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Comment: Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (Score 1) 131

by khchung (#47397433) Attached to: Oculus Suspends Oculus Rift Dev Kit Sales In China

Wouldn't that make trying to scalp them prohibitively inconvenient?

You don't know how iPhones got into China before Apple started selling them there, do you?

The scalpers, or more appropriately, dealers just stand outside Apple Stores (wherever iPhones are available) and offer to buy from people who just bought the phone in the store, for a small profit. Soon enough, people aiming for that small profit started going to the store, buy an iPhone with credit card, then immediately sell it to the dealers for cash (and repeat for every credit they own, apply for more when all cards have been used). The dealers then hire other people to carry (i.e. smuggle) the phones, a few each, across the border into China and sell it for a larger profit.

How's that for crowdsourcing, heh?

That happened for every iPhone release until Apple officially started selling in China. No more profit == no more scalpers.

Simple economics, demand greater than supply, then the price increases. If the manufacturer won't increase the price or increase production to meet the demand, then some of the lucky few who got the goods will sell to someone else willing to pay more.

Hey, isn't that's what Free Market and First Sale Doctrine are about?

Comment: Re:Sounds like PR Hype to me. (Score 2) 36

As such, all exoskeletons suits currently in development either are tethered to a wall plug or have a ridiculously low battery capacity.

You made the wrong assumption that an exoskeleton suit is only useful if it is fully mobile like a car, HOWEVER, there are already LOTS of practical application for a suit that only works well when plugged-in, or with very short battery duration (e.g. 15 mins)

E.g. Old people or disabled people, with a plugged-in suit, can live a mostly normal life within their homes, rather than needing a 24-hour nurse just to take them to the bathroom.

I would guess that people with paralysis or legs disabled would celebrate the day they can effectively walk around their own home with such a suit. Especially if the home is retrofitted with enough power sockets for plugging in the suit where ever they go around the house.

Comment: Re:The science behind GMOs show they are safe. (Score 1) 272

by khchung (#47240505) Attached to: EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

We know pollution from coal power is killing people, we know coal mines are killing people, yet those same anti-nuke guys rarely call for closing coal power plants when they call for closing nuclear power plants.

You're arguing against a straw man here.

The nuclear-power opponents in Europe are all but unanimous about a proper replacement of these power plants. Some call for 'alternative' energies, like wind, water, solar and organic, others call for gas or coal.

I wish coal power killing people was just a strawman, cuz then those people won't be dead. Unfortunately, your reply illustrated some of the problems I just mentioned.

"Call for" is the operative word here, because calling for a magic pony won't make it true, any more than "calling for" alternative energies like "wind, water, solar and organic" would make them suddenly economical *and* scalable to be a realistic alternative to coal.

Gas, while may be feasible in replacing coal, is unfortunately not economical. If it were, we wouldn't have so many power plants burning coal right now. Even many first world countries (i.e. the richest and thus most likely to be able to afford it) cannot afford to replace ALL coal power plants with gas plants, what hope is there for developing countries like China or India?

So when you "call for" using those other alternative power sources while clamoring to close a nuclear plant, you are, for all practical purposes, asking for using coal power to replace nuclear.

If the anti-nuke crowd is really serious about the alternatives to coal, they should be yelling for *building* the alternative power sources rather than *closing* down the nuke plants, cuz if the alternatives really work, flooding the power market with power from alternative sources would make nuke plants *and* coal plants no longer economical and people will shut it down without any demonstrations. But of course this is not happening.

Comment: Re:The science behind GMOs show they are safe. (Score 5, Insightful) 272

by khchung (#47239259) Attached to: EU May Allow Members Home Rule On GMO Foods

If you want to scrutinize GMO you should be for scrutinizing all food. I don't care if you use genetic engineering, traditional cross breading, organic radiation mutation or organic chemical mutation they should ALL be checked. However saying that only the genetic engineering approach should face higher scrutiny is idiotic.

I found this to be a very easy indicator to find out if I am talking to someone with real science knowledge, or someone who just sprout anti-whatever nonsense.

Those who are anti-GMO and anti-nuclear power share a common problem, they usually refuse to apply the same safety yardstick to the currently in-use alternatives. "Proven safe" is the term you often heard from these guys, yet is *anything* ever "proven safe"?

We know pollution from coal power is killing people, we know coal mines are killing people, yet those same anti-nuke guys rarely call for closing coal power plants when they call for closing nuclear power plants.

We know chemical pesticides are harmful, we know people have been using even less controllable approaches to alter the genes of plants (chemical or radiation), we know people are starving to death because they don't have crops that grow well in their region, and we know most staple food we eat every day come from plants that are already hugely modified from its natural ancestors. Yet anti-GMO crowd sweep all these under the rug when clamoring against GMO crops, calling for them to banned until "proven safe".

