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Comment No it doesn't (Score 1) 249

"The conclusion: 92 minutes of moderate activity a week can extend your life by three years."

Which is bollocks of course. The only thing that can be said is that 92 minutes a week increases the average life expectancy of a population of sufficient size by three years. What the result of this exercise is on any given individual is completely unknown.

Also, what's the standard deviation for this number? I am of the opinion that everybody who argues a case using some average number without providing the accompanying standard deviation should be summarily executed. An average without a std dev is worse than useless.

Comment Rights and Liberties? (Score 1) 267

Why are so many people both rabid about protecting their own liberties, and at the same time totally unconcerned about other people's liberties? What I mean is, sure, the US government's primary responsibility is for the welfare of the US people, just like (e.g.) the Dutch government's primary responsibility is to the Dutch people. But I find it hard to stomach that the same people who are foaming at the mouth when there's even the slightest suggestion that the US government _might_ do something that _could_ be construed as spying on US citizens are completely and utterly OK with the same government doing the exact same thing to the rest of the world population. Surely even foreigners should have _some_ rights? Doesn't the US declaration of independence say something about all men being equal, and not about "all people who happen to be US citizens" being equal?

I'm not saying the US government has the right to spy on US citizens, nor am I saying the US government does not have the right to gather intelligence. I guess I'm just baffled by the fact that the self evident truths and god given liberties people in the US often demand so vocally and are so proud of are just as easily denied to other people. Concern about this simply don't seem to enter the public debate at all. It seems to be a non-issue.

I find that ... uncomfortable.


Comment Personal experience (Score 3, Informative) 136

While I am not a hardcore gamer, I do have a triple 24" monitor setup, and I have tried several games in 3-monitor mode. I find that it doesn't actually let you be better at a game, i.e. don't expect to gain a tactical advantage and blow your buddies to smithereens because you see more. As it turns out, a single 24" widescreen monitor already more than covers the field of view you can actually focus on. Sure, the total FOV of the human eyeball is a lot larger (>180 degrees horizontally), but the part where you actually see detail to the extent that you can consciously react to what you see is quite small. As an experiment, try to read some text on the bottom of your monitor while looking at a point near the top.

What the extra 2 monitors give you though, is a much more immersive experience. NVidia isn't far off when they call this "Vision Surround". The fact that the action now also fills a large part of your peripheral vision means you get a much more intense feeling of being "inside" the game. It's actually pretty cool.

Comment What's the fiss about? (Score 1) 204

I don't understand what the fuss is all about. Police forces used this aggregate data to find spots where many drivers are speeding, in order to efficiently decide where to put speeding camera's. That sounds like an excellent way to improve the efficiency of how my tax euros are spent.

Now this may be a radical idea, but maybe people should try to (*gasp*) obey the speed limit!

Comment Scan and Search (Score 1) 371

I've recently implemented a digitizing scheme: All paper documents I receive are scanned. The scanner is set to store the images in a default location on my server, and a cron job periodically OCRs new images in this location. The OCR text is stored in a database, and the whole collection is made searchable through a browser interface, which provides a link back to the scanned images in its result page.

The OCR process is not perfect, and does not handle handwriting, but with a few tweaks the process is reliable enough that printed text is OCR'd with pretty high accuracy. At least it's good enough so I am usually able to find the documents I'm looking for using a few well-chosen keyword.

All this was done using open source software: Python, CherryPy, jQuery, Tesseract (OCR), Sphinx (Search), tied together with some bash scripts.

Works like a charm.

Comment Fox News business model (Score 1) 421

Seriously, when are people going to stop being surprised at Fox doing stuff like this?

Fox News is a company whose purpose is to make money. Their way to make money is by selling viewers to advertisers (In this, they are no different from other TV networks or things like newspapers, websites etc). Advertisers like a predictable audience they can characterize as accurately as possible, so they can tailor their products and/or advertisements to cater to said audience.

