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Comment: Re:lots and lots of money (Score 2) 205

The $100M in funding is to develop software that can replace teachers.

The $26k is because you can't replace teachers with software.

Even that is a bit on the ridiculous side. The national average for public schools is a bit under $12K of spending per student. My state thinks even that is too much, and only spends about $9K. Either the public schools could be a lot better too with that kind of money, or the private schools are just wasting most of their money. Either way, throwing even more money at those private schools seems a criminal waste.

Comment: Re:Furthe proof that men and women think different (Score 1) 634

by T.E.D. (#49568243) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

The thing is, what they are describing isn't what has been proven to convince women (or people) to be engineers, but rather what has been shown to motivate women who already want to be engineers. So your argument doesn't really apply to this, but then neither does theirs.

I'd argue that once a person is already an engineer, the kind of work being done most certainly does factor into job choices for both men and women. I've turned down job offers to work on software for smart bombs, and once refused an assignment for a foreign military customer who had just carried out a massacre against its own people (luckily we didn't "win" the contract). I know plenty other (male) engineers who go further than me and refuse to work on military jobs at all. And I don't doubt that there are other engineers working those kinds of jobs who consider it a high moral calling. My current company (which does mostly commercial aviation) just a couple of weeks ago had one male student at a trade show blow us off because he was much more interested in working to provide secure communications for international democracy activists.

Now its possible this effect tends to be more pronounced in women. It appears the subjects of TFA have noticed this anecdotally. Personally, I'd rather see this scientifically studied. Getting to the bottom of the gender-stilting of our industry ought to be worth devoting some actual resources to, rather than just flailing about randomly at every anecdote that comes down the pike.

Comment: Re:Soooo.... (Score 1) 634

by T.E.D. (#49567983) Attached to: How To Increase the Number of Female Engineers

Interesting that the argument being used is that "most of what engineers do does nothing for society, so

They aren't making an "argument". They are describing a phenomenon. If you have a better explanation for their data than theirs, that's legit (and I'd like to hear it). But you can't argue away the data.

Comment: Re:Oh Really? (Score 1) 302

That's a good point. The Beatles broke up in 1969. Thus their entire catalog will soon be more than 50. The first 2 Led Zeppelin albums were released in '69 too. (and to bring things back full-circle, 3 songs off that first album were covers of PD works. It was essentially a delta blues album with heavy rock instrumentation).

Comment: Re:Rebuttal from 2 decades ago (Score 1) 302

Here's a good passage from a 2009 speech about the history of copyright, and how it applies today.:

Now in the early centuries of printing, and still I believe in the 1790s, lots of readers wrote copies by hand because they couldn't afford printed copies. Nobody ever expected copyright law to be something other than an industrial regulation. It wasn't meant to stop people from writing copies, it was meant to regulate the publishers. Because of this it was easy to enforce, uncontroversial, and arguably beneficial for society.

It was easy to enforce, because it only had to be enforced against publishers. And it's easy to find the unauthorized publishers of a book—you go to a bookstore and say “where do these copies come from?”. You don't have to invade everybody's home and everybody's computer to do that.

It was uncontroversial because, as the readers were not restricted, they had nothing to complain about. Theoretically they were restricted from publishing, but not being publishers and not having printing presses, they couldn't do that anyway. In what they actually could do, they were not restricted.

It was arguably beneficial because the general public, according to the concepts of copyright law, traded away a theoretical right they were not in a position to exercise. In exchange, they got the benefits of more writing.

Now if you trade away something you have no possible use for, and you get something you can use in exchange, it's a positive trade. Whether or not you could have gotten a better deal some other way, that's a different question, but at least it's positive.

So if this were still in the age of the printing press, I don't think I'd be complaining about copyright law. But the age of the printing press is gradually giving way to the age of the computer networks—another advance in copying technology that makes copying more efficient, and once again not uniformly so.

Here's what we had in the age of the printing press: mass production very efficient, one at a time copying still just as slow as the ancient world. Digital technology gets us here: they've both benefited, but one-off copying has benefited the most.

We get to a situation much more like the ancient world, where one at a time copying is not so much worse [i.e., harder] than mass production copying. It's a little bit less efficient, a little bit less good, but it's perfectly cheap enough that hundreds of millions of people do it. Consider how many people write CDs once in a while, even in poor countries. You may not have a CD-writer yourself, so you go to a store where you can do it.

This means that copyright no longer fits in with the technology as it used to. Even if the words of copyright law had not changed, they wouldn't have the same effect. Instead of an industrial regulation on publishers controlled by authors, with the benefits set up to go to the public, it is now a restriction on the general public, controlled mainly by the publishers, in the name of the authors.

In other words, it's tyranny. It's intolerable and we can't allow it to continue this way.

As a result of this change, [copyright] is no longer easy to enforce, no longer uncontroversial, and no longer beneficial.

It's no longer easy to enforce because now the publishers want to enforce it against each and every person, and to do this requires cruel measures, draconian punishments, invasions of privacy, abolition of our basic ideas of justice. There's almost no limit to how far they will propose to go to prosecute the War on Sharing.

It's no longer uncontroversial. There are political parties in several countries whose basic platform is “freedom to share”.

It's no longer beneficial because the freedoms that we conceptually traded away (because we couldn't exercise them), we now can exercise. They're tremendously useful, and we want to exercise them.

Comment: Rebuttal from 2 decades ago (Score 1) 302

I see a lot of people making arguments here that are valid, but IMHO not quite as well laid-out as what Stallman said on this subject 20 year ago:

Copyright policy issues are about which bargains benefit the public, not about what rights publishers or readers are entitled to.

