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Comment Re:Pigs in space! (Score 1) 425

The argument that someone is stupid for not believing we've been to the moon (and when I say "we", I should've said "astronauts") because someone else has said there are ways of proving it, is self-defeating.

No, not really.

If someone claims Neanderthals came here in spaceships from the planet Neptune, are you obliged to say, "That's plausible"? No, because the origin of Neanderthals has been thoroughly studied, and multiple people, all over the world, have verified it. You're not obligated to believe every bit of crazy horseshit someone says simply because you haven't independently verified the truth. Such arguments shouldn't be taken seriously. One should simply classify such people as paranoid schizophrenics and go on with one's day.

Comment Re:Pigs in space! (Score 3, Insightful) 425

When I said "you", I should've said "astronomers". This is an experiment that has been done at many observatories, all over the world. It's easily falsifiable by any sufficiently sophisticated nation, and I can think of at least one that would've loved to have called "Bullshit!" on a moon landing, if it never happened.

Comment Re:Pigs in space! (Score 3, Informative) 425

I have a friend who is only moderately stupid that firmly believes that the moon landings were faked.

I would submit to you that if your friend firmly believes that the moon landings were faked, he's far more than moderately stupid. With all the evidence, believing the moon landing was faked is right up there with believing that the moon is made of gouda cheese. There's a reflector on the moon. If you know the coordinates, you can actually bounce a laser off of it back to Earth.

Comment If this is true, could it explain why... (Score 1) 505

....we have yet to be visited by any other intelligent alien life?

Notice, I said if it's true. I don't know that this makes any sense. I'm not a scientist. But taken together:

You can't go faster than light.
Long-term exposure to radiation does doubleplusungood things to the brain.

seem to suggest that travelling long distances in space is just not a good idea.

I hope that this is wrong, but I do think it'd explain a lot.

Comment Re:Reverse Review of Poster of Review (Score 1) 248

Amazon gives you a good enough window into how someone rates items to know if they're pushovers or not. I know, because I've looked through several people's profiles when they rated things I had also rated. Odds are, you were right, and the person in question was too generous in giving out 4 or 5 star reviews. I understand it was difficult to find the one-star review, in the field of reviews she did, but then again, it wasn't really necessary. After the first page or so, you got the idea.

Rating is a very personal thing, and stars are subjective. I've read 4-star reviews that seemed overly-harsh for such a positive rating, and I've read 1-star reviews that praised items to high heaven, but came down on one point, and based the entire rating on that.

The subjectivity of reviews and the star system is why I think Amazon should do away with the stars altogether. I think a more useful system would be something like YouTube has: Thumbs up or down. You could then give the book an overall ranking on how many thumbs up vs. thumbs down it got. That would give buyers a quick view.

But the larger problem is, people shouldn't be looking for the quick view. The important part of an Amazon review is the text, not the stars. The stars are important because they allow some kind of overall measure of what people thought of the book, but the real meat is the text, without which you don't know what the rating means.

Comment Re:I wouldn't trust non-professional reviewers (Score 1) 248

Most people are not professional reviewers, and are not reading a book at that level. They're reading to be entertained. So a professional review may be completely irrelevant for them. What they want to know is, "Did most people who read this book like it, and how much did they like it?" That's the kind of question that Amazon's star system is trying to answer.

And yes, criticism is a democratic principle. If 95% of people who read a book think the book sucks, then it sucks. It doesn't matter if the other 5% are credentialed critics. (For reference, look at the movie industry, and how many times critics disagree with a blockbuster movie's status.)

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