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Comment: Just Bussiness (Score 1) 52

by fermion (#47786299) Attached to: Japanese Publishers Lash Out At Amazon's Policies
Amazon is trying to squeeze out publishers. Publishers have trouble competing in the ebook market because they publish physical books, so it it not a matter of if but when they slim down or fail. Publishers appear to asking for larger cut to pay for these inefficiencies, while taking a larger slice from authors even though the authors job has not become that much easier.

Established authors depend on the publishers to limit the availability of books. In the Amazon world with no incentive to limit the number of published books, and to limit titles to those who will sell many copies, many authors are going to be working at a loss. That may explain why evidence that authors are bieng paid less matters less that the thought that Amazon may be in control.

So there are no good guys and no bad guys here. Just people trying to make money. When books are gone we the next generation is going to miss then no more than we miss leather bond, gold leafed books with each section having a faux-hand-drawn calligraphy character.

Comment: may need to reprogram? (Score 2) 119

by fermion (#47779115) Attached to: No, a Stolen iPod Didn't Brick Ben Eberle's Prosthetic Hand
While he can keep the same hand, it’s possible that he’ll have to reprogram some specific settings on his new device, said a spokesman for the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where Eberle is a patient.

I don't see why that would be needed. The iPod should be backed up to something. Even if the setting are not backed up to a computer or icloud, it would seem for that amount of money the firm supplying the app would provide a cloud based service to make the service device independent. What if the iPod no longer had charged and you wanted to use your phone?

It still seems kind of fishy.

Comment: Re:Seems good to me. (Score 1) 142

by fermion (#47778735) Attached to: The American Workday, By Profession
Honestly the only complaints my friends had who worked third shift was that bars were not open. Talk about sharia law.

The other complaint was that they were too often scheduled for third shift one day, then second shift the next day. I know that with scheduling software that ignores human needs and only factors in minimizing labor costs this has become more of an issue.

I completely agree that an 24 hour economy can be more efficient than one that is not. OTOH, we are seeing that places like McDonald's are externalizing a lot of costs to the taxpayer to make such a thing happen.

In my case if I put in an all nighter at work or worked extra shifts it was by choice. Most places I worked did not encourage such things because it was unhealthy. But when on it young and energetic, some things are more acceptable.

Comment: How did they build the pyramids (Score 4, Insightful) 200

by fermion (#47759577) Attached to: How the Ancient Egyptians (Should Have) Built the Pyramids
Nice Explaination: Lots of beer and bread

Not so Nice:Whips and violence

Some of the confusion seems to come from an unwillingness to accept that humans can be very self absorbed and mean. While some form of simple machinery must have been used, the basic resource for the pyramids was an expendable supply of labor. People tend to accept harder or more dangerous work if that is the life they know. We saw that recently in coal mining disaster where many people died because the owners did not have a practice of clearing the mine between shift changes. It increases profits and make coal cheaper, but is a huge risk to the workers. Raising the pyramids was probably not different.

Comment: Re:"Paleolithic diets" now vs then (Score 1) 281

by fermion (#47758099) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet
Here is what seems pretty well established. Pre-agrarian humans were probably no more or no less active that the agrarian people that followed. Hunter-gatherers in fact had to balance calories consumed by the group with calories available. This may have lead to situations where the entry of new infants were tightly control and old age became an issue. p> In every situation where agrarian humans competed with hunter-gatherers, the hunter-gatherers pretty much were wiped out. The agrarian humans created their stocks by domesticating the best food available into reliable crops. These crops provided a surplus that lead to classes of people, the rulers, the workers, the artisans, the warriors. However, these classes probably became the norm because of the superior source of nutrition, not just the reliable calories.

Also, the agrarian lifestyle was probably a choice. Hunter-gatherers probably had land on their migration plant that was proto-crop like. Initially it was probably just because they hung out in one spot, at some food, left the seeds, and the next year the seed sprouted. Over time they probably learned to intentionally raised stock that would be available as they migrated back. Eventually they made a decision to stay put.

Therefore it there is a diet that is most healthy for us, overall, it would be the diet of the agrarian society maybe 5,000 years ago. This is the diet that allowed one group of humans to dominate a probably less well feed other group of humans.

Comment: Re:Please, don't tell them ... (Score 1) 421

by fermion (#47739053) Attached to: South Carolina Student Arrested For "Killing Pet Dinosaur"
An arrest is clearly overkill. Many urban districts are trying to go against the insanity of the past 20 years of zero tolerance and return the classroom management to the classroom teacher, along with more leeway. That said, like your post, such things are usually a call for help. I have see in kids that I personally have known for many years. I have seen it in kids that I hardly know. Such things almost always a request for a response by the child. It might be dropping everything and having a one on one conversation, or therapy. Some educators think that just ignoring the kid is the proper thing to do, and honestly sometimes it is, and if the behavior is repetitive then it simply a training thing, like the baby repeatedly dropping the spoon. But it is a new things, or an escalating things, while it may not be a plan to actually cause harm to someone or themselves, it could be a cry for abuse or some other such thing. Which, again, is not best handled by calling the cops. So we have had the conversation, and attention has been given, and I hope you feel better.

