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Comment: Re:GMOs have so many different problems (Score 3, Insightful) 187 187

Some of the greatest research ever done was done in Universities with grant money with no thought of any commercial applications.

Yes, but most of it wasn't.

Obviously commercialisation and testing is a different issue, that is where capital becomes relevant.

Commercialization and testing are almost entirely irrelevant compared to the capital required to research and develop new technologies...particularly in biology/medicine.

As with most things, this shouldn't be a black or white "patents are good" or "patents are evil". The question is how long should patent protection last and when should patent protection start. Some people think forever, others think zero years. The answer is most likely somewhere between those two :-).

I will agree that with the rate of technological change today, the current 20 year protection is ridiculous. Technologies are typically woefully outdated by the time patents expire. IMHO patents should last significantly less time than currently (say 5 years or so), and should require that the product be commercially produced within some reasonable amount of time after applying for the patent.

Knowledge should be it's own reward.

Unfortunately, you can't eat, drink, live in or wear knowledge. At some point monetary compensation is required. The question is how much and how is this compensation provided.

Comment: Terrible Analysis (Score 4, Insightful) 250 250

Stick with program managing, Justin. Actually, given you were responsible for Silverlight, find some other career entirely.

If you check Perl, Java, PHP or C++ on, you will see exactly the same trends.

If you perform his same terrible analysis of the TIOBE index, PHP, C++, VB.NET, Objective-C are all going to collapse. Apparently Java has been "heading for collapse" since 2004.

People who can't do statistics shouldn't report on them.

The problem does not appear to be that C# is becoming less popular (than other languages), it's appears that custom application development as a whole is becoming less popular than it was a few years ago.

This may be due to the economy, outsourcing, mobile platforms or whatever. You can't suddenly pull reasons out of your ass like this being due to "Microsoft’s ever revolving door of new technologies", despite how pissed off you are at them for shit-canning your pet project.

When doing stats on whether something is less popular, it's helpful to ask "less popular than what". Sure, it may be less popular than it used to be, but so are the competing languages. This does not indicate that the C# ecosystem is going to collapse.

Comment: Re:If there are patent issues (Score 1) 355 355

Remember VB?

Yes, I remember VB. It was the laughingstock of programming languages. I know very few developers who were anything but relieved when Microsoft put the final nail in the coffin of that abomination of a language.

Remember Silverlight? The "Flash Killer",

Yes, let's take terrible, proprietary, security-hole ridden technology and replace it with our terrible, proprietary, security-hole ridden technology. Netflix was utterly retarded for "betting the farm" on it. As such, it was never a particularly popular technology and was appropriately end-of-life'd when wiser minds at Microsoft realized there were much better ways to accomplish the same thing, and stopped investing in it.

BTW, Microsoft supported VB for 10 years after it's final version. Silverlight is still supported

I'm not sure what you are complaining about here

Comment: Re:Go Solar, it can make good financial sense. (Score 1) 259 259

That assumes that the cost of money for the installation is $0. It isn't. The opportunity cost of his install is such that it isn't economical.

Only if you assume the cost of money for his electricity is also $0.

If you assume 6% ROI and a 2% inflation rate, his break even point is at around 12 years.

At somewhere around 12% return he never breaks even.

The above assumes that electricity prices and solar panels both increase in price commensurate with inflation. This is likely not the case.

Comment: Re:Visible controllers (Score 1) 105 105

this is why keyboards like textblade, with touch sensitive keys that actually don't send an input signal until you push down will be important for vr.

with that kind of keyboard, you can have a u.i. representation of the keyboard (e.g. like if you look down) and you can tell where your fingers are by glows that correspond to what keys you're touching... but the touch doesn't mean that you are entering any text yet. it's just to orient yourself on the keyboard. then you push down on the key as normal and send commands or whatever.

Or you could have little bumps on the F and J keys to orient yourself to the keyboard. Like almost every keyboard manufactured for the last 10 years.

Textblade appears cool and all (I reserve final judgement until they actually ship anything), but I fail to see how that solves the problem of typing in a VR environment any better than a standard keyboard.

Actually I fail to see how it's a problem at all. I just closed my eyes, put my hands by my side, then reached out and started typing to type this sentence. There was a bit of adjustment while I found the F and J keys, but only a half second or so. Of course, I can touch type, but are there really that many people who both need to look at the keyboard to type and are geeky enough to want a VR device?

WTF is with Textblades website?!? I get the device is intended for tablets/phones/etc, so it's kind of cute, but that is the most most godawful annoying layout to try and navigate and get info from. Really bad idea for a new tech trying to attract buyers.

I gave up and just googled for the macrumors article instead.

Comment: Re:Hack piece (Score 5, Insightful) 126 126

It shows that the engineers designing and building these reactors are still unable to correctly predict and specify the needed hardware for it to be safe

How do you figure? The valves are faulty. Not designed incorrectly, but actually malfunctioning.

