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Comment Re:I really don't get it (Score 1) 247

...and you think people don't do that? :-)

Anyway, it's not a new phenomenon in some sense. A lot of rock climbing gyms have systems called auto-belays, which are systems that let a single person just walk up to the wall, clip a carabiner from it into their harness, and climb.

And people forget to do that. They just go up to the wall, don't clip in, climb to the top of the wall, let go as if they were on autobelay, and then get to take a medevac ride.

A gym somewhat near me has posters around the gym with x-rays of someone who did that there saying "be sure that you clip in!!!"

Comment Re:isn't music already open source? (Score 1) 183

Yes, those are differences. However, they're pretty irrelevant: term "open source", as it was defined by its inventors and by far and away the most common use (dominant enough that I don't think you can claim that the definition has changed) is that the thing that makes the WRK not open source is that users of it can't distribute it.

Comment Re:isn't music already open source? (Score 1) 183

I'm really not trying to be nit picky, but are you saying that Windows source code is available?

Are you a university student who wants to do a faculty-sponsored research project that uses Windows? Congratulations, the Windows Research Kernel may be available to you:

"The Windows Research Kernel (WRK) packages core Windows XP x64/Server 2003 SP1 (2005 edition) kernel sources with an environment for building and testing of experiments and projects based on modifying the Windows kernel, enabling advanced teaching and research that promote better understanding of the Windows architecture and implementation."

Doesn't mean that it's open source, because as I and others have pointed out, that requires that the receiver of said source be free to modify and redistribute it.

Comment Re:Of course there can. (Score 1) 183

And anyway why would they need to publish their sheet music for others to build upon their work? Sheet music is not the source code, it's the note-cards you take to the podium.

That depends on the kind of music. For orchestral stuff, good work doing anything with sheet music. You still want someone with vision, but at the same time the instructions are way more detailed than "note cards". (Well, at least way more detailed than the way I always used note cards.)

and any decent composer can listen to a piece only once or twice before creating their own composition clearly inspired by it.

Sure, they could create something inspired by it. But maybe not what they want to make.

Take a project that I've actually worked on a little bit, which is to take the the soundtrack to a game series, pick out some of my favorite musical segments and most story-relevant segments, and assemble them into a compilation that tells the story of the series through music. I'm doing that with just the recordings, but imagine that I were an orchestra director who wanted to do the same and perform the result live. I have a lot of experience listening to orchestral works, a fair bit of experience from grade school performing in orchestras, and a small amount of experience reading scores while listening, and at least for me it's nearly impossible to tease apart the different parts from a recording. Some people might be able to do it, but it would be a ton of tedious work -- way more than "listen to a piece once or twice."

(I have a similar complaint about people who go "your camera doesn't matter" with regards to photography. At some level, it doesn't: there are some really neat pictures taken with even crappy cameras. But at the same time, that doesn't mean that a crappy camera will let you take the picture that you want to take, if it doesn't have the right focal length or enough light sensitivity or whatever.)

Comment Re:Model S vs Hummer (Score 1) 627

Weight has nothing to do with it. Realize that a hard ridged vehicle, if not designed properly, would transfer all the energy to the passenger which would kill you due to internal injuries. Even a light car with the proper design of crumple zones can be safer than a large heavy vehicle.

As always, the truth is somewhat in between, and saying "weight has nothing to do with it" is at least as wrong as the statement you're "correcting".

Two counterarguments:

1) Weight does have something to do with it, because it affects the amount of energy you have to dissipate. It's not as simple as heavy=better though. If you hit something stationary, "heavy" means that your vehicle has to dissipate more energy, which is harder to do and you're more likely to be hurt.* But if you hit something movable, then "heavy" means that you are better able to dissipate energy by moving it to the other object.

If a bus were to hit a car head-on while both are going at highway speeds, it's not a better crumple zone that means the bus is going to come out ahead -- it's the bus's mass. (Actually it's totally possible that the car would crumple more than the bus would.)

(*Though heavy also means that you have potentially more opportunity to dissipate energy.)

2.) There's only so much limit to how much energy a vehicle can absorb via crumple zones and whatnot.

Comment Re:Five Star (Score 4, Informative) 627

And $50k would put it at the meat of the pack of cars from all but the discount lines. $50k isn't a lot of money for a car in 2013.

The average new car price in the US is about $30,000.

Considering you're talking about a price that's over 1.6 times that of the average, I think it's pretty damn fair to say that $50K is quite a bit for a car in 2013. It's not "very expensive" or "outrageously expensive", but you are well above what most people are buying.

