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Comment: Not plagiarism (Score 1) 236

by PDAllen (#32761718) Attached to: Plagiarism Inc.

This isn't actually plagiarism - plagiarism is ripping off the work of another writer. This is simply paying someone to write something for you; in that sense, you might as well call a politician a plagiarist because the letter he sent you was written by his secretary.

What it is, is cheating - which is really, really pointless. You might get better grades in classwork, but you won't learn anything: so you will lose out when it comes to the exam, and in 10 years time when you are being asked questions in an interview your lack of ability to construct a decent argument will lead to someone else getting the job.

Comment: Re:Attendence in college? (Score 1) 554

by PDAllen (#32095700) Attached to: RFID Checks Student Attendance in Arizona

This is exactly the way most lecturers would love to operate: if you don't show up to my lectures, and you fail my exam, tough.

The problem is that what actually happens is students don't show up to lectures, then they realise they don't know the material shortly before exam time and take up huge amounts of lecturers' time. We are not paid to spend five hours trying to deal with one persistent student who wants us to basically give them personal lectures on a moment's notice, and we usually have better things to do (i.e. research, which we are paid for, and dealing with more legitimate student questions). Then the student will often fail anyway, because you cannot explain in five hours a 30-hour lecture course to someone who really doesn't understand anything.

And then, occasionally (but often enough for it to be a worry) the student decides that having paid his tuition he is entitled to pass the course. And since he hasn't, it must be someone's fault, and therefore he will go through the university complaints procedure (or even sue). And then the lecturer ends up wasting part of their summer (when we probably wanted to be attending conferences, where we promised to give talks which will now be cancelled, thereby annoying colleagues), sorting out some argument that in fact we did everything we reasonably could to help the idiot pass the course. And, very simply, the easiest way to make this argument is to pull out the attendance record. If I can say the student has only been to half the lectures, I won't have to worry about my summer plans being disrupted: the university won't even listen to student arguments that the course was too hard.

PC Games (Games)

EA Editor Criticizes Command & Conquer 4 DRM 266

Posted by Soulskill
from the preach-it-brother dept.
Command & Conquer 4's DRM hasn't garnered Electronic Arts as much bad press and fan outrage as Ubisoft's scheme, despite being very similar. Nevertheless, it's been causing problems and frustrations for some users, including EA.com's own editor-in-chief, Jeff Green. An anonymous reader points this out: "Green wrote on his Twitter account late last week: 'Booted twice — and progress lost — on my single-player C&C4 game because my DSL connection blinked. DRM fail. We need new solutions.' He continued later, 'Well. I've tried to be open-minded. But my 'net connection is finicky — and the constant disruption of my C&C4 SP game makes this unplayable. The story is fun, the gameplay is interesting and different at least — but if you suffer from shaky/unreliable DSL — you've been warned.'"
Classic Games (Games)

The Unsung Heroes of PC Gaming History 325

Posted by Soulskill
from the setting-the-standard dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The history of PC gaming is littered with many well-known and highly regarded titles, but what about the titles you mightn't have heard of? This list of the top games in the history of the PC includes the usual suspects, such as Half-Life and Doom, but also some often overlooked PC games including such classics as Elite, the space trading RPG developed in 1984 by two college friends from Cambridge for the Acorn and BB Micro systems. The game used a truly elegant programming hack to create over 200 different worlds to explore while using 32kb of memory, all with 3D wireframes. Also in the list is Robot War, which required players to actually code the participants, and one of the first online multiplayer RPGs, Neverwinter Nights, which introduced many of the developer and user behaviors, such as custom guilds, that have made modern RPGs so popular." What's your favorite classic game that always gets overlooked in these kinds of lists? My vote goes for Star Control 2.
Image

Food Activist's Life Becomes The Life of Brian 165

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-are-all-individuals dept.
krou writes "After food activist and author Raj Patel appeared on The Colbert Report to promote his latest book, things seemed to be going well, until he began to get inundated with emails asking if he was 'the world teacher.' In events ripped straight from The Life of Brian, it would seem that Raj Patel's life story ticks all the boxes necessary to fulfill prophecies made by Benjamin Creme, founder of religious sect Share International. After the volume of emails and inquiries got worse, Patel eventually wrote a message on his website stating categorically that he was not the Messiah. Sure enough, 'his denial merely fanned the flames for some believers. In a twist ripped straight from the script of the comedy classic, they said that this disavowal, too, had been prophesied.'"

Comment: Re:Suicide? (Score 1) 1343

by PDAllen (#31446966) Attached to: Accidental Wii Suicide

In many countries the police are obliged to protect you; and the name (and US motto) would suggest it. People watch TV, and see policemen responding to 999 calls (UK) and think that applies in the US as well. Equally, in the UK there are criminals who demand to be 'read their rights' - which is nonsense: if you know your rights fine, if not, the UK police have no obligation to tell you; but the US crime shows give a lot of people the wrong idea.

