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Comment In short: user experience (Score 1) 1162

I live in a country where the amazing American Netflix download/watch is not a practical option.

I also live so far from any rental place, that rent-rip-return is my best practical approach: wait for a time when I know that I'll be making two trips within the same week, bring home a stupid big pile, r-r-r, and watch them over the next six months.

But I went and got a blu-ray player. I turn it on. Go to the bathroom. Hit the eject button. Fix lunch. Put in the disk. Go out and garden while the bluddy can't-go-past-this-crap runs. Then watch the movie.

I'm better off with "Starz" and a TiVo!

Comment The left had doesn't care what the right hand... (Score 1) 237

One branch of our government works hard to ensure Canadian content. They are charged with ensuring that we are not overwhelmed by the colossus that is the US media industry. They fear that our culture could be eroded when all that's available in the public media forum is someone else's culture.

Another branch of government is bowing to pressure from the US: "Adopt our style of enforcement or we will stop supplying your people with vast quantities of 'entertaining' material that extols the obvious virtue our culture." (Notice that I neglect to even address how this supply is designed to make money flow from other countries to the US.)

I see such a simple solution here: keep a nice, free copyright environment here in Canada that encourages new, creative and vibrant work, which is the stated purpose of copyright in the first place, and let the US worry about not overwhelming us.


(YMMV, IANAL, and other disclaimers apply)


Canadian Blood Services Promotes Pseudoscience 219

trianglecat writes "The not-for-profit agency Canadian Blood Services has a section of their website based on the Japanese cultural belief of ketsueki-gata, which claims that a person's blood group determines or predicts their personality type. Disappointing for a self-proclaimed 'science-based' organization. The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the nation's capital, appear to be taking some action."

Scientists Say a Dirty Child Is a Healthy Child 331

Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California have shown that the more germs a child is exposed to, the better their immune system in later life. Their study found that keeping a child's skin too clean impaired the skin's ability to heal itself. From the article: "'These germs are actually good for us,' said Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research. Common bacterial species, known as staphylococci, which can cause inflammation when under the skin, are 'good bacteria' when on the surface, where they can reduce inflammation."

Comment Independent System Operators (Score 2, Interesting) 462

The Independent System Operators (ISOs) exercise real-time control of the grids. I can't speak for others, but I do know how the New England ISO does things. Yes, there's a lot of automation... but the entire system is designed to have a "man in the loop". Add to this the fact that there are two completely independent systems for monitoring the Area Control Error (ACE) (the amount by which generation doesn't match load) and you get a situation where a hacked system would become very obvious, very quickly.

The uber-emergency last ditch ACE monitor is an un-networked box that monitors analogue signals sent to it over microwave relays. As of today (as far as I know) you can't hack a box that you cannot connect to.

Yes, it's possible for a cyber attack on an ISO to create a measure of chaos, a degree of frustration and a burning desire to "get rid of" that hacker, but these men and women are dedicated professionals and they engage in a process that has been honed and refined over the last few decades. I shan't say that it's impossible, but I honestly believe that it would be highly unlikely that meddling in the data stream (SCADA) or accessing the control computers would bring about massive failures.

For that sort of thing to happen, you need a perfect storm of failures.

Comment It's a lottery, in reverse (Score 3, Interesting) 386

Deter? What makes them think it would deter anyone?

It's like a lottery, in reverse.

Download & benefit. Download & benefit. Download & benefit.

Multiply this my thousands... or millions.

And one poor, unlucky sod gets smacked with a fine for the same kind of money we see in lotteries.

Do the math. Do you feel lucky?

Hell, yeah.

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