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Comment: Re:This is the solution how? (Score 2) 66

by Tx (#48803885) Attached to: South Africa Begins Ambitious Tablets In Schools Pilot Project

Content is key whether it is online or in a book. Handing out hardware doesn’t solve the content problem.

Good thing they're not just handing out hardware then.

FTA: "As with Sunward Park, the schools in this new pilot will be using a centralised portal developed by Bramley’s MIB Software for managing tablets and aggregating educational content into a single portal. MIB’s backend pulls in CAPS aligned digital textbooks from the likes of Via Afrika as well as extra resources from around the web."

Comment: Re:everytime this is tired (Score 2) 66

by Tx (#48803771) Attached to: South Africa Begins Ambitious Tablets In Schools Pilot Project

Just because it's been done wrong in the past doesn't mean it can't be done right in the future, although it doesn't bode well that this particular project appears to have been rushed, and significant questions not answered in detail. However there's nothing wrong with the theory; access to textbooks, collaboration and communications tools, monitoring of students progress while they perform activities (and as the article mentions, monitoring of teachers as well), the list of potential benefits to using tablets or laptops as a central educational tool is long. At some point, someone is going to get it right and actually realize many of the potential advantages.

Comment: Re:Established science CANNOT BE QUESTIONED! (Score 3, Informative) 719

by Tx (#48633471) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Of course such people exist. There is no science whatsoever that says that the earth is only 6000 years old, for example, so creationists who believe that are simply denying the science. They don't question the science, they reject it; there's a difference.

I use that as an example because it is more clear-cut than the climate issue, where there are a lot of people who hold a spectrum of views which are probably somewhere between being very skeptical and being outright deniers, but for sure there are those who pretty clearly aren't interested in any science that says man-made climate change might be real.

Comment: Re:Established science CANNOT BE QUESTIONED! (Score 5, Informative) 719

by Tx (#48633243) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

The whole point of emphasising the difference between an actual sceptic and a denier is that the sceptic questions the science, whereas the denier ignores it entirely. The scientists and others referred to in the article have no problem with the actual sceptics. Questioning the science is fine, disregarding it is not.

Comment: Re:"Computer" failure? (Score 4, Informative) 68

by Tx (#48582653) Attached to: Computer Error Grounds Flights In the UK

The Register is reporting that it's actually a power failure, apparently according to a Heathrow Airport spokesperson.

“There is a power outage at the NATS control centre in Swanwick, which is affecting UK airspace. Flights are currently experiencing delays and we will update passengers as soon as we have more information," said a spokesman from Heathrow as the effects of the outage spread.

You'd think that such systems would have fully redundant power supply infrastructure though, so maybe that's misinformation.

Comment: Re:The thing that made the Sinclairs popular ... (Score 4, Informative) 110

by Tx (#48544521) Attached to: Spectrum Vega: A Blast From the Past

Not only that,but according to the article on The Register last week, they haven't actually got the games yet, they are just hoping that the rights holders are going to come forward and give permission for them to include the games for free. They've sent out a letter to the rights holders, no idea if they've had any replies yet. So even the games are in question.

Comment: Re:Bad sign. (Score 1) 222

by Tx (#48425929) Attached to: Lessons Learned From Google's Green Energy Bust

I think this speaks a lot about how companies and the population are increasingly thinking in rather short terms and how little respect the modern tech elite have for those who came before them. There seems to be this attitude that difficult problems are only unsolved because the 'wrong' people have looked at it and flush with arrogance for solving comparatively simple internet related ones they believe that they are smarter and thus will quickly tackle what those 'researchers' and 'old fogies' could not.

I don't think that accurately reflects the attitude, although it might sometimes seem that way. There is nothing wrong with thinking that coming at old problems from a new direction, with fresh ideas, and bringing the latest science and technology to bear on the problems, might throw up new solutions. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Having respect for "those who came before" doesn't mean assuming that problems can't be solved just because they haven't been solved already.

Comment: Re:jury (Score 1) 200

by Tx (#48333099) Attached to: Amazon's Luxembourg Tax Deals

There is a big difference between an allowance and a loophole; where you are allowed to write down xyx against your tax bill, that is an intended tax allowance by your tax authority, put in play for whatever reason - balancing the tax system, encouraging certain types of spending, buying votes, etc. Such allowances are all part of making sure everyone pays a fair amount of tax, and everyone ultimately benefits.

