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Comment: Take the long view (Score 5, Insightful) 439

by JanneM (#47926185) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

Charlie Stross recently posted a very good take on this: This is a permanent change. Whatever happens during the first few years is basically irrelevant, compared to the long-term results. Did Norway separating from Sweden cause short-term economic upheaval? Does that matter at all a century later?

This is a long-term change, not a short.term one. Any voter should consider the probable situation twenty or fourty years from now, not whatever happens in a year or two.

Comment: Re:I HATE multiplayer (Score 1) 286

by srmalloy (#47917755) Attached to: The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming

In multiplayer games you often need someone to lead to get good results. This in no way means that the other teammembers are less respectable, being in charge is simply "part of the job". A good leader gets the most out of each teammembers strengths while covering their weaknesses. This should make the game more fun for everyone.

There is a difference between playing up teammates' strengths and covering their weaknesses, and demanding precise-to-the-microsecond-and-millimeter performance from team members and denigrating them for not being robots when they aren't perfect. Most MMORPGs go the route of end bosses that do predictable things at predictable times, with predictable responses, so fairly quickly a 'recipe' for defeating the boss gets put together... and then gets carved in stone so that it must be adhered to without variation, and anyone who dares deviate from it in any way, no matter how small, is therefore entirely and solely responsible for any negative outcome (i.e., team wipe). Each player has to have precisely the right gear to maximize their effectiveness, and has to adhere slavishly to the rotation that's been tested to eke out an additional .00000017% extra DPS... And somewhere in all of the number-crunching, the people who fixate on this sort of 'efficiency' lose sight of the fact that you play an MMORPG to have fun, not to be a fungible asset shoehorned into one of the Tank/DPS/Heal categories of a 'holy trinity' that itself limits your ability to play the way you want.

Comment: Re:When you abolutely, positively need a gun now! (Score 3, Informative) 583

by Jay Maynard (#47901465) Attached to: High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

All what accidental deaths? The number is tiny - less than 100 a year. That number is also dropping monotonically every year, and has done so since the 1930s.

If you want to end kids' accidental deaths, get rid of bathtubs and swimming pools. They kill far more.

Comment: Re:But what about... (Score 2) 583

by Jay Maynard (#47901445) Attached to: High School Student Builds Gun That Unlocks With Your Fingerprint

Accidental use of guns causes fewer deaths than just about any other accident you can name. The number is small, and has been dropping monotonically since the 1930s.

Unauthorized use of guns is not going to be significantly impacted by something like this. There are far too many out there without it, and those will never be retrofitted.

Comment: Re:She doesn't mind the state controlling everthin (Score 1) 163

by srmalloy (#47900101) Attached to: Justice Sotomayor Warns Against Tech-Enabled "Orwellian" World

Note that in TFA she was warning about "Orwellian" surveillance, which specifically tends to refer to a world where the government is spying on you, not just private citizens.

I think that the world described in the three stories in David Drake's Lacey and His Friends might be a better analogy -- a world where everyone is under constant surveillance from multiple angles and by different organizations, where buying 'privacy' pays for a room with only the single mandatory government camera, and the ability of the police to roll back surveillance footage to track the movements of a criminal result in the overwhelming majority of criminals captured within hours of their crime. I think it better describes the extreme end result of the expansion of technology allows capturing more and more actions and communications until, by law, everything anyone does must be recorded.

Comment: Re:MOOC is designed like a physical classroom (Score 1) 182

by JanneM (#47896993) Attached to: The MOOC Revolution That Wasn't

"Also some of the science and tech courses are very demanding but the teachers don't simplify it leading to many whooshing sounds for the student throughout the courses. Such courses could benefit from a simplified overview of the course material."

How many employers would like to hire people that can't understand the actual content and need "simplified overview" to get a grade? If you really don't grasp it to the point where you can actually apply the math for new, novel problems, then you don't actually know it, do you?

MOOCs have a serious credibility problem already. The very last thing they need is to dumb things down. If it becomes common knowledge that, say, an engineering MOOC graduate can't even handle a system of differential equations in an intelligent manner, or don't understand the implication of Green's function, then the credits will become truly worthless.

Comment: Re:If you think medical funding is bad (Score 1) 347

by JanneM (#47876003) Attached to: When Scientists Give Up

It does depend on the size of the field as well, though, as well as the funding. I can well imagine astronomy having major problems; everybody has heard of astronomy, and lots of people dream of being astronomers.

A friend of mine is working in paleogeology. As you might imagine there's not a huge amount of money in the field. On the other hand, few people have heard of it either, and there aren't that many people dreaming of working there. There's no movies starring daring paleogeogists with hat and bullwhip in hand ducking poison arrows and swinging across pits of snakes in order to determine the local sea bed temperature during the cambrian. The end result is that funding is pretty stable and dependable. People that are qualified and willing find funding. I bet there's a fair amount of other obscure fields in a similar situation.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.