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Comment: Re:Sounds like movie reviews (Score 1) 473

This particularly holds true for book ordered through Amazon. The spike in sales pushes up the product ranking making the item look more popular, since sales velocity has a strong effect on how Amazon ranks the popularity of an item. Larry Correia, a writer, occasionally does what he calls "Book Bombs" where he'll encourages his fans to go buy a book for a writer he likes on a particular date. The sales spike usually pushes the book's Amazon ranking up helping it get (temporarily anyway) more page views from folks who might not ordinarily browse it.

Comment: Re:Sounds like movie reviews (Score 1) 473

That's part of it, though for certain platforms like Steam logistics is less of an issue (really, all you're accounting for there is an increase in traffic load). The other part is accounting. Since the money for the pre-order has already been given it makes the company books looks healthier. Then (and don't ask me how this next part works because I've had CPAs explain it to me multiple times and I still don't understand it) the accountants / sales department can project Day One (and beyond) sales and estimate how much money they expect to make, which makes the company books look healthier than they actually are. A cheap trick certainly but it's rampant in the various entertainment industries including books and music.

That being said, I'm not against pre-orders. I've pre-ordered books before, titles from authors I'm 90% certain I'll enjoy. I do regret my Skyrim pre-order though, mostly because the PC version was buggy as heck when it first came out and it took significant patching before it was playable on my system.

Comment: Re:They're probably correct (Score 1) 273

by Gryle (#48318053) Attached to: Too Many Kids Quit Science Because They Don't Think They're Smart
This is huge. I'm not particularly gifted, maybe slightly above average intelligence, but I sailed through high school with very little effort for the most part. My freshman year of college was, bluntly, a disaster because I wasn't prepared for the time investment required by my field of study. I learned more study habits in that first year of college than in the previous four years of high school combined.

Comment: Re:Not cool, Stripe (Score 1) 353

by Gryle (#48310151) Attached to: Online Payment Firm Stripe Boots 3D Gun Designer Cody Wilson's Companies
I don't know that this is a political decision. As others have already commented, Stripe's legal team probably decided it wasn't worth the liability they could incur.

That being said, where exactly do you draw the line between personal ethics and business ethics? I've been thinking about that a lot in the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court. On the one hand, we want equal treatment for all. On the other hand, people shouldn't be required to sacrifice their personal principals just to go into business.

Comment: Re:Redistribution (Score 1) 739

by Gryle (#48282475) Attached to: Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

Every single government thing involving any money at all is an income redistribution plan.

Corporate tax benefits are income redistribution plans. Military spending budgets are income redistribution plans. Spectrum auctions are income redistribution plans.

This particular income redistribution plan is only different in that income is redistributed to the poor instead of the rich.

I'll buy your bit about military spending and spectrum auctions, but I'm not following your logic on corporate tax benefits. I'm assuming "tax benefits" means "not paying tax on something". I'm don't quite follow how not collecting taxes on something is the same thing as income redistribution. Could you elaborate?

Comment: Re:Time for a revolution (Score 3, Informative) 424

by Gryle (#48233913) Attached to: Law Lets IRS Seize Accounts On Suspicion, No Crime Required
To be fair, terrorism was around before the US was a major player in world affairs. It's also been aimed at more governments than just the US: the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the French Monarchy (the Jacobians were arguably a terrorist group), West Germany, etc.

Comment: Re:Overly broad? (Score 1) 422

by Gryle (#48188685) Attached to: Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres
Your argument is illogical. Belief in the existence of Australia is based on the body of documented evidence that Australia does, in fact, exist. The GP is arguing that there is no body of credible evidence for the claim of a "much stronger link between HFCS and diabetes than between cane sugar and diabetes". The GP is claiming said link doesn't exist because of a lack of evidence not in spite of a body of evidence as your argument implies. If such evidence exists it is on you to produce it.

Comment: Re:Some outrage motivated by image control/PR/mone (Score 1) 336

by Gryle (#47811145) Attached to: Reported iCloud Hack Leaks Hundreds of Private Celebrity Photos
I'm not implying she doesn't have other, better reasons to be annoyed -- celebrities are people too, and like their privacy. I'm just curious to what extent the outrage isn't somewhat motivated by a celebrity's desire to flog an image of sexuality for maximum return.

Bullshit. That's exactly what you're doing. Because of course the biggest reason someone would be annoyed by privacy violations is a loss of potential income.

Comment: Re:Slashdot comments indicative of the problem (Score 1) 1262

I know, I know,. You're not allowed to accuse people of being sexist or racist behaviors, because it's like an ad hominem, and you're a social justice warrior, or whatever.

I see it as a "boy who cried wolf" scenario, wherein actual examples of sexism and racism get lost in the rather weird claims. For example, I once read an essay that claimed "prose" is racist since it evoked the notion of someone having leisure time to compose it, leisure time historically afforded to upper-class whites by black slave labor. Then you get such gems as "PIV is always rape", in which basic biology is now rape. When I worked as a grocery store cashier, a co-worker was accused quite loudly by a customer of being racist since he wouldn't honor an out-of-date coupon (as per the store policy). This year's Miss Nevada was berated by other women as anti-feminist for daring to suggest women should learn to protect themselves against rape.

When people are exposed to enough of these kinds of stories they start to see all accusations of racism and sexism as some sort of ridiculous witch hunt. Then when legitimate issues come around, such as Ms Sarkeesian's situation, people either downplay it or ignore it outright since they've been conditioned that racist and sexist are ridiculous charges.

Comment: Re:I like... (Score 1) 643

by Gryle (#47777079) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras
"Ferguson was a town in which most of the population was black...One of the main sources of income for the town was stopping black motorists and giving them traffic tickets"

Statistically speaking, it stands to reason that if a population is majority black the majority of ticketed individuals would be black. Unless you have evidence that blacks were routinely given higher fines for similar offenses committed by white people or that no whites were ever ticketed in Ferguson, your statement is a bit of a reach.

Comment: Re:ROI for drug development (Score 1) 390

by Gryle (#47607103) Attached to: "Secret Serum" Used To Treat Americans With Ebola

I doubt the US government has weaponized ebola (it's unsuitable as anything other than a terror weapon for a number of reasons) but it's not ridiculous to assume there exists some sort of defense medicine. The US defense aparatus has spent quite a lot of money in the past century developing defenses against the threat of chemical, biological, and radiological agents* in the event of their use on the battlefield. There are a number of excellent books on the subject, but read cautiously as some of them have tin-foil-hat-and-black-helicopters tendencies. In particular I recommend "Undue Risk" by Jonathan Moreno in particular, thought it's more global in scope.

Some of these experiments quite unethical (MK Ultra and others), but that's another subject.

Comment: Re:I don't see how Jackson isn't a racist.... (Score 1) 514

by Gryle (#47590581) Attached to: Jesse Jackson: Tech Diversity Is Next Civil Rights Step

Because "normal" implies transgendered individuals are somehow mutant or different (which they are) and therefore such a term is somehow prejudiced. (For the record, I agree with your assessment on the subject, I'm just explaining the reasoning behind the creation of such a term).

Comment: Re:It would be cheaper for everyone.... (Score 1) 182

In the USA when Lyndon Johnson came out with the 'Great Society' crap the level of poverty was very low and falling, then the government stepped in and reversed that trend categorically. The free market was working towards reducing poverty, there was no need for anything called 'Great Society' (and as always, there is no truth in advertising that comes from government, less truth in government advertising than in any other).

Could you provide some stats for that? I've never heard this before and you've piqued my interest.

You don't have to know how the computer works, just how to work the computer.