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Comment: I have to agree, it is cultural (Score 4, Interesting) 233

I did my MS in a top-30 US program. It was a state school and roughly half of the students were from India. This also made roughly half the TAs Indian. Although I come from a country where cheating is common (and professors know it so are out to prevent it), I had never seen such mass-scale cheating and collusion before. You see, the Professors did not expect any academic dishonesty - especially large-scale one and trusted their TAs as colleagues.
Example: in a database class as homework for one week we were to implement a flight booking system that given departure/arrival airports used sql queries to find the appropriate flights with up to one interim destination. You were given the database contents and the test cases you were to perform to confirm your project works properly. I left it for the last minute (naturally) so in my hurry the java UI had a minor bug. I don't remember exactly, but it was not something of consequence, the point of the exercise was the sql. I got 95% and I thought it was a bit strict, but anyway. A few days later while I was browsing my home direct on the student server, I noticed that many students still had world readable home directories. You were expected to manage it yourself, so if you wanted to put stuff there you were supposed to secure it. One of the accessible ones was of the TA that had given me 95% and I checked it out. Sure enough, he was putting stuff there without bothering to change the permissions , and one of the "stuff" was an excel sheet with the results of the exercise. I opened it and found out that every Indian had 98-100%. You might say the were the great students and it was not that hard of an exercise, but I knew at least some of those 100%s as weak students. So I went back to the home directory list and found one of the 100% people that did not look 100% material with an accessible directory and their homework right there :) I opened her java file and what do I see: no db stuff at all! No connection to the db, no queries, nothing. Hard-coded in java were the test cases...
By the time I finished the program I knew very well that Indians considered cheating and plagiarism as the norm, as was helping out each-other with that stuff. Also bullshitting came naturally. For example I was representing an office at the job fair and was accepting CVs from graduate students for a position. I was supposed to give my boss the best candidates for an interview. I was surprised to find out that most of the Indian resumes were almost identical. They had all finished an IIT with a great grade (meanwhile back in my home country the top undergrads could perhaps hope for close to 8.5/10 final grade), had all been placed first in a Mathematical Olympiad of some unknown place (town? village? cricket club? who knows?), had some great professional background in an Indian company, some of them who were in my class had developed a "robust airline reservation system" that was presented as being in line to replace the software at Delta... I could not tell them apart. At all. I mean, I knew we had some Indians who were amazing students. I mean, half of the students were Indian, so about half of the top students were also Indian. But their resumes looked the same, based on them I would either send all of them or none for an interview. In the end, I sent the ones that from our brief interaction seemed to have the best communication/interaction skills, but in any case it is indicative.
A year after I finished, an Indian was caught cheating on a test for the second time by a Professor. He told the student he was getting an F. His reply was "why give me an F when all the class submitted the same course project?". The Professor asked the TA for the submitted projects and found out that almost all Indian students in the class (the number was about 20 IIRC) had submitted a copy of the same project, and the TA had dutifully marked all with an "A". There was talk about expelling all of those involved, but in the end they allowed them to continue with an F in that course. Perhaps after that they started checking up on them...

Comment: Ah, now I see why he quit the Daily Show (Score 1) 296

by Ecuador (#49291977) Attached to: To Avoid NSA Interception, Cisco Will Ship To Decoy Addresses

I expected him to go into politics or something like that. But I guess Cisco security chief is not that bad. Not as funny probably, although I do laugh at some of their obscenely overpriced stuff.
Quick question, how exactly do they establish these fake identities? It would not be such a good scheme if all it does is flag shipments for NSA "hey, look at this, we don't want you to know where it is going"...

Comment: 1and1.com and Linode (Score 2) 295

by Ecuador (#49282017) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Advice For Domain Name Registration?

I have been on 1and1 for over 10 years (since they had done a "free 2-year linux hosting" around '04) and I have had zero problems. Very fast shared hosting, tried their virtual hosting, also good, great prices. They don't have such a good reputation, but if you read through the bad reviews, a specific pattern emerges: it always starts with a failed auto-payment. Just be very careful with your credit card, don't let it expire, don't let it go over-limit. 1and1 will not warn you twice and they will suspend your account quickly.
While for most uses I recommend 1and1, when I have needed a versatile linux server with 1-click backup, I always go to Linode. It is like you have your own VM server running, as you can make all kinds of Linux images with your custom partitioning and boot the one you want etc. Backup is auto or 1-click. More expensive than 1and1 of course, but you are not getting the same thing.

