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Comment I don't care how the average person enjoys a story (Score 1) 238

This study tries to figure out in what way the average person enjoys a story. Aside from the fact that asking people to rate things from 1 to 10 is a great way to determine their favorite numbers and very little else, even if the study were completely accurate I wouldn't care. Why? Because the average person is the guy who makes Michael Bay, Twilight, The Jersey Shore, and Justin Bieber popular. They are the people who books like "The Secret" outsell actual literature. It's already well-established that the average person is worse than useless, dragging us into the gutter and away from the stars. If this research could start to teach us to fix what's wrong with the average person then maybe it'd be worthwhile, but it's clear from the researchers' comments that they actually think that there's something *okay* about the fact that people have gotten so stupid that they can't even follow a simple plot without having the Cliff's Notes embedded into the first paragraph.

Comment Re:Educational standards (Score 4, Informative) 741

If your idea is that the average person alive today -- never mind the average high school student -- has any knowledge at all of relativistic mechanics, evolutionary biology, computer science/engineering, medical science, etc., I think you'll find you're sadly mistaken. Yes, the average teenager knows how to use a cell phone. Clearly this is an insurmountable obstacle, and Isaac Newton himself would be unable to figure out my Nokia.

At any rate, the material on the "arithmetic" and "algebra" sections is still taught and used in schools today, and I'll outright guarantee you that if I printed those out and took them to a Calculus III section at the local university I'd be unlikely to get a very high pass rate, despite the fact that most of them have memorized how to take dozens of integrals or apply Lagrange multipliers.

Knowledge isn't worth as much as people seem to think; at its heart, it's just trivia. What matters is the ability to think, and that doesn't change from generation to generation.

Comment Re:Good Fix... (Score 1) 460

'Your stocks will be worthless (than any other's) in 23 hours if and only if those said others are allowed to sell sooner than you and *specially* sooner than the buyer's knowledge about the bankrupcy'

No, your stocks will be worthless, period. People won't magically be willing to pay more money for stock in a bankrupt company because they weren't allowed to trade the stock for a while. But this isn't really a great example of why liquidity is necessary, because in this case there's not much that can be done. Market liquidity is necessary to allow risks to be reallocated, and risks need to be reallocated on a regular basis, not just once a day. Just because you could conceivably regulate "official" stock prices doesn't mean you can regulate the instantaneous factors that dictate them -- the cost of oil, local and international politics, the weather, etc.

Comment Re:Good Fix... (Score 1) 460

"Remember that extracting wealth from the markets and transferring it from one account to another is not the same thing as 'profit', because it reduces the wealth available to actual productive investment - the corporate processes which do not and cannot change any faster than the time it takes to gear-up a factory or harvest a crop."

Nonsense. Say the price of oil changes; then all of a sudden all sorts of companies make or lose enormous amounts of money. Same thing with interest rates, the weather, natural disasters, international politics, etc. Here's an exercise for you: go buy stock in a pharmaceutical company that's waiting to get approval of a new drug. On principal, refuse to trade it even after the announcement comes out and the price spikes or plunges. Afterwards, you can give us all a nice lecture on how little you care for market liquidity.

For that matter, how do you determine a fair price to pay for your investments? Do you bring up a spreadsheet, model the company's discounted future earnings, and derive the price you're willing to buy and sell at? Of course not. You rely on the market to let you know what a fair price is. Without a liquid market, you might as well be buying stock from some guy who calls you up on the phone.

Of course, I'm going to guess that you or someone else is going to say, "But I just take the high road -- I invest in indexed mutual funds and don't try to beat the market." But what do you think the fund's traders are doing? Just sitting around all day and not trading? All you're doing is paying someone else to execute those same trades for you.

Comment Re:Because death threats are illegal and a felony (Score 1) 806

Au contraire. True, you can't walk up to a total stranger on the street and say "I'm going to kill you." This is, however, a normal and completely acceptable way to speak to your ex- (or current!) boyfriend, or really anyone you're on a first-name basis with. Nobody would bat an eye if they heard someone say such a thing in public. It appears, however, that school administrators are all send through some kind of indoctrination progress where they're taught that the internet automatically makes everything more sinister.

Comment Re:So.... (Score 1) 493

The point is that, assuming we've got a guy following around Verizon trucks and pretending to be a tech, he's probably gone to the trouble of printing up some random ID card and laminating it. Since you don't even know what a Verizon ID card looks like it wouldn't even take any research on his part -- it'd just be a card with a downloaded Verizon logo on it, a photograph of him, and a fake name, that had been run through a laminating machine.

Comment Re:Designer doesn't understand virtual worlds (Score 1) 64

The client hired the contractor to do some work for him. They had a real-world contract stating that he was to be paid with real money and was to retain full rights to his creations. From a legal standpoint this is no different from doing graphic design for a website, writing a book and selling limited rights to a publisher, etc. If you hire me to make a baseball bat for you and our contract states that I retain copyright to the design, and then you start selling knockoffs of it, you are not going to be successful in a lawsuit by stating that the official baseball rulebook says nothing about copyright. In other words, the rules of a virtual world do not somehow override the rules of the real world.

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The human mind ordinarily operates at only ten percent of its capacity -- the rest is overhead for the operating system.