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Comment Re:College is a choice... (Score 1) 804

What if somebody is a brilliant theoretician but they easily lose focus when people nearby do distracting things? Still a weak-minded, unmotivated individual?

Um, yeah. Of course, back then, a tight sweater would have been a hell of a lot more distracting than a laptop screen saver.

If you easily lose focus, that's your issue. Learn to concentrate. Banning laptops won't take care of your problem anyway. Lectures don't all take place in dark, windowless rooms -- something distracting will always happen.

Comment Re:Partisanship (Score 1) 945

Freddie and Fannie were laggers in the subprime market. The regulation that I think you're referring to said that banks could not use different loan criteria based on where the customer lives -- so if you made the business decision to offer NINJA loans in the suburbs, you had to offer them in the inner city as well. Nobody forced any bank to issue any NINJA loan.

I'd be more likely to believe the fiction that the poor financial institutions were helpless in the face of big government if it weren't for the loan derivatives that were the real cause of the crisis. Wall Street gambled, abetted by the ratings agencies, and left taxpayers on the hook when the scheme ran out of steam.

Comment Re:Partisanship (Score 1) 945

If you think that the lesson of the housing crash is that the government should have left private industry to its own devices, there's absolutely no hope for you whatsoever.

I still don't understand how saying "you can't discriminate" is the same as a government takeover. Under that logic, every damn lunch counter in the southern U.S. must be the property of the feds.

Comment Re:Look (Score 1) 339

These are damages that are available to the plaintiff according to the statute. They are statutory damages. They're available because the alternative is to make the plaintiff go through the time and expense of figuring out what the "real" damages were, when they were the wronged party in the first place. Think about a guy in a van selling fake Disney t-shirts. In order to figure out the real damages, Disney needs to know how many shirts the guy sold. They could do so by relying on the guy's immaculate double-entry bookkeeping, I suppose. Luckily, under U.S. copyright law, they don't have to.

That scenario is probably closer to what the framers had in mind, since digital file sharing wasn't a concern back then. The law needs to be updated to address non-commercial digital infringements. But statutory damages aren't the problem here, and have their place.

3 Drinks a Day Keeps the Doctor Away 470

Nzimmer911 writes "Heavy drinkers outlive non-drinkers according to a 20 years study following 1,824 people. From the article: 'But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that - for reasons that aren't entirely clear - abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.'"
XBox (Games)

Anatomy of an Achievement 157

Whether they annoy you or fulfill your nerdy collection habit, achievements have spread across the gaming landscape and are here to stay. The Xbox Engineering blog recently posted a glimpse into the creation of the Xbox 360 achievement system, discussing how achievements work at a software level, and even showing a brief snippet of code. They also mention some of the decisions they struggled with while creating them: "We are proud of the consistency you find across all games. You have one friends list, every game supports voice chat, etc. But we also like to give game designers room to come up with new and interesting ways to entertain. That trade-off was at the heart of the original decision we made to not give any indication that a new achievement had been awarded. Some people argued that gamers wouldn't want toast popping up in the heat of battle and that game designers would want to use their own visual style to present achievements. Others argued for consistency and for reducing the work required of game developers. In the end we added the notification popup and its happy beep, which turned out to be the right decision, but for a long time it was anything but obvious."

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