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Comment: Re:Not Really a Fact (Score 1) 515

by VendingMenace (#40161007) Attached to: The Poor Waste More Time On Digital Entertainment

your summary that "families that are hopeless at decision making often end up poor," is (i) technically correct, (ii) an awful exaggeration of the article's position, (iii) grammatically poor, and (iv) totally useless. Now, if you could tell us in what way they make bad decisions, you might be onto something. Or maybe, what the bad decisions actually are. Which is sort of what the article points to.

Basically, if you cannot see the utility of the study, then it is unlikely that you will ever deserve a PhD.

Comment: Re:That Moment (Score 1) 414

by VendingMenace (#40134365) Attached to: 350-Year-Old Newton's Puzzle Solved By 16-Year-Old

There are three things to say to this:

First, saying that he was just "lucky" is ridiculous. There have been several decades, at least, during which children were taught algebra as a matter of course. In those decades, no one else solved this problem. Please recognize that this solution required a brilliant moment of insight -- aka genius -- in order to solve. Does this mean that he will ALWAYS have these insights? No. But that doesn't mean that this was not, in itself, a work of genius.

Second, even if he never has another moment of genius, he is still pretty damn smart. AND he is willing to work hard. I would rather hire a smart, hard working person, than someone that tries to denigrate this hard work as "lucky." In fact, I would probably rather hire that guy than a true genius that wasn't willing to work hard.

Third, what, exactly, do you think we should idolize people for? We give out medals of honor for a single act of bravery. Should we say, "Meh, sure that guy did something awesome, but he probably won't save another whole platoon on his own again"? Or, for the Pulitzer Prize, do we say "Sure this is the best book this year, but he probably won't write the best book of NEXT year"? Even Nobel prizes are given out for a single discovery and a single (or just a few) papers. I would say that this kid deserves recognition. Just because you haven't done anything as awesome in your life, doesn't mean that we shouldn't recognize people that do.

Comment: Re:Same reason as before... (Score 2) 530

by VendingMenace (#39930027) Attached to: Why You Don't Want a $99 Xbox 360

What are they?

The library is free.
Walking in parks is free.
Joining local clubs is often free.
Shooting hoops at a park is awful cheap, on an hourly basis.
If you have the ability to play video games you have a TV. Over the air TV is free.
Hanging out with friends can be free.
Learning to play the guitar is as cheap as a used guitar.
Jogging is cheap.
etc...

Comment: Re:What's counter-intuitive about it? (Score 1) 139

by VendingMenace (#39808193) Attached to: Solar Cells That Emit Light Break Efficiency Record

This is so wrong, it isn't even funny. For instance, Red Dye #40 is a great absorber of light, but has a quantum yield of emission of near zero (unless you think your red Kool Aid is fluorescent). Also, plants do a great job of absorbing light, but they aren't very good emitters, either.

This is the sort of thing that happens when someone sees one equation written in a textbook and then assumes that it actually describes the real world.

Comment: Re:How much did they spend on typewriters? (Score 1) 159

by VendingMenace (#36477832) Attached to: The Government's Gadget Habit

Let's just look at the xbox. Pretend for a second that an xbox costs $250. That means that the US government, over 10 years has bought a whopping 2000 xboxes. The ENTIRE government. Not that much really. I can think of lots of reasons why they might buy them

- gift to a diplomat
- bribes for information
- for use by troops overseas as a moral booster
- a cheap way to set-up a media box for presentations
- etc

I mean, seriously, anyone who is really concerned with why the government bought a measly 2000 xboxes, is a person who has lost all perspective on reality.

Comment: Re:So now they attack reason... (Score 4, Insightful) 289

by VendingMenace (#36448778) Attached to: Reason Seen More As a Weapon Than a Path To Truth

So now "The Journal of Behavioral and Brain Sciences" qualifies as "the media"?

I think the rant that you just went through is a good demonstration that you may not have the reasoning skills that you think you do. Perhaps, instead of an uniformed knee-jerk reaction, you could actually think about what is being said and (more to the point for your argument) who is saying it.

