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Comments

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Ancient Skulls Show Civilization Rose As Testosterone Fell

alexgieg Re:correlation, causation (387 comments)

You're taking your first world, society of plenty as the parameter, when it isn't. As near as the 19th century, before the advances in food production, food consumption accounted for 80% or more of one's salary, and that's considering a very advanced civilization. Imagine what a not-so-advanced one would be like? Or, even worse, pre-agricultural ones? Traditional food production (not to mention hunting-gathering) techniques are extremely ineffective.

Thus anything that provided for less energy consumption, including the fact your muscles deflate very fast once you stop doing exercises (strong muscles consume more energy), and that eating even small amounts can build up to obesity, comes down to an actual, evolutionarily-sound reason of saving as much energy as possible. Ancient environments are quite energy poor, and nature selected for that.

about 2 months ago
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Spain's Link Tax Taxes Journalist's Patience

alexgieg Re:A right to be remembered? (113 comments)

Here in Brazil the government is the hugest advertiser in most of printed media, to the point of paying for 12-page advertisement at the biggest weekly news magazines for weeks on end. It has progressively forbidden the most lucrative private market companies (tobacco, alcohol, and now going for toys) from advertising due to this or that feel good policy, and so there's no one out there with enough money to pay for their existence other than the government itself, either directly or indirectly through State run corporations. As such, except for one major magazine that still refuses to run government ads, all the others are very tame in criticizing the government. If they don't, any of the State corps threatens to stop advertising, and that'd cause it to go bankrupt.

As for this single independent major news magazine, it is constantly attacked by the governing party's militants as "serving the interests of capitalism".

So, either corporations, or the government. Unfortunately the third alternative, of fair priced, no-ads, fully independent, consumer (not corp- of gov-) serving news, and thus expensive but worth its value to those willing to pay, is almost unheard of.

about 2 months ago
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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

alexgieg Re:Not Culture (314 comments)

I'd say it touches the hearts and minds of quite a few, considering French titles dominate the French box office.

France has a restrictive system of screen time quotas. If the French were so in love with French titles forcing theaters, TV and other venues to show French titles wouldn't be necessary. The day France removes its quota system and French titles continue dominating box office is the day I'll believe in their strength.

As for your considerations on my knowledge or lack thereof of French cultural products, you assume too much. Or, rather, too little.

about 9 months ago
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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

alexgieg Re:Not Culture (314 comments)

why spend 1B us$ for avatar if you can "convey" the same thing with 30K&euro

Because that's called "targeting profit". If your goal is art you do art and don't care about profit. If your goal is profit you do everything to increase profit, including extensive market analysis to make sure your audience will be the biggest possible, and that includes spending $1B to make a movie an unparalleled visual spectacle.

(it's called star wrecked: in the pirkenning ...)

Yep, I know and loved it when I watched it a few years ago. Good memories. :-)

about 9 months ago
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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

alexgieg Re:Not Culture (314 comments)

So either you say ok: let's forget about doing movies that are relevant to us, or you find different way of financing them....

No, you can adapt. Instead of making that super-duper scifi epic with real actors, sets etc., do it in animation, even Flash animation if needed. Adopt the means to convey the story you want told that are within your budget constraints. The story itself, and its cultural relevance, will remain intact and as meaningful as ever.

"Ah, but the target audience won't accept watchin this as an animation, they want actors etc.!"

Then you have a different problem that you need fixing first.

about 9 months ago
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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

alexgieg Re:Not Culture (314 comments)

Problem is that the only yardstick you’re using to measure quality is profit. Things can be valuable yet unprofitable.

No, I'm not. I'm saying that if the director or similar wants to profit from their art, they must make art that targets being profitable. It is no surprise to anyone except the entitled that art that is valuable as art isn't profitable, and the other way around. Both criteria are orthogonal, and it's a lack of understanding of this orthogonality that lead so many to think that artistic value can and should be exchangeable into monetary value.

about 9 months ago
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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

alexgieg Re:Not Culture (314 comments)

On the other hand, why does every single piece of art have to be solely judged by how much revenue it takes in?

That isn't the issue. The point is that if you want to do art for the art, why do you expect to also make a profit or even demand a profit? Do it from the goodness of your heart and be done with.

