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Comment: Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (Score 1) 106

by Mathinker (#46635423) Attached to: Aaron Swartz and MIT: The Inside Story

> One factor that made Aaron Swartz's behavior so reprehensible was that he _kept doing it_, apparently at full capacity,
> despite the obvious consequences to JSTOR and to MIT.

If you read JSTOR's own account, available on their website, Swartz continued to download between September and January, but without them noticing it. Somehow that makes me believe that he modified his behavior (including throttled bandwidth) so that only a new kind of analysis on JSTOR's part (probably statistical) gave him away.

> But I do believe that was already planned when Aaron got caught.

Obviously I cannot refute this, nor can you back this up with hard evidence.

> JSTOR is a library service, a non-profit. They'll do what they can _afford_ to do to make the information available.

They continued to pursue Swartz in January not because his downloading was costing them too much money, but because they feared that what he would do with the documents would cost them their goodwill with their upstream publishing partners. They could well have been correct (no one can know exactly what Swartz's long-term plans were). It seems pretty obvious to me that JSTOR, albeit a non-profit, was also an ossified bureaucracy, and whatever changes have happened since the incident are due to their management suddenly understanding that the way things "worked" ten years ago was no longer exactly what their users (or society) expected now (e.g., when they were founded, 99.9% of anyone looking for academic papers through the net were anyway academics/geeks --- now, I expect that a good segment of the general browsing population is also interested).

Comment: Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (Score 1) 106

by Mathinker (#46620391) Attached to: Aaron Swartz and MIT: The Inside Story

> If you persist in this belief that committing a DDOS or other disabling attacks is OK

Judging from your Slashdot ID, both you, and I, then, have participated in many actions which you seem to consider DDoS attacks --- namely, Slashdottings. I wonder if you'd be OK, then, that you should be charged with felonies for each and every one of those actions? Oh, I forgot --- you don't have to worry --- you're not someone who has a public presence so that convicting you could be politically worthwhile.

As for JSTOR, I find it telling that somehow, suddenly, they decided that it wouldn't ruin their business model if they made access free to the 6% of their database which anyway was in the public domain. They're not Elsevier, for sure, but it sure seems that Swartz did accomplish forcing JSTOR to reconsider what might be better for society, yet still OK to enable their non-profit business to continue running.

Comment: Re:Do you know how to teach your chidren ? (Score 2) 278

by Mathinker (#46554125) Attached to: Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework

> Those who wrote math text and teach math are not math experts. They are teaching experts. Their math may not be right.

This makes no sense to me. Please explain. Do you actually believe it's better to more skillfully teach wrong facts compared to less skillfully teach correct facts? Or were you talking about things like, we would only confuse second graders with negative numbers, so when teaching them, we'll just implicitly assume that negative numbers don't exist.

Comment: Re:I'm gonna go and call BS (Score 1) 278

by Mathinker (#46553551) Attached to: Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework

> At primary school we didn't even have a library

Holy shit. That has to be the only room in my primary school which I still remember --- and I can't begin to think about how much I learned from books I found there (including one on introductory electronics with explanations of resistors, capacitors and inductors!). I'm not sure, however, if the copy of Asimov's "Realm of Algebra" which really kickstarted my math knowledge came from that library or the public library, though...

Comment: Re: Confused Parents (Score 1) 278

by Mathinker (#46553485) Attached to: Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework

I think he meant it with regards to wisnoskij's post --- as in it would be completely retarded to mark as wrong a student who prefered, for example, the OLIF method, even though said student always got the correct answer using his method.

Personally, I had never heard of "foil" as being any kind of theorem whatsoever in math, BTW. Did I miss something? I can see that other kinds of theorems apply to prove that it gives the correct answer, though...

Comment: Re:Confused Parents (Score 1) 278

by Mathinker (#46553419) Attached to: Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework

OK, being pedantic about syntax I can understand, a necessary tool for acquiring knowledge is an ability to learn and use a shared language of concepts for the purpose of communication.

But being pedantic about methods? This just seems to be a symptom reflecting the failings of the education system. I can see only two justifications for this: either the teacher has such a limited grasp of the material that they cannot understand any deviation from the "method" (or the same thing in a different "dimension", possibly they feel they have a lack of authority and cannot allow students any freedom for fear of losing the minimum amount of control necessary to do their job), or it is to give the message (either implicitly or explicitly) to the student that the purpose of the education system is indoctrination, rather than the inculcation of knowledge and the tools necessary for self-education.

I am just thankful that I didn't have your math teachers, while growing up... although I do remember having to explain, to one of my teachers, my personal method of long multiplication which minimized and postponed the necessity for remembering carries until the final summation step, by doubling the number of rows before that step.

Comment: Re:All gone (Score 1) 222

And when this happens "on a computer", it should be considered to be the same as physical destruction? I'm all for not making new law for "on a computer", but, well, I don't think that's a good idea (since in many cases the computer user is not the only one controlling his computer --- segue to NSA from GCSB).

No hardware designer should be allowed to produce any piece of hardware until three software guys have signed off for it. -- Andy Tanenbaum