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Comment: Re:Mass Mail (Score 5, Informative) 473

by chartreuse (#42003353) Attached to: USPS Reports $15.9 Billion Loss, Asks Congress For Help

Gilbert, meet Wikipedia:

"The USPS has not directly received taxpayer-dollars since the early 1980s with the minor exception of subsidies for costs associated with the disabled and overseas voters. Since the 2006 all-time peak mail volume,[5] after which Congress passed the "Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act",[6] (which mandated $5.5 billion per year to be paid into an account to pre-fund retiree health-care, 75 years into the future—a requirement unique to this agency), revenue dropped sharply due to recession-influenced[7] declining mail volume,[8] prompting the postal service to look to other sources of revenue while cutting costs to reduce its budget deficit.[9]"

I’m sure that like most of us in the country the USPS also benefits from using roads and sidewalks and highways and water and electricity systems that were built for us by all those socialists between the 1930s and 1980, back when the personal tax rates were three times higher. (No doubt you have built your own alternative transportation system, perhaps jetpack-based.)

Comment: Re:Well... (Score 1) 218

by chartreuse (#41315585) Attached to: Author Threatens To Sue Book Reviewers Over Trademark Infringement

I agree, but I also think budget and direction (and all the other skills that are involved in creation) are elements that are worthy of consideration, and especially in the area of "cult" films (Plan 9 from Outer Space or Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or Planet of the Vampires, for example, to name three films of widely varying caliber) the relationship between quality and enjoyment are looser than for mainstream Hollywood productions. I'm just trying to say the movie in question can be enjoyed without anesthetizing your higher brain functions.

I see movies, tv and commercials all the time that I don't care for but can still, on occasion, appreciate their production values and efforts. I recognize my viewpoint as being subjective. Yeah, 90% of everything is crap, but you and I might disagree on why something is crap, or what's in the other 10%.

Comment: Re:this is beyond ridiculous (Score 1) 218

by chartreuse (#41313945) Attached to: Author Threatens To Sue Book Reviewers Over Trademark Infringement

I respectfully disagree. "Nazi" has become a generic term, like "aspirin" or "hell" (in fact it's nearly as common as punctuation at this point, as Godwin observed).

Whoever owns the trademark for "nazi" will have to send out C&Ds if they want to prevent that, though they'd probably have to change it up a bit -- Microsoft Nazi(tm)*, anyone?

* (/. is stripping out the "tm" symbol from my post.)

Comment: Re:Well... (Score 1) 218

by chartreuse (#41313735) Attached to: Author Threatens To Sue Book Reviewers Over Trademark Infringement

Coincidently (as some has pointed out), there was a B-movie called "Carnival of Souls" that was released in 1963. I haven't seen this movie, so I can't comment on if it was inspired by Ray Bradbury's novel.

It isn't. I've seen it, and it's rather good for a $33K (1962 dollars) budget and first-time director. (He'd directed industrial films but this was his first and only feature.)

Comment: Re:It's an interesting question. (Score 1) 125

Copyright is generally assumed for any work that benefits society.

Not true. That's a paraphrase of the Constitutional language, yes, but there's plenty of copyrightable materials that are of minimal or negative benefit to society: The Turner Diaries, say, or [insert completely crap Hollywood movie here].

And of course anyone might disagree about what is or is not of social benefit, depending on their particular ideological/political/financial/social/etc filters. One person's Ulysses is another's 50 Shades of Gray. They're both equally copyrightable, though, and the First Amendment sez that the government can't distinguish between them (the only major exception afaik being if it's something highly classified).

Comment: Barrington Bayley (Score 1) 1130

by chartreuse (#40927385) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Most Underappreciated Sci-Fi Writer?

In a sense the British van Vogt, with a unique mind and approach, but even less well-known. If it weren't for Wollheim appreciating his work he would be almost unpublished in the US.

Lots of other worthies have been named above, and I would add Rudy Rucker, but to be honest nearly all of them were/are better-known.

Comment: Re:Well, if they're going to generalize, I am too (Score 3, Funny) 1034

by chartreuse (#40114357) Attached to: Are Porn and Video Games Ruining a Generation?

When I was a kid, I thought growing up was about taking on responsibilities and getting work done. So wrong! It doesn't matter if you're the President or you're a drunk, what makes you an adult is how you entertain yourself. If you do anything with your leisure time more fun than reading War and Peace or putting together ships in a bottle or something, you're still a "kid".

I would generally agree with you but would take issue with the word entertain. I think it's more how you spend your time, which is a finite resource.

The focus on entertainment in this culture (speaking primarily for my US experience but possibly throughout the industrialized world) is mostly marketing of passive entertainment to passive consumers for profit, like any other consumer item. The manufacturers of passive media may want your feedback, but that's so they can better sell you the next one down the line. (Joss Whedon may be much loved, and I'm sure he appreciates it personally, but if his products weren't likely to make a profit most of us wouldn't even know his name.)

I'm not sure that playing video games or watching porn result in a whole lot more than greater skill in playing video games and watching porn (with, I suppose, a substantial improvement in one's eye-hand-dick coordination). It's not that building a ship in a bottle (or any other creative activity, like writing an app or developing an Arduino project or nearly any hobby) is absolutely a superior use of any person's leisure time, or indeed makes that person superior to Zimbardo et al's hypothetical tribe of hairy-palmed joystick obsessives, but I know which activities are more likely not to bore me (or hurt someplace) after an hour or so.

Comment: Re:tough to be unbiased (Score 1) 585

by chartreuse (#38142262) Attached to: New Batch of Leaked Climate Emails

The problem is less about the science than it is that the researches were clearly biased and pursuing specific results. The fact that others have claimed to reproduce the results does not lend credibility as long as they fail to acknowledge their bias and operate in a fully transparent way.

Whether you agree or disagree with the question of human affected climate change you really can't deny the fact that these folks are heavily biased toward a specific outcome for their research.

I'm sure that by "these folks" you are including AGW deniers, right? Or are there no scientists on that side?

You seem to be awfully confused as to what science is and isn't. A hypothesis (you know, what the experiment is testing) isn't a bias, and if the hypothesis doesn't test out, then the results are against it whether the scientists involved are believers in AGW, the Good Fairy, a fourth branch of US government containing Dick Cheney, or not. If the research was biased and changed the outcome, it's not science. I'm not sure you can have it both ways.

Most public domain software is free, at least at first glance.