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Fertility Clinic Bows To Pressure, Nixes Eye- and Hair-Color Screening

ClassMyAss Re:Random vs Heuristic (847 comments)

Once our society begins selecting and/or rejecting offspring based on their genes, or we begin manipulating our genetic codes, evolution stops. We won't have moved into another kind of evolution. We won't be make our evolution more efficient. We'll have stopped evolving altogether, at least in the only way we understand the evolution of organism.

News flash: evolution has stopped already. Right now almost anybody born without a major defect can survive to the point of reproduction, and easily find a mate to reproduce with. Resources are ample, and there's almost no selection pressure on our species at all.

Yes, programs like this could (if we slide down the slope quite a bit further without figuring out how to land safely) ultimately reduce the genetic spread of our species if not compensated for in other ways, and there are some serious concerns there, I fully agree. But let's not pretend that this has anything to do with evolution anymore; from here on out, any "evolution" that happens (if any) is going to be highly directed and by our own hand, like it or not, because selection stopped being natural a long time ago.

more than 5 years ago
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Kids Score 40 Percent Higher When They Get Paid For Grades

ClassMyAss Re:Overjustification effect (716 comments)

Say you're 20 and someone tells you that you won't get your "long term reward" until you're 80 and nothing but "a feeling of achievement for doing well" until then. I don't imagine you'd be real motivated.

But on the chance that you are, please get in touch with me ASAP, have I got an offer for you!

more than 5 years ago
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Kids Score 40 Percent Higher When They Get Paid For Grades

ClassMyAss Re:Overjustification effect (716 comments)

Anybody want to join my company? I'm not going to pay you anything now because I don't want to hurt your sense of intrinsic motivation, but in the long term I promise it will be really rewarding. Really, it will, I swear!

more than 5 years ago
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Kids Score 40 Percent Higher When They Get Paid For Grades

ClassMyAss Re:Education's sake? (716 comments)

Wait...did you really just say that rigid inflexible reward systems that can be gamed don't exist in the real world?

I'm tempted to think you're joking. But upon reflection, I suspect the reality is that you've merely had far better jobs at far better companies than most people.

The business world is chock full of idiotic mechanical evaluation metrics and reward systems - you can't tell me that you've never heard a story of some dumbass manager that had the brilliant idea to base wage increases on lines of code produced, leading to the inevitable arms race where everyone starts breaking up trivial statements into eight lines to stack their stats. Learning to game these systems like this is a very useful thing for most people, who will be leaving college and spending the rest of their lives in these types of jobs.

Even aside from that, I don't think it's wrong for kids to learn to expect compensation for work completed. I personally have found the attitude I had in school (learning for its own sake) to be a bit of a hindrance since I've left (esp. in the beginning), as I tended to undervalue my time as long as it was spent working on "interesting" things. The school attitude really hurt me, since it took quite a while after leaving to feel comfortable charging people appropriate rates for doing the type of thing I used to do in school for free.

more than 5 years ago
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Ballmer Threatens To Pull Out of the US

ClassMyAss Re:Income taxes are far more fair than sales taxes (1142 comments)

A sales tax is fairer than an income tax because you're taxing consumption not work.

If what comes after "because" is the same thing that comes before it rephrased, you haven't justified your point. I might also take issue with the implication that income is equivalent to work at all but the lowest ends of the pay scale.

That aside, you still have not explained why you think it's more fair to tax spending than wealth. It's not obvious, and it's a claim that needs separate justification.

These may be issues for you but they aren't for me. As far as government is concerned the BIGGEST issue to me is whether or not the government operates within the limits put on it by the Constitution and that it respects Rights.

But you're talking about fair taxation, and any discussion of what is fair must account for those issues. Even if you're absolutely opposed to any and all forms of taxation on limited government grounds, it doesn't immediately follow that a major shift of tax burden is justified. The two issues are completely and utterly separate.

Personally, my view is that government should be as small as is possible, limited to only the most essential services that the private sector fails (or must be expected to fail) to effectively provide. However, given that those things must be funded in some way and tax burden must be allocated one way or another, I'm in favor of a fairly progressive distribution of burden, probably fairly similar to what we have now.

But the two arguments are separate, and an anti-tax argument does not automatically support a more regressive allocation of what taxes necessarily remain; I'm not sure why the two seem to be bound together all the time.

more than 5 years ago
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Ballmer Threatens To Pull Out of the US

ClassMyAss Re:But corporations don't pay tax (1142 comments)

A national tax would discourage such frivolous spending and encourage saving your money for retirement.

