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Comment: Regarding Safety (Score 1) 89

by Rasta_the_far_Ian (#37901762) Attached to: Human Blood Protein (HSA) From GMO Rice

Worried about these GMO crops cross-pollinating regular crops? The researchers referred to a study indicating 'a very low frequency (0.04-0.80%) of pollen-mediated gene flow between genetically modified (GM) rice and adjacent non-GM plants.'

Hmmm. You may find the following news story and its associated paper interesting:
'Escaped' Genetically Engineered Canola Growing Outside of Established Cultivation Regions Across North Dakota

The Establishment of Genetically Engineered Canola Populations in the U.S.

Comment: Robots in China? Why not in the US? (Score 1) 372

by Rasta_the_far_Ian (#36939986) Attached to: Foxconn To Employ 1 Million Robots

The main advantages to moving to China were cheap labor, free training, government subsidies (including land and building) and lower taxes.

Two of those are substantially eliminated by moving to robots. The current crises has left a huge amount of vacancies in industrial parks here in the U.S..

Given the current crisis, it is unlikely that we would lower taxes - but this cries out for a tax holiday on repatriated funds.

Once the capital is in place, the competitive advantage just get that much harder to overcome; we should do what we can to have those robots here. Robotic maintenance jobs will be where the robots are - not to mention all the jobs associated with the presence of the factory!

Comment: very profitable for them (Score 1) 204

by Rasta_the_far_Ian (#33225386) Attached to: Website Lets You Bet On Your Grades

Let there be a student s that does this for each semester over 4 consecutive years. Assume that the website loses $k each year that the student gambles. Further, assume that the site does nothing with the data for the next 10 years. How much will the website make off of student s over the course of the remainder of student s lifetime?

It is given (in the article summary) that the website requires access to official records, so they will have verified data.

They can sell this information for a good bit of money every time student s looks for a job over the rest of his/her lifetime!

Comment: Comparison w/ U.S. (Score 1) 612

by Rasta_the_far_Ian (#32769476) Attached to: Zoho Don't Need No Stinking Ph.D. Programmers

Amazing that no one has noted that:

1. Indian education is very rote based - especially when compared to the U.S. It kills the ability to question and think creatively more than it enhances it.

2. The high schoolers picked were those that either (A) couldn't afford to go to college or (B) had grades/marks just below a strict cutoff (again, in a rote based educational environment). There probably wasn't a significant difference in their abilities v. a large percentage of those that actually did go to college.

3. comparisons were only over the earliest parts of graduates v. non-graduates careers.

Also, wouldn't those individuals in that society that were given an opportunity like this work their asses off to make sure they succeed, especially considering the bleak alternatives in the 3rd world? Motivation is a very important factor!

Comment: Strongly prefer Ascii / unicode text unless (Score 1) 390

by Rasta_the_far_Ian (#31473952) Attached to: I prefer my (non-technical) books to be ...

Strongly prefer Ascii / unicode text unless there are figures.

I haven't tried it out, but I've read that the iPod will limit one to reading only the first 4K of long text files. That's too bad - I really enjoyed reading books I downloaded from Project Guttenberg on a Palm TX a few years ago ...

Refuse to pay anything approaching dead-tree version prices for DRM encumbered / proprietary texts.

The whole idea for many years was that electronic versions of books are much cheaper to produce (marginal costs; ie, cost of making one more) and thus would reduce prices, enabling one to buy many more books. If I can't buy significantly more books for the same cost, dead tree versions will - for me at least - always win.

Comment: Venezuelan system of government (Score 1) 452

by presidenteloco (#31473904) Attached to: Venezuela's Chavez To Limit Internet Freedom


The Venezuelan president is elected by a vote with direct and universal suffrage, and is both head of state and head of government. The term of office is six years, and (as of 15 February 2009) a president may be re-elected an unlimited number of times. The president appoints the vice-president and decides the size and composition of the Cabinet and makes appointments to it with the involvement of the legislature. The president can ask the legislature to reconsider portions of laws he finds objectionable, but a simple parliamentary majority can override these objections.

The unicameral Venezuelan parliament is the Asamblea Nacional ("National Assembly"). Its 167 deputies, of which three are reserved for indigenous people, serve five-year terms and may be re-elected for a maximum of two additional terms. They are elected by popular vote through a combination of party lists and single member constituencies.

