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Comment: Re:Sexual Harassment shouldn't cost us knowledge (Score 1) 416

by almitydave (#48604151) Attached to: MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses By Walter Lewin

He absolutely has the right to tell them what they should do. Presumably, MIT was making these educational materials available for the purpose of furthering the common good. Removing them does nothing to serve the common good, thus MIT is acting against its own goals (as we perceive them), which, logically speaking, is total bullshit.

It's a sound argument, and doesn't presuppose any special rights or privileges - merely the ability to analyze the purpose and effects of others' actions. Capacity for moral judgment + societal cost/benefit analysis + free speech rights = the right to tell others what they should do. We do this all the time: the US shouldn't invade Iraq, Microsoft shouldn't abuse its monopoly, the MPAA/RIAA shouldn't sue old ladies whose grandkid downloaded a song, that racist pastor shouldn't be racist, etc. etc. It's called advocacy.

Comment: Re:Sexual Harassment shouldn't cost us knowledge (Score 3, Insightful) 416

by almitydave (#48574747) Attached to: MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses By Walter Lewin

You don't own the content. You might have access to it under a CC license, but you don't own it. If MIT wants to take it down, that's their right. The fact that you think you should have some say in the matter is bullshit.

He's not making a rights- or privilege-based argument, he's saying MIT should choose a different course of action that will better serve the greater good.

Side note: I see this happen a lot - someone conflates the argument "entity X should do Y" with "entity X should be made to do Y". Read arguments carefully.

Comment: Re:Removed after Initial sales spike (Score 1) 310

I mean, I played THROUGH gta V and .. well. I don't remember where killing some bitches happened. is it that you can go to the strip club and shoot people there? or on the street? like you can shoot the men there as well?

I think they're talking about the "pick up a prostitute to regain health, and then run her over afterward to get your money back" game mechanic that's existed since GTA 3. I assume said mechanic still exists in GTA 5 (which I haven't gotten around to playing).

I can see how that somewhat misrepresents reality...

Indeed - prostitutes are a communist plot to contaminate the purity of our essence by depriving us of our precious bodily fluids. Like fluoridating the water.

Comment: Re:The real question is . . . (Score 2) 525

by almitydave (#48501685) Attached to: Montana Lawmakers Propose 85 Mph Speed Limit On Interstates

When moving across country (California to Florida) in 2005, I averaged 32 MPG for two consecutive tanks of gas (calculated by actual gas used at time of fill up) while driving through AZ and NM. Cruising speed was 85. Car was a '99 Grand Am (170hp 3.4L V6), EPA highway rating was 30 MPG. There was probably a tailwind.

More recently, while returning to Chicago from vacation in Colorado, I managed to average 30 MPG for a single continuous 400-mile nonstop leg while averaging 76 MPH. This car is a '05 Pontiac G6 (200hp 3.5L V6), rated at 28 MPG highway by the EPA.

Obviously, both these trips are idealized - fill up, accelerate directly to cruising speed, maintain until next fuel stop - so not representative of how the EPA tests highway mileage. Typically the G6 gets 25-28 on the highway (yes, these GM engines are woefully inefficient). Now, I know the plural of anecdote is not data, but the fact is it's possible for cars to achieve mileage better than the EPA ratings - depending on lots of things including traffic, power curve, gearing, wind, etc.

Comment: Re:He still plead guilty to something ... (Score 1) 219

by almitydave (#48468535) Attached to: Hacker Threatened With 44 Felony Charges Escapes With Misdemeanor

In a democracy (or representative republic), ultimately the buck stops with the voters. Prosecutors aren't kings, they answer to somebody who answers to somebody (who answers to somebody...) who answers to you, the voter.

Find out who in your municipality or jurisdiction has to power to appoint or censure prosecutors, and if they're doing a bad job, then complain, vote against them, start a public campaign; hell, run for office yourself if you have to.

The American system of government requires a populace that pays attention and holds their leaders accountable (clichéd, but true), and a press that responsibly covers the things that matter so voters are informed. Like the other cynics here, I believe that parts of this system are damaged; however I don't think they're beyond repair. People will always care about justice, and when things get bad enough, change happens.

Comment: Re:He still plead guilty to something ... (Score 1) 219

by almitydave (#48468447) Attached to: Hacker Threatened With 44 Felony Charges Escapes With Misdemeanor

Well, sure, there are plenty of public servants who are motivated by a desire to, you know, serve the public, but they don't make headlines or get famous so you don't hear about them much. They could very well be (and probably do) constitute the vast majority.

Comment: Re:De facto a la carte cable (Score 1) 130

by almitydave (#48388273) Attached to: Sony To Take On Netflix With Playstation Vue

I didn't include the cost of internet, since for me personally, that part would be the same either way; others may have a choice of ISP (Comcast/DSL/FiOS/Google). Perhaps you're suggesting that Comcast will raise their internet access prices, and that may in fact happen; but it's hard to factor into a services comparison like this. It's worth noting that Comcast gives a ~$20 "discount" on their internet access for also subscribing to digital cable, so that would need to be added as well. And at $10/mo for modem rental, it makes a lot of sense to buy your own - it will pay for itself in fairly short order.

Comment: De facto a la carte cable (Score 1) 130

by almitydave (#48387055) Attached to: Sony To Take On Netflix With Playstation Vue

I welcome another streaming service. Why? Because it increases the alternative options for cable customers. Consider:
Netflix ($9) + Hulu Plus ($8) + Amazon Prime ($8.25) + Sony ("competitive") = ~$35
Comcast's Digital Preferred (where I live): $86 (not counting taxes) + $10 HD fee + $8 DVR fee = $104

There's some overlap with the streaming services, but each one offers something a little different, and customers can get a pretty broad selection. Combine with ad-hoc Redbox rentals for hardware viewing of recent releases and the upcoming HBO Go offerings, digital cable television as a value proposition becomes less and less appealing for many customers.

The single biggest draw for cable IMHO is live sports - and ESPN currently offers a similar deal to what HBO is moving away from. I think as internet streaming reaches critical mass, content providers like ESPN may decide that their exclusive contracts with cable companies are a liability. Another important issue is advertising dollars - cable-company provided DVRs allow viewers to skip commercials, whereas live streaming doesn't currently allow that, so commercials on streaming video may start to look more lucrative than on TV.

Comment: Re:Never Again (Score 1) 130

by almitydave (#48386833) Attached to: Sony To Take On Netflix With Playstation Vue

The difference being that organized religion doesnt offer evolving products that meet certain needs. Sony offers products with different and new capabilities. Whos to say that they dont come out with a product that someone who swore off Sony might want. With religion, nothig changes and you know what you get right with each one since they all only offer one product that doesnt evolve(much).

Right, I think religions really need to spice up their offerings. Eternal happiness plus UNLIMITED VIDEO STREAMING!! Now that's a deal!

Comment: Re:Tempting (Score 1) 181

Marriage isnt a right. Straight or gay. You do not have the right to get married. We aren't assigned partners at birth. Your entire juvenile argument is pathetic and wrong at its very foundation. You are the delusional ones.

Now, I'm no fan of gay marriage, but marriage is a social institution, i.e. something practiced by a society according to its cultural values; and the American civil philosophy of individual rights and personal liberty is generally understood to mean the government shouldn't prohibit something unless there's some overriding state or societal interest in doing so. At least I think that's how it used to be.

What I believe this means is that although you do not have a right to be guaranteed a marriage, nor to have your marriage formally recognized by the state, a society does in general have the right to practice whatever forms of marriage it sees fit, absent a compelling interest otherwise.

In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with the giants on whose shoulders we stand. -- Gerald Holton