Nothing is ever that simple. Shifting to a sales tax would radically alter the distribution of tax burden, in a manner that would overwhelmingly hurt the lower 50% of earners, no matter how you look at it. The rich would get a lot richer, and the poor would struggle more. And there are a lot more poor than rich.

I don't know what the consequences of that might be, but I don't think it would be overstating to suggest that they could go as far as full bloody revolution.

That's never good for business.

more than 5 years ago
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Ballmer Threatens To Pull Out of the US

ClassMyAss Re:Income taxes are far more fair than sales taxes (1142 comments)

Why should we tax consumption as opposed to income or wealth? You claim it's more "fair," but I don't see any particular reason that's the case.

There are three issues here: first, how much does each person "cost" the government? Second, how much should each person pay for that unit of cost, and third, how should we scale that payment?

For the first question, I'd argue that there is a fixed per-person cost, which arises from administrative burden and protection of the body, as well as maintenance of most utilities that we all use roughly equally (roads, etc.). Beyond that, however, most functions of government serve to protect wealth. This includes things like providing a legal system to enforce contracts, prosecute robbery, etc, as well as the general governmental interest in making the economy robust. In real dollar terms, these services benefit those that have lots of wealth more than those with little (notice I say wealth, not income - even if Paris Hilton doesn't earn a dime over the next twenty years, she still benefits from the government's protection of her bank accounts).

This does not argue in favor of a consumption based cost function, but rather a wealth based one, at least once you've covered the "protect my body" utility that we all equally benefit from. An income based cost function gets closer to a wealth based one, but it's still biased quite a bit.

Then we come to the question of how to "charge" for the utility of services that a person receives. Some people think that a dollar is a dollar is a dollar, whether it's taken from Bill Gates, the local fry cook, or the homeless guy that asks you for change; some argue that it's the relative utility of that dollar that should matter, and if we needed to collect a dollar from every person then we should make everyone "hurt" the same to collect that amount of money. That's up for debate, and really comes down to your personal definition of "fair."

But don't delude yourself into thinking that you can label one type of tax fairer than another without defining what you mean by "fair." It's a loaded word that can be interpreted in any of a million ways, many of which are reasonable and defensible but many of which are not. In my opinion, a consumption based flat tax doesn't accurately account for either the burden that each person places on the government, the value of the services they receive, or the personal pain they feel in having to part with a dollar. Feel free to disagree, but do it with a justification.

more than 5 years ago
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Ballmer Threatens To Pull Out of the US

ClassMyAss Re:Capitalist flight (1142 comments)

^^that.

The problem here is the difference between the theoretical and actual tax rates that corporations are affected by in the US. Closing tax loopholes will bring these closer in line, and then we can have a more reasonable discussion about the issue. As things stand, those in favor of lowering taxes just point to the stated rates, and those that want to raise them point to the effective ones, and everybody just talks past each other.

Obama has to realize, though, that if these loopholes are closed, the tax rates will have to come down a bit to compensate for that, or else we really will have a tax system that's too hostile to corporations. I'm not sure if he's come to terms with that reality yet.

more than 5 years ago
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AP Says "Share Your Revenue, Or Face Lawsuits"

ClassMyAss Re:If you don't want people looking at it (293 comments)

For everyone screaming "their model sucks, they suck, they stick to antiquated methods" - well whats your solution to make it so these companies make a profit? If you have none then maybe you should try and figure it out before spouting nonsense.

The wonderful thing about an economy is that it's not the consumer's job to figure out how a company makes a profit, it's the company's.

If it's not profitable enough for them to continue, then eventually they will scale back operations and salaries, like any other failing business. It will either work and they'll continue on in the green, or they'll disappear like the thousands of other companies that go under all the time.

more than 5 years ago
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Twitter On Scala

ClassMyAss Re:Right. (324 comments)

I was looking at the syntax of scala- and it looks like they're trying to do web development in C.

You've never seen actual Scala code, then, as no decent Scala I've ever seen looks anything at all like C.

Good Scala should look more like typed Ruby than anything else...

more than 5 years ago
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Twitter On Scala

ClassMyAss Re:Aw, Java and Python had a baby! (324 comments)

Welcome to 1998.

In the real world circa 2009, I routinely port C++ code to Java, where it runs almost as fast (usually within 20% or so) as the C++, sometimes even a bit faster if the algorithms are not very cache-friendly.

