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Comment: vocational training is now life long (Score 2) 246

This is not an isolated problem. All vocations either do or will require life long vocational retraining. New technologies are introduced very frequently in areas such as building construction, business systems, environmental systems, mining, agriculture, metalworking, and so on. The time has passed when you could learn to weld on the xyz welder, and thereafter be employed for life, working with only that tool and that skill. When John Henry saw the stream drill, what he should have done is to put down his hammer and say "teach me to run that stream drill". The associates degree should be just the first certification -- the student needs to be taught to pursue and obtain more certifications throughout his or her working life. Also, my feeling is that the curricula needs to involve as much "why" as "how".

Comment: Re:Evolution is a theory, but not "just a theory". (Score 1) 665

by RLBrown (#46220681) Attached to: South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards
Quite true. It is also important to distinguish a testable hypothesis, which can be promoted to an accepted theory by such tests, as opposed to a whimsical musing, for which no tests either positive or negative are possible. The Theory of Evolution started out as a hypothesis that could explain certain observations. This hypothesis was put forth by Wallace and Darwin. Decades of further investigation provided positive tests, and no negative tests. Accordingly, the hypothesis became a theory, and in fact became so well accepted, it is considered a law of nature. In comparison, there are no tests for creationism. Anybody can claim that every observable aspect of the Universe was created just a few millennia/centuries/years/days/seconds ago, with everything in place such that observations make the Universe appear to be older and appeared to be evolving. But such a claim denies its own testability. Hence it can never be promoted to accepted theory. It is just a whimsical musing, nothing more.

Comment: Re:censoring hateful expression is acceptable (Score 1) 406

With respect, please note that there is a 1942 Supreme Court ruling on the matter. Quote from Justice Frank Murphy: "There are certain well-defined and limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise a Constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous and the insulting or “fighting” words – those which by their very utterances inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace." Basically, the court says that free speech is to convey ideas and opinions, but not as a psychological weapon. A better point, in the replies above, is that a blog is a privately controlled forum, for example just like the O'Reilly Factor on Fox TV. The moderator gets to decide what is acceptable and what is not. Such forums are by no means venues for free speech. So Constitutional protections have no meaning to the original question.

Comment: censoring hateful expression is acceptable (Score 3, Insightful) 406

In the quoted blog, Martin Graesslin is basically asking if censoring zero-content hate speech from fanboys and trolls is a compromise on supporting full freedom of speech. It is not. In the USA, we make this differentiation. You are free to express any opinion, but may not do so with "hateful" language. "Fighting words" are forbidden in public forums. In addition, advocating illegal action is not the same as expressing an opinion. Saying something like "The bums in Congress should be removed from office, one and all" is okay, whereas "grab your gun, we march tonight" is not.

Comment: implementation (Score 1) 347

by RLBrown (#40722933) Attached to: Google Says Some Apple Inventions Are So Great They Should Be Shared
I believe this would be implemented as follows. First, a patent is submitted by interested parties to a neutral standards group. If the group decides the patent covers something essential to the functionality of products across the given industry, they grant a mechanical license. This means anyone gets to use the patented idea, but must pay a fixed predetermined fee to the patent holder. I can think of some patents that I wish had been handled that way, for example back up cameras on cars -- so useful for safety, that it should be universally available to all car manufacturers. A company might even come to hope that its patent is selected for such licensing, as it becomes a standard every manufacturer will use, giving a guaranteed revenue stream to the originating company.

Comment: Re:rotten (Score 4, Insightful) 136

by RLBrown (#40704831) Attached to: Apple Yanks Privacy App From the App Store
Dirty work? Do not be so sure. The article raises the possibility that Apple did not like the Clueful app because it discloses to users that some developers are in fact evil. But then this possibility is knocked down as not being likely. So we are left with a big question as to why the Clueful app was pulled. The most likely reason is that the app fell into a technical TOS violation, something that is prohibited but in this case would have in fact been okay. Perhaps because the app sends user data back to the developer? Even if that was done for benign and beneficial use, it could still be a TOS violation. Let's not conjure up headlines. I know a lot of developers do not like the walled garden, but after the "Find and Call" incident, maybe users view the wall in a different light.

Comment: a careful reading of the actual executive order (Score 5, Informative) 513

Upon a careful reading of the actual executive order, I find, in my humble opinion, that the order does none of things that are being ranted about. First, the bulk of the order are instructions to DHS to develop policies and procedures to ensure that communications will survive in the event of a national emergency. Second, it does allude to ensuring that federal needs will have priority during emergencies, a privilege the government already enjoys. Third, it carefully notes that the authority of the FCC is not being superseded by the order, and that the FCC has control over any communications channels that have been assigned to the federal government, i.e. DHS does not. Frankly, it reads as a get your act together directive, not a sweeping grab of new federal powers.

