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Comment Re:Well, duh. (Score 1) 75

"Maths" is a lot more than arithmetic (A rat in Tommy's house...).
The most important mathematical discipline in science is simple Boolean logic that (at least at one time) was taught as part of the freshman high school math curriculum. The tools of logical thought and formal deduction rather than "hand waving" explanations are the *first* requirements.

More to the point of the article...
Scientists generally organize themselves into a couple of different disciplines--simply because the skill sets (and technical requirements) tend to diverge:
Statistical analysis and mathematical modeling (the subject of the article) are extremely important to both.
The job of the theoretician is to produce a descriptive, predictive, and testable mathematical model and study that model. And to describe experiments and predict what the results might be *if* the model and the hypotheses it's built on are representative of reality.
The job of the experimentalist is to determine whether the model is actually consistent with reality.

Take as a timely example the theoretician's prediction of gravity waves, and around a hundred years later, the experimentalist's observation of same.
Makes a nice ringtone...and a nice conversation starter--when folks ask "what's that noise", you can explain how science takes a lot of persistence and work.

Of course, sometimes experimentalist invalidates the theoretician's model; this is when some of my old professors told me "I was writing Science Fiction...didn't mean to, but the results are in...". Of course you have the theoretician who refuses to submit to experiment, but that doesn't mean they're all charlatans.

Comment showrooming amazon. paybacks are a b. (Score 1) 141

Amazon or Newegg to see the product and reviews.
If I'm not in a hurry, aliexpress; otherwise A or N usually has the best price.

But I do agree with the other poster--Amazon has gotten very tricky in the past few years.
You have to dig to make sure you get the right price.

Also the default free shipping option seems to come and go.
I've gotten burned a couple times at checkout, then have to cancel the order.
If I catch it soon enough, start the checkout process again. as there's no "backup" as you are herded down the checkout chute to the killing floor.

Comment I absolutely agree (Score 1) 250

If we want to meet aliens, *somebody* has to get up off their ass (or whatever somebody has) and build the starships.
If we are 'those people', it's going to be lonely for a long time. If not, we'll be more ready to meet whoever 'those people' are--and to participate in whatever their thing may be.
Either way, there's no reason to sit around and wait for the Federation to show up.

Comment When the crackpots turn out to be right... (Score 1) 207

My dad constantly asks me if he should get windows 10 (until I installed gwx control panel).
I tried to explain to him why it is a very bad thing, and this (win10) is "just the tip".
There's more to come and you won't be able to stop it. Just fight it as long as you can.

eyes glaze over...

A far superior genius and far superior crackpot said it much better...:

He doesn't sound quite as crazy as he did a year ago, does he?

Also, IIRC Corey Doctorow has already predicted this, too. I think it was a short story about copyright--that *everything* is copyrighted before it's written (your new work will always be sufficiently similar to $copyrighted_work), so no new works can be created. Just can't find it right now...

Comment FCC regulates ISPs; let's have spam blocking, too! (Score 1) 120

tldr: Nobody wins an arms race. they just continue forever.

The USPS's primary customer is bulk mailers. Then a little package delivery. Individuals sending love letters or paying bills aren't even on the radar.
Each evening I pass by my trash can on the way from the mailbox to the house. Very rarely are my hands full at the back door (watch it).

Then email turned into a shitpile of spam and we have spam blockers that (kinda) work.

The web has been a swamp since the invention of the blink tag.
And we have adblockers and the incessant whining of users and advertisers who both think they're entitled to control what appears on a user's screen.

Somewhere Usenet became completely useless for its original purpose. Some of my friends say it's a cheap substitute for bittorrent, so maybe it has a new funciton.

Now, the phone. Do you think it will be *any* different?
Hey--if they come up with a free and effective solution, great--I'll take two and color me wrong.
But I ain't holding my breath!

Comment Their equipment; their rules (Score 1) 284

Why is this even an issue?
Admittedly, the "think of the children" argument is stupid on it's face, but if it convinces Mickey D's and Star Trek's, whatever.

If they want to block KKK and the American Nazi Party, that's cool too.
If they want to *promote* Klan etc, that's also cool. The fact they should be permitted to promote what they believe in; not the Klan itself. The Klan is not cool.

Your rights aren't being violated by McD's et. al. blocking porn. You're rights *are* being violated, but if you're worrying about porn blocks in restaurants, you've been successfully diverted.

