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Comment Did they factor in legacy admissions? (Score 4, Insightful) 391

Many of the most elite schools have a "legacy admissions" policy (that's how the C-student George W. Bush managed to get into Yale). It gives the children of alumni priority admission, because they want their richer alumni to keep contributing money, and denying little Biff or Muffy their admission would be bad business. It's affirmative action for the rich.

Comment Re:Yeah nothing works anymore (Score 1, Interesting) 622

If it were only Flash it wouldn't be that big a deal. But Jobs wants a monopoly and wants to prevent any development platform that would let you write once, and wind up with an app that runs on an iPhone, a Droid, any other Android phone, and a Blackberry by providing an abstraction layer. The fanboys will complain that such an abstraction might result in an app that is somehow 10% worse than a "native" app. Big deal; if both kinds of apps existed you could choose the kind you prefer, but it shouldn't be up to Jobs.

Comment if this is a form of spam ... (Score 3, Insightful) 483

... that is, if people are doing this kind of thing to gum up the works for their competition, one answer is to assess a very small fee per trade, less than a penny. This would be completely negligible to a normal investor, but could be quite expensive to those trying to saturate the system for the benefit of their trading algorithm. Market-makers like Goldman Sachs would also wind up paying significant amounts, but given their privileged position which basically gives them a license to print money it's only fair. The fees collected could go into an insurance fund to help cover the next financial meltdown, and if it slows down trading a bit, that may well be a good thing. Complex nonlinear systems have a tendency to go unstable, and damping is one way of decreasing this possibility.

Comment Re:he's right, but.... (Score 1) 322

There's a fringe of zealots who think (falsely) that any government action that imposes any restriction on anyone is a "taking", which would make zoning laws invalid. Sorry, that's fantasy law, not real law. It's true that if regulations go so far as to make the property completely useless to the owner, this might amount to a regulatory taking. But this is a very high bar. Since net neutrality would impose rules on ISPs that are very similar to the laws already imposed on telephone companies, these kinds of arguments aren't going to go very far.

Comment Authors could still be paid ... (Score 2, Insightful) 169

If a school district decides to commission a textbook as a work made for hire, and pays the authors handsomely, and then makes the work free, it can be a win-win. The authors get a guaranteed amount, but they won't collect royalties going forward. The schools don't go broke buying expensive textbooks, and poorer districts can benefit. Textbook writers can be booked again when revisions are made. Of course, it will be possible to identify people that make less money. That's life.

Comment That doesn't matter (Score 3, Insightful) 437

Boing Boing releases their stuff using a license that would prevent others from picking it all up on a different web site and selling ads. This doesn't give them the right to use others' work in a way that conflicts with the license (other than fair use, which might allow for a thumbnail link). I think that this license violation on their part was inadvertent, the author of the web page thought he was filing his personal "I'm on vacation" announcement and forgot about the ads. In the case of BoingBoing I would politely ask them to take it down, and to respect that "noncommercial" means "don't attach ads to this". The copyright holder can still decide to grant permission if asked politely.

Comment Stay away from for-profit degree mills (Score 5, Insightful) 428

You know, the kind that advertise. It's a racket; they'll take your money, or financial aid money from the government, and give you a "degree". They don't want to let you skip "learning" what you already know because they want your cash. You need a legitimate institution, a community college or a state university.

Comment I disagree (Score 2, Insightful) 432

If you immediately try to go renewable 100%, you'll run into the problem that wind is intermittent, the sun doesn't shine at night and solar cells provide less power in bad weather, etc. But in the summertime, solar provides the most power just when you need the most A/C to power air conditioning. If you have to burn fossil fuel to cover the gaps, that's OK; you're covered and you don't need to import nearly so much from unstable or hostile regimes. In the long term, there are a number of possible mechanisms for energy storage to handle uneven availability of wind or solar. In addtion to batteries, you can pump water uphill to store both water and energy, use flywheels, reward people for using energy when it's highly available, etc. We'll end up using a mix of technologies, and that's a good thing, just like it's a good idea to diversify your investments.

Comment Re:Copyright laws. (Score 1) 436

If the transmission is done with the permission of the copyright holder (either explicitly or because of a license), it's not infringement. And in some circumstances fair use (some countries call it "fair dealing") applies. But clearly most BT traffic is copyright infringement.

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"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman