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Comment Escapism (Score 5, Insightful) 292

When I game, it's usually as a form of escapism and distraction - I don't want to play with my friends all the time. Rather, I'm after fun game with a great story. That's why games like Arkham Asylum, Skrim and Deus Ex are brilliant: become immersed in a world, enjoy a story comparable to a movie, and not deal with people for a little while.

Comment Strawman argument from climate denialists (Score 0) 441

Did we really just link to a climate denialist site? Beyond that, did anyone read their article? They're note disputing the energy payback period - if they can't even find a way of fighting that, you know it's true. What they're doing is using a strawman argument to debate whether renewables can supply all our power needs in the future. That's a completely separate question. Right now - a wind farm produces all its creation energy in 6-12 months. End of story.

C'mon, Slashdot. You need to retract that editorial - and Timothy needs to have a think about his credentials.

Comment Trade-offs (Score 5, Interesting) 384

Having strong property rights of "things" has always been a huge part of our culture. However, in the same way that piracy is hacking away at traditional entertainment business models, perhaps there needs to be some give & take here. For the prices Steam offers, I'm actually willing to give up my right to resell the games - as long the games were truly free of all other DRM (I hate it that they're not...).

The biggest drawback, as I see it, is longer term not being able to pass the games on to family/friends to play. Perhaps an option is to have a higher tiered pricing which gives you the ability to resell the game later?

Comment Re:Rewards for contributors (Score 1) 153

Yes, you're right of course; not all scientific advances are useful. And many individuals will not be directly impacted by a cure for cancer, for example. Broadly speaking, though, and what I meant to get at, is that if a scientific advance is beneficial, then it provides that benefit to the broader humanity, even if only statistically speaking and perhaps not immediately.

(Even the nuclear bomb research probably helped spur nuclear power, which in turn staved off climate change. And, of course, views are divided on whether more or less lives were lost due to the bombs. So yes, I definitely meant broad generalisation rather than absolute statement :) )

Comment Rewards for contributors (Score 4, Insightful) 153

Others have already pointed out the obvious magnitude-of-funding issues.

Another issue though is that all of humanity benefits from scientific advances. If government funding were to reduce and be replaced by fund raising drives, then (in the simplest case) those who don't contribute would be getting all the benefits (alternatives to fossil fuels, medical advances, etc) but with none of the upfront cost. Of course, we already have some fund raising for breast cancer/prostate cancer/MS/other specific disease but I would imagine this makes up a fairly small portion of their research budgets (and in some cases genuinely represents an investment in their personal future).

The obvious way around this is through a Kickstarter style reward system, where people who contribute get some specific rewards. But what would you offer? You get a share of the profits? (Well, now you're actually a corporation.) You get early access to the treatment? (That's not going to fly politically.) You get your name on the side of the particle accelerator? (That might work.)

Obviously, people are welcome to do whatever they want with their money, but I think government funding of science for the common good is the fairest scenario, and what we should be encouraging.

Comment Humanity in 5,000 years (Score 2) 412

If I held a laser blaster to your head and demanded a forecast, what do you think civilisation will look in 5,000 years?

E.g., will we have colonies on other planets? Other star systems? Will we have robots/AI/cyborgs? Will we have a high tech world? Low tech? Nox tech?

Comment Ever faster than light? (Score 1) 412

Leaving aside (or not!) the recent neutrino experiment, do you think that humans will ever devise a way to travel (explicitly or implicitly) faster than light? Specifically, do you think it will be possible to travel to (say) Alpha Centauri and back in under 8 years from the reference frame of earth?

If not, what do you think this means for long term space exploration and/or colonisation?

(I say implicitly/explicitly to allow for both actually exceeding the speed of light and for using some sort of clever multi-dimensional/space bending/startrekkian technique :) )

Comment Re:Little overlap (Score 1) 321

Apologies if I offended; you're right, perhaps that wasn't a fair comparison. I still think there would be a correlation - maybe not as strong, though?
More to the point, in Australia we can rent physical DVDs from $2.95 (new release) overnight. On Tuesdays, all DVDs are $1. If one of the intentions of these sort of stores is to make inroads against piracy, you'd have to be working at beating these price points, even with the convenience of home based downloads.

Comment Little overlap (Score 3, Interesting) 321

I would expect that the people who know how to root their phone are also unlikely to pay $3.99 to rent a movie - I can't imagine there's a lot of overlap or heartache here amongst the users.

On the other hand, these are also the most tech savvy users who might actually be swayed by a convenient and cheap (and legal) movie downloading system. Certainly I used to buy music from a certain Russian site because the cost was worth the convenience of high quality music on demand.

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