Freedom of speech means the government can't stop you from saying something (fire in a crowded theater, incitement to riot, etc. stipulated).
McD's & Starbucks' wifi is not a public utility. Maybe TWC is, but those ain't.

It doesn't prevent a private company (or a public one, for that matter, but stay focused here) from censoring things they don't like.
It doesn't require a private company to support speech they don't want to.

Comment Re:Excellent tool, but wrong tool for the job. (Score 1) 609

First, Tyson isn't even running for prez.

Secondly--yes. Hell yes.
You would be batshit insane to put someone like NDT in charge of something like the government of a nation.
If NDT had the ability and desire to be that high (prez) in government, he'd be somewhere in government already. He ain't so he ain't.
"If I were King...", the first thing I'd do is call for a new election and abdicate because I don't know wtf I'm doing in that job.
Not even name my successor--that's the purview of the people, not one person.

As a high level geek, Tyson has presumably managed other lesser geeks.
To do that, all you have to do is give the lesser geeks what they need to do their job.
They already *want* to do the "right" thing, and are members of the same tribe.
That's an 'ivory tower' management job. Easy peasy.

I have seen good honest geeks do that ivory tower mgt stuff wonderfully, then fall flat on their face trying to manage real people outside of the ivory tower.
Project management with a bunch of vendors and customer each who wants to get paid and who doesn't give a rat's ass whether the other guy gets screwed.
And each time there's a screwing to be taken, the *first* job is make sure it falls on someone else.
If the project succeeds great; if not, as long as I get paid or walk off the job while it's still profitable, I'm done.
And that's just doing one project with one end customer who has a pretty clear end goal and start-of-production date. (that date doesn't change. ever.)

Now, running a government you multiply the head count project by ~1.5E+06 to get to the population of the USA.
And all the attendant problems scale in a nonlinear fashion. We didn't have any murders on our project. Or cops. Or healthcare crises. Or millitary. and, and, and...

Comment Excellent tool, but wrong tool for the job. (Score 1) 609

I reject this general class of idea as fascist in the sense that fascism is the opposite of egalitarianism.
Every naive child can tell you why "I and people like me should be in charge". Sure. It's good to be the king.
Unfortunately I and most of the population will wind up being not-the-king, and we don't like that.

On a second level, science is a poor tool for ruling people. As very well pointed out in TFA.

Thirdly, science is too damned tedious for everyday decisions.
I have two jobs: I work in a lab where we've got time to describe some undesired behaviour of a device-under-test, reproduce it, construct experiments to disprove various possible causes, and then repeat the process when the developers fix the product and send it back for verification.
I also work in the field, where we have to get product down the line and out the door.
The scientific method is one hell of a lot more useful in the first job than the second.

Of course I would like to apply this scientific kind of thinking everywhere; I have some education and like to think I'm smarter than those around me because of it. But the truth is I'm not smarter. "You're making a science project of this job." is NOT a compliment.
Nobody cares that their theory is wrong; as long as saleable product goes out the door.

That's the society you want to rule with science. It will never happen; they don't have time for you.

I understand frustration with government, and the sentiment "If I were King...".
NDT is just telling us "I and like-minded people should be in charge". NDT happens to see himself as a scientist, QED.

I want to say to NDT that as a public advocate, for the philosophy that I happen to embrace:
"Neil, when you do stuff like this you're not helping! You are to science what RMS is to FOSS."
"Neil, you're a genius in your field, far more accomplished than I or anyone I know."
"Neil, you're also an astrophysicist. Go read about Linus Pauling and Vit. C."

Some people are helping promote public engagement in science and rational thought.
Feynman, Sagan, Destin from Smarter Every Day, Martyn Poliakoff, Sir David Attenborough, etc. etc. etc. Well, Feynman and Sagan have stopped obviously, but the should still be towards the top of the list.

Comment Born in Lake Charles; Grew up in BR. I say Good. (Score 4, Insightful) 393

When you wipe your ass with the constitution.
When your police fail to police the police.
When you subvert the media to the point that the public doesn't recognize the concept much less the term "fifth estate"

You have forfeited your legal mandate.
You have demanded the public no longer trust you.
You have asked each of us to take it upon ourselves to expose your crimes against the public trust.

And some of are willing to take up the work.
If we don't hold their feet to the fire it's only going to get worse.

Look to Russia to see where we're headed.
A kleptocracy controlled by thugs.

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"This generation may be the one that will face Armageddon." -- Ronald Reagan, "People" magazine, December 26, 1985