Comment: Re:Fleeing abusive companies? (Score 1) 257

by fermion (#47732559) Attached to: When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model
When I got my second iPad a few years ago, I got a Verizon model. That way I had an ATT phone and a Verizon iPad so there was some redundancy. What I did not realize it that the Verizon iPad had no SIM card so that traveling was a hassle. Sure a Verizon product is supposed to provide a higher level of customer experience, as long as you are always in a home region.

I probably will buy an unlocked phone when I upgrade so I can immediately use it to travel instead of having to keep an older unlocked phone around. But for home use, it really makes no difference. Everyone has the same crappy $50 plan. No one is really that helpful. Honestly I find ATT to be a little more helpful than others, and the coverage is good where I am.

I think the reality is that we are all expecting top level personalized service at bare bones rates. It is like those who fly Southwest and complain that there is no food. Or those that recieve a free service such as facebook and then are surprised that people, who are the product, are being monetized.

Comment: Re:Not smart (Score 1) 459

by fermion (#47729683) Attached to: 33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater
Clearly he is engaged in unlawful behavior, and is does not seem to make rational decisions, but there are other ways to handle this that would not incur a great cost on society. For instance,ban him from seeing movies. Ban him from logging onto the internet. Put him under house arrest. Yes, he would fight against this, because clearly he wants to escalate. But then he would be put in jail for being a bad citizen, not because some corporation feel they have an entitlement to profit.

In the US we are increasingly paying to incarcirate poor people who make one or two poor choices and don't have the money to buy their way out like others. The assumption is increasingly that one can make poor choices, such as drugs, as long as you are wealthy enough to pay for it. OTOH, if you don't have the cash, you go to jail, and incur an average of $30,000 cost to they taxpayer. It is not that there should be no consequences for violating laws, but maybe we should look at other things, like ankle bracelets that only let you go to work and home.

One big example of this is school truancy. In some states one can be skip as much school as one wants, and long as you have a few hundred dollars to pay for it. Of course if you don't have the cash you are looking at jail time. I am not sure how this helps as kids who skip school probably see no difference between school and jail. I suppose that when they actually go to jail, they may see there is a difference, but some have already been to jail as can make the comparison.

Comment: Re:That's not quick? (Score 1) 190

by fermion (#47725373) Attached to: How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?
It is 500 miles from Galveston to Oklahoma City. That is 10 sites if placed every 50 miles along the major highway. That means they could have a major traffic area of Texas wired for the Tesla with six port charging stations in less than four months

There a seven Buc cees flag ship stores, where everyone in Texas stops for at least a half an hour to get gas and a Dr. Pepper Icee. That is three months to wire one of the most popular tourist traps. The other locations may not be big enough to hold a charging station, but lets say another six months more months to wire those that can.

So what we are talking about is in six months with enough crews the major populated parts of texas could be wired for Tesla. The parts of Texas that can afford a Tesla, given the three out four cars at many intersections are mercedes or high end volve, that seeing a Maserati, a Lotus, especially a Rolls Royce is not uncommon. Where every city has at least one highly regarded dealership that sells these 100K+ autos. And yet instead of building infrastructure that would encourage the population to buy a Tesla, a population that has the money to buy a second electric car, they whine like babies because the laws don't conform with their expectations. Rather than creating a demand, they blame regulation for their problems.

Before they started trying to extort states taxpayers o pay for their construction costs I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Now it is clear that they are failing to the old regulation card, instead of profiting with innovation.

Comment: Re: Yeah, so? (Score 1) 143

by fermion (#47721163) Attached to: How Argonne National Lab Will Make Electric Cars Cheaper
Elements are defined solely by the number of protons, which is also know as the atomic number. There can be no more elements than we know unless they are created by adding more electrons and adding to the end of the periodic table. Writers often make stuff up, like the 10% brain thing, and people are not educated to know it is just made up.

Isotopes are not considered chemically different from each other as they only differ in neutrons . As understood, the neutrons seem to help hold the atom together. It also appears that the number of neutrons increases non linearly in relation to the number of protons, to the point where elements with large number of protons are unstable.

Comment: Re:The question should be, what is causing delays? (Score 1) 142

by fermion (#47686279) Attached to: Delays For SC Nuclear Plant Put Pressure On the Industry
So the solution to this is to build nuclear plants where we can get minimum regulations and avoid lawsuits. These location should be where no one really wants to live, so that people are not going to effected and need to file lawsuits to protect themselves. I have often thought that the states from Washington to Minnesota, which taken together from a significant net drain on the national budget, should be asked to secede and form a country that exemplify conservative values such as an aggressive free market, very limited regulations, and the like. In such a place nuclear power plants could be built in, say, North Dakota, without any of the pesky useless safety issues that now make nuclear power an unreasonable solution.