A loophole however is not intended; a loophole is legal only because governments have not figured out how to close it. Clearly Amazon is expected to pay some tax on its non-US earnings, and it's not. This is not in any way the intent of the governments of the countries in which Amazon operates. Taking advantage of such loopholes benefits nobody except Amazon; taxpayers in the countries that Amazon operates in are deprived of tax revenue that would benefit them directly, and local competitors to Amazon who do pay their taxes are squeezed and put out of business, ultimately again to the detriment of everyone except Amazon.

Comment: Re:Finally a unique, original idea from Microsoft (Score 1) 135

by Tx (#48277999) Attached to: Microsoft Enters the Wearables Market With 'Band'

To be fair, nobody has really hit a mass-market sweet spot with this class of device yet, so it's worth a shot for Microsoft, normally they are later to the party than that. Although personally I think they've gone too niche with the health focus and the $200 price tag, and I wouldn't bet against you on the Microsoft Band being discontinued in a couple of years. Maybe they just wan to dip their toes in the water of the wearables market for now, and this is a fairly low-key, unambitious start that will pave the way for the Microsoft Watch :).

Comment: Re:Scripted content (Score 1) 40

by Tx (#47918095) Attached to: Browser To Facilitate Text Browsing In Emergencies

Umm, did you read the article yourself?

"The backend takes the url, gets the HTML source of the website, minifies it, gets rid of the css, Javascript, and images, [...]"

That's quoted in the article from the projects own gihub page. CSS, JavaScript, and images are removed. Hardly "rendered normally".

Comment: Re: So-to-speak legal (Score 5, Interesting) 418

by Tx (#47907941) Attached to: Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

"Then TOR will be wrapped by a VPN service, and Comcast will be fscked."

Let's not forget that rights holders are already calling for VPN users to be assumed to be criminals. So it's far from impossible that what they're doing for TOR now, they may do for VPNs later. Sure they would have to have some sort of system to allow "approved" VPN connections, so that people who need them for work wouldn't be screwed, but I wouldn't rule it out.

Comment: Re:What is a customer? (Score 1) 290

by Tx (#47888099) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

FTA: " This doesn't mean that every incoming email should now be checked and processed individually by a Google employee, the court said. But the company has to provide the possibility for users to contact it via email, it said. It was left up to Google how to deal with future incoming email."

So it seems to me that the court is not saying every customer email has to be individually checked. Maybe it would be sufficient for someone to have responsibility to look at a sampling of emails to that mailbox, that would satisfy the "possibility" of users contacting Google that way.

"If Google does not change its conduct, it could be fined up to €250,000 about US$323,000), the court said."

Alternatively since that fine is so small in Google terms, if it's a one-off, maybe they should just pay it and carry on. I wonder how long it would take for further action to result if they did that.

Comment: Re:What they don't tell you (Score 4, Insightful) 588

by Tx (#47805843) Attached to: Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

Easy to make such glib statements, but the whole point is to find out what is the ideal balanced diet. Both the groups in this study were eating all the things you'd include in your balanced diet, however the low carb group took a greater proportion of their calories in the form of fat, whereas the low fat group too a greater proportion in the form of carbs.

Comment: Re:Ecosystem (Score 5, Insightful) 108

by Tx (#47799653) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

"If the Passenger Pigeon has been extinct for this long, it's safe to say that ecosystems have adjusted to their demise."
If the ecosystems can adjust to their demise, then surely they could equally well adjust to their return?

"Let's not see what the consequences of re-introducing them are."
Why not? I'm curious.

"There is no way to predict the effect."
There 's no way to predict the effect of any given action or inaction. For all you know, reintroducing passenger pigeons could be the best thing ever to happen to the North American environment.

"If they are planning and engineering these hybrids just to study their work in captivity, well, that is just as wrong."
Why is it just as wrong? Something isn't true just because you say it is; try to provide some rationale behind the statement. You've stated concerns about re-introducing the critters to the wild, so surely studying them in captivity is the perfect solution.

Fundamentally, there may be no basis for anything.