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Comment: Re:Time for Proportional Fines (Score 4, Insightful) 92

by Daetrin (#49433445) Attached to: AT&T Call Centers Sold Mobile Customer Information To Criminals
You read a post on Slashdot and you didn't understand it.

The proposal is not that if a person commits a crime and pays X amount for it then if a company commits the same crime they should pay X multiplied by the difference in their income, which is what you're arguing against in your example of speeding tickets.

This is in relation to the kinds of crimes that (generally) companies commit, and is arguing that if a large company commits that crime then it should pay a larger fine than if a smaller company commits the same crime.

It is possible that the scale of the crime has been included in the size of the fee, but if so it's a pretty ridiculous standard to begin with. "Hundreds of thousands of customer records" is pretty vague, but let's assume records for 250,000 people. That means a fine of $100 a person. That's not nothing, but it doesn't really cover the potential damage they may have caused. And furthermore in this case, although we are presuming the employees did not sell the data as part of a corporate directive, the fact that they were able to do so indicates some pretty serious lack of oversight and security, and some portion of the fee ought to be related to that. And _that_ part of the fee ought to reflect the size of the company involved.

$25 million could easily bankrupt a small company, but AT&T will hardly notice it amidst the yearly revenue of $132 billion and net income of over $6 billion. So the fine works out to about 0.4% of their yearly profit. In 2011 the average American household had $12,800 of discretionary income available, about the best equivalent to corporate profit i can think of. In which case if an average American committed the same crime the "expected" fee would be $51.20. That's not even a speeding ticket, that's about a parking ticket level of fine.

Comment: Re:Not All Bad News... (Score 1) 143

That's the long way of putting it, but yes. If the rainfall patterns stay the same as they are now vegetation will continue to grow in those same areas and the carbon will (on average) remain out of circulation. If the rainfall patterns continue to change the new vegetation in the affected areas won't get enough water and will die/not regrow in the new season and the carbon will quickly return to the environment. Like i said, the not so good side of things.

Comment: Not All Bad News... (Score 1) 143

China Helps Reverse Global Forest Loss, With a Little Bit of Luck

According to a recent study the total amount of vegetation in the world has gone up over the last decade. This is mainly due to tree planting efforts in China, changing rainfall patterns allowing more growth in new areas and (probably) the increased amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The not so good side of things is that the plants aren't taking up all the extra CO2, it's still going up just at a somewhat slower rate, and if rainfall patterns continue to change a lot of that new growth could end up dying off.

+ - Nintendo Announces Smartphone Publishing Deal, New Hardware

Submitted by Daetrin
Daetrin (576516) writes "At a press conference yesterday in Japan Nintendo announced a stock-exchange deal with DeNA, which will give Nintendo a 10% interest in the company. DeNA is the owner of Mobage, a mobile gaming platform, and through them Nintendo will be releasing games on Android and iOS devices. It was emphasized that these games would be new games made specifically for the platform rather than ports of existing games.

Nintendo also announced that they are working on new gaming hardware with the codename "NX", which will feature an "entirely new concept." Nintendo did not state if it would be a console, a handheld, some kind of hybrid, or something completely different. Iwata, Nintendo's CEO, did state that the new hardware is unrelated to the collaboration with DeNA and the announcement was intended to emphasize that Nintendo is not abandoning it's core business of dedicated devices.

Engadget has a write-up detailing Nintendo's (non-)history with mobile gaming."

Comment: Re:Heinlien (Score 1) 104

by Daetrin (#49236393) Attached to: Some of the Greatest Science Fiction Novels Are Fix-Ups
Agreed, i'm usually ready to extol the virtues of Heinlein, but fix-up novels are not a thing he did.

As stated, the key elements of "fix-up novel" is that you fix-up something that wasn't a novel, and at the end of it you have a novel. If you just put a bunch of separate short stories together into a book without editing them at all then you've neither done any fixing-up nor ended up with a novel, regardless of whether the stories are all set in the same universe or not.

The _real_ grey area is serials. Some (eventual) novels were written with the intent to be a single story but were serialized in magazines as chapters/short stories. In some cases it's probably hard to tell the difference without knowing what the author was thinking at the time.

Comment: Re:Sometimes this helps, e.g. Beggars in Spain (Score 1) 104

by Daetrin (#49236319) Attached to: Some of the Greatest Science Fiction Novels Are Fix-Ups
I'm confused, because it's really too bad that she never wrote a sequel to Beggars in Spain. And it's _really_ too bad that she never wrote a sequel to that theoretical sequel. I'm sure they would have worked out all their differences and everyone and everything would be happy and wonderful at the end of it!

Comment: Huh? (Score 1) 131

by Daetrin (#49088089) Attached to: Carnegie-Mellon Sends Hundreds of Acceptance Letters By Mistake
"The program accepts fewer than nine percent of more than 1,200 applicants, which places the acceptance level at about a hundred, so they're bad at math, too."

Does this joke depend on some fact in TFA? (Which i am unable to read at work.) Are they actually supposed to be accepting some number that is significantly higher or lower than 100? As it is that statement stands out as a total non-sequitur.

