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Comment: Re:Sexual Harassment shouldn't cost us knowledge (Score 1) 416

by slinches (#48583099) Attached to: MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses By Walter Lewin

Deleting all of Cosby's TV shows and movies would still be wrong as they are a part of our cultural history.

No one is doing that though, there is a difference between no longer promoting something and erasing it from history.

Actually, there isn't in the case of copyrighted works. If the rights holder stops selling and promoting something without re-licensing it for public use, then it is dead and nobody else can legally acquire a copy. This is one of the reasons there should be a requirement in copyright law that the work must be made available or the holder loses their exclusive rights to it.

To stretch the Cosby link further, you might (quite reasonably) think things Cosby did in the past are funny and even have value beyond pure humour, as social commentary etc. If that were the case and you know someone who had been abused by Cosby, would you choose to put a Cosby video on for them and expect them to find it an enjoyable experience?

That is the situation MIT is in. They aren't just dealing with 'theoretical' students who might somehow be deprived of some value that only those videos can impart. They are dealing with real students actually effected by the situation at hand.

If you wouldn't knowingly ask someone you care about to be entertained by someone who had abused them, why would you expect MIT to ask someone to be educated by someone who harassed them?

I wouldn't ask them to watch something from their abuser, but that isn't what's happening here. No one is being forced to watch anything. They're not even being asked to. Worst case is if one of Cosby's victims happened across a rerun of his, they quickly change the channel. The MIT lectures are even less likely to be seen accidentally and the professor's name is clearly listed on it. Are you suggesting that the right thing to do is to eliminate every reference to a person just so that a few people who were hurt won't occasionally stumble across a reminder that their abuser exists? If so, where do you draw the line there? The MIT professor only violated sexual harassment rules and as far as I have seen isn't even charged with a crime. Is that really enough to warrant erasure of his work? What about a high school bully? Are they so tainted that they should never be allowed to participate in our culture again?

Comment: Re:Just wondering... (Score 3, Insightful) 416

by slinches (#48575333) Attached to: MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses By Walter Lewin

The best thing MIT could do is release the lectures for free (i.e. remove a profit motive from themselves), eliminate their name being used in association with it, and step back. That's reasonable. Trashing the whole thing is silly.

Maybe there needs to be a creative commons license that expressly forbids attribution, just for this circumstance. I suggest calling it CC-CYA

Comment: Re:Sexual Harassment shouldn't cost us knowledge (Score 1) 416

by slinches (#48575215) Attached to: MIT Removes Online Physics Lectures and Courses By Walter Lewin

Nope, still no challenge there. Deleting all of Cosby's TV shows and movies would still be wrong as they are a part of our cultural history. If the content owners want to distance themselves from Cosby's now severely tarnished image, then they should make a public statement that they do not want any further association and then sell the rights to his work or release it to the public domain.

If the norm throughout time was to erase someone from history because they did something terrible once, we would never have been able to progress to the level where we could even have this discussion. Everything we do is built upon a foundation of knowledge provided by those that came before us and if we start pulling out the bricks which were laid by those we see as evil, the whole thing will come crashing down. We have a responsibility to keep growing and strengthening that foundation for future generations to build upon, which is far more important than a vain effort to erase the mistake of associating yourself with that evil person.

Comment: Re:People buy stuff without understanding is... (Score 1) 321

There's an easy solution to that problem. Don't fix it and tell her why.

Seriously, if someone isn't willing to learn and use the most basic of computer hygiene practices, they will eventually fall prey to malware and will almost certainly lose data to hardware failure at some point. And if you're the administrator of the computer when that happens, it'll be your fault for not protecting them (at least in their eyes).

You could also try explaining it as a car analogy: e.g. "You wouldn't just hop in your car and start driving without learning the rules of the road, would you?"

Comment: Re:Is there a way to prevent this? (Score 1) 206

by slinches (#48226181) Attached to: Verizon Injects Unique IDs Into HTTP Traffic

That's the problem with monopolies (natural or otherwise). Still, there is an option to sign up for just the phone plans without wireless data and use wired or satellite ISPs for internet access.

You could also go the route of circumventing the problem (using the methods others have already suggested) with a bit of added effort/cost, but in that case there's no disincentive to help persuade Verizon to stop the program.

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 839

by slinches (#48161897) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

How does inflation fund government services to the general populace?

Inflation allows the government to borrow at net interest rates near zero or lower. As long as inflation is higher than the interest rate on the loan, the interest costs are offset by paying the loan back in devalued currency.

Comment: Re:I don't the big MPG/GPM deal (Score 1) 403

by slinches (#48094381) Attached to: Fuel Efficiency Numbers Overstate MPG More For Cars With Small Engines

I haven't driven a car in the past 15 years that didn't have a "distance to empty" option on the dash.

And I haven't driven a vehicle in the last 15 years that has such a feature. But then all I've driven in that time is a basic light pickup and a Jeep. I know range features are available, but they're more common in higher end domestic or import passenger cars.

Anyway, MPG's a useless metric for figuring out whether you need to stop for gas, unless you also know how big your tank is. If you do, then you're doing the math in your head to duplicate the distance to empty calculation on your dash.

Why would someone not know how big their tank is? There should be a clear reminder of the size every time you fill up.

Finally, the portion of the population who routinely take drives with >150 miles between gas stations is tremendously small.

There are quite a lot of people who live in the western US and Canada, where this is true.

Not that my anecdotes best yours, it's just that there would need to be conclusive evidence that a change would be worth the expense incurred and the arguments for gpm style fuel efficiency ratings don't seem (to me) to be compelling enough to justify such an action.

Comment: Re:I don't the big MPG/GPM deal (Score 1) 403

by slinches (#48092811) Attached to: Fuel Efficiency Numbers Overstate MPG More For Cars With Small Engines

Fundamentally, we're not interested in how far we can go on X gallons of gas, we're interested in how much gas it will take us to drive to our destination. GPM lets us compare that directly, while MPG doesn't.

But that's only true when making a decision between different cars. It's far more common (at least it is where I live) to have to quickly calculate whether I need to stop for gas now or if I can make it to the next town that's ~150 miles away in the car I'm currently driving.

Comment: Re:Cubic litres (Score 4, Funny) 268

by slinches (#47989163) Attached to: IBM Solar Concentrator Can Produce12kW/day, Clean Water, and AC

It must be the higher dimensionality thing since he successfully converts that to 350 cubic gallons (imperial, no less) a bit further along.

Alternatively, the water produced by this process is cubic in shape which would make it difficult to use with traditional plumbing systems.

Crazee Edeee, his prices are INSANE!!!

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