346 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
The real issue ...
... is did the teachers lose any time on Facebook?
I recently saw the performance of a group of junior high kids who'd taken an improv comedy class. One of the bits had them in a bad classroom, and the teacher was too busy on facebook to notice cheating on the test, two kids kissing in the corner, a fire, and an armed gunman being defeated by Legos.
Somehow, I don't think "the clueless teacher on Facebook" character came from the void ... particularly given how the students in the audience were laughing.
"Reminds me of laws stating all signs etc must be in a particular language - if you have to legislate for it, it's a lost cause."
For the record, my state has this law, and it's because of all the Germans who came here in the late 1840s and 1850s who refused to learn English. And being descended from those Germans, I understand this law COMPLETELY.
Problem is ...
The US has very little in the way of punitive damages. It's one of the reasons we have lawyers running amok over common sense, common decency, and rule of law.
I worked at a Telco years ago and a coworker was in court one day to provide info and data for a hearing about a class action lawsuit. Someone burst in and demanded millions in damage for him and his company from said Telco. People scrambled and were trying to work a deal. The coworker called me to get info on the guy's account and it turns out this jerk wasn't a customer and the address was not even one serviced by the Telco. The jerk and the lawyer walked out and did not receive any punishment, not in fines or jail time or even perjury because they picked their words so carefully.
With all reward and no risk, people tend to try such forms of robbery. That's why companies HAVE to be aggressive to defend themselves, because the law profession is full of people who make honey badgers look pleasant and reasonable. We could change this, but the lawyers write the laws, so we have a law system of the lawyer, by the lawyer, for the lawyer.
IIRC, XP came out in 2001, IIRC. OS X was still pretty advanced over Windows at the time. In 2003, when people were still arguing about what XP gave them over Win2K, I had to get a bearing replaced in a fan on my G4 iMac; apparently it was a Monday Morning fan. Since I work close to an Apple store, I brought it with me. I showed my coworkers who weren't too busy orking cows and Expose' alone was a jaw dropper. And when they found out my fan was replaced for free by Apple in about fifteen minutes while I grabbed lunch, something that just didn't happen with Dell and HP at the time, their minds started to change. In fact, my boss offered to let me store it in his office "to keep it safe" for the afternoon.
Happens all the time
In business these days, you see a lot of competitors working together. This is particularly true in the auto industry, where Conglomerate A's subcompany will provide parts for a car built by Conglomerate B. MS and Apple, while definite competitors, also work together through MS' Mac Business Unit for the benefit of both. In a case like this, even though the companies are often competitors, buying patents in a consortium lowers the bidding price, can provide economies of scale, and lowers the cost of production and research.
It's odd, I'll grant you, but it works.
What if someone invents something new, gets a patent, then realizes that they don't have the business smarts/cache to make money off of that patent? So Mr. Inventor, looking to make some money off of all of his work, shops the patent to the highest bidder and can retire to his yacht while others who know how to bring things to market can do so. The inventor wins, the business people win, and the consumer wins. It isn't necessarily a bad thing.
I worked at a pharmaceutical company and met someone who had a patent on a well-known drug. She was a very smart person but there was NO WAY IN HADES she's have been able to bring her patent to market for the consumer.( It took ten years and nearly $300,000,000 to put it in the hands of the patient.) And for those ten years, people with a nasty medical condition would have suffered if she hadn't been able to transfer it.
How long do bands these days last? Last year, almost to the day, my favorite band from the 00s, The Elms, played their last gig. They'd release four albums and, to be honest, they were veterans among the current young bands. They played real rock and roll. They understood the music's roots, including a hard-rocking version of the hymn "I'll Fly Away". The older, veteran rockers loved them.
And they couldn't get a break or get a booking outside the Midwest or upper South.
Sampling or stealing or honoring
This, my friend, is nothing new. I'm a blues fan and I've often heard people talk about white rock stars stealing from black blues men, but trust me, the black blues men stole all the time. Hell, Robert Johnson stole the pennies off Leroy Carr's eyes before the body cooled.
Top Gear is a cult hit here in the US
I live in a city, Indianapolis, where people really love cars. (You might have heard of some race we've had for nigh on 100 years over Memorial Day weekend.) It's not uncommon to observe stay-at-home moms in the rich burbs who are meeting for lunch and discussing the merits of a BMW vs a Mercedes, or talking about how different cars handle in wintry conditions. And here, Top Gear is a big hit, even among people you'd think were NOT their target audience.
Part of it that people like cars, but also that Clarkson, Hammond, and May aren't afraid of mocking themselves and each other. Yes, they are goofs, but we can see ourselves in (at least one of their) goofiness. Long may they broadcast.
