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Comment Publicity stunt? (Score 1) 341

So the author submits a book which he doesn't believe is legally required to be submitted. Then when changes are suggested he cries "censorship" and ignores the changes, with apparently no legal ramifications whatsoever. That doesn't sound much like censorship to me. The case involving the Progressive was indeed censorship (and prior restraint at that), but this seems more like an attempt to garner some publicity and "authenticity" for the book. But then again maybe I'm too old and cynical about these things.

Comment Re: Diversity is good, especially in SciFi (Score 1) 368

Part of David Gerrold's War Against the Chtorr series portrays pedophilia as something understandable given the context -- from the perspective of our protagonist. He changes his mind, but molests his boys and others along the way. (Can't remember which book does this -- it's been more than 20 years since I last read the series).

Comment It's democracy, stupid. (Score 5, Insightful) 619

Sigh. We've known for a long time that in autocratic regimes of any type, levels of interpersonal trust are lowered. After all, your neighbor might be an informer, and the state itself is a liar and propagandist. Similarly, low levels of social trust correlate with all sorts of antisocial behavior, from cheating and intolerance to distrust of democracy itself. So all this experiment really proves is something we already know: living a long time under an oppressive regime generates distrust which legitimizes cheating and so forth. Capitalism and "socialism" have little to do with it.

Submission + - Atari Files Bankruptcy (halls-of-valhalla.org)

halls-of-valhalla writes: "Atari was one of the very first video game companies, starting way back in 1972. However, this long-running name that brought us titles like Pong and Asteroids is having major financial issues. Atari's United States branches have filed bankruptcy on Sunday, Janary 20 2013. This bankruptcy is an attempt to separate themselves from their French parent which has quite a bit of debt. The plan is to split from the French parent and find a buyer to form a private company."

Submission + - Sony Launches Tablet Z - World's Thinnest and Lightest 10in Tablet (ibtimes.co.uk)

DavidGilbert99 writes: "Sony's has launched the world's thinnest and lightest 10in tablet in the shape of the Xperia Tablet Z, which is just 6.9mm thin and weighs just 495g — which compares pretty well with the 9.4mm and 662g iPad 4.

Sony is obviously hoping its Xperia range, which recently saw the launch of the Xperia Z smartphone, will be able to challenge the iPad/iPhone and the Samsung' Galaxy range.

Is thin and light enough to make a difference though?"

Comment Sellout to special interests (Score 3, Insightful) 181

Sounds like a recipe for special interest groups to dominate politics. The same is true of initiative measures in the United States -- they are largely used by well-funded narrow interest groups to advance their agendas at the expense of the public. Indeed, the whole point of the signature requirements is to keep one person (of modest means) from making a difference. As Olson predicted, these schemes lead to the victory of highly committed, well-organized, resource-rich minority positions over the larger but diffuse interests of the public,

Comment Re:He got a little over two years out of that live (Score 1) 1613

1. By putting himself on ALL the lists, he gained an advantage over others.
2. There were almost certainly people below him whose lives could have been extended by many more years by that liver.

Most people would do the same, but it's still wrong. It's like shoving someone out of the way to get on the remaining lifeboat. Except that in the analogy, your odds of living given the boat are much less than theirs -- and you know this.


Estimating Game Piracy More Accurately 459

An anonymous reader tips a post up at the Wolfire blog that attempts to pin down a reasonable figure for the amount of sales a game company loses due to piracy. We've commonly heard claims of piracy rates as high as 80-90%, but that clearly doesn't translate directly into lost sales. The article explains a better metric: going on a per-pirate basis rather than a per-download basis. Quoting: "iPhone game developers have also found that around 80% of their users are running pirated copies of their game (using jailbroken phones). This immediately struck me as odd — I suspected that most iPhone users had never even heard of 'jailbreaking.' I did a bit more research and found that my intuition was correct — only 5% of iPhones in the US are jailbroken. World-wide, the jailbreak statistics are highest in poor countries — but, unsurprisingly, iPhones are also much less common there. The highest estimate I've seen is that 10% of worldwide iPhones are jailbroken. Given that there are so few jailbroken phones, how can we explain that 80% of game copies are pirated? The answer is simple — the average pirate downloads a lot more games than the average customer buys. This means that even though games see that 80% of their copies are pirated, only 10% of their potential customers are pirates, which means they are losing at most 10% of their sales."

Comment Re:excuse me, mr. idiot (Score 1) 504

if you had seen french revolutionaries in 1789, you would want to spray them with insecticide. it was a total stampede of barbarians. but then, in 2-3 years' time, it has become the very thing that awarded your sorry ass with the modern social guidelines about human rights, civil conduct we know today. ...and in one more year the Great Terror began. Indeed, we can thank the revolutionaries for introducing the word "terrorism" to our modern vocabulary.

Comment Re:saying. "Fast forward to the 21st century" (Score 2, Insightful) 504

That means that prices will simply be raised until many consumers simply cannot afford it (arguments like the original articles claims about economies of scale simply indicate lack of economic understanding; less piracy would mean _higher_ price, monopoly pricing limits are completely driven by customer dropoff, economies of scale apply to competitively enforced pricing).

Yup. The claims that piracy results in higher prices are generally false. It results in lower prices for any given piece of software. Its real negative consequence is the result of the lower prices -- some niche software becomes uneconomical to develop since it cannot be sold for a price that will recoup development costs. So we get cheaper mass-market games and a dearth of niche games because of pirates (it seems that no game is too obscure to be pirated). The funny thing is that those who complain about the homogenization of culture by the RIAA may actually be contributing to it by making it unprofitable to sell lesser-known artists (or pieces of software) at any price.

One last comment: There might be a price rise in some areas, where two pieces of software compete against one another. If both are pirated, the duopoly might collapse into a monopoly, with concomitant higher pricing. In theory, a new entrant might emerge -- but it may be that everyone knows duopoly pricing is unprofitable given the competition from pirates.


Submission + - Heroes Star joins Nimoy as Spock for Trek XI

Interl0per writes: It has been revealed at Comic-Con that Zachary Quinto of Heroes has been cast as Spock in the J.J. Abrams film. Leonard Nimoy joined Quinto on stage for the revelation and it seems that Nimoy will also be involved in the production. The full write-up is here.

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