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Comment Re:Apropos lowest retail cost (Score 5, Informative) 322

What if I just click on 'Print it', then go on with the rest of your life until it's printed?

You come back to it 3 hours later to find that the object has separated from the raft leaving you with $20 worth of extruded plastic spaghetti. But if you babysit it the success rate goes way up.

It might have something to do with the nearby body heat, or maybe a hidden camera that verifies a person is there, or just pissed off little elves that don't want to be lonely. But yes, you have to babysit it :(

Comment Re:why? (Score 1) 347

Human nature? Free will?

Human behavior is complex enough that our current state-of-the art is not sufficient to fully measure or model it from a reductionist viewpoint. And yet holistic explanations based on simple observation have proven fairly successful over the centuries. I don't mean to be flippant, but you will get a better understanding of the motivations of man from great literature than you will from science and economic textbooks (and this is likely to be the case for another hundred years or so).

Comment Re:Outbreak, not "plague"; dont be sensationalist. (Score 1) 668

But they *are* a part of the "experiment" that AC claims to be "a fair way to run an unbiased experiment" which is what I am disagreeing with. There is almost certainly a bias there - the children who were not immunized had parents who made the decision not to immunize them.

If you could find children who were, say, placed for adoption where the ultimate home they lived with was random, and some had been immunized and others had not, then if you had a statistically significant number of autism diagnoses from that population, then you would have a nice unbiased experiment (but even then you aren't normalizing for genetic predisposition to these diseases that they might have inherited from their birth parents). But you probably don't have enough data from adoptions so the children who did not get vaccines were raised by parents who did not give them vaccines, and that type of parenting may be strongly correlated (positively or negatively) with autism diagnoses at later ages. Hence it will be very biased, and although statistical techniques can reduce that bias somewhat, one cannot expect conclusions coming out of this data to hold the same scientific rigor as a proper double bind study.

IIRC, it was poor experiment design that started this whole thing (yes that is an understated euphemism for the improper conduct that actually occurred), so I'm not just being pedantic - there are important distinctions to be made between the scientific method versus "statistics on a bunch of data I found."

Comment Re:Outbreak, not "plague"; dont be sensationalist. (Score 2) 668

I didn't read TFA, but I'm pretty sure that the parents chose to withhold the vaccine, not that doctors randomly gave some kinds a placebo while giving the real thing to others.

Some good statistics might be able to glean some information from this (multilevel regression model or such thing), but it will not be as good as an unbiased experiment.

Comment Re:32GB vs. 16KB (Score 1) 587

Yes I was thinking about the moon landing. Not to take away from the feats of previous generations, but there is a big difference between watching a handful of people get to the moon, versus the thousands, or maybe tens of thousands who have first hand experience with the change in computing technology occurring in this generation.

Comment Re:32GB vs. 16KB (Score 1) 587

Similar story here. 16KB TRS-80 to 40GB workstation. I thought it would be like 10,000 times or something, but was kind of surprised to break 1,000,000 when I did the calculations. It's kind of amazing when you think about it. Did my great-grandparents experience any physical measure than grew by a factor of 1,000,000 over their lifespan?

Comment Re:Marketing fail. (Score 2) 442

They are each trying to shore up their known weaknesses. My dad might see people walking around with iDevices, and say to himself, "Hmm, these seem to be everywhere, but what do you actually do with one?" Apple commercials tell him. Trying to highlight how cool they are in commercials would only be counterproductive.

Similarly, when average people think of Microsoft, they think about sitting at their desk 8 hours a day in front of a computer doing mind-numbing work.So their commercials try to get people to associate Microsoft with fun (not unlike the quintessential beer commercial showing a bunch of happy young people at the beach or at a party to get you to associate good times with Budweiser). Telling people that computers can do lots of stuff doesn't help to change people's minds about Microsoft as a leisure company.

Comment Re:Even now (Score 1) 364

If you just want a couple good shows, you can buy them a la cart relatively inexpensively without HBO GO. Game of Thrones is on Amazon Instant Video for $3 per episode, and the box set dvd for the first season can be found online for about $40.