Comment: Examples (Score 1) 282

by RLBrown (#40006939) Attached to: Photographers, You're Being Replaced By Software
Yes, many specialized photographic tasks have been and are being transformed into graphic designer tasks, with CGI. Examples include automobile advertisement photography. In the past, there were photographers based in Detroit, where the mainstay of their business was to photograph new (and usually yet to be publicly announced or shown) automobiles. To do this, they had barn-like studios, with car sized turntables and ramps. Now, this is primarily done by CGI. In fashion, sets are now CGI around the model. Sometimes, even the clothes! Remember the famous "water dress" photos of Giselle? The water dress was all CGI. The business is still "photography", drawing with light, but it is expanded well beyond capturing reality. Professions change with technology and time. While this is not in line with the cited article of the original post, wedding photography as a business is drying up because even amateurs can get decent results with modern automated cameras, and the magic "fix this" buttons in many photo editing programs. Mind you, they may not get great results, but they will get "good enough". Lower your standards, then you will not need to hide a professional photographer. The low and mid level professional photographers will lose. The high end, where the photographer does his or her own CGI will survive. Perhaps also we will see a continuing if tiny market for the high end formal sitting portrait.

Comment: Perhaps back in WWII (Score 5, Interesting) 350

by RLBrown (#37584704) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How to Exploit Post-Cataract Ultraviolet Vision?
Back in WWII, when the medical treatment was much more primitive, elderly persons in England, who had vision partially restored by cataract surgery, were asked to watch for long wave UV covert signals, from off the coast vessels, as part of the war effort. This may be an urban legend -- it is unanswered on Snopes http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=25056, but I do recall reading about it as a child, I believe in a commentary written by Arthur C. Clarke. But the memory is vague, and who knows where Clarke might have learned of it. So as something vaguely remembered from a book half a century old, that may or may not exist, where the original author may or may not have had first hand knowledge, ... well, by Internet standards, that's your proof right there!

Comment: a diffusion problem, that's all (Score 1) 283

by RLBrown (#36883738) Attached to: Scientists Discover Tipping Point for the Spread of Ideas

In the blog linked from the summary, the blog writer uses the word 'always' for the spread of an idea. The quotes from the director of research Szymanski do not show 'always' in that sense. As for the age of the hyperbole Universe comment, it seems to be merely emphasizing that no progress is made toward person to person spreading of the given belief, when the current adoption is underneath the 10% value. He could have equivalently said "until the cows come home."

It seems to me this is a simple diffusion problem. A person's belief might be influenced if N or more people in that person's immediate circle of contacts (call it T people) hold the given belief. The researchers say that N/T > 0.1 will spread the belief by person to person diffusion, less will not. This means that if you wish to introduce a new belief into society, you and your cohorts must work to get to that fraction, whereupon thereafter, it will take on a life of its own without your continuing effort to promote it. Since the introduction of a belief by diffusion increases the fraction, it will proceed exponentially. In this context, that perhaps justifies the calling the spread "rapid".

True or false? Who knows. This was a blog of quotes, not a research article. Perhaps if 10% of slash dotters come to believe in it, everyone will.

Comment: Re:as an old guy... (Score 1) 148

by RLBrown (#36427176) Attached to: EG8 Publishes Report In Noninteractive, Nonquotable Format
Agreed, there is no point in limiting usage when alternatives are available. Perhaps it is deliberate, as others have suggested -- the authors do not want people to be excerpting material from the report. Which is also a stupid attitude. In my comment, I was attempting to puzzle at the automatic entitlement attitude that authors must use the media that makes it easy to excerpt. I, too, would be upset if some one told me I had to produce an analysis without using Mathematica(tm) or had to build a web site without Dreamweaver(tm) (My God, suppose they insist on FrontPage!) Still, coming from a background where a third of a century ago I wrote and calculated and analyzed with pencil and paper, from such time I have still have a nice set of stencils and technical pens for making charts and graphs, I smile when some one complains that not having computer assistance is a barrier.

Comment: as an old guy... (Score 4, Funny) 148

by RLBrown (#36425712) Attached to: EG8 Publishes Report In Noninteractive, Nonquotable Format
I can only smile a little. There was a time when if a journalist wish to use a quote from a speech or a report, he or she would copy it out by hand, on notepads or (as a later terrific innovation) using a typewriter. Now, all the bloggers complain "I can't sweep my mouse/trackpad cursor over it and just copy and paste it - what shall I do, what shall I do!"

Comment: Sometimes a patent is just a patent (Score 1) 268

by RLBrown (#36331346) Attached to: Apple Camera Patent Lets External Transmitters Disable Features

Each member of the engineering staff, at any engineering oriented corporation, is highly motivated to patent something - anything. So long as it has a whiff of possible application, it will go into the mill, if for no other reason than to prevent some other company from patenting it. This patent could be just such. This infrared communications port is only practical if the end-user has opted to allow it. As pointed out several times in this forum, simple filters should easily defeat it.

I also suspect, based on the concert anti-bootlegging example in the patent disclosure, it is a shiny concept to dangle in front of the RIAA cats, that has no real effect. On the other hand, when the end-user chooses to let it work, there might well be some enhanced reality applications.

It is true that DVD players "evolved" from not having geographical restrictions to having built in limits, simply by an industry wide agreement. Similarly, it would be interesting if industry wide agreements lead to built in camera overrides. But whereas the DVD player manufacturers were dependent on the goodwill of the media producers, the camera manufacturers are not. The RIAA and friends may be able to push on devices that are both cameras and players, but the manufacturers of pure photo and video recorders will have no reason to bend to such demands, in the absence of laws, of course. Make sure now, before it even gets started, that your congressman knows that there are lines not to be crossed.

Those who can, do; those who can't, simulate.

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