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Comment Use FOSS first before switching to Linux (Score 2) 233

From experience (i.e. failure) with switching people over, you get the best results if you introduce people to the free software first then change the operating system. Use Inkscape, Krita, GIMP, or Scribus on Windows, rather than switching two things at once.

Comment Re:I don't think you want an OSI license. (Score 1) 85

Creative commons licenses don't fit their preferred use case, because it allows redistribution:

A single license that gives users access to the code but limits the ability to redistribute the code and distribute patches to the "core" is what we'd prefer.

More generally, creative commons licenses aren't an appropriate fit to software. They're designed with creative works in mind and protect the expression of a work, rather than the way in which that expression is created.

Comment Birthday Attack (Score 1) 187

Keep the option to retrieve your account number by submitting your password, since even weak passwords are far harder to guess than 4-digit PIN numbers.

I don't think that's a reasonable assumption to make, particularly if you don't care about which account you get access to. Instead of guessing a lot of passwords for a single user, you can guess a small number of passwords for a lot of users. This also gets around any limits regarding access for a single account, as has been suggested as a solution. Getting multiple boxes to carry out this operation gets around limits regarding account access from a single IP address.

If you choose a sufficiently common weak password (and United's password system allows people to enter such passwords by default), then the chance of discovering a correct user/password combination is pretty high.

Comment Re:Feature (Score 2) 193

This is like a car manufacturer claiming that their car will have 20 horsepower, but much more if they look after it, and after several months/years the people who have preordered it finally get theirs and are careful about looking after it, and find out it has 1000 horsepower and the manufacturer says its a good thing because it encouraged them to be careful.

Comment Front leg jumping (Score 1) 62

What I'm most impressed by with the videos is that it looks like the initial power for the jumping is coming from the front legs, rather than the back legs (which have more leverage).

It seems to be the case (at least on one standing start cheetah jump that I've seen, as well as a lion jump) that the front legs are moved back for balance and the back legs used for the power push for the jump.

Comment Re:How powered off is "powered off"? (Score 1) 184

You may be right in case of other equipment, but enterprise grade drives are really better.

BackBlaze disagrees with you:

Overall, I argue that the enterprise drives we have are treated as well as the consumer drives. And the enterprise drives are failing more.... Enterprise drives do have one advantage: longer warranties. That’s a benefit only if the higher price you pay for the longer warranty is less than what you expect to spend on replacing the drive. This leads to an obvious conclusion: If you’re OK with buying the replacements yourself after the warranty is up, then buy the cheaper consumer drives.

Comment Re:Real problem, bad solution (Score 1) 301

Even better is a study linked to by that page, point IV here:

The idea was to plan an experiment together, with both of them agreeing on every single tiny detail. They would then go to a laboratory and set it up, again both keeping close eyes on one another. Finally, they would conduct the experiment in a series of different batches. Half the batches (randomly assigned) would be conducted by Dr. Schlitz, the other half by Dr. Wiseman. Because the two authors had very carefully standardized the setting, apparatus and procedure beforehand, “conducted by” pretty much just meant greeting the participants, giving the experimental instructions, and doing the staring.

The results? Schlitz’s trials found strong evidence of psychic powers, Wiseman’s trials found no evidence whatsoever.

Take a second to reflect on how this makes no sense. Two experimenters in the same laboratory, using the same apparatus, having no contact with the subjects except to introduce themselves and flip a few switches – and whether one or the other was there that day completely altered the result. For a good time, watch the gymnastics they have to do to in the paper to make this sound sufficiently sensical to even get published. This is the only journal article I’ve ever read where, in the part of the Discussion section where you’re supposed to propose possible reasons for your findings, both authors suggest maybe their co-author hacked into the computer and altered the results.

Comment Light levels, not computer games (Score 3, Informative) 144

For those who didn't pick up on the bit in the summary, this is not due to close work, it's most likely due to exposure to bright light:

But time engaged in indoor sports had no such protective association; and time outdoors did, whether children had played sports, attended picnics or simply read on the beach. And children who spent more time outside were not necessarily spending less time with books, screens and close work.... Close work might still have some effect, but what seemed to matter most was the eye's exposure to bright light.

If this is the case, then what we should do to reduce the myopia problem is to use brighter lights inside.

Comment Re:Too many studies to keep track of? (Score 1) 112

There are lots of studies on studies, and in general they are a good idea. Here's my take on that (from SoylentNews), slightly paraphrased to hopefully demonstrate why meta-studies can be good:

Keeping track of information is difficult, and journals generally don't like people to pepper their articles with too many citations. If the same information gets spread around, then the chance of citation drops for any particular article that contains that information. This is a problem, even with Watson-level recall, and even the very best papers will suffer from this issue.

Let's say there's a wonderful paper published in a journal that reviews a whole bunch of things. It survives for about 6 months with citations ramping up, but then someone discovers something new and interesting about one of those things. Then, people who would previously cite the big paper and therefore let others know about it, might decide that in their particular area, the new paper is a more appropriate citation.

About 6 months after that, the paper has hit its "peak citation rate", as the popularity of the paper is eroded in many different areas by the smaller, newer papers. Pick any one of those new papers, and you could easily say the earlier paper is better. However, pick any one of those many things, and you can probably find a better paper for the that particular area of study. Funding sources encourage this behaviour — being better than some previous paper, and fragmenting the research knowledge as much as possible.

People could read the single big paper and get a great overview, but over time they become more likely to know about the smaller papers which give excellent detail, but are very specific. Over time, the general knowledge of readers is reduced, and they lose track of related work outside their area of expertise.

Comment Article progression (Score 1) 112

For a change, this is something that appeared on SoylentNews before Slashdot. It has been interesting tracking this article through the social media sites that I frequent:

Reddit — Submitted Wed, Mar 11; 211 comments at the time of writing this comment

SoylentNews — Submitted Sunday, Mar 15; 16 comments at the time of writing this comment

Slashdot — Posted Monday, Mar 16; 30 comments at the time of writing this comment

The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.