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Comment Who wrote those annotations? And who paid for it? (Score 3, Insightful) 284 284

What the lawsuit focuses on are the ANNOTATIONS. The annotations are short topical summaries that briefly explain what a court said about the statute. An annotation is written by someone who works for a publisher, after reading a court case.

This case may very well hinge upon "who wrote them?". If as you say, written by someone who works for a publisher, that publisher would hold copyright (on those annotations alone!) and would be the party going to court.

But it seems it's the state going to court here. Which means it's the state believing it holds copyright here. Read: state employee(s) writing those annotations. In which case this lawsuit would be a non-starter, regardless of whether those annotations are deemed essential for understanding the law.

Or a (private) 3rd party wrote them for the state, read: "tax dollars at work to produce those annotations". Which imho is effectively the same as a state employee doing the writing.

Comment Almost there... (Score 3, Insightful) 52 52

Just a few words shorter, and even /. users may read the article.

Btw. since galaxies are mostly empty space, "to collide" doesn't sound right, imho. Two galaxies "mingling" might be a better description. A star from galaxy A here, a star from galaxy B there, a cloud from galaxy A over here, a few 'minor' collisions here & there, etc. Kind of like how 2 clouds of powder would 'collide'. And of course taking place over a long time span.

Comment Different ages (Score 2) 97 97

In 1981 the scarcity was in access to the hardware. It was truly expensive, in the same way that cars are expensive, or the deposit for the mortgage on your home is expensive.

More important: in those days, a computer (any computing device) for your personal use, was the big new thing. PC's were in their early days, extremely costly for the average person, and mostly used in businesses for accounting tasks, text processing etc. In their own home, people had perhaps the odd electronic game (a la Pong), but that was it. Nothing more interesting, programmable or versatile. So when early home computers hit the market, it was a truly new, interesting and exciting thing.

These days, babies sleep in their cribs with their older siblings playing their Xbox or PS in the background. Chances are they'll get their hands on a game controller before they hit 3 years old or so. They grow up in a world where computing devices (big and small) are everywhere. Some of those available to use, tinker with etc for any budget. So when they hit an age where coding may become interesting, how to spark that interest? That's a big barrier right there for any educational project, regardless of what's possible hardware- or software-wise. That even the smallest devices today are much more complex than far bigger machines back then, sure doesn't help.

Back in the day, a computer for yourself was interesting to almost everyone. If nothing else, to get a feel for what it is. These days: meh... would-be-coders only. Regardless of age.

Comment Re:Nude == Rude? (Score 5, Interesting) 172 172

If I were to seek out your daughter specifically, and whip out my penis right in front of her, that would lean towards pedo tendencies & you'd be right. I'd feel the same way if I had a young daughter.

Now if I were to walk along the street naked, go about my own business not bothering anyone, and your daughter would happen to see me in that state, please explain to me how this would 'hurt' her?

Hint: you can't, because it doesn't. More likely the contrary (as in: seeing a naked body every now & then lets kids grow up to be healthy adults). As has been shown at least a few times in serious studies.

The difference here is only in how I would behave towards your daughter (and other people), regardless of being naked or not. If I'm rude, then I'm rude, even with clothes on. If I'm polite, then I'm polite, even if naked.

Although a lot more sensitive, essentially the same thing goes for human sexuality. Suppressing that from public view screws people up more badly than satisfying healthy curiosity on the subject. Or letting people have their pr0n, if they want it.

So GP is right, there is nothing inherently wrong about showing or seeing a naked body. The 'problem' with that is a cultural one, how society deals with it.

Comment Re:Religious science. (Score 2) 162 162

(..) the insanity that is North Korean science

There is no such thing as 'insane science'. There is just science, done properly, reproducible, with methods & findings published and verifiable, etc. And there is propaganda, where few (if any) of scientific methods' attributes are present.

Note that "in N. Korea, or elsewhere" isn't part of that equation. Science is done properly, or it's not. Where that's done, doesn't matter as long as geography isn't part of the subject matter.

Comment Connecting the dots... (Score 2, Interesting) 236 236

It's one thing that your supermarket knows what food stuffs you bought recently. And a local sports store knows what socks & running shoes you bought recently. And a local electronics store knows what multimeter you bought the other day. But all these stores normally don't have that data from each other. They can't connect the dots, unless they are all part of the same company AND you used your frequent shopper card.

So each store only gets a limited 'view' of your habits. Only the place(s) where you buy food, might suspect your eating habits. Only that sports store might suspect your sports habits. Etc, etc. Okay, your bank may get a list of transactions at several places, but not get all details about what you bought or did at each place. This is how it is expected in the 'offline world'.

Online tracking might feed the data into a bigger mother company, advertisers that aggregate data, companies that 'voluntary share' some operational data, etc. Sure, there might be laws against some of that sharing. Sure, privacy policies may lead you to believe such things are out of the question. But can you rely on that? Are you sure?