The JVM is very fast, especially if you're using it in a production environment with the right flags set.

more than 5 years ago
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Twitter On Scala

ClassMyAss Re:Scala seems to be Java+/- (324 comments)

From Bill Venners, apparently the person that interviewed them about this (pasted from here):

We're finalizing a bit of text that we're going to add to the interview about JRuby. It was an oversight on my part to not do this initially. You'll see the official answer once we get the final form of the text approved by the Twitter guys, but the gist is that they did indeed give JRuby a try, and the main problem they had that disqualified it was that their Ruby app used a lot of libraries with C extensions that weren't available for the JVM. So it was not a simple matter of taking their Ruby app and running it on the JVM with JRuby. When they tried that, it didn't run.

(Now quoting parent):

And what does scala have over say erlang for concurrency and performance?

I'd say that maybe it's that Alex has written a book on Scala, whereas they don't have someone on staff that's written a book on Erlang?

Use what you know, as long as it can get the job done...

more than 5 years ago
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Twitter On Scala

ClassMyAss Re:Should have used PHP. (324 comments)

If that was their intent, they could just replace Ruby with JRuby.

They couldn't - they tried, and it wouldn't run their stuff (why exactly this is, I have no idea, but that's what Alex said). Maybe it would have been possible with more work, but they decided that they could do the job in less time and with better performance by rewriting pieces of their system in Scala.

I agree that the type tests are a code smell; it may even mean that they're not great Ruby programmers, I don't know, not having seen the code. But in any case, if the development team that they have can spend a bit of time in Scala and write higher quality code that runs faster, that's absolutely what they should do - we're not talking about a startup that needs rapid prototypes anymore, we're talking about a company with massive scaling issues that are starting to outweigh the need to add features quickly. As time goes by and a codebase matures, critical bits of code always migrate to lower levels as you need the performance boost, and I think that's both reasonable and expected. And it doesn't mean RoR sucks or anything, it just means it's not The One True Solution To Everything.

I was going to address the claim that Ruby folks like to make about dev time being more expensive than compute time, but there's no point - people that are experienced with Scala can bang stuff out just as fast as in Ruby, and frankly, it's very easy to go back and forth between the two. You lose a tiny bit of power due to static typing, but it's still an extremely productive language in the right hands.

If they were rewriting in Java, that would be another issue altogether...

more than 5 years ago
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Designer Accused of Copying His Own Work By Stock Art Website

ClassMyAss Re:that was fast (380 comments)

If you have the math to go one way, you have the math to go the other way.

Not a believer in the existence of a decent cryptographic hash function, are we?

more than 5 years ago
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The Realities of Selling Independently Developed PC Games

ClassMyAss Re:Interesting/Disappointing (120 comments)

Those are just engines though, you still need to either buy the content (models, textures) or have artists that can create content that doesn't suck. In the case of an indie, I think the first option is better than the second, unless you can do the art yourself.

Very true, and if you're budgeting (theoretically, at least) $120,000 in development effort for a game, you could easily afford to spend 2 or 3 grand out of pocket to buy artwork for your game. I did play some of the demo, and unless the scope of the real game is seriously huge, a couple grand could significantly improve the artwork.

Once they realized they got on Slashdot, they should have cut the price to $10 or $15, too - I imagine a lot of people might have considered picking it up at that price point (I might have out of curiosity), but I doubt if they'll get many impulse or good-will purchases at $28.

more than 5 years ago
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The Realities of Selling Independently Developed PC Games

ClassMyAss Re:Can we drop the trend-speak here (120 comments)

"Bedroom coder" are not the words a banker wants to hear when you hit him for a loan.

These days, "loan" is the only word a banker needs to hear to know that you're not qualified to receive one.

After all, if you were financially sound enough to pay back a loan, why would you need one in the first place? [/sarcasm]

Methinks perhaps the pendulum has swung a bit too far, hmm?

more than 5 years ago
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The Realities of Selling Independently Developed PC Games

ClassMyAss Re:additional data (120 comments)

Wow, that's incredibly low for Gish, given the publicity it recieved - though I probably shouldn't be surprised, since I didn't buy a copy either.

