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Comment: Re:69, 70, by some.... (Score 5, Interesting) 518

by Galvatron (#38422560) Attached to: North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Il Dead at 70

Actually, while that's true about Korean birthdays, in this case people actually aren't sure. Older reports said he was born in 1941, but his official biography says 1942. The general assumption is that he was born in 1941, and 1942 was made up for propaganda. His father, Kim Il-sung would have been 30 in 1942, meaning that, by altering the date, they can celebrate 10 year anniversaries together (so next year they can have a big celebration for Kim Il-sung's 100th birthday and Kim Jong-il's 70th). Since part of how Kim Jong-il held onto power was by trying to absorb some of his father's reflected glory, that made sense as a propaganda move. So he's probably 70, but might be 69 if his "official" birthday is actually accurate.

Also, with regard to age complexity, don't forget that most Koreans literally don't know how to say "forty years old" or older because the numbering system used for ages is only for sequential counting (there's a different numbering system for things which are not always sequential). When necessary, they'll use the other (Chinese-derived) numbering system for ages above 39, but generally will simply avoid talking about it.

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Journal: in which i am a noob all over again 17

Journal by CleverNickName

I haven't posted a journal here in almost three years, because I couldn't find the button to start a new entry. ...yeah, it turns out that it's at the bottom of the page.

So... hi, Slashdot. I used to be really active here, but now I mostly lurk and read. I've missed you.

Comment: Re:So what is the point here? (Score 3, Informative) 190

by Galvatron (#36410798) Attached to: Why Groupon Not As Rosy As It Appears

Actually, while I'm not a lawyer, I am a law student (though this is not legal advice, retain your own counsel, etc.), and it's actually even less than that. Under most circumstances, contract violations provide for damages ONLY. I believe the 3x damages bit you're remembering is for RICO violations, which I doubt would apply here (however, I haven't studied RICO, so I honestly don't know). Had the guy been unable to find anyone else willing to run the same deal, he'd have an argument for expectation damages (damages for not receiving the benefit he expected from the ad), but since he ended up getting the same deal from someone else, there were no real damages.

This sounds shocking to a lot of people, I know, but the courts generally view contract violation as a value-neutral situation. Courts refuse to "punish" breachers, their only interest is in making the other party whole (and even then, only if the party has done everything they can to mitigate their own harm). Again, in this case he was able to go to someone else and get the same deal, so the only conceivable harm is the trivial amount of time and effort to approach a competitor and ask them for the same deal. The courts are not your daddy, here, where you run to them crying "but he promised!" You're expected to be an adult, do your best to solve the problem yourself, and turn to the courts only to resolve any real material harm you suffer from the contract breach.

Comment: Re:Sigh (Score 1) 1070

by Galvatron (#36390200) Attached to: Have We Reached Maximum Sustainable Population Size?

Let's make sure we note what some of those "other countries" are. So not just Australia and Japan, but all of Europe (including Russia), most of East Asia (notably China, which has 1/3rd of the world's population), the United States (highest birth rate of the industrialized world, but still essentially only 2.1 children per woman, about replacement), and most of the largest nations in Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico). What does that leave? India, Africa, the Middle East, and most of Southeast Asia. That's it. Those are the only regions currently projected to add to the world's population, and their birth rates are falling too. The total worldwide fertility rate is currently only 2.5 children for women, down from 2.8 ten years ago. Global replacement rate is 2.33 (higher than for an industrialized country because it includes poor countries with higher mortality rates), so we should reach steady state in 10 years. Population growth is over, folks, there's nothing to see here.

Comment: Re:Ancestry.com (Score 1) 292

by nathanm (#34625608) Attached to: Best Open Source Genealogy Software?

Creating and editing the tree might be free, but Ancestry.com's whole appeal lies in the huge range of data they house, much of it gleaned from public records. I'm not against them charging some for the service of having scanned and indexed that data, and for operating the servers to host it, but in my opinion they're overcharging for that service based on our public data by a fair margin.

