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Comment Not so simple (Score 5, Informative) 290

While this does sound like shady dealing, there are legitimate reasons to build a stockpile of an alternate vaccine. The current one is not without its risks and side effects that significantly limit the population to whom it can be safely administered. In particular, they've had to stop immunizing first responders because of the risk. When the WHO was using ring vaccination to eradicate the disease, they accepted that a on the order of 1 in 1,000 would die from the vaccine. Obviously that's something we would like to avoid if possible.

Comment Re:Fix the title: $1.9 (Score 2) 119

As far as great classical catalogs go, the smaller labels such as Hyperion, Harmonida Mundi, BIS, and Naxos have the big boys beat hands down. While some of th big name soloists still sign DG and EMI, their heydays are over if for no other reason than that they don't record interesting repertoire. After you own twelve different Beethoven cycles, it takes something special to draw your attention, and the big boys just don't seem to like taking any chances.

Comment Re:What are you going to do? (Score 1) 1105

Except that buying local can increase your carbon footprint. Basically, for things not involving expensive inputs (e.g. produce), the price of a commodity correlates pretty well with the energy expenditure required to produce it. There is a reason local produce tends to be more expensive--it is less efficient.

Comment Re:Great! (Score 1) 327

If they raise $100K, that's starting to get into the range of reasonable contracts to have great orchestras record one or two symphonies with named-above-the-orchestra conductors. Bear in mind that even a small chamber orchestra (sufficient for Beethoven, but not going to cut it for later romantic era works) is going to have at least 35 musicians. Each of them will have to be paid for both rehearsal time (alone and as a group) and actual recording sessions. On top of that, a recording session isn't just a play-it-once-and-we're done affair. A forty-minute symphony will take at the very least six hours in the studio, and frequently if will take more than that (Glenn Gould was notorious for recording less than ten minutes of final product per day, but that's an extreme case). Without getting into technical personal, we're talking many hundreds of man-hours per symphony. Add to that studio costs, instrument transportation, engineers, and all the other costs of recording, we're talking over $50K just paying union rates. Bear in mind that this is just for one symphony and for basic performers at union scales. Big names will carry correspondingly higher costs.

Comment It's an interesting idea, but... (Score 1) 327

I really can't see much use for this. I mean, it would be nice to have some of the great treasures of western culture available to all without being restricted by copyrights, but there's so much more to performing a symphony, especially a great one, than just playing a C-sharp when the sheet music says so. Interpretive choices and abilities are what really make the music great, and I just can't see a budget pick-up orchestra led by a rent-a-conductor doing a good job. If they were capable of such, they'd be charging a lot more. On top of that, even if there is one open-license performance, and even if somehow turns out to be a good performance, so what? That won't alleviate the need to buy others. This is one of the great things about classical music--each interpreter adds his personal stamp to the work, and performances can differ wildly (compare Glenn Gould's 1955 and 1981 recordings of Bach's Goldberg Variations to see what I mean). The major benefit this will provide will be for people who need to use a Beethoven symphony in some other work, for example a documentary or the like, but that's about it. I know there are those (perhaps many) here who will argue that something is better than nothing. I disagree. Who wants to listen to a boring, lifeless rendition of a great masterpiece (something sadly common enough with professional orchestras)? Even for education, I can't see this having a great use. Boring children with mediocre performances can only have one outcome: that they won't care. In short, I would suggest that those behind this project are doing it more out of a political motivation (one that I happen to share) than out of a true understanding of or appreciation for classical music. This error (and there really is nothing else one can call it) of conflating a performance of a symphony with the symphony itself or even assuming all interpretations are equal is just so fundamental that this whole exercise strikes me as a waste of money.

Comment Re:Banged Out? (Score 1) 594

Actually, that's a quite generous description of Lang Lang's playing. The man wouldn't know sensitive dynamics or intelligent phrasing if they were shoved down his throat. There's a reason he has the nickname "Bang Bang." He earned it.

Comment Major Points in Article (Score 2, Informative) 425

Here's an executive summary as it seems few people read the article before posting:
1. Gene therapy increases muscle development
2. It is speculated that this will decrease life span because lung capacity is not increased to match the heightened oxygen requirements.
3. As such it will probably not be commercially available.
4. It will be used mainly to treat kids with MD and old people with degenerative muscle disorder (read: people who would die without it).
5. It also has use in the livestock industry as the animals are not only super-meaty but also super-lean.
6. Whether or not the military will use it to make super soldiers ala Fallout even though it might kill them early depends on your particular political leanings.

I hope this is helpful.

Comment Re:A suggestion (Score 1) 632

That's more or less it. That of course combined with a massive ego so the guy probably believes that nobody could really disagree with him, so if it seems like a lot of people they all must be the same moron. Of course this admin didn't bother telling me I was being investigated either. The investigation was closed after two weeks with the option to reopen for lack of evidence. So I'm still partially presumed guilty.

Comment Re:A suggestion (Score 1) 632

If you look at the currently-active administrators of Wikipedia, they all have their little fiefdoms of "owned" articles, they all know how to play the system (and all protect each other when questions are raised about their behavior), and so the chance of needed change happening has a statistical probability rapidly approaching zero, and likely today so small today as to be inexpressible in 32-bit floating point math.
That the admins have little protected fiefdoms is very true. On the page for Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" there's a long psycho-sexual interpretation of the song that is, at best, tendentious. Somebody in the talk page a few months before had suggested removing it, and I agreed in the talk page, without changing the article. The guy who added it immediately accused me of being a sock-puppet and tried to get me banned from editing. This guy is an admin. There are plenty of other examples of this.

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