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Comment: Re:Information is bad? (Score 1) 218

by Firedog (#32567756) Attached to: A Battle of Wits On the Net's Effect On the Mind

To carry that analogy forward a bit...

Suppose the magical cooking machine had a "mashup" feature where you could combine the best elements of various meals that have been created by those who came before you. You could then post your creation for the world at whole to try, where it would then, in turn, be eaten and reviewed.

Creativity would explode!* And the tools to create new dishes, previously accessible only to those with years of dedicated training, would be available to everyone. Sure, you'd get a lot of crap, but you'd also get some truly innovative and wonderful meals. Much like the process of evolution.

As someone said earlier, there are smart people, and there are dumb people, and the Internet won't change that. There are also those who want to create, and those who just want to passively consume. The Internet won't change that, either.

But the Internet is an extremely powerful tool for those who are smart and/or creative. I have the world's biggest library and university at my fingertips, and so does everyone else. For those who want to (or are compelled to) take advantage of it, the possibilities are endless...

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* The globalization of food has created some homogeneity, true. You can find McDonald's and Starbucks everywhere you look. But it has also led to a huge burst in creativity, especially in terms of fusion. For instance, I doubt you'd find an Indian-Mexican fusion restaurant in 1940. Pumpkin enchiladas, anyone?

Comment: Re:Disagree, Sample Size 1 (Score 1) 218

by Firedog (#32561684) Attached to: A Battle of Wits On the Net's Effect On the Mind

It all depends on how you want to traverse the tree. Depth-first or breadth-first. The Internet is not exactly a tree, but many parts are tree-like. Knowledge is the same way.

I tend to traverse depth-first, so visiting a top-level node (which is really more of an entry point) inevitably leads towards a deeper traversal. Often, it doesn't take long till I hit something that's quite informative and thought-provoking, and I'm done drilling down (or over, or up), so I go back a level or two and continue. But I wouldn't call this skimming, exactly.

This approach to learning is much more interactive than reading a book about the same topic, and it's usually more rewarding to me as well. A book provides a framework, and often a hypothesis. But if that's given to you up front, it takes all the fun out of it. And in many areas (particular where rapid change is happening) it's just not possible. You need to be able to synthesize your own frameworks to make sense of what's happening.

Comment: Re:They're artificial limitations. That's the prob (Score 1) 1634

by Firedog (#30937960) Attached to: iPad Is a "Huge Step Backward"

Let's add to the car analogy.

20 or 30 years ago, cars needed a lot more maintenance than they do today. And automatic transmissions weren't as common. So people were generally more connected to the road and more skilled under the hood. But most people (then and now) use a car as an appliance, and they want it to be as simple and trouble-free as possible. End of story. They don't have the slightest interest in even shifting gears, let alone changing the oil. They just want to get in, turn the key (or press the power button), shift into "D", and go.

There will always be those who do want a stick shift and will tinker under the hood to tune their car's performance. And this is a good thing. But the vast majority of drivers are not like this. They don't care if they *can* pop the hood because they never will.

Comment: Re:uhh... (Score 1) 144

by Firedog (#30851844) Attached to: Astrium Hopes To Test Grabbing Solar Energy From Orbit

Sometimes things do manage to work out for the best.

But then, you discover that your child's toys are full of lead (or worse, cadmium), that practically all canned foods contain BPA, and that building codes are sometimes ignored, especially in countries like Haiti.

You definitely want to make sure that the multi-ton metal box you ride around in is not provided by the lowest bidder.

And maybe those mass-produced foodstuffs are truly scary, and really shouldn't be called foodstuffs.

I, for one, am worried.

Comment: Is this the "quick learning" gene? (Score 1) 449

by Firedog (#29916855) Attached to: Bad Driving May Have Genetic Basis
I wonder if people without this genetic variant are quicker learners in general. Or if the quick learning is limited to spatial and motor skills. I'd like to see them study other activities, like playing video games of other types, learning some non-physical skill, rock climbing, playing basketball, riding a bike, etc. It would be interesting to see where correlations pop up.

Comment: Re:It's not about how many people use a DVR ..... (Score 1) 248

by Firedog (#29196289) Attached to: Nielsen Struggles To Track Modern Viewing Habits

We do need to get to a point where the ads are realtime. So the same dvr recording fetches new commercials each time it's viewed.
There is serious money right there.

Particularly if the ads are targeted to a specific viewer's interests and demographic group. If I could use TiVo's thumbs-up/thumbs-down feature on ads (a la Pandora), and that data went back upstream, coupled with my basic demographic data, that would be valuable information as well.

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