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Comment You know what I am going to do about this? (Score 4, Insightful) 244

"Nothing! Because if I take it to small claims court, it will just drain 8 hours out of my life and you probably won't show up and even if I got the judgment you'd just stiff me anyway; so what I am going to do is piss and moan like an impotent jerk, and then bend over and take it up the tailpipe!"
-- Fletcher (Jim Carrey) "Liar, Liar"

Different scenario, same outcome.

Comment Hold on, you have something else to fix first ... (Score 3, Informative) 701

Skipping all the religious nut accusations, I'm going to focus on the one thing I think should be addressed RIGHT NOW for this child. Reading. You say he doesn't read as well as other children his age, and this concerns me. That is absolutely not typical of well home-schooled children. My niece was reading chapter books at 3, got her black belt at 12, and is enrolling in college courses at 15. She's an incredible artist, and has taken a number of community art courses. Her brother isn't far behind. He was reading chapter books at 6, got his black belt at 10, is very active in local little league baseball, and will be enrolling in college courses himself as soon as he decides what he wants to learn more about that he can't get at Kahn. Smart money says it'll have to do with Engineering.

Before you ask, their mother (my sister) did not go to college, nor did she attend any secondary school. She didn't load up on extracurricular activities in school, and she didn't marry into an intellectual family. Her husband is an MBA, but he directs their learning far less than my sister. It's not impossible for a high school grad to learn how to do it right, but it's not easy to actually *do* it right. You have to be willing to let them go learn. Both children are far more outgoing with people of all ages and flavors than most adults I know. They are well spoken, polite, and fit well into almost any civilized conversation.

Get your grandson to read. That's critical at this point. Throw the chores out the window if you have to, let him skip church to read, let him read all night in bed (for now), but put something in his hand that will engross him. Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Artemis Fowl, *anything* by Rick Riordon, just get that kid reading something besides the bible. Now is NOT the time to censor his reading, it's time to let it go. All the books mentioned above are great for pre-teens and young adults, though perhaps the Hunger Games could wait a year or so.

And mark my words, if religious censorship is the reason he hasn't read these books already, then I'm guessing chemistry is not going to be a good choice anyway. Too much science, not enough faith.

Home schooled children don't have to be idiot god-botherers, and they don't have to be idiot hippies. They can be very intelligent, creative, and amazing. But only if their parents *LET* them. Don't direct their learning, EMPOWER it. There's a big difference.

Comment Re:The upside and downside? (Score 1) 577

Yeah, and we both know just how popular "Big Pharm" is with many people. I know it's a propagandist term, but the fact is very few people who haven't thought much about it just see what it costs for their elderly aunt or grandmother to have medicine every month, and they assume "Big Pharm" is the Devil.

Fine, just for yuks, let's say they get 5 years from the date of FDA approval.
No, I don't think that will be enough to solve this particular problem either.

Personally, I'm not sure which side of this "5 year mark" I fall on, particularly since I think there is a "one size fits all" solution. I think this would (eventually) drastically increase the rate of patent application well past the actual new idea rate simply because everyone would be trying to patent not only the finalized idea, but every incremental step leading up to it. Initially this would be a real problem, but eventually this would be mitigated as all the old processes ran out of their patents. While the courts might find far fewer patent cases (compared to the rate of patent grants, anyway), the patent offices themselves would become overwhelmed in a very big way.

Even giving pharmaceutical companies 5 years from FDA approval would have some serious problems though. Now they're trying to regain $40 Million R&D costs - and make a profit - in just 5 years instead of 15 or 20. So now guess what, it's gonna cost 5 times as much for each pill during that time. And because of this, only those very widespread issues will ever be addressed. If you only have 5 years to regain the costs of developing the cure for some rare debilitating disease or condition, you're not going to assume that all 120,000 victims of said problem will be able to come up with $40 Mil in just a short 5 year period. And don't think for a moment that the insurance companies will always cover it. Not until after that 5 year period, anyway.

There are obvious benefits at the individual level and for society as a whole, but there are some pretty tough problems with this idea too. I firmly believe 5 years is perfectly reasonable in some cases, but would cause more strife in others. And I don't think those lines can be strictly drawn along industry lines either.

Like I said, there is no "one size fits all" solution.

