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Comment: Neil deGrasse Tyson HAS said something about race (Score 1) 458

by Valacosa (#48365929) Attached to: Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

What does Neil deGrasse Tyson have to say about racial diversity in astrophysics? That's right, nothing, so who fucking cares??

False. Neil deGrasse Tyson has an amazing story which is exactly about diversity in astrophysics. You can watch it for yourself here.

Factchecking is for winners.

Comment: That actually (sort of) makes sense. (Score 4, Interesting) 234

by Valacosa (#45861755) Attached to: Even After NSA Leaks, Government Still Trusted Over Private Firms

Ostensibly government exists to provide services. It's reasonable that one would have to provide information in the course of receiving these services. But, if a for-profit corporation is asking for personal information, it's almost assured to be part of a scheme to extract money from me.

Or to put it another way, there's only a very small chance government thugs will use my address to knock down my door, but a very large chance a company will use my address to send me spam. So I don't see why the result of the study is surprising.

Before you all flame me, I'm not American, and neither is this study.

Comment: Hopefully more clarification (Score 1) 303

by Valacosa (#38607142) Attached to: AP and 28 News Groups To Collect Fees From Aggregators

I have some answers for you:

Third-tier newspapers. Neighbourhood and college newspapers tend to be members of "newswires". That membership will grant the publication permission to print stories which are posted on the wire. Whenever a story in your city newspaper is prepended by "REUTERS" or "CANADIAN PRESS" or whatever, is a story from the wire. The Associated Press isn't forming NewsRight to chase community papers, because (at least the legitmate or mainstream papers) are already paying customers, and have been for decades.

Paraphrasing. In both American and Canadian copyright law, facts cannot be copyrighted — only creative works conveying facts (i.e. the writing itself). So paraphrasing a story is "okay" it's considered weaksauce journalism, but not illegal. Keep in mind that proper paraphrasing isn't trivial; it involves telling the story your own way, not just changing a couple of words in the original and passing it off as your own. That's "plagarism" (read: copyright infringement) and definitely illegal.

It's worth remembering that there are cases where permissive licenses are attached to text, either implicitly or explicitly. Companies want newspapers to reprint portions of their press releases (although again, "weaksauce journalism"), and occasionally there's a piece of relevant writing licensed under the Creative Commons (though these tend to be opinion pieces and columnists, not news. It's a bit more common for photos.)

I'm happy to try and answer any more questions. (I was the editor-in-chief of a university newspaper.)

Comment: Academics doesn't deserve live performances? (Score 4, Interesting) 212

by Valacosa (#38577864) Attached to: When Getting Rid of College Lectures Makes Sense

"With modern technology, if all there is is music, we don't need musicians to do it. ... Get 'em to do it once, put it on the Web, and fire the musicians."

Careful where you go with that line of thinking. And if anyone says, "there's a difference between a physics lecture, and something creative like music," I would respond that you've never had a good physics teacher. Physics is very creative, once you start getting into the upper levels.

Eric Mazur gave a talk here at the University of Waterloo, and his talk was not about getting rid of lectures, per se. That's something the NPR reporter seems to assume, to the point where (s)he inserted soundbytes from an entirely different physics prof. Mazur's focus is about making the classtime much more interactive, to give students feedback about whether or not they really grasp the concepts. Again, it's about guided creativity. And no, you can't get rid of the professor in that situation.

(Yes, I was a physics major.)

Comment: Wording of this question favours the young (Score 1) 336

by Valacosa (#36304670) Attached to: I've had a personal email account for ...

The younger you are, the younger it's possible for you to have gotten email. Old hat techies who were born in 1940 wouldn't be able to break the 50% mark no matter how hardcore they are, but anyone born 1990 or later will probably be able to truthfully pick one of the latter two options.

It's funny, because this is the opposite of how these polls usually go.

Comment: Should take more of a shrink-wrap license approach (Score 5, Funny) 581

by Valacosa (#36241252) Attached to: Doctors To Patients: First, Do No Yelp Harm

What are they thinking? The doctors aren't thinking outside the box enough. Really, instead of getting people to sign old-fashioned contracts, they should emulate the EULA. You know, by putting up a plaque in their office which says something like this:

By entering this building, you agree to transfer to this establishment copyright on all creative works you own including but not limited to written works, drawings, photographs, spoken-word works, in perpetuity.

Amateurs.

Comment: Re:Ugh (Score 2) 537

by Valacosa (#36029726) Attached to: Chinese iPad Factory Staff Forced To Sign 'No Suicide' Pledge

Without arguing that social hygene is a good idea or in some way fair, don't you have to be at least a little stupid to get involved with hiding Jews knowing that you could spend your days alternating between having to telemarket and being pounded in the ass as a result?

I mean, there's lots of things I'd like to do that I don't agree with the laws on, but orange jumpsuit is a terrible look for me and so I don't.

I know I've Godwin'd the thread, but it illustrates my point: it's a bad idea to blindly follow the law, and it's poor critical thinking to blindly condemn those who don't. There are good arguments for not getting involved with drugs, but that's not one of them.

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein

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