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Comment Re:Sexes ARE different, thankfully (Score 1) 599

There are endless studies where girls are quoted directly complaining about how they are put off STEM because of their gender.

I'm not very familiar with sociology methodology, so excuse me if this is a stupid question - but is there any better evidence than self-reporting? People feeling a certain way may or may not equate to them being justified in feeling that way. For example, men are much more likely to suffer violent crime on the street than women are, but women self-report as being much more apprehensive of said crime. ( I'm not claiming a feeling of apprehension has anything to do with self-selection for STEM subjects, just that I am wary of studies that rely on self-reporting to make objective claims about what is going on.

Comment Re:islam (Score 1) 1350

Well let's see... the IRA/English's battle over Northern Ireland (largely drawn across Catholic/Protestant religious lines) cease fire was just over 20 years ago. And the final peace accord was only 17 years ago. That marked the end of 30 years of assassinations, murders, bombings, and attacks all of which were surrounded by religious fervor.

I realise that's the narrative that many people believe around the world, but it's also a complete misunderstanding of Irish history. The warring parties *were* divided across religious lines, but that was an historical accident. English colonists happened to be protestant, native Irish happened to be Catholic. They were fighting over many things - land, self-determination, equal rights, republicanism, loyalism, etc. - but religion was *not* one of them. To the best of my knowledge (I lived in Ireland during the troubles, as I do now) no-one was killed during the troubles over a theological difference of opinion. Their religious identities became convenient labels, but nobody was under any illusion that the conflict was actually about religion.

Submission + - Facebook's DeepFace Project Nears Human Accuracy In Identifying Faces

kc123 writes: Facebook has reached a major milestone in computer vision and pattern recognition, with ‘DeepFace,’ an algorithm capable of identifying a face in a crowd with 97.25 percent accuracy, which is pretty much on par with how good the average human is (97.5 percent accurate) at recognizing the faces of other walking, talking meat sacks. To get past the limitations of ordinary facial matching software, Facebook’s researchers have managed to find a way to build 3D models of faces from a photo, which can then be rotated to provide matching of the same face captured at different angles. In the past, facial recognition via computer could be pretty easily foiled if a subject is simply tilting their head in a slightly different direction.

Comment Re:Spooky action at a distance? (Score 2, Informative) 575

A flawed, but illustrative example that should explain why this is so: imagine you have a friend who is flipping a coin... if it comes up heads, he writes an X on two sheets of paper, if it comes up tails, he writes a checkmark on both instead. Both are immediately sealed inside envelopes and mailed to opposites sides of the planet. If you open one letter and see an X, you instantly know the other has an X also. That doesn't require any communication.

Isn't that just the 'hidden variables' interpretation of quantum physics, which from my limited knowledge I think was eperimentally proven false?

From my understanding, there really is nothing in the envelope until you look inside it - that's what makes the in-sync states of the atoms, even when seperated by distances greater than c*t, 'spooky'. Communication may not be possible, but it is still very weird from our classical perspective.

Comment Re:Don't forget! (Score 1) 1061

Insightful. Brilliant. Stroke of genius. With one sentence you have dismantled the work of thousands of scientists the world over.

Have you told them yet? Please don't keep this knowledge to yourself - they have much better things to be doing with their time besides investigating blind alleys that are so easily refuted.

For example I would like them to figure out why otherwise intelligent people will only accept a scientific consensus if it already fits with their world-view. You know the type who happily use the fruits of the scientific establishment when it suits them, but when confronted with a deduction they'd rather not face they do the mental equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears and assume that the same scientists have missed some simple yet vital piece of evidence.

Comment Re:When will it end? (Score 2, Insightful) 623

Well then it's a pity that the majority of the economists that appear on mass-media to enlighten us with their opinions are of the bullshit armchair types.

Advanced enconomics may win Nobel Prizes, but it seems that those running the actual show prefer the bullshitters when making their decisions.

Comment Society is a vector, not a scalar (Score 1) 575

There are people who claim that these individual steps are necessary to protect the people, and that no one step is anything that's enough to worry about in the grand scheme of things.

However I think that society is something that moves in a partcular direction, and has momentum (for want of better metaphors). Each individually harmless step gives it a push in a particular direction, and from the news we've been seeing over the last number of years I'd say American society is now travelling at a pretty fast clip in the wrong direction (last stop 1984?). I know people are hoping that the new guy in the White House will know how to find the brakes, but momentum in the wrong direction has built up by now as well, and it'll take a lot to turn this thing around, assuming it's even possible at this stage.

Comment Empire vs. Sith? (Score 3, Interesting) 346

My knowledge of the Star Wars universe extends only as far as the movies, so this is a genuine question, not a veiled correction:

Star Wars: The Old Republic is set thousands of years before the rise of Darth Vader, with the galaxy divided by war between the Empire and the Sith.

Shouldn't that be "between the Republic and the Sith"? Or was there an Empire before the Republic before the Empire we came to know and love? Thanks.


Submission + - Dvorak on mobile phones

sconeu writes: "As we all know, John C. Dvorak is almost always wrong. Therefore we need to realize when he gets it right, such as this rant on mobile phones.

His call for the death of the mobile phone industry may be a little overblown, but I'm willing to chalk it up to hyperbole in this case <grin>, because I happen to agree</grin>."

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