Fox News is simply trying to ensure that a predictable segment of the population reliably tune in to their station. Since people like hearing other people say things they agree with, one way to do this is by telling that section of the population exactly what they want to hear. And that is what Fox does.

In this case, is an informed, nuanced piece about how video games do or do not influence young gamers' behavior going to appeal to Fox's target audience? No, it is not. Therefore, it's a simple piece about how some violent person played violent video-games, ergo violent video-games turn sweet little kids into serial killers. The people in Fox's target audience who see this will find themselves nodding along with the piece, ensuring they will tune in again next week, same time, same channel.

You could argue (justifiably, IMHO) about whether this model has undesirable social effects, and about news networks' responsibility etc, but this simply doesn't show up in Fox's equation. All they know is that by doing things this way, they can predict who's going to watch, and that is valuable to advertisers. There's no malice in that, it's just business (in their mind, of course)


Comment Re:Maybe they did it wrong... (Score 1) 395

Indeed, there is no silver bullet. But don't knock the agile movement for failing to deliver. Even Fred Brooks, in his latest book "The Design of Design", concludes that iterative development with intense user involvement (which are some of the core ideas in the Manifesto) is a better way to develop than a waterfall approach. In fact, iterative development goes way back to at least Boehm's spiral model, which he introduced in 1986. And even then it was probably not a new idea.

Comment Twitter == RSS-- (Score 1) 460

Why I don't like Twitter, apart from the reasons outlined in TFA, is that it is nothing more than a less capable, centralized RSS.

With RSS, I can subscribe to pretty much any type of content: blogs, search-results, news, you name it (the list is almost endless). The major thing here is that I can subscribe to any type of content using an RSS-reader of my choice, and RSS providers can use any tooling they choose. With Twitter, the type of content I can subscribe to is incredibly limited, and both myself and the authors are tied into a specific vendor (to boot: Twitter).

So I'm completely at a loss as to what the big deal with Twitter is.

Comment Terrorists! (Score 1) 250

Clearly this was a test run for an upcoming terrorist attack! If one downed pole can bring down a data center, imagine what 19 downed poles (the number of hijackers on 9/11) could do! It would destroy the economy and lead to famine in the land! Clearly, we need to restrict who can drive a car!! We need government tracking of all cars!!! Background checks for everybody requesting a drivers license!!!! A kill/switch on every vehicle!!!!! Its a dirty job, but someones gotta do it!

Comment Re:Not really seeing the market... (Score 3, Interesting) 139

Well, I have an HTPC, but still I recently built and installed a DIY-version of the Squeezebox. Why? Because for listening to music an HTPC is a bit impractical (need to switch on TV, HTPC and Amp) and overkill (That's a full fledged PC used exclusively to play a dinky little FLAC/MP3). Also, it's nice to have an internet radio/alarm clock in your bedroom, or be able to distribute music throughout your home.

Comment Re:Too late (Score 1) 764

> That they're supposed to be smart, like you
> are, and therefore think the same things
> that you do?

No, but I did assume (apparently incorrectly) that people with a scientific/technical background have a desire to be informed and factual, to separate fact from hype, and to recognize when they have insufficient information to render judgement about something.

When this happened, it had already become clear that whatever was going on, these scientists did not fabricate or manipulate data in dubious ways as part of a grand conspiracy to keep funding for climate research flowing.

So yeah, I am disappointed that people I consider intelligent (and like it or not, having a degree does have some corellation to intelligence) ignored the aftermath, and have by now completely internalized the idea that these scientists acted in bad faith.

Comment Too late (Score 2, Insightful) 764

Sadly, a lot of damage is already done to the climate cause. The idea that these (and therefore, by extension, other) scientists are prone to manipulating their data to get the answers they want is now firmly entrenched in the public mind.

As an example, just he other day some colleagues of mine were discussing climate change, and when someone mentioned climategate, and how "those scientists" had tampered with their data, the response was a chorus of agreeing, everybody-know-THAT kind of nods. And these were all college/university graduates. Pretty depressing.

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