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Comment Re:Why banks and healthcare providers? (Score 1) 205

> We don't permit Walmart to issue driver's licenses or passports.

No, but I can walk into my local AAA and walk out with a new driver's license. And they do it way better and faster than the DMV, and they have coffee in the lobby. As much as I think a national ID (even an "online only" one, as if there's a difference to my privileged white lifestyle) is a Bad Idea for America, I think this falls into the category of "nothing is so simple the government can't screw it up."

Comment Re:Don't hate the player. (Score 5, Insightful) 716

Corporations are in no way legally (nor, in many cases ethically) responsible to maximize their bottom line. Many companies (Ben and Jerry's as a common example) consider themselves ethically bound to take huge swaths of cash from their bottom line and give to the community and good causes, even if there's no possible hope of ROI.

The oft-cited Ford v. Dodge basically says that a company can't go out of its way to screw over the shareholders. There is a huge space of good acts between "legally required to maximize profits at all costs" and "screwing the shareholders."

Comment Re:seriously, the USA is just making a martyr (Score 2) 227

So, by that methodology, if 100% of residents supported their leader, with 50% responding, then you could scale it up to 200% of the country's citizens support their leader? I think you need to check your math a wee bit.

If you wanted to get all statistically on it, you could leverage the response rates to create confidence intervals around the numbers, but that becomes confusing to the public at large. For what Gallup was doing here, those numbers are a good reflection of the citizen's approval rates.


Submission + - Canada to Retire the Penny (theverge.com)

butilikethecookie writes: Canada's 2012 federal budget will eliminate production of the penny starting this fall in order to save costs. The budget claims that the coin is a "burden to the economy," as it it costs the Canadian government 1.6 cents to produce each penny — and Canada estimates that it will save about $11 million a year with its elimination. Canada joins a growing number of countries in sacking the penny, including Sweden, New Zealand, Mexico, Australia, Israel, Brazil, and others, and the penny debate is currently ongoing in the US. Looks like I'm done collecting Canadian Pennies. *sad face*

Submission + - Tegra 4 likely to include Kepler DNA (extremetech.com)

MrSeb writes: "Late last week, Jen-Hsun Huang sent a letter to Nvidia employees, congratulating them on successfully launching the highly acclaimed GeForce GTX 680. After discussing how Nvidia changed its entire approach to GPU design to create the new GK104, Jen-Hsun writes: “Today is just the beginning of Kepler. Because of its super energy-efficient architecture, we will extend GPUs into datacenters, to super thin notebooks, to superphones.” (Nvidia calls Tegra-powered products “super”, as in super phones, super tablets, etc, presumably because it believes you’ll be more inclined to buy one if you associate it with a red-booted man in blue spandex.) This has touched off quite a bit of speculation concerning Nvidia’s Tegra 4, codenamed Wayne, including assertions that Nvidia’s next-gen SoC will use a Kepler-derived graphics core. That’s probably true, but the implications are considerably wider than a simple boost to the chip’s graphics performance."

Comment Re:Touchy subject... (Score 1) 722

Ah, Google... the 5-minute confirmation bias generator. As an exercise: in 5 minutes, can you find 4 links refuting the argument, or do you assume that since someone on the internet agrees with you, then you must be right?

Not to attack you personally; I've found myself falling into that same trap many times, and have to intentionally take the time to search out opposing arguments and evaluate them on their merits. One of the dangers of the internet (especially with Google's new user-targeted-search feature) is that we will increasingly be exposed only to opinions that we agree with, and thus assume that anybody who disagrees must be in the marginal minority. It's an insidious damper on actual discourse.

Be strong. Fight the fallacy.

Comment Re:We're Not Limited to Only One Context (Score 1) 59

And I disagree with the notion that all bias needs to be balanced out by other bias. That smacks of "teaching the controversy" to me.

The parent wasn't saying the bias needs to be balanced out by other bias; he was saying that if the people at the top lie, it takes ten voices of truth at the bottom to reach the same audience.

Comment Computer Science Unplugged (Score 4, Informative) 364

I am a CS researcher in a corporate lab and a homeschooling father. I'll speak to the subject without snarking about word processing.

For the younger crowd, I can highly recommend Computer Science Unplugged. It is a great introduction to the fundamentals of computer science - algorithmic basics, information coding and entropy, finite state automata, and a bunch of other good stuff. Interestingly, the entire course is done without a computer. It has exposition, exercises, and games that reinforce those fundamentals.

It's about 10 hours of coursework, it's free, and it's geared toward the 8-12 year old crowd. My 7-year old didn't have any troubles with it, and was always hungry for more. The novelty of teaching computer science without touching a computer is also compelling.

Now, if anyone can recommend some good coursework on introduction to programming and basic algorithms for the 8-10 set, I'd appreciate it. I haven't found any good educational materials for Scratch (it's all pretty ad-hoc and amateurish), and I think Alice is a bit much for sit-you-down-and-start-programming. Any personal experiences?

Comment Re:Stalingrad (Score 1) 539

An interesting metaphor, but this isn't about patents at all. It's about copyright, and what are your implicit rights when you buy a CD, or an MP3 from iTunes or Amazon.

Copyrights, patents, and trademarks are very different things; we need to be very exact when discussing them in the context of discussions about our basic liberties, or we can be easily dismissed as not grasping the fundamentals of what we're talking about.

Comment Re:I'd definitely be asking these questions... (Score 1) 246

For any investigating agency, the answer is simple: bust down the door and confiscate everything. We can sort out the rest during trial.

So far, the courts have upheld the scorched-earth approach, and an tying an IP address to a physical location has serviced as sufficient probably cause.

Does that leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling about your open WiFi?

Comment Re:Let's clear something up... (Score 5, Informative) 234

No, you're absolutely right. Absolutely anybody else who wanted to could compete by:
* Openly commiting a massive infringement (note that non-massive infringement would not be sufficient)
* Being sued by the Author's Guild
* Having that suit granted a class action status
* Having a large enough legal team you can fight the class action lawyers
* Convincing the class action lawyers that they should settle into a business deal instead of cashing out
* Ensuring that this deal is sweeter for the lawyers than Google's or they'll just keep monopoly rents through Google

Yep. There's no exclusive rights here at all.

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