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Comment More hypocrisy! (Score 4, Insightful) 255

It's amusing how the telecoms can, when addressing consumers, really stress how important and amazing it is to have legitimately high bandwidth (e.g. Comcast telling me that I need at least 50 mbits downstream if more than one person lives in my home) and yet, when addressing regulators, say that most people don't need more than 4 mbits. Not surprising, but amusing. Do they think that regulators don't see their ads?

Comment Almost always (Score 1) 133

do what is more interesting to you. You will have more fun, and enjoy it more, and therefore probably be better at it. If/when money becomes an issue, being good at something that you love leaves you well positioned to leverage it to make more money. Being mediocre at something that you don't care much about is unlikely to be very lucrative. You can get valuable (demonstrable) experience by, for example, contributing to open-source projects. Showing that you're decent at programming is more important for most decent employers than showing that you've got any particular degree.

Comment One wrinkle with this notion (Score 1) 597

...whose principles actually seem pretty good to me. But I can imagine that people would start not-quite-graduating from college. Employers would realize that 7/8 of a college degree is almost as valuable as 8/8, and make accommodations for it. Of course there are ways around this (tax based on the number of classes you took?), but it detracts from the notion's superficial elegance. The ways around this could probably also be gamed.

Comment Re:Speaking as a non-American... (Score 5, Insightful) 1144

Please note that many of the "right-wingers" got elected by GERRYMANDERING THEIR DISTRICTS, which is why there's a hefty Republican majority in the House despite the fact that a respectable majority of overall House votes went to Democrats. The American people are pretty much split right down the middle in terms of ideology (that respectably majority was respectable, not overwhelming). We are overwhelmingly in favor, however, of not shutting down government, of not having a dysfunctional congress, and of not playing childish hostage games with real consequences just to demonstrate displeasure with a passed law.

Comment Calculations omit one tiny detail (Score 4, Insightful) 208

As they point out in the article, the tremendous bandwidth achieved does not include the logistics or time required to initially copy the data onto SD cards, and then back off of the cards upon reaching the destination. Still, beats a flock of parrots trained in Morse code.

Comment Re:Customer Service (Score 1) 513

I'm a reasonably savvy internet shopper, capable of looking at newegg, tigerdirect, searching with google, browsing "hot deals" fora at e.g. anandtech, etc... I don't buy a whole lot, but I've found hard drives several times, a video card (Radeon 4890), and a flatscreen TV for less at my local Best Buy than I could anywhere mail-order. Not trying to say they're universally awesome or anything, just saying personally, I've had no reason to complain, and in a non-trivial number of cases they've been the best option (though in all fairness, if I *did* need a cheap keyboard or something, I'd probably rather spend $20 and six minutes going to Best Buy---it's pretty much on my way home from work---rather than $10 and four days and the environmental impact of a personalized shipment to my door from NewEgg)

Comment Re:Customer Service (Score 1) 513

I guess I'm in the minority, but I've actually got a pretty positive outlook on them. Most of the time, I can find what I'm looking for there, and it's often at a price competitive with the best I can find online. I've had employees range from friendly-but-incompetent to moderately helpful, and never overly pushy. They've always been extremely accommodating about returns, or about refunding me money when they drop the price on something shortly after I buy it. Maybe my local store is an exception, but if they were gone I would occasionally miss them.

Comment Re:It depends on your definition of addiction. (Score 3, Insightful) 354

Things like alcohol, tobacco, addictive drugs in general, gambling, sex, shopping, and video games - all these things *DO* chemically alter your brain! Not because they add external chemicals to your brain (though some of them obviously do) but because they stimulate the release of neurotransmitters. All the activities I mentioned (and, as far as I know, anything that can be addictive) can activate reward centers in the brain. This can lead to addiction - your brain grows used to the release of these neurotransmitters, in their absence you crave their presence, etc... While video games obviously don't inject chemicals into the body, they can stimulate the release of, for example, dopamine in the ventral tegmental area. Just because it comes from within your body doesn't mean it can't get you addicted. Yes, I play video games. Yes, I'm a neuroscientist. No, this isn't my specific field, so don't take anything I say as particularly authoritative - I may well have gotten some things wrong.

He's dead, Jim.