Claiming the splicing in genes is more dangerous than radiation is akin to saying modifying a program by replacing a subroutine with one from another program is more dangerous than randomly flipping bytes everywhere in the program binary. It can only sound plausible if you assumed the person doing to splicing is intending on doing harm.

Comment: Re:A totally different game (Score 1) 50

by khchung (#47238955) Attached to: <em>OpenXcom</em> 1.0 Released

I tried Firaxis's XCOM as soon as I could, seeking the flexibility of the first two games; the devilish plays you could pull when in a tight spot (prime alien grenade - toss at buddy - buddy picks it up - buddy lobs at alien), shooting or running as your speed (TUs per turn) allowed, switching equipment on the field, breaching walls for your teammates... all were fond memories worthy of revisiting with a modern engine.

The first cinematic of the landing scene gave me a huge grin, and it was mostly disappointing from then on. Its walk-shoot-shoot; you die with the gear you brought; you can't shoot at walls because they've done nothing to you. I played four missions and didn't get to experiment with classes or see whether you could ever learn Mind Control.

My hopes are now on UFO: Alien Invasion. Bit rough around the edges but coming along nicely. If you share my feelings, give it a go.

Agree with you on all points, and I will add one game-breaker I gleaned after completing the game a few times, for all the great promise of the new XCom game, this is the killer that made me stop playing it -- the AI cheats.

That's right, it cheats. Not in the strategy game purest sense of cheating like it knows the position and gears of my team before they can see them (it does), but in the much more serious way as teleporting its units, literally, behind your back. So you can have your units partition the map into two, heard enemies on the left half in one turn, and sudden have then appear on the right the next turn!

Higher level snipers can get a motion sensor that reveals enemies, and the game is bugged in that it considered enemies revealed by motion sensor as still hidden. So you will get to see how the AI moves (i.e. teleports) those units to ALWAYS JUST out of sight of your units!

So instead of the strategic thinking the original XCom encourages, the new XCom just have one way to play without having your squad getting killed, which is to prepare and respond to having enemies popping up from any direction, even from parts of the map which you have cleared already!

P.S. Mind Control, don't even bother. You only get to control the alien for a few turns, not enough to make a real difference. The option of keeping one or two mind controllers in the team sitting at the starting location and just control aliens as they were spotted and use them is no longer viable. Since you cannot drop equipment now, mind controlling one to have it disarm itself is also not possible. Dropping a grenade on itself is the most useful thing you can do.

Comment: Re:You make it... (Score 1) 519

by khchung (#47221931) Attached to: Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

The issue isn't that teachers don't want to be assessed (at least not for most of them). It is that they don't want to be assessed using shitty metrics.

Things are getting somewhat better because states are moving towards growth models that look at a student's net improvement rather than just measuring them to a flat standard. So you are expected to make student improve, but not expected to make them all model students regardless of their starting point.

So problem solved, right? Let's have the teacher's union promote the use of this metric!

The other issue is with standardized testing. The only thing it really measures is how good students are at taking standardized tests. This has perhaps some connection to "intelligence" or "knowledge" or whatever the hell it is we're trying to produce through the education system, but the thing is we don't really know what it is we're trying to produce, much less measure.

Everyone like to parrot this, but the fact is basically every university looks at SAT scores as a major factor (not only, but still major) in deciding which student to accept. Unless you are going to claim that all universities are crazy, it IS a strong indicator that YES, standardized tests IS A USEFUL MEASURE of a student's ability (not to claim it is the ONLY measure, but a USEFUL measure nonetheless).

Furthermore, even if you insist that whatever a standardize test measure is still useless, you cannot dispute the fact that a good score WILL help the student in getting into the university he/she wants to, which itself is of great use.

Seriously, intelligence, knowledge and education are not well defined concepts, and attempts to quantify them as a single number are misguided. There's been some effort in these areas recently, but it is rather backwards that we've started out by attaching nationwide policy and billions of dollars to these things before we even have any idea of what exactly they measure, how reliable they are, and what the issues are with them. Trying to base your entire assessment of performance on a concept that is not well defined, much less measured, is a good way to irritate your employees, and teachers are right to bitch about this being a stupid form of assessment.

So because we don't fully understand a thing, we should even TRY to measure it?

Well, politics is also a very ill defined concept, yet it doesn't stop people quantifying them as a single number (number of votes) and hold elections to decide who gets to be the POTUS. By your logic, we should just do away with election and have a tenure for POTUS.

 

You wouldn't blame an IT person who complains that their only metric is number of tickets closed, when that has no bearing on whether the problem was actually solved correctly, thoroughly, or at all.

That IT person can complain all he wants, and is free to leave for another job. Yet you wouldn't say that because a shitty metric
is used, that IT person should have a lifelong tenure at this job, would you?