This indicates possible errors in the manufacturing/supply process. It says nothing about the design.

have to rely on checks catching these faults.

Like every other manufacturing process EVER.

Surprisingly, humans aren't perfect. Inspections are done specifically to ensure that mistakes are caught.

As far as I can tell, the process is working correctly...nothing to see here.

Comment: Re:Not shared by everyone (Score 1) 637 637

Most people in support of drastic intervention fail to grasp that we have no real alternative to fossil fuels in the pipe.

But this guy claims we could be fossil-fuel free by 2050.

I'm not exactly sure how he plans to replace every single vehicle in the USA with a hydrogen fuel-cell powered one, or install heat pumps in every single home, but I'm certain if I pay £38 for the pdf, I'll find out how.

After all, he teaches at Stanford! And he made a computer model! He must be right! /sarcasm

Overall, I agree with you. Nuclear is the best short-term solution. As a side benefit, more fission development leads to technologies which would be benefit fusion research. It would also carry us over to a (potential) time when we could switch to an entirely renewable energy economy.

I just don't understand environmentalists who are also anti-nuclear.

Comment: Re:The Dark Age returns (Score 2) 479 479

It's the primary technique that teachers are encouraged to use (again, in Canada).

Yes, and IMHO, it's been working terribly. Teachers don't understand the process, children get confused as to expectations and the "answers" are typically only vague representations of the actual knowledge that is supposed to be communicated.

I agree that inquiry based learning should be included as part of the curriculum, but a heck of a lot of learning should also be done using traditional methods. Little Johnny doesn't really need to know that these are the 6 different ways we can visualize the problem of 8 groups of 4 items. He really just needs to know that 8x4=32.

Specifically in math, we've been seeing very bad results due to inquiry-based learning, and it's starting to make parents fed up

Comment: Re:The Dark Age returns (Score 2) 479 479

At what point do statements become so ridiculous that they should be ridiculed rather than people wasting time trying to refute them

You shouldn't be trying to refute them. You should be presenting arguments for the fence-sitters that read the post who might be swayed by your argument.

Yes, there is a set of people who will never be convinced no matter how persuasive your argument is. A much larger group of people sit somewhere towards the middle who very well may be persuaded ever so slightly by a well reasoned and well presented argument.

Unfortunately, when you degrade the discussion to mindless name-calling, that can also persuades people that your you have no valid argument to make.

Comment: Re:The people (Score 3, Insightful) 479 479

I am an atheist, and I DO want religion taught in schools. In a religious studies and/or history class.

I think it is fairly ridiculous that a phenomena that has had a huge impact on history, culture, art, laws, etc throughout the world is NOT taught in school. I also believe that if children understood the variety of backgrounds/beliefs in the world they may grow up understanding people from other cultures a little better.

The beliefs themselves should be taught not as a "this is a true thing", but as a "this is something people believe", with an emphasis on historical and cultural differences.

The USA has spent a whole pile of money getting involved in a conflict that is somewhat related to religious belief. Teaching an understanding of those beliefs helps create a better formed electorate, which IMHO is one of the primary purposes of public education.

I do agree however, that religion is not something for any schools (public or private) to cover in science class. It makes about as much sense as teaching Shakespeare in math class.

Comment: Re:"stealing just like stealing anything else" (Score 5, Interesting) 408 408

Many lawyers disagree with you (see the section headed "But is faking a U.S. IP address illegal?")

"Prof. Fewer said he doubts that the use of a VPN qualified as the breaking of a digital lock on a device designed to prohibit unauthorized copying, since it merely cloaks a user’s IP address."

Comment: Re:It's not stealing. (Score 1) 408 408

If I buy a pair of jeans there is no way someone can stop me from taking them to another country.

You have heard of tarriffs, have you not?

The issue I have here is that due to free trade between the US & Canada, It is perfectly legal to go to the US, fill up my trunk with cheap US-made DVD's and bring them across the border duty free.

Apparently if I bring those exact same bits across the border via Netflix, I am an shameful, immoral thief.

Comment: Re:First sharing is stealing, now (Score 1) 408 408

No, the argument was: When you pirate a game (specifically in the sense of acquiring the game without paying the developers for it), you deprive the developers of compensation for their work. (emphasis mine)

This has two parts:
1) You acquire something
2) The developers are deprived of something.

In case (1) Game is loaned to you, the developer is deprived of nothing. The developer received compensation for the original sale.
In case (2) Buying the game used, the developer is deprived of nothing. The developer received compensation for the original sale.
In case (3) Not getting the game, you acquire nothing

I disagree that it is stealing, but for different reasons. If one accepts the definition that stealing is the acquisition of something without providing adequate compensation to the original owner, they piracy is indeed stealing.

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?