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Comment Re:About time to arm ourselves (Score 3, Informative) 450

What? I'm a whackjob that believes in the Illuminati as a secret, nefarious society because I can read and quote the act?

You apparently failed to read beyond the part you emphasized, as the next words show how silly this whole affair is: "as is enjoyed by foreign governments." All your quote says is, INTERPOL is to be treated the same as every foreign government that has an embassy in the US. There is literally nothing to get excited about here.

Comment Re:Can we make it somewhat safe? Yes. (Score 2, Insightful) 582

You make this claim, that terrorists don't attack because they are deterred by the idea of security, with no evidence. Here's some very good evidence why your theory is bunk: there are literally millions of highly visible targets in this country with no security. Anybody who wanted to could attack them trivially, compared to the relative difficulty of attacking an airplane. And yet, nobody does. There have been a handful of attempts over the past decade (most of them prompted or at least significantly helped by FBI informers), but nothing really successful (unless you consider Fort Hood, which clearly is a separate issue). If there really were all of these potential terrorists in the US, why would they just give up after deciding airlines are too hard? Why aren't they attacking all our undefended targets instead?

Comment Re:Blind Sound Test. (Score 1) 210

As a violinist with a ~$5000 instrument, I can confidently say there is a world of difference even between a $5000 instrument and a $10,000 instrument. However, it's important to note that tonal quality is only one, and not necessarily the most weighted, factor in pricing a violin. Others are age, the fame of the maker, the construction of the instrument, and the condition, all of which possibly imply good tonal quality, but don't necessarily ensure it.

In other words, there are huge divergences in quality in violins, and good violins tend to cost a lot of money (hundreds of thousands of dollars). However, inside particular price ranges (say, $20,000-30,000) the more expensive instrument may not necessarily be the better.

Comment Re:As a high school teacher, (Score 1) 646

While I have great sympathy for the plight of teachers, in this matter it is their fault if things go badly. All the board has done is introduce loopholes through which bad teachers can push malarkey on their students. They have not mandated that ID or creationism be taught (if they did it would be struck down immediately by the courts) and instead are taking the more insidious route of enabling teachers to do it for them.

The point being, if you refuse to teach bad science, the Texas board of education is not forcing you to do so.

Comment Re:Score for who? (Score 2, Informative) 646

Let say our culture eliminates itself, and after 50000 years nearly no traces of us will be left. Still somebody looking at the Genes of the animals *will* find ID. He will find that certain genes were selected far beyond natural selection (actively bred), sometimes different from what you would expect in nature, and that new genes which do not belong to the pool of a species will appear (insulin in bacteria). What i want to say: there are scientific criteria for ID, but usually proposers of ID just want to justify their superstition and therefore hesitate to define these. Would i be in their place i would also hesitate, because this has the big risk of failing spectacularly.

There's a name for what you're describing: artificial selection. It has nothing to do with "intelligent design," which is the claim that all life on earth was created (more or less in its present form) by some unknowable entity. Artificial selection is part of evolutionary theory and you would find no competent evolutionary biologist who would deny its existence.

Comment They just don't get it (Score 2, Insightful) 175

It's amazing how adept the media companies are at shooting themselves in the feet. They've come a long way with sites like hulu such that it is now more convenient to watch shows legally than illegally. If they change that by acceding to the cable companies' demands, the only result will be more piracy and less revenue. Cable companies are going to have to realize at some point that their primary function of providing access to a lot of content that most of their customers aren't interested in isn't going to last much longer, and that they are going to become just another pipe into the home. Attempts like this to forestall the inevitable are going to fail in the long run.

Submission + - Palm announces new phone, OS at CES (arstechnica.com)

wyldeone writes: "Today at a press conference Palm unveiled its long-awaited new operating system, dubbed Palm webOS. Unlike the traditional Palm OS, applications are developed using XHTML, CSS and Javascript and calendar, contact and other data is pulled from the cloud. Also announced was the Palm Pre, the first device to run it. The Pre is set to launch exclusively on Sprint in the first half of 2009."

Comment Re:Paper and gasoline-based dinosaurs (Score 4, Insightful) 136

You're ignoring one of the most important jobs of newspapers: investigative reporting. While blogs and news aggregators like Digg and Slashdot do provide a useful service, they don't generate much news. Digg and slashdot primarily link to traditional news sources and would be bereft of content were such organizations to disappear. For an example of the importance of this role, just look at the past few years. If it were not for the investigations carried out by major newspapers (in particular the NY Times and the Washington Post) we would not know about the NSA wiretaps, the Guantanamo abuses, or the role of the Bush Administration in falsifying pre-war intellegence, just to name a few.

In order for a democracy to truly function, a strong, independent press is necessary (look at Russia for a "democracy" where this element is missing). It's hard to see blogs and TV news stations taking over that role from newspapers any time soon.


Submission + - The History of the Amiga (arstechnica.com)

wyldeone writes: "Ars Technica has published the first part of their history of the Amiga, and of the mis-management at Commodore that led to its demise. From the article:

The Amiga computer was a dream given form — an inexpensive, fast, flexible multimedia computer that could do virtually anything. It handled graphics, sound, and video as easily as other computers of its time manipulated plain text. It was easily ten years ahead of its time. It was everything its designers imagined it could be, except for one crucial problem: the world was essentially unaware of its existence.

PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - Playstation Home unveiled

Verunks writes: Today Sony Computer Enterteinment Inc announced a new service for Playstation 3 called "Home". It will become available this fall after a closed beta testing. Playstation Home is a 3D virtual place that allows user to interact, chat, shop, join online games and also create your personal home. An HD trailer is also available at gametrailers

Submission + - Blender Character Animation Book a Top Seller

Tony writes: Blender news has been coming thick and fast lately. Just days ago Blender's fantastic new version 2.43 was released, and now Introducing Character Animation with Blender has just been released from Sybex/Wiley, one of the top publishers in the field of 3DCG. The book reached #11 on Amazon.com's Computers & Internet top sellers list this morning, which is really something for this kind of title. ICAWB covers all aspects of character creation and animation in Blender, the world's premier open source 3D modeling and animation software package. If you have been wondering about what all the fuss over Blender is about, this is a great way to find out. More information about the book, including some snapshots, is available at BlenderNation. People interested in checking out Blender itself should go to the official Blender Website and download the latest version.
United States

Submission + - Voting Machines Not To Blame In Florida

InternetVoting writes: "The final report from Florida's Secretary of State and an audit from an independent team led by Florida State University have reach the same conclusion that voting machines are not to blame for the 18,000 missing votes in Sarasota county. The Secretary of State's report found "no evidence to suggest or conclude that the official certified election results did not reflect the actual votes cast" and the 8 member independent audit team unanimously decided the voting machines "did not cause or contribute to the CD13 undervote." However, the losing candidate has responded that the audit "contained several critical flaws" and Princeton Professor Ed Felton has said "I think the jury is still out on whether voting machine malfunctions could be a significant cause of the undervotes.""

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