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Comment Re:Bad Summary (Score 1) 385

I requested the "free" Windows* CDs for my grandmother shortly after she got her first computer. Because neither of us knew about the charge in the event the third CD wasn't returned, I was charged not only for that CD, but for the next two shipments of CDs delivered to her even after she called to cancel.

An expensive mistake. I never got that money back.

* I originally set her up with Fedora/GNOME, but she was completely lost. After I set her up with Windows, she was able to get around relatively easily.

Comment Re:Another reason : Allergy (Score 1) 331


When I was growing up, I was never allowed to get dirty. Germs were bad, and playing outside was considered hazardous. Whenever I had a spot on my skin that even resembled dirt, it was scrubbed until the skin turned red.

Fast-forward to today. My immune system is basically shot; whenever something "goes around", I get it without fail, and when I do get sick, it's nearly incapacitating; I have allergies to some medications, plants, and animals; my asthma (which I've had since birth) gets worse, not better; and I'm currently battling with CIU (chronic idiopathic urticaria), or hives that keep coming back without any known cause.

Please let your kids play outside. Let them get dirty. Their bodies will thank you.

Keep in mind that asthma is an autoimmune disorder that happens to manifest itself in the respiratory system. It is not in and of itself a disorder/disease of the lungs. The act of solely treating the symptoms of asthma is akin to spraying a fire extinguisher at the top of a flame, instead of at its base.

Ever since I read about the "hygiene hypothesis", I've considered infecting myself with hookworm (called Helminthic therapy) to keep my immune system busy. There are certain species of hookworm that aren't harmful to the body (under normal circumstances in first-world countries), are not hosts themselves to bacteria, viruses, or other parasites, only feed on a small amount of blood, and can neither reproduce within the host nor lay eggs while in the host. They're just enough of a nuisance to prevent the immune system from attacking random things in the body, and they work around the clock.

The only reason I haven't actively sought out this therapy is due to my primary care physician's recommendation against it. He grew up in a country where hookworm is common, and his sister died of an asthma attack; the fact that she most likely had hookworm and had asthma severe enough to kill her was convincing enough to me that this research may not be completely accurate.

Comment Re:A Better Alternative (Score 1) 453

Or instead of a cut-and-dried two-tier system, editors could vote on the veracity of the content. Wikipedia could adopt Slashdot's karma system, and editors with higher karma would be considered more "expert" than those with lower karma, so their votes would carry more weight. Editors with karma below a certain threshold wouldn't be eligible for voting, so that should eliminate sockpuppets.

Comment A Better Alternative (Score 1) 453

Instead of uber-locking certain articles, what Wikipedia should be doing is something like this:
  • If the entire article is "flagged":
    • A single message would appear at the top of the page, and the background of the article could be a faint green, for example.
  • If more than 50% of the article's content has been reviewed and "flagged":
    • Put a message at the top of the article explaining the situation
    • Put a message on top of each "unflagged" (yet to be vetted) section
    • Color the background of the "unflagged" content a faint red, and give it a thick, dark red border. (I know, red/green colorblindness is the most common kind. These are just examples.)
  • If less than 50% of the article's content has been reviewed and "flagged":
    • Put a message at the top of the article explaining the situation
    • Put a message on top of each section that has been reviewed and "flagged"
    • Color the background of the "flagged" content a faint green, and give it a thick, dark green border.
  • If the entire article is "unflagged":
    • A single message would appear at the top of the page, and the background of the article could be a faint red.

If an entire article has been "flagged", then it could be treated as a released, stable version. It would be the default version a visitor would see (by default). Anybody would be able to view the most recent version of the article by clicking on an appropriate tab on the page. Viewing this version would be analogous to downloading the nightly build of a program, and it could come with a disclaimer on top of the page.

tl;dr: Color-code vetted/"flagged" articles/sections. Treat "flagged" articles as one would treat stable versions of programs. Treat articles that haven't been "flagged" yet as nightly builds of programs.

This would still use a two-tier system, but it would be much more fair to editors who haven't yet jumped through Wikipedia's hoops, and it wouldn't hide any edits from anybody.

Comment Re:Of course it's declining (Score 1) 435

So the only advantage that landline has is gone.

The power is out at your house and your cellphone battery is dead. You're an Average Joe, so you don't have a UPS (or wouldn't think to plug your cellphone charger into it if you did have one). Even if the cellphone battery weren't dead, or if you did think to plug the cellphone into the UPS, there's no cell reception at home.

Your wife's taken the car to go shopping, so you can't go to the car to plug in your cellphone or use OnStar.

You don't have a landline.

You need to make an emergency call. 911. Right now.

Now what?

Comment Re:Computers to read the textbooks (Score 5, Informative) 216

The books are not in the public domain--they are available under permissive copyright licenses. For example, CK-12 Calculus (PDF) is licensed under CC BY-SA (page 2 of the PDF). This is the only book I checked, but I expect most (if not all) are licensed similarly.

If the books were public domain, they could be redistributed as proprietary works under another's name. Instead, these books are essentially GPL'd (again, assuming they're all licensed similarly).

Comment Re:They didn't have the right to sell it... (Score 1) 646

Amazon should have paid the fine (if one was even imposed by the holder).

Why should the onus have been on Amazon? Shouldn't it have been on MobileReference, who illegally* published the e-books via Amazon?

Mind you, I don't think 1984 should be covered under copyright anymore in the first place, but that's a completely different discussion.

*According to whois, is registered to someone in California.

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