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Comment Re:Why are you surprised? (Score 1) 853

Ok, one thing I have to respond to - WiFi, cordless phones, and all that jazz would have pretty much the same problems even if microwaves didn't exist.

The point of WiFi is that it was sold as a low-power, consumer-grade device in unregulated space (because of the microwave ovens, of course). So, home users didn't have to get any sort of licensing to operate the radios.

Say, hypothetically, there was some other, consumer-open, unregulated spectrum space, not clobbered by microwave ovens. In addition to WiFi, EVERY OTHER consumer wireless device would flock to that space, and you'd have the same trampling problems.

Comment Re:What does the wasp do with it? (Score 1) 177

"Photosynthesis efficiency varies from 0.1% to 8%."

Only in sunlight driven systems, just FYI, following the stated source. In targeted wavelength systems, this is absolutely nowhere near the case.

Grandparent's post is about solar->electric cells. At some point, you have to start at the sun. What's the point of discussing targeted wavelength systems here? "Only in sunlight driven systems" . . . isn't every solar panel "only sunlight driven" ?

Comment Re:How about some metric figures? (Score 1) 263

"... Yes, but that's meaningless to most people ..." inside the United States.

Seriously... miles? In 2010? You know there's less than 350 million of you, right? How about you take one of those trillion dollars you spend on being the world police and catch up with the rest of world by switching to metric.

Parent wasn't claiming it was meaningless because of units. It's a Very Large Number (VLN). At some point, numbers of such scale are pretty much meaningless, without comparison. It's very large in either measurement system.

Comment Shouldn't be illegal . . . (Score 1) 403

I'd be really dissapointed if these guys got sued.

The only thing they're doing is scanning twitter for foursquare addresses, and prepending an "I'm out of the house".

They aren't publishing information that wasn't already public, or even aggregating it in new and creative ways. They're just recontextualizing posts people are already putting online!

Comment Re:For those too lazy (Score 1) 157

TV 4:29 - Almost entirely negative, I suspect; surely the overwhelming advertisements alone cancel out any benefits the few educational shows.

What benefits of educational shows? I made the mistake of watching an "educational" show on the Discovery Channel, on the Nazca lines.

About 15 minutes in, the host claimed he had shown dousing to be viable. About 45 minutes in, he was taking low-grade hallucinogenics. Not to worry, though, he's being "Supervised by an experienced shaman"

(The hallucinogenics, by the way, didn't end up telling him anything about the Nazca lines. In his own words)

Comment Re:Cause and Effect (Score 1) 521

Well, it depends, though. Some people attribute the success of Linux to GPL. (see here, 3rd or 4th question) Obviously, the success of F/OSS isn't entirely due to Linux, but I'd wager it's helped more than not.

Linux might have thrived just as much under a different license, but that's not what happened. But beyond speculation, can you really argue that one anti-copyright-lawyer-shark rock would have worked better than another?


Later, a full-force Bear Patrol is on watch. Homer watches proudly.

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
Lisa: That's spacious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, dear.
Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
[Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.
[Lisa refuses at first, then takes the exchange]


Comment Re:Mac owners more computer literate? (Score 2, Insightful) 814

The thing to remember, though, is that it was a survey of households, not users. You could easily have a scenario where one person owns a PC, the other a Mac, and neither use each other's computers.

Even by your definition of increased computer literacy, having multiple machines in the same household proves nothing.

Comment Fixes and Improvements? (Score 1) 520

Followup: since every nerd who's currently pissing and moaning about LAN play is going to buy Starcraft II anyway, why would you care?

I'm not going to buy "Starcraft II" anyway. I've introduced many people to "Starcraft" , using LAN play and spawn copies, some (but not all) of whom have gone on to purchase the full game.

If it doesn't have LAN play, I won't purchase (or pirate!) it.

Yes, I realize that someone will probably hack a bnetd, or offline LAN play, or whatever. I don't see why I should be paying 40+ USD for a software product that will require (illegitimate) 3rd party modifications to work the way I want.

Comment Re:Exxon Valdez, Anybody (Score 2, Insightful) 204

(First off, I disagree with $1.92 million in damages. It's absolutely ridiculous, IMNSHO. I want to explain my point a bit further, though)

Wait, that doesn't make sense: the profit should be used up covering the fines for the compensatory damages (by definition!)

well, yes, and that works if and only if copyright infringement is always found out and prosecuted successfully.

Imagine, for a moment, punitive damages were small or nonexistent. I start a DVD pirating company, selling copied DVDs for $5 apiece.

I sell 100,000 each of two particular titles. my $5 is basically pure profit, because of the almost nonexistent cost of copying. If I don't get caught, that's, say, $450,000 per title profit for me. If I do get caught, I have to pay compensatory damages of $1,000,000. ($10/DVD).

The profits from one or two titles (in this example) completely offset the fines from getting caught for one.

So, as long as I only get caught for a third of my titles, I make a rather nice profit. While this example uses made-up numbers, the basic idea stands: Due to the low cost, and high profit potential, of copying copyrighted works, straight-up compensatory damages don't act as an effective deterrent

As a side note about 'only getting caught for 1/3rd". In the Thomas case, do you think she really uploaded only 24 files, ever? She quite likely had uploaded more than that, it's only the 24 songs she's caught for

Say Thomas had uploaded 100 songs, to 100 people, and somehow made $0.10 on each upload. (she didn't) The RIAA can prove 25 songs to 25 people (They can't). Straight compensation would be 25*25*$1, or $125. Her profits would be 100*100*$0.10, or $1000. A contrived example, yes, but it illustrates the idea. The expected value of for-profit piracy is a positive amount, without damages beyond straight compensatory.

THAT SAID, the fundamental disconnect here is that Thomas's infringement WASN'T FOR PROFIT. In this situation, the law doesn't correctly account for reality

Comment Re:Exxon Valdez, Anybody (Score 1) 204

basically: An Exxon oil tanker grounded, spilling oil and causing TONS of damage. Punitive damages were set at $2.5 billion, but reduced by quite a bit, to $500 million.

The argument presented there was that punitive damages should be at least in the same ballpark as compensatory damages. This is the same argument many people believe apply to the Thomas case, since if her punishment was proportional to actual damages caused, it would be significantly less.

Incidentally, there's a reason that there's such a high cap on punitive damages in infringement cases. If that weren't the case, large companies could attempt for-profit infringement, and even if they did get caught and had to pay damages based on actual damage, those fines would be largely covered by the profit made infringing!

So, without excessive punitive fines to make up for the ease of copying, in theory, willful for-profit copyright fraud would be much more attractive, because of it's positive expected value.

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