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Comment Re:Of course being in China, (Score 1) 315

I totally agree with you, we Americans are all slaves! But then... doesn't that make us free? Huzzah, Americans are free at last! But wait, that means we're all slaves....

Ok, ok. The real point imo is that there is no such thing as freedom in terms of government, it's just an empty word thrown around to stimulate nationalistic emotions or whatever else. True governmental freedom would be anarchy. Then again I don't think brainwash or mind control is real either; every bit of communication that reaches you is an attempt at mind control, some are just more damaging than others. Suffice it to say, if an argument is convincing and changes ones mind, well then it seems some form of mind control has taken place.

Comment Re:Fad. (Score 1) 405

Not that I'm going to change your mind about any of this, but... "The wear has occurred assymmetrically, with that part of the stylus which bears against the right-hand wall of the groove (as seen looking towards the cartridge,with the centre of the record to the left) showing more wear than the side bearing against the left-hand wall." "Neglecting factors such as the elastic deformation of vinyl, the distribution of forces in a V-shaped groove and the accelerations at the stylus tip during tracking, simple calculation based on these figures gives a stylus pressure of 240 grams per square mm, or 340 pounds per square inch. [...] The pressure exerted by a new (spherical or standard elliptical) stylus is even greater than the figure calculated above, as the area of contact of the new stylus tip with the walls of the groove will be less." from: http://www.micrographia.com/projec/projapps/viny/viny0300.htm "Since most vinyl records contain up to thirty per cent recycled vinyl, impurities can be accumulated in the record, causing a brand new album to have audio artifacts like clicks and pops. Virgin vinyl means that the album is not from recycled plastic, and will theoretically be devoid of these impurities. In practice, this depends on the manufacturer's quality control." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramophone_record#Vinyl_quality etc. I don't have any references for my final point, but who even bothers with cd's anymore? That's like so 90s :P. I've got a few hundred, sure, but I never have to change or handle them, they're all on my hard drive. IMHO, compared to (non-DRM) digital audio files, neither records nor cd's are even a contest.

Comment Re:Fad. (Score 1) 405

96khz is major overkill. Find out for yourself, get a tone generator and I can almost guarantee you won't be able to hear 32khz, much less 96. The only reason I know this is because I've done it myself, curious about the whole 32/96 audio thing. Even with a brand new high quality record and a fully capable recording chain I've never seen frequencies much higher than 32khz (even though practically nobody could hear it anyway), in fact they often have considerably worse frequency response than digital audio. By extension, dvd-audio and SACD are a scam (as with most audiophile garbage).

Comment Fad. (Score 5, Interesting) 405

A few years ago I worked in a record store where we actually sold more records more than cds. I own a relatively large number of records, contemporary and otherwise. Despite all this, It's my opinion that this is just a fad, one strangely ambling along at a lazy pace. I think the only reason it has been able to gain traction is because people don't realize all the pitfalls of records. To start, yes, records can theoretically sound better, but there are Many things that can get in the way of that: virgin vs. recycled vinyl, cold pressings, warping, dirty or worn stylus, imbalanced tonearm, etc. Even under optimum conditions the quality advantage of a record is gone after 5-8 plays, as friction heat from the stylus literally melts the signal irreparably; from then on, the sound quality will continue to deteriorate with each play. Most people start out saying that they like records because analog sounds better. Then, after I tell them this, their reasoning changes--they like records because the hiss and pops are warm and soothing. The question of quality aside, records are a pain to deal with! You have to handle them carefully, clean them often with specific supplies. After a couple of songs have played, you have to stop what you're doing and flip the record over (don't try putting on a Barry White record, it may set the mood, but only for a few minutes... and hopefully that's regarded as a problem). Some people say they enjoy the whole process involved with records, that by having to do all that work they are able to appreciate the music more. Fine, but personally, having to constantly fidget with the record player interrupts the pleasure I get from listening. Also, consider the weight and space records take up: I estimate about 50 records occupy a cubic foot and weigh at least 25 lbs. On the other hand, you can fit thousands of digital albums in your pocket. Records do have a certain sense of novelty to them, but it wears off fast; digital music is and will remain an incredible thing.
XBox (Games)

Modded Xbox Bans Prompt EFF Warning About Terms of Service 254

Last month we discussed news that Microsoft had banned hundreds of thousands of Xbox users for using modified consoles. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now pointed to this round of bans as a prime example of the power given to providers of online services through 'Terms of Service' and other usage agreements. "No matter how much we rely on them to get on with our everyday lives, access to online services — like email, social networking sites, and (wait for it) online gaming — can never be guaranteed. ... he who writes the TOS makes the rules, and when it comes to enforcing them, the service provider often behaves as though it is also the judge, jury and executioner. ... While the mass ban provides a useful illustration of their danger, these terms can be found in nearly all TOS agreements for all kinds of services. There have been virtually no legal challenges to these kinds of arbitrary termination clauses, but we imagine this will be a growth area for lawyers."
Input Devices

Brain-Control Gaming Headset Launching Dec. 21 112

An anonymous reader writes "Controlling computers with our minds may sound like science fiction, but one Australian company claims to be able to let you do just that. The Emotiv device has been garnering attention at trade shows and conferences for several years, and now the company says it is set to launch the Emotiv EPOC headset on December 21. PC Authority spoke to co-founder Nam Do about the Emotiv technology and its potential as a mainstream gaming interface." One wonders what kind of adoption they expect with a $299 price tag.

