30 posts • joined Thursday 18th October 2007 13:54 GMT
This paper is weird
Ok, so it's 'accepted' and peer-reviewed, but not yet published. Fine. But also it doesn't seem to report any new results by the author. It's like a mini-review of some other paper (Wu et al 2011), along with other papers in the literature that comes to the conclusion. Is this normal in medical molecular biology?
Indeed. I once found a list of such words/phrases (for a friend to use in a play), and it seemed like fully half of them were synonyms for 'idiot'. As in, for calling other people idiot. Teuchter is a very nice one - sort of means 'farmer' or 'yokel', right?
'Numpty' is pretty good, too. 'Bauchle' I've never heard. Although I'm reminded of my father's mother, who I swear would make up such words : "Oh look at that thing birling away on the roof!" (spinning rapidly?).
Oh, and especially good is "pochle" - meaning stuff you can legitimately steal, such as from the stationary cupboard at work.
'Chunter' is a good word, but I'm more interested in 'mega-whinge'
Is there an accepted conversion rate for whinges? I know that us Brits are more prone to whinging, while Americans generally just complain. The difference is between muttering "This toast is burnt!" to your wife and shouting "HEY MANAGER! - MY TOAST!".
But I hadn't realised that a whinge could be quantified. Perhaps it could be a useful economic measure, like an inverse of happiness.
might not be a misprint
It could just be the usual macho talk used in the City - you know, like "C'mon Jones, we gotta fist some asses today or we're sunk!".
Seriously, I overheard a guy on his phone in a coffee shop once who actually said "...well, I don't want to get gang-raped on this one, you know?...". Because just 'raped' is too tame a metaphor for some people.
"After all, my financing application went in four months ago and decision day is only six weeks hence"
If I were a member of the review board, I would be asking you the following questions:
a) Do you own any digging equipment? and
b) Have you been to Hungary recently...
Ada Lovelace as a programmer and mathematician
The article heavily implies (along with the linked article from 1999) that Ada's position as "first programmer" is based on myth. However, this is not clear from her notes on the translation of Menabrea's talk (scroll down for her notes):
assuming that the transcript hasn't been favourably edited, she certainly seems competent enough. It's a little difficult to read text from ye olden days due to that fact that the style was kind of verbose and dull. However, consider this small snippet:
"In studying the action of the Analytical Engine, we find that the peculiar and independent nature of the considerations which in all mathematical analysis belong to operations, as distinguished from the objects operated upon and from the results of the operations performed upon those objects, is very strikingly defined and separated."
Sounds like OO programming to me :)
Love the youtube comments as well
Such as the top rated one :
"Apple should continue to show its leadership by adopting this must have technology which will soon become de-facto on additional platforms (already on Blackberry) - people need the right to chooose and apple as an innovator and provider of cutting edge user experiences should drive this kind of beneficial App and take a proactive stance..."
Hmmm. Strange how this genuine member of the public is so familiar with marketing speak. A coincidence, I'm sure...
Not so unusual
These sites are full of crazy 'jobs' like this. Many people ask for 'clones' of existing sites - the best of these was someone asking for someone to download "all the webpages" and store them in a database. That's right, a 'clone' of google. Probably for $100.
Obvious malware is less frequent, apart from quite a few requests for software that cracks game DRM, or for aimbot kind of things (is that the term?). The best one I have seen so far is :
"the job is theoretically simple. i want to submit an article to the software which instantly make a thousand different rewrites of that article...[SNIP]...you'll find me to be a reasonable man but please don't ask me why i want to build such a software."
Very mafia! :)
Green activists who are against micro/nano-technology?
Have they realised that all organisms are made of microscopic components (cells) that are in turn composed from nanoscale parts?
Clearly there's plenty of room at the bottom - for idiocy.
I'll buy their house!
So this house can now NEVER be raided by the cops? That sounds...useful. Perhaps they could be persuaded to sell up?
Er. Why do I get the impression that these three people went to the same acting school? I mean that quite literally. They pause like actors, they deliver the lines between the pauses like actors, and they look - in general - like actors.
So, this is some kind of viral advert thing for something, no?
Here we go again!
I hope the Cornell guys have not fallen into the trap of begging the question. There is an essay/book chapter by Douglas Hofstadter about an AI that the authors claimed had made analogies between electrons going round a nucleus and planets going round the sun.