Some of the data itself is from the public record, but compiling all of it yourself would be prohibitively expensive. It would take many trips to various libraries, churches, courthouses, etc. in lots of far-flung places in different cities, states, and countries. And that's all before you start indexing, searching, copying, or scanning any records.

Then consider they're hosting all those billions of records, have developed decent software for both building family trees and documenting them with their database of sources, and continually improve their software and increase their database holdings. The only reason they can charge so little is the economy of scale based on their huge userbase.

Comment: Re:Why are you so obsessed with genealogy ? (Score 1) 292

by nathanm (#34616888) Attached to: Best Open Source Genealogy Software?

i dont get why americans are so obsessed with genealogy, ancestry and so on. maybe it is because it is a country of immigrants, and everyone is trying to have an identity extending to their past ?

For me it's mostly just a hobby. I love history to begin with, and my family history is specifically interesting to me personally. Finding out where my ancestors lived, what their lives would have been like, and why they immigrated to America is fascinating to me.

I've read that genealogy is the second most common hobby in America, after gardening. Of course, that depends on how a hobby is defined. I consider reading my favorite hobby. However, for some people, i.e. Mormons, genealogy has religious significance. That's why Salt Lake City, Utah is the biggest destination for many people doing genealogical research.

where i live, in anatolia (turkey), history goes thousands of years past into 8-9000 BC. actually, it was discovered that, the villagers living near the site of a recently discovered mummy that is dated 6500 BC or so (8500 years ago) had 100% exact dna with the mummy. (western anatolia) basically, those people lived there since that time, seasoning all that has happened around those parts.

I've also read that, which really interests me. Don't you find it fascinating that your (or at least some modern Turks) ancestors possibly spoke Hittite or another Indo-European or even Semitic language? I recently paid for a genealogical DNA test, which will tell me more specifically where my ancestors came from. My paternal ancestors immigrated to America from Germany in the 1880s (then Prussia), but there are several clues which point to them actually being ethnically Lithuanian. The area where they lived has been part of Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Germany in just the last few hundred years.

Comment: Re:only 20 years (Score 1) 292

by nathanm (#34616520) Attached to: Best Open Source Genealogy Software?

The US census data is delayed by ~70 years so very little info on anything in the past 70 years will come up.

Census records are released 72 years later, to be exact. Also, although the US Census isn't available until then, many state listings of much more recent births, marriages, divorces, and deaths are available.

Comment: Re:My experience with ancestry.com (Score 1) 292

by nathanm (#34616414) Attached to: Best Open Source Genealogy Software?

My biggest complaint is the search functionality often returns way too much data.

Too much data is far more preferable than too little. Back in the old days, before many sources were available online, most searching had to be done by hand, paging through entire paper records until you found a possible match. The earliest online sources were often just indexes to paper records. It made it much easier to find the records, but then you still had to travel to a library, courthouse, church, etc. that might be in another state or even country.

Their search/matching algorithm is quite eager.

The reason the algorithm is so promiscuous is that it's probably using Soundex to match names. That's a good thing though, as I've found some of my ancestors names spelled in lots of different ways.

Comment: Re:Ancestry.com (Score 1) 292

by nathanm (#34616290) Attached to: Best Open Source Genealogy Software?

Hey OP, if all you found was addresses on Ancestry.com, then you're not making any effort to find information. They do have metric boatloads of data of all sorts for your money, but you do have to have a clue about finding it, and make the effort.

Definitely agree, the anonymous reader didn't try very hard. And records for living people are necessarily scarce because of privacy issues.

That said, I do agree Ancestry.com is a pricey service. Check out MyHeritage.com. You can do a free 250-person tree, or add more with payment. The software is a free download and use, and is pretty thorough. The online piece includes the ability to match to other people's trees and import their data to your tree.

