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Comment Re:Karma (Score 1) 233

Patents are there to encourage innovation. What's the use of trying to think of new ideas when your competitor can just copy them once you're done. No company would have research divisions as they can just easily use the research of other companies. Research gives no solid benefit to a company if it can be easily copied so there would be minimal research.

It is only when these patents are abused that people get angry. Patenting trivial things sometimes give you a monopoly because it is very difficult to get around trivial things.

Comment Re:One captcha I've seen... (Score 1) 522

If a popular website like Yahoo implements that type of captcha, you can bet that by the next day, someone figured out how to pick out the colors. That instruction is easy to implement with a program.

The captcha keeps out the 15 year olds who want some fun. The site's obscurity keeps out the people who break captchas for a living.

Comment Use the turing test (Score 1) 522

Ask the person to guess if the person/computer talking back to it is a person or computer. As long as the website is popular enough, then you can sometimes pair humans with humans. You might get some interesting conversations going too, especially if the site using this is like Slashdot where people of similar interests come to. In addition, people rarely sign up for accounts so these turing tests would not be too much of a hassle.

Comment Re:Let the market price them (Score 1) 429

That's a very good idea. That'd make people try out new music to get those surprise hits while they are cheap. They can start lower than 99 cents and make incremental changes to reflect the popularity of the song better, ie. every 1000 people/day download the song, increase the price by 10 cents, and reset the price at night. That way, more people would be willing to buy a song at higher prices, if the price is within a dollar. Trick the people into paying a higher price. Get the most money out of the desperate people who cannot wait to listen to the song, while providing a legal means for people to get the song for cheap, by hoping to refresh the page fast enough, and trying again and again day after day.

Comment Re:Putting MS in check. (Score 1) 392

Cars crash and change with age. Windows XP does not. If your computer ends up too slow, you can just back up everything and reinstall XP from disc, and everything is new again.

If you purchased the retail version of Windows, then I am pretty sure you can keep the same copy over computer upgrades. Microsoft would be without business because even though you're using their products, you aren't paying them anymore than the down payment many years ago.

What Microsoft wants is for people to buy the newest versions so that they will get more and more money. What works for cars that can get scraped and such does not work for software. Car analogies don't always work.

Comment Re:Pipe dream (Score 0, Flamebait) 393

And you wonder where all the money in the economy is going. Imagine you invent a machine that is able to make clothing with very very little energy and very little time. You get the government on your side so they force everyone to pay a dollar for a shirt even though it costs much less to make one. You get 1 dollar for something that costs 0.000005 cents for you to make. People will still pay up because they want to wear shirts and 1 dollar isn't too unreasonable. You will make a whole lot of profit for minimal labor.

Say you are a farmer who grows apples. A farmer trades a one dollar apple for a mp3 file, even though it took one dollar worth of work to grow that apple. You get a one dollar apple practically for free. When you eat that apple, the one dollar apple is lost forever, yet what is added to the world? The one dollar mp3 file is worthless... It is just a pattern of bits and bytes... The net value of the world decreased. It was as if the farmer did not grow that apple.

It was only in the creation of the song that deserves money, and that is definitely not worth the millions that artists get. It is just that they hold a monopoly and if you want a Bob Dylan mp3, you do not have anywhere else to buy it but from Bob Dylan, thanks to the government. You can either be forced to overpay or not listen to Bob Dylan.

Comment Re:They needed a study? (Score 1) 272

The methodology may not have been trivial, but the GP was saying how the conclusion that breathing in opaque air decreases life expectancy is trivial. It is true that people do not gain much insight from learning about such a conclusion.

However, the thing that GP and P miss is that the silver lining to all this is the "2.72 years longer". You are given a number that makes a very solid connection between two previously weakly connected ideas.

Before, the weak connection was that breathing opaque air is bad for you. Now, the strong connection is that breathing opaque air shortens your life by 2.72 years.

Comment Bullets vs. Energy beams (Score 3, Interesting) 161

Bullets hurt people because of human blood circulation (loss of blood) and the size of our organs (heh). If robots were built differently or little green men evolved differently, bullets would most likely be ineffective. There is no reason that there is only one wire connecting processor to leg and opening one loop should not hurt the other parts of the circuit. Also, there is almost no reason why the processor needs to be 15 cm big, or the leg motor has to take up the whole length of the leg. There is also no reason why the robots or green guys have to be human size.

However, as long as they are still made of molecules, high amounts of energy should still be able to separate the molecules that they are composed of, and hopefully eliminate them.

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Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, and a dark side, and it holds the universe together ... -- Carl Zwanzig