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Comment Re:Who will be first (Score 1) 303

Back in 2005 some car thieves in Malaysia tried to steal a Merc S Class with some kind of biometric immobilizer. When they realized they couldn't get the darn thing running without a finger print, they merely chopped the owner's finger off with a machete (I swear it's true: BBC Article).

What makes this sort of thing particularly nasty is that it doesn't have to actually work. The bad guys just have to think it might work, and goodbye finger. Or fingers, since they wouldn't necessarily know which finger was magic. Or eyes, if they get confused about what "Retina Display" is all about.

Comment Re:How much of a role did an Android phone play... (Score 3, Insightful) 189

I doubt they would have been concerned about Nokia as an Android competitor - but they would have been very, very worried about losing their partnership with the maker of 80% of the Windows phones sold.

I suspect it's a bit of both. Losing market share would be really bad, but just as bad would be if their Windows Phone poster child Nokia did really well with an Android phone (and I can't see why they couldn't... they do good hardware) to the point that they no longer needed Microsoft propping them up financially. It would send one hell of a message to other mobile manufacturers... namely, "not worth the bother".

That perception matters a lot. Technology-wise, I doubt Windows Phone is that bad (I haven't seen one, myself). But the market thinks it's tainted, and that's what's killing it as much as anything else.

Comment Yes, but... (Score 5, Insightful) 273

I hate to talk about correlation/causation, but there's typically some significant demographic differences between profs with and without tenure.

My experience is that tenure-track profs were a heck of a lot younger, meshed well with the students, hadn't spent the last 20 years teaching the course, and were more likely to put in more time and effort on the material. Tenured profs also tend to have a lot of things sucking their time (obviously researchers, but department heads and/or deans are worse), so they dump a lot more on the TA's and are pretty tight for office hours.

I'd be curious to see how things break down when they account for demographic differences. If that's even feasible.

Comment Re:Beware of Microsofties bearing gifts (Score 5, Funny) 535

That's one way to look at it.

The other way to think about it is that the rest of Nokia just unloaded a boat anchor of a mobile phone business and a horrific CEO onto Microsoft, with the added bonus of him possibly becoming CEO of that combined corporation.

Or, if you prefer, "beware of Finns bearing gifts".

Comment Re:People who can't stop (Score 1) 926

Stop right there at the "stress makes you eat" part. WTF man? No it doesn't.

I don't buy "stress makes you eat", but I'd be comfortable in saying that stress would contribute a lot to someone to not caring too much about what they eat, how much they eat, how healthy it is, or what it's doing to their body.

People under stress frequently take the path of least resistance, and if that means the cheapest, fastest, most convenient food and stretchy pants, then so be it.

Comment Re:Stupid decision by clueless jury (Score 1) 164

I don't think the popular sire effect can be drastically increased in magnitude, not above what artificial insemination provides.

I was thinking more about the popular sire effect and how it would work on the mare side of things. "Production" from mares is constrained by limited reproduction lifespans, gestation times, etc, so having a handful of clones of a popular mare could shakes things up a bit.

Comment Re:Greed knows no bounds (Score 1) 164

But is it an illegal monopoly? They're not preventing anyone else from racing horses, or registering horses.

From what I've read about it, there are other registries. However, if you want to race or do rodeo events, it sounds like they are effectively a monopoly, and the cost of starting up a competing ecosystem of events outside the registry is likely going to be quite high.

They likely aren't an "illegal" monopoly, but being a legal monopoly is more than enough to makes things like this happen.

Comment Re:Stupid decision by clueless jury (Score 1) 164

I do think you have to be a little careful though at how it is applied when money is involved and horse racing is certainly in that category.

Off the top of my head, it would drastically increase the magnitude of the popular sire effect. Right now, that's limited by the lifespan of a stallion (or, more accurately, how much semen you can extract, store and disseminate over its lifetime), and for a mare it's even more restricted. Cloning effectively eliminates those constraints, and it takes generations to get a true sense of the impact.

Comment Re:Greed knows no bounds (Score 1) 164

File a suit against those organizations, seeking to force them to recognize horses from other registries.

Yeah, that's always an option. But if you have to force those organizations to recognize other registries, you've pretty much nailed the argument that the one existing registry is a monopoly, haven't you?

And that's assuming those organizations even exist (I haven't looked to closely) and the entire quarter horse industry isn't basically operating under the thumb of the one registry. Which makes an even stronger argument for them being a monopoly.

Comment Re:Greed knows no bounds (Score 3, Insightful) 164

Ergo, the correct solution would have been to dismiss the suit and tell the plaintiffs that they are free to form their own clone registry. The fact that the current registry is a monopoly would be immaterial because said monopoly excludes clones and thus wouldn't compete with a clone registry.

The problem usually comes not because of the registry, but because there may be other organizations which only "recognize" horses from that registry for their purposes. For example, if a race organization requires that a horse be "pure bred", and only accepts AQHA pedigree, then things start getting messy. And very likely, AQHA rules don't allow AQHA-registered horses to breed out-of-registry, which massively restricts the breeding pool for any competing registry.

In other words, sometimes these sorts of registries act as gatekeepers for a whole host of things, and it makes more sense to change the registry than the change the practices of everything "downstream". Particularly if the registry isn't keeping up with industry practices, or the rules start to introduce health issues with pedigree animals (i.e. reduces the breeding pool excessively).

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