This isn't a question of whether teachers should be assessed. It is a question of how they should be assessed, and measuring all students from all regions against an arbitrary, fixed standard is a piss-poor way to do it that has little bearing on whether a teacher is good or not.

Yet in the discussion here, you only see the argument for NOT doing assessment at all because the metric is shitty, but you rarely see any counter-proposal for a non-shitty metric. Just coincidence? I think not.

Comment: Re:You make it... (Score 1) 519

by khchung (#47221783) Attached to: Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

"Almost EVERY SINGLE JOB IN THE WORLD IS LIKE THAT, it must be news to teachers who never worked other jobs.

Every salesperson in a store can only work with customers that come in the store. Every bank teller can only work with customers coming into the branch. Every programmer can only work on projects they were assigned to. etc, etc.

That doesn't stop all other professions' performance from being assessed."

The thing you fail to acknowledge is, the bank teller and salesperson and programmer all work for entities who are in business for one reason and one reason only: to make money. If they have no customers, they are not going to waste time assessing the clerks, they're either going to do something to get paying customers or they'll go out of business.

You tried to use "make money" as a bad thing to try to confuse the issue, but the core issue is that performance assessment CAN BE DONE in spite of all the excuses, and it can be made very clear if we just change a few words:

the bank teller and salesperson and programmer all work for entities who are in business for one reason and one reason only: to fulfill the objective of the organization. If the organization cannot achieve the objectives, they are not going to waste time assessing the clerks, they're either going to do something to achieve the objectives or they'll go out of business.

And surprise, surprise! A school has the objective of educating the students, and schools that cannot do that deserve to be closed down just the same. And teachers who failed at educating students deserved to be fired just like a salesperson who cannot make a sale.

Comment: Re:User interface randomization feature? (Score 1) 270

by khchung (#47211353) Attached to: Firefox 30 Available, Firebug 2.0 Released

I mean, why? Why rearrange everything and trash the user interface? There's no reason for it. I don't understand. I can't process the idea that they just go in and trash everything for no reason.

For their gainful employment?

I mean, why pay for a UI designer if the UI never changes and thus don't need any design?

Can the minor UI additions that came from new functions enough to justify the pay for the designers currently employed? If not, you can surely understand that they would feel anxious about losing their jobs, right? How long would it take for them to figure out that, by entirely redesigning the UI, they can keep themselves employed? And what's more, the UI can be redesigned over and over again until hell freezes over, thus all the UI designers now are able to keep themselves employed for life! (Or until Mozilla finally goes bankrupt after it alienated all remaining FF users)

Comment: Re:You make it... (Score 2) 519

by khchung (#47210621) Attached to: Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

On the other hand, teachers can only work with the students that they are assigned. The only way to fairly assess teacher performance is to compare not only the performance of the students during the year that they're assigned to that teacher, but to compare all other years both before and after.

Almost EVERY SINGLE JOB IN THE WORLD IS LIKE THAT, it must be news to teachers who never worked other jobs.

Every salesperson in a store can only work with customers that come in the store. Every bank teller can only work with customers coming into the branch. Every programmer can only work on projects they were assigned to. etc, etc.

That doesn't stop all other professions' performance from being assessed.

To the similar extent that a usual worker has in choosing their work, teachers also get the negotiate which classes they will teach next year, influenced by their capability and school needs. This is no different from how much a programmer can negotiate which projects they can work on.

To the similar extent that a teacher has little control of the environmental factors, guess what? Most other professionals don't have such control either? Can a programmer choose what kind of projects/schedules the company has going? How much control has a salesperson on the products he has to sell?

Hey, if you don't like the class you are being assigned, you can also quit. Oh, but the tenure is just too attractive? Welcome to the real world.

Comment: Re:Issues with the story (Score 1) 307

by khchung (#47184905) Attached to: GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

What do the top executives have to do with ignition switches? Why would they have known anything about the problem?

They should have known about the lack of change management, and the company culture of hiding problems.

Why pay the top executives so much if they are NOT responsible for the screw-ups?

Comment: Re:Get those little people! (Score 1) 307

by khchung (#47184869) Attached to: GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

Well, since Mary Barra worked in their human resources department at the time, I do find a little hard to believe that she was retroactively responsible for a fault in their engineering department.

The HR department would be responsible for the incentives, employee training and grievance processes, all of which directly contributes to the culture of the company when employees found problems -- report it or hide it?

Comment: Re:Culpability at the Top (Score 1) 307

by khchung (#47184849) Attached to: GM Names and Fires Engineers Involved In Faulty Ignition Switch

Because the old GM is gone. The shareholders and management switched. It's a new company with the same name and it doesn't deserve to be liable for the past company.

Then they doesn't deserve the name and reputation of the "GM" name, and should just dissolved the company and start a new one. You can't have it both ways.

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