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Comment Re:"You Can't Slander a Dead Man": Legal Maxim (Score 1) 332

The difference is subtler nowadays, but the act is exactly the same: libel is the widespread form of slander; IANAL but I have some experience in talking to lawyers about this as I spent twenty years as a broadcast journalist. If it is printed, broadcast, webcasted, shouted from rooftops or in public assemblies, or otherwise widely distributed, the harm is far greater than if it is simply spoken to individuals. Kinda like the difference between misdemeanor theft and felony grand theft.

I would have written "you can't libel a dead man," but that was not the maxim I learned.

Comment Re:Texting isn't typing (Score 1) 55

You're right, texting isn't as fast or accurate as typing, but I think you got the numbers wrong.

Near the turn of the millennium, speech recognition software (ViaVoice, etc,.) achieved a claimed 99% accuracy. So I tried it out. After training, I got over 95% by speaking carefully (and slowly). The problem was finding and fixing those 05% mistakes took longer than typing the whole document over would have taken.

And yeah, most touch typists can't get more than 35 wpm and touch screens are worse, so the deck is stacked to an extent.

Comment Re:Cats can do that too (Score 3, Informative) 171

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) 491

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) 275

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."

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In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982