Comment: Re:Ticket ToS (Score 1) 226

by fermion (#47681413) Attached to: Posting Soccer Goals On Vine Is Illegal, Say England's Premier League
In many venues there are limits to the recording devices you may take in and use. These are largely in place to limit the quality of the fan images to protect the market for the professional images, which generate a great deal of money. These rules are enforced by bag checks, metal detectors, even pat downs. In addition, the primary function of the ushers seem to be monitoring the fans for use of prohibited devices.

That said, the result of violation of these limits is not generally criminal. If I take a picture of cirque du soleil, for example, I will be asked to stop or be ejected if I do not. Likewise, if I am recording a soccer match, and that is the only way to catch a goal, the rules might be that I delete the recording or be ejected, and if I am always doing this the league has the freedom not to sell me or ticket or let me in if I get a ticket.

So under the terms of service, the solution is to ban these people who post goals from attending the game. Claiming the activity itself is illegal is silly. The best the league can hope for is that a person who has been banned might get arrested for trespassing if they ignore the ban and it can be proven they were aware they were banned.

Comment: Re:The problem of Microsoft (Score 1) 337

by fermion (#47646415) Attached to: Microsoft Surface Drowning?
The problem with MS is that they have never been in the business of supported or selling to end users, and they are entering this market at the expense of the desktop business market.. The cost of their software products, at the consumer level, has always been very high end. They have lower priced products, but those tend to be so incomplete as to require a lot of time to make work. Remember, the product is only cheap if your time is worth nothing.

So MS Surface is a good product, but it is expensive for what it is. To make it look cheap they compare it to a 13" Macbook, but the reality is that if is priced evenly between a 11" and 13" Macbook, so is not aggressively priced.

For better or worse, the reason that consumers buy MS Windows based PCs is because they are aggressively priced. A laptop can be had for 1/2 the price of a Mac because the laptop can have lower specs because MS Windows can run well on lower spec machines. I am not going to run on an I5, but there are many who that is fine and they can get a cheaper laptop than Apple provides, and get service from a third party that caters to end users.

It is going to be a while before the culture shifts to MS being a seller of premium consumer product. This will happen, if MS is serious about being such a firm, but that opens up the business market. Already MS is talking about only supported one version of IE, which means that business is going to have the headache of rolling out frequent updates. Apple is teaming with IBM to get point of use applications on iPad, which will significantly reduce the cost of supplying business rule applications to worker bees. Firms can already create custom apps on Android devices to serve the same purpose. MS Surface should be a way to counter these losses on the desktop. Instead they are produces commercials to make the MS Surface seem fun, and charging extra for a keyboard.

Comment: Re:No, school should not be year-round. (Score 1) 421

by fermion (#47640445) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Should Schooling Be Year-Round?
Summer breaks are useful for parents of means who can put their kids into other activities or parents with commercial activities with which the kids can help. For most everyone else it is beneficial to have year round 8-5 school, not because kids get more educated but because it is highly effective babysitting.

A case can be made for a trimester year round school situation in which students are required to attend two per year. Two in a row can be missed with permission, and missing three is equivalent to dropping out of school. This could be beneficial in many ways, but would be complex.

A big problem with the proposal is simply costs. Right now there is a lot of stuff that happens in the summer. Some of it is paid by school budgets, some of it is paid by external grants, some of it is paid by the teacher. The fantasy is that we can increase the school year with no significant costs. This is not true. Over the past 20 years teacher pay has gone up considerable, and a lot of that cost has to do with simple additional time the teacher is required to work. This is the same in any situation. If you are paid hourly, i.e. required to be at work at 7 and work until 3, if they ask to work until 4 every day then that should come with additional pay. This is what has happened with teacher, the additional few weeks and time per day has increased pay about 15%. If we go year round the pay will increase another 20% at least.

There will be other costs. Training will not happen during the off time, so staff will have to hired to cover classes. The argument cannot be made that personal business can be handled during breaks, so teacher will have to take days off during the year, a practice that many teachers now try to avoid. This again will require additional staff hire. To give you an idea of this additional cost, say a school has 60 teachers, which is a small school. Two weeks of training and two weeks of personal time is 20 days. For all teachers that is 1200 person-days, let round it up to 10,000 person-hours. At minimum wage, rounding up again, is $80,000 per school in class coverage costs. Not all of this is new costs, but it is significant. Add a half million for additional pay, weekend costs to maintain the school that is now down over break, and one is looking at a cost per student going from around $7,000 to around $8,000.

Comment: Re:And yet here I am (Score 2) 98

by fermion (#47638415) Attached to: For Fast Internet in the US, Virginia Tops the Charts
Like so many of these studies the centers of the data are of little use for someone trying to quantify speeds. Even if we had a range for the center, say a standard deviation, that would still leave out variables like size, population, geography and variables in population density. It is unreasonable to publish a single number for a states as meaningful. It does back to the idea that one can make a bunch of junk numbers seem more valid by putting them on a pretty map.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

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