If not, this allow painting a much more detailed picture about one's life. Would you want such a detailed picture to be painted? Would you even want the records to be kept that allows this to happen? For me personally it's "NO" for the most part, perhaps on the fence for a few aspects, and the word "creepy" comes to mind. Not exactly matching with what's already technically possible, and what some companies are known to be doing these days (yep FB comes to mind. But they're far from alone).

Comment Re:Nations fear it, but they fear each other more. (Score 5, Funny) 221 221

ISIS and Al Qaeda do quite well in communications with just old fashioned courier services.

I thought they used smoke signals:

No smoke: wazzuuup! Takin' the day off.
1 Big puff of smoke: Yep - new detonator design works.
2 Big puffs of smoke: Ali who got sick the other day, is feeling okay again.
3 Big puffs of smoke: That new recruit seems very proficient in mixing the chemicals.
4 Big puffs of smoke: Wtf... who else is making bombs?!?
Big puffs of smoke everywhere: Sh** we're being bombed!

Comment Not a fix... (Score 5, Informative) 53 53

..but an improved workaround.

If I read the article(s) correctly, problem was caused by failure of a small 2nd laser used for range finding. It seems that failure wasn't solved. Permanently out of action? Who knows.

Workaround was to take several shots at different focus settings, and have home base sort out the data. Improved workaround is to take several shots at different focus settings, have software on-site figure out which are the best, and only send that data back home.

Comment Minimum specs? (Score 2) 45 45

Ehh...

Whether something is worth my money or not, depends on what value the thing has to me, in cases where I am spending the money. For whatever reason. Note that "specs" isn't even mentioned in that sentence.

Apparently for you, anything under quad core / 1 Ghz / 1 GB = no value. For others though, that may be different (again: for whatever reason).

Comment Re: 23 down, 77 to go (Score 3, Insightful) 866 866

People who are religious are idiots and should be treated like second class citizens.

For a moment assuming that were true: "insanity is just another view of reality".

Who are you to claim your view of reality is any better than anyone else's? Because you have all the answers? Because I sure as hell don't. Even though I'm not religious, and a firm believer in the empirical / scientific method. There is still a lot about the universe we live in that we don't know. I'm just accepting that "as is" - there's gaping holes in our knowledge still, and that's okay. I don't need some divine being to fill those gaps.

But I've long ago stopped 'judging' people if they feel different. If they feel they want/need a different explanation for the world around them, power to them.

Where my tolerance ends (and ends real quick!), is when those with worldview X try to brainwash the rest of society that their worldview is the only, true, valid one. And try to impose/enforce that vision (and any or all rules that come with it) on others. It's exactly that behavior which has been, and continues to cause so much shit in this world. Regardless of "X".

My reason for being non-religious is a simple one: in general, I think the world as we can see it, feel it, measure it, derive (physics) laws from it, reason about it etc (aka the scientific method), is the simplest explanation for how our universe works. Even though it's far from complete. Bring in a divine being, and all you've got is a more complicated explanation for the same (see Occam's razor).

But that doesn't mean you can't hold a different view, or someone else's view is less valid simply because it doesn't line up with yours (remember that to some degree, religion and science are not mutually exclusive!). Just don't interfere with me having my view, I won't interfere with you having your view, and we're cool. Comprendre?

Comment Re:Math prodigy? Srsly? (Score 2) 157 157

the equation is just n^2+n = n but you need to be a math prodigy to do the visualizations on your own without a computer.

The number crunching part isn't hard or even difficult to understand, people from all backgrounds have done it on lowly 8-bit machines running at a few MHz. All you need is time:

A Bunch of Rocks

Comment (R)evolutional progress & what people make of (Score 1) 101 101

From the summary:

But the doubling time for transistor density is no guide to technical progress generally. Modern life depends on many processes that improve rather slowly, not least the production of food and energy and the transportation of people and goods.

A lot of progress depends on information technology, though. For example our understanding of biochemical processes. Or the capability of satellites that monitor what's going on with our planet. Or our understanding of quantum effects in semiconductor materials, in turn the basis for IC's, LED lighting, and a whole slew of other applications. Our use of smartphones & related communication technology. Or even something as "low-tech" as logistics.

Make computation cheaper, and progress that hinges on compute power, can steam ahead faster.

Another thing: as people in general get used to faster technological progress, chances are they'll be ready earlier to welcome what's coming next. When you've lived in the steam age for 50 years, electric lighting is a big thing. But when you've witnessed 10, 100, 1000, 10,000x increases in storage capacity over a few decades, a leap to 100,000x or 1000,000x is just the next step on the scale.

So the term "self-fulfilling prophecy" is very appropriate here.

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