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Comment Re:Cats can do that too (Score 3, Informative) 167

While your examples could be simple aggressive behavior in cat culture, they are amusing.

However, cats indeed use symbolic reasoning. Mine, a mature shelter animal when I got her, loved to play with a boot lace tied off with feathers which I "flew" near her until she realiized it was only a toy controlled by me, at which time she lost interest and did not play anymore.

However, when she wants my company, she fetches the feathered lace and brings it to me. She does not want to play with it -- she uses it as a symbol to say she wants some face time at the places she hangs out in (the porch or the back room with the sunny exposure.)

Am I surprised? At first I was, but it looks like Noam Chomsky was right -- we (many creatures) are "hard-wired" for language.

Comment Re: Cannot be turned off? (Score 1) 467

Read the Digital Millenium Communications Act (US)(1998); I was amazed when I read the document as passed; I remember understanding it required "secure" hardware and software for playback of HD (1080p) content, disallowing VGA connection to such sources. HDMI was the industry's first solution; Secure Boot (EFI) the next and now....this.

Comment Re:Yeah, no (Score 4, Informative) 270

Wow! Exactly what I've learned in fifty years of audio/broadcast production. I wish I had written it; I certainly wanted to.

I would give the speakers/headphones more emphasis, however. No matter how expensive your rig is, speakers as good will be more. Much more. Including the speakers (especially cheaply-made and poorly designed) in the system evasluation gives an edge to the way bipolar transistors handle transients or square waves. A high power-to-cone mass speaker will follow the sharply cut off curve of a transistor well enough to make a listener's ears bleed, that's true, but a low power-to cone mass cheapie will not; its physics actually complements the transistor's characteristics by not following its sharp peak, but taking its lazy time returning to its accurate excursion limit. In effect, a cheap speaker "smooths' the spikey output of an overdriven bipolar transistor or IC.

But wait, there's more! Psychology is the number one influence. We like what we are used to hearing. We get used to good audio over time, and we become more selective. Or, if we have only heard distortion all our lives, we get to miss bad production if it is absent.

Comment Damn Lies (Score 2) 569

Which code (law scheme) are you talking about? Being in the Navy, the sailor in question was under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the rules of which are very different than for private citizens. For example, the US Constitution does not apply, except when the Supreme Court intervenes, which is rarely.

Even as Secretary of State, Ms. Clinton was a private citizen, under different laws.

Comment Re: social experiments (Score 2) 323

In the 19th Century, a group of women who were anti-alcohol bc their husbands spend their paychecks at the bar instead of bringing it straight home first invented organized sports as something else to do. They were so successful at it they went on to found the Women's Christian Temperance Union to ban alcohol in bars and everywhere else completely. This passed into our constitution, of course, but had to be repealed later, as it did not increase the relief from boredom.

Comment Re:social experiments (Score 1) 323

Any insightful psychologist would have warned against positive expectations for this plan bc they would understand that simple boredom lies at the root of most societally problematic behaviors, including risky sex. Give them not lectures nor surrogate babies (after all, didn't Japanese companies sell a lot of dolls and video games about constantly caring for something?) but something else to fill the time.

No, not Midnight Basketball...

And, no, not coding, either.

Comment Archaic Leftover? (Score 1) 62

We inherit a vast majority of our genes and genetic patterns from our archaic forebears; in humans, many of these older systems are turned off, in effect. This is not news. What use these genes may have had in extinct life forms hundreds of millions of years old is open to question, as is the potential evolutionary usefulness of reusing simple cellular material. In other words, single-cell organisms or those made up of semi-specialized groups of cells may have used these genes to "come back to life" if and when external conditions allowed. If the presence of these inactive genes in modern animals causes no ill evolutionary effect, they may remain in our DNA, doing their work after the possibility of evolutionary change goes away in biological death.

In a sense, biological death may precede biochemical death by quite a long time.

Comment Apt Comparison (Score 1) 224

...(T)heir computer works for them just like their car works for them. Yes, they need to learn to drive, but they don't need to learn how to fix the engine.

Just so. Except when cars were new inventions, drivers *did* have to know how to do basic non-driving things like fixing flats, repairing failed parts and, indeed, fixing the engine. When photography was invented, camera-bugs had to know about chemistry and optics, exposure and light values, etc. And when computing was new, people had to know how to troubleshoot them and work on the commandline.

As e e cummings said, "progress is a comfortable disease."

Comment Re:Why worry about credit cards? (Score 1) 64

I don't disagree with what you say, but I would like to add something in defense of debit cards: they do not go on your credit record. I try to stay under the radar as much as possible. Financial people call me a "ghost" as I have no credit history. Zero. And I like it that way.

Comment Re:Why worry about credit cards? (Score 2) 64

I'm not liable for any fraudulent charges made with my card, and reporting mis-use is the work of a few moments (unless the bank notices it first and notifies me, in which case its even less work for me). A replacement card will be in my mailbox in a few days.

Is it a minor hassle to update the card number on file with various merchants I do business with? Certainly, and I'd rather such a situation if possible, but it's a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.

That's the theory set forth by the banks; as someone whose cc info was compromised, it's not that simple. The "refund" on my debit card was conditional on the fraudster not contesting the removal of charges. Although the corrected balance appeared on my statement, the funds could be removed were the fraudster to appeal within 90 days. If I were to spend the funds on things like rent or food, I might get hit with overdraft charges if the appeal were made.

So, not only did I need a new debit card account, with all that entails, I needed to find out which merchant defrauded me, and the funds in question were frozen (practically speaking, unavailable) for months.

That was eight years ago; to this day, I have not (and will not) purchase anything from eBay (from whom the card info probably was sold) and there has been no repeat of fraud.

Buyer beware: eBay is not secure like an integrated retailer. Your cc info is probably more valuable than the meager profit the seller may realize on your "bargain."

Comment Re:The problem was deception (Score 1) 86

Oddly, I just downloaded irfanview; I was surprised to see that one of the download mirrors was for tucows, which I had used regularly twenty years or so ago not only for windows programs but also for Linux ISOs (or, probably, diskette images). Time moved on and so did I when they introduced deceptive ads and such, so I went to the home page link with some trepidation. There was a large, green download button listed first, so, out of habit with such sites, I picked another.

The download went well, and the installation did not include other offers or defaulted toolbar selections.

I may go there again.

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