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Comment: Re:Pittance (Score 1) 64

by rknop (#48440033) Attached to: Judge Approves $450M Settlement For Apple's Ebook Price Fixing

Indeed, in these kinds of class action lawsuits, there is only one big winner, and that is the lawyers who are litigating it.

I'm all for class action lawsuits in principle; companies that do things that are bad for soceity should face some sort of consequences for their actions, and people who were inconvenienced or harmed by the actions of companies should have some sort of recompence. In practice, however, usually what happens is that the people nominally benefitting get just a few dollars (probably not worth the paperwork of making it happen), the charge to the company is perhaps not trivial, but an easily absorbed cost of doing business, and it's a bonanza for the lawyers involved. The rewards system encourages litigous behavior for the sake of litigation, not good behavior on the part of companies nor does it provide any real recompense for people harmed.

Comment: Re:This happened to me (Score 5, Insightful) 819

by rknop (#47845593) Attached to: 3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

And how, exactly, is she supposed to put her knees in any other position? The seats are not very wide. Unless she has an empty seat next to her (and, frankly, that's about the only way I can stand to fly any more), if she tries to bend her legs so that her knees aren't right in front of her, parts of them are going to be spilling over into and annoying the person next to her, or sticking out into the aisle and getting run over by the carts that the flight attendants drive trhough trying to get people to buy stupid duty free stuff.

The problem is not inconsiderate assholes. The problem is that 6'2" people are stuck in plane seats that they simply don't fit in. The problem is that airlines have designed coach seats to work for the bottom 30% of the population in terms of size, and are trying to squeeze the entire population into it. Something somewhere's gotta give. The person in back can blame the person in front for reclining their seat (as we've seen in this thread), or the person in front can blame the person in back for having knees (as we've seen in this thread), but *somebody* is going to be unhappy, because the situation is set up so that somebody has to be.

The problem is coach seating. It's just become too small.

Comment: don't they understand the Internet? (Score 1) 70

by rknop (#47796055) Attached to: Feynman Lectures Released Free Online

The front-page warning says "However, we want to be clear that this edition is only free to read online, and this posting does not transfer any right to download all or any portion of The Feynman Lectures on Physics for any purpose. "

I wonder how they expect people to read it in their browsers without the text of the document being transferred down to the computer on which the browser is running...?

Comment: overheat (Score 3, Insightful) 91

by rknop (#46317797) Attached to: Nostalgic For the ZX Spectrum? Soon You Can Play With a New One

I remember getting one of those when I was 10 or 11. First generation. All excited to finally have a computer. But I couldn't leave it on for more than an hour or two before it would just crash because it had overheated. Too frustrating to use. We sent it back before the necessary 10 days had passed.

I was sad.

Later (within the year? I don't remember) I got a Vic-20; a couple of years later, a Commodore 64. Then, in college, a Commodore 128. Those guys worked much better for me than the Sinclair ZX ever did.

Comment: Re:Mandatory gun ownership (Score 2) 694

You don't have health insurance, eh? Do you also have legal documents signed that the system does not need to help you and pay for the care you'll need if an unexpected condition or accident arises? Or are you assuming that if something like that happens that no non-ultra-rich person could handle, the system will back you up?

If you don' t have all the "let me suffer" documents signed, by not having health insurance you're a worse freeloader than any smoker.

Comment: Re:Worst Summary Ever? (Score 5, Interesting) 489

by rknop (#43369557) Attached to: Getting a Literature Ph.D. Will Make You Into a Horrible Person

It that you will *think* you're a horrible person. If you can't get a job in an academic tenure-track position, you'll think that you're worthless, a failure, that you haven't lived up to your own expectations of yourself and everybody else's expectations of you.

You won't *be* horrible, but you'll *think* you're horrible.