And I'm not joking. I participate in fanfic circles and it's usual for extremely good novels and epics, sometimes with 1 million words or more, to be written by excellent authors who do it for fun and of it and to please a following of sometimes only 50 readers. The get $0 monetary compensation, in fact they're prevented from ever getting any compensation due to their usage of copyrighted original material, and they just don't care either way. Doing it for the sake of doing it is all that matters.

Artistic merit and profit are entirely different matters. They shouldn't be mixed at all, including by those who otherwise demand money because they feel entitled to it. They aren't. Either do something that's profitable and profit, or do something artistic and enjoy the artistic benefits that come from it. If you're extra lucky both things might happen simultaneously, but that isn't how things usually work, and it shouldn't be expected.

about 9 months ago
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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

alexgieg Re:Not Culture (314 comments)

The idea that "movies should pay for themselves" shows a lack of understanding of the economy.

Not, it show exactly a clear understanding of economy. If your target demographics is 10M people, you do something withing the budget constraints of 10M people, not that of 400M people.

about 9 months ago
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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

alexgieg Re:Not Culture (314 comments)

If this particular law is passed, hundreds of thousands of us, maybe millions, will become convicted felons.

And yet all it'll accomplish will be to slightly delay pirates, hackers and the like for a few days, if at all. :-)

about 9 months ago
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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

alexgieg Re: Not Culture (314 comments)

"responding well to carefully planned psychological campaigns"

Those work but not perfectly. If they did the media conglomerates wouldn't have been shrinking over the last decade.

about 9 months ago
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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

alexgieg Re:Not Culture (314 comments)

They elected those politicians. The french wants their tax-funded movies.

I'd believe it if these matters were voted upon individually in a system of direct democracy, but as long as one must chose between parties that group thousands of different policies on the basis of "which of those mixed sets is the one I disagree less with?" I'll keep being doubtful that population specifically directly favors this or that secondary or even tertiary policy. No, when they vote they focus on the major issues and in those alone. Everything else comes as an added set of impositions they have no voice over because the system is set this way and there's no changing it short from a revolution. And revolutions only happen when the really big stuff is deeply messed up.

about 9 months ago
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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

alexgieg Re:Not Culture (314 comments)

the corporations spend millions upon millions to brainwash the masses into believing that the corporate offerings are all there is

You're still talking like we're in the 1990's, and overthinking it at that. Anyone who ever browsed Youtube knows that's false and that the corporate offerings are a small part of what's out there. No, they still watch blockbuster movies because they like them. Then they get home (or open their mobile phones) and watch from dozens to hundreds of independently produced stuff per month.

the corporations actually have sent take down notices to block original content

An anecdote doesn't science makes. Yes, this happens. No, it isn't prevalent. If it were you wouldn't be citing one example to make your point, you'd be giving a statistic. If there's one it'll probably show such invalid takedowns amount to a small fraction of a percent.

What doesn't mean media corporations wouldn't love to be able to do it to everything they dislike. They just cannot. Whatever their power is, and it is certainly huge, it isn't that huge. And they're shrinking. Unless they change drastically to cope with the reality of an Internet that cannot be domesticated, in a few decades they'll have all but disappeared. And there'll be much rejoicing, for I'm with you in my dislike for them as corporations. As for the stuff they produce however, nope, those are neither "the" nor "a" problem. Both things are unrelated and shouldn't be mixed.

about 9 months ago
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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

alexgieg Re:Not Culture (314 comments)

the French have an uphill struggle making a movie profitable even if it were the world's best movie, because they are in French.

The absolute best example to counter this line of reasoning is Japan. Their pop culture is so powerful that the almost unsurmountable fact of "it's in Japanese!" offers no obstacle for its spread all around. If French cultural production was culturally powerful people would be flocking to it, learning French for the sake of watching the original, organizing fansub efforts to illegally subtitle French movies, shows and comics into dozens of languages, create sites to host thousands of fanfics, fanarts etc. about their most beloved French shows, and so on and so forth. Nothing of this happens for the simple reason that French cultural production fails miserably at touching the hearts and minds of anyone but a small minority among even the French.