Comment: Re:You want a magic cheap solution? (Score 1) 727

by BoppreH (#31473896) Attached to: Why Are Digital Hearing Aids So Expensive?

$3700 doesn't sound so bad for something that improves your quality of life so much.

Doesn't sounds, but it is. Using a car analogy it's like saying that windscreen wipers could cost hundreds of dollars because they allow you to drive during rain, and it "improves your quality of life so much".

Overpricing products based on their importance (not that it's the case here) is also called profiteering, or more informally, extorsion.

Comparing the price to a laptop is so beyond what's reasonable it's pointless to even discuss why. Let's move beyond that.

That's stunningly silly.

Comment: Re:what is the point, exactly. (Score 1) 370

by hazydave (#31360860) Attached to: Technical Objections To the Ogg Container Format

I should also point out that media containers were not originally designed for random things being distributed over the internet. Rather, they are for developers to author and users to play back.

As a professional, if I put stuff on a DVD or a Web site that the average computer user couldn't see, that disc or site would include whatever drivers or CODECs one needed in order to video my media. That's still pretty much the rule.

This is very useful for professional work. For example, I bought a license for the Cineform CODEC, which is an "intermediate" CODEC, designed for fast editing of computationally expensive formats like MPEG-2 and AVC. Not so expensive on their own, but try doing 10 or 20 layers of video in a single project, and you'll meet "slow" on any PC. The multimedia frameworks allow video and audio editors to use new CODECs without any changes to their own code.

At the fringes, sure, you have pirates and crazy people putting weird stuff inside AVIs, without telling you what it is. But this is not a general problem.

Comment: Re:scare tactics (Score 1) 96

by NickFortune (#31358342) Attached to: Narus Develops Social Media Sleuth

Do I think the US does things wrong? Oh, definitely. But I don't think we can assume terrorists would stop hating the US if the US fixed things they did wrong

I don't think you can assume that all terrorists would stop hating the US if the US were to clean up its act in a few areas. On the other hand, it seems like a fair bet that a lot of them wouldn't hate the US quite so much.

Which could be good. You could probably get quite a lot of them to the point where, while they didn't like you very much, they really weren't upset enough about it to fly a plane into the side of building. Or strap explosives to their chest and look for an inconvenient to place to detonate themselves.

This isn't a case of "either/or". It's not "either they hate us or they don't". It's more "how many" and "how much". The right changes in behaviour could shift a lot of potential terrorists into the disgruntled-but-harmless category. That has to be a good thing, right?

Comment: Re:Another standard approved today (Score 1) 115

by Rasta_the_far_Ian (#29395383) Attached to: IEEE Approves 802.11n Wi-Fi Standard

In related news, the same body has approved a special security packet encapsulator consisting of pigmented lipids that bond the rolled packet together, with a special imprinted signature to establish non-deniability of the transmitter and ensure the packet has not been intercepted and examined by third parties. The standard was submitted for approval in '02. That is, 0002.

Amazing! This was modded as informative!

The writer of this comment was clearly referring to wax seals - i.e., like those that were put on the back of envelopes in ancient times.

Should have been modded funny ..

Comment: Re:Nothing to do with Porn, it's the Awfulbar agai (Score 1) 673

by Rasta_the_far_Ian (#29205987) Attached to: Fear of Porn URL Exposure Discourages Firefox 3 Upgrade

Software that automatically changes menus or frequently-used options around as a "favor" to the user was bad UI practice five years ago in Windows and Office,

And the reason Microsoft had to come up with the Ribbon - because the vast majority of users (ie, the less computer savvy) never saw all the options on the menus, and so never knew the software could do so much.

Comment: Re:Instructor Materials and Supplements? (Score 1) 216

by Rasta_the_far_Ian (#29055715) Attached to: Open Textbooks Win Over Publishers In CA

If you think students are lazy these days, you should see the instructors. They demand new end-of-chapter problems, new quizzes, new tests. And they want it all automatically graded electronically. This can't be delivered by open textbooks.

This raises an interesting possibility. Why not contract with the book publishers to receive the same materials and then have tutors from India or Russia - each of which have a surplus of highly educated people willing to work for low wages compared to the West - tutor our kids online.

One could even imagine setting up charter schools around this concept. I would expect the kids to end up better educated, since the materials would be the same, but the teachers could be selected from a much bigger, much more qualified applicant pool.

It is better to live rich than to die rich. -- Samuel Johnson