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Comment Re:BIOS (Score 1) 260

I think that cloning the IBM BIOS API was precisely what Phoenix did. Since IBM didn't document the API, then Phoenix had to discover what the API was. Now since this was not documented then IBM couldn't have claimed copyright over it, but it was just as much an API as the nicely documented Java package library API. And now we have books that document the BIOS API. So it certainly was an API that Phoenix reproduced and then wrote their own code for the implementation of the Phoenix BIOS.

Comment Re:APIs can be creative works; we need another pla (Score 3, Insightful) 260

The APIs that Linus used for Linux were not ones in general that he created. These APIs already existed in Unix. Linux was essentially a Unix cloning project. Rewriting it to remove the intellectual property attachments that still existed in Unix. The model that Google followed with Java for Android was very similar to what Linus did for the Linux rewrite of Unix. If the copyrightable APIs that you desire existed at the time then Linux could never well have come into existence and we would only have proprietary Unix which would have never would have taken off like Linux has since the primary attraction of Linux is the open source nature of it.

Comment Re: And so it begins... (Score 2) 252

I somehow completely missed that Michael O'Hare had died in 2012 although I had heard about the deaths of the other three, After reading this story I went to IMDB and saw JMS explanation about his schizophrenia. I agree that most people seemed to think of O'Hare's Sheridan as wooden. I agree this type of personality is not as marketable in a lead actor, but to me there seemed to be an earnestness about him that gave me more of a sense of trust in him. This earnestness really came into play during his final explanation of his destiny in 'War Without End' part 2. He was very moving and I thought he really blew it out of the water and it's something that I don't think Boxleitner could have pulled off as well as O'Hare did. But I always felt badly about Michael O'Hare's fate after Babylon 5 and hearing about his mental illness makes it even more tragic. My own father suffered from a mental illness as well so I guess this makes me feel closer to him.

Comment Re:GMOs feed over a billion people (Score 1) 419

Millions of farmers in India committed suicide over this.

While I haven't invested any time in Indian agriculture research, I do find it pretty hard to believe that "millions" of farmers in India committed suicide over Monsanto contracts. This would place this as one of the greatest disasters in human history if millions of people committed suicide over a short period of time. Could you provide some documentation for those figures or if this was just an exaggeration put a little more realistic value on the number of suicides?

Comment I guess Bill Nye has abandoned empiricism (Score 1) 1774

Nye: "We need people that can — we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems."

Well throughout history I don't believe that Nye can provide any actual correlation of a scientific advance that required a belief in evolution other than the study of evolution itself. While evolution is interesting and I like to read about it myself, but it exists primarily to employ college professors and scientific pundits who make their living pushing it. A belief in evolution is not a prerequisite for any field of scientific endeavor, not even in biology or human physiology.

So according to Nye we can't have electrical engineers, mathematicians, etc. unless they have a belief in evolution. To me this is abandoning empiricism and elevating evolution to some sort of religion that if you are not a member of the faithful then you obviously wouldn't have the mental ability to become a member of the holy order of the scientist.

I imagine people will be able to discover new drugs, new consumer electronics, new fuel technologies, etc. whether they believe in evolution or not.

Comment Re:It's not just specialization, there is also fea (Score 1) 269

Computers can be used to model and compute chemical reactions. If a chemical can produce "thought" than nothing stops a computer from doing it other than computation power.

This seems to be a very confused analogy and I'm rather shocked it has been modded up to a 5. You do realize that no chemical reaction actually occurs when a computer models a chemical reaction, right? Modeling mixing a large amount of Sodium with Water does not actually produce real Sodium Hydroxide and no explosion occurs. But then you come to this rather retarded conclusion where you try to tie your chemical reaction modeling with chemicals producing thought. Since no real chemical reaction occurred through computation and modeling; how can you come to a conclusion that real thought could occur just by computation and modeling?

Comment Re:Why is this moderated down? (Score 2, Informative) 707

How about because the article mentions no religion?

I believe you are acting deliberately dense in order to be politically correct. The Taliban and those with similar Islamist leanings have done scores of events like this in the past (bombing girls schools, poisonings, throwing acid in girls faces) and there is no reason not to have a high certainty that this was done by an Islamist. They feel that women should be in the home, married and not allowed out without a male relative. They are doing this because this is their interpretation of Islam. Saying that this is done by an Islamist does not mean that all Muslims feel this way. Probably most of the girls at the school were Muslim and the staff was probably Muslim. But there is a LARGE number of Muslims in Afghanistan who do feel this way - although is would only be a small but very powerful minority who would go to this violent extreme. But just trying to dodge this and say that this has no relationship to Islam or those who are just saying this is some aspect of Afghan culture are just ignoring reality. The perpetrators of these actions say they are doing this BECAUSE of their Islamic beliefs. So if someone says they are doing this because of Islam I see no reason not to take their reasons at face value.

