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Comment: Re:Obsessed with keeping government out of busines (Score 4, Insightful) 289

by alvinrod (#49719547) Attached to: North Carolina Still Wants To Block Municipal Broadband
I really don't understand it either. If the government entity receives no unfair treatment and has to play by the same rules as every other company, there's no reason why a local municipality shouldn't be able to collectively decide that they want to take a crack at creating something better.

It seems that some people are more anti-government than they are pro-market or have become so accustomed to making the same argument that they're not even bothering to look at the issue at hand.

At least it makes sense for the politicians to oppose it. They probably get all kinds of brib^H^H^H^Hcontributions from the companies that are paying for these monopoly rights.

Comment: Re:Not sure if smart or retarded (Score 5, Insightful) 204

Are you kidding? These same people will be back again, which means they have to buy all new copies of the game to get a fresh set of keys which is even more revenue for Blizzard. I imagine that a lot of them are accounts to farm and sell gold or other items so it's not as though they're just going to close shop and go elsewhere when there's still a demand for their services. One could argue that there's even more money to be had right now if the number of sellers has seriously decreased so there's a lot of incentive for these people to get back in the game.

Comment: Re:This will be a historic mission. (Score 1) 190

by alvinrod (#49710477) Attached to: Arab Mars Probe Planned For 2020
While in the long run it would be better for them to develop the capacity in their own country for these kinds of endeavors, this still does benefit humanity and the space industry as a whole and it's oil money far better spent than Saudi Arabia, which seems to dump a lot into financing extremism and human misery.

Comment: Does it actually matter (Score 1) 121

I dislike the ridiculous copyright laws as much as anyone else, but does it really matter much in reality? The internet has made it so easy to access all manners of information and the average person really doesn't care much about copyright laws as far as their own personal use goes. Much like more and more people really don't care about others smoking pot or two men getting married, I think we'll eventually reach a point where the general population will collectively not care about personal piracy and it won't be cost effective for the record industry to try to enforce any laws.

I suspect that within 30 years most of the music labels will have ceased to exist as we currently know them. They have no real purpose any more and creating and publishing your own content is only going to get easier and cheaper as time moves on. I would imagine that we'll also see payment systems mature a lot as well and it will probably be easy to cut out the big sellers like Apple and Amazon as well because it will be no less difficult to transact directly with the artist. They'll probably exist, but mostly as agents to handle some of things that the artists don't care to oversee themselves.

Comment: Re:OSS needs technical writers more than coders (Score 1) 244

by alvinrod (#49689603) Attached to: RTFM? How To Write a Manual Worth Reading
I wouldn't say it's hard to code well either, but it may take some individuals a lot of time to reach the point where they write elegant code. I think the same is true of writing as well. The average person could become sufficiently skilled to produce useful documents.

The hard part is being able to design really great software or meaningful written works. I'm more than capable of learning the writing skills necessary to produce a novel, but honestly I don't think I could actually write one that anyone would consider worth reading just like there are a lot of people who can learn to write nice, clean code, but can't envision the software that should be created or how to construct the algorithms to reach that end goal.

Comment: Re:Surprising to those unfamiliar with mathematici (Score 1) 170

I don't follow football a lot, but my understanding is that players on the offensive line are a lot less susceptible to this problem. They don't tend to tack other players or collide at high speeds. They're almost right next to the opposing player who needs to be stopped and usually just end up grappling with this person. Contrast this with other positions where the player needs to tackle someone or ends up getting tackled a lot.

Players on the line are more likely to have their knees worn out. Carrying that much weight around is going to be hard on the knees already and the constant up/down motion doesn't help matters at all.

Comment: Re:"clinging to dialup" (Score 1) 153

by alvinrod (#49675033) Attached to: Closing This Summer: Verizon To Scoop Up AOL For $4.4 Billion
I think there are a lot of AOL customers who don't actually use their service, but for some reason think they need to keep paying to use the internet or to keep their AOL email address. People seem to forget how prominent the AOL brand was back in the day. It was the first internet provider for a lot of people and among the less savvy computer users it wouldn't surprise me if they think of AOL as the internet and something that they need to keep paying for so their broadband connection will work.

Most people who are stuck on dial-up are probably going through a local telco rather than a big-name provider. Up until a few years ago my parents who live in the country were still using dial-up access from the local co-op because that's all that was available. They could have conceivably used AOL, but would have had to pay long-distance charges.

Comment: Solution (Score 5, Insightful) 611

by alvinrod (#49658029) Attached to: FWD.us To Laid-Off Southern California Edison Workers: Boo-Hoo
Here's an easy solution to this problem. Make H1-B a path to citizenship (and really we want as much intelligent and highly-skilled labors as possible to stick around) so that eventually companies can't hold the H1-B over an employee's head to keep wages down. Next, keep track of former H1-B workers who are currently unemployed and do not allow for any addition applications until there there are fewer than say 10% who have been unemployed for more than a year. Additionally, count any citizens who were displaced by an H1-B worker (would need to follow companies using H1-B workers more closely, but that's part of the trade-off) as part of this pool as well.

If a company can't find enough skilled workers, they need to raise wages to attract better candidates and let the companies who aren't willing to pay as much draw from the pool of applicants who are less qualified. Otherwise they can pick from what's available and spend some time training their hires.

