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Comment Re:Rising prices and declining content (Score 2) 250

The brain drain from the main cable channels is kind of amazing. Discovery went from serious science documentaries to endless loops of shark attacks. TLC went from educational content to vapid reality TV. A&E went from broadcasting operas to vapid reality TV. History went from serious history documentaries to "When Aliens Attack Part VIII!" CNN Headline went from a short form summary of the top headlines to murder mysteries. The main 24/7 cable news channels have lost all semblance of journalistic integrity. No wonder all the commercials are targeted at the 65+ crowd. There's essentially nothing on broadcast TV left worth watching unless you are a sports fan.

Comment Re:Gotta love brutal honesty. (Score 1) 474

The big difference is that the early explorers were reaching a place that was roughly equivalent in terms of habitability to the place they left. Even if they didn't necessarily know what they would find, they proceeded under the assumption that they were exploring new land that would be as good or better than what they left. The trip would be more equivalent if Leif Erikson had advance knowledge that the entire American continent is an uninhabitable ice sheet but decided to sail to the new world anyways.

Comment Courtesy? (Score 3, Insightful) 644

Legal issues aside, if she was aware of the operator's location, it was a dick move to destroy the drone without simply talking to the operator first. Half the drones I see are being operated by kids with their parents standing by as a fun hobby. There's not always nearby or sufficient public land for the activity, and it's normal to want to try out new flying locations. If she had a problem with operating a drone in the area, she could have told them so. 99% of drone operators are going to comply in that sort of situation. If they were rude after being asked to leave, then I can see justification for shooting the drone down.

Comment Thank You! (Score 1) 211

In a perfect world where everyone has a photographic memory, we would change all of our passwords ever 30 days and be better for it. In the real world, people are often tasked with remembering the passwords for dozens of accounts with different password policies, different change policies, and differing security needs. This causes frequent forgotten passwords (leading to overuse of password recovery tools, easy to guess passwords, and password reuse.

In theory, you could simply use good mnemonic devices for passwords (see XKCD example), but in practice this is often thwarted by differing password policies. One requires special characters, the other prohibits. One has a maximum of 10 characters, the other 100. One requires caps, the other isn't case sensitive. As a result of these passwords, I've often ended up in "vicious cycles" for infrequently used accounts. I can't remember my password because I only log in every few months, so I have to reset the password. I can't remember the password the next time because I'm always having to reset it.

Bottom line: we need something better. The current state of passwords can be bewildering for a techie, and fatal to technology use for the non-technically inclined. With the proliferation of the cloud and other online services, It's gotten to the point that every single time I try to help my mom or other layperson with something on the computer, it's nothing but a battle of trying to remember to passwords.

Comment I don't (Score 1) 385

Simple answer: I don't, I probably can't and it probably doesn't matter. I suppose I'm a bit fatalistic about it at this point, but my credit/debit cards have been subject to fraud on pretty much an annual basis for the last decade. The card company indemnifies me, and all that I lose is half an hour of my time calling in the fraud.

Comment Not that Surprising (Score 2) 278

It's more than I expected (I was guessing ~$400), but I can't say that I am all that surprised or outraged. For a long time, the Oculus folks insisted that they were going to focus on making it good, not making it affordable. This makes sense, because VR technology has been around for decades, but nobody has really managed to make a GOOD VR set prior to the Oculus. Assuming the consumer version is in fact good, they can then focus on making it affordable. If you want affordable, there's always the cardboard VR sets to play with.

If they manage to succeed with making a good set, then VR will start to catch on and prices will fall for other good sets. I wouldn't be surprised if Oculus eventually releases different models to fulfill low and high end price points.

I also don't understand the outrage over the PC specs. The fact of the matter is that based on years of testing, it was determined that you really needed high resolution (i.e. 4k) to get rid of the screen door effect that has always been the bane of VR implementations. I wouldn't be surprised if 8k will be needed to really get rid of it. That takes a lot of computing horsepower and there just isn't any way around it.

Comment Re:Before a human walks on Mars... (Score 1) 285

Evolution of our species beyond recognition is inevitable well before then. Homo sapiens have only been around for a few hundred thousand years and you are worried about hundreds of millions of years from now?

Given the time frames, I'm pretty content to let whatever species is the closest descendant of homo sapiens figure it out in a few hundred million years. They may be far better suited biologically to interstellar travel.

Comment Re:Biased IQ tests (Score 1) 445

It's true that this can happen, but well-designed IQ tests try to avoid questions dependent on any specific cultural context, or don't score based on the answer itself, but how the answer is thought through.

A properly scored IQ test that did ask "what are the four seasons?" could actually give full credit to a response that involved hunting seasons. In that case, the person administering the test would be looking for whether the child understood why there were different hunting seasons and what that implied. If the child answered spring/summer/winter/fall, they would be looking for an understanding of what was happening when the seasons were changing.

Comment Re:Donna Ford is racist (Score 1) 445

The kid identified in the article demonstrated the issue well. His dad was working while going to school and didn't realize his kid was even being tested until right before it happened. A parent of higher socioeconomic status probably would have been asking about gifted testing before the kid was even signed up for Kindergarten. It's not that the dad didn't care, he probably just didn't know to ask.

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Asynchronous inputs are at the root of our race problems. -- D. Winker and F. Prosser