Comment The upside and downside? (Score 1) 577

Start with the downside:
Inventors and corporations would have to work a lot harder to find that next new idea to get consumers to shell out their cash.
Corporations would still have a leg up on the individual idea hobbyist.
The economy would undergo a massive "adjustment" as corporations burn through their capital, and folks realized what that stock was really worth.
Copyrighted material would not be available to individual artists to fund their retirement, nor to pass on to next of kin.
Pharmaceuticals would be available in generic form much quicker.
Prolific artists (Remember Stephen King and all his pen names?) would hold back some of their work to release in a more steady stream rather than flooding the market (which may also be seen as an upside).

Now the upside:
Inventors and corporations would work a lot harder to find that next new idea to get consumers to shell out their cash.
Consumer cash would buy a lot more goods and entertainment that it currently does.
New ideas and advances would come along much more quickly, after everyone realized they'd been caught flat-footed.
Copyrighted material would experience it's comeback while people still remembered what it was - artists would live to see their own revivals.
Individual inventors would still have an uphill battle with heavy hitting corporations, but they'd at least stand a fighting chance.
Massive drop in patent lawsuits. Why spend billions fighting for something you'll only lose in a few more years anyway?
"Golden Parachutes" would pretty much disappear, as corporate boards realized their economy of scale just got fitted to a much smaller scale.

That's just my speculation. I'm not an economist, lawyer, or inventor, nor am I a patent holder.

Comment Re:Not just analytic... (Score 1) 1258

I disagree. I'm not trying to discount the real work done by early naturalists and scientists, I'm only pointing out that even they had some very wrong ideas.

I'm not saying I don't have any wrong ideas either. I just happen to think I minimize those wrong ideas by being willing to say I don't know rather than accepting something that doesn't quite pass the BS test, or worse, making it up.

My big hot button is that I think people in this day and age have so much more access to real information and fact, and they still manage to believe the stupidest crap. Just count the bogus urban legend and fake virus emails you get forwarded to you and you'll see the smallest tip of the iceberg.

And I strongly disagree that religion is the best explanation for anything in any circumstance. "I don't know yet" is always a better explanation, except for never. It exhibits the humility many religious folks talk about and so few actually possess, and leaves the question open for some other inquiring mind, rather than putting "case closed" on the subject.

Like I said in another post, it's intellectual laziness.
It's intellectual oppression to boot.

Comment Re:Not just analytic... (Score 1) 1258

Agreed. It's not science, it's intellectual laziness and a desire to maintain an advantage of some kind by claiming to have all the answers. When an entire community suffers from the same intellectual barriers, it's the first one that provides an answer nobody can argue against, however ridiculous, that gets the upper hand.

Comment Re:Not just analytic... (Score 1) 1258

You discount the fact that some people really *do* hear the word of god. We call these people schizophrenic. (Or another diagnosis depending on the time period.)

No, I don't discount it, I just recognize it for what is is. Insanity or a shameful lack of integrity. Or both.

There was a suggestion I read years back that religion was started by shamens that really did hear voices in their heads. Sometimes they wrote down what they heard, but most of the time their words were repeated generation after generation in a long game of telephone before they were written down.

Did you also read that they were very well versed in those plants and fungi that induced hallucinations? I did.

Anyway, my omnipotent, all seeing, infinite god, is an Atheist.

What a coincidence! Mine too! :D

Comment Re:Not just analytic... (Score 4, Insightful) 1258

Let's be clear, it's not just "thinking" that started religion, it's uninformed, ignorant thinking that started religion in the first place, and willfully arrogant, uninformed, ignorant thinking that kept it going for so long.

Logical and analytical thinking is putting an end to religion, and it's about bloody (literally) time.

And no, it is not a gift to be simple, it's just being simple. If you want to be the town idiot, you go right ahead, but anybody trying to learn from the town idiot is just trying to be another town idiot.

Not trying to draw the flamers, just posting my view.

Comment Re:So, did anyone even read this article? (Score 1, Funny) 642

Interesting. So they got slammed, and the nancyboy admin decided to 403 that one page. Never seen that response to a slashdot avalanche. I'll dig it up later I suppose.

Oh, by the way, they have LOTS of interesting looking articles from the home page! <evil grin>
Check them out!


I just know I'm screwing my karma, but what the hell.

Comment So, did anyone even read this article? (Score 0) 642

Is it just me or did nobody posting here actually read the article?

I know I didn't. Why? Well, the F'n thing is 403'd. How are we supposed to read an article we can't bloody get to?

And since we can't get to this article, are we supposed to just assume there really are 12 ways A is better than B?

And how did this even get posted if the article is no more than a tease?

Sorry for the rant, but I was really wanting to see if there was anything in there I didn't already think of.

