhrvold has to do is pick a scheme that he favors (he's done that,) join the team, and if any little change needs to be made it's not going to affect the cost that strongly.

So rather than read through his whole paper, I'm going to stick with my assumption that I've reached twice now: this is more about politics. He's grasping for straws as an outsider because he has an intellectual interest in one project winning, a project that appears to have a disadvantage in time to completion, and wants to discredit other projects to give his pet project a better chance.

He's intelligent, sure, but he should have to admit that what he's doing isn't all that very scientifically sound.

When we're talking about comparisons where people are saying 15%-30% margin of error is A.O.K., come on, people. If you can apply that much margin of error to an older data set, how damn useful is that data set for analyzing a newer data set from a more accurate system? 30% inaccurate is like saying the old data is about as much as 1/3rd off.

Coming from the viewpoint of an assumption that, okay, the old data is off by 30%, what can I say about someone using the old data saying that my new data is off by 30%? Can I translate that to mean they're 30% wrong about my 30%, and that therefore maybe I'm closer to 20% off?

And on, and on. Margin of error has its place in the demonstration of whether an experimental conclusion is useful. Within an experiment you show exactly what margin of error is expected.

We don't have one experiment, here. We have a competition between a bunch of experimental set-ups that aren't even experiments, yet. Trying to apply margin of error between competing data sets and methods of analysis is kind of absurd.

Myhrvold should have just stopped at his plea for a better-developed standard. Instead he picked a horse and jumped the railing trying to run along side it. Well after he already made a really good case for stopping the race and flattening out the track.

This whole thing is ludicrous. I can't believe people here are actually picking sides in this fucking bull shit. What a waste of my fucking time.

Comment Re:Someone ask Tom Cruise about this! (Score 1) 207

What you say is true, but I'd just like to point out that Tom Cruise didn't arrive at this position by his own genius. Rather it's basically the premise of the book Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard.

Now, whether LRH's syntax for mental studies laid out in Dianetics is worthwhile is hard to say. If everybody came up with their own unique language to describe mental aberration, it'd be pretty hard for academics to agree. But then again Tom Cruise didn't come up with that, either.

Comment Re:Coat tail rider looking for fame again... (Score 1) 207

I don't think parent was suggesting Myhrvold used Excel to perform his more involved calculus. Excel is very popular for use as a data ledger among researchers, for some reason. It seems like parent was asking to see Myhrvold's Excel spreadsheet where he would have the values of his various results stored; basically just like asking to see Myhrvold's experimental data.

Comment Re:What about flat cars. What about that. (Score 1) 324

Our next stretch goal: you could pee INTO the trains. When they're empty, the trains would be sent back up a track that runs from outside the stall to the inside. You would just stand with your feet on either side of the track and pee into all the little tiny trains. Your pee would pass through little flaps attached to generators on the way down. Those little trains would then run down the track, generating power and then dumping your pee into a trough near the wall, coal-cart style. The pee running down the trough would turn a generator and generate electricity one more time before just falling through a hole and onto the passing soil below. We'd just do away with the inefficient hydro-pumping style of toilets and get used to a whole new way of life.

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