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Comment Re:Denier (Score 1) 605

WW1 and WW2 were both indirectly caused by problems between the Goths and the Franks.

You know the Goths have nothing whatsoever to do with the modern German state, right? The whole France-Germany thing is really more like western Franks vs. eastern Franks. The Goths (or at least some people who called themselves Goths) had a lot more impact on Spain. Better just to blame it all on the Romans.

Comment Re:FL vs VA (Score 1) 622

The overall idea of setting achievable goals (we will be "doing well" if x% of our worst scoring students in year 1 reach a certain goal in year 2) is probably a good one. Tracking where your students are staring from and comparing it to where they end up is useful. Using racial information as a proxy for measurements of starting level might be simple, quick, and heck, it could even be statistically accurate, but as a policy it is pretty short sighted.

The methodology of comparing this year's 3rd graders vs. last year's 3rd graders has always struck me as badly flawed. I've never understood why progress isn't measured for individual students, year-over-year, and then aggregated. That actually gives you an accurate measure of student progress. And it removes any need for demographic grouping of students--if a group of students (regardless of race) have a lower starting point (in the aggregate), then that's baked in to the measurement process.

Comment International Law?? (Score 1) 957

I'm unclear on how there can be an international law on this. International law governs the relationships between countries and what happens in international waters and territories; it has no bearing on individuals within a country. It's not as if the UN can pass a law making it illegal to commit blasphemy, have me arrested in the United States, and try me in an International Court. (And yes, I'm aware of the International Criminal Court--but that court only comes into play for acts such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Unless blasphemy is about to be raised to that level, this court is a very different beast.)

So I'm not sure what it is that the Pakistani PM is really asking for here and I didn't find it in the article. A resolution condemning blasphemy? A change in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Some actual but non-binding international law? It's either showboating or there seems to be some nuance of International law in play that I don't understand.

Comment Re:But is that what they are saying? (Score 1) 771

Yes, I think that a good summary of the situation. And yes, many people take all 4 and lump them together. But you also have many people who oppose #4, but argue against it on the basis of #1 or #2. There aren't many people who are actually considering the science and the public policy as two separate domains.

Comment Re:There's Sheet Music, and Sheet Music (Score 2) 290

The Beethoven's fifth you linked to is performed by a small town college orchestra, not the Musopen Symphony Orchestra (really the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, but I don't know if Musopen are allowed to say that in advertising!). Anyone can contribute to Musopen - you'll even find midi keyboard renditions there. It's better than nothing, is Musopen's philosophy.

snip

You still have the option to pay money to hear Bernstein's interpretations. In fact, you probably will always have to pay money to hear Bernstein's interpretations, the way copyrights are being extended... but now you also have the option of hearing some solid renditions of Brahms symphonies by a professional Czech orchestra, for free. For ever.

I think the project is valuable, I like the idea of having good recordings of these works available for free. For those who can't afford to spend the money or who want to reuse the works in some creative way, this is a real boon. It opens up the music to a lot of people who wouldn't otherwise have access to it.

On the other hand, I don't think the project is going to have any real impact (at least not yet) on the community of listeners who have a love of the music and the resources to indulge their passion. I buy lots of music and will continue to buy lots of music. Not because I enjoy spending the money, but because it's more important to me to have a recording (or even multiple recordings) that I really like. The cost relative to my enjoyment is really pretty minimal. If the free recording is worth having, I'll add it to my library. But I'm happy to pay for a recording if I like that one better.

And I'm not real hopeful that these recordings are quite there yet. I found the Musopen Symphony Orchestra recording of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3. My initial take was that the playing was good, but the sound quality was less than ideal. For example, there's an intermittant but very distracting hissing noise at the beginning. I'm not an audio technician and I couldn't tell you what causes it, but I know that it makes the recording less desirable for me.

Still, I'm glad the project exists. Making this music available to the widest possible audience is a good thing. That's something to applaud.

Comment Re:Its a miss... (Score 1) 242

If you extrapolate from this one fact, that Apple does extremely well but is said to "miss" and the stock price goes down because their profits didn't grow faster than before, if you extrapolate from this one fact, you can understand why the economy - the whole economic system - is collapsing under its own greed. Enough is never enough.

[Full disclosure: I'm a shareholder since the Michael Spindler days, and yes, I understand about corporate "guidance" and what it means to say they "missed". My point stands.]

Of course the price goes down. To a significant extent, the expected profits are already built into the price. So when the target is missed, the price adjusts to the actual profits. That's just the way the market works.

I will agree that the hype in the press is over the top. Missing the target doesn't foretell disaster for Apple--they still made a boatload of money and there's no reason to believe that that's going to change. But that's also typical practice for the financial press. They have to make a story out of it. And so they do.

Comment What a Stupid Fucking Article (Score 0) 497

Sure, Ethernet is important. Ethernet contributed to the success of the Internet. But Ethernet only connects hosts on a local network. It isn't the Internet by any stretch of the imagination. The whole underlying premise of the article is just plain wrong.

The article is just a poorly executed attempt to glorify private enterprise and denigrate public involvement in technology. Why is this even on Slashdot? If you can't get the most basic technical information correct, what gives this any relevance at all? Sure, it's possible to have an interesting and valuable discussion of how the Internet came to be, and what part private and public investment played. But if you start with a blatent attempt to misrepresent the basic facts then all you've done is wasted my time.

Comment Re:Apple happened (Score 1) 299

So Dvorak's excuse is that he didn't get to see the pre-release iPhone. So he based his TV appearances and articles on the rumors and his guesses. Is that how tech journalism works these days?

No, don't answer, I knew it was a bad question as soon as I typed it.

If Dvorak had simply said that he wrote his column based on the very thin public knowledge that was available to him, I would have been fine with it. The problem is that he turns it into a rant about how Apple treats journalists. He's got some serious baggage when it comes to Apple and he drags it out for everyone to see.

Comment Re:Air conditioning? Open a window. (Score 1) 813

Just got our power back on yesterday afternoon. Saturday and Sunday nights were miserable. The problem wasn't just that we had no air conditioning, but that we had no way to move the air at all. We had all our windows open. Not a bit of breeze. The air was just dead. Simply having a fan in the room would have made all the difference. We'll be ready for next time though. I ordered a bunch of small battery powered fans. They won't move much air, but I think they'll do enough to change our comfort index from miserable to uncomfortable.

Comment Re:Correlation/Causation? (Score 1) 314

Pretty sure it has to do with the decline of pirates. Over this time period, there have been declining numbers of pirates that parallels the decline in number of women in CS related fields.

You fool! You have it all backwards!

Yes, yes, it's true. The decline in pirates is directly responsible for global warming. But it's the decline in women in CS related fields that's directly responsible for the decline in pirates. And don't get caught up on the fact that pirates have been declining steadily since well before CS related fields existed. Ante hoc ergo prompter hoc!

Comment Re:Now watch... (Score 1) 640

Intelligent Design is a nonsense term anyway, whoever designed the human eye for instance was an idiot. Somehow this same dimwit managed to give proper eyes to nautilus though. If you want to debate the existence of Idiotic Design, then we can have some philosophy, but still not science.

The eye is badly designed, but the whole giving birth thing is a disaster. What kind of intelligent designer would have the baby come out through the pelvis?

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