Also, while today almost no one is interested in learning the French language, until before WW2 it was the international language. Everyone everywhere learned French and talked with people from other countries in French. By capitalizing all that goodwill France had the opportunity to become not only the center of high culture and science it already was, but also of becoming the undisputed superpower in matter of global popular culture. It didn't want to, it still doesn't want to, and as such its cultural producers are reduced to begging the government for money.

As long as they continue accusing externalities such as the (utterly irrelevant) worldwide number of French speakers for their lack of success, they'll continue failing. No, they have no one other than themselves to blame. That's all there is to it.

about 9 months ago
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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

alexgieg Re:Not Culture (314 comments)

Basically, if it doesn't make a heap of money for Hollywood executives and investors, then it's not really culture, right?

That's a rhetorical way to put things. I can take your phrase verbatim and make it look as bad or worse for politically-backed productions by just changing the target:

"Basically, if it doesn't give a lot of power to politicians and the lobbies that support them, then it's not really culture, right?"

Everyone, no matter their background, flocks to the cinema for their entertainment. They all listen to music for which they have paid - music approved by RIAA represented companies.

It's their choice. Don't act like the Internet doesn't exist, you can obtain almost anything you want, it's all one or two clicks away. Take it, show others, cause them to notice there's better stuff out there, just don't impose any of it on them. Let them decide.

"Action thriller" is just about synonymous with "brain dead".

And that's bad because...? If people like to have some escapist fun, what's the problem? Aren't they entitled to their small doses of endorphin? People want fun, let them have fun. It isn't like they cannot pursue higher goals at other times. Nudge them in that direction if you feel you must, but in the end always, always let they chose for themselves. As long as they aren't imposing their preferences upon you, it's their prerogative and it should be respected.

about 9 months ago
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France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

alexgieg Re:Not Culture (314 comments)

It's a choice made by the French.

No, it's a choice made by the French government and imposed on French citizens. Those, when they chose, do so by way of opting to watch this movie and not that movie, by paying for this and not for that. No imposition is ever a choice, except by those who do the imposing.

If French movies were good, as in "something the French are actually willing to directly pay for", subsidies wouldn't be necessary because those movies would pay for themselves. Since the French don't actually want to pay for them what they'd cost to become profitable, then the roundabout way is to make them pay anyway just because. After all, what would happen to all these friendly filmmakers of ours if they had to, you know, make stuff people wanted to watch? Oh, the horror! Oh, the tyranny! No, no, no, much better to have everything decided by enlightened bureaucrats who, as every bureaucrat knows, are always and by definition superior in their judgment to the wishes, preferences and desires of the ignorant rabble, harumph!

about 9 months ago
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How the Lessons of Columbine Saved Lives At Arapahoe High School

alexgieg Re:police arive within 'minutes' (894 comments)

Why do you only want to give criminals the right to carry guns?

about 9 months ago
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Sci-fi Author Charles Stross Cancels Trilogy: the NSA Is Already Doing It

alexgieg Re:I've had the same problem (208 comments)

You need to go so far into the future, for which you need to know so much about physics and engineering and etc. to even try and predict what will happen, that you may as well start looking for a job applying that knowledge rather than struggle to be a writer with totally uncertain income.

Maybe that's a sign that the Singularity is indeed going to happen. The whole idea is that the speed of technological achievements continues to increase to the point new advances start coming faster than we can follow them. After the Singularity you're presumed to live like this: you start to become acquainted to the last industrial revolution-like development, with all it entails in terms of new technologies, and you hear it's already 20 generations behind, individual technological achievements within each of those revolutions so numerous they can't even be numbered. Then you start to vaguely and very superficially try to get a glimpse of what they were about and 50 new revolutions happened in the meantime...

Science fiction just isn't possible when science goes faster than your writing. At best you start writing fantasy as the difference isn't clear anymore.

about 10 months ago
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Gov't Puts Witness On No Fly List, Then Denies Having Done So

alexgieg Re:Just drive there (462 comments)

Walking is a privilege, not a right.

about 10 months ago
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Gov't Puts Witness On No Fly List, Then Denies Having Done So

alexgieg Re:Southwest.. (462 comments)

I've once read an article by a guy who managed to escape a dictatorship. He said that no country truly appreciates freedom until it's gone through a few decades of fascism and/or of a dictatorship of the proletariat. It seems it's time for the USA to have such an "enlightening" experience. The good side: afterwards things will improve. The bad thing: a restoration usually happens only two or more generations down the line.

