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Comment How many of you participate? (Score 1) 302

Just because you voted does not mean you're active in your democracy. So many people take the cop out stance that big business buys politicians. First of all, prove that. Second, how many of you regularly contact your Congressmen? As a Hill employee, I can tell you that your elected officials (1 Representative and both Senators) have systems that log comments given by constituents. You can keep bemoaning the system and claim your voice isn't heard. And your voice alone isn't, but don't fall for that self-fulfilling prophecy. If everyone held their tongue regarding an issue close to their heart, they'd never know who agreed with them and nobody in a position of power could ever act on their behalf. Most Congressmen will tell you that their tenure is a contract, and every two years all of us have the ability to vote them out of office if we don't agree with their choices. Stop complaining and get out and engage in your democracy.

Comment The Middle Ground (Score 1) 391

I hail from Minneapolis. When I applied to schools, I didn't look at anything inside of Minnesota. I liked the UC system because they recognize the International Baccalaureate program (similar to AP) and the cost, even as an out of state student, was significantly lower than a private school -- GWU was an alternative and about double the cost of the degree which I just achieved from UC Santa Barbara. I sincerely believe we have the best of both worlds here. Most of my professors achieved their doctorates at notable universities such as Berkeley, Princeton, Harvard, etc., which is to be expected for a graduate degree but also take pride in conveying their knowledge to us weak-minded students. Major and prestigious universities, the professors priorities are usually donated to the advancement of their careers and their respective fields. Small colleges can cater to the opposite extreme and, while creating great rapport with the students, they fall short of technical expertise. I believe a middle ground exists at many universities. What I found at UCSB wasn't always the best teaching or cutting edge research in every field, but a healthy taste of both. When I finished up my degree a few weeks ago, I felt very happy with the bond I had created with my school. I paid about $32,000 a year to go here and I believe it was worth every dime, but some might not agree with me. After all, what makes for a good fit is subjective to the student and their needs, but that's another story. The bottom line is that a connection cannot be drawn between prestige, cost, and the perceived quality of a degree.

Comment Re:Only for specific Xbox360 mod (Score 1) 160

I'm not entirely sure Jtag-modders won't play on Xbox Live is true. I have seen Jtag modders on COD:MW2. Their JTAG mods allowed them to do all sort of crazy stuff. They altered some kind of file that communicated to the game server kills and deaths. That is why you see some people with a 4000 kill to death ratio in-game and in the stats listings, unlimited care packages or some other ridiculously obvious cheat. Maybe those people did only enjoy a few moments of splendor before Microsoft dropped the hammer on them -- I hope they did. I pre-ordered this game and don't care if it was leaked 2.5 weeks early. I waited years for this game to be developed so I can wait a few more weeks. Plenty of other people will do the same and both Microsoft and Bungie will make fistfuls of money regardless of how many people download this leaked version.

Comment Better Settings for Higher PQ (Score 1) 337

I think it's pretty conclusive that medium or high profile settings with h264 are definitely going to be superior and therefore preferred by encoders wishing to retain detail and PQ over quick encoding speeds. And to be honest, if you have a decent processor, h264 is not all that slow considering the quality it can achieve.

Comment Loss of Wisdom (Score 1) 804

There seems to be a default response to tough decisions: let's just follow protocol. These protocols are the results of our unwillingness to think deeply about problems individually. Instead, we just create more and more rules and laws that govern our social behavior and decision making. In this case, the girl snuck a piece of candy into her lunch was reprimanded and the officials who could not see the absurdity in handing her detention. And they backed it by following the "rules." Why were these rules created and for what purpose? It's a sign of mental laziness that is plaguing our country when it comes to making rational decisions. Of course protocol has its place in societies, and it should definitely be there, but we cannot stop checking the consistency and rationale of these protocols and rules. So when a girl is given detention for a few grams of candy, we shouldn't be asking why do these rules exist, but why are these rules enforced so sternly for such a minor infraction?

Comment Re:It's kind of sad... (Score 1) 256

I'm not sure about intelligent. Sure he went to Harvard, but the man made his money and reputation of cynicism and rude sarcasm. He's a political hack on the same level as Jon Stewart. And if this is the most he's doing while in congress, that makes it even worse that we Minnesotans preferred him over an actual politician.

Comment Get them out of the classroom. (Score 1) 664

90% of the people I see with laptops aren't using them in any academic capacity. Some people get caught in this mentality that they're somehow learning even though they're on Facebook or slashdot while in lecture -- I do laugh when I see people googling or "wikipedia-ing" an event or concept that has been referenced by the professor. However, these people are distracting to other people (in what clearly is already an unexciting class) by bright flashes and the incessant pitter-patter of acrylic. The response, "it's nobody's choice but the students" is problematic because they are frequently disturbing other people. If it weren't for rules about using cell phones in libraries, I wouldn't be able to study in the quiet anywhere. The line has to be drawn once people push a privilege too far. Students have gone too far. I used to bring my laptop to class freshmen year until I caught myself frequenting websites instead of paying attention. I am not opposed to disabled students using laptops. I am opposed to the masses who use their laptops to occupy themselves while they trick themselves into thinking they're upholding their duty as students.

Comment Re:Told you so! (Score 1) 139

I have also lived in Israel for the last 4.5 months and have subscribed to the DSL service provided by Bezeq. They only offer DSL in this part of Jerusalem, it's beyond me why they do not allow us cable connections despite having cable outlets in every single room of the apartments (there are hundreds where I live). BitTorrent is actually relatively stable. I regularly max out my connection which is a measly 2.5mbit/.3mbit with bit torrent. Whereas with SFTP and FTP/S/ES, I regularly get speeds fractions of what I should be getting. Skype has been decent to me as well, but making calls to my family 4000 miles away has brought video lag and sometimes low-quality audio. I cannot diagnose if this is the ISPs fault or bandwidth shortage in conjunction with the extreme distance the data must travel (my latency/ping is about ~230ms []). Israel is a bit lacking when it comes to internet service. My university here is also locked down even though they offer about a 70.5mbit/20.5mbit connection they have managed to restrict just about every port so AIM is out of the question in addition to FTP, FTP/S/ES. SFTP still works. I'm not sure what the security concern is. And I'm definitely not sure why the Israeli ISPs overtly care to p2p traffic. The Israeli government does not care about anything except its military.

Comment Backdoor (Score 1) 273

How secure is this? This seems to be more of a matter of privacy and security than anything. I'm all for copyright infringement, but I really don't want to see the government be able to pick up a photo and be able to trace it back to me. Not only the government, but anyone with the know-how of reading/manipulating the meta-data code.

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