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Comment Re:About time to arm ourselves (Score 3, Informative) 450 450

What? I'm a whackjob that believes in the Illuminati as a secret, nefarious society because I can read and quote the act?

You apparently failed to read beyond the part you emphasized, as the next words show how silly this whole affair is: "as is enjoyed by foreign governments." All your quote says is, INTERPOL is to be treated the same as every foreign government that has an embassy in the US. There is literally nothing to get excited about here.

Comment Re:Can we make it somewhat safe? Yes. (Score 2, Insightful) 582 582

You make this claim, that terrorists don't attack because they are deterred by the idea of security, with no evidence. Here's some very good evidence why your theory is bunk: there are literally millions of highly visible targets in this country with no security. Anybody who wanted to could attack them trivially, compared to the relative difficulty of attacking an airplane. And yet, nobody does. There have been a handful of attempts over the past decade (most of them prompted or at least significantly helped by FBI informers), but nothing really successful (unless you consider Fort Hood, which clearly is a separate issue). If there really were all of these potential terrorists in the US, why would they just give up after deciding airlines are too hard? Why aren't they attacking all our undefended targets instead?

Comment Re:Blind Sound Test. (Score 1) 210 210

As a violinist with a ~$5000 instrument, I can confidently say there is a world of difference even between a $5000 instrument and a $10,000 instrument. However, it's important to note that tonal quality is only one, and not necessarily the most weighted, factor in pricing a violin. Others are age, the fame of the maker, the construction of the instrument, and the condition, all of which possibly imply good tonal quality, but don't necessarily ensure it.

In other words, there are huge divergences in quality in violins, and good violins tend to cost a lot of money (hundreds of thousands of dollars). However, inside particular price ranges (say, $20,000-30,000) the more expensive instrument may not necessarily be the better.

Comment Re:As a high school teacher, (Score 1) 646 646

While I have great sympathy for the plight of teachers, in this matter it is their fault if things go badly. All the board has done is introduce loopholes through which bad teachers can push malarkey on their students. They have not mandated that ID or creationism be taught (if they did it would be struck down immediately by the courts) and instead are taking the more insidious route of enabling teachers to do it for them.

The point being, if you refuse to teach bad science, the Texas board of education is not forcing you to do so.

Comment Re:Score for who? (Score 2, Informative) 646 646

Let say our culture eliminates itself, and after 50000 years nearly no traces of us will be left. Still somebody looking at the Genes of the animals *will* find ID. He will find that certain genes were selected far beyond natural selection (actively bred), sometimes different from what you would expect in nature, and that new genes which do not belong to the pool of a species will appear (insulin in bacteria). What i want to say: there are scientific criteria for ID, but usually proposers of ID just want to justify their superstition and therefore hesitate to define these. Would i be in their place i would also hesitate, because this has the big risk of failing spectacularly.

There's a name for what you're describing: artificial selection. It has nothing to do with "intelligent design," which is the claim that all life on earth was created (more or less in its present form) by some unknowable entity. Artificial selection is part of evolutionary theory and you would find no competent evolutionary biologist who would deny its existence.

Comment They just don't get it (Score 2, Insightful) 175 175

It's amazing how adept the media companies are at shooting themselves in the feet. They've come a long way with sites like hulu such that it is now more convenient to watch shows legally than illegally. If they change that by acceding to the cable companies' demands, the only result will be more piracy and less revenue. Cable companies are going to have to realize at some point that their primary function of providing access to a lot of content that most of their customers aren't interested in isn't going to last much longer, and that they are going to become just another pipe into the home. Attempts like this to forestall the inevitable are going to fail in the long run.

Mathematics Reading List For High School Students? 630 630

Troy writes "I'm a high school math teacher who is trying to assemble an extra-credit reading list. I want to give my students (ages 16-18) the opportunity/motivation to learn about stimulating mathematical ideas that fall outside of the curriculum I'm bound to teach. I already do this somewhat with special lessons given throughout the year, but I would like my students to explore a particular concept in depth. I am looking for books that are well-written, engaging, and accessible to someone who doesn't have a lot of college-level mathematical training. I already have a handful of books on my list, but I want my students to be able to choose from a variety of topics. Many thanks for all suggestions!"

Submission + - Palm announces new phone, OS at CES->

wyldeone writes: "Today at a press conference Palm unveiled its long-awaited new operating system, dubbed Palm webOS. Unlike the traditional Palm OS, applications are developed using XHTML, CSS and Javascript and calendar, contact and other data is pulled from the cloud. Also announced was the Palm Pre, the first device to run it. The Pre is set to launch exclusively on Sprint in the first half of 2009."
Link to Original Source

NYT Ponders the Future of Solaris In a Linux/Windows World 340 340

JerkBoB links to a story at the New York Times about the future prospects of Sun's Solaris, excerpting: "Linux is enjoying growth, with a contingent of devotees too large to be called a cult following at this point. Solaris, meanwhile, has thrived as a longstanding, primary Unix platform geared to enterprises. But with Linux the object of all the buzz in the industry, can Sun's rival Solaris Unix OS hang on, or is it destined to be displaced by Linux altogether?"

Comment Re:Paper and gasoline-based dinosaurs (Score 4, Insightful) 136 136

You're ignoring one of the most important jobs of newspapers: investigative reporting. While blogs and news aggregators like Digg and Slashdot do provide a useful service, they don't generate much news. Digg and slashdot primarily link to traditional news sources and would be bereft of content were such organizations to disappear. For an example of the importance of this role, just look at the past few years. If it were not for the investigations carried out by major newspapers (in particular the NY Times and the Washington Post) we would not know about the NSA wiretaps, the Guantanamo abuses, or the role of the Bush Administration in falsifying pre-war intellegence, just to name a few.

In order for a democracy to truly function, a strong, independent press is necessary (look at Russia for a "democracy" where this element is missing). It's hard to see blogs and TV news stations taking over that role from newspapers any time soon.

Toyota Unveils Violin-Playing Robot 203 203

eldavojohn writes "Toyota has unveiled a robot that can play the violin. From the article: 'Toyota said it planned to further advance the robot's dexterity to enable it to use tools and assist with domestic duties and nursing and medical care. The robot has 17 joints in both of its hands and arms now.' It seems there have been small — or maybe even strange, impractical — advances in robotics repeatedly with demonstrations of robots performing a specialized task. Are we merely struggling to hard code each human activity as we strive for an all purpose android? Is there a chance artificial intelligence & robotics will ever become generalized enough to make interaction interesting?"

Leopard as the New Vista? 734 734

ninja_assault_kitten writes "There's an interesting rant from Oliver Rist up on the PC Magazine site. He compares the catastrophe that is Vista to the recently released OS X Leopard. While clearly one is a lion and the other a cub, there do appear to be some frustrating similarities. From the article: 'A month of using Leopard with the same software I had under Tiger and the OS has dumped six times. That's six cold reboots for Oliver. Apple isn't even honest enough to admit that Leopard is crashing: The OS just grays out my desktop and pops up a dialog box telling me I've got to reboot. Like the whole thing is my fault. I even snapped a picture of it. After all, I HAD PLENTY OF CHANCES!'"

Submission + - The History of the Amiga->

wyldeone writes: "Ars Technica has published the first part of their history of the Amiga, and of the mis-management at Commodore that led to its demise. From the article:

The Amiga computer was a dream given form — an inexpensive, fast, flexible multimedia computer that could do virtually anything. It handled graphics, sound, and video as easily as other computers of its time manipulated plain text. It was easily ten years ahead of its time. It was everything its designers imagined it could be, except for one crucial problem: the world was essentially unaware of its existence.

Link to Original Source

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