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

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) 654 654

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:


Plus it was fast...

Comment Re:Copyrights and older papers (Score 1) 178 178

Many ejournals already have escrow mechanisms in place. Most research libraries won't give up print without it, and even if they do there are often agreements amongst groups of libraries that several will keep print copies (note: that is a UK perspective, YMMV)

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

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) 314 314

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) 427 427

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) 315 315

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...

The Internet

Elderly Georgian Woman Cuts Armenian Internet 282 282

welcher writes "An elderly Georgian woman was scavenging for copper with a spade when she accidentally sliced through an underground cable and cut off internet services to nearly all of neighboring Armenia. The fibre-optic cable near Tiblisi, Georgia, supplies about 90% of Armenia's internet so the woman's unwitting sabotage had catastrophic consequences. Web users in the nation of 3.2 million people were left twiddling their thumbs for up to five hours. Large parts of Georgia and some areas of Azerbaijan were also affected. Dubbed 'the spade-hacker' by local media, the woman is being investigated on suspicion of damaging property. She faces up to three years in prison if charged and convicted."

A fanatic is a person who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill