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Comment Re:Generation Y's unusual sense of "responsibility (Score 0) 362

What about the prosecutor that threatened Mr. Swartz with 30 years in jail for actions that most civilized people think should have been dealt with by the University administration, or maybe by the civil courts. Was it responsible to threaten a person with 30 years in jail for disregarding an EULA?

He wasn't facing anywhere near 30 years. The prosecutors told Swartz that they thought the judge might go as high as 7 years. That was if he went to trail, lost, and the prosecutor's largest damage number was accepted. If he pled guilty, the most he was facing was 6 months. See Orin Kerr's detailed analysis.

Comment Re:Probably not, but if it does, good (Score 2) 282

Technically a Linux based OS should be called GNU/Linux implying that it is a GNU OS running on top of a Linux kernel.

That's historically not accurate. Here's a cut/paste of a comment of mine from another forum on the matter of naming the system that is commonly called Linux:

Historically, naming rights for an OS go to whoever actually puts together and distributes the complete system. For instance, if a workstation company licensed Unix from AT&T and ported it to their workstation, they got to name that OS whatever they wanted. A couple examples of this were Uniplus+, which was UniSoft's Unix, and 386/ix, which was Interactive System Corporations Unix. Both were Unix systems--they used a Unix kernel and Unix utilities--but that wasn't their names. Half the fun working at a Unix workstation company in the early '80s was thinking of a neat name for your Unix port. :-)

For the complete systems distributed by Canonical, Red Hat, and the like, they are the ones who get to name the operating systems that they distribute. Ubuntu calls their OS the "Ubuntu operating system". Red Hat calls their OS "Red Hat Enterprise Linux".

Yes, they are also GNU systems, but if we want to be historically accurate, the most correct way to view this would be to view "GNU system" and "GNU/Linux" as specifications for a specific Unix-like userspace and for an OS that runs the GNU system on a Linux kernel, respectively. The Ubuntu operating system complies with the GNU system specification and is a GNU/Linux system, but it is named Ubuntu operating system.

Comment Re:Conversion? (Score 1) 129

HTML works better in this case. PDF is better when you need the formatting to be the same on all the devices, but that is not the case here.

With HTML, the user can adjust the size and have the text reflow, and can separately scale all the math (see the MathJax context menu on any equation to access the math scaling settings).

For instance, the HTML edition is quite usable on even my iPhone, with my poor 50+ year old eyes. For a PDF to be usable on such a device, they would have had to format it in such a way that it would look ridiculous on a desktop system.

Comment Re:Stimulus This! (Score 4, Interesting) 827

I have friends graduating with engineering degrees that have 30k in debt from a STATE SCHOOL. This isn't an Ivy League school, but a state university. How does that compute?

It "computes" BECAUSE they went to a state school. If they had gone to an Ivy League school, they would probably have much less debt, if any.

For most students, a good state school is more expensive than Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and so on. That's because the Ivy League schools (and non-Ivy top private schools like Stanford, Chicago, MIT, Caltech and such) have large endowments per student that generate lots of income that they use to provide generous need-based non-loan aid. At Stanford, for instance, if your family makes under $100k, tuition is waived. Under $60k, and Stanford also waives room and board.

State schools, on the other hand, do not have large endowments per student. If their state has budget problems, one of the first things to go is need-based non-loan aid.

This is probably the oddest thing about American higher education. It is actually possible for someone to legitimately say "I could not afford to send my kids to Cal State Fresno, so I sent them Harvard".

Comment Re:Disappearance of E-Ink (Score 3, Funny) 323

No, the Paperwhite readers (and Kobo Glo) use frontlighting not backlighting. Much less eye-strain, and one research study suggests less disruptive to sleep when used in the evening.

My Kindle Paperwhite is much less disruptive to sleep than my iPad, but it has nothing to do with the lighting. It has to do with the weight. The iPad is heavy enough that falling asleep and dropping it on my face hurts enough to wake me up. The Kindle is light enough that I can take one to the face and keep sleeping.

Comment That was a pretty silly rant (Score 4, Informative) 96

A leader board shows the TOP competitors. That's the point of a leader board. It is not "cherry picking" to only show the top.

The rounding is not dubious. They are rounding to 10% increments because that is the resolution of the progress bars.

The "percent-10", "percent-50", and so on that the "developer tool" is showing are the classes of the progress bars. There is a style correspond to each in main.css, and that determines the length of the progress bar. The style sheet provides "percent-0", "percent-10", ..., "percent-100".

