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Comment Re:But is this due to texting? (Score 1) 375

The people posting on your forums just haven't learned yet that if you want to interact with other people it helps to follow the common unspoken rules. But this is their age and selfcenteredness, not their spelling skills at work. Plenty of older people who are self-centered start a forum post with "HELP please" in the subject, forcing anyone to open the post to see what the actual problem is... bad spelling? No, just not being able to do the mental work that other people have their own lives and so if you want their help you ought to make that as smooth a process as possible.

While I will concede that the kind of behaviour you describe is annoying and self-centered, and I do agree with the general spirit of your post (minus the get-off-my-lawn attitude), I really don't think it's an age-related issue. You don't know how old the people you describe are, because the only information you have is their username and the content/context of their post. Sure, sometimes this makes it fairly easy to infer all sorts of information about the poster, but it's also easy to fall into the trap of taking those inferences too far.

Assumption: Most people "inhabiting" the internet are young (however you choose to define "young").
Observation: A lot of immature behaviour online.
Conclusion: Young people don't have the social finesse/foresight/whatever needed to effectively communicate.

Sounds promising, but let me provide a counter-example as food for thought: the Internet as such is largely a "home" to the generations that are in their late twenties and below. We have seen a completely different set of 'unspoken rules' for social interaction pop up in the virtual world than the existing ones governing meatspace. In my experience, and like you point out yourself, a lot of people behaving stupidly on the internet are in fact older people (again, I'll leave the definition of "old" very loose) who just don't "get" these new rules. Sure, the majority of inflammatory Youtube comments (still the #1 font of online stupidity, even though with the comment rating system it's gotten a lot better now) are probably written by 14-ish year-olds who don't know better, but now (age 21) I see a greater proportion of people from my mother's generation using caps and exclamation marks in inappropriate quantities than I do from my own.

In short, it's not just the gen. Z, post-post-baby-boomer generation gappers that are stupid; it's everyone.

Comment Why can't we model this? (Score 1) 226

Every time I hear of a story similar to this one, I'm reminded of something that has always puzzled me:

We are aware of all the (relevant) forces at work in and on the rubber band. At a sensible scale, for all intents and purposes, we could say we understand the rubber band perfectly. (Right?)
So the only thing holding us back from modelling this kind of stuff is computational resources, which, I would assume, should not be that much of a problem with today's supercomputers. (Right? I mean it doesn't have to be in real time.)
So why aren't we doing it? In Physics we deal with equations that involve approximations a lot of the time, but that's more out of convenience and simplicity than out of a lack of understanding of our world (again, at a scale where we can use classical physics).
Take thermodynamics. Or fluid dynamics. They're both just approximations of atoms interacting in a way that is very much understood already, but we keep them around because it's easier to imagine the physical implications of a concept like temperature or drag force, rather than millions upon millions of tiny particles bouncing around semi-randomly.

I guess my point is, if they can have virtual wind tunnels, why can't they have virtual rubber bands? As a matter of fact, why can't we calculate the properties and interactions of a significant fraction of the things around us without the need for experiment?

Comment Re:Uses? (Score 1) 54

Having convincing sounds is very nice, but even sounds that are not 100% accurate can still be used for very creative purposes.

You're obviously the expert here, but the way I understood it I thought physical accuracy was not really a huge priority in the business. I read an interesting article once (at work, so I'm not gonna searchf or it now), were it was explained that the sound that subjectively fits best to the action is often made by something wildly different than what appears to make it on screen. E.g., the whiplash foley from Ben Hur was apparently a raw steak slapping against an exposed thigh.

I'm not disputing anything you're saying, it sounds like an awesome application for the idea, just adding my .02€.

Comment Re:Maybe something everybody can use? (Score 1) 393

Without having read TFA (I'm at work, gimme a break..), I'd offer the opinion that the most sensible thing to do would be to let the private sector handle making all the apps. This gets rid of two problems:

A) Not catering to everybody's platform.
2) Not catering to everybody's needs and tastes
(Because, let's face it, it's impossible to make everyone happy at once.)

If there's data or services that only the government can provide, they should offer APIs that allow developers to take advantage of them. That way, everybody wins. The government's happy because they've done their part, the people are happy because they've got their app, and the devs are happy because they get to be the middle-man, possibly making a profit while they're at it.

There. That wasn't so hard.

Comment Gravity at relativistic speeds... (Score 2, Interesting) 405

Ok, this question has been bugging me for a short while, and this seems like the ideal place to bring it up, since it's somewhat on topic:

(1) We're always told how inertial mass and gravitational mass, while two distinct things, are always the same (up until today, anyway).
(2) We also know that mass increases with speed, which we use to explain why objects can't accelerate to the speed of light (infinite force required to overcome inertia, etc.)
(3) This would logically imply that gravitational mass increases with speed as well, and would further mean that gravitational attraction between two objects depends not only on their separation, but also on their relative velocities.

Are my conclusions correct? 'Cause that's kinda counterintuitive (although that's what tends to happen at the frontier of physics).

Comment Re:H1b visas and the job market (Score 1) 618

The South in the American civil war was poorer that the industrial North *because* not despite of slavery. With slaves, there was no need to industrialize.

