Search found 43 matches

by mouseposture
Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:23 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Why do kids in school dread math?
Replies: 40
Views: 7275

Re: Why do kids in school dread math?

Math is hard, like a lot of other subjects. But unlike a lot of other subjects, you can't dumb it down without making it boring.
by mouseposture
Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:15 pm UTC
Forum: Religious Wars
Topic: What makes a good programming language?
Replies: 28
Views: 8215

Re: What makes a good programming language?

A good programming language is different from other programming languages. There are no "better" vs. "worse" differences, though there are trivial vs. profound ones. Great programming languages are profoundly different.
by mouseposture
Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:28 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Favorite math jokes
Replies: 1452
Views: 444352

Re: Favorite math jokes

Sizik wrote:Yeah, the programmer part was kind of not thought out well enough.


There are unproveable statements which are nonetheless true, and ungettable jokes that are nonetheless funny. And yours is very funny as it stands.
by mouseposture
Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:52 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: How can I become a genius scientist?
Replies: 12
Views: 2075

Re: How can I become a genius scientist?

Focus narrowly. As you advance in your career, and find out how intelligent you really are, adjust your level of specialization down to something narrow enough that you're a genius at that, though at nothing else. If you're actually a genius, or even very intelligent, you won't specialize very much,...
by mouseposture
Sun Oct 03, 2010 1:41 am UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: Would haskell make me a better programmer?
Replies: 21
Views: 4405

Re: Would haskell make me a better programmer?

I used to be skeptical of the notion that learning a language with an unfamiliar paradigm makes one a better programmer. However, I enjoy learning new languages, and began studying Haskell for that reason. Turns out, it's had a big influence (for the better, I think) on my programming style in Pytho...
by mouseposture
Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:05 am UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: Haskell as a first language.
Replies: 10
Views: 3846

Re: Haskell as a first language.

Pepve wrote:This thought may be a bit radical, but why not ask him?

The only really practical answer. I hope your friend chooses Haskell.
by mouseposture
Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:01 pm UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: How does the computer generate a random number?
Replies: 30
Views: 4006

Re: How does the computer generate a random number?

Can someone tell me this: Is my system insecure if I exhaust its supply of entropy, e.g. cat /dev/random > /dev/null no. When the entropy pool is empty, reads from /dev/random will block until additional environmental noise is gathered. Ow. I think my toaster just stabbed me in the face :?
by mouseposture
Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:05 pm UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: How does the computer generate a random number?
Replies: 30
Views: 4006

Re: How does the computer generate a random number?

Maybe worth mentioning that the reproducibility of pseudorandom sequences, given the same seed, is really quite useful, if you're runing a Monte Carlo simulation: you may want to run the program repeatedly with "random" input that's the same every time. If you were using a truly random gen...
by mouseposture
Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:41 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: How does one become a famous scientist?
Replies: 84
Views: 13874

Re: How does one become a famous scientist?

If you want to become a first-tier famous scientist, then 1) cultivate endearingly humanizing features, such as frizzy hair, playing the bongos, or near-total paralysis. 2) learn to popularize really well, and 3) do better science than most of your colleagues who aren't distracted by #1 & #2. #3...
by mouseposture
Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:25 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Frequentist, Bayesian, or Other?
Replies: 13
Views: 2012

Re: Frequentist, Bayesian, or Other?

Dason wrote:I have no idea what you're trying to say there.

You should have stopped there.
by mouseposture
Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:20 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Frequentist, Bayesian, or Other?
Replies: 13
Views: 2012

Re: Frequentist, Bayesian, or Other?

Frequentist confidence intervals require wacky mental gymnastics. All this week, I've been worrying that the p value I had calculated correctly, could become retroactively incorrect later on, if I computed another p value -- but that this would either happen, or not, depending on my intention, or l...
by mouseposture
Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:35 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Hating on the statisticians
Replies: 72
Views: 7954

Re: Hating on the statisticians

Natty wrote:Statisticians dislike mathematicians because mathematicians whine to the teacher.

Wait, who's the teacher in this metaphor?
by mouseposture
Sat Jun 05, 2010 2:36 am UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: What is a good language for a scientist?
Replies: 19
Views: 2586

Re: What is a good language for a scientist?

I would nominate Python, with the Numpy & Scipy libraries, to fill the Matlab niche. Weaker in some ways, stronger in others -- and one of the strengths is Python's better considered as a general purpose programming language. At least I think so, and I don't think my opinion's particularly eccen...
by mouseposture
Thu May 27, 2010 1:10 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: What have you broken in the lab?
Replies: 48
Views: 6051

Re: What have you broken in the lab?