Comment Re:Diet and laziness (Score 4, Informative) 707

Michael Pollan makes a similar claim in "In Defense of Food" on page 115:

Since the widespread adoption of chemical fertilizers in the 1950s, the nutritional quality of produce in America has declined substantially, according to figures gathered by the USDA, which has tracked the nutrient content of various crops since then. Some researchers blame this decline on the condition of the soil; others cite the tendency of modern plant breeding, which has consistently selected for industrial characteristics such as yield rather than nutritional quality.

More detail is given on page 118.

As mentioned earlier, USDA figures show a decline in the nutrient content of the forty-three crops it has tracked since the 1950s. In one recent analysis, vitamin C declined by 20 percent, iron by 15 percent, riboflavin by 38 percent, calcium by 16 percent. Government figures from England tell a similar story: declines since the fifties of 10 percent or more in levels of iron, zinc, calcium, and selenium across a range of food crops. To put this in more concrete terms, you now have to eat three apples to get the same amount of iron as you would have gotten from a single 1940 apple, and you’d have to eat several more slices of bread to get your recommended daily allowance of zinc than you would have a century ago.

Here are some sources cited for that chapter that sound like they might be relevant to those particular claims:

  • Davis, Donald R., et al. “Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops, 1950 to 1999.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 23.6 (2004): 669–82.
  • Mayer, Anne-Marie. “Historical Changes in the Mineral Content of Fruits and Vegetables.” British Food Journal. 99.6 (1997): 207–11.
  • U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FAOSTAT Statistical Database: “Agriculture/Production/Core Production Data.” Accessed online at USDA Economic Research Service. “Major Trends in U.S. Food Supply, 1909–99.” FoodReview. 23.1 (2000).
  • White, P.J., and M. R. Broadley. “Historical Variation in the Mineral Composition of Edible Horticultural Products.” Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology. 80.6 (2005): 660–67.

Comment Re:3 2 1 Takedown (Score 2) 203

Apple wasn't the "distributor" in this case, their AppStore was just being used as a Distribution Channel by the VLC Team. So VLC violated GPL by choosing an incompatible Distribution Channel, Apple had nothing to do with it. Stop spreading obvious lies.

That's not correct. When an end user installs an app via the App Store, software written by, deployed by, and under the control of Apple makes a copy and distributes that copy to the end user. Apple needs the permission of the copyright owner in order to do these things. 17 USC 106.

Apple is relying on the assurance of the developer of the app that he is either the copyright holder, or has the permission of the copyright owner to grant Apple permission to do those things. If the developer did not have permission, than the developer has violated his agreement with Apple, and if Apple were to get sued and have to pay damages to the copyright owner, they'd almost certainly be able to recover those damages from the developer. However, that's between Apple and the developer. The copyright owner is not required to delve into the relationship between Apple and its developers and ascertain the ultimate party that caused his copyright to be violated and try to get them to stop. He can go after anyone who is making and distributing unauthorized copies, and that includes Apple.

Comment They need to do this for Surface Pro (Score 1) 330

I wish they would do this for the Surface Pro. In a recent discussion over on /r/math on Reddit on taking digital notes, and there was a link to a math grad student's video review of Surface Pro with OneNote. It looked like it was an excellent tablet for doing serious mathematical note taking and writing.

Gabe at Penny Arcade reviewed it as a device for drawing, and was very pleased with it.

I would love a tablet that is good for those things, but not at $900.

Comment Re:lol (Score 3, Interesting) 219

The FSF has a definition of the term "free software".

Software under AGPL is not not free software according to that definition. It violates freedom 0.

Yet the FSF approved AGPL! This was an ethical disaster.

A key difference between free software licenses and commercial software EULAs was that the latter was a two way bargain. The copyright owner, who the law gives the exclusive right to make copies (including, for computer software, making temporary copies in RAM to use the software) grants you via the EULA permission to do that, in exchange for you agreeing not to do some things that otherwise would be allowed under copyright law. For example, you might have to agree to not reverse engineer the software, or to sell it when you are done with it.

The free software licenses, on the other hand, only grant you permissions. They do not require you to give up anything.

Until AGPL. AGPL goes beyond just granting you permission to do things that copyright law says require permission. It places restrictions on what you do with the software on your own machine. It is a EULA.

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