Comment: Re:No reason to go there (Score 2) 294

by Daetrin (#48998277) Attached to: Radioshack Declares Bankruptcy
Radio Shack serves a need, it just doesn't serve it very well. I needed a 6' USB extension cable last weekend on short notice. I checked at Radio Shack, Staples and Office Depot. If i remember correctly the prices were:

Radio Shack: $35
Staples: $25
Office Depot: $20

I'm probably wrong about the specifics, but that was the general range. Meanwhile i could go online and get a cable from Monoprice for $3-4, and, rather insultingly, Office Depot's online store had one for $5-6.

If Radio Shack had a cable for about $10 i probably would have given up and bought it there just for the convenience, even though i still would have considered that price gouging. But paying an order of magnitude more was just out of the question. This ought to have been exactly the case where Radio Shack came to the rescue, but instead they were the worst of the bunch.

Comment: I don't understand the problem (Score 2) 194

by Daetrin (#48998143) Attached to: Farmers Struggling With High-Tech Farm Equipment
Slashdot was telling me just a couple months ago that "farming has been stuck in a bit of a rut" and "farming has been using techniques that have been handed down from centuries ago". Since Slashdot is never wrong, clearly farmers don't use high-tech equipment. So how can they be struggling to repair it?

Comment: Velikovsky (almost) strikes again! (Score 1) 65

by Daetrin (#48941541) Attached to: How Gaseous, Neptune-Like Planets Can Become Habitable
Looks like another example of how _some_ of Immanuel Velikovsky's ideas, such as those in Worlds in Collision, were actually plausible and scientifically interesting, at least at a basic level. It's too bad he felt it was necessary to sabotage himself by compressing all of his ideas together into an implausibly complex series of events taking place over an implausibly short timeline in order to make a kind of historical conspiracy theory.

Comment: Re:anything has to be better than beyond earth (Score 1) 227

by Daetrin (#48856589) Attached to: Sid Meier's New Game Is About Starships

I still suspect the reviewers were bribed somehow, or perhaps tested the game before it got radically dumbed down, just before release?

I think the glowing reviews of Civ5 are explainable without resorting to bribery or shenanigans by the developer as the cause.

I am a long term but relatively moderate Civ player. I've been playing since the first Civilization and have played all of them since then. Including Civilization: Call to Power and Call to Power 2, plus Alpha Centauri. And all of the Master of Orion games (including 3, regrettably) Master of Magic, and GalCiv and GalCiv2.

I am not an expert however. I can't beat any of them at the highest difficulty settings, with the exceptions of the original MoO, mainly due to Sulla's recaps and videos.

When the initial Civ5 news stories came out i was wary about how the one unit per tile thing would work, however when i first got the game i have to admit i quite liked it. It was simple and easy to get into and it was very pretty. And i've always liked one city challenges, it it made those really easy!

It took time to realize that perhaps it made one city challenges _too_ easy, and did so at the cost of making other styles of play (anything involving more than three or four cities) prohibitively difficult/unrewarding. Doing the tactical combat was kind of fun at first, it took a little while for the problems with the combat to become more clear. I did notice the dearth of interesting buildings and how long they took to complete much earlier, but i didn't really make the connection to 1UPT until it was pointed out by Sulla and others. I'm sure those problems were immediately apparent to the real experts, but for the rest of us it took a little while.

Reviewers generally don't have that much time to invest in playing a game for review. They saw the pretty and got to experience the first dozen or so hours where it was fun and easy, but with enough choices available that it seemed to present the kind of strategic depth that would allow for a great deal of replay. They never got to the point of realizing that most games end up being the initial rush to build your first two or three cities and then just sitting back and hitting "next turn" a lot.

So they gave their reviews and left it to the Civ community to do the in-depth analysis and rip it a new one.

But those initial reviews were probably correct for a lot of people. Civ5 _is_ a great game for people who want to put in a few dozen hours without facing a serious challenge and then move on to the next game. Or people who like dumping in a lot of time into a game that's at least moderately entertaining in order to pick up achievements. (I confess that i got sucked into that for longer than i should have.)

Comment: Re:Media blackout (Score 1) 556

by Daetrin (#48635199) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate
Uh, backing down when threatened with violence does not make one like a troll. It might be cowardly or it might be sensible, but it certainly isn't troll-like. It's the people who _threaten_ violence who are usually the trolls, since they don't have valid arguments to back up their stance.

Someone threatening violence if a debate takes place isn't "things getting interesting", it's someone trying to shut down a debate they can't win within the context of the debate.

Comment: Re:Ride sharing? (Score 1) 139

by Daetrin (#48572905) Attached to: California Sues Uber Over Practices
Most sensible geeks get incensed when the government passes a law about "Doing X, but on a computer/the internet" or when a company tries to patent "Doing X, but on a computer/the internet". We quite rightly point out that there are already laws or patents covering the same thing and doing it on a computer or the internet doesn't make it magically special.

Well this is part of why the government sometimes keeps trying to pass "Doing X, but on the internet" laws. Because some jerk is always willing to try getting away with something and then when they get caught argue "but it was on the internet, so it doesn't count!"

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.