Comment: You obviously have no idea about music (Score 2) 386

... which was probably also the problem of the jury. I don't have much musical training, but I can easily pick up parts of songs that are "borrowed". And there was no specific part of this song that was "borrowed", try to identify a specific sequence and tell us which one it is. It is the same "style" so there was obvious inspiration to such songs, but that was the whole point. If you lower the bar for plagiarism that much, then I am afraid at least half of the music production would have to pay for rights to older songs.
Increasing the reach of copyright to ridiculous lengths is bad. There have been cases where you can even buy the right to sample a song, but if you are successful the record companies can still go after you ("you sampled too much") and strip you not only of your earnings but even of your credits (that include your original lyrics - as the Verve about "Bitter Sweet Symphony"). Copyright is not bad, but constantly extending its grip is.

+ - $7.4 Million 'Blurred Lines' Verdict Likely To Alter Music Business 2

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "The Washington Post reports that the $7.4 million verdict that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke copied Marvin Gaye’s music to create their hit song “Blurred Lines” could ripple across the music industry, potentially changing how artists work and opening the door to new copyright claims. Howard King, lead attorney for Thicke and Williams, said in closing arguments that a verdict for the Gaye family would have a chilling effect on musicians trying to evoke an era or create an homage to the sound of earlier artists. Williams contended during the trial that he was only trying to mimic the “feel” of Gaye’s late 1970s music but insisted he did not use elements of his idol’s work. “Today’s successful verdict, with the odds more than stacked against the Marvin Gaye estate, could redefine what copyright infringement means for recording artists,” says Glen Rothstein, an intellectual property attorney. King says record labels are going to become more reluctant to release music that’s similar to other works — an assertion disputed by Richard Busch, the lead attorney for the Gaye family. “While Mr. Williams’ lawyer suggested in his closing argument that the world would come to an end, and music would cease to exist if they were found liable, I still see the sun shining,” says Busch. “The music industry will go on.”

Music copyright trials are rare, but allegations that a song copies another artist’s work are common. Singers Sam Smith and Tom Petty recently reached an agreement that conferred songwriting credit to Petty on Smith’s song, “Stay With Me,” which resembled Petty’s hit “I Won’t Back Down.” Other music copyright cases include Former Beatle George Harrison's 1970 solo song "My Sweet Lord" which had a melody heavy with echoes of "He's So Fine," the 1962 hit from The Chiffons. The copyright owner sued Harrison. A judge said that while the tunes were nearly identical, Harrison was guilty only of "subconscious plagiarism." Harrison would eventually pay out $587,000. Probably the most bizarre case of mucial infringement was when John Fogerty was accused of stealing from John Fogerty. The Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman was sued for his 1985 solo song "The Old Man Down the Road" because his former label thought it sounded too much like the 1970 Fogerty-penned "Run Through the Jungle," a song it owned the rights to."

Comment: Wow. (Score 1) 2

by Ecuador (#49238765) Attached to: $7.4 Million 'Blurred Lines' Verdict Likely To Alter Music Business

I am not a musician, but I can easily pick up parts of a song that are "borrowed". But these two pieces are just similar in "style", not in the actual tune. If you consider them too similar, then at least half the music production can be considered to be plagiarizing an existing song...
It is probably the worst case I've heard since "The Verve" had to relinquish all rights to the "Bitter Sweet Symphony".

Comment: It seems like you don't know what lazy eye is (Score 1) 55

by Ecuador (#49190057) Attached to: Ubisoft Has New Video Game Designed To Treat Lazy Eye
You can't tell a person who has a lazy eye from one who does not just by looking at them. You can't even tell by their prescription! For example, I have hyperopia in both eyes, and I correct it with eyeglasses - 3.5 in one eye, 5.5 on the other. The eye that had more hyperopia was used less by my brain, since it was less useful before I started wearing glasses. The doctor when I was young should have patched the good eye for a while, but he was a lousy doctor. So now, with the glasses that correct hyperopia, I have 10/10 vision on one eye and 6/10 vision on the other. I correct the hyperopia, but the brain hasn't learned to use it much. If I did not tell you it is so, you would have no way of knowing. An eye-doctor cannot tell unless you read the letters on the wall - the eye seems normal. In any case, doctors have been telling me it cannot be corrected in adults. TFA though claims this thing does work on adults. If it does, it would be great for many people.

Comment: It is not just the ambient light. (Score 1) 420

by Ecuador (#49154585) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?
Me and my wife, as well as other couples see it in the same light but interpret it differently. I was sure it can't possibly be interpreted as blue/black, at most I would say it could be thought of as blue/bronze, but I asked my wife in the same room what color it is and she immediately said "blue/black of course". Neither of us could "see" it the other way. Until I opened an image someone made of how the white gold would look in a proper photo. So, after looking at this photo for a bit, I went back to the original and I could finally see it as black/blue!

Comment: Well, if they wanted to make it more realistic... (Score 1) 133

... the heroes would be ripped apart just by approaching the wormhole. But it is a movie, it has to be watchable. I thought they did a great job visually and an OK job story-wise - there were no "hair-pulling" moments. Although I must admit, watching both in IMAX (the giant screen 70mm type) I enjoyed Gravity more.

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