I've been there. Right now, I'm one of the EXCEPTIONALLY LUCKY in that I'm a 40-something who's in a Unviersity job. (We don't have tenure where I am, but it's a small teaching-oriented liberal arts college of exactly the sort I always wanted to teach at.) But, I've been in the position of trying to find a job and not being able to, and of being on the tenure track with certainty that I was going to get turned down because I couldn't get money out of highly overtaxed funding agencies. And I felt like a complete, worthless failure, somebody who's life didn't add up to a damn thing, somebody who couldn't do anything. THAT is how a PhD (mine is in Physics) turns you into a horrible person.

Comment: Re:But what is it? (Score 1) 173

by rknop (#43353351) Attached to: Dark Matter Found? $2 Billion Orbital Experiment Detects Hints

Dark Matter is not like the luminiferous aether. That was the title of a podcast I made three years ago -- here it is: http://cosmoquest.org/blog/365daysofastronomy/2010/06/26/june-26th-dark-matter-not-like-the-luminiferous-ether/

The luminiferous aether was a theory developed to explain a discrepancy... as was dark matter. The difference is, there are LOTS of different lines of evidence to point towards dark matter. With the luminiferous aether, the theory was tested, and it didn't stand up. With Dark Matter, the theory has been tested, and it DID stand up.

The Military

United States Begins Flying Stealth Bombers Over South Korea 567

Posted by samzenpus
from the nice-day-for-a-flight dept.
skade88 writes "The New York Times is reporting that the United States has started flying B-2 stealth bomber runs over South Korea as a show of force to North Korea. The bombers flew 6,500 miles to bomb a South Korean island with mock explosives. Earlier this month the U.S. Military ran mock B-52 bombing runs over the same South Korean island. The U.S. military says it shows that it can execute precision bombing runs at will with little notice needed. The U.S. also reaffirmed their commitment to protecting its allies in the region. The North Koreans have been making threats to turn South Korea into a sea of fire. North Korea has also made threats claiming they will nuke the United States' mainland."

Comment: Micropayments taken to the extreme (Score 2) 81

by rknop (#42785045) Attached to: Startup Offers Pay-Per-Page E-Books

Holy cow... like most people, I already don't like micropayments in most circumstances-- it leads to stress because you're watching what you do at all times knowing that every little thing leads to more money being charged, rather than the comfort of knowing that you've got what you got. This, however, is the concept metastasized.

This is the kind of headline I'd expect to read on April 1.

Comment: Re:It seems arrogant (Score 3, Interesting) 134

by rknop (#42715377) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Free and Open Source Apps For Android?

Free, open-source program repositories are littered with abandonware. That is one of the real hurdles for open-source adoption in enterprises

While strictly true, there is a difference. If something is proprietary, and the developer either goes out of business or decides not to update it any more, and if the developer doesn't sell or otherwise give away the rights, that's it. You're done. The app cannot legally be updated any more, and often can't even legally be available.

With free software, however, there's no guarantee that it will continue to be updated. However, it's at least possible. This is a huge difference. This is why it was so great that Blender went Free Software when it's company gave up on it; there would be no Blender now if it weren't for the fact that it went free.

Comment: Re:just make your own character (Score 4, Insightful) 391

by rknop (#42226715) Attached to: How Corruption Is Strangling US Innovation

There is a WIDE gulf between completely lack of copyright,and the never-ending copyright terms that we have in the USA today. (And don't tell me that copyrights are finite, because they DO get extended every time things are about to start to enter the public domain again.)

Arguing against infinite copyrights doesn't necessarily mean arguing for absolutely no copyright at all.

Comment: Re:Global warming is politics, not science. (Score 5, Informative) 339

by rknop (#42226401) Attached to: Ticking Arctic Carbon Bomb May Be Bigger Than Expected

You confuse "global warming proponents" (by which I assume you mean lobbyist and such who are trying to convince the world that global warming is real) with "climate researchers".

The latter have reached an overwhelming consensus that anthrogenic global warming is real, and to deny that that is a "reasoned scienctific view" is right up there with denying evolution or the germ theory of disease, saying they're all just political movements.

It is true that there are some in the political area who have cried wolf or who have oversold things. But to deny the utter and overwhelming reality of the results of vast quantities of climate scientists (including some who came in skeptical when they started, but realized that, hey, the data say what the data say) is simply wrong.

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