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Comment Re:umm (Score 1) 175

Using this argument, government run trains shouldn't charge passengers, since the tax payer has already paid for the infrastructure.

I don't see why the Australian government can't reclaim some of its initial investment by charging the consumer of the product, especially when most of the consumers are overseas.

Comment Re:Infinity (Score 1) 183

If you drop all '1's from a random sequence, aren't you just moving to a numeric system based on 9 symbols instead of 10?

You can still encode every song in existence using this sequence, you'd just have to change the encoding method.

You could do something like removing every '1', which was preceded by an '8' in the sequence, but then its not a random sequence any more, because we've just added a regular pattern to it.

Comment Re:First (Score 1) 218

Yeah, he's a bit more complex than people make out.

He's clearly very smart and excellent at playing the politics game, but he's very conservative (us versus them), and I think that sometimes he just enters this crazy "mention whatever comes to the top of my head" rant mode, where he talks about stuff like wanting to make Catholic religious school classes compulsory for all children.

His rants have come back to bite him more than a few times, but he's been better at keeping them under control lately.

Comment Re:Oh, so "slave labor" is OK so long as you (Score 1) 386

I agree with you mostly. Except this:

>> You don't help the developing world by not buying from them.

An organised and targeted boycott of Apple or another manufactures product can force Apple and Foxconn to improve worker conditions. This negative publicity has already forced some basic changes, and well publicised boycotts have worked in other instances.

Chinese workers aren't allowed to unionise or strike to improve their conditions or they will go to jail, so a boycott is possibly the most effective way to improve worker conditions, and these kind of improvements could lead to better conditions at other facilities across China.

Comment Re:Isn't that anti-science? (Score 1) 1055

Education and science are different matters. If you as a scientist want to spend time trying to turn lead into gold, then go for it.

I don't want my child learning that it may or may not be possible to make a perpetual motion machine.

If every time a teacher covers a new topic or theory in a science class they have to cover all the niche alternate theories, then the student is not going to learn much in the limited learning time available.

(That's not to say that there's not room for a separate "History and Philosophy of Science" module within a science class, but these topics might be more valuable when placed in historical perspective).

Comment Re:To say nothing of their own reputation (Score 1, Insightful) 561

I don't agree with everything that Greenpeace does, but in this case they've risk their lives to do a clear social good and exposed enormous security holes at nuclear sites. (They've risked their lives as other activists like Julian Assange do. They are not insane).

Would you rather that these kinds of problems are covered up until some kind of incident occurs? The French government should have been testing the security at their nuclear sites (or even providing some decent onsite security), but don't want to for political and cost related reasons.

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"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead