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Comment Re:Pedigree (Score 1) 221

The D2 to D3 progression reminds me of Warcraft 3 to WoW - same world; different types of game. There are many other parallels between WoW and D3, like how the games don't "start" until max level, the prevalence of an AH, the always-on internet connection, etc.

If D3 had not been billed as the sequel to D2, I think a lot of the hate would have been held back. Had they called it "World of Diablo" (or whatever), people may have realized that they were different types of game. For example, the skill system and crafting system in D3 are really neat ideas, but they aren't a logical successor to D2's mechanics.

Torchlight 2 on the other hand is the spiritual sequel to D2: it feels like D2. Personally, Matt Uelman's ambient background music makes a huge difference to me in the "feels like D1/D2" respect.

On a tangential note, I'm almost sad to say that Blizzard has pretty much killed all three of their franchises for me: WoW is boring and no Warcraft 3 sequel is in sight; SC2 single player campaigns are just there to subsidize the multiplayer (I'm not paying $60 again for one campaign); and now Diablo feels like WoW. Thankfully there will always be interesting new games and companies to supplant (or at least sidestep) the juggernauts.

Comment Re:Study the obvious to avoid the _real_ issue. (Score 1) 497

Scientists should most definitely study assumptions of obvious vs non-obvious.

My observations is that most people buy organic for these (perceived) reasons:

1) Few or no harmful additives (pesticides etc.)

2) Tastes better

3) More nutritious (in terms of protein, lipid, carb)

Your three points are all part of 1). Please share references that it is "common knowledge" that the changes in pesticides/hormones/herbicide additives have little or no effect on the nutritional quantity and balance of most plants.

The nutrition and taste factors (2 & 3) need to be addressed as well as the additives, and I agree that the additives are the big reason that most people buy organic.

Since there are definite downsides to buying organic (lower yield per unit farmland, higher price for consumers), a cost-benefit analysis of mass-producing organic crops is certainly warranted, so even the "obvious" parts need to be addressed in order to reduce variables when the effects of additives are exhaustively studied.

My personal experience says that locally grown, non-additive fruit/veg (and meat and dairy) blows organic (or non-organic) store-bought out of the water because the local stuff is usually fresher and tastes better.

Comment Re:1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000. What does that mea (Score 2) 76

Bah. You got me on 6.7 x 10^-17 sec.

My gripe is the OP's frame of reference: "an attosecond is 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000 seconds". That would be like telling me that the Pacific Ocean holds 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 teaspoons of water. That value and that unit should never go together. Lots of zeroes (big or small) is mind-boggling for a layperson or scientist, especially since OP did not give any frame of reference like, "1000 times faster than your eyes turn light into images". It's not a perfect comparison, but it certainly sounds really really fast. (Granted, I should have converted it to furlongs per fortnight.)

Comment 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000. What does that mean? (Score 5, Interesting) 76

A word to the wise when trying to get people excited about fundmental science: the number "1" followed by a lot of zeroes is meaningless to most people (even scientists). Please give us something to relate that number to and put it in scientific notation!

67 attoseconds = 6.7 x 10^–18 seconds

As a photochemist, I know that a femtosecond is (1 x 10^–15 seconds) is the on order of many "fast" chemical reactions, like visible light reacting with your eye, so attoseconds are faster than most chemical bonds breaking/forming.

Comment Re:Women Were Driven Out (Score 1) 378

So your proof that unqualified women think they should be handed jobs is: 1) an anecdote about women you haven't met and 2) a straw-man argument that all feminists hate men?

While I agree that elder women (or men) teaching younger women not to be perpetual victims is very important, it is equally important for elder men (or women) to teach young men not to be creepy and awkward around women, and to treat them as intellectual and social equals. It works both ways.

This goes for any field or group that is dominated by guys (or ladies!), be it a profession or a club/society: one gender will feel uncomfortable until they are both equally treated.

Submission + - SOP for GOP to Pay Friendly Bloggers ( 1

jamie writes: "According to the conservative political journalism site Daily Caller: "'It's standard operating procedure' to pay bloggers for favorable coverage, says one Republican campaign operative. A GOP blogger-for-hire estimates that 'at least half the bloggers that are out there' on the Republican side 'are getting remuneration in some way beyond ad sales.'" Or in some cases, it's the ads themselves: ads at ten times the going rate are one of the ways conservative bloggers apparently get paid by the politicians they write about. In usual he-said she-said fashion, Daily Caller finds a couple of obscure liberal bloggers to mention too, but they fully disclosed payment and one of them even shut down his blog while doing consulting work, unlike Robert Stacy McCain and Dan Riehl."
The Courts

Submission + - RIAA: US Copyright Law 'isn't working' (

suraj.sun writes: The RIAA said on Monday that current U.S. copyright law is so broken that it "isn't working" for content creators any longer. RIAA President Cary Sherman said "You cannot monitor all the infringements on the Internet. It's simply not possible. We don't have the ability to search all the places infringing content appears, such as cyberlockers like [file-hosting firm] RapidShare."

