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Why Do All Movie Tickets Cost the Same?

jfruhlinger Re:False supposition (464 comments)

"Also, profits of Mission Impossible go to cover the losses of the gamble on Young Adult."

$10M is a pretty anemic box office, but it's totally possible for a huge special-effects-laden blockbuster with lots of high-priced stars to rake in a huge box office and still not be profitable for the studio, while a small film like Young Adult to take in a fraction of the ticket sales but still make a tidy profit.

more than 2 years ago
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One Tenth of China's Farmland Polluted With Heavy Metals

jfruhlinger The US will catch up soon (412 comments)

Once President Perry eliminates the job-killing EPA!

more than 2 years ago
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The Real Job Threat

jfruhlinger Re:Why is it bad ? (990 comments)

The rest is a matter of distribution

Ha ha, yes, welcome to the socio-economic problem that has plagued mankind for, oh, the last 5,000 years or so. We look forward to hearing your contribution!

more than 2 years ago
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Neal Stephenson On 'Innovation Starvation'

jfruhlinger It's not just flashy things like the space program (437 comments)

Did you know that the vast bulk of New York's complex subway system, without which the city wouldn't function today, was built in about 25 years? Hundreds of miles of tunnels and bridges and stations. Meanwhile, today the city is struggling to build a couple miles of the 2nd Avenue Subway in less than a decade.

Ditto Interstates and improved intercity rail. Our society's ability to do big projects just seems to be on the decline.

more than 2 years ago
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Bank of America in battle with bloggers

jfruhlinger Henry Blodget hardly a 'blogger' (1 comments)

Henry Blodget is the proprietor of Business Insider, a website that's a pretty major must-read for anyone interested in business news. Yes, it's Internet-only, and yes he has a blog on it, but referring to him generically as a "blogger" is like calling George Will or Paul Krugman "a guy with a column in the local newspaper." He's very influential in the tech/business press and that's why BofA is freaking out on him.

And, yes, Blodget is (or was) a scumbag who promoted tech stocks publicly while trashing them privately during the dot-com boom when he worked as a Wall Street analyst. That doesn't make him wrong in this case, though.

more than 2 years ago
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Scientists Sequence Black Death Bacteria

jfruhlinger Re:The Black Death isn't coming back (265 comments)

the Black Death was ugly. Imagine half the population of your entire city or town dying off in 1 or 2 years. Nasty business that.

While the psychological trauma must have been horriffic, in aggregate economic terms Europe actually went through an upswing in the generation after the Black Death, believe it or not. Daily life improved for peasants in particular, who suddenly found their labor in great demand (both because there were fewer of them and there was a sudden surfeit of unclaimed land).

more than 2 years ago
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BART Keeps Cell Service Despite Protests

jfruhlinger Can't believe they ever put it in in the 1st place (196 comments)

I lived in the San Francisco area and commuted by BART in the late '90s/early '00s, when cell phones were first becoming omnipresent among the tech crowd. On my train ride back from SF to Berkeley there were two brief periods where trains came above ground, which were marked by everyone whipping out their phones and breathlessly relaying status updates to those they were meetings. I remember thinking, "Jeez, I hope they don't put cell reception in the tunnels, this will just be insufferable." Looks like I was right!

more than 2 years ago
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Gates: Not Much To Show For $5B Spent On Education

jfruhlinger $5B spent on education "reform" (496 comments)

My understanding that much of Gates' donations have been spent on organizations trying to reform public education along "market-based" lines -- i.e., public schools run by private companies, which supposedly makes them more accountable. Maybe he's discovering this isn't the panacea that the reformers have sold?

more than 2 years ago
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Study: Ad Networks Not Honoring Do-Not-Track

jfruhlinger Re:Of course. (133 comments)

Self-regulation can be a response to incentives, actually; one of the incentives is to not have regulations imposed by the government. The history of movie ratings in the U.S. -- first the Hayes Code, and then the current rating system we have now -- are examples of industry self-regulation that was designed to stave off government censorship. Technically you don't have to have your movie rated by the MPAA, but since virtually everyone in the film business participates in the system, it's difficult if not impossible to bypass it and still make money.

