Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Malcolm Gladwell? Is that you? (Score 1) 217

Criticism of Gladwell is more extensive. []

Lol, that site is about as far from impartial as you can get.

"No, no, no... They don't say his writing lacks facts to back it up. They only have issues with the fact that he's drawing conclusions out of his ass and making up a 'better' version of facts cause he didn't understand the original, boring ones."

Not sure where that came from, it is not a quote from my reply to you or wikipedia. You do not source it, so not really sure how it pertains to anything unless it is what you are saying, in which case I am just confused by the quotation marks around it.

And no... that's not the "main thrust of criticism". THAT is just the criticism aimed at his books.

That WAS the main thrust of the criticism on the wikipedia page linked to originally though.

Comment Re:So this means more jobs for American STEMs? (Score 1) 277

Unlikely. Trade has to be a huge net benefit otherwise it doesn't get done because the companies that are involved in it have to cover huge costs (transport; multinational lawyers; dealing with multiple regulations; insurance; security people; translations; business travel for sales; moving support people etc.). From the point of view of the place that it's done in, all those costs are employed people.

I was not really thinking about jobs moving over seas, I was thinking more about them simply never happening. Once a company exists in a particular place, then you are right, there is no way they would move.

I was thinking more along the lines of if the US lacks STEM graduates then there will be less startups and also that if you are looking at getting a new project off the ground you would outsource it to a country where it could be done more quickly rather than waiting the time it would take to hire enough people. Assuming you already have enough people though then this is unlikely to be an issue as you say.

Comment Re:I'm amazed... (Score 2) 1737

Zimmerman was NOT the aggressor. Walking on a sidewalk and following someone is NOT an act of aggression.

Are you sure? If you have ever lived in a slightly scary city environment and clocked that you were being followed this might not be your attitude.

For me though it always comes back to this: If a black guy had been walking round the streets of his local neighbourhood following 17 year old white kids and ended up shooting one who had no violent criminal past would he have been found guilty or innocent?

If the answer is that he would be more likely to be found guilty then there is a problem somewhere that needs solving, whatever the cause.

Comment Re:It has a deep tradition it seems (Score 1) 217

I can find you just as many articles saying you shouldn't go to wikipedia looking for factual information either :)

I think it is worth noting though that the main thrust of criticism is not that Gladwell's writing lacks facts, it is instead that they take issue with how he draws conclusions and oversimplification.

That is an oft used criticism though from academics who have a tendency to other non-academics dumbing down their fields for public consumption. The problem is though that someone needs to do this as academics do not work in an ivory tower, their work often impacts on society as a whole so there needs to be some attempt at translating it into words that society as a whole can actually understand. Some academics can put things across in plain english with plenty of nice easy analogies, some are not interested in trying or are unable to. I think Gladwell is fairly good at making modern philosophical topics more accessible, that can only be a good thing even if he does do it in an imperfect manner.

Comment Re:XBMC (Score 1) 221

The only other issue I am aware of that does bother me is the stories of people having their entire account locked because they reversed the charge for a game that turned out to not work or was falsely advertised.

This is very dubious. I think a good test here would be whether you could get a refund from a retailer under the same conditions. If not, and you do an end run around the retailer to the credit card company then that seems to be a bit strange, even if you can do it legally. Doing an end run around either a store or an online distributer in this case is a bit weird so no wonder Valve just treat all chargebacks as a stolen card.

Comment Re:competing with asia (Score 1) 580

I ducked out of a STEM degree myself exactly because it was too much work and because science classes turned out to be a huge drag on my grades. However, this wasn't because the content itself was "hard," it was because at the university level all the math and science classes I took were graded competitively on a curve, and this system gave a tremendous advantage to all the students from Korea and China who were brought up spending every waking hour in study.

Ultimately, I changed to a liberal arts degree. This wasn't the only reason I switched away from STEM, but it certainly made my decision easier.

So you gave up because you couldn't be bothered to work as hard as people from China and Korea living in the US? If that is true that is pretty pathetic on your part and may explain much of why the US needs so many H-1B visas.

There are other possible reasons though why chinese and korean students do better at Maths. I remember reading this a few years ago in Outliers by Malcom Gladwell:

Its a good book and I would recommend reading it if you can be bothered.

Comment Re:like anything else.. (Score 2) 580

I still remember in one signals class, the guy next to me asked how I did for one of the homework questions, and I told him I didn't do it because it looked awful. He told me it took him several hours to solve.

"[First name], it's worth 1/2 of 1%."

"... you son of a bitch."

But hey, what do I know, I've just got an engineering degree on my wall here next to my PE certificate.

Of course you are right, that is how you pass exams. I was actually quite good at by the end as I would make several passes through the paper going for the stuff I found harder and harder on each pass. The first pass would really just be a skim read and quick answer of the stuff I found easy, the last pass would probably be just going for one question that bugged the hell out of me.

I also never made any secret of this as my answer books generally had all the questions in the order I answered them (eg, 5,2,1,8,etc) so it kept the lecturers on their toes. This was perfectly allowed so why bother trying to leave space to answer questions you are skipping on that pass when you don't need to, however easy it would be.

The thing is though techniques like this are always a bit of a cop out. Persisting with something you find incredibly hard to the bitter end gives a real sense of satisfaction when you get it right, even if it is only worth half a percent. This is what university should be about: Satisfaction and learning for learning's sake.

Comment Re:like anything else.. (Score 1) 580

On the flip side, I had professors who would teach material so badly that the class average was 28% or 35%.

That is not always the teachers fault.

