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Murdoch Says E-Book Prices Will Kill Paper Books

do_kev Re:This just in... (538 comments)

His assertion that Amazon was losing 4 bucks on every ebook sold is utter nonsense. You can't sell that many kindles to make up for that kind of losses.

He didn't say that Amazon paid publishers more than the retail price for every ebook; it's quite plausible that for a select few titles Amazon was willing to take a loss so that they could continue to advertise a store where everything was priced at $9.99.

more than 4 years ago
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Air Canada Ordered To Provide Nut-Free Zone

do_kev Re:Shrimp free zone? (643 comments)

Well, it doesn't seem ridiculous to think that there would be a difference between sitting beside somebody who had just eaten nuts, and being surrounded in a small and enclosed space by a bunch of people constantly eating nuts for the duration of an airplane trip.

more than 4 years ago
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Air Canada Ordered To Provide Nut-Free Zone

do_kev Re:Shrimp free zone? (643 comments)

Why is this sitting at -1 Troll? The inconvenience caused from being unable to eat nuts pales in comparison to the inconvenience caused by being unable to safely take an airplane somewhere, and it was just silly of the OP to try and equate the two.

This is, of course, all premised upon the allergy actually being this serious, but, given my lack of a medical degree, I'm not going to try and comment on that.

more than 4 years ago
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Following In Bing's Footsteps, Yahoo! and Flickr Censor Porn In India

do_kev Says who? (167 comments)

Since Yahoo! already has a low search market share in India, this will drive it even lower.

I suspect the executives at Yahoo! don't share your opinion. It's not like they did this because of their personal moral codes; this is probably a calculated risk, based upon the societies public values, intended to increase market share by appearing to be more family-oriented and appropriate. The goal is to spawn conversations such as: "Oh, you're using Google? Haven't you heard about the immoral content it tries to force upon users?"

I don't know if it will work, but it's not like it's downright stupid. Some people will consider this feature desirable. Others will consider the fact that people think they like this feature to be desirable. It's all a psychology game.

more than 4 years ago
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Insurgent Attacks Follow Mathematical Pattern

do_kev Re:Uhuh (181 comments)

That's a good point. Somebody should tell these professional mathematical analysts this, because they probably aren't aware and are just wasting their time.

more than 4 years ago
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Cursive Writing Is a Fading Skill — Does It Matter?

do_kev Useful? (857 comments)

"In the age of computers, I just tell the children, what if we are on an island and don't have electricity? One of the ways we communicate is through writing," she said.

When the best argument you can come up with for why a skill should be learned is that it would be useful were you to be marooned on a desert island, it's probably time to admit that learning said skill is pointless.

more than 5 years ago
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Russia's New Official Holiday — Programmer's Day

do_kev Re:It is usually celebrated by... (306 comments)

Without Tetris we wouldn't have the DS or PSP.

I'm sorry, but that's just patently incorrect. Don't get me wrong, I love Tetris and all, but mobile gaming isn't exactly a terribly novel idea, and had Tetris not helped to catalyze its adoption, something else woudl have.

more than 5 years ago
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iPod Fee Proposed For Canada

do_kev Re:There should be some reality here.... (414 comments)

Personally, I find the host of "OMG, you said you were going to get karma burned and now you have +5 insightful?!?! Clearly your ingenious use of reverse psychology is the only reason your post, which cannot have had any actual intellectual value, has received such favourable moderation" posts that always follow such a metacomment and get moderated to +5 to be much more comical.

more than 5 years ago
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Woman Says Officer Tried To Sell Her Stuff On Craigslist

do_kev Not Feeling Very Sympathetic (35 comments)

I'm having a hard time feeling sympathetic.

From TFA:

When the first two men told her about the ad and offered to unload the basketball goal from their truck, Huwitt called her husband.

And yet she says...

"He put my life in danger, and my daughters," she said. "I just ran out there. Those guys could have killed me. "I could have grabbed a shotgun and shot it over nothing," she said. "And he's a police officer. How can he endanger people's lives like that?"

They sound like very dangerous criminals don't they? Thank the lord she had the "incredible" self restraint to go and talk to the gentlemen first before firing the aforementioned shotgun. Here's the clincher, though:

"To me, it's racial," said Huwitt, who is black. Hickey is white. "You can look at it any other way, but that's the way I look at it."

Right, because anytime a white person harms a black person, it's racism. Let's just ignore the fact that white people get into confrontations with one another all the time.