Saying "you know that 100,000 dollar machine we have? yeaaaa it's broken" has got to be one of the most terrifying sentences to say There's worse. Sometimes you make a mistake and you have to tell your human subject's family that he's died. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=Article...
by mouseposture
Fri May 14, 2010 12:22 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Science and programming
Replies: 13
Views: 1594

Re: Science and programming

There exist specialised disciplines where a computational approach is taken or where computational methods to the specific field are studied, ... Why not ask around at the institute you're studying at? Even better: find a field of science where a computational approach is not usually taken, but whe...
by mouseposture
Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:11 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: ethics of artificial suffering
Replies: 120
Views: 12125

Re: ethics of artificial suffering

you bet they will program it without fear. Not a safe assumption at all. Fear serves a useful function in biological brains. Perhaps it's possible to implement Azimov's Third Law without fear -- perhaps not. Perhaps it's possible, but beyond the technical ability of the folks who program the first ...
by mouseposture
Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:39 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: ethics of artificial suffering
Replies: 120
Views: 12125

Re: ethics of artificial suffering

Why would it be any more unethical to create simulated humans (or human-level intelligences) than it would be to have children? Yes, you would have the power to mess with the universe they inhabit if you are simulating an entire universe for them, but as long as that power isn't abused, I don't see...
by mouseposture
Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:39 am UTC
Forum: General
Topic: Writing Instrument
Replies: 83
Views: 13368

Re: Writing Instrument

Namiki Falcon. To be polite, I pretend to understand why some people don't use this.
by mouseposture
Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:46 am UTC
Forum: Religious Wars
Topic: Spaces and tabs in Python
Replies: 15
Views: 13063

Re: Spaces and tabs in Python

I used to use tabs for nesting, spaces for alignment, but my IDE complained, so I switched to all-spaces. I decided I didn't like 8-spaces per level indenting so I had the editor change it to 4. However, the diff between the current revision and the previous one now shows changes on every indented (...
by mouseposture
Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:57 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Why would I need to blow up the moon?
Replies: 97
Views: 8421

Re: Why would I need to blow up the moon?

"To show the Martians, when they arrive, what Bomber Command can do."
by mouseposture
Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:38 am UTC
Forum: The Help Desk
Topic: [Mac] Weird problem on Saturdays
Replies: 15
Views: 1055

Re: [Mac] Weird problem on Saturdays

I bet it's a "cron" job, probably indexing the hard drive. On my MacBook Pro, by default, that job runs on saturdays. Try launching Activity Monitor, and, when the problem occurs, looking for a job that's either using a lot of CPU cycles, or doing a lot of disk access. Then, when you have ...
by mouseposture
Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:28 am UTC
Forum: The Help Desk
Topic: Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip
Replies: 11
Views: 1336

Re: Question about possible misuse of an xkcd strip

No idea about the CC license, but what sort of high school is this where a majority of the Junior class would find #422 funny?
by mouseposture
Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:09 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Pick a number between 1 and 100
Replies: 74
Views: 5962

Re: Pick a number between 1 and 100

100
by mouseposture
Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:50 am UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Engineers
Replies: 25
Views: 3056

Re: Engineers

I'm a scientist, and my collaborators are mostly engineers. While I'm sure there's an "official" distinction, most of the time, if you just watched what we spent our time doing you couldn't tell us apart. Every now & then, though, a certain cultural difference crops up: they're interes...
by mouseposture
Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:14 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 0697: "Tensile vs. Shear Strength"
Replies: 136
Views: 32921

Re: "Tensile vs. Shear Strength" Discussion

My first thought was Haldeman, rather than Burma Shave

Stuck on this lift for hours, perforce ...
This lift that cost a million bucks.
There's no such thing as centrifugal force.
L5 sucks.
by mouseposture
Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:06 am UTC
Forum: Coding
Topic: What programing language is best for complete beginners?
Replies: 62
Views: 7474

Re: What programing language is best for complete beginners?

cha0tic , if you do decide to take Berengal 's advice, please consider blogging a diary of the experience. I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering whether a functional language like Haskell seems difficult to a person with no preconceptions. Even more interesting would be an account of learning your se...
by mouseposture
Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:42 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Mathematics and intellect
Replies: 85
Views: 7604

Re: Mathematics and intellect

Yes, but for those of us without $40 million dollar surgical suites, it's not exactly a good idea to put a laptop through the autoclave. For those of you without $40 million surgical suites, it's not a good idea to do the kind of surgery that requires really scrupulous sterile technique :wink: . No...
by mouseposture
Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:12 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Mathematics and intellect
Replies: 85
Views: 7604