Well, at least your grandchildren will see it.

about 10 months ago
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Lawsuits Seek To Turn Chimpanzees Into Legal Persons

alexgieg Re:food (641 comments)

Sorry, we're predators, as much as you may want to deny it's true.

The vegetarian position isn't that we aren't predators, it's that we can chose to not be predators. I know people who did in fact make the fully informed choice of continuing to eat meat after pondering the pros and cons along multiple moral dimensions, and others like myself who've chose to stop eating meat, but most people never make a choice proper, they just go along with the flow. IMHO that amoral automatism is worse than actually opting for either alternative.

By the way, deriving a moral position (an "ought", in the case "I ought to eat meat") directly from a set of attributes (an "is", in the case "my body is able to digest meat") is usually considered a weak argument or even a fallacy. It usually requires an added goal system or similar to become strong. Check the is-ought problem for details.

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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Mendeley Acquired by Elsevier

alexgieg alexgieg writes  |  about a year and a half ago

alexgieg (948359) writes "Academic reference manager Mendeley has announced they're joining Elsevier. They say this won't change anything for Mendeley users and that they're still committed to their Open API efforts, all the while acknowledging that Elsevier's reputation hasn't been the best as of late. If you're currently a Mendeley user will you continue using it from now on? Or will this move prompt you to start evaluating alternatives such as the open source, Firefox-based Zotero?"
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Torment: Tides of Numenera Final Kickstarter Day

alexgieg alexgieg writes  |  about a year and a half ago

alexgieg (948359) writes "In about 24 hours the kickstarter for the Torment: Tides of Numenera computer RPG game, the spiritual sucessor to the acclaimed Planescape: Torment, will finish. So far the pledges have crossed the $3.75 million mark, more than 4 times the initial project goal of $900k, thus funding the game and 15 of the 18 stretch goals. If the pledges reach $4.5 million all the 18 stretch goal will have been funded. Once completed the game will be DRM-free and available for Windows, MacOS X and Linux."
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Polar Ice Caps Recovering

alexgieg alexgieg writes  |  more than 6 years ago

alexgieg writes ". . . reports from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). . . reveal that almost all the allegedly 'lost' ice has come back. A NOAA report shows that ice levels which had shrunk from 5 million square miles in January 2007 to just 1.5 million square miles in October, are almost back to their original levels."
Link to Original Source
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Yahoo China sued by International RIAA

alexgieg alexgieg writes  |  more than 6 years ago

alexgieg writes "From the article: 'Yahoo China lost another round in a legal battle as a court in Beijing upheld a ruling that the company is infringing on copyright laws by allowing pirated music to be downloaded, according to the industry group suing Yahoo China. (. . .) In the suit, IFPI accused China Yahoo of violating copyrights because it allows links between its search engine and Web sites that have illegally copied songs from artists such as U2 and Destiny's Child.'"
Link to Original Source
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alexgieg alexgieg writes  |  more than 7 years ago

alexgieg writes "Some friend and me are interested in creating a small site where we'll publish voluntary translations of up to 8 texts per month, and I will be responsible for the task of implementing it, since I'm the one among us who know a little about Linux, HTML, CSS and the like.

The features we will need are: support for simple and very light designs, since the site will be almost entirely composed of long texts; an easy way to add and edit these texts, with usernames and passwords for me and my friends; support for tags attributed by the submitter, if possible hierarchical ones (tagging a text "democracy" would automatically tag it "politics" too); ability to display all texts that have/pertains to such and such tags (let's say, selecting "democracy" and "philosophy" would show all articles that have both tags); and maybe ability to integrate with an OSS forum software. What is, or are, good OSS solutions for this?

In regards to the forums, we plan to have a topic for each translation published, as well as generic forums, since our idea is to also grow a community around the site, but not something integrated to the articles themselves, at most a link from the article to the its topic in the forums. However, I've heard a lot about serious bugs and lack of security on some of the most known forum software out there, and as I never installed any of them, I don't know how to choose an effective and secure solution. So, what are your suggestions also in the field of OSS forums?"

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