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Comment Will question headlines ever go away? (Score -1, Offtopic) 213

I know these are kindof a backup plan in jounalism when you have nothing real to report, but can we please avoid these FUD articles headlined by a doubtfully posed rhetorical questions and little or no content? If you can answer the headline with 'yes' or 'no' and move on, it was probably a waste of time and ultimately pointless.

Comment Same Shit, Different Day (Score 5, Insightful) 258

It's incredibly frustrating that these 'sponsors' will continue to ram legislation down our collective throats such as this, when it clearly is against the general good and serves only private interests. Even if a bill such as SOPA gets defeated in the public spotlight thanks to major protest campaigning, it just shows up a couple months later under a different name. The tragedy is you can't get people interested in fighting 'the man' every week. I was very pleasantly surprised by the general outcry when SOPA was being pushed through, but I seriously doubt you can rally that kind of support every time these legislators bow to lobbying pressure and essentially copypasta their last draconian bill and rename it without any effort at all. How are you supposed to fight this kind of system (a term I generally avoid in this kind of context, but is rather fitting), when it's painfully obvious that the common man really has far too little say in government?

Comment The Volt is still a flop (Score 0) 443

It's understandable that emerging markets like electric vehicles will experience growing pains, but the Japanese offerings still make the Volt look pitiful, as far as the electric powertrain side goes. Even if you concede that the fire issues were mostly journalistic hyperbole, it still didn't meet any of the expected sales figures. If anything, I think it's evidence of stagnation of development from 'Detroit'. Not that foreign competition is anything new, but I'm afraid that GM is going to get shut out of this market in the future before it even has a real chance.

Submission + - How Companies Learn Your Secrets

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Now the NY Times Magazine reports on how companies like Target to identify those unique moments in consumers’ lives when their shopping habits become particularly flexible and the right advertisement or coupon can cause them to begin spending in new ways. Among life events, none are more important than the arrival of a baby and new parents are a retailer’s holy grail so in 2002, marketers at Target asked statisticians to answer an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that?" Specifically, the marketers said they wanted to send specially designed ads to women in their second trimester, which is when most expectant mothers begin buying all sorts of new things, like prenatal vitamins and maternity clothing. “We knew that if we could identify them in their second trimester, there’s a good chance we could capture them for years,” says statistician Andrew Pole. “As soon as we get them buying diapers from us, they’re going to start buying everything else too." As Pole’s computers crawled through the data, he was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a “pregnancy prediction” score and he soon had a list of tens of thousands of women who were most likely pregnant. About a year after Pole created his pregnancy-prediction model, a man walked into a Target outside Minneapolis and demanded to see the manager. He was clutching coupons that had been sent to his daughter, and he was angry. “My daughter got this in the mail!” he said. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?” The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again but the father was somewhat abashed. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”"

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"