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Comment Re: Here's a great idea... (Score 1) 481

Why only tax those who drive on the roads? Even non-drivers indirectly use the transportation infrastructure. I think it would make a lot more sense to tax everyone the same and call it a day. You could come up with a complicated system, and let costs get passed along to non-drivers. Or you could have a very simple system with the same outcomes and much less overhead.

Comment Re: Makes sense. (Score 1) 629

Google isn't the problem, and I daresay the carriers aren't the problem. You can buy a Nexus and get updates for it fresh off the Google presses. Blame the like of Samsung and HTC. They want to push their custom software (touchwiz and sense) at the expense of being compatible with AOSP. On top of that, carriers want to add their custom crap, but only because the whole system is already mucked up by the manufacturers. You don't see it happening on iPhone, Windows phone, or Google branded phones. Google isn't forcing this as a prerequisite for using Android. It's actually the "openness" of the platform that allows for this kind of situation to develop.

Even so, even CDMA carriers here will probably activate an international version of popular phone like the galaxy if you bought one out of pocket.

Comment Journalism Rant (Score 2) 137

This article really makes me think that journalism need to be laid to rest. In the case of physics specifically, there are some brilliant communicators. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, I'll even throw in Bill Nye (though he's a Mechanical Engineer) are all great examples of people who actually (this is the kicker) UNDERSTAND THE TOPIC they're talking about. I think if a "journalist" wants to report on something they aren't personally an expert on, or at least understand well, the whole article should be framed as in interview. An article like this just compromises the integrity of the journalist and journalism at large.

*editing note* The section below is me going off on a tangential rant. Thank you amphetamines.

I somewhat blame how writing is taught in schools and universities. It's nearly an essential requirement that you integrate quotations into your writing as if they were naturally part of your sentences. A question/response formation is forbidden, and while there is a special rule for including a block quotation, I've very rarely seen it used in practice. I understand a English 102 research paper is quite different from news piece like this, but that it is deeply ingrained not only into writers, but also readers (since we mostly did papers at least in high school) to expect that kind of quotation, mostly to the detriment of communication.

I think it's because there is an academic obsession with attribution, where you are given scary warning about PLAGIARISM and being banished from the university, should you fail to properly attribute! Yeah, if you pull a paper off the internet and present it as your own, that's clearly cheating. The academics are so obsessed, I suppose, because being published is some required right of passage. So then students spent half again the cost of tuition on textbooks every year, and then hardly use them. Why isn't Elizabeth Warren posing hard questions to the wealthy textbook barons and the academics who support their industry? I suspect that a non-trivial amount of student loan debt was acquired buying textbooks. Yes is complicated, but at the end of the day, we're collectively paying to prop up this system, and the end result is crappy journalism like this. (editing note: surprised I managed to bring that full circle.)

Comment Ad absurdum. (Score 1) 140

Correlation is not causation.

How can we be sure that Blanke's original electrical stimulation discovery in 2006 and the later the robot poking experiments didn't actually summon malevolent entities that then caused the spooky sensation (at a distance?) the participants experienced?

On a more serious note, I'd like to see some follow-up interviews with the participants to rate how they felt after the experiment. Subjectively, did they feel like they had more "creepy" experiences following the experiment? I'd like to know if the people felt "creeped out" more than usual after the experiment. Of course you'd need a control group who always had the pokes in sync and never "sensed" the "ghost".

Comment Re:Discover life? (Score 1) 221

I want to split a hair here. Say we mastered biological science completely. And we could manufacture some means to alter our DNA arbitrarily, and then "adapt" ourselves however we saw fit without the need to grow a new self. Would we perhaps consider each successive alteration a "generation"? Or perhaps the more familiar theme of growing a new body in a lab, then transferring consciousness into it (either by brain transplant, computers, or some kind of fully organic nervous system interface, idk.)

Of course it sounds entirely like science fiction, but it seems like being able to intelligently alter ones own genetic composition as needed would be an incredible boon for survival. I guess it really makes me wonder if technological development isn't somehow the endgame for evolutionary processes. Of course you go far enough with technology and you can then do whatever you want with it.

Comment Re: We can do that thing you like (Score 1) 230

Are you seriously complaining because they aren't implementing a new proprietary package management system? Holy smokes, Microsoft just can't catch a break!

There's always msiexec if you want a Microsoft way to do command line package management. While it may seem arcane, it's totally functional. You can do a lot with group policies and logon scripts. There's even a way to add a repository of sorts for desktops using active directory. And to be clear on this, you can literally download a ".msi" file and it's not wildly different from a rpm or deb package. Most exe installers just are just wrappers for an msi anyway.

And then there's there's the app store in Windows 8, too.

Every cloud has a silver lining; you should have sold it, and bought titanium.