Actually, just creating and editing your family tree on Ancestry is completely free. And there's no limit to the number of people, AFAIK. The paid service is just for accessing their database of sources and connecting with other users who might have overlapping family trees.

Comment: Re:hum... (Score 1) 292

by nathanm (#34616162) Attached to: Best Open Source Genealogy Software?

However the fact that you paid to use Ancestry.com is amazing to me :-) Check out your local library and see if they have a subscription. Also take a look at familysearch.org or even the LDS Family search centers for more resources library.familysearch.org/ (to find your local center).

I pay for ancestry.com because they have a huge database of sources online, and probably the largest number of users out of any other family tree websites. It's much more convenient for me to search and view their literally billions of records from the comfort of my own home than going to my local library or LDS center. If I did that, I'd have to copy their records and scan them myself. Ancestry's already done the legwork for me. Also, since they have so many users, I've connected to several other people doing research along the same family lines, which saved my quite a bit of time.

Comment: Re:Data portability (Score 1) 292

by nathanm (#34616020) Attached to: Best Open Source Genealogy Software?

If I was going to be spending a reasonable amount of time inputting data that I want to access for an extended period of time I would want it to be an open source program. That way you can always get the data out of the program again (possibly with some effort) and you are not stuck with regular upgrade fees for the latest version with the bug fix neeed to make it work with the latest OS version.

But that's really a non-starter with ancestry.com, they let you export your family tree as a GEDCOM file any time you want, which is the de facto standard file format for genealogy.

Comment: Re:Geneweb (Score 1) 292

by nathanm (#34615982) Attached to: Best Open Source Genealogy Software?

I agree wholeheartedly! Currently, I use ancestry.com for my main family tree, but regularly download a GEDCOM file and import it into GeneWeb (locally hosted) for offline access. I've tried several other programs, both open source and proprietary, but GeneWeb is my favorite by far. It doesn't make the prettiest family tree website, but it's easy to use and its functionality is great.

Even though the primary developer, Daniel de Rauglaudre, isn't developing it further right now, it has more features than I use regularly, and it's highly customizable. I'm somewhat tempted to learn OCaml, just to be able to modify this software.

Comment: Re:Sigh... graphs.... (Score 5, Interesting) 270

by Galvatron (#34550954) Attached to: Watch 200 Years of Global Growth In 4 Minutes

Why would you start the axes at zero? First off, as you note, the income axis is logarithmic, and so cannot go to zero anyway. As for life expectancy, zero would be a meaningless label. It's impossible for a country to have a life expectancy of zero. It is entirely appropriate to set the minimum value for an axis at the minimum value which has ever been recorded. The difference between a life expectancy of 40 and 75 is enormous, and I do not find the presentation to be in any way misleading.

Your second issue, the logarithmic axis for money, is debatable either way. Given that incomes have generally risen exponentially (in the US, an increase of about 2% per year for the last 200 years), a linear scale would show accelerating income growth for wealthier countries. It strikes me that this would be more misleading than use of a logarithmic axis. If you usually think of income growth as linear, maybe it's your thinking, rather than his graph, which is mistaken.

For the third issue, there is something called "Purchase Power Parity" which corrects for the effect you're talking about. The presentation doesn't discuss whether his income figures are adjusted for PPP or not. Contrary to your assumption, the figures clearly are at least adjusted for inflation (given that his $400 minimum would have been a princely sum in 1810, far above any country's per capita average), and if he's adjusted for inflation, I see no reason not to believe that he's adjusted for PPP as well. If he hasn't adjusted for PPP, then I agree that's something that should have been done, but it in no way alters his fundamental point. PPP reduces income inequality, but in no way eliminates it.

For the fourth issue, without his enthusiastic presentation, it's just a graph. There's a time and a place for cold, sober, "just the facts" presentations, and that is textbooks. In less academic settings, it's entirely appropriate to use enthusiastic explanations to show people why something matters.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.

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