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Illinois University Restricts Access To Social Media, Online Political Content

liamoohay Academic freedom (130 comments)

This position that the university has taken will have definite chilling effects on academic freedom. It is clearly inconsistent with their mission as a research university, and I sincerely hope they reconsider this policy.

about 5 months ago

Comparison: Linux Text Editors

liamoohay The real test... (402 comments)

My wife is a software engineer and uses sublime exclusively. I am an academic, and have used only emacs for the past 20 years. Guess which of us makes more money...

about 6 months ago

Fujitsu Is Growing Radiation-Free Lettuce In Japan's Fukushima Prefecture

liamoohay Re:Sure! (146 comments)

I for one welcome our new crunchy green overlords.

about 8 months ago

7.1 Billion People, 7.1 Billion Mobile Phone Accounts Activated

liamoohay Re:Sanity check (197 comments)

Don't be so cynical. I say, let's aim for 200% coverage!

about 9 months ago

Space Telescope Reveals Weird Star Cluster Conundrum

liamoohay Re:+1 Punny (80 comments)

it seems our understanding of how stars are born is less than stellar.

A shining example of +1 Punny.

Nah. Whoever wrote that wasn't very bright.

about 9 months ago

$200 For a Bound Textbook That You Can't Keep?

liamoohay Racket (252 comments)

It's been said elsewhere in this thread that the textbook publishing industry is nothing more than a racket. The publishers routinely release "new" editions to textbook which only differ in having the problem numbers rearranged to attempt to make old editions useless for current classes. The prices in the textbooks are gouged beyond belief. The publisher makes more profit off of a class of students than the instructor does, which makes no sense on margin.

Part of the problem is that students can't vote with their wallets. The people that make the buying decisions are the professors, or worse the departments. Even without the occasional conflict of interests, these agents have no economic incentive to reduce costs for students. Students' only option to "vote with their wallets" is to look for a different academic program or school, which is rather absurd to regard as an "option". It is only out of the good will of the professor that costs for the students can realistically be minimized, but there are no real incentives to support this at most institutions.

Once upon a time, there was value added in having a publisher. But this is the 21st century, and there are ways for textbook authors to publish without imposing onerous costs on students. There are even some good publishers that will provide manuscript services at fairly minimal cost. So as I see it, the big textbook publishers have become nothing more than rent collectors in the style of the RIAA/MPAA, leeching off of the work of others. The good news is that academic culture seems to be changing. The younger generation of teachers is sensitive to these issues, and open source publishing looks poised to take off. I personally would view it as an ethical imperative to publish any textbook of my own under Creative Commons, and I think this attitude is becoming increasingly popular.

about 9 months ago

The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

liamoohay Re:"Fully Half Doubt the Big Bang"? (600 comments)

If a model conflicts with observation, the model either must be dropped or modified.

That's a little too simplistic. Often, when a model conflicts with observation, the first thing that is questioned is the observation. Is the observation accurate? Is it repeatable? Is the observation made without observer bias (intentional or otherwise)?

How is that too simplistic? If the observation was inaccurate, then it really wasn't an observation, was it?

Only in the same way that it is impossible to "observe" a True Scotsman.

about 9 months ago

Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

liamoohay Re:the future is now... (630 comments)

The future is never now..the present is now.

Or at least it was then.

about 10 months ago

Australia Declares Homeopathy Nonsense, Urges Doctors to Inform Patients

liamoohay Re:Homeopathy doesn't work that way (408 comments)

But you need to be careful about the large amounts of dihydrogen monoxide present in some homeopathic preparations. Although this can be helpful in treating certain conditions, like dehydration, in sufficient quantities it is quite dangerous.

about 10 months ago

The Problem With Congress's Scientific Illiterates

liamoohay Re:Don't bother. (509 comments)

Shouldn't it be "think of how stupid the median person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider"

about 10 months ago

Gunshot Victims To Be Part of "Suspended Animation" Trials

liamoohay Re:Old idea. What makes it possible now? (357 comments)

Judging by the quotation in the summary, we can presumably infer that someone who has been dead for less than two hours is only mostly dead. Interesting....

about 10 months ago

Creationists Demand Equal Airtime With 'Cosmos'

liamoohay Nice try (667 comments)

"No, consideration of special creation is definitely not open for discussion, it would seem."

Nice try, except scientists have considered creationism. For instance, Stephen Jay Gould has written screeds analyzing creationism scientifically. The issue isn't a lack of consideration, but rather that such scientists have thoroughly refuted creationism. I actually wouldn't mind a series scientifically analyzing creationism in principle, perhaps along the lines of some of Gould's work, but I somehow doubt that such a public flaying would satisfy the good folks at AiG.

about 10 months ago

Russian State TV Anchor: Russia Could Turn US To "Radioactive Ash"

liamoohay Re:And the US could turn Russia into vapor (878 comments)

To give an analogy. If I'm walking in a dark alley and run into a guy who jumps on me with a knife, I'm in my right to take out a pistol and shoot him. But if I'm walking in a dark alley and a guy is camping at the corner, he might be waiting for me to come by and jump on me with a knife, but until he does I have no moral or legal right to shoot him.

This looks eerily like the US justification for the Iraq War.

about 10 months ago

The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

liamoohay Re:Of course it's going to exacerbate inequality. (529 comments)

The U.S. K-12 educational system is ridiculously expensive and sucks mostly because it is a heavily bureaucratized government monopoly

I hate to ruin your little libertarian fantasy narrative, but there are private and charter schools in the United States, so it's not a government monopoly by any stretch. A "government monopoly" would more closely resemble the situation in Taiwan, which is one of the countries discussed favorably in TFA, where the schools are all run by the Chinese Ministry of Education.

One's alma mater is only a barrier in the U.S. if you work for the government.

I have no idea what planet this idea came from.

Social mobility is still greater in the U.S. than in other countries

The United States actually scores very low in indices that measure social mobility. Moreover, this study finds that in the US out of all the sampled countries, one's PISA score in science is more likely than any other country to be influenced by parental background.

about 10 months ago

Study: Elephants Have Learned To Tell Certain Languages Apart

liamoohay 70kg?! (62 comments)

You sir have obviously never met us Americans.

about a year ago

Physics Forum At Fermilab Bans Powerpoint

liamoohay PowerPoint? Really? (181 comments)

Doesn't everybody use Beamer nowadays?

about a year ago

Japanese Firm Proposes Microwave-Linked Solar Plant On the Moon

liamoohay Why not? (330 comments)

With a Japanese power company managing the project, what could possibly go wrong?

about a year ago

Surveillance Watchdog Concludes Metadata Program Is Illegal, "Should End"

liamoohay Re:Duh (138 comments)

It's not outside the realm of plausibility. Three out of five only comes out to a brain and a half in total.

1 year,7 days

Panel Urges Major NSA Spying Overhaul

liamoohay Re:Bah! (242 comments)

Given how absolutely awful MSNBC and CNN are, it's no surprise that so many people prefer Fox News. Cable news has been in a race to the bottom for quite some time now.

about a year ago


liamoohay hasn't submitted any stories.



liamoohay liamoohay writes  |  more than 9 years ago Ahhh... Before you post again, ask how your professor "curves" the grades on your upcoming midterm in statistics. Luckily, I^Hyour professor doesn't read slashdot.

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