I can't help but feel that $20 is a bit high for most indie games. Maybe there's some logic to the price point, but personally, I find it a bit high, and I'd be a lot more likely (i.e. more than twice as likely) to buy if the price was halved. $10 seems like something I'm willing to purchase on impulse because I'm curious to spend a couple hours playing it; $20 and I really have to love the idea or demo before I'll shell out.

more than 5 years ago
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The Realities of Selling Independently Developed PC Games

ClassMyAss Re:Indie $ vs big name $ (120 comments)

I think the big publishers correctly realize that they need to make games look attractive at a glance - the problem, IMO, with this game (in TFA), is that it's just not something that grabs you immediately. And even if Madden N+1 is not 10-100x better as a game, it has ultimately brought more pleasure (==> utility or wealth) to the world because it properly marketed itself and looked good enough to get anyone that might enjoy it to buy it. I don't think the game in the article has maximized its own potential, and that's a problem...

I'd personally rather see figures for indie games more along the lines of Droid Assault or Robokill (check these out if you haven't - maybe a shameless plug, but I'm not involved with either, just a fan!), both of which have the kind of immediate traction with a player that an RPG with graphics that were getting stale a decade ago just can't pull off.

I'm not saying you can't have quality without graphical flair, but come on - you've got to look like your making an effort if you really want to move product!

more than 5 years ago
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Swiss Banks Making Concessions On Secrecy

ClassMyAss Re:Tax Cheats? (325 comments)

If government got out of the school system entirely you would have lots of schools opening and competing with each other, forcing prices down. It would be in every school's best interest to increase enrollment and student loans with reasonable, market-determined interest rates would become common for poor students.

My main question to this all-too-common line of reasoning: why the hell didn't this happen before the government got into the school business, then? Because until that happened, the masses were uneducated. Our level of education has increased significantly since then, and I see no evidence that it's because of anything other than the fact that a reasonably decent education is freely available to anyone...

My problem with the whole Von Mises set and philosophy is that if you take the arguments seriously and push them to their logical conclusions, they not only suggest that it's better to refrain from taking wealth away from the wealthiest, it's actually better to funnel it towards them in a massively regressive way. The arguments all go towards supporting the view that the incremental utility to society is always higher when a dollar goes into a wealthy person's hand than a poor person's since the wealthy one is more likely to increase production through the use of that dollar than the poor person is (the poor person will merely use the dollar to increase consumption).

I'd be a lot more comfortable with the arguments if they were about finding a balance, rather than pushing an absolute that leads to a ridiculous outcome when you take it all the way to the end of the logical path. Assuming that balance of wealth is a knob we can turn, it's far more productive to figure out what the optimal setting is than it is to blindly push in one direction, and it's intellectually dishonest to try to use arguments that always conclude "Turn it to the right!" no matter what the current state of affairs to argue that we should eliminate the knob altogether...

more than 5 years ago
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US Adults Fail Basic Science Literacy

ClassMyAss Re:Aside from that... that isn't scientific litera (1038 comments)

She is also very smart - has a masters in math, probably could easily answer trivia like how much of the Earth is covered in water. But she is firm in her beliefs and faith is always > reason.

Never trust a mathematician when it comes to science! The problem with mathematicians (especially pure ones, who deal with algebra or analysis - mathematicians don't consider statistics "real" math) is that they are so used to the requirement of rigorous proof that they can easily justify any physical belief to themselves under the theory that the converse can't be proven because we don't have a strict set of axioms backing it up.

Seriously, these guys can be nuts - Serge Lang (the prolific author of many of the most widely used upper level math texts in existence) argued quite strenuously on many occasions that HIV did not necessarily cause AIDS, but that they were merely somewhat correlated. And the guy was no idiot - he was a mathematical genius, but a lifetime of rigor can make people forget that outside of their bubble world, overwhelming evidence should be enough to accept a fact, and you can't insist upon proof when it's impossible to have it.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Google's Android Bait And Switch

ClassMyAss ClassMyAss writes  |  more than 6 years ago

ewjordan writes "Though Google has assured developers that the Android platform will remain unified and open thanks to the non-fragmentation agreement that its OHA partners were forced to sign, the text of the actual agreement was never released, leading many to wonder whether it actually has any teeth. The Apache license chosen leaves lots of opportunity for service providers to lock independent developers out, maintaining the functionality starved cripple-phone status quo, and it's unclear how constrained the OHA members themselves are in this regard.

But is any company foolish enough to throw $10 million towards developing software that will likely never be able to run on their OS due to phone lockdown? Or is Google baiting vendors with a "business-friendly, lock-it-down-if-you-like" Apache license while playing a PR game to make sure that no vendor could possibly exercise these rights without seriously enraging their customers (who will, as of March 3rd, see at least 50 high quality, full-featured Android applications when Phase 1 of the development contest ends — well before any phones, locked down or not, have come to market)?"

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