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Comment Re:Ken Murray's blog (Score 4, Insightful) 646

You have my condolences and sympathies. I have similarly wrestled with those issues and simultaneously had a strong desire verbally destroy bullshit, and the purveyors of the bullshit. Within the hospital there is no lack for this. To cope I read the literature on cancer, at first simply looking for a definition. What is cancer? To the best of our knowledge, after roughly a century of study, it is still a fairly abstract definition that nearly applies as much to weeds in your garden as the tumors of cancer in a body: a malignant and invasive proliferation (growth) that may metastasize (spread). I suppose we can thank the biologists for the lack of meaningful technical specifications as much as the fact that there are thousands of cancer variants, so conflicting evidence and mis-diagnosis is common. The whole situation is depressing. In the end I was not able to impact the situation technically but have retained the curiosity of picking experts' minds as I come across their paths.

What I have found in the mean time is that the placebo effect is too real to ignore. Suddenly the bullshit and the theatre have significance beyond our cultural ties to mysticism and ritual. Feeling good and positive about life is about as important as living it. Ignoring reality in pursuit of your dreams seems like the standard these days, so why not embrace it for a dying loved one? I am partly not being serious, but wondering aloud, why be realistic when reality sucks? Sure, take care of the obligations that you must, be responsible and all that, but that is not very much work. The rest should be spent enjoyably.

Comment Re:$40,000? (Score 2) 153

It's really amazing what $40k can do for an ambitious team or renaissance man working independently. Use-rate style renting of expensive specialized equipment, thrifty surplus purchases, allocating the increasingly available shared workspace resources, and open-source project management have shown just a few ways one can leverage R&D dollars beyond any institutional development rate. Also, depending on the mission and scope of the project, $40k for fund raising can easily turn into $400k within a year if the need is communicated and marketed appropriately.

This is really exciting for those highly capable individuals and teams who are held back by the classic division of labor and modern management structures which are really great for doing the same thing until the end of time. It's time for a return of the renaissance man as the "secrets" of trade become commoditized one overpriced piece of "professional lab" equipment at a time. =)

Comment Re:There is Always More Work to Do (Score 1) 990

I have no idea which post to begin with, but how about here for a start. The reactionary claim that technology (or outsourcing) destroys more jobs than it creates is categorically false. On the consumption side, given a middle-class which can actually consume what it produces, say that item A undergoes outsourcing/automation/efficiency optimization. Thus A becomes cheaper due to competition. The consumer can now afford A and B for the former cost of the pre-optimized item A. The producer spends less labor time per unit of A produced, so they are now capable of increasing volume and quality, reducing lead time, or producing a new product C.

To be cliché, "Work smarter, not harder." The point is that the need for narrowly educated specialists is fading away in exchange for the generalist, the renaissance man. In order to run a modern end-mill or lathe the machinist must be a programmer as well. Each technological advancement should be a platform for increasing the rate of innovation. If someone loses their job because their role consisted of moving pile A to pile B, repeatedly, then I am afraid I am going to have to coldly say, so be it. I think there should be an incentive to retrain and learn new skills on a regular basis. I don't think that any job should or could ever exist in perpetuity without change.

Comment Cheers and farewell (Score 1) 1521

I have not been here as long as some, but I did enjoy the pre-Web2.0 Web 2.0 means of becoming informed. Slashdot stayed true to their values, never removed comments (that did not bring down the server), our record of free speech, and strived to inform through the peer review of stories. As with peer-reviewed things, it we were usually a week behind but the quality of content was the balance. Thank you, Rob Malda. I hope that your next innovation will deliver us the already over-promised Web 3.0. Cheers!

Comment Re:As well they should (Score 1) 347

Actually, it is our place to determine who they can do business with given the fact that they are granted partial monopolies on the backbone of consumer culture. How they operate their business directly affects the economy of the planet, so it would behoove us to settle on policy which is ethical and sustainable unless we would like to have yet another monopolistic overlord to please in order to even begin serving market needs.

In the entrepreneurial spirit, I believe it is very important to remove concern and barriers to entry so that we can actually see some of those market forces do some good. Cheers.

Comment Re:CFO's glad they didn't take the next step (Score 1) 213

Tau seems more mathematically correct given the nature of calculus and the relationship between instantaneous slope and areas under curves, or derivatives and integrals, respectively.

Consider the equations of motion of an object given a constance acceleration, C.
Accel = C
We know the relative velocity through integration with respect to time.
Velocity = C * t
We know the relative position through integration with respect to time.
Position = 1/2 C * t^2

As we move from integrating and differentiating with respect to time toward space, especially conicals, we begin to see meaning of these fractions in a way where it seems Tau is more natural than Pi given the derivation of the radii/surface area/volume relationships.

Comment Re:Until costs go down... (Score 1) 529

It is hard to refute GP's actual argument which is that because the current incarnation of capitalist markets are short-sighted, the government should act in a populist manner to serve the interests of the commonwealth. Neither the premise or the conclusion are far-fetcher and I find your talking points to be fettered with straw. Good job, GP!

Comment Re:Minus Xbox = Win (for me) (Score 1) 47

Used Xbox 360's are $100. The Kinect is $150. Kinect sports is $50. That's really not too bad for first adopter access to first gen remote-less motion capture gaming. The sensor may also be the solution to the robot perception problem... and for $150 the sensor is quite reasonably priced compared to the industrial SICK LIDAR sensors, which haven't changed in 20 years, that go for $5k a pop and still use RS232 interfaces... =)

Comment Ben Goldacre and Bad Science (Score 2) 453

Ben Goldacre, an MD from UK, has been at the detecting pseudoscience game for a while now. I have just started reading his book, Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks. I find it refreshingly topical and well-focused on the problem: evidence-based decision making.

Similar to Goldacre's findings, my experience has been that evidence, which has been produced by some test, requires the nature of that test to be disclosed. Following the model of the scientific process, evidence requires the following before it is complete: a testable idea, a test (or series of). To facilitate TFA's issue of replication, it is often nice to include the test setup, the procedure for executing the test, results of running the test given some inputs, etc.

--I apologize for any weirdness. I have been trying to edit this but apparently copy/paste is broken for my mode of /. viewing and Mac OS X 10.6.5 Safari 5.0.3.

Comment Regulatory capture (Score 1) 191

Regulatory capture is the relevant mechanism.

To which I humbly ask, for an organization which result is easier to achieve: success or failure?

Now, given the fact that we tend to elect as representatives those who openly subvert the intentions of the standing institutions of government, then as they twist the already plunged keys-of-good-faith from our nation like a dagger in the side, proceed to sell short public opinion in the very organization they swore to uphold, all the while riding the 24/7 rating-making-machine straight into their next election like a prophetic hero, how reasonably can we expect success?

Comment Re:he's right (Score 2) 680

The way to mastery typically involves teaching. =)

While teaching could be a speciality, I hold that it is an essential skill. If one cannot teach others, it is hard to imagine that this person could correctly teach himself correctly in the first place. In addition, teaching others helps remove personal biases and provides new opportunities to reconsider the original assumptions/axioms, without which we reach lower plateaus.

And so it is said that the good idea will stand the tests of time. I used to think that this required sheer technical correctness. Perhaps, at most, I was half correct. Now I believe that in addition to technical correctness, the rhetoric (aesthetic/attractiveness) of an idea determines reception. No idea matters if none listen. Form and function, rhetoric and logic... =)


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