But back on topic, I thought the whole "A video player is illegal because it can infringe copyright" was settled a long time ago. Even if VLC can help infringe copyright, under current law they can't ban it. But if they are trying to change the legal answer to that question then that is the real problem here, not the outrageous cost of HBO GO, nor your inability to to find cheap and readily available, but not free, alternatives to torrent sites.

I guess if HBO GO was $10-15 per month you would happily give them your money while they make VLC use illegal?

Comment Re:Nigeria won't be far behind (Score 0) 83

Expanding on AC, the level to which a currency is democratized is the degree to which the people have control over the supply of the currency. And while anyone can mint a bitcoin, no one can change the trajectory of the bitcoin's money supply - that is a feature, not a bug. The reason a currency such as the US dollar is more democratic than a bitcoin is because the Federal Reserve has some (albeit tenous) connection to the people, through the nomination process for members of the FRB by the elected president. Sure it's among the least democratic institutions in the US, but people have more of a say (e.g., the pressure that is being brought to bear by tight money advocates in the Republican party is quite effective at staying the Fed's hand from further, much needed, loose money).

The fact that only the Fed can print a US dollar but anyone (with the proper equipment) can mint a bitcoin is irrelevant. No one has control over bitcoin; which I guess is degenerately democratic in the sense that no one has any more control over the currency than anybody else, but it is not really democratic in the sense that the will of the people cannot be expressed in changes to the currency's money supply. If tomorrow, everyone in the US were to decide that it would be better for the Fed to run a particular monetary policy (and voted that way), it would (eventually) become the new policy for the dollar.

Comment Re:State of Oklahoma as well (Score 1) 1103

That $0.75 looks like a lot to you because you are used to "free"* checking where it costs you nothing* to keep your money in the bank. For the unbanked population (unbanked because they don't have enough savings to qualify for free* checking, or are illegal immigrants), $0.75 is way cheaper than the check cashing services that you find throughout the inner city. And much safer than taking home a wad of cash on a predictable pattern.

Having said that, There needs to be some precautions that forbid an employer from forcing an employee into a particular card service (i.e., the one that gives the employer the biggest kickbacks). Maybe like a 401k, where the employee can pick from a menu of cards. Although even the 401k analogy is poor because while the underlying funds may come from different companies, in general, the 401k provider themselves are a monopoly chosen by the employer and if you don't like it, tough.

*There is (almost) no such thing as "free" checking. Almost every checking account has some way that, in theory, your bank can charge you minimum balance fees or overdraft fees, etc. It is not easy to always follow every rule in the agreement, and although most of us will blow off a $10 minimum balance fee or an overdraft line with a 20% interest rate, to the poor the $0.75 will cost them less over time than all of the nickel and diming that comes with a "free" checking account. At least the latest generation of prepaid cards is (mostly) honest and upfront about the fact that they are providing you a service (safe, convenient access to your money) and you pay for it directly instead of indirectly.

Comment Re:Scare tactics (Score 1) 407

Pretty much. It wasn't exactly a nobility/peasant distinction as a cuisine/non-cuisine split. The French had good cooks (even then) and so the terms for the dishes "mutton," "pork" and "beef" come from French while the terms for the animals, "sheep," "pig" and "cow" retained the terms from English/German. The cuisine/non-cuisine breakout probably had elements of a high/low language thing, but if the Anglo-Saxons were better cooks we would probably be eating SLT's (sheep, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches, where the sheep is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe), pig chops, and ground cow.

Comment Re:Disposable cell phone (Score 1) 364

The scary thing is that a few weeks ago I would have read this post and thought "Jeez put away the aluminum hat" and now I'm wishing I had mod points.
What if the director of the NSA decides that he wants to run for president in 2016? And shockingly enough, no prominent politician is willing to run against him?
I would love to say that if I had this kind of power that I would use it wisely and justly, but I don't really know what I would do. And so I can't possibly trust somebody else to avoid all abuses of this power

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