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Comment: Re:tool for communication not a "feature" (Score 1)181

by Bootsy Collins (#46429807) Attached to: Physics Forum At Fermilab Bans Powerpoint

Let me put what I'm trying to say differently.

Imagine that you're presenting an equation to an audience. Consider the following four ways that you might choose to present that equation:

1. You could write it out in front of them on a chalkboard;
2. You could type it into PP or some other display software, live, with the equation being displayed on a screen of some sort as you type it;
3. You could type it into PP or some other display software in advance, and have the equation slowly revealed to the audience as if it was being written out;
4. You could type it into PP or some other display software in advance, and simply have the equation presented immediately in its entirety (akin to the entirety of a PP slide being revealed at once).

With admittedly nothing but personal experience, and the experience of professional acquaintances, to base this on, I claim that these four approaches will differ in the (for lack of a better term) psychological response they obtain from the audience, that those differences have to do with fundamental characteristics of how human beings process their environment, that much of those differences have to do with the psychological perception that the presenter is creating the information being presented at the time the presentation is taking place, and as a result those differences have nothing really to do with the effective use of software.

Comment: Re:PPT = complex communication channel (Score 4, Insightful)181

by Bootsy Collins (#46428761) Attached to: Physics Forum At Fermilab Bans Powerpoint

I could be wrong, but you seem to me to be operating from the premise that the only meaningful difference between communicating via chalkboard and communicating via PP is that PP is more featureful -- hence, referring to using a chalkboard as "regressing to using ONLY CHALK." I don't think that's true at all.

What TFA is suggesting is that communicating by chalkboard has fundamental differences from communicating by PP, in the same way (if not to the same severity) that communicating by in-person lecture is fundamentally different from communicating by a video on YouTube. It's conceivable that you could eliminate some of those differences by using PP in a way similar to how one uses the chalkboard -- for example, by entering content into slides live, in front of your audience -- but it's not obvious to me that there's a gain to doing that.

+ - A Map of Publicly-Funded Creationism Teaching

Submitted by Capt.Albatross
Capt.Albatross writes "At Slate, Chris Kirk presents a map of schools in the USA that both receive public funding and teach creationism. It also shows public schools in those states where they are allowed to teach creationism (without necessarily implying that creationism is taught in all public schools of those states). There is a brief discussion of the regulations in those states where this occurs, but the amounts involved are not discussed.
"

+ - Bitcoin Exchange CEO Charlie Shrem Arrested on Money Laundering Charge->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Charlie Shrem, the chief executive officer of bitcoin exchange BitInstant, has been arrested and charged with money laundering.

Shrem was arrested at JFK airport on 26 January and was also charged, along with alleged co-conspiratior Robert Faiella, of selling more than $1 million (£600,000) worth of bitcoins to users of Silk Road." Link to Original Source + - Harvest Energy from Internal Organ Movement-> Submitted by TempeNerd TempeNerd writes "A consortium of research institutions have published research on a new implantable piezo-electric device that will harvest energy from internal organ movements (lungs, diaphragm, heart) to power devices like pacemakers. As reported in Phys.org, this appears to be the first time that such a design is actually powerful enough to do so without any external charging or other inputs required. Of course, this is still in the animal testing phase, but this tech seems attainable and life changing." Link to Original Source + - Bitcoin exchange operatores arrested, BitInstant now down-> Submitted by Grantbridge Grantbridge writes ""The Department of Justice said Robert Faiella, known as BTCKing, and Charlie Shrem from BitInstant.com have both been charged with money laundering. The authorities said the pair were engaged in a scheme to sell more than$1m (£603,000) in bitcoins to users of online drug marketplace the Silk Road." from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/tech...

It seems that BTCKing and Bitinstant have had people arrested over money laundering charges, and are now unavailable. If running an exchange counts as money laundering, then is the USA making itself a no-go area for bitcoin exchanges? Or will a reputable bank step up and run one complying with money laundering regulations."

Comment: Re:Why is sales tax based on the buyer's location? (Score 1)165

by harlows_monkeys (#45309017) Attached to: Why Amazon Fights State Sales Tax, But Supports It Nationally

Suppose I live in a state with a low sales tax and travel to one with a higher rate. I pay with a credit card, just as I would if I were at home making a payment to an online reseller. Do I get charged my home-state tax rate? NO.

It depends on the states. If you are a resident of Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, American Samoa, Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, or the Yukon Territory and you are visiting Washington, you are not charged sales tax on tangible personal property, digital goods, and digital codes purchased in Washington if they are for use outside Washington. You show the merchant picture ID that shows your address, and they ring up the sale without sales tax.

Comment: Re:Can't understand how they are still in business (Score 1)165

by harlows_monkeys (#45308989) Attached to: Why Amazon Fights State Sales Tax, But Supports It Nationally

I never bought anything from Amazon, simply because they want to charge me the additional 27% VAT of my own country, while on the Internet they should charge none and I'd pay it at the customs when it arrives. If I paid them, would they return the tax money to our government later? I don't think so.

Yes, they would turn the tax money over to your government.

Comment: Re:Could be a honest mistake from IT-people... (Score 2)266

I'm in IT myself, and I know how difficult it is to come up with good test-data for your testing...so what's better than production data?

