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Comment Educational fair use (Score 1) 485

I'm pretty sure that reproducing a government seal as part of a description of the relevant part of the government is the textbook definition of fair use. This isn't counterfeiting, impersonation, or any attempt to fool or misrepresent anyone. It is *helping* people learn to recognize the real FBI. Jeez....

Comment Old science. What does this add? (Score 3, Interesting) 961

Seriously, this looks like a weak rehash of Festinger's (1957) Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, only without the data or depth of study. People change their opinions to suit their convictions, and shown by Festinger's study of the reactions of doomsday cults' reactions to the fact the the world didn't end on the expected date (c.f., "When Propheshy Fails"). Really, what am I missing here?

NHS Should Stop Funding Homeopathy, Says Parliamentary Committee 507

An anonymous reader writes "Homeopathic remedies work no better than placebos, and so should no longer be paid for by the UK National Health Service, a committee of British members of parliament has concluded. In preparing its report, the committee, which scrutinizes the evidence behind government policies, took evidence from scientists and homeopaths, and reviewed numerous reports and scientific investigations into homeopathy. It found no evidence that such treatments work beyond providing a placebo effect." Updated 201025 19:40 GMT by timothy: This recommendation has some people up in arms.
It's funny.  Laugh.

"Calvin and Hobbes" Creator Bill Watterson Looks Back With No Regrets 327

With fifteen years separating us from the last appearance of "Calvin and Hobbes" on the comic pages, reclusive artist Bill Watterson gave a rare interview reminiscing about his legacy. "The only part I understand is what went into the creation of the strip. What readers take away from it is up to them. Once the strip is published, readers bring their own experiences to it, and the work takes on a life of its own. Everyone responds differently to different parts. I just tried to write honestly, and I tried to make this little world fun to look at, so people would take the time to read it. That was the full extent of my concern. You mix a bunch of ingredients, and once in a great while, chemistry happens. I can't explain why the strip caught on the way it did, and I don't think I could ever duplicate it. A lot of things have to go right all at once."

Comment Um, an economics problem with this "solution"... (Score 2, Interesting) 353

As a former manager and an "email direct-marketing" firm, I should point out that the spammers can increase the amount of complexity/variation in the templates by a wide variety of techniques, including rearranging paragraphs instead of just letters, making parts of the message optional, performing syntactic modifications of the included text,... Each new minor modification starts a research effort on the detecting side. The cost of detecting spam will rise much faster than the cost of generating spam.

If you try to outsmart the spammers with this, you will lose. Complexity favors the spammers.

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