Comment Re:It's our own damn fault (Score 1) 534

Actually the subsidies provided by the U.S. government actually are to make prices higher and reduce agricultural output. This is the famous "paying farmers not to grow crops." This was done to insure that farmers get a price on their crops to make a profit.

There may be other subsidies that encourage agricultural output but I'm pretty sure that the crop set aside program is still a large part of the "subsidies" that the U.S. government provides.


Submission Just the Facts: S&P's $2 Trillion Mistake->

suraj.sun writes: In a document provided to Treasury on Friday afternoon, Standard and Poor's (S&P) presented a judgment about the credit rating of the U.S. that was based on a $2 trillion mistake. After Treasury pointed out this error — a basic math error of significant consequence — S&P still chose to proceed with their flawed judgment by simply changing their principal rationale for their credit rating decision from an economic one to a political one.

S&P incorrectly added that same $2.1 trillion in deficit reduction to an entirely different oebaseline where discretionary funding levels grow with nominal GDP over the next 10 years. Relative to this alternative baseline, the Budget Control Act will save more than $4 trillion over ten years — or over $2 trillion more than S&P calculated.

S&P acknowledged this error ( ) — in private conversations with Treasury on Friday afternoon and then publicly early Saturday morning. In the interim, they chose to issue a downgrade of the US credit rating.

U.S. Dept of the Treasury:

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:It is a TEA (party) tax (Score 1) 1239

This seems to be the new Republican party talking point as I see that George Will is pushing it extensively. If you mean the vote on the final debt ceiling bill which is not just a debt ceiling increase but a pure Republican spending cut bill with no tax revenues to help pay down the debt. So it is not surprising that many voted against it.

And how would these Democrats have made the teabaggers irrelevant? What would their vote have helped to shape a final bill that they strongly disapproved of?

Comment This is not going to happen (Score 1) 271

Sorry, wishful thinking is not going to do it. This is not going to happen in my 20 years. I doubt if it will happen in 50 years. There are many problems to be solved in making this trip and this is going to take a concerted effort and a LOT of money and we just don't have the will to do it. This is just not the kind of mission that can be done on the cheap.

No one regrets that more than me but wishing is not going to make it so.

Comment Re:[sigh] (Score 1) 457

That's a pretty myopic view. Other app translation layers are going to be knocked out of the market too.

To Apple that is just unfortunate collateral damage. Regrettable, but the enemy must be eliminated. And that is my point.

You can't develop for a game console without using the certified tools from the console vendor, and paying out the ass for the privilege. Prior to the iPhone, there were plenty of phones and platforms with even more draconian restrictions. Any app for any phone on Verizon Wireless required code to be written in Java.

So porting your iPhone app to another platform isn't much of an issue anyway. Unless the other target platform restricts you to Java.

In essence Apple's updated section 3.3.1 policy would require you to manually retype and reprogram your application unless it was originally written in one of Apple's approved languages. I doubt very few if any of the vendors that required the use of their development tools actually specified how that code got written - even if it was Java. As long as it was in their approved language utilizing their specified APIs. Whatever the target language requirements the code could still be generated from another language - except in the Apple iPhone/iPad world.

Again the target was absolutely Adobe Packager in this case. It will hurt others, but they would never haven enacted this policy without the Packager.

I'm not sure why this "bloatware" argument came up here. The generated code may or may not be more "bloated" than a hand generated program in the approved language. I'm sure many of the existing hand written apps in the App Store are not shining examples of efficient, tightly written code. Any apps generated from ActionScript or another language/platform would require the same approval from Apple before being released into the store.

And Apple will continue its war on Adobe with the slavish approval of the Apple fans.

Comment Re:[sigh] (Score 3, Insightful) 457

While I don't necessarily agree with Apple's iPhone policies, I don't see anything anticompetitive with regards to this particular policy (you must develop only in C, C++, or objC).

Please have the guts to say whether you agree or disagree with their policy instead of the constant waffling and weasel words displayed by most of the Apple and Jobs fans here.

This policy disallowing cross-compilers is clearly aimed at one company - Adobe. I have been around computers for a long time and I've never seen such a ridiculous restriction - ever. It is very odd and is clearly and carefully worded in such a way to crush the Adobe Packager, but in such a way that they hope can avoid legal ramifications.

There is absolutely no technical reason for it - even to accomplish Apple's stated goals of having a consistent user experience. A cross compiler can generate native Apple code using documented API's. It still has to meet Apple's approval to get into the App Store which still allows them reject it if it didn't meet their other criteria.

It is clearly anti-competitive - whether it is illegally so would hopefully be explored in an investigation - although I'm not holding my breath.

But it is definitely wrong and I would hope even Apple and Jobs fans would have the courage to at least complain to Apple that attempting to crush their competitors will not be tolerated by their developer community (and I'm definitely not holding my breath for that).

If entropy is increasing, where is it coming from?