I'm not saying it is so, but it could very well be that the testers have loaded into it this years candidates, made up some likely result, and run the software to see that it works...

And apparently it did! ;)

Yup. Generally people doing election-related software have to test with data that is as similar to what will be in the live election as possible, including names of candidates and parties. See this comment in the HN discussion of this, from a developer of election reporting software that has been used in the US and other countries, for details on why and how this sort of thing can happen.

In fact, this same thing happened in the US in the 2012 Illinois Republican primary. The reporting company providing the data to many news organizations accidentally marked the test feed as live for a couple hours the day before the election, and a couple of TV station websites, which were set up to automatically publish updates from the live feed, published this.

The problem in the present case is that it took place in Azerbaijan, which has a long history of widespread corruption and election fraud. It is quite believable that someone has in fact pre-generated the actual election results, and those accidentally got pushed early.

Comment: Re:Generation Y's unusual sense of "responsibility (Score 0)362

by harlows_monkeys (#45049129) Attached to: 'Dangerously Naive' Aaron Swartz 'Destroyed Himself'

What about the prosecutor that threatened Mr. Swartz with 30 years in jail for actions that most civilized people think should have been dealt with by the University administration, or maybe by the civil courts. Was it responsible to threaten a person with 30 years in jail for disregarding an EULA?

He wasn't facing anywhere near 30 years. The prosecutors told Swartz that they thought the judge might go as high as 7 years. That was if he went to trail, lost, and the prosecutor's largest damage number was accepted. If he pled guilty, the most he was facing was 6 months. See Orin Kerr's detailed analysis.

Comment: Re:Probably not, but if it does, good (Score 2)282

by harlows_monkeys (#44965295) Attached to: Will New Red-Text Warnings Kill Casual Use of Java?

Technically a Linux based OS should be called GNU/Linux implying that it is a GNU OS running on top of a Linux kernel.

That's historically not accurate. Here's a cut/paste of a comment of mine from another forum on the matter of naming the system that is commonly called Linux:

Historically, naming rights for an OS go to whoever actually puts together and distributes the complete system. For instance, if a workstation company licensed Unix from AT&T and ported it to their workstation, they got to name that OS whatever they wanted. A couple examples of this were Uniplus+, which was UniSoft's Unix, and 386/ix, which was Interactive System Corporations Unix. Both were Unix systems--they used a Unix kernel and Unix utilities--but that wasn't their names. Half the fun working at a Unix workstation company in the early '80s was thinking of a neat name for your Unix port. :-)

For the complete systems distributed by Canonical, Red Hat, and the like, they are the ones who get to name the operating systems that they distribute. Ubuntu calls their OS the "Ubuntu operating system". Red Hat calls their OS "Red Hat Enterprise Linux".

Yes, they are also GNU systems, but if we want to be historically accurate, the most correct way to view this would be to view "GNU system" and "GNU/Linux" as specifications for a specific Unix-like userspace and for an OS that runs the GNU system on a Linux kernel, respectively. The Ubuntu operating system complies with the GNU system specification and is a GNU/Linux system, but it is named Ubuntu operating system.

Comment: Re:Conversion? (Score 1)129

by harlows_monkeys (#44842823) Attached to: Feynman Lectures on Physics Vol. 1 Released in HTML Format

HTML works better in this case. PDF is better when you need the formatting to be the same on all the devices, but that is not the case here.

With HTML, the user can adjust the size and have the text reflow, and can separately scale all the math (see the MathJax context menu on any equation to access the math scaling settings).

For instance, the HTML edition is quite usable on even my iPhone, with my poor 50+ year old eyes. For a PDF to be usable on such a device, they would have had to format it in such a way that it would look ridiculous on a desktop system.

Comment: Re:Stimulus This! (Score 4, Interesting)827

by harlows_monkeys (#44587903) Attached to: The College-Loan Scandal

I have friends graduating with engineering degrees that have 30k in debt from a STATE SCHOOL. This isn't an Ivy League school, but a state university. How does that compute?

It "computes" BECAUSE they went to a state school. If they had gone to an Ivy League school, they would probably have much less debt, if any.

For most students, a good state school is more expensive than Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and so on. That's because the Ivy League schools (and non-Ivy top private schools like Stanford, Chicago, MIT, Caltech and such) have large endowments per student that generate lots of income that they use to provide generous need-based non-loan aid. At Stanford, for instance, if your family makes under $100k, tuition is waived. Under$60k, and Stanford also waives room and board.

State schools, on the other hand, do not have large endowments per student. If their state has budget problems, one of the first things to go is need-based non-loan aid.

This is probably the oddest thing about American higher education. It is actually possible for someone to legitimately say "I could not afford to send my kids to Cal State Fresno, so I sent them Harvard".

Comment: Re:Disappearance of E-Ink (Score 3, Funny)323

by harlows_monkeys (#44529515) Attached to: Have eBooks Peaked?

No, the Paperwhite readers (and Kobo Glo) use frontlighting not backlighting. Much less eye-strain, and one research study suggests less disruptive to sleep when used in the evening.

My Kindle Paperwhite is much less disruptive to sleep than my iPad, but it has nothing to do with the lighting. It has to do with the weight. The iPad is heavy enough that falling asleep and dropping it on my face hurts enough to wake me up. The Kindle is light enough that I can take one to the face and keep sleeping.

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten

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