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Comment: Re:Moo (Score 1) 469

Furthermore, Steinways are inconsistent in quality; since they are made by hand, you can get two Steinways that are not of the same standard, which is frustrating when you are trying to buy one.

This is a feature, not a bug. The quality is always the same, but differences in the wood as it is shaped through the manufacturing process lend each instrument its own character as opposed to the more consistent but cookie-cutter instruments coming out of other factories.

Steinway instruments fresh out of the factory are designed to be only a starting point. The selling feature of the Steinway design is that it is so very customizable to the preferences of the player. A low tension scale design coupled with a unique hammer construction and asymmetrically tapered diaphragmatic soundboard give the voicing of a Steinway a very large potential tonal palette. It is typically up to the dealer selling the instrument to have technicians that will spend a few (or more) hours tweaking the piano to your final preference. Other instruments are more consistent from unit to unit, but sacrifice that flexibility as a result. It's relatively easy to make a Steinway bright and loud like a Yamaha by shaping and lacquering the shit out of the hammers, but it's quite difficult to take a high tension scale Yamaha and make it dark and moody while still having good dynamic control.

I generally agree with the rest of your comments though.

Comment: Re:Moo (Score 1) 469

Yamaha pianos that are comparable in design and construction method to Steinway pianos are significantly more expensive, particularly in the concert grand range.

For someone to say that a Steinway piano which is a low tension scale design is indistinguishable from a less expensive piano such as the Yamaha, a high tension scale design, tells me that someone doesn't play or listen to piano very often. The scale designs make for very different tonalities, volumes, and sustain lengths. The high end piano artists market for Steinway pianos also tells a very different story, considering that Steinway doesn't give their pianos away for free, whereas Yamaha does so regularly purely to gain marketshare, yet the vast majority of touring concert piano players prefer Steinway pianos.

Comment: Re:Moo (Score 1) 469

There are cheaper concert grands, but hardly anyone plays them. Steinway tracks all major concert halls and their performances the world over to see what pianos are being played and how often. Each year the number of major concert hall performances fluctuates between about 95-98% performed on a Steinway, with 2-5% performed on something else.

Comment: "Proved"? Really? (Score 1) 470

by kurzweilfreak (#46685949) Attached to: It's Time To Bring Pseudoscience Into the Science Classroom
As per good ol' Wikipedia: "PEAR employed random event generators (REGs), to explore the ability of test subjects to use telekinesis to influence the random output distribution of these devices to conform to their pre-recorded intentions to produce higher numbers, lower numbers, or nominal baselines.[5] Most of these experiments utilized a microelectronic REG, but experiments were also conducted with a mechanical device which dropped balls down a peg-covered board.[6] PEAR also conducted exercises involving groups of volunteers which, they claimed, produced more pronounced results.[7][8] In all cases, the observed effects were very small (about one tenth of one percent), but over extensive databases they compounded to statistically significant deviations from chance behavior.[9] The baseline for chance behavior used did not vary as statistically appropriate (baseline bind). Two PEAR researchers attributed this baseline bind to the motivation of the operators to achieve a good baseline.[10] It has been noted that a single test subject (presumed to be a member of PEAR’s staff) participated in 15% of PEAR’s trials, and was responsible for half of the total observed effect.[9] PEAR’s results have been criticized for deficient reproducibility. In one instance two German organizations failed to reproduce PEAR’s results, while PEAR similarly failed to reproduce their own results.[10] An attempt by York University’s Stan Jeffers also failed to replicate PEAR’s results.[9] PEAR’s activities have also been criticized for their lack of scientific rigor, poor methodology, and misuse of statistics.[9][11][12]" I'd say that "proved" is a might bit strong and premature here...

Comment: If you read the info sheets... (Score 1) 259

by kurzweilfreak (#46525761) Attached to: Overuse of Bioengineered Corn Gives Rise To Resistant Pests
As far as I'm aware, the seeds you buy with these traits come with a "best practices" information sheet that tells you exactly this kind of shit. That farmers still ignore that advice, even knowing what the outcome will be, can hardly be blamed on the biotech companies. After all, the farmers are the ones ultimately putting the seed in the ground. But hey, anything to bitch about Monsanto and the rest, right?

Comment: Re: O RLY (Score 1) 259

by kurzweilfreak (#46525727) Attached to: Overuse of Bioengineered Corn Gives Rise To Resistant Pests
As far as I know, there are no seeds at all on the market using so-called "Terminator" technology, and never have been. So everyone crying over sterile seeds just doesn't really know what they're talking about. Now, if they're talking about hybrid vigor and how second generation seeds don't perform as well as first-generation hybrids, that's just genetics for you, not some grand conspiracy to make farmers buy seeds year after year rather than saving them.

1 Billion dollars of budget deficit = 1 Gramm-Rudman