Not to rain on your parade or anything, but the way I learnt it, (one of) the big reason(s) the South remained pro-slavery is because they weren't industrialised and thus relied on cheap labour, not the other way around. I guess it's a chicken and egg kind of thing, though, and I'm not even gonna pretend I know enough about the subject to claim you're wrong.

(just throwing in my € .02)

Comment Re:Don't let reality get in the way of your anger (Score 1) 1217

Disclaimer: Long-time Mac user.

Okay, two things:

(1) Your first argument seems kinda silly, and a bit of a false dichotomy to me. "If we give them Macs to use, they'll never know how to use a computer in the real world!" ...Really?
First off, using computers in school (to me at least) seems more like it's about teaching basic computer concepts and technological literacy. Doesn't matter if it's running Windows, Gentoo (or whatever) or OS X, not "how to use this particular OS so you won't fail in the corporate world". Just like, say, high school science isn't about memorising all the constants or unit conversion rates. (Not that that's *necessarily* how things are always taught, but I think we can all agree it's how it should be.)
Second, in all likelihood they'll be forced to learn how to use Windows at some point in their lives anyway, so this gives them a broader background right off the bat. How is being able to use multiple OSes a bad thing?
And third, we all know the average corporate drone is so tech-illiterate that they can barely turn on their machine without help from the guys over in IT (this comes off sounding arrogant, but hey, it's the truth), so it's not like all the other Windows-using schools now have a huge head start in teaching computer literacy.

(2) Just a general comment on the topic. FTFS: "'We have one platform,' Hayes said. 'And that's going to be the Mac.'" I know this argument too well, but from the other side. I grew up in a Mac-using household, which, in the '90s and early '00s was a lot rarer than it is now. This caused me endless amounts of frustration in one school I went to, where I was told they didn't "do" Macs, which on good days meant I was left to my own devices figuring out stuff like intranet/printing on my laptop, and on bad days meant I was actively discouraged from using it altogether. So, while I'm not saying giving students a choice isn't the best option, I do understand the need for consistency and homogeneity in case the school needs to iron out any technological glitches that crop up. (Or, indeed, face situations like "oh, but I couldn't write my lab report, because the template you sent us is Mac-only, and won't open on my Windows netbook."). Also, I'll admit, there's a certain bit of schadenfreude involved in seeing my middle-school situation reversed.

Comment Re:Wait, does this mean... (Score 4, Informative) 389

Okay, I'll bite.

So just because you measure the speed between them as c doesn't mean they are each moving at half-c. They are still both moving at c, in opposite directions, for an effective 2c with regards to their eventual position.

No. Your conclusions stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of relativity. It makes no sense to talk about "eventual position" in the way you are, because it requires talking about an absolute time. There is no absolute time. You may have heard this sentence being thrown around before in special relativity, but perhaps you haven't appreciated the full meaning of it.

Let's talk about "eventual position". What you're saying is, we measure the positions of A and C, then wait some time t, then measure their positions again, and, lo and behold, if we divide the distance travelled by the time taken we are left with the impression that A and C are moving apart at 2c. This is true if you measure t and the distance in B's reference frame, but not from A's or C's reference frames, even though these are equally valid.
Once again, there is never one way of looking at things that is just a little bit "truer" than the others, even if your intuition may tell you that, since B's reference frame is at rest, it should provide a less distorted and more objective measurement than A's/C's. Truth is, you could look at the same problem in a different way, where A is at rest. Then B is moving away from it at nearly-the-speed-of-light, and C is moving away at even-more-nearly-the-speed-of-light, at a speed defined by the equation on this page.
We have no definition of which of the above observations is the "correct" way of looking at things, because they are physically indistinguishable from each other. They are, in fact, the same thing; different realities exist for different observers, which is why the name "relativity" is so fitting.

Here's a better example. The furthest objects in the universe are about 13b light-years away. The light they emitted 13b years ago is getting to us now. Do you think, in the past 13b years, that they haven't moved any further??

Sure, 13b light-years away must mean that a photon arriving on earth right now must have been emitted 13b years ago, right? From our perspective it does. From the photon's perspective, it made the journey in less than the blink of an eye. Does this mean the photon travelled many multiples of the speed of light to get here? No, it just shows, once again, that different realities exist for different observers.

Comment Old News (Score 1) 25

The summary links to a blog post, which links to an article in the Croatian Times (which, by the way, doesn't give me the impression of being a serious news source).
I did a bit of digging and found an article (in German, but basically the same story, with a little bit more detail and more than a hint of cynicism toward the whole idea) from Der Standard (one of Austria's best newspapers).
Dated: November 2007.

Two and a half years old? C'mon, guys, you can do better than this!

(Disclaimer: Austrian living abroad.)

Comment Re:Hey, look, I can quote too! (Score 1) 1238

Atheism has nothing to do with Stalin's murderous ways. In fact the entire argument is silly..... the original poster mentioned "atheist values". Those don't exist. An atheist doesn't believe in god.. that's it. Other than that an atheist could hold any views. Atheism is a not a set of beliefs and is not similar to an organized religion

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