Comment: Re:It's the same old lies from these H1B advocates (Score 3, Interesting) 611

by alvinrod (#49657961) Attached to: FWD.us To Laid-Off Southern California Edison Workers: Boo-Hoo
And it's really not the government that's to blame, but the people who voted for them.

It's it not really the people's fault either, but the powerful few who manipulated them.

I'm sure we could make an excuse for them as well (or we'll have just come full circle) but the buck has to stop somewhere.

Comment: Re:If I hear "eSport" one more time... (Score 1) 113

by alvinrod (#49638429) Attached to: Counter-Strike Finally Gets the League It Deserves
While it's not a sport in the traditional sense that it requires significant athletic prowess, it is still something that's played competitively so it is functionally equivalent in most other aspects.

The fact that the supposed "league" is rife with cheating/hacks with no real way to catch creative cheaters simply detracts from the notion of "sport" even more.

Sounds like baseball, cycling, and just about every other high-level sport out there.

Comment: Re:Hahah (Score 1) 246

I don't know anything about the kid (other than he's stupid and impulsive enough to try something like this) but locking him up won't make anything better in the long run. When he gets out the only thing he'll be able to do is crime and he'll probably have met plenty of other enterprising individuals who can give him some tips.

All we're really doing is setting this individual up to be a lifelong drain on society.

I'd rather see massive amounts of community service to repay the debt he owes to society. I don't know what this individual's home life is like, and I can't imagine it's great given what he's done, but his punishment should be get an education and then work his ass off to pay for what he's done. No sports, no video games, and no screwing around.

He might not like it, but I suspect he has at least a small chance of turning out to be a decent person and contributing to society if the second approach is followed.

Comment: Re:You do not discharge anger from engaging in it (Score 1) 58

by alvinrod (#49591023) Attached to: Tech Credited With Reducing Nigerian Election Death Toll
I wasn't saying that catharsis theory is valid (I honestly have no clue and have never read any research on it outside of what's been linked here) but merely that the study that was presented has some serious flaws in the way it was implemented. It seems like they proved that if you piss someone off, have them focus on their anger, and keep them thinking about it that they will react more violently than people who were not subject to the same.

If there are other studies that also support the same claim there's obviously more strength for the hypothesis that catharsis is either ineffective or actually more harmful than not, but that study alone would only be sufficient to make that claim in a very narrow sense.

I guess I've always thought of something being cathartic in the sense that it was a way of releasing anger and didn't associate it with a necessary violent component. If meditation helps a person reduce their anger, I would call that cathartic. So perhaps some of my hesitance comes from my own misunderstanding of the term in the scientific sense.

Comment: Re:You do not discharge anger from engaging in it (Score 1) 58

by alvinrod (#49588749) Attached to: Tech Credited With Reducing Nigerian Election Death Toll
I have some issues with the experiment design.

Although they don't explicitly state this, it seems that all of this happens over a relatively short period of time. I suspect that when people normally resort to physical release to blow off steam, they isolate themselves from the person or source of their stress. This may not even be measuring how people typically use this type of behavior to manage their anger.

More importantly, the following comes from the description of the study procedure:

If the participant did not rank the punching bag activity first, the experimenter asked if the participant would be willing to hit the punching bag, explaining that ratings were needed for each activity on the list and that more ratings were needed for the punching bag activity.

Participants were told that they should think about their partner while hitting the bag.

Next, participants completed a mood form that measured anger and positive affect. The anger measure consisted of 15 adjectives (e.g., angry, annoyed, furious) from the hostility subscale of the revised Multiple Affect Adjective Checklist (Zuckerman & Lubin, 1985).

So first of all they had researchers ask people to engage in the activity even if they hadn't originally wanted to, which biases the results. The Milgram experiment suggests that people will go along with what a research asks of them even if it's objectively horrible.

Next, they told people to specifically focus on the individual that had angered them while doing this. I have no idea if it is standard for people using physical activity or even what could be considered violent activity to focus and maintain focus on what has antagonized them while engaging in this activity, but they've introduced another potential source of bias.

Finally, they showed them a list of words that are all associated with anger. This is invariably going to result in priming issues (i.e., would the results be different if they showed some group a list with words like "calm", "patience", etc.?) or possibly influence the mood of the subjects by keeping them focused on how mad they are.

This sounds like far less of a test on catharsis and more likely proof that if you get a person riled up and keep reminding them of their anger that they're going to react more angrily. It doesn't sound at all like they measured catharsis but rather the effects of making someone angry and then keeping them focused on that anger.

Comment: Re:Capitalism is doomed (Score 0) 99

by alvinrod (#49586277) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Windows Holographic Platform
Universal Health Care has nothing to do with communism. In many countries that have universal healthcare the hospitals, clinics, and other companies supplying treatments, medical devices, etc. are still privately owned. The only difference is that the government holds a monopsony position that can keep prices more favorable for its citizens. Some even allow for otherwise free-market systems for additional or non-essential care.

Many non-communist countries have employee or member owned businesses as well. You can bank at a credit union or buy insurance from a cooperative if you want. Just because you have a system that permits private ownership of industry does not mean that all industry must be privately owned.

I think that most people have realized that while pure communism or socialism sounds great on paper, it doesn't actually work in the real world. Much like many other ideologies, it requires humans to behave in a way that humans don't behave so it's impossible to reach the described outcomes. Rather than try to address and fix these, proponents would seemingly rather rail against capitalism like the poster above.

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