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Comment Re:Terrible summary of an interesting paper (Score 2) 818

"The actual conclusion of the paper is simply that the power in government... is concentrated in the small-but-vocal interest groups and economically influential individuals."

Oligarchy: a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people, distinguished by wealth.

In other words, the summary was exactly correct. By definition, the U.S. is an oligarchy, not a democracy.

Comment Re:80's flashback (Score 3, Insightful) 992

The 1980's 55 MPH federal mandate was not done to save lives. It was done to conserve energy. In fact, some states at the time even issued tickets for people driving over 55 that read "failure to conserve energy", not "speeding". The federal government still has its hands in regulating energy used by cars. Although we have now learned that it is more effective to regulate at the manufacturing stage, not at the operating stage.

Comment Consider Cloud options (Score 1) 120

Moodle is nice. And free. But how are you going to pay for the web host to run it, and the software developer to install, configure and maintain it to meet your needs?

For $1.50 per student per month you can use a cloud-based tool like to track attendance, homework, grades, report cards, transcripts and more. And you can start tomorrow, not after a 6-month project development cycle has passed.

Sure, Moodle can do much more than that, but for the features you are asking for, no Moodle implementation will cost less than $1.50 per student per month and be ready to use tomorrow.

Comment Re:Poor marketing investment (Score 1) 117

Which is why, of the companies you mention, Google is creating a hardware & software ecosystem where they can control what ads you see, and what data they collect, directly on your device. Apple and Amazon are doing the same. If Facebook doesn't get into the platform game, they are going down the same road that MySpace, Yahoo!, and several others already traveled. Microsoft, on the other hand, is getting by with fat profits from its legacy enterprise products, so I'm not sure they have the chutzpah to really engage in the consumer space, even though they keep throwing dollars at it. Sorta like IBM 20 years ago, right?

Comment Mobile is the culprit (Score 1) 313

Most casual computing, especially by the consumers that ad buyers are trying to reach, is now being done on mobile devices. And it is just not possible to make an attractive, informative ad on a small mobile screen without crowding out some other essential function. Mobile devices simply don't have enough spare real estate on which to place ads. Compared to computer screens, the number of ads that can be displayed at one time on a mobile device is severely limited, and the ad itself has to be relatively small

Moving to mobile helps get rid of many ads. Now, if we could just get everyone to move to text-only devices, we should be able to get rid of ads completely!

Comment Pre-made is more efficient (Score 1) 525

If your goal is efficiency, then pre-fabricated, pre-framed, "slip-in" window units are much more energy efficient than expecting typical homeowners to properly miter, seal, and mount a window into their house. Sure, framing your own window may conjure up romantic, 19th-century images of quality hand craftsmanship. But those notions won't go far to pay the heating bills or halt global warming caused by all of the wasted energy lost through these drafty windows. Prefabrication and efficiency are better for everyone. If you want romance, start a hobby building coffee tables.

Comment So Solyndra was the right idea (Score 3, Insightful) 257

f handing manufacturing over to private business is the right strategy, then Obama was on the right track when he tried to move solar panel production out of government-funded research labs and into private business production. While initially funded with start-up grants, Solyndra was to eventually produce and sell solar panels in the open market. Of course, nobody could have predicted that China would flood the solar panel market with Chinese-government subsidized, Chinese-made panels that no open market firm could compete with.

Still, Obama was on the right track to try to move production into private industry rather than create another federal agency to make solar panels. If solar panel production had remained a federal agency project, the production likely would have continued long after the Chinese dumped their own panels on the market, costing U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more as the federal-run production would continue even when the market was unprofitable. As it was, Solyndra folded, as any private business in an unprofitable market should, and the loss to the taxpayer was minimized. Moving producing to Solyndra was exactly the free-market strategy that everyone asks for, and was the right thing to do.

Comment Re:Finger Spelling is NOT Sign Language (Score 2) 78

They are not translating anything. They are transcribing within the same language. In the demo clip I saw, they are transcribing from English fingerspelling to English speech. There is no translation involved. You are right, even within a language, there can be regional variations. American fingerspelling differs from British. But they are transcribing, not translating.

Comment Finger Spelling is NOT Sign Language (Score 4, Informative) 78

Mod parent up! Finger Spelling is *not* Sign Language. If all this does is translate finger spelling into synthesized speech, the same thing could be done much faster and cheaper by just typing the words on a standard smartphone device.

This is not even cool. It is just, plain, wrong in so many ways. All of the money and hype spent making and marketing this device would reap 10X as much benefit if the same money were spent educating people about the real nature of deafness and sign language. The developers of this waste of time could start by taking a class about deafness themselves.

The fact that Slashdot perpetuates the inaccurate headline equating finger spelling with sign language just demonstrates how ignorant we all are.

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