Sherman said the 1998 DMCA contains loopholes that allow broadband providers and Web companies to turn a blind eye to customers' unlawful activities without suffering any legal consequences.

In response to a question from CNET, Sherman said it may be necessary for the U.S. Congress to enact a new law formalizing agreements with intermediaries such as broadband providers, Web hosts, payment processors, and search engines.

"We're working on [discussions with broadband providers], and we'd like to extend that kind of relationship--not just to ISPs, but [also to] search engines, payment processors, advertisers." But, Sherman said, "if legislation is an appropriate way to facilitate that kind of cooperation, fine."

CNET News:

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 1) 203

Why can't it be both depending on the job?

I wanted to be a PhD chemist, which is not a field that comes with a pre-determined job attached to it. I got my degree and learned lots of theory and practical knowledge.

While I agree that four year universities should focus on a holistic education, there's nothing wrong with someone deciding "I want to be an X", where X = plumber, electrician, welder, EMT, RN, etc., and they only go to school long enough for that. Personally, the broadening experience I obtained in undergrad and grad school means more to me than just the job skills I learned, but for others who just want a job, let them have it.

Not everyone is meant for 4-year college. If they don't want it, they won't go for it. Bad in the long run? Maybe. But that's their choice. That's why 4-year colleges exist as well as vocational schools and community colleges.

Comment Re:The amount of replies to this story (Score 1) 176

Shamelessly taken from Penn and Teller's Bullshit video-game violence episode:

Penn: Next time you feel like worrying about fake violent video games, try a little Gedanken experiment: imagine that video games were invented 100 years before football. Picture school video game teams and uniforms and hot-ass cheerleaders with big, bouncing pom-poms. Now imagine after 100 years of extracurricular video game fun, football is invented and introduced to schools. Thousands of kids get real, no kidding, no fantasy, no make-believe broken knees, legs, ankles, cervical trauma, heatstroke, and concussions! [Throughout Penn's injury list, the crowd quiets, eventually becoming totally silent.] ...What would parents do? From 1931 to 2007, 665 kids died... from injuries they suffered playing football. This is not video game violence - this is real violence done to real children by other real children, all encouraged by schools and society. Every parent worries about his or her kids; every adult worries about all children, but you need to pick what you think is worth worrying about.

I'm not necessarily picking on high-school football, but to do this for 20-some odd years seems like purposely shortening your life. To para-phrase Penn, decide on your priorities. I'll stick to running, cycling, and weightlifting for my health benefits.

Comment Re:I hate mandatory learning styles (Score 1) 554

Good for you. I work at a community college, and many of students there have never had good study habits, so guess where they learn them? And yes I have had students admit to my face that they didn't ever have to study in high school.

If you perform well in my class and miss a few days, I don't mind. If you are sliding into a guaranteed F and never attend class, my duty is to withdraw you from the class for excessive absences. Regardless of the school's official policy, many professors still treat attendance in their own way. I make it clear in my syllabus how I treat attendance. Make sure to do your homework about each professor before you sign up for their class.

Comment Re:I Hate Taking Attendance (Score 1) 554

I agree that students should be accountable for their grades, but even if they fail, the school has to pay the state back for financial aid. By withdrawing students who fail to attend, the school does not have to repay the state for the financial aid. Our community college had to pay back a great deal of money to the state a few years ago before mandatory attendance as instilled because a large number of students took financial aid and ran with the money. Since this college struggles to get funds (including state funds), it needs every penny it can get to serve the students who are doing the work. We've discussed ways of taking attendance involving classroom "clicker" technology, and I see the RFID system to be a similar fix.

I hate taking attendance too (granted I don't have 300 student lectures), but for 40 person classes, it isn't that difficult; just one more hoop. In the end, I can keep tabs on students and warn them that they will lose financial aid if they stop coming to class. For students who don't understand that it costs money to educate them, this is a way to show them their responsibility (before they fail), instead of just letting them fail and be bitter about higher education for the rest of their lives. Whether or not they attend, failing means paying *again* to re-take the class. And semester hours aren't cheap.

Don't many newer jobs require some form of college degree? It seems that many students who never needed a degree (or AA certificate) now require one, and with the down-turned economy, more students than ever are pouring into college. We have to be accountable somehow. Is RFID the right answer? We'll see, but until then, attendance checking is a necessary evil.

Comment Obligatory Zorg. (Score 2, Interesting) 99

"Life, which you so nobly serve, comes from destruction, disorder and chaos. Now take this empty glass. Here it is: peaceful, serene, boring. But if it is destroyed...

[Pushes the glass off the table. It shatter on the floor, and several small machines come out to clean it up]

...Look at all these little things! So busy now! Notice how each one is useful. A lovely ballet ensues, so full of form and color. Now, think about all those people that created them. Technicians, engineers, hundreds of people, who will be able to feed their children tonight, so those children can grow up big and strong and have little teeny children of their own, and so on and so forth. Thus, adding to the great chain of life."

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