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Comment Re:I think not (Score 2) 227

I disagree. She says that she wants "her" data, but she's talking about basic demographics and geographic distribution. There are plenty of automated, autonomous ways for Pandora et al to help her reach you without her ever knowing who exactly you are. If the data tells her that all of her fans are located in San Francisco, then she would be wasting time and money holding a concert in Cincinnati, and vice-versa. She then takes out a TV ad, a billboard or a newspaper ad saying that she'll be in the area for a concert and her fans can then buy tickets. Everybody wins. I don't see the problem with this.

Comment Re:Whose Data Is It? (Score 4, Insightful) 227

You got something in exchange for your money, so arguably the data is half hers. Also, the data she's requesting still leaves you anonymous, but would allow her to be able to know what age ranges like her music and what parts of the world. This would allow her to be a more successful artist by focusing her marketing efforts to those people who might actually pay to see her in concert, which eventually benefits you as she continues to make the music you enjoy. Everybody wins. Radio doesn't offer that kind of information, and as a result it always goes for the safe money (or the payola, as the case may be) and plays the music guaranteed to appeal to the largest majority of listeners. If you're listening to Pandora then it's likely because terrestrial radio has let you down in terms of selection. Exactly what are you fighting against here? Allowing people to give you what you want?

Comment Maybe Only in the US Store (Score 2) 347

So the International Business Times quotes the Guardian, who cites "sources at Google familiar with its mapping plans" - in other words, nobody at all. As others have pointed out, there are many Google-API based applications on the App Store; some of them are even in the "featured" category in certain stores, such as the Japanese App Store. Whoever they're quoting doesn't know much, and their knowledge appears to be limited to whatever country they happen to be in. This doesn't amount to more than water-cooler gossip and conspiracy theory. Nothing to see here.

Comment Re:What did I tell you? (Score 1) 867

Actually, by definition, exotic matter can be any number of things which, while rare, can exist within the known laws of physics. Dark matter, Bose-Einstein condensates, exotic baryons, etc., are all examples of things that either may exist or could be created under the right circumstances.

Also, if you read the article you'll see that they've already started experimenting with micro-warp fields using a mundane laser. We're getting closer.

Comment From the Clarification Department (Score 5, Informative) 186

This is one of the most incomprehensible post summaries I've ever seen on Slashdot; it could have used a little TLC in the way of explanation.

So basically the German publishers are claiming that the current copyright law be amended to make any quote from an article, even the headline, subject to a copyright licensing fee. Under current law, the headline and opening sentences of an article are in the public domain. Linking itself is free; it's the snippet quoting that Google and other sites like to do that would cost money. However, it would have disastrous consequences for blogging and online journalism as a whole, not to mention search engines, as pretty much any web page that quotes a German article would be liable to pay a fee.

Reading the second article, it would appear that the second draft of the bill has already gotten to the point of compromise where nobody would be happy with the eventual outcome, including the publishers, so it will most likely stall or be shelved permanently. At this point, it's almost more a bullet dodged than actual news. Kudos on posting an article in which you're quoted, though.

On a side note, the original German term seems much less ambiguous than the British English "neighboring rights" or American English "related rights". "Leistungsschutzrecht" literally means"right to protection of effort".

Comment Re:Before everyone gets upset about this... (Score 2) 331

The government also invented the freeway system and the internet, and those didn't turn out too bad.

This conversation is a moot point in Japan and many other countries, because here (in Japan) we have competition rather than the rampant collusion among the American carriers. There are still unlimited data plans available on every carrier, and they're getting cheaper due to portable wi-fi hotspots in 3G, LTE and Wimax flavors.

As for capacity, it's not about airwaves, it's about server collisions. As you said, it's going all data, and American phone companies are loathe to cooperate in sharing the actual wired data networks, let alone upgrading their own. They've always been very good on making excuses as to why they can't build out their infrastructure while the rest of the world moves forward. They rely on natural American insularity to protect them from comparisons with successful systems abroad (and no, geography doesn't play as big a role as they'd like you to believe).