Comment Re:Sick of the anti-gay groups (Score 1) 1364

For laws that are even less specific, would you prefer to have the ability (or let others have the ability) to marry animals or inanimate objects?

False equivalence. One is a conscious, sentient adult, the other is an animal. Or an inanimate object.

Not that I want to be associated with the anti gay marriage crowd in the slightest.... but humans are animals, conscious/sentient (in the way I presume you intend) are extremely poorly defined, and all mammals I know of have a period of adulthood, many plants do too.

Comment Re:Asteroids. (Score 1) 703

I see it a bit differently. Consider the colonization and establishment of the US--it wasn't exactly done for profit. Likewise, although the initial push westward in the US was driven by the gold rush, the later and more substantial movement of people was enabled by the transcontinental railroad. Of course, the transcontinental railroad probably wasn't the best bet regarding short term ROI, but in the end I'd wager it was a momentous event for the economy such that everyone was made a winner, and to an extent that was probably difficult to anticipate in any ROI calculation. My point is that there's at least two ways we'll see exponential growth in human activity in space: space is profitable (the gold rush) as you say, and/or space is cheap (the railroad). The first numbers I've found from google suggest that it costs $22,000 per kilogram of payload to get something into space using rockets. IMO it's unlikely more than a handful of space-based ventures could see a profit with that kind of cost. The same site from whence numbers were pulled suggests that using a space elevator, a kilogram of payload would cost "as little as $1.48." Personally I think the precision of that figure casts its calculation into doubt, but even if their calculations were off by a factor of a hundred it would be still be decidedly more attractive. Wikipedia suggests that the Apollo program cost around $145 billion 2008 dollars, and I've seen figures suggesting that a space elevator would cost about $1 trillion. Personally I'd figure that the cost could vary high or low from there, but just as the Apollo program brought down the price of semiconductors (alone a boon to humanity as well as one of those unpredictable ROI elements), I imagine that the various products required would decrease in cost with time and scale just as has happened with genomic sequencing, etc. If anything, I think the only feasibility buzzkill for a US funded space elevator is the requirements concerning location, but on the whole it is my humble opinion that a space elevator is the obvious next step in the advancement of the human species. I don't think space colonization is possible without it, and until that happens the persistence of the human species will remain in doubt. I also think, as hinted, that the establishment of a space elevator will have an inestimable but desirable impact on the state and growth of science and technology.

Comment I have an idea (Score 2, Insightful) 241

I have an idea... don't buy the DLC. We can call this exercise of freedom of choice in spending, hm... capital punishment, wait, no... capitalism maybe? Or we could call it a boycott, it doesn't roll off the tongue the same but the upside is that we can call not buying the game at all a mancott. Mancotts are powerful because you can use all that time saved from not gaming to build that DLCBS resistance movement. Mancotts are not to be confused with ascots, apricots, mascots, Madoffs, or men in cots, which are all powerful in various other respects for various other non-revolutionary reasons.

Comment Re:500 Mile Range=Revolutionary (Score 1) 650

I used to be super-excited too, until I realized that there's probably nowhere near enough easily accessible copper to affordably produce hundreds of millions of electric motors big enough to push all these really heavy 5 passenger/1 occupant cars around. Also, the Prius IS a fad; a 3,000 lb multi-engine 5-door hatchback is not a sustainable platform (even if you throw a dead-weight, useless solar panel on the roof). If we want a huge jump in energy efficiency, the first and technically easiest step is moving to ultralight single passenger vehicles, regardless of what fuel is used to power them. Less than 1% of the energy received from burning gasoline is used to propel the driver.

Comment Re:Ringtone cars (Score 2, Insightful) 553

Not so much. I have a really loud stereo because *I* like it, not because I want attention; quite the opposite actually, I get really uncomfortable and stressed out when people focus on me (obviously, given that i'm posting here). A slashdot user with a loud stereo shouldn't be surprising... I like music, math, physics and electronics, and a serious car stereo is an obvious intersection of these sets. As a geek it's pretty exciting to blow a 65 amp fuse, to play with bridged amps, a big capacitor and 1-gauge wire.

Comment Double Extreme Expense?!? (Score 3, Insightful) 414

It's strange that it costs the music industry so much to make music--I just made (and recorded!) 45 minutes of music and it cost me virtually nothing. How on earth can these people expect to remain profitable while having such a stupendously idiotic business model? OH wait I get it, just have the government add a "music tax" to products from completely separate sectors and the industry will never die, they wouldn't even have to produce music to make money anymore... it's genius.

Comment Re:Reducing emissions does nothing (Score 1) 316

YES!! One of these days clear thinking will prevail. It may not be The Final Solution, but it'd certainly put a big dent in the problem. I actually wrote a blog post somewhat frighteningly similar to your post back in July: http://rootproblem.blogspot.com/2009/07/stranger-than-fiction.html Of course I couldn't begin to accuse you of plagiarizing my writing because, well, nobody reads my blog except for me :P

Comment They should have learned from Apple... (Score 1) 745

They should have learned from Apple and not made the same stupid mistake they made with the first "iPod phone," the Motorola E790 Apple iTunes phone. Further, there are other phones that have features worthy of competing with the iPhone; just the other day somebody was showing me high-speed video of surprising quality (of a stray flying remote hitting someone in the face, incidentally), taken with their phone.

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