Re: Mathematics and intellect

There are no books or computers (because they cannot be sterilized or cannot survive being sterilized), and no time to have someone leave and check.. I agree with your conclusion, but not with your argument. Surgeons routinely use computers while scrubbed in. For example, stereotactic targeting sof...
by mouseposture
Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:13 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Mathematics and intellect
Replies: 85
Views: 7604

Re: Mathematics and intellect

You spend all your time memorizing stuff that takes 15 minutes to look up. Leo Szilard, after moving from physics to biology, complained that he could no longer work in the bathtub, because he kept having to climb out in order to look up a fact. My point being this: in fields like biology, you have...
by mouseposture
Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:50 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Mathematics and intellect
Replies: 85
Views: 7604

Re: Mathematics and intellect

Notation and terminology are two very different things. How? Notzeb uses terminology , e.g. strings of Roman-alphabet letters like "space," "spectrum," and "is isomorphic as." If he replaced each with a single letter in Greek, or Hebrew, or some obscurer alphabet, woul...
by mouseposture
Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:31 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Mathematics and intellect
Replies: 85
Views: 7604

Re: Mathematics and intellect

I believe that mathematics is clearer without notation. I have seen this explicitly given as advice for mathematical writing from at least two reputable sources, Knuth and Munkres, who both have been writing mathematics long enough that they should know what they're talking about. Notation doesn't ...
by mouseposture
Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:53 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Mathematics and intellect
Replies: 85
Views: 7604

Re: Mathematics and intellect

I claim it'll be *harder* to understand because the formulas are a crutch to make the math *easier* Only for a mathematician. A non-mathematician will find the symbolic version completely incomprehensible, but they may be able to make some sense out of the 'English' version (and will at least be ab...
by mouseposture
Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:17 am UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Mathematics and intellect
Replies: 85
Views: 7604

Re: Mathematics and intellect

A basic reason is that it's hard to read formulas, but easy to read words. Mathematicians use a lot of syntax that is unfamiliar. I disagree, and this is testable. Try, as an exercise, translating an article in a mathematics journal into English. Or even something from an advanced undergraduate mat...
by mouseposture
Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:41 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: You Might Be a Biology Major if...
Replies: 153
Views: 18724

Re: You Might Be a Biology Major if...

ellaruby wrote:
Admiral Valdemar wrote:YMBABM if you consider the perfect organism has already evolved.


How exactly are we defining perfect?


We could recognize the perfect organism, if it existed, by the fact that it had *stopped* evolving.
by mouseposture
Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:23 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Why do people keep saying this?
Replies: 42
Views: 3567

Re: Why do people keep saying this?

(Obviously it wouldn't be impossible to prove something like, "There is no hippo in my room". You can inspect your room yourself and be sure of that). Nope. You can't even prove that. If you claim to have searched the room exhaustively, I can propose various counterhypotheses, such as a c...
by mouseposture
Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:09 pm UTC
Forum: Mathematics
Topic: Why do people keep saying this?
Replies: 42
Views: 3567

Re: Why do people keep saying this?

What it sounds like to me is someone's parroting a theory of inductive reasoning associated with Karl Popper, the Vienna Circle, and logical positivism. It ceased being respectable among philosophers in 1951 (Quine's "Two dogmas of empiricism") and among historians of science in 1962 (Kuhn...
by mouseposture
Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:51 am UTC
Forum: Computer Science
Topic: Excel needs to sod off and die
Replies: 13
Views: 3216

Re: Excel needs to sod off and die

Parsimony and model building is admittedly less of a big deal with a purely predictive model, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Doing anything with your data without a reason why gives me an uncomfortableness. I think you're assuming the OP is doing science. He may be doing process engin...
by mouseposture
Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:19 pm UTC
Forum: Computer Science
Topic: Excel needs to sod off and die
Replies: 13
Views: 3216

Re: Excel needs to sod off and die

A good rule of thumb is you should only at max one explanatory variable for every 10 observations you have. Which means really, your data can manage a linear fit, and a second order fit is stretching. Agreed, but I've also never, ever seen someone give a plausible reason for a 6-order term besides ...
by mouseposture
Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:24 pm UTC
Forum: Science
Topic: Build a small electric shock device
Replies: 12
Views: 13841

Re: Build a small electric shock device

You, sir, name? wrote:
Minerva wrote:That'll teach you to trifle with forces you can't possibly understand.


The electrostatic force?


Know what R on T is? No? But you know what the Darwin Awards are, right?

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