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Comment: He's pulling our lariat (Score 1) 1153

by timlash (#34089066) Attached to: How Much Math Do We Really Need?
Methinks the troll tag on this article is most appropriate. I almost spit my Cheerios on the floor yesterday when I read Dr. Ramanathan's article in my local fish wrap. I'm guessing his intent was to proffer the most basic straw man so as to spur discussion as to how to make math education more effective in modern society. I offer this forum as my first point of evidence.

Comment: Re:Wrong way round, Lovey (Score 1) 865

by Torrance (#31681410) Attached to: James Lovelock Suggests Suspending Democracy To Save the World

You're jumping the gun there.

We could argue over defintions (since what you're describing there I would never consider as 'communism') but let me just say this: I'm against capitalism because it places control of economic (and, to a great degree, political) life in the hands of a small economic elite. Why would I think that placing the control of both economic and political life into the hands of a political elite would be any better?

Comment: Re:"We're creating a revenue stream..." (Score 3, Funny) 949

by Jedi Alec (#31680774) Attached to: New Litigation Targets 20,000 BitTorrent-Using Downloaders

The equivalent of a distribution channel where tens of thousands get movies for free, but then a randomly selected group has to pay a hundred times the cost of the movie in litigation fees.

So kinda like insurance...except the other way around?

Didn't someone start a p2p insurance policy a few years back?

Comment: Submit an FTC complaint (Score 2, Insightful) 739

by johndoe42 (#31657038) Attached to: "Install Other OS" Feature Removed From the PS3

While suing Sony sounds great, it involves finding a lawyer (ideally a class action lawyer) to handle it. But here in the US, we have another mechanism: the FTC.

If enough of us file FTC complaints online, they might take note. I wrote something like the text at the bottom of this post.

The company in question is:
Sony Computer Entertainment America
919 East Hillsdale Boulevard
Foster City, CA 94404

---BEGIN FTC COMPLAINT---

Sony (as Sony Consumer Entertainment America, Inc.) sells, and has sold for several years, a popular device called the Playstation 3. Up until now, this device has two features of note:

1. It supports a feature called "Install Other OS." This allows users to install operating systems such as Linux on their Playstation 3, which many users use for scientific and other purposes.

2. It supports something called the PlayStation Network. This is an online network of gaming users and is critical to obtaining the full gaming experience advertised by Sony.

Yesterday, Sony announced (http://blog.us.playstation.com/2010/03/28/ps3-firmware-v3-21-update/) that they were going to disable the "Install Other OS" feature on all PlayStation 3 units, even those already sold. Users can opt out of this disablement, but that will in turn disable PlayStation Network.

Sony claims that this is due to "security concerns." These security concerns are probably that Sony realized that "Install Other OS" might allow PS3 owners to bypass digital rights management restrictions. In other words, Sony is crippling an existing product to aid in preventing users from doing something that may hurt Sony's relationship with content developers. (Users attacking the Playstation 3 may or may not be legal, but that shouldn't matter here.)

I am not an expert in the relevant law, but it seems to me that a company should not be permitted to disable functionality of products already sold, especially when the reason that they disable that functionality is to prevent their users from doing something.

Comment: Re:Why they tell you to turn off your phone... (Score 1) 437

by Andy Dodd (#31656310) Attached to: Do Car Safety Problems Come From Outer Space?

There is one flaw with your logic here:

Electric motors are pretty powerful at low speeds. If the regenerative portion of the braking system is instead in acceleration mode, it's going to have a decent chance of overwhelming the undersized mechanical brakes. (The brakes are undersized because of the assumption that the regenerative system does the bulk of the work.)

Comment: Re:Sorry kids (Score 5, Insightful) 739

by Bakkster (#31656284) Attached to: "Install Other OS" Feature Removed From the PS3

I agree with piracy in some respects, I think it's a great tool to get what you want while protesting some aspects such as DRMs, aggressive pricing, inconvenience, etc...

And this is why we have no effective protests anymore. If you're protesting, it's really only effective if you sacrifice something to do so. Otherwise it's shallow, and the corporation/government/whoever you protest against knows you can be pushed around because you don't really care. If your principles aren't important enough to you to sacrifice while fighting for them, why should they take them seriously? You obviously don't.

Imagine if the Civil Rights movement had its members get up and leave as soon as they were threatened with arrest? What if they got up from the seats they were occupying in a whites-only cafe because they were hungry? What if they picketted, but only until they were threatened with fire hoses? What if they continued to use public transit during the boycotts, just because it was a long walk? Do you really think anything would have changed?

By pirating, you let the game publishers know that you can't do without their game, so all they need to do is hold the line, increase the DRM, and eventually they can get you (or others like you) to buy it without giving into your 'demands'. Look at Modern Warfare 2. There was a 'boybott' group on Steam filled with players in MW2 on launch day. It's no wonder IW didn't care that people were upset, they still got paid!

So don't blow a bunch of smoke up my ass about piracy being a useful protest tool. It likely does more harm to protests than good. Using the word 'protest' is just a convenient justification for "I don't want to pay for this, but I also don't want to feel like I'm doing anything wrong".

Comment: Re:Why they tell you to turn off your phone... (Score 1) 437

by Andy Dodd (#31656264) Attached to: Do Car Safety Problems Come From Outer Space?

Flipping dozens or thousand could be caused by EMI on an unshielded improperly designed control line.

However, this would require someone ripping the magnetron out of a microwave oven, attaching it to a horn antenna, and pointing it at your car. Leakage and "normal" emissions from cell phones and radios is NOTHING compared to the typical electrical environment of a vehicle. Vehicles are known for having VERY noisy electrical systems with lots of spikes and dropouts, and let's not forget that the ignition system is a close relative of the spark gap transmitter. Vehicle manufacturers are VERY familiar with EMI.

It's just a bunch of idiots fearmongering and trying to drum up ad impressions, when there are already incredibly simple explanations that DO have evidence linking them to the problem - THE FUCKING MECHANICAL GAS PEDAL STICKS. (As to claims that this problem appeared after going to drive-by-wire, people forgot that to support drive-by-wire, the gas pedal had to be pretty much redesigned - "classic" pedal systems had quite a bit of friction that would damp pedal movement without sticking, new pedal systems had to add a friction component - apparently some such methods are prone to sticking when they wear.)

In every non-trivial program there is at least one bug.

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