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Comment The Intelligent Design connection (Score 5, Insightful) 439

I guess most people didn't catch the significance of Andrews University...

Two of the study's coauthours (Wendi Kannenberg, Gary L. Hopkins) are from Andrews University Institute for Prevention of Addictions. Andrews is a Christian university run by a denomination which doesn't accept evolution. I've spoken to a prof from their biology department, apparently it's a bastion of the Intelligent Design movement. (Here's a book published by Andrews University Press).

I'm not saying that proponents of intelligent design and those around them are incapable of doing serious scientific research. I'm thinking this might partially explain what feels like an anti-gamer bias.

The joys of crowdsourcing...

Comment Just commit a patch? (Score 3, Insightful) 252

I'm sorry to take exception to a key tennant of open source theory, but I just don't think its so simple to 'just' commit a patch.

I see contributing to a project as involving a significant commitment. In my thinking, high quality patches require the developer to have a fairly high level of understanding of the internals of the project and the local coding conventions. If the contributor doesn't have this, the patch will need significant rework from someone who does, or the codebase will get ugly fast.

If I'm being too much of a perfectionist please tell me.

I'm a software developer who'd love to contribute to some of the major projects, but I see the personal commitment to positive effect ratio as prohibitive.

Comment Self-defeating argument (Score 1) 663

First, I'm pretty sure I've seen this article before. How does a 1996 article suddenly become news?

There's a hole in the guy's argument that I'dn't seen before though:

Perfectly operating markets rely on perfect information flowing to all the participants. Approximately perfect markets rely on participants having approximately perfect information. If A is true, it's okay that some people believe A and some believe B; the people who believe A will be rewarded by the market, thus encouraging people to be right. However, if A is true and there is a persistent myth that almost everyone believes that B is true, its a real market killer. In that case, the market will make decisions based on B and will radically misprice anything affected by A or B. (As an example, circa 2006, A = house prices are going to fall, B = seriously falling house prices are negligably improbable.)

Thus if it's true that Dvorak keyboards aren't actually better while the persistent myth says they are, that would be a mark against the perfectly optimal free market. To recover, they would have to argue that, while the Dvorak myth persists, no similar myths exist for economically important realities. They don't do that.

Arguments of perfection really do free market theory a grave disservice. Outside of God's Heaven (which I don't think literally exists) nothing is perfect. Being unaware of your imperfections is an invitation for them to overwhelm you.

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C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]