Of course, as this study shows, it's lots easier to break the rules when you're the one setting the rules and enforcing them.

more than 2 years ago
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When Software Offends

jfruhlinger Re:How about "when software is named by assholes" (467 comments)

So ... they couldn't get a date in high school, so it's OK for them to name software after a genre that revolves around the (implied or explicit) humiliation of women? I don't think anyone's labelling "men" as objects, I think people are labelling these particular men as rude.

more than 2 years ago
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When Software Offends

jfruhlinger How about "when software is named by assholes" (467 comments)

I love how this is all framed as people being "offended," so that everyone can say "Ooh, look at the little baby, so offended by harsh language." When actually the issue is that the names for these (non-panty-related) software has been picked out by dudes who apparently think that it's hilarious to take pictures up women's skirts without their consent (which is what everyone knows "upskirt" and "pantyshot" mean, on the internet). You don't need to be a native speaker of English to know what they think of women.

more than 2 years ago
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Are 'Nudging Technologies' Ethical?

jfruhlinger Re:"the lift" (227 comments)

Excellent douchebaggy AC language usage troll! A+++++, would be trolled again.

more than 2 years ago
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Dozens of Tech Bigwigs Friend Facebook Spambot

jfruhlinger Re:Story link is to "blogads.com" (81 comments)

Actually, it's a blog post written by the founder of BlogAds, like the summary says. He's FB friends with a lot of these folks, which is why he noticed. It's not promoting BlogAds as a company.

more than 2 years ago
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Cable Channels Panic Over iPad Streaming App

jfruhlinger Re:Would RIAA v Diamond cover this? (346 comments)

The lawsuits in the article wouldn't be about your right to stream the channels onto your iPad; it would be about Time Warner's right to make the app available to its customers. Nobody's claiming that you're violating copyright; the channels are claiming that Time Warner is violating its contracts with them. Basically, they're saying they only sold Time Warner the rights to show their programming on television sets, narrowly defined.

about 3 years ago
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NY Times Asks Twitter To Shut Down Retweeting Feed

jfruhlinger Their only weapon is trademark rights (137 comments)

The only reason they can even ask for this is that the feed has "NYT" in its name. They should just relaunch under the name "FreeGreyLady" or something ("the grey lady" being an old-school nickname for the New York TImes, even though it's been in color for a while now.) Assuming the Times' hasn't trademarked that, I'd think they couldn't touch it.

about 3 years ago
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Utah To Teach USA is a Republic, Not a Democracy

jfruhlinger The two are not mutually exclusive (1277 comments)

I always find this argument hilarious because people act as if "democracy" and "republic" are terms that have one extremely precise meaning each, and are mutually exclusive.

Etymologically, "republic" comes from the Latin phrase "res publica", which means "common thing" or "common substance". It was meant to contrast the Roman state, which was the possession of the entire Roman citizen body, with foreign kingdoms that were (in the view of the Romans) "owned" by a single despot. The English phrase "commonwealth" is a more or less literal translation. (The Romans continued to use this name for their state well after the oligarchic system we call the "Roman republic" was replaced by the one-man rule we call the "Roman empire," by the way.)

Etymologically, "democracy" comes from a Greek phrase that means "people power", or, perhaps more accurately, "citizen body power" ("demos" referring to the body of people with citizen rights, not the population as a whole). It was used as a term of abuse even back in the days of ancient Athens, when the state went back and forth between various systems of government, some of which involves large-scale participation of the citizen body in day-to-day decisions, others not so much.

The two words have been used to describe an incredible variety of political systems over the past 2000 years or so. The modern use of the word "republic" probably emerged in the late 18th/early 19th century, when it came to specifically denote states that weren't monarchies (as this was a live question in that era). The modern use of the word "democracy" is similarly broad, denoting a system of government where the citizens have a significant say in how the country is run. Since there are virtually no instances of states run by direct democracy, the term is understood as being wholly compatible with representative government, in which citizens elect officials to run the state on their behalf.

You can have states that are democracies but not republics (e.g., the UK and Sweden), that are republics and not democracies (e.g., Syria, Belarus), that are both (e.g., the U.S., France), or that are neither (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Brunei).

more than 3 years ago
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BSD Coder Denies Adding FBI Backdoor

jfruhlinger Re:Please correct. (239 comments)

O CRUEL REMINDER! *sobs*

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Facebook Fighting Its Property Tax Bill

jfruhlinger jfruhlinger writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jfruhlinger writes "Facebook recently opened a data center in rural Crook County, Oregon, and after being told to assess the center's value in terms of the "real and personal, tangible or intangible," the company was hit with a $390,000 property tax bill. Though local authorities are now backing off, Facebook is still fighting for a clarification of what exactly will be taxed. At heart is a question that should trouble anyone who runs a data center: is the value of the data on your servers, or of your brand itself, something that can or should be taxed?"
Link to Original Source
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We Want Thin Gadgets -- And Thick Cases. Why?