Comment: Re:Suicide? (Score 2, Insightful) 1343

by PDAllen (#31443282) Attached to: Accidental Wii Suicide

That really is an exceptionally ridiculous situation to be in. If you cannot call police and expect that they will come, why bother with a police force? I'm well aware that sometimes it may take an hour for the police to arrive because there is some distance involved, but to not bother coming at all..? Another reason not to visit the US, though at this stage I don't really need more reasons.

Image

Scientists Discover Booze That Won't Give You a Hangover 334

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-have-another dept.
Kwang-il Kwon and Hye Gwang Jeong of Chungnam National University have discovered that drinking alcohol with oxygen bubbles added leads to fewer hangovers and a shorter sobering up time. People drinking the bubbly booze sobered up 20-30 minutes faster and had less severe and fewer hangovers than people who drank the non-fizzy stuff. Kwon said: "The oxygen-enriched alcohol beverage reduces plasma alcohol concentrations faster than a normal dissolved-oxygen alcohol beverage does. This could provide both clinical and real-life significance. The oxygen-enriched alcohol beverage would allow individuals to become sober faster, and reduce the side effects of acetaldehyde without a significant difference in alcohol's effects. Furthermore, the reduced time to a lower BAC may reduce alcohol-related accidents."
PlayStation (Games)

PS3 Hacked? 296

Posted by Soulskill
from the another-one-bites-the-dust dept.
Several readers have sent word that George Hotz (a.k.a. geohot), the hacker best known for unlocking Apple's iPhone, says he has now hacked the PlayStation 3. From his blog post: "I have read/write access to the entire system memory, and HV level access to the processor. In other words, I have hacked the PS3. The rest is just software. And reversing. I have a lot of reversing ahead of me, as I now have dumps of LV0 and LV1. I've also dumped the NAND without removing it or a modchip. 3 years, 2 months, 11 days...that's a pretty secure system. ... As far as the exploit goes, I'm not revealing it yet. The theory isn't really patchable, but they can make implementations much harder. Also, for obvious reasons I can't post dumps. I'm hoping to find the decryption keys and post them, but they may be embedded in hardware. Hopefully keys are setup like the iPhone's KBAG."
Microsoft

Visual Studio 2010 Forces Tab Indenting 390

Posted by kdawson
from the one-man's-readable dept.
An anonymous reader writes "For years, Microsoft has allowed Visual Studio users to define arbitrary tab widths, often to the dismay of those viewing the resultant code in other editors. With VS 2010, it appears that they have taken the next step of forcing tab width to be the same as the indent size in code. Two-space tabs anyone?"

Comment: Re:LaTeX (Score 1) 338

by PDAllen (#28576273) Attached to: HTML Tags For Academic Printing?

Unicode support depends on the operating system and the specific compiler. If you want to be sure everything will work on everyone's computer, escape everything that isn't standard ASCII-128. If you only care about your machine and you happen to have a nicely behaved compiler/OS combination, you can happily type an u-umlaut directly instead of \"u and it will work. That said, the escape codes are not exactly hard - it's not HTML where they're non-standard; if you want an acute accent then you use \' followed by the letter, et cetera.

Comment: Re:LaTeX (Score 1) 338

by PDAllen (#28576199) Attached to: HTML Tags For Academic Printing?

If you use LaTeX, since it's built on top of TeX, what you are basically doing is accepting Don Knuth's idea of good style. Some of it is good, some is not so good.

If you use HTML, you aren't really taking anyone's idea of good style; HTML rendering is supposed to be minimalist, the browser is not meant to try to fix pretty hyphenation or whatever.

HTML is not, originally, designed to do document design. It's not even really meant to do 'pretty' web design, which is why websites are typically a mess of CSS and set styles forcing the HTML to do something it's not basically meant to do - and the later HTML spec confuses this further by trying to make the ugly forcing style standardised. What HTML was originally for was a very basic markup, enough to cope with a few text sizes and colours (and pictures, badly) on a screen that could be anything from ASCII-text only (i.e. drop all the markup and pictures), 12'' mono, 21'' VGA, et cetera - the point being that the markup should be easy to parse for the browser to render as something intelligible.

LaTeX is not especially antiquated; there's not much 'modern' that you can't do in LaTeX. What you can't easily do, is anything Knuth doesn't like. So, you may want to flow text by an image, but because Knuth doesn't like that you can't do it without a lot of work.

But the simple fact for a journal is, if everything is in the same style it looks professional. So the journal will do everything in LaTeX, and your argument that your new style looks better will be ignored; they'll just bill you for retyping the document in LaTeX.

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