It sounds to me like she's a little crazy (for the shotgun comment,) and probably quite a difficult woman to live beside (given her irrational propensity to insist that this must have been an act of racism.) I'm not saying that the officer was right to do what he did, but I'd be very surprised if, on some level, she hadn't provoked this.

more than 5 years ago
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Sound From Bird Wings Act As a Predator Alarm

do_kev Re:Natural alarm. (100 comments)

If you want to fill the void in your vocabulary from the discovery that irregardless isn't a word, try 'irrespective.'

Added bonus: when pompous people try and claim that 'irrespective' isn't a word (probably because they are confusing it with irregardless,) you can smile smugly and inform them of their ignorance.

more than 5 years ago
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Is "Good Enough" the Future of Technology?

do_kev Re:Not good enough (350 comments)

I don't know what planet you're living on whereupon Apple's products are "probably the most polished in the market today, yet still not perfect." Although they are aesthetically supreme, under the hood, they are frequently quite lacking (remember those iPods that constantly break, the computers that run hot enough to fry an egg, or the overpriced nature of their hardware in general?)

Don't get me wrong - I still quite like Apple (this is in fact being posted from a Macbook Pro,) and they do some things right, such as customer service (example: even though my iPod recently broke and was out of warranty, they still replaced it without a fuss,) their ability to design intuitive interfaces, and their choice to build OS X on top of BSD. That being said, don't let them fool you - despite the fact that Apple products are very slick and incredibly well marketed, the actual quality of the goods is only on par with what other reputable manufacturers are offering.

more than 5 years ago
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Thanks For the ... Eight-Track, Uncle Alex

do_kev Re:Pretty easy (633 comments)

I would be somewhat apprehensive about using an iPod given their track-records (personally, I've found that iPods rarely last more than a few years, let alone 16!) Granted, the hardware is likely to be better preserved if it isn't getting banged around in your pocket every day, but I would still be concerned about either the iPod having broken, or being unbootable due to battery degradation.

That being said, however, you seem to have proposed an excellent solution if put in its general form: circumvent the difficulties of predicting how to store the data by including a device that can read it. Are there any computer rigs that are liable to remain functional in 17 years?

more than 5 years ago
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US Finalizes Stem Cell Research Guidelines

do_kev Re:How many lives have been lost? (249 comments)

How many living, breathing, people have been denied these treatments?

Zero. Latest guesstimates I've seen say it'll be 20 years minimum before any of these treatments get all the way through clinical trials to general use. So none of them would be ready for use today, even if we'd started six years back.

How many more will die over the next 10 years that could have been saved?

Zero. See above. If we'd started six years ago, best guess says we'd have no usable treatments for another 14 years.

Regardless, we have now wasted 6 years of research, and are thus 6 years further away from treatments had we not done so. No lives may have been savable as yet, but in 14 years when the treatments would have been ready (instead of the 20 years when they now will be,) people will start dying who could have been saved.

And yes, you can make the argument that the research will proceed more quickly when we are more technologically advanced, but there will nonetheless have been a significant amount of time that was lost, which will ultimately correspond with lost lives.

Would they be available SOONER? Probably. Probably not soon enough to do anything for me, even assuming they'd fix what I have.

While I am very sorry to learn of your condition, if the criteria by which you evaluate this issue are inherently self-interested, then I think you're missing the whole ethical portion of the debate.

more than 5 years ago
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Computers Key To Air France Crash

do_kev Re:Irresponsible headline, summary (911 comments)

You're missing the point. The point isn't that this fear is sensible (I agree, it isn't.) The point is that we as individuals should have access to the information required to perform our own risk assessments when we want to do so, rather than just having to accept somebody else's opinion that something (that in this case many of us have to make use of, e.g. for business flights,) is safe. The point doesn't just apply to airplanes and autopilot; rather, it derives from a more general belief that information should be as transparent as possible where its transparency is not detrimental (something that in turn derives from basic liberal theory.)

more than 5 years ago
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Computers Key To Air France Crash

do_kev Re:Irresponsible headline, summary (911 comments)

And the answer would be what?
...
or "Your safety is in the hands of our capable and well trained pilots and staff, who we assure you are doing their utmost to get you to your destination safely and without troubles. Please fly with us again!"

One of these is true and one is feel-good bullshit. Which one do you think you are more likely to hear?

Not only is the second answer feel-good bullshit, but, given that passengers are ultimately just consumers (who are attempting to ascertain whether they wish to purchase a service,) it's also fraud. Yes, it is a sad fact that fraud sometimes happens, but, given that airlines are the kind of respectable corporation that can easily be sued (as opposed to say, that guy who's trying to sell you magic beans,) I think we can deal with such a problem.