It seems to me that the article is reporting on a series of papers from cognitive and social scientists who are asking some questions concerning the evolution of consciousness and rationality. Interesting questions, at that.

Moreover, either you didn't actually read the article, OR you have terrible reading comprehension. One of the points in the article is that reasoning evolved as a way to "help us convince others and to be careful when others try to convince us." Thus, they are saying that reasoning is a useful tool.

In short, the article states that reasoning is a good tool and is important. However, they are wondering why it came into existence. An interesting question. I would suggest you read and reason through the article next time, rather than post something that demonstrates that you have done neither.

Comment: Re:Not funny (Score 1) 375

by VendingMenace (#36341928) Attached to: Student Suspended For Posting On YouTube

does whether or not you like it have anything to do with the story, his rights, or what the school board did?

I guess I just don't understand what contribution your opinion concerning the quality of the video has for this discussion. I doubt anyone here was dying to know what the might tsa thought about the video. And as you so adroitly pointed out, how good or bad the video is has no bearing on his right to post it.

I am actually being serious here. There really is no need for you to comment on it. There is no need for you to be so condescending. There is no need for you to offer criticism that is not constructive. If anything, your response to the film is much more juvenile than the video itself, as it amounts to yelling "I don't like it. Don't do that!" Why does anyone else care? And more importantly, why come down so negatively on a person that is showing some amount of self-motivation, creativity, and intellect? Why discourage a motivated child needlessly?

In short, why hate?

Comment: Re:All I can say is (Score 1) 309

by VendingMenace (#36324584) Attached to: Lack of Technology Puts Star Wars Series On Hold

And let's be honest. Only eps 5 is actually a *good* movie. Eps 4 is only good because of the very strong characters and setting. The story is only so-so. Eps 6 is only good because it is riding on the shoulders of 5 and the viewer is still caught up in what happened in eps 5. Eps 5 is actually a spectacular movie, from almost any standpoint. The fact that the tension from 5 carries all the way through 6 is just that much more telling.

Comment: What is copied? (Score 1) 221

by VendingMenace (#36177620) Attached to: Academic Publishers Ask The Impossible In GSU Copyright Suit

I guess I have a skewed perspective, being that I have really only experienced science classes (or lower division non-science classes). But in almost all of these, there is very little copied material. Things are taught out of a book (or books) that the students are responsible for acquiring access to. While the students may obtain copies on their own, the professor would never disseminate them.

Are things different in other fields? Are there areas where classes are taught primarily from copied materials? If so, why is this done, instead of just picking a selection of books? Is it that there are no adequate books? If so, then why don't people write them?

Sorry for all the questions. As I said above, I am pretty ignorant on this topic.

Comment: Re:No! It is really, really bad. (Score 3) 2288

by VendingMenace (#35891800) Attached to: Why Does the US Cling To Imperial Measurements?

The imperial system units only appear fucked up to our modern perspective.

Right now, measuring things is a relatively simple procedure. We have tools to divide thing up as we wish. Want to saw a 1 meter board into 1/3rd of a meter? No sweat, just divide it by 3 and measure out 33.333... cm to whatever precision you wish. Doesn't mater that this is a rather difficult number to deal with in the real world. We have gates we can dial in the distance we want with digital readouts and whatnot.

But now consider being a dude trying to build a house in 16th century. You would like to make sure that your corners are square and you happen to know that a 3-4-5 triangle will give you a right angle. Cool. Not too hard to divide a rope into three equal sections or four equal sections either. Just fold it into thirds for the "3" unit and in half twice for the "4" unit. However, what this means is that your desire for square corners dictates that the natural units that you are working in are 3 and 4. Thus, it makes sense that the "total" unit should be divisible by 3 AND 4. So...12. This is why the foot is twelve inches -- some dude a long time ago wanted to build a house with square corners.

The metric system would have been totally unnatural for a person in the 16th century -- as it is only divisible by 2 and 5. In our world where machines handle both the math and the measurement, this is OK. If you don't have these fancy instruments, it is not.

Comment: Re:Sounds like... (Score 1) 232

by VendingMenace (#35515262) Attached to: Apple Moves To Stop Kids Racking Up iTunes Bills

As it turns out, the kid does not have to own the smart phone to operate it.

