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Comment Some of each (Score 1) 695

Since we are coming out of a below-average period in global temperature history, as well as a low in recent history (the Little Ice Age following the medieval warm period), I believe some component of current trends is natural. I also believe (sub)urbanization introduces some degree of measurement bias -- a location that was relatively rural 80 years ago now surrounded by suburban sprawl, shopping centers and parking lots will have a higher local temperature from local effects in addition to any possible regional change.

However, I cannot deny the likelihood that emissions, deforestation, and other man-made factors have an impact on climate. The big question that remains unresolved is how much of the current trend is natural, and how much is caused by man.

Comment Re:stupid suckers (Score 1, Interesting) 447


I watch all my TV over the Internet, sans commercials. All hail Bittorrent and TV release groups.

I remember someone commenting on why sports figures get paid in the tens of millions, and it was 'because people are willing to pay to see them". Teams pay players because they can jack up prices on ticket sales and TV rights for ESPN. Because they in turn can jack up charges to cable providers, and they in turn can jack up prices to cable subscribers. Lebron gets a 50m paycheck because of the idiots who pay for ESPN. Count me out of that nightmare.

What cable companies need to do is not cave in to ESPN's $4/subscriber pricing, or anyone else's. Then ESPN can go back to the league and offer less for the rights. Then teams can pay their players less. Everyone wins except a few hundred pro athletes. Sure, some competing channel to ESPN will crop up, offer more, and hopefully fail when they cannot sell their channel, but that's how markets work.

But then I watch mostly Scripted television, documentaries, and anime, so what do I care. Channels are supposed to earn their revenue off of advertising sales. Cable companies are supposed to sell a service (high quality image distribution of content) not the content itself. Like many, I will either watch ads, or pay for content, but not both.

So now I download all the TV I watch off the Internet. Have been doing so for 10 years now. And I will never go back.

Comment god, I hope not. (Score 0) 192

Despite Skype's recent disaster with its client (5.x is worse than 4.x), it pales in comparison to how crappy Facebook is.

After years of resisting, I finally caved and opened a Facebook account so I could watch some Tsunami footage on some guy's page. Since then I have tried to search for some "friends" on Facebook only to find it has the clumsiest user interface and lacks a lot of basic features. I wanted to add friends from my high school class (or at least find them). There is no simple, intuitive way to do this, I kinda had to luck across the page that let's me search for people who listed my high school as theirs. Great! Except I cannot limit the search by class year, so I get hundreds, if not thousands of people from the past 20 years since I graduated. When all they need to do is add a "Class of XXXX" filter. How simple it would be.

This is not the only thing wrong. For a site worth billions, it is incredibly primitive and lacking in features. I helped my mom upload a picture for her profile. When there was some adjustments available, I expected to be able to select a part of the image and crop it for her profile. Such functionality is not hard, and I'd expect it form such a major player like Facebook, but alas, they are in the stone age in this regard. The lolcats site is higher-tech.

Facebook sucks, and I would not want to trust them with skype. I use skype to talk to friends online pretty much every day. I use the 4.x client, and skype is decent enough to let me continue to do so without forcing me to upgrade to their new, crappier client. Recommend I upgrade? Yes. Force? No. Facebook has lucked into a following despite its shoddiness. It's like a retarded kid winning the lotto. Zuckerberg is king retard in this.

Comment Re:poor content (Score 3, Interesting) 118

With you in spirit, but your statements are tinged with hyperbole. The major networks air more than 2 good shows a week, and more and more "cable channels" like AMC, USA, TNT, etc have begun airing some quality original programming. However, for every show like 30 Rock or The Closer, we get ten Real Worlds, Survivors, or Dancing with the Stars.

Premium channels have been booming with original content in recent years. Maybe it's just because I did not have access to them much before BT trackers and release groups got into them, but I think there are more original shows on HBO, Showtime, etc than there used to be. Sure, you had things like 1st and Ten, Dream On, and the Red Shoe Diaries on HBO and Showtime 15-25 years ago, but now you have so much more. A lot of great shows in recent times have come form these networks (Deadwood, Weeds, Dexter, The Sopranos), along with a great deal more entertaining ones (The Tudors, Rome, Secret Diary of a Call Girl (not original, I know)).

