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Comment Re:There is a 9th planet (Score 1) 154

For historical purposes (recognizing that "historical" means "20th century" here), why not? For historical purposes, fire is an element and a totally random subset of seeds are called "nuts." Sure, Pluto was a tiny object known only because it was discovered completely by chance. But humans are super arbitrary. Alternatively, I propose we just name the new planet "Pluto" and the current Pluto "Old Pluto." Problem solved.

Comment Sega isn't Sega anymore, literally (Score 5, Informative) 153

In 2004, Sega was merged into Sammy, a gambling/arcade machine company, which then all but renamed itself to Sega. They have totally different business goals from the previous Sega. Any discussion about the direction Sega is going now should be framed in that context. Current Sega is working a different market. Nintendo is doing about as well at arcades as Sega is doing at console hardware. But it is interesting to consider what happened long before the merger with the Dreamcast and how it could have been prevented.

Comment Abolish all coins but dimes (Score 1) 943

When the U.S. first began minting our fabulous decimal currency, the lowest denomination—the half-penny—was worth a little more than today's dime. Anything less than a dime represents a value so low it wasn't worth dealing with in 1792, and it certainly isn't worth dealing with now. There are many big advantages in switching to a dimes-only coinage versus any other system:
-Dimes are an established coin in American society, and an extremely light coin, making a dimes-only system an easy plan to adopt, and easy to use.
-10 dimes to a dollar, not much is simpler than that. Any transaction would only require between 0 and 9 dimes, and only using a single coin makes counting a much simpler process.
-Rather than rounding to nickels like Australia, we can simply get rid of that pesky second decimal place. E.g. $9.5

There are a thousand arguments for other systems, and this is an arbitrary idea. But I would argue it's the cleanest arbitrary idea we've got. The dime is inefficient, and the dollar bill is inefficient, but these problems pale in comparison to the clusterfuck cause by the penny, the nickel, and everything else. The true primary hurdles would be solved by:
-Making dimes out of zinc, to appease the stupid zinc lobby.
-Putting Lincoln on it.

Then, a hundred years from now, that god we trust in willing, we ditch the dime for the dollar coin.

Comment Re:How is this multi-tasking? (Score 1) 133

Isn't that an assumption that itself warrants extensive experimentation before you can base another experiment entirely on it? Besides, if the unused information is, say, musical tones instead of words, experience tells me you're probably going to see less of an effect on memory. But by this "all distractions effect you equally" model it should be the same as shouting out numbers while you're doing math, etc., which I have known from 2nd grade not to have the same effect as random background noise.

Comment How is this multi-tasking? (Score 3, Insightful) 133

It seems to me that they're comparing two different attention tasks. In multi-tasking, you would be concerned with how the brain juggles two or more things you're [i]trying[/i] to focus on, while this one is talking about how you deal with meaningless distraction. Related, maybe, but how is it multi-tasking?

Comment Mod Parent Up! (Score 1) 220

This. It's just an accessible, well-known game you can kill time/trance out with. People are freaking out about it being some kind of amazing formula to make millions but really it's just what Windows Solitaire has been for so many years. This time someone was able to monetize it, but at this point that lesson isn't useful until the next big platform shift, and even then you'll probably be headed off at the pass by Angry Birds' momentum.

Comment Connectors (Score 1) 482

If there's one thing I wish for all laptop power supplies, it's that they would license from Apple (or work around, patent-wise) the magnet attachment system that makes cable--tripping far less dangerous to man or beast, compared to a few years ago.

Also just wear and tear on the connector. I've seen laptops become unusable just because the power socket is stupidly designed and ends up getting loose. Even some sort of less-patented snap design or something would be better. Van der Waals force, I dunno. Hell, even just something that isn't a cylinder that goes over a small bendable pin, maybe something totally solid like the Apple one only it goes in further, that would be nice...


Submission + - The Nintendo Wii U revealed (

TimHanlon writes: Nintendo took the wraps off its new Wii U console at E3 today, sporting a controller with a 6.2" touchscreen, PS3-caliber graphics, the ability to play without a TV, a launch lineup with plenty of hardcore games, and a release some time in 2012.

Submission + - linux is not a crime

An anonymous reader writes: A colleague of mine submitted a personal laptop (macbook) to IT of a department of a major university in the University of California to be checked prior to access being granted to the network. The response was:
I am currently setting up your laptop for xxxxxxxxx department. I noticed you have Ubuntu and Windows running on Virtual Box. We cannot have linux computers on the network , and cannot have any copies of Windows running that aren't joined to the xxxxxxxxx Network. Also, there is Bittorrent software on the computer which isn't allowed.
I can remote the bittorrent and the Virtual machiens and then the computer will be able to be added. Would you like me to do this? Any files or programs that you have installed on them will be lost.

I am surprised at the policy against linux, especially given the amount of research that gets done in the University of California using linux and other open source projects. Is this a trend? Do they have a basis for security concerns regarding linux?
The other sad thing is the banning of bittorrent, which is simply a file-downloading program.

Submission + - Internet Access is a Human Right, UN Report Says (

purkinje writes: Disconnecting people from the internet is a violation of human rights and is against international law, says a UN report released yesterday. The report comes just after several governments in the Middle East restricted internet access during unrest there, and a year after France and the UK passed three-strikes laws to disconnect users illegally sharing files. People have a right to both dimensions of internet access, the report says: unfettered access to content and the technology and infrastructure needed to get online in the first place.

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