The government has attempted to play fair and leave this in the hands of the carriers since the 90s, even doling out billions in grants to help these companies in building out aforementioned infrastructure, but the companies have merely pocketed the money while thinking up new and interesting ways to screw their customers over.

Comment Re:Spectrum problem (Score 1) 331

That's a myth perpetuated by the carriers, but actually the US has plenty of spectrum; they just want to make sure they don't have to *share* spectrum with anyone else, and to buy up everything available. Even if they did, they could co-habitate, using new technologies that more efficiently manage the signal. Sending and receiving cell phone data isn't like overlapping trumpet blasts, after all.

Comment Re:No. (Score 2) 305

I hope Microsoft is skipping these features by design, because it would make them look pretty intelligent. A tablet does not need all of the domain bells and whistles that a desktop in the enterprise does; at most, it needs to be able to sync to a particular desktop, which is secure enough. Beyond that, make sure the tablet is sandboxed so that it can't become a vector for viruses and you already have all the advantage you need to becoming integrated into a Windows environment. I think bemoaning the lack of these features is premature.

Comment Re:Looking in the wrong places (Score 3, Interesting) 479

I teach in Japan, so I would not recommend it as a model. As a matter-of-fact, here in Osaka they are lauding the idea of adopting the "No Child Left Behind" model, I kid you not. Education over here is very, very broken. And that's *with* the teeth of the teachers' unions pulled (they're banned from striking), so good luck thinking that union-busting is going to do you any good, either. The only reason that Japan scores higher is the ridiculous amount of money that parents throw away on cram schools, where the real education is done. You could do away with public education altogether in Japan for all the good it does anybody.

By the way, to dispel some of your other misconceptions about Japanese education:

1. Kids here do stand up when the teacher enters or leaves. That has zero impact on anything, including actual respect for the teacher. It just teaches the kids that if they follow certain societal niceties they can get away with anything.

2. Vocational training at Japanese schools is restricted to dedicated vocational schools. They are considered the last place you want to teach because discipline is terrible and student behavior worse.

3. Commercials that laud education on TV in Japan? No such thing. Commercials in Japan are just as rampant as on American television, and just as vapid. There are a couple of channels run by NHK that offer educational programming, but they're dedicated channels; easily avoided by kids who aren't interested.

I don't think this X-Prize nonsense is going to get anywhere, but I don't think that you should be looking to Japan for advice, either. They've attempted to model themselves after the Germans and, failing that, are going after the Americans now. The real problems in the US and Japan are the administrative bureaucrats who haven't actually ever taught, and the fact that people blame teachers for EVERYTHING. You would never blame a PE teacher for your kid being less physically capable than other kids, because bodies are easy to judge. However, trying to make schools crank out grade-A students by tweaking some sort of magical formula that works for everyone is nonsense, too. Some kids are better at certain subjects; some are worse. Some have discipline problems because they don't fit well into rigid systems; some because their parents neglect them, or worse, beat them.

Do you know what the magic bullet is? Tailor-make curriculums for each child based on what he or she can and cannot do. We have the resources and the technology; stop treating everyone like they're cookie-cutter equal, because they're not. The best thing you could do for a kid who is academically challenged is give him more attention, and those who can self-study less; in that way, you're much more likely to bring them up to a similar level in the end, or at least put them in a place where they'll actually learn things that will enable to live a fulfilling life based on their true aptitude.

And stop grading kids on a curve. it only hides the problem and punishes success. Worst idea ever.

Comment Re:Skeptical != Scientific (Score 4, Insightful) 409

I agree. We're far enough into the global warming thing for 100% of scientists to agree that global warming is occurring, and 98% of them to agree that it's somehow caused or contributed to by human activity (those are real statistics in an article I read on the problems of the media trying too hard to present both sides of an argument regardless of the percentages involved; I'm too lazy to provide a link, but hey, so's the grandparent). The "healthy skepticism" sounds like someone trying to sound reasonable while still obviously not wanting to believe that anything bad is really happening.

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