As someone else has stated, the real problem is that TV providers have made it an increasingly hostile environment to watch their content.
  - More commercial time per hour. The average 1-hour show is under 44 minutes now.
  - Channel identifier logos on constantly. In the beginning these were semi-transparent line-art, now they are colorful and often animated.
  - Squashed and sped-up credit sequences. Sure, few people want to see them, but sometimes we do, and without commercial/news at 10 hype
  - Pop-up in-show ads "New Episode of Dancing With the Stars NEXT" at the bottom of the screen, blocking this show
  - Time-shifting to screw up DVR users
  - Loudness tricks to make commercials seem louder than the show. Gotta crank up the movie because it's so quiet, then WHAM! "BUY ZEST SOAP!"
  - Constant schedule changes

I gave up cable TV about 8-9 years ago. I was heavy into anime at the time, had just moved, so I went with internet and substantial DVD purchases (back when DVDs were still $30 each, though you could get them for ~33-50% off online). I found out I just did not need to veg out in front of TV shows I didn;t care about every evening. I read more books, was online more, had other things to do.

It was liberating. ^_^

Comment Two wrongs don't make a right, but... (Score 1) 973

Over the years, I have bought many CDs (tho not in the past 10 years), DVDs (tho not in the past 3 years), and other entertainment media. At the moment I do not. Part of the reason is lack of income. The rest is this:

Entertainment IP owners have bought legislation through their lobbyists, campaign donations, and other means to extend copyright from it's originally-intended 14 years to ridiculous levels. Productions were originally meant to become part of the public domain after that time, and instead every time the first Mickey Mouse cartoons threaten to become public domain, Disney lobbies congress to extend all copyrights another 20 years. So while I agree that copyrights grant legal ownership of IP, I believe the companies do not deserve those extended protections, so MORLALLY I feel no guilt in "stealing" their work.

I also do not like how the media companies like to play both sides of the object/license debate, favoring whichever suits them at the time. Sometimes your music/movie is an object -- if you want it on a different medium, or damage your copy, or something else, you must pay to replace it. Other times, it's a license -- you may not "perform" (play) it in a public / commercial setting, you cannot sell your CD to a record store for resale because it's a "license" not an object, etc.

Further, there has been ample evidence of industry collusion, price fixing, price gouging and other unfair business practices among the record companies, which makes me even less inclined to want to support them. And again, rather than penalize them, when they are caught, our (paid off by campaign contributions and promises of future BoD positions) government representatives see fit to "settle" with a voucher program instead of demanding fines or payment checks.

These reasons, and the fact that I just don't listen to music like I used to when I was younger all contribute ot the fact that I do not buy any music anymore. And I don't feel any moral obligation to pay for it on the rare occasions I do download a song. I know technically I should pay for it, and recognize it's the right thing to do, but I feel that the owners of this media have done so much to screw me that I feel it's only proper I return the favor.

Comment Re:For those complaining (Score 1) 258

So, don't buy that game, or if you want to use a Wii for homebrew, buy another for games. Nintendo isn't stopping you from modding your system. They simply say that if you want software upgrades, you have to accept their terms.

It isn't like they load it in the background. It isn't like they don't tell you what they are doing. It isn't like they don't give you the option to keep everything like it always was. This is pretty tame compared to other companies' tactics to combat piracy, and I see nothing ethically wrong with it.


NY Governor Wants To Expand DNA Database 169

crimeandpunishment writes "If Governor David Paterson has his way, New York would take DNA samples from even the lowest level of criminal, doubling the state's DNA database. He says it would help to both solve crimes and clear people who were wrongly convicted. New York would become the first state in the country to do this. Currently DNA isn't collected in most misdemeanors. The plan is getting lots of support among law enforcement, but the New York Civil Liberties Union says there are questions about privacy."

Geologists Might Be Charged For Not Predicting Quake 375

mmmscience writes "In 2009, a series of small earthquakes shook the region of L'Aquila, Italy. Seismologists investigated the tremors, but concluded that there was no direct indication of a big quake on the horizon. Less than a month later, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake killed more than 300 people. Now, the chief prosecutor of L'Aquila is looking to charge the scientists with gross negligent manslaughter for not predicting the quake."

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