When I went to Uni to study Physics one of our Maths modules had a similar average. The lecturer we has not great, but the real problem is that all the fundamental principles of higher maths had been disappearing from the A-Level (the level before university) Maths syllabus in the years before that.

When I was studying for my A-Levels I had to struggle through things like complex integration and differentiation, finding the roots of quadratic equations and tons more stuff I saw no relevance to. This has now all been removed from the A-Level syllabus to try and encourage more students to take Maths at A-Level and to improve the pass rate. It was actually removed the year I finished so by the time I came to Uni after a gap year I was in a uni class with people who had no experience of this stuff but were still trying to do a Physics degree. Maybe this is only happening here in the UK where I live but I reckon it is similar in the US too.

Then there is the other problem, students always bitch about the teachers and blame them when things go wrong. It has been going on for decades, especially at degree level as before then you are very much being spoon fed the stuff you need to learn but they need to start weaning you off this so you start doing more of the the learning you need to do in a self directed manner. That means that your lecturers have to be there for you to ask questions of occasionally, but for the most part you have to get used to teaching yourself anything you need to pass your course. Some students really struggle with this transition, especially if the lack a real passion for what they chose to study.

This is not to say that bad lecturers do not exist, like anything there will be teachers and lecturers who are good at it and some that suck. It is just worth remembering that however crap the teacher is it is still down to the student to drive their own learning by the time they get to university. What really differentiates between good and bad lecturers is the ability to foster a passion for learning a subject in their students.

Comment Re:This is why... (Score 1) 221

Owning the content would mean..

Pesky boss coming back from lunch while I was typing :)

I was going to say that owning the content would mean truly owning the copyright on it.

Comment Re:This is why... (Score 1) 221

we buy what we want to watch.

Me too.

This is why I have no movies. I cant find one where I actually own the content, I can only license it.

If you want to actually own the content, you need to make your own goddamn movie, with black jack and hookers.

But seriously, even when you buy a BluRay that only gives you a licence to use the content. Otherwise Netflix could buy a single BluRay disk then stream it all over the world. There will always be restrictions on anything you buy in in the form of a licence that restricts copying. You might be arguing for better licencing terms like being able to make copies for personal use and to transfer them around different devices but even in that case there would be a licence preventing non-personal use. Owning the content would mean

Going back to the 80's long before DRM video shops had to buy special copies of films on video that were licensed such that they could rent them out. These special copies were more expensive (about $50 - $100 by memory). If you could spend $20 for a bluray disk then do whatever you liked with the content, including non personal use, then Holywood would be bankrupt in days.

Comment Re:XBMC (Score 4, Insightful) 221

All that said, DRM still won: it lost in the audio realm, but won in general computing, mobile computing and video. Steam is really a much better example of this than iCloud.

Steam is a good example of DRM.

It is fairly obvious though that it won simply because it works and the only restriction it places on you is not being able to sell games you bought second hand (which you agreed to when you bought the game from them anyway). It does however let you install games on loads of different machines, even at the same time unlike most DRM systems. They also release games on steam at the same time all over the world to my knowledge which is another reason why people pirate, to obtain something that is not yet available by legal means in the their country.

When DRM is invisible in this way to most users then they simply don't care about it. I am sure there are some people who refuse to buy all steam titles as part of some crusade to get them to drop the restriction on second hand sales, but they are so few in number that Valve just ignores them as acceptable losses.

This is probably made even easier by the same people piping up how bad Steam is on forums and saying they boycott it for restricting second hand sales through DRM while also having obviously played games only available on steam with this restriction. This means they played the game illegally anyway without paying so it is very easy for Valve to dismiss them as people who just want to play games without paying for them. If you are actually trying to boycott something effectively, you have to really boycott it or it dilutes the message you are trying to put across.

Sorry to disappoint you that this is not a troll, I just think that if I pay for every game I play then you damn well should too or do without playing it. I know that this might not result in any lost sales to the publisher, but if I pay for something and you don't that is not fair.

Comment Re:Fuck 'em (Score 1) 344

Are you saying that content owners are charging more per unit in the non-English territories? I'm not aware of that being the case (though I'm on the B2B end of the business, so I'm not intimately familiar with consumer prices), other than cases where there is a supply and demand difference.

I live in the UK and we are generally charged more for things than you guys in the US. I know we have 20% sales tax on everything but the last time I checked DVD's were generally 50% cheaper in the US, that is not all sales tax.

Comment Re:Fuck 'em (Score 1) 344

I would argue that the harm is mostly non-existant in that lower sales of language specific versions are offset by sales of the original language version.

There is an issue though that the original version distribution rights are probably US or English Language only and a different company owns the rights to the subtitled version sold abroad. These might just be front companies for the same global corporation with a controlling share in both but they probably also have local shareholders that did lose out somewhere.

Of course it is pretty obvious though that the real reason they did this is that they viewed this site as being a tool for creating pirate copies of english language films with local subtitles before they are released. It doesn't matter if it actually is or not, just that some executive somewhere thinks it might be.

Comment Re:Fuck 'em (Score 4, Insightful) 344

Woah there... Who said anything about pirating? If you wanted to watch a movie you bought that was not in a language you can understand, wouldn't you want subtitles?

Yes, but in many cases it is cheaper to buy an english only version of a movie than one with local subtitles. The MPAA want to preserve this charging of countries other than the US more money for the same crap.

Just because this makes sense does not really make it right though. I think they missed the point here as in many cases the user contributed subtitles are better than the original subtitles they provide as they often contain local slang that only someone who can swear well in both languages can make. They should have let this stand as all it had was text which without a copy of the video and sound would be pretty useless.

Slashdot Top Deals

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary saftey deserve neither liberty not saftey." -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759