Consider this: you are a parent with:
          (a) A smart phone
          (b) a young child.

Now, you are hanging out with your offspring one day and he (its a son, ok?) expresses interest in your phone. Wanting to be a good parent and wishing to educate your child about the world that he is growing up in, you explain what the phone is, what you use it for, and how it works. Since playing with something is a better way to learn about it than getting a lecture on it, you let him play with your phone some. He opens and closes apps and the like. Seems like fun -- but does it have to only have boring email aps, he wants to know? No, you tell him, you can play games. So you go to the app store and buy a game called Smurfville (or whatever) and show it to him. He thinks it is cool and that is it. You just taught your child something. Congrats on being a parent.

Now, a few weeks later, one of the following things occur:
(1) Your child takes your phone from your purse and (since you were kind enough to teach him how it works) he opens Smurfville. Then he plays it some and is like, "Gee, wish I had some of these smurfberries that they are offering to give me..." And now you are out some money.

(2) You are at your friends how and you son expresses and interest in seeing you phone. Sure, you tell him, just don't make any calls (don't need him calling the boss do you?). Things then proceed to play out as above...

(3) You leave your phone out on a desk. Your son finds it...

(4) Your spouse/boyfriend lets you son play with your phone, since your spouse/boyfriend saw your son playing with it one day...

(5) etc

I think you get the point. In none of this scenarios does your child own a phone. However, in all of them you have just bought some smurfberries.

Perhaps instead of ranting against parents that they need to be aware of every little thing that their child is doing, we can just agree that life is complicated and somethings are nice not to have to worry about all the time? I mean, kids do stupid stuff all the time. Stupid stuff that costs real money. Good kids. With good attentive parents. Why wouldn't you take steps to help limit the potential for that damage?

Comment: Re:Bad summary (Score 1) 469

by VendingMenace (#35470676) Attached to: Gamer Banned From <em>Dragon Age II</em> Over Forum Post

Oh man. I couldn't decide whether or not to post something similar. But then it seemed childish to defend myself on the internet. But now I HAVE to post.

My favorite part of this is that I was accused of posting the single most idiotic comment on the internet. However, the poster clearly did not read the original post correctly. And as such, his reply to my post is more idiotic than my post -- the post he claimed was the most idiotic thing on the internet.

What really makes me really happy is that since his post is more idiotic than the post he himself claimed to be the most idiotic (my original post), then by some sort of transitive property, his post is now the most idiotic thing on the internet. By his own words!

I honestly don't care about the anonymous guy or his critique of my post. It is just too deliciously recursive to have a person accidentally assign himself as the biggest idiot on the internet. Awesome!

Comment: Re:Bad summary (Score 2) 469

by VendingMenace (#35454108) Attached to: Gamer Banned From <em>Dragon Age II</em> Over Forum Post

I guess I get your point, which is essentially, companies need to realize that people will pirate their games and so they should not provide impetus for this behavior. However, the truth of this statement makes me sad. What about the old-fashioned option of not buying the game *and* not stealing it? Why is it necessary to play the game at all?

I guess what gets me is that people seem to feel that they have an inherent right to play games. Thus, if they cannot afford the game or they disagree with the designer's policies (ie. DRM) they will just pirate it. As if they are fully in the right. As if DRM is a license to steal and its use validates their choice for piracy. The reasoning being (I suppose) that this is the only way to play the game. However, the fact remains that they could have just chosen *not* to play the game at all.

I suppose that I am a bit more ok with buying a game, and then pirating it as well, so that you don't have DRM to deal with, but you still supporting the company. So that sucks. So my solution is to not buy or play the game at all. Does this really make so little sense? Is playing games so important for your well-being that you must resort to piracy?

I know this makes me seem like a stick in the mud, but I thought I would throw my two cents in. Note: I am not saying that I disagree with your post. In fact, I think it is an accurate assessment of what happens. It just makes me sad that people assume they *have* to play game XYZ so much that there is no other option than pirating it. I mean there is a whole world out there. They still haven't put DRM on having a conversation with a friend...

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

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