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Comment Extremely Biased Reporting (Score 5, Informative) 622

I haven't commented in a long time, but the reporting on this subject is heavily biased to support the pre-determined conclusion that the manuscript predates Mohammed (pbuh). The Daily Mail is guilty of this (shock! horror!) and so is the summary with its strategic "typo".

From the Mail article, Carbon dating places the manuscript between 568 and 645AD, while Mohammed is thought to have lived between 570 and 632AD. Most intelligent persons would take a quick glance at those dates and be able to dismiss the headlines outright. The range on the dating is nowhere near precise enough to make such a bold statement which is obviously meant to be inflammatory.

Also, as others have rightly stated, the dating is for the parchment, not the ink itself. It is perfectly possible for the parchment to have been produced and not been used for a length of time. Writing paraphernalia was extremely precious at that time; they may have been saved for something important.

Finally, while it is correct that the FULL Quran was not compiled in written form until after the prophet's death, and was primarily stored in memory of the followers, that does not preclude writing completely! The discovered script contains only a couple of chapters, and is not a complete version.

tl;dr: inaccurate and sensationalist headline and reporting on results which may actually point to the opposite.

Comment Not Autonomous Driving (Score 2) 392

The video does not show any auto-driving. It seems like they were trying to demonstrate an auto-brake accident avoidance feature.

Basically, the driver (appearing to be fully in control the whole time) reversed the car and then gunned it, aiming at the pedestrians. I'm guessing the expectation was that auto-brake would kick in before ploughing into the bystanders.

This was a boneheaded move on part of the driver and the idiots who agreed to basically be crash test dummies. Fifth Gear tested auto-braking with a sophisticated dummy car, and it didn't always work reliably (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?...).

Just to reiterate, this was not any kind of auto-driving failure.

Comment Re:Nasa should reclaim this (Score 1) 234

Ok, so what? The shuttle goes fast and far, doesn't mean there cannot be a reusable orbital craft. Not to mention that 99.99999% of the 'far' is spent in almost no stress drifting around. It's nearly meaningless, even though it sounds impressive to the uneducated.

It's not exactly no stress. The shuttle's interior is pressurized while it's in a vacuum. Pressure = stress. It's tremendously critical that everything is absolutely airtight. While I agree that liftoff/re-entry are probably the most stressful parts of the mission, I think you are taking credit away from the amazing engineering that goes into the shuttle. Even if it is just "drifting around".

Comment Re:Utter stupidity. (Score 1) 449

Your analogy doesn't apply here. ISPs do in fact charge you more when you want to use more bandwidth (analogous to your bigger car).

In this case what's happening is (in a car analogy no less) that some new theme park opens which is very popular (YouTube), so more people start driving their cars on government owned roads to visit it (ISP pipes). The government is making the visitors (ISP clients) pay tolls to use the road (bandwidth), but now also wants to make the theme park owner (Google) pay for being so popular that many people want to visit them! Which is a bullshit argument since if the theme park wasn't there, no one would use the road to get to it which would mean no revenue for the government.

These greedy ISPs just want to profit off of Google's success.

Comment Re:Not human-sustaining (Score 1) 123

Although it's an important discovery, the real importance lies on finding water on objects that we may one day need to live on. We're never going to set up facilities on an asteroid. But on a moon we certainly could, and finding water ice there would be significantly more revelatory.

By that logic, Galileo and other early astronomers who sought to explore space and discover distant planets were wasting their time. Since at that point in history getting into space was barely conceivable.

Exploration for the sake of exploration may seem pointless to you now, but knowledge about our universe is beneficial to the human race.

Comment Re:NOT author & publisher's choice (Score 1) 370

Amazon should not have caved to this ridiculous request. The final choice is with consumers, who should refuse to buy any book that they can't run through text-to-speech or any other device that enables them to use their purchase.

While I agree that Amazon should have told these guys to go fuck themselves, what they have actually done is a brilliant "carrot and stick" maneuver that will ultimately get them what they want:

1. Amazon gives in to the Guild's demand (the carrot), and will conveniently label those books on their site which prohibit TTS.

2. People who think the Authors Guild is a bunch of dicks can boycott the clearly-marked titles and purchase others.

3. Sales of TTS-prohibited books plummet (the stick).

4. Authors Guild realizes that their greed has actually cost them money, and reverses their decision.




5. Profit!


There I corrected that for you.

Comment This is a new level of low (Score 1) 426

Ok now this is seriously annoying. If they claim they can use my content while I am a member then that's probably acceptable since you can choose to deactivate your account at any time. But forever? I mean this probably won't affect most users but how about people who'd like to showcase their artwork/photography or something to their friends and family? They can just take it and use it for commercial purposes without consent and if you currently have them on their servers you have no chance of opting out? I'm wondering if they gave any warning about this change, but since I'm a relatively active Facebook user and haven't noticed anything I doubt it. The shame is that most people won't even have a clue about this.

Comment Re:This is going to work... (Score 1) 561

So you're saying that having a less-than-brilliant business model should be illegal? As in, Congress or state legislature should pass a law banning bad business ideas? If so you're just as screwed up as this FlexPlay crap.
Ummm no that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that selling a product that renders itself useless after a set period of time for no apparent reason should be illegal. If I buy it, I own it, and if they want to govern how long I can use the product... well that's what rentals are for!

Blizzard and Activision Announce $18.8bn Merger 298

Ebon Praetor writes "The BBC reports that Blizzard and Activision have announced an $18.8bn merger. Activision's CEO, Bobby Kotick, will become the head of the joint company, while Vivendi, Blizzard's current parent company, will become the largest single investor in the new group. Even with the size of the merger, the combined company will still be smaller than the industry giant EA. 'As part of the merger plan, Blizzard will invest $2bn in the new company, while Activision is putting up $1bn. The merged business will be called Activision Blizzard ... Vivendi will be the biggest shareholder in the group.'"

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"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982