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Comment Cheap 1st/2nd year textbooks, expensive years 3+ (Score 3, Informative) 98

I think this is generally a fantastic idea. Nothing has really changed in subjects such as calculus, linear algebra, chemistry and biology in decades if not centuries for some subjects. Heck, I used my dad's control systems textbook from the 60s to learn. My fear is that publishers will start charging people on the back end of this for more specialized textbooks that are more typical in third and fourth year courses or specialized graduate courses. So, free textbooks for the two-year community college crowd, but $500 textbooks for process control of chemical reactors and digital signal processing.

The real underlying problem here is that student loans are the only type of debt that can't be discharged under bankruptcy, and that has created a moral hazard for post-secondary institutions to accelerate their costs. Tuition has also greatly and disproportionately increased in cost because students can get mortgage-like terms for their student debt, but institutions don't have any responsibility to make sure they graduate or make money. Meanwhile, endowments, perks and expensive buildings keep going up on campuses with little marginal benefit to students. The cherry on top is the IMO bizarre cultural support in this country for post-secondary institutions from alumni and through college sports.

If you really want to solve the textbook crisis, solve the debt crisis in education and allow discharge of student debt in bankruptcy at the same time as you investigate the publishers for any type of RICO or antitrust activity. The system will take a few years to clean out, but the issue will eventually be solved. The best part will be that tuitions will eventually come down to sane levels again, although that will be at the expense of the administrators and faculty who are more concerned about pretty buildings and social justice than they are about academic and human progress.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 2, Informative) 68

Right, and you do realise that the SPEECH act does not matter to the Australian judicial system, right? If its bounced out of the US, the EFF had better hope it never has any funds or assets in Australia, because they will be seized under contempt of court, and contempt of court rulings aren't covered by the SPEECH act even if the contempt is based on an original case which is, so any fines issued under contempt of court *can* be pursued in US courts against its US assets.

The SPEECH act is not a "get out of jail free card", and it does NOT solve the underlying issue - there is a valid court order issued in Australia, and any ruling by a San Francisco court doesn't invalidated it, it just limits the ability to collect under that specific ruling in the US. There are multiple ways around that if the EFF want to ignore the Australian court...

Yes, I've read the SPEECH act (been a few years tho).

Comment Huh? (Score 1) 68

The court order wont be enforced in the US - it will be enforced in Australia, by an Australian court, and if the EFF refuse to comply, then the Australian court will issue contempt proceedings, in Australia.

If the court fines the EFF, then that fine can be pursued in the US under separate law, but it probably wont need to be.

And I'm on the EFFs side in this battle, I just think their filing in the SF court is ridiculous and a waste of money, as any court ruling in SF will have utterly no effect on this order.

Comment Re:Still don't get why people liked this show (Score 1) 84

This and "roasts" are two things an American friend of mine tried to explain to me when he realised we don't have either - and then our Comedy Central tried to get the UK all het up about Justin Beibers "roast" and it all failed miserably over here.

The Americans just have some unique sense of humour, one that is hard to decipher some of the time :)

Comment Re:Numbers (Score 1) 575

It depends on the timings - the airline crew can only legally operate if they have a given amount of *uninterrupted* rest before the flight, and that includes travel time. If the flight gets them there in enough time to allow for the uninterrupted rest period before the flight the next morning, but any other travel means does not, then the flight is the only option. In this case, driving wouldnt have cut it as it would have broken into the rest period.

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