Comment Re:Price still too high (Score 1) 196

Well, I think "what the market will bear" is supposed to be the consensus of value, or at least a best reasonable estimate of what the consensus of the target market is. Not sure if that's really clear on what I mean, so feel free to ignore that ...

I don't really care what the publishing costs are, but I do understand they have an impact on cost. I just don't believe the cost continues to be as high as the price suggests. And I do understand that dropping the price by a buck means they have to sell more to make the same money, but I don't think they're at that sweet spot where adjusting the price either way would negatively affect actual profits. I could be wrong, but if I thought that were the case, I wouldn't have got on here to rant.

And on your last point, I think I agree, but I don't think simply charging the most you can get anyone to pay is the way to market an easily replicated product like a digital copy of anything - like an ebook I download myself - with no physical media whatsoever - like a DVD or CD. Setting the cost better than any competing product, but still somewhere in that bell curve of valuation will get the most copies sold. Given that the "competing product" here is the hard copy, and they price the ebook higher than the physical copy, I have to conclude that they don't want people to buy the ebook instead of the hard copy. They want the die hard ebook fans to buy them in addition to the hard copy. And you are correct - I'm not nearly that big a fan.

Comment Re:Price still too high (Score 1) 196

I disagree that these formulas from the physical publishing world hold in the digital publishing world. I think the crusty ol' brick-n-mortar publishers still haven't got a handle on how this should work. And price is never set by value, it's set by what the market will bear, which is not always the same thing. Value is a personal factor on the part of the consumer, market price is supposed to be somewhere in the sweet spot of the bell curve of valuation by the target audience.

Regardless, I can't make myself believe that the digital copy of a story is worth more than the physical copy. I don't care what the publishing costs are or what the perceived quality of the stories are or Rowling's (or any author's) skill - or lack thereof as a writer. These books are not more valuable in digital format than in physical format because I cannot sell copies. I also cannot easily lend my copy to another person like I could with a physical book. I still believe that if anyone were doing anything right, the cost of a digital book would be lower and the profit higher.

If the cost were lower, I'd be more inclined to buy them, even though I have the hard copies in my home. I wouldn't be tempted to pirate them and justify that by saying I deserve it because I have the hard copy. I'd be less inclined to get pissed off that the only work left to do with this book is marketing and server costs, and the price goes up. And whatever you say, there are no more publishing costs other than building that first digital copy, which was probably done well before the original physical publish date. Hell, most books are never even put to paper until the manuscript is done these days. Those publishing costs have been paid, and then some. The only costs left to consider are marketing and delivery (server costs) and the "personalization" tags mentioned throughout this thread that link your copy to you. You can't tell me this costs more than $7 for every copy of the box set. If so, someone is getting shellacked, and passing that cost downstream.

That doesn't mean that Rowling and the publishers shouldn't continue to make a profit - they should. Whether she - or anyone else - "needs" the money is not relevant in a capitalist society, whatever anyone says. It just means that either they're starting to gouge the market or they're really doing something wrong in their digital market campaign.

I'll almost certainly continue buying ebooks, but I won't buy them if it's cheaper for me to get a hard copy dropped at my door. I'm not an instant gratification freak either, so I can wait if I need to. And if I decide I don't want to wait, I can just run down to the local B&N and use my membership discount to make it even cheaper.

Funny that membership discount doesn't apply to ebooks, eh?

Comment Re:Price still too high (Score 1) 196

Never mind that, why the hell does it cost $57.54 for me to buy the ebook collection, but only $50.77 to get the paperback set? The Game of Thrones 4 book set was the same thing - something like 20% more for the ebook. What's up with that?

I think I'm missing the whole point of ebooks here. I went and bought a very expensive little gadget so I could:
(a) Buy more books without having to spend more money (cheaper books + old book budget = more books);
(b) Keep more books on hand without having to raise bookshelves on the other half of my house (save space);

Well, at least (b) still holds, but I have very little interest if it comes at the cost of (a).

Now, sometimes I find an ebook that is considerably less than the hardcopy, and that's good, but that seems to be the exception to the rule - or more precisely, the "nobody books" and "not hyped books". The whole ebook movement is pretty good for independent authors to get their stuff out there, but even so you have to spend $20 on $1 pulp books just to get one or two decent reads. I suspect some of the more well known authors are even throwing a fair bit of chaff out there to get in on that "penny market" (See Patterson's "Witch and Wizard" for a prime example). Frankly that annoys the hell out of me.

As for the ebooks, I'm not interested in spending more money to read it on a tablet, I already spent more money just to get the damn thing. Now the damn thing is better for playing Angry Birds or letting my son watch Phineas and Ferb than anything else.

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