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Comment Correlation != Causation (Score 5, Insightful) 113

It's simpleminded to assume "Thank you" *caused* the result. People who say thank you probably write more politely in general throughout their communications.

Unless the experiment controlled for this (e.g. by asking participants to add/remove "thank you" after having already composed their email), there is no implication that saying "thank you" will give you the same result.

It might be a good idea, but this study doesn't demonstrate that in any scientific way.

Comment Re:Success rate (Score 1) 180

This is a valid question. I skimmed the actual study, but I don't have time right now to dig through the jargon and see how much these results are likely to be due to confirmation bias.

How would that happen exactly? The results are calculated using an SVM classifier algorithm, not a human "interpreting" the results. Basically they train the classifier on 50 sessions, and then test in on maybe 7 sessions. Each session involves asking the person 20 questions.

Here's the actual study. Does someone who knows more about these sorts of measurements want to sort out whether or not there were adequate procedural constraints to prevent confirmation bias?

The most likely bias in this scenario would be sampling bias, not conformation bias. It would include mistakes like this: - Testing a bunch of different subjects, but only counting the favorable ones as your sample set (i.e. "he didn't have ESP") - Doing a bunch of trials, but eliminating the ones with unfavorable outcomes (i.e. "the equipment wasn't working right that time") - Choosing to stop the trials at the point where a favorable result is obtained (i.e. after the random walk went where you wanted) The Discussion session seems to address these concerns:

Four patients in CLIS communicated with frontocentral cortical oxygenation-based BCI with an above-chance-level correct response rate over 70% during a period of several weeks. The performance of the binary SVM classifier across all the patients, except a few training sessions of patient B, was above chance level. None of the sessions were eliminated in the analysis, and only very few sessions had to be interrupted because of life-saving measures such as sucking saliva; thus, no bias for selecting âoesuccessfulâ sessions incriminates the results.

So the main question is really just about the sample size itself. 20 questions x 4 people x around 5 sessions = 400 coin tosses. Is that enough to get excited about 70%? In pure mathematics, yes, but experiments can be corrupted in all sorts of ways. (What if the research assistant simply talked louder when he was saying a "true" question?) It would be great at least to see the results replicated by other groups.

Comment Re: Snap Circuits (Score 3, Informative) 200

Snap circuits are neat - but I'm not a huge fan. They are generally fairly very "high level, complex" building blocks. Even most of the definitions of what the pins (of the modules) do aren't described, nor referenced in any instructional way.

I agree 100%. I had exactly the same disappointment when my son started playing with Snap Circuits. It doesn't really try to teach any concepts, and the manual is is written like a boring lab textbook ("OBJECTIVE: To show how a resistor and LED are wired to emit light") and not at all geared towards creativity or exploration.

Comment Re: Facebook's open source license contains evil t (Score 1) 56

Those terms seem perfectly reasonable to me. If you want to cling to your patents, don't use their code. We could do with a few less patents in the world.

Agreed, but if I understand correctly this is not the actual legal effect of those the terms. When they say "any [...] other action alleging [...] indirect [...] infringement to any patent [...] against any party relating to the software" the trigger is ridiculously broad. Even saying something bad about Facebook because *they* sued *you* could qualify.

Before this was introduced, the ReactJS library originally was licensed under Apache 2.0 which includes a "your license is terminated if you bring a patent lawsuit against us" clause, but the same lawyers are totally fine with Apache 2.0. Facebook is doing something different here.

Comment Facebook's open source license contains evil terms (Score 4, Informative) 56

A friend of mine works at a company where the lawyers reviewed Facebook's "open source" licensing terms (surreptitiously buried in a text file entitled "Additional Grant of Patent Rights") and concluded that it isn't safe. They issued a company-wide order that all projects must immediately remove any Facebook open source with these license terms. The terms basically allow Facebook to unilaterally terminate the open source license if you take "any action" against their patent claims. The exact wording is:

"The license granted hereunder will terminate, automatically and without notice, if you (or any of your subsidiaries, corporate affiliates or agents) initiate directly or indirectly, or take a direct financial interest in, any Patent Assertion: (i) against Facebook or any of its subsidiaries or corporate affiliates, (ii) against any party if such Patent Assertion arises in whole or in part from any software, technology, product or service of Facebook or any of its subsidiaries or corporate affiliates, or (iii) against any party relating to the Software."


A "Patent Assertion" is any lawsuit or other action alleging direct, indirect,
or contributory infringement or inducement to infringe any patent, including a
cross-claim or counterclaim.

In this thread, a Google employee says that their lawyers came to the same conclusion:


If so, why would Facebook do this? Why isn't it more widely discussed?

Comment Re:CVS or Subversion (Score 5, Insightful) 325

For a small-to-medium team that has easy access to a centralized server, choosing Subversion instead of Git could save you a TON of time. In my experience, Git has a constant overhead of messed up merges, "brown bag" discussions to educate new devs about various gotchas, and ongoing debates about the right usage strategy (merging versus rebasing, branch management, how to keep histories from growing too large, etc).

By contrast, I've also worked at several different companies that used Subversion, and basically you just show new devs how to sync and commit, and they figure out the rest themselves. The reason is that having a single always-up-to-date master is an order of magnitude simpler than Git's model of working-copy/branch/master on your local PC and then also branch/master on a remote PC and push/pull/fetch/merge between them.

With Subversion you still have to manage branches sometimes, but there is typically a maintainer person who handles that. Whereas the model of Git is that every dev is doing merge algebra from day 1.

Comment Re:is this an article or quesiont ?! (Score 1) 288

It's a question without a good answer. There doesn't appear to be a "permanently prevent Windows 10 upgrade" switch anywhere.

If someone made a tool that lets me use Windows 10 with security updates but without spying or cloud or unwanted upgrades, I would pay for that. I don't see any technical reason why a 3rd party can't provide that. When Windows 8 messed up the start menu, tools like Classic Shell stepped in to fill the gaps, with huge popularity, and I think those download statistics were actually persuasive to the "data driven" business strategizers at MS.

Comment Re:If it ain't broke... (Score 1) 288

For me the killer feature is USB redirection. I can use a VM to install stuff like questionable device drivers, ancient apps, bloatware like iTunes or Zune, etc. and then attach the USB device to the host PC and use it within the VM (without polluting the host PC's OS). Hyper-V can't do that.

Comment Re:Gee, so only a year of screaming (Score 2) 387

> So it only took about a year of screaming from the users
> and slashdotters before Microsquishy paid attention and
> brought back the MENU instead of that god damned
> useless start screen.

No, what it took was a new CEO. Don't flatter yourself. What you have observed is merely the surface of a significant shift that is happening. The fact that these effects are already visible in the first 6 months is pretty telling.

Submission + - How Edward Snowden's Actions Impacted Defense Contractors

An anonymous reader writes: A new study sheds light on the attitudes of a very exclusive group of IT and security managers — those employed by U.S. defense contractors — at a time when national cybersecurity is under scrutiny. Most indicated that the Edward Snowden incident has changed their companies' cybersecurity practices: their employees now receive more cybersecurity awareness training, some have re-evaluated employee data access privileges, others have implemented stricter hiring practices. While defense contractors seem to have better security practices in place and are more transparent than many companies in the private sector, they are finding the current cyber threat onslaught just as difficult to deal with.

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