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Comment pseudo-science... (Score 1) 350

Linguistics, and socio-linguistics in particular, is one of those fields where "researchers" almost NEVER do true science. I studied it for 4 years and ended up so disgusted that I switched to computing. You can do almost anything with statistics and when one of the basic premises of the discipline is that "exceptions are a normal and expected situation", it's party time. So you can invent a "scientific generalisation", which you will codify with formulae and everything, and then when presented with obvious and repeated examples disproving the "scientific theory" being proposed, you simply say "the exception that confirms the rule". I LITERALLY had a full university professor bust that one out in my presence... It is anti-science. "Linguists" are charlatans. The only truly great linguist is Roy Harris - former chair of Linguistics at Oxford. He was the first chair, and know what he wanted to do at the end of his tenure? Abolish it!

Comment Re:Balls of steel (Score 1) 404

Really you people! US government "enforcement" agencies have never cared a hoot about borders, rights or the law. They have, like a small group of other countries (supported by the US), never respected territorial integrity or international law. The CIA and other organisations have committed extra-judicial arrests, even executions, for decades. Sometimes we find out about it, sometimes we don't. No one inside the US cares - when you get terrorist attacks no one in the US ever mentions this sort of behaviour as a contributing factor. Let's get real - NOBODY hates freedom - it's just that when you insist people behave one way and then do whatever you want, people get fed up very quickly... LulzSec members would all be in Guantanamo (or the bottom of a lake) in a week if there was any real desire for it. They aren't actually causing any real trouble for the moment, so why do anything?

Comment Re:China to lose even more money on high-speed rai (Score 2) 387

I remember reading something like this as well. I even mentioned it to my Chinese mate once on the phone and he replied "What? Don't be stupid, high speed train is so cheap here it costs almost nothing". He even claimed that often it was cheaper than the intercity buses (or "coaches" if you prefer). Now it's been several years since I've been to China, and my friend (like many) can have a tendency to exaggerate... but I think that the reality is not so bleak for highspeed rail in China. It's very expensive to build and run but apart from that is an absolute godsend. I live here in France, and they have only really made highspeed rail viable by making car/bus travel almost the same price. Massive taxes on fuel and obscenely high road tolls make the far quicker trains attractive. Trains are far less of a hassle in terms of security (less, not none...), generally less stressful, and for anything less than about 700kms are simply quicker than air travel. Sometimes that gets extended to more depending on how easy your airport is to get to. I live in Bordeaux, and even with less than half of the ride to Paris on high-speed rails (so max speed on those bits around 160km/h if memory serves) it only takes 3-3.5hrs (for ~550kms). They are about to start construction on upgrading the rails to high-speed rails all the way, and when that happens I can assure you air travel will drop to pretty much zero. Most people never fly to Paris from Bordeaux - when it takes only 2hrs from the centre of Bordeaux to the centre of Paris, the extra hassle of flying makes it simply non-sensical. What is my point? High-speed rail TODAY suffers many, mainly financial, hurdles in China. Who cares? It is a fabulous investment for the future - it's far, far less carbon intensive and can move large numbers of people safely and quickly. In 15-20 yrs when China's population has enough money to make expensive tickets less of a problem - when they start making road users pay the full cost to the environment and economy of road travel (some say they aren't even there yet in France...), then everything will make sense. Just like US government invested massive money in roads a few generations ago, so the Chinese government is investing now, or will be if rail companies go broke! In the long run we will look back and say "they did the right thing, it looked expensive but look at the advantages now". You'll see...

Comment Re:Common Number (Score 1) 619

Yes and no... Our company is in the very unenviable position of having only two digits inverted from the support desk of a MAJOR online retailer (not in the US). The worst part? The company in question is one of OUR oldest and dearest customers! People ring up, and are told, "sorry we can't help you". "So you have nothing to do with X". "Well, yes, but...". Then they go on for several minutes insisting that OUR service desk should help them get a replacement Y. And we can't even be rude to them!

Comment Not so sure... (Score 1) 4

The way I understand it is that it's not the ORIGINAL distributor who needs to provide the source but the party from whom you received the binary. So it's up to the phone owner to provide it, and not docomo (or whatever). I might well be wrong but if it isn't this way it should be!

Comment Re:Oh well... (Score 2, Insightful) 131

Move to Europe .... No Software Patents here (yet) and the DVD's are made by companies outside the USA(tm) so no import problems

Wrong, software patents are being issued while "they" wait for the Poles to be caught napping and pass the legislation (they've been blocking it for a while). The rationale is that there is no harm in issuing patents because no one can sue unless they are eventually put into law. It is an absolute disgrace because if it IS brought into law, they will almost certainly try and make it retroactive.

Comment Re:FINALLY !!! (Score 1) 62

Both my folks are using ubuntu on old laptops (an HP and a Dell, both installed with 0 hassles) and have been for a while now. Why? Well at the start they wanted vindoze (both licences somewhere in the void...) but I wasn't going to search the web for a crack for them, and they didn't want to pay. So I said "well, I can have a system (COMPLETE system, including office suite, etc.) up for you in an hour or so but you probably won't get any viruses with this system, so you have to be sure...". A while passed. My father happened upon an free Canon printer not long ago but after I couldn't get it working via ssh (12,000 kms or so of physical difference), he was happy to go out and buy an HP. He plugged it in and everything just worked. He just wanted a printer that worked with ubuntu. I personally had some random bizarre hardware issue with ubuntu kernel patches (that etch doesn't suffer from) but for all non slashdot readers, it's got to be the current best choice.

Comment Re:That's it (Score 1) 785

Let's get real here - your government has been doing this (or trying to) for a very long time. The difference is that the UK is telling people about it, whereas in the US the don't have even to attempt to make it look like a proper democracy and say what they're doing.

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