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Comment: Yup, it's not paper costs, it's publishing et al (Score 1) 419

by ZirbMonkey (#34017544) Attached to: Colleges May Start Forcing Switch To eTextbooks

I had a few classes where we didn't have a textbook, but rather the professor had us buy a packet of note slides as the textbook replacement. It still cost us $15 a book, yet was essentially 50 pages of double-side copy paper put into a plastic ring binding and paper-card cover. The only reason for charging $15 a book was because that's how much kinkos charged to bind the pages together.

Publishers charge a 'decent' fee to print, bind, and ship textbooks. That's why they cost so damn much, especially when it's a specialized class with a limited print pushed through. They got equipment to pay off and executive under salary. And everyone wants a profit from each slice of the process. But $140 a book is a total scam.

I wish all my classes gave me the option of printing my books at kinkos for $15.

Comment: Re:what's the big deal? (Score 1) 434

by ZirbMonkey (#32736892) Attached to: Subscription-Based 'Hulu Plus' Is Now Official

> $10/month to watch 720p TV instead of $100/month to watch 720p TV.

If Hulu could actually replace cable you might have a point.

It can't.

Plus, the $100/month level cable service is going to have content that Hulu will only see when Netflix gets it.

My brother pays about $200/mo so he has the privilege of watching HBO, Showtime, and on-demand movies. I'm happily paying $40/mo for just my Internet and Netflix, and frequently have netflix discs sitting around for a week because I don't have time to watch them yet. If you enjoy watching 60+ hours a week of TV, the perhaps you're happy to pay $200/mo to sit on your couch and watch everything avaiable. I figure I'm a mere 10-20 hours a week, and just don't see the value in paying for content I don't have time to watch.

Just because super-sizing your fast food meal gives you more calories for the money doesn't mean that the guy declining the "extra value meal" isn't getting his fill.

Comment: Re:what's the big deal? (Score 1) 434

by ZirbMonkey (#32736612) Attached to: Subscription-Based 'Hulu Plus' Is Now Official

For me, the free version of hulu already has replaced my cable. I now only have a single internet bill ($30/mo for 6Mbps), which is FAR less than my previous comcast cable bundle ($60+ for horrible service and shoddie channel "choice"). I regularly missed the TV shows I wanted to watch anyways since I spend less than 2 hours a day in front of my TV, and participate in other non-couch related activities.

Netflix has already takes up half my "TV time" with Hulu filling out the other half where I catch up on my weekly shows like Office, House, Lost, SG-U, and the rest of those shows that are done for the season with and Networks that have nothing new to offer until the new Fall schedule.

$10/mo for "premium content" that's better than basic cable and at my own convenient schedule seems like a very competitive service. But that' depends entirely on just what kinds of additional shows and features the actual service ends up offering.

Comment: Thank You! (Score 1) 981

by ZirbMonkey (#32730348) Attached to: The Tuesday Birthday Problem

Yes, I read through the article. Yes, I understand the "basics" of probability. Yes, I know how to do statistics.

And Tuesday IS irrelevant.

Anyone trying to say otherwise, quipping that "it depends" is doing the problem wrong and making a classic mistake of correlating a statistic that doesn't affect the outcome. Those who go through the mental gymanstics of making it matter are forcing an outcome that truly is not associated with the problem.

Comment: Re:What math? (Score 1) 476

by ZirbMonkey (#32519094) Attached to: iPhone 4's "Retina Display" Claims Challenged

I did the math:
300 ppi = 0.00333 inches per pixel
at 12 inches, sin(0.00333/12) = 0.00028 rad = 0.016 degrees = 0.95 arcminutes
at 18 inches, sin(0.00333/18) = 0.00019 rad = 0.011 degrees = 0.64 arcminutes

if the human eye is 0.6 arcminutes as stated in the article, you do get a retinal display at 18" from your face, which should be the distance you hold a phone from your face... not 12"

Slashdot is full of nerds. You got to expect a handful of them to do basic trig.

Comment: Re:Great for filtering, but - (Score 1) 327

by ZirbMonkey (#32499984) Attached to: Cloth Successfully Separates Oil From Gulf Water

It would make a great oil sponge, but you'd need to ring out the cloth every minute. But at least you'd have a method for pulling oil out of the water. Perhaps trolling long sheets of it, and ringing out the oil every time it's rolled in...

When the cloth repels oil, the cloth stays porous, and water keeps passing through. You can literally herd the oil like catching fish. I'm not sure how salt and ocean debris would make the filter work in the real ocean The oleophobic cloth filter would plug up with everything else.

