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Comment: Re:Hobbit life expectancy skewed (Score 4, Informative) 218

by OldBus (#41587277) Attached to: Student Publishes Extensive Statistics On the Population of Middle-Earth
I guess the way this comment was phrased is why it is at -1, but it is essentially true. There appears to be no evidence that going to Valinor gave immortality (see especially the whole farce of the attempted invasion by the Numoreans). Tuor is mentioned that he *might* have become immortal, but in the context that this is uncertain, and definitely very unusual.

Comment: Re:RISC OS (Score 1) 654

by OldBus (#41024647) Attached to: GUI nostalgia draws me back to ...
Yeah - late 80s would be better. I startedf using computers at school mid 80s and it was BBC Bs and Masters. We didn't get the Archimedes until around 87(ish), and even then we only had one.

I've no idea how good it actually was, but it felt revolutionary at the time because the only native computer interfaces we'd ever seen up to then were:

READY
>

Plus it was fast...

Comment: Re:Listening to the Music... (Score 1) 178

by OldBus (#39796495) Attached to: Harvard: Journals Too Expensive, Switch To Open Access

I'm a librarian and you are very right that these are important things to consider.

However, most librarians that I know are committed to getting the information to the people who need it (in academic libraries, our faculty and students). You will find that libraries, including Harvard, are already investing in systems to make stuff available and easily searchable from a wide variety of sources: including all those in-house ad-hoc repositories you mention, open access sites like arXiv and pay-for material (where we can afford it).

What worries many librarians I know, is whether someone like Google can do it better, or whether we (with local knowledge of our academics) can add enough value to make it worthwhile to keep us. I think the jury is still out on that one, but it won't be for lack of effort on supporting our users

Comment: Re:education is only useful for jobs (Score 1) 314

by OldBus (#38793895) Attached to: Study Analyzes Recent Grads' Unemployment By Major
I'd be fascinated if you could provide some figures on this. I don't know which part of the world you're talking about, but I've worked in a number of UK universities and the opposite is true. It varies a bit from institution to institution, but student numbers have tripled or quadrupled in many places. Administrative staff numbers have not done the same - they've probably stayed the same. In my area, libraries, due to technology we actually employ less staff now than we did 30 years ago, and yet we serve a lot more students and open much longer hours. Some departments have a few more admin staff than they used to, but this was because that admin work was being done by lecturers and professors. It is better value for money to get admin staff to do that and get the academics to write grant proposals and publish research.

Comment: Re:This says it all... (Score 1) 427

by OldBus (#37377716) Attached to: Has Cleverbot Passed the Turing Test?

I can see where you're coming from. I've just tried my first conversation with Cleverbot, and while any judge would have be off their head to vote it human, it is at least entertainingly weird and I can see why some humans I know would get scored higher...

Me: Hello.
Cb: Hello?
Me: How are you?
Cb: Fine. How are you?
Me: Not too bad. bit of a cough.
Cb: Do you hear voices in your head?

That's wonderfully surreal...

Comment: Re:Should be easy to prove innocence (Score 1) 315

by OldBus (#36623242) Attached to: World's Best Chess Engine Outlawed and Disqualified
It isn't possible. See the "Mathematics and Computers" section of the Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ChessChess article.

According to that article there are approx 10^123 positions in the game-tree. Given that there are about 10^78 atoms in the visible universe, building enough memory to store all the outcomes of a chess game is tricky...

Comment: Re:Conflicting Laws? (Score 1) 352

by OldBus (#31936518) Attached to: UK University Researchers Must Make Data Available

The only law I can see conflicting with the Freedom of Information Act, is the Data Protection Act. Data Protection deals with what you can do (or not) with information about individuals. Data Protection in general will override Freedom of Information (you can't make a FoI request to find out the home addresses of the institution's employees, for example.) However, in this case tree ring data is not about individuals, so Data Protection doesn't apply.

The only reason for not complying with a FoI request in this case is that it would be too costly to comply. It appears that the Commissioner disagreed with the University about this, so they must release the data.

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