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Comment Consumer overload. (Score 0) 82

The illusion of choice is a powerful thing. The internet almost gave us the real thing, but the content and music is still firmly under the control of RIAA and MPAA. When their stranglehold ends, the last ISP standing will either be the most open, or the one with the best walled garden.

There's still room for competition, so lets hope it leads to a free-er market, at least.

Comment Re:Hint: you are a service industry (Score 0) 284

Khan Academy amply demonstrates why they're feeling so threatened. It's available for free, teaches individuals the subject matter in a clear and measurable way, and mitigates the need for individual tutors or teachers.

The Khan Academy model is probably applicable to any subject, it just needs the right series of lessons. Most MOOC's will probably tend toward the Khan model, and this means that teachers and professors have been made mostly obsolete.

This is an awesome thing. Imagine a world where kids get the best teachers for free, instead of the crapshoot that exists today; some math teachers are idiots. Others are boring as hell, and others vindictive assholes who will pick on students for arbitrary reasons.

Give every kid equal opportunity to learn in a system that objectively measures how well they've learned it. Put them in a Khan Academy system and let them compete for points and badges. The teacher's job becomes one of helping those students who are struggling with individual bits and pieces, rather than trying to shoehorn a lesson plan into the students' heads. The smart students won't get bored, the others will have the chance to learn core subjects effectively.

Comment Re:Units in the summary (Score 3, Insightful) 307

Condescending? I wasn't preaching imperial superiority or anything like that.

I already know the metric system. I accept the fact that there are two conventions, and I live with it. I agree the metric system is easier. At some point, however, you have to reconcile yourself to the undeniable fact that there are times in life you'll have to deal with imperial units. It sucks, but get over it. (That last bit was condescending, in case you missed it.)

As for the post that started this, he implied that the summary was somehow impolite because it didn't conform to his preferred units of measurement. I responded in kind. The summary wasn't impolite, it's a consequence of the worldwide culture we live in. It's not logical to go around expecting the rest of the world to conform to your notions of right and wrong (metric right, imperial wrong.) Even when metric measurement is clearly and objectively a superior system, it's not "impolite" to use imperial units of measurement It's especially not sensible to couch your expectation of other people's conformity in some sort of assumption that noncomformity is offensive or rude.

At worst, noncomformity is ignorant. At best, it's simply a competing convention. Learn to accept that and your life will have much less needless stress.

Comment Re:Units in the summary (Score 2, Informative) 307

Learn to guesstimate big numbers. It will help reduce your apparent anxiety when confronted with American imperial units of measurement.

It takes about a second or so of guesswork - 1000 feet is about 300 meters. 2000 is 600. 75% of 300 is 225, so we get a guesstimate of 225 + 300 + 300 = 825m . In reality, we're off by about 13, but remember, that doesn't matter. If you're really good at math, you could subsitute 304 for 300 and get closer to the reality, but why bother? The more you do conversions like that, the easier they get.

Out of politeness to your future self, you should adjust your attitude and simply accept that sometimes you'll have to think a little bit. Not much, fortunately, but a little.

And if you absolutely can't handle it, then take responsibility for your own information consumption and install an automatic converter. There are plugins for firefox and chrome that automatically convert units to and from metric and imperial. You can even auto-convert units of currency. You'll never have to waste another second on translating again.

Real politeness never imposes on others. Do unto others as you would have done unto you has a nice corollary: do for yourself what you'd expect to do for others. At some point you have to take care of yourself. :)

Submission + - Independent testing of E-Cat device results in paper, claims 'anomalous energy'. (

JRowe47 writes: Andrea Rossi is back in the public eye again, standing firmly behind his apparent invention of a new energy production system. He allowed several scientists from various universities to attach whatever measuring apparatus they wanted to his system, and they seem to have done a thorough job. Here is the abstract (click on the pdf link to get the full paper.)

They're claiming the energy put into the system was 35kWh, while they got 195kWh out, with 160 net. For the same weight of this stuff as gasoline, you get around 32 times the energy output.

Comment Re:Who can blame them? (Score 1) 649

Cyanogenmod on my phone and tablet, the cost of both being less than an iPhone 4, compatible with every game I've ever bothered buying, and I somehow am not weeping at the lack of Steve Jobs personal approval of the situation. It's smooth, supported, and consistent. If I *REALLY* need a driver or custom software, it can be done. Sorry, Android simply makes sense for a lot of things, from a rational, market perspective. I'm not saying Apple is worthless, or that the extra money you're dumping into their products is wasted. I'm saying that it's not necessary, and that I prefer independence to the Apple experience. I find it bothersome that fanbois seem to dispute my preference as some sort of evil. I'm not telling you what to do or what to think. I'm offering a personal observation from a casual users standpoint.

Comment Re:Who can blame them? (Score 1) 649

The choices are still right there. You get to trade off universal compatibility for pricing, support, community, customizability, and hardware specifications according to your own preference, rather than being restricted to only that mandated by the almighty fruit. Also, good luck getting iOS to behave as a good basic platform for anything other than Apple devices - whereas you can get Android to run on anything with a chip, short of a bag of Doritos.

I think Android kinda sucks because it's so incredibly tainted by the walled garden mindset, but the whole idea of fragmentation being bad is premised on the notion that what Apple is doing is the "right" thing. It's not - it's good for Apple from a business standpoint, period. They're not in business to make a better world, they're in business to peddle gizmos with a logo.

The case could be made that Android is in the business of making a better world, giving everyone a chance to peddle gizmos with a common logo.

Comment Re:Not really BP (Score 1) 133

Contracts at the time made it impossible for BP-ARCO to recover what was lost in the acquisition. The Wikipedia article about the Berkely Pit and Montana Resources is a good starting point if you're interested in the story. It's kinda ironic, but the profit from the other mines acquired with the Pit more than make up for the loss in keeping it clean and research into cleaning technology. Butte provided a helluva lot of copper and other resources to the world - and our mines continue to do so.

It's a perfect example of mining and resource extraction evolving with our understanding of environmental impacts and the balance between human expansion and long-term survivability. They tear down mountains in Butte, MT, to provide copper, molybdenum, silver, and other valuable resources for the rest of the world. It's an amazing thing to watch, having grown up there - you learn a little bit of awe at the fact that humans can tear down mountains, take what they want, and rebuild a mountain on the southeast end of the property. Trucks bigger than your house keep rolling loads of rock and soil, 24 hours a day. Fun stuff, for sure.

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