Comment: Re:Planned obsolescene is in common (Score 1) 398

by ZirbMonkey (#32351440) Attached to: The Fashion Industry As a Model For IP Reform

In fashion, women are required to constantly buy new clothes lest they be considered "frumpy". Last year's clothes are perfectly good, quality-wise, but a culture has been created by which anyone who wears them is subject to public ridicule. The point of all this is to keep the fashion industry's pockets full. What kind of developer, oops I mean designer, doesn't enjoy working on new designs? They want everyone buying the latest greatest design, even if it's not as good as last year's.

I know many a doctor who make six figures wearing scrubs all year round. No one thinks less of them for it either.

Women are not required to constantly buy new clothes. They aren't required to wear makeup either. They aren't required to drive BMWs and Benz while talking on their iPhone. They aren't required to wear 6" stilletos with a matching hand bag.

The above list is vanity, conspicuous consumption, and the need to feel attractive and desirable to others. People do these things voluntarily, without anyone forcing them to.

Comment: Dear Science Layman (Score 2, Insightful) 269

by ZirbMonkey (#31920042) Attached to: Anti-Cancer Agent Stops Metastasis In Its Tracks

The purpose of submitting one's research to a publishing company like Nature is peer review. Once a paper is submitted, Nature goes through the task of tracking down other experts in the field. These experts are use their valuable time to analyze, critique, understand, and provide educated proofing that if/when an article is published, the science is verifiable, testable, and valid. Inevitably, many of the papers submitted don't make it past the reviewing process. There's very substantial administrative costs in coordinating all this reviewing as it marches towards being publishable. It ensures every issue contains valid and worthy results that meet high standards. And there's lots of projects fighting for the same ink space.

Then there's the cost of publishing the ink and paper.

Nature can't/doesn't pay for all this cost through ad revenue. Instead, other research institutions buck up to pay a substantial subscription fee to receive the newest results and advances available. Published scientists also receive notoriety in their field, opening up their careers to new projects with more funding. If you wish to read up on the latest issue of Nature or any other science journals, you can easily find them at your nearest university library for free viewing. Universities are happy to pay the subscription fess, since they are running these research programs in an attempt to get their university name in those very same journals.

Comment: +1 SPCR (Score 1) 199

by ZirbMonkey (#31816870) Attached to: How Neuros Built Their Nearly Silent HTPC

When I converted my old AMD system into an HTPC, I spent a ton of time reading reviews and How-To's at SPCR. I'm now extremely happy with it, since the TV (on mute) makes more noise than my HTPC. Sitting in the corner of the room, you need to check for the blue LED to know it's on. I'm running an undervolted quad core with a giant heat sink and 500RPM fan (which can actually be turned off) a passively cooled video card (again with a large heat sink) low RPM hard drives for movie storage, all in an acoustically padded case with more 500RPM fans to maintain a minimal air flow.

Anyone committed to making a silent PC can do it with off-the-shelf parts now a days. It's a dead simple formula: Low Power Components + Large Heat Sinks + Low RPM Fans + Quality Acoustic Case = Silent.

PC Games (Games)

Game Devs On the Future of PC Gaming 375

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-ubisoft-all-the-time dept.
Shacknews wraps up a developer panel at PAX East discussing the future of gaming on the PC. They cover topics including DRM, digital download platforms and cloud-based gaming services. "Joe Kreiner of Terminal Reality: 'If you look at it from a giant publisher perspective, then the numbers on the PC just really don't make financial sense for you to bother with it. But if you start out with the mindset — you know, you're targeting that group, you make a niched product that's going [to] do well, if you look at a lot of the titles on Steam, Torchlight's a really good example — as long as you know that's your audience to begin with, and you make something inside of a budget that you know you're going to be selling those kinds of numbers, you can be very successful. I think it just takes a targeted developer. ... There is no [PC] platform, really. It's just a mish-mosh of hardware, an operating system that kind of supports games. The problem with that platform is, there's no standards and piracy is rampant, so why would we want to make a video game for that platform unless you had some sort of draconian DRM thing to keep it from being stolen?"
Image

NHS Should Stop Funding Homeopathy, Says Parliamentary Committee 507

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-am-I-going-to-align-my-chakras-now dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Homeopathic remedies work no better than placebos, and so should no longer be paid for by the UK National Health Service, a committee of British members of parliament has concluded. In preparing its report, the committee, which scrutinizes the evidence behind government policies, took evidence from scientists and homeopaths, and reviewed numerous reports and scientific investigations into homeopathy. It found no evidence that such treatments work beyond providing a placebo effect." Updated 201025 19:40 GMT by timothy: This recommendation has some people up in arms.

Biology is the only science in which multiplication means the same thing as division.

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