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Comment: Fallacy (Score 1) 214

Good article, BTW.

The fallacy could be a faulty generalization fallacy, specifically a hasty generalization. That is, given:

If A then Z.
If B then Z.
If C then Z.

A = X and (other things).
B = X and (other things).
C = X and (other things).

We faultily conclude, therefore, that for all D = X and (other things), the statement "D then Z" is true.

Comment: Re:So how much? (Score 3, Interesting) 276

by autophile (#38959281) Attached to: Programming Error Doomed Russian Mars Probe

For want of a rad-hard chip, the board died.

For want of a board, the software couldn't cope.

For want of good software, the engine start failed.

For want of engine start, the probe died.

For want of a probe, the human race didn't detect the slimy aliens from Phobos and all perished in a hot and somewhat greasy fireball.

Comment: Can the rare books collections be digitized? (Score 4, Interesting) 59

by autophile (#38588842) Attached to: Ask Carl Malamud About Shedding Light On Government Data

Three closely related questions about the rare books collections at the Library of Congress:

1. I know there is some kind of effort going on to digitize the rare books collections, but can it be sped up? There are many high-quality low-cost archival book scanners out there (such as the ones developed at

2. It gets really annoying to have to receive paper copies of books when copies are requested. Why not DVDs of high-quality images?

3. Why is there no outreach by the LoC to smaller, cheaper book scanning efforts? The Internet Archive,, and Decapod all come to mind.

Comment: My data, my self (Score 1) 201

by autophile (#38548036) Attached to: On my death, my data ...

If I die before 2045, then the important data (financial, insurance, and so on) will be available to my next of kin by virtue of their being my legal next of kin. The ultimately unimportant data (slashdot, sourceforge, boingboing) will just float around, accumulating bit rot.

If I reach 2045, then most likely I will not die, and my data and my self will be one and the same :)

"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us in trouble. It's the things we know that ain't so." -- Artemus Ward aka Charles Farrar Brown