Although it sounded impressive at first, it turned out that the program was given something like : "similar(electron, planet), similar(nucleus, sun), circling(x, y)" and then produced : "similar(circling(electron, nucleus), circling(planet, sun)".
Hofstadter points out that to the AI, this could easily be "similar(circling(cat, dog), circling(plant, table))" or any other combination. Without any meaning behind the words, you get out only what you put in.
On the other hand, the experimenting-robot is quite scary. Think about it : they now have the capability to make bio-weapons. Better not turn down the robots funding requests!
"I believe that it’s simply 'sleeping' and may be woken up at a future date to execute some set of evil instructions."
What are 'evil' instructions? Are they built-in to processors nowadays? "Oh no; if only we hadn't created that evil instruction set, this worm would never have done all this damage!!.."
google : 1, microsoft : 0
A search for "vn b m gn mbnmncbm xbc bcv 0 vfkmjirhtfnkj nb b x bmnx bv" on google.com now brings up this article.
A search on live.com brings up "no results".
Clear winner : google.
Never seen the point of PDAs anyway
There was an announcement on the pdb mailing list about a molecule viewer:
which looks good, and I suppose I can see some uses (the post-vert suggested showing people at conferences. hmmm) but how often do people really need to browse the web on the move?
Or use a dictionary...or whatever else the 1001 other apps do.
My dad gave me a Rabbit rabbit mascot promotional cuddly toy back in the day - it's now a welcome addition to my niece's toys, so the company has left it's mark on the world in some small way :) ...
Stealing is a closer analogy than photography
Of course the "copyright is theft" analogy isn't correct, but neither is it consequence-free.
If you take a copy of something for free, instead of paying for that copy - and you could have afforded it - then you deprive the owner of a sale. It's not really that hard a concept to grasp.
The difficulty is determining how many sales there would have been if free downloading wasn't possible. One side counts every free copy as a lost sale, while the other side counts none of them as lost sales. Neither is right.
evolutionary psychology lets you conclude nearly anything
Unfortunately, this kind of research often ends up in waffle - eg : women prefer men who look after their children, because that's adaptive. We actually have no idea.
Maybe women prefer to sleep with men who look 'manly' (and thus likely to sleep around) but settle down with men that are nurturing. Maybe men say they like 'easy' women, but when it comes to the crunch, they don't.
As the Reg points out - what this proves is the correlation between faces and what people will admit on a questionnaire, nothing more.
$3000 dollars worth of equipment?
...or if you buy them from China, about $150, or some other ridiculously small price.
Also in your cart : GPS/mobile jammer. For innocent purposes only.
Dioxyhydride? Sounds suspicious.
If you'd said "Dihydrogenmonoxide" I might have let you off with a caution, but O<sub>2</sub>H sounds...expolosive.
To gitmo with him!
I like "henchgoon" even though it's just two words rammed together.
I feel sorry for AI researchers trying to train their programs from web content, though. It must be hard to distinguish valid text from spam, and illiterate speech from archaic.
It's not so much the awful, stupid things he's saying but the /way/ he says them. I guess he's not trying to fake sincerity, but the constipated expression on his face as he makes chopping motions with his hand to indicate seriousness...
What an astonishing fool the man is.
Seems either a trivial problem (emulate a computer program on a computer) or a hard, but pointless one (emulate a brain emulating a computer, on a computer).
Either way, as useful as finding roots in your head; that's why we invented computers, to do those kinds of dull calculations, you tool!
The new nanotech
Time was, this kind of hype would have surrounded nanotech 'solutions'. Not the real, workable nanotech (airbags I think, and, er...) but the self-replicating gray-goo type. Having realised that this kind of nanotech has already been done by biology, it gets renamed as "synthetic biology".
But it's omnipotency is still there, I guess. The idea that bacteria can be made to soak up CO2 is especially bizarre. Don't trees do that already? Why would modified/artificial bacteria do it better?
The Mismeasure of Man
Watson may be an eminent scientist, but that doesn't make him right. Of course he is _trivially_ right when he says that different "geographically separated" groups _might_ have different average intelligences. He then suggests that this has actually been proved, which it hasn't.
As for IQ tests and race, this has been covered in a book by Gould (The Mismeasure of Man) in which he describes the problems with these tests (they tend to test the ability to take an IQ test, for example).
In any case, I understood that there was more variation within African groups, than with the rest of the world. In other words, non-africans are less genetically variable than different African tribes. Of course, he doesn't suggest that the Zulus might be more intelligent than "Whites", as he clearly has a racist bias.