jfruhlinger jfruhlinger writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jfruhlinger writes "If there's one word that gadget-makers can't get into their marketing material enough, it's "thin." Based on their advertising, you'd think consumers would want their gadgetry to be as skinny as possible. But then there's also the fact that cases that make gadgets easier to hold — and, yes, thicker — are a huge money-making industry. What's the dynamic?"
Link to Original Source
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Facebook's Timeline Apps Are Beacon 2.0

jfruhlinger jfruhlinger writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jfruhlinger writes "Remember Beacon, the Facebook advertising initiative that went down in a hail of privacy protests in late 2009? Well, as privacy blogger Dan Tynan points out, the array of Facebook Timeline apps announced today look an awful lot like Beacon 2.0. There have been some genuine privacy improvements over the original — and there's probably also been a definite shift in attitudes about sharing in the last 2+ years."
Link to Original Source
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Linux Thrives On The Cloud And In The Data Center

jfruhlinger jfruhlinger writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jfruhlinger writes "We've all more or less given up on this year being the "year of the Linux desktop," but that shouldn't obscure the fact that Linux is thriving in ways few could have predicted in the early '00s. Two big arenas where Linux is king: the cloud servers bearing more and more of the industry's computing load, and doing the heavy lifting for so-called "big data" analytical installations."
Link to Original Source
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Could Non-Volatile MRAM Replace DRAM?

jfruhlinger jfruhlinger writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jfruhlinger writes "When you talk about how much RAM your computer has, you're talking about DRAM — dynamic memory that needs to be charged to maintain the data it stores. For years, researchers have been working on MRAM, which stores data magnetically and doesn't require constant charging. It's too expensive now for anything but very specialized uses, but in the not-so-distant future that could change."
Link to Original Source
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SOPA Wouldn't Stop The Pirate Bay

jfruhlinger jfruhlinger writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jfruhlinger writes "The main justification of the much-hated proposed SOPA legislation is that it would shut down non-U.S. websites that are hosting copyright-infringing content. But here's an oddity: The Pirate Bay, the most famous copyright-infringing non-U.S. website in the world, has a .org address, and, under the definitions of the proposed law, wouldn't qualify as a foreign site. SOPA provisions wouldn't apply to it."
Link to Original Source
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Pro-SOPA Comcast Uses SOPA-Incompatible DNSSEC

jfruhlinger jfruhlinger writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jfruhlinger writes "Since 2009, Comcast subscribers who have accidentally typed a non-existant URL into their web browser have not gotten a 404 error but rather been redirected to a "helpful" page with suggestions on the right URL, along with ads. That page has now vanished as the ISP has implemented DNSSEC, a set of security standards that, among other things, prevents the malicious redirection of DNS requests. But if SOPA passes, ISPs will be forced to redirect requests for blacklisted sites, which violates DNSSEC. And, oh yes, Comcast is an enthusiastic SOPA supporter."
Link to Original Source
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Qualcomm Wants A Piece Of The PC Market

jfruhlinger jfruhlinger writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jfruhlinger writes "Much of Intel's story of the past few years has involved its so far fruitless attempts to break into the smartphone and tablet market. But as it keeps trying, it may find competition on its home turf: Qualcomm, which makes many of the ARM-based chips in those smartphones and tablets, wants to make PCs, too. The advent of Windows 8 for ARM and Android will make this possible."
Link to Original Source
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Data Hogs: The Monsters Carriers Created

jfruhlinger jfruhlinger writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jfruhlinger writes "A recent study claimed that the top 1 percent of mobile data users eat up 25 percent of the available bandwidth. But assuming it's true, who's at fault? Stats show that data usage has increased radically with each new model of the iPhone, and similar phenomenon are in place for Android phones — all of which are gleefully sold to the public by the same people who complain about 'data hogs.' Isn't this the equivalent of a car dealer that heavily promotes Cadillacs, then complains about poor fuel efficiency, then charges a ton for extra gasoline?"
Link to Original Source
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Michael Dell: Mobile Gadgets No Threat To PCs

jfruhlinger jfruhlinger writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jfruhlinger writes "In a pitch that might qualify as "no duh" news, Michael Dell, CEO of a company that makes lots of money from PCs and has tried and largely failed to break into the smartphone and tablet market, told an audience in India that smartphones and tablets don't threaten PC sales. It's a particularly important question in India, where many users buy smartphones rather than PCs because they're cheaper; Dell believes that such users will eventually switch to PCs for a fuller Internet experience."
Link to Original Source
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Hadoop vs. RDBMS: How Much (Less) Would You Pay?

jfruhlinger jfruhlinger writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jfruhlinger writes "Hadoop is a popular open source NoSQL data analysis framework that runs on commodity hardware. One of its main appeals, like most open source software, is its free-as-in-beer nature, but does it really save you money in practice? One attempt to crunch the numbers indicates significant savings, even if you're paying more for professional Hadoop wranglers than you would for an Oracle admin."
Link to Original Source

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