The copyright system developed along with the printing press. In the age of the printing press, it was unfeasible for an ordinary reader to copy a book. Copying a book required a printing press, and ordinary readers did not have one. What's more, copying in this way was absurdly expensive unless many copies were made—which means, in effect, that only a publisher could copy a book economically.

So when the public traded to publishers the freedom to copy books, they were selling something which they could not use. Trading something you cannot use for something useful and helpful is always good deal. Therefore, copyright was uncontroversial in the age of the printing press, precisely because it did not restrict anything the reading public might commonly do.

But the age of the printing press is gradually ending. The xerox machine and the audio and video tape began the change; digital information technology brings it to fruition. These advances make it possible for ordinary people, not just publishers with specialized equipment, to copy. And they do!

Once copying is a useful and practical activity for ordinary people, they are no longer so willing to give up the freedom to do it. They want to keep this freedom and exercise it instead of trading it away. The copyright bargain that we have is no longer a good deal for the public, and it is time to revise it—time for the law to recognize the public benefit that comes from making and sharing copies.

Comment: Re:News at 11! (Score 1) 134

Drunk people fight over stupid shit.

You're missing the point. Oklahoma is a 3.2% beer state. So they actually managed to get drunk enough on 3.2 beer to get into a brawl over phone OS's. That is some serious dedication. I'm guessing the bottles were used as weapons because the whole room was full of them, so there was nothing else to grab.

Comment: Re:In before JERB-KILLITAXES AND REGULATIONZ (Score 1) 170

by T.E.D. (#49487825) Attached to: 2K, Australia's Last AAA Studio, Closes Its Doors

Don't really see how timezone differences come out as a "cost". It would be pretty expensive to fly marketing people out to trade shows in your bigger market areas, but given than the two biggest markets are currently on different continents (one of which spans 4 timezones), everyone has that issue.

Product transport costs should only be an issue if they were also manufacturing in AU. I doubt that, but even if they were that's solvable by using the same manufacturers everyone else does.

If your whole team is in the same time zone, development should actually be cheaper in AU than in a lot of places in the US. For instance, compared to silicon valley, the cost of living is much cheaper in Canbera.

It looks to me reading TFA like they had some recruiting issues in Canbera, and shot themselves in the foot (or perhaps the head) trying to fix them.

Sources close to the situation informed us that, at one point, a move to Melbourne was being planned, in an attempt to help attract new talent to the studio. This allegedly caused many high-level members of the team to leave and that may have factored into 2K’s decision to shut down the studio

Comment: Nothing New (Score 2) 186

by T.E.D. (#49484699) Attached to: How Many Hoaxes Are On Wikipedia? No One Knows

I know of at least one hoax from the 80's, invented for local political purposes, that made the local papers, got a memorial built to it, and now appears in several web pages and at least one documentary as fact, with all kinds of made-up details filled in. No Wikipedia page yet, but I'm sure that eventually will come.

And I guess most people here are too young to remember how seriously UFO's and Bigfoot used to be treated back in the 70's.

The only thing really special about hoaxes appearing on Wikipedia is that they can get thoroughly debunked when/if they get found out, and this is much more likely to happen with enough eyes on the issue. Without a user-maintained knowledge base, hoaxes used to be pretty much unkillable.

Comment: Chimps do it too (Score 2) 89

by T.E.D. (#49478221) Attached to: World's Oldest Stone Tools Discovered In Kenya

Seeing as chimps have been observed making and using tools, it would seem at least plausible that our common ancestor 4 to 6 million years ago was making and using tools too.

Chimps have been seen to make wooden tools (which obviously don't preserve very well in the fossil record), and to use stone tools. I don't know of them being observed to make stone tools, but that doesn't seem like it would be a huge leap.

So the difference between early man's use of tools and that of our co-chimpanzee ancestor was most likely just one of degree, if anything.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action is not the same as sexism (Score 1) 517

There are tenure-track positions in nursing? I was under the impression it was literally back-breaking work, where most employers have a use-em-and-throw-em-away attitude to employees. I didn't realize it was a cushy desk job with lifetime employment positions that men were dreaming of breaking into somehow.

Comment: Its a hook (Score 2) 110

by T.E.D. (#49472259) Attached to: First 26 Pages of Neal Stephenson's New Novel "Seveneves" Online

Part of the game with novels is to put something intriguing in the first paragraph, preferably the first sentence. Something that will make a browser at the airport bookstore want to read more, if just to figure out how that's even possible. Something like, "Being dead turned out to have its advantages".

I kind of make a game of reading novel first lines. IMHO, starting off with an exploding moon make this one of the better ones I've seen.

Comment: Re: And it's not even an election year (Score 1) 407

stop playing star spangled banner and smell the real coffee. what worked 100 years ago is not applicable now. the workforce is too crowded, the unemployment is sky high and we are borderline on depression, again and again. is that a time you think of as a 'work surplus' era?

WTH are you talking about? Unemployment right now is 5.5, which is well within the range it sat at from 2002 to 2008 before the recession started. The recession ended back in June of 2009 (6 freaking years ago). Our GDP (how recessions are officially measured) has been in the same range it was from 2002-2007 since then.

Most of the rest of your comment doesn't feel right to me either. I see no reason why sociological forces that built the USA would have suddenly stopped working the way they always did before. Normally I wouldn't bring up my "feelings", but since you seem to put more stock in how the economy feels than how it is really provably doing, perhaps that's relevant too.

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.