Comment Re:isn't music already open source? (Score 1) 183

But because you apparently want something authoritative, how 'bout the OED:

"open source adj. [first published, on the Internet on 8 February 1998, by E. S. Raymond in a revised version of his paper 'The Cathedral and the Bazaar'; '[the term] was invented by Christine Peterson of the Foresight institute at a private meeting I ran a few days earlier' (E. S. Raymond, private communication)] Computing (chiefly attrib.) designating software for which the original program files used to compile the applications are available to users to be modified and redistributed as they wish."

Comment Re:isn't music already open source? (Score 1) 183

Per Wikipedia:

"In production and development, open source as a philosophy promotes a) universal access via free license to a product's design or blueprint, and b) universal redistribution of that design or blueprint, including subsequent improvements to it by anyone."

Per the OSI:

"The âoeopen sourceâ label was created at a strategy session held on February 3rd, 1998 in Palo Alto, California, shortly after the announcement of the release of the Netscape source code. ... The conferees also believed that it would be useful to have a single label that identified this approach and distinguished it from the philosophically- and politically-focused label "free software." Brainstorming for this new label eventually converged on the term "open source", originally suggested by Christine Peterson."

However, "open source" still means that it has a free license.

Comment Re:His setup with the monitors above eye level is (Score 1) 214

Or the INSANE setup with the 3 monitors on that top shelf so he has to constantly crane his neck backwards so he can look up?

What picture were you looking at?

Because the one that I saw looks about the same as my setup: I have an actual keyboard instead of the laptop, but the height of my monitors is about the same distance above the keyboard as his looks. And with my elbows at a 90 degree angle, my eyes are above about 75% of my monitors when I look straight forward.

Comment Re: They didn't know he also... (Score 1) 403

I didn't say it wasn't OK to commit suicide. I asked whether people could see why Yahoo might not want, from a business perspective, to be seen hosting a site that says it was.

Right or wrong, even a formal sort of euthanasia process for people with terminal illnesses has a bare majority of support if you describe it as "assisting the patient to commit suicide", let alone pushing the opinion that someone who is in decent health for their age should, without consulting anyone, commit suicide. Which is what the site was saying.

Comment Re:Object lesson (Score 5, Informative) 198

There are laws and rules that require publicly traded companies to maximize stockholder profit.

No no no no!

It's not really true. It's not completely false to talk about the need of public companies to take into consideration , but there are significant problems with the argument most of the time you see someone trot out that line. Shareholder wealth maximization is a consideration, but is by far need not be be-all, end-all goal from a legal perspective. This is particularly true in this scenario of 20% time, because if the board thought that 20% time was a good thing to have from the company's perspective, they would be completely allowed to implement it.

"While the duty to maximize shareholder value may be a useful shorthand for a corporate manager to think about how to act on a day to day basis, this is not legally required or enforceable. The only constraint on board decision making is a pair of duties â" the âoeduty of careâ and the âoeduty of loyalty.â The duty of care requires boards to be well informed and to make deliberate decisions after careful consideration of the issues. Importantly, board members are entitled to rely on experts and corporate officers for their information, can easily comply with duty of care obligations by spending shareholder money on lawyers and process, and, in any event, are routinely indemnified against damages for any breaches of this duty. The duty of loyalty self evidently requires board members to put the interests of the corporation ahead of their own personal interest."

"But if shareholder value thinking is counterproductive, how did it become so prevalent? Non-experts often assume the approach is rooted in law, and that public companies are legally required to maximize profits and shareholder returns. This is pure myth. Thanks to a legal doctrine called the business judgment rule, corporate directors who refrain from using corporate funds to line their own pockets remain legally free to pursue almost any other objective, including providing secure jobs to employees, quality products for consumers and research and tax revenues to benefit society."

"[Dodge vs. Ford Motor Company] is frequently cited as support for the idea that "corporate law requires boards of directors to maximize shareholder wealth." The following articles attempt to refute that interpretation. ... In that context, the Dodge decision is viewed as a mixed result for both sides of the dispute. Ford was denied the ability to arbitrarily undermine the profitability of the firm, and thereby eliminate future dividends. Under the upheld business judgment rule, however, Ford was given considerable leeway via control of his board about what investments he could make. That left him with considerable influence over dividends, but not as complete control as he wished."

"Many of us have heard that corporations are legally required to maximize shareholder value. Guess what, they are not. The law in the United States does not require management to maximize shareholder value (except under rare circumstances such as when the company gets put up for sale). This may surprise you because you've also probably also heard that shareholders own the corporation. That's not true either."

And finally, to make things ever more interesting:

"In case law speak, judicial commentary articulating an opinion and not decisive to the case is known as "dicta" and is not binding in the court of law. The comments that have made Dodge v. Ford the single-most known case for defining a corporation's duty to maximize shareholder growth...comes in, well, dicta."

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