At a more abstract level, I don't think I even need to provide any of the reductio ad absurdums that could be performed on your argument (your argument, so far as I understand it, ultimately being: "there's no point in allowing somebody to ask a question to which the person they are asking will be inclined to give a false answer.")

more than 5 years ago
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Computers Key To Air France Crash

do_kev Re:Irresponsible headline, summary (911 comments)

As passengers, we should have the right to ask whether we're putting our lives in the hands of a computer rather than the battle-tested pilot sitting up front, and we should have right to deplane if we don't like the answer."

Oh fuck off.

While I see the rational behind your knee-jerk reaction (being a response to ignorant fear mongers who don't understand that letting a computer fly a plane is probably as safe if not more safe than letting a human do it in some situations) I still could not disagree with it more.

All issues regarding the safety of autopilot aside, of course passengers should have the right to make this sort of inquiry; "Who or what is responsible for my safety while I am receiving your service?" seems like a pretty reasonable question for any consumer to ask (irrespective of how irrational their fears may be, or what they will decide to do when they receive an answer.)

more than 5 years ago
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When it comes to the Swine Flu, I am ...

do_kev Re:not a problem for me . . . (604 comments)

I don't think I have ever laughed so hard while reading a slashdot comment.

Kudos.

more than 5 years ago
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When it comes to the Swine Flu, I am ...

do_kev A bit concerned... (604 comments)

Personally, I am a bit concerned - not for myself (a healthy 21 year old male,) but rather for some of my loved ones, who have compromised immune systems. After SARS and bird flu, though, both of which (thankfully) amounted to relatively little, just because the media is fear mongering once again, I'm not exactly going to have a heart attack.

more than 5 years ago
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Quantum Mechanics Involved In Photosynthesis

do_kev Re:A step closer to the brain as a quantum compute (137 comments)

This research has science a step closer to showing that the brain functions as a quantum computer. Having a quantum computer in our head would explain why we're not like classical computers and have "intelligence", "free will" and "awareness."

No, it does not. First off, it spells trouble that you seem to view that as a desired end result. Hardly a good way to do science.

Attempting to ratify an incredibly strong intuition (or, if you prefer a less philosophical and more scientific term, 'hypothesis') isn't a good way to do science? Certainly, scientists should be open to all possibilities, and shouldn't be so tendentious as to ignore a conclusion because they want to believe the contrary, but can it honestly be said that scientists don't have a hunch (or 'intuition' or 'hypothesis,') that they attempt to confirm or disconfirm via scientific experiments? Moreover, if something coincides with said intuition, doesn't that at least prima facie give it more credibility than a position that does not?

Further, your 'philosophical' points are simply invalid. Quantum mechanics says nothing about 'free will', or philosophical determinism for that matter. Quantum mechanics can be interpreted in either way, and has; e.g. the Copenhagen interpretation is nondeterministic, whereas the Bohm interpretation is.

The fact that quantum mechanics even has such a credible indeterministic interpretation certainly does say something about philosophical determinism: viz. it gives the position a level of credibility that was precluded by classical mechanics. Granted, indeterminism is insufficient for free will; nevertheless, it certainly seems to be necessary. Thus, since quantum mechanics at this point seems to have revealed that one of the necessary conditions for free will is not necessarily false, it has to that extent said something about free will. This isn't to say that quantum mechanics has all of the answers, nor is it to say that it can at this point be used to unequivocally demonstrate the truth of indeterminism or the existence of free will (as a matter of fact, my intuitions are deterministic, but that's neither here nor there;) regardless, to say that quantum mechanics says nothing about free will or determinism is less than charitable.

In conclusion: your physics knowledge is excellent, but don't beat up on us humble philosophers!

more than 5 years ago
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Learning To Read With Click and Jane

do_kev I hate this tag, but... (115 comments)

Correlation is not causation. Presumably, it is not the mere presence of the books, shooting off their "bookly cosmic rays," that is the causal force which leads to children doing better on tests. Rather, there are two presumable possibilities, both of which probably work concurrently:

1. The kind of parents who own a lot of books are generally of above-average intelligence, and hence produce offspring that are as well.

2. The kind of parents who own a lot of books are likely to either read books to their children, encourage their children to read themselves.

The medium through with the information is conveyed likely matters very little, if at all, and so long as the children receive adequate instruction on how to access materials to read, and encouragement to actually do so, they will fare just fine.

more than 5 years ago

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