Maybe. My understanding is that MOST of Martian surface geology, outside of the cratered areas, was caused by the first stages of plate tectonics. However, Mars being smaller, it didn't have quite the internal heat from accrection and radioactivity to start with, and lost heat more quickly than Earth. Also, it doesn't have a large satellite raising tides on the crust. So Mars started out with vulcanism/plate tectonics/etc, but couldn't quite keep it going.
To show one difference: there was a hot spot under the Martian surface that created Olymus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system. A similar hotspot on Earth created the chain of the Hawaiian Islands, which formed one by one as the Pacific Plate passed over it.
Now, having said all that, there is evidence for flow erosion in some places. However, it could have been water, or lava, or ice working over a very long time. We just don't know yet, IIRC.
Not disagreeing, AC, but ...
... I think what he's saying is that it may be harder to *shine* in such a situation, because doing the job well and competently may be a lot easier. In sports, there's a saw that you don't want to be the guy who takes over for a legend. If you succeed, it's because your predecessor built the team. If you fail, it's all your fault. now, imagine taking of MS from Gates. At that point you have one direction to go: down. If MS had come up with iTunes + iPod + iTunes Store, well, big deal, they own the PC market, no surprise. If they had come up with the iPhone, well, big deal, they've been in smartphones for years, and they have a bunch of money to throw at the issue.
Believe me, I am *not* defending Ballmer. As long as he is CEO at Microsoft, he might be Apple's best weapon. And Google's. And RIM's. And ... But given the head start he was given, what could he have done to impress the hell out of everyone? A bacon-flavored interface? Plasma-powered horses?
That being said, the only success MS has had under ballmer has been from inertia. That MS has to fight on so many fronts - Linux (and open source in general), Apple, Oracle, Google, RIM, IBM, etc etc etc, - and that they can't concentrate on one long enough to kill it off on that front may be their undoing. They are facing, in business terms, what Prussia faced in the late 1600s geographically. And I don't see Ballmer, nor Ozzie as being a spiritual heir of the Hohenzollerns.
Best thing we can do
... is tell the politicians to go to hell. Seriously, their solution to everything is to tax us back to the Stone Age and surrender power, coming unto them as little children. Until they are willing to give up their transatlantic junkets (assuming they don't kayak across the north Atlantic in the winter) to discuss reducing carbon emissions and reduce our taxes elsewhere, they can do the anatomically impossible. Better yet, let Michael Vick use them for his dogs' target practice.
They tax you when you make it.
They tax you when you save it.
They tax you when you invest it.
They tax you when you win it.
They tax you when you spend it.
They tax you when you inherit it.
They tax you when you own it.
Enough is enough. I am not wealthy by any means (although, in a sense, as a middle class American I am to a lot of people in the world), and over half of the money my wife and I make in a year goes to taxes: income tax, property tax, sales tax, restaurant taxes, gasoline tax, social security (yeah, like we'll every get any of our money back), dividend tax, ... much of this is spent on things no sane person with half a brain stem would agree to if forced to say it out loud.
The longer I live, the more I think that Mencken was right: the only good bureaucrat is one with a gun to his head; put it in his hand and it's goodbye to the Bill of Rights.
One other issue
When it was announced, the people at MS had a .NET label on everything, up to and possibly including the toilet brushes in the executive WC. This lead to a lot of confusion about just what the heck .NET is and isn't, what it does and doesn't, and so on. It gave a lot of people a bad taste, and that hasn't completely gone away, either.
Then again, it's like a lot of things MS: sounds good on paper and seems intriguing, but when it comes time to ship, it's as interesting and useful as a wet cardboard box. In off-white.
And researchers being funded by governments have a vested interest in ensuring that their funding keeps coming in.
I'm skeptical, for one reason: until they can show me within a midge's minum of certainty that the variations in temperature are more than can be explained by non-human phenomena (the sun's variations, volcano emissions, variations in ocean currents, etc), I'm going to be skeptical ... particularly considering how cold North America and Europe have gotten since the sunspots have become so rare.
Our wii fit hasn't made us into NFL material, but we've gotten benefit out of it. For one thing, using a wii fit means you aren't eating tater chips and sitting on your duff watching bad tv. Second, our sons' balance has improved. Third, I've used some of the exercises to help out my bad knee. I won't proclaim it cured, but it feels less stiff and seems to bother me less now. And some of the games are fun enough (such as snowboarding, soccer goalie, ski jump, etc) that it keeps the boys from whining about not having Halo on an X-Box.
OS X's BSD/Unix roots
"The OS X roots are in BSD/Unix. Don't pretend that Apple had all the good security ideas for themselves."
No one is saying that. OTOH, building on BSD/Unix is a pretty good start.
Amazing, really. NeXT/Apple has shown that it is much easier to make Unix user-friendly than it is to make Windows secure.
A little physics
The earth's magnetic field is about 0.5 gauss and is constantly at the surface of your skin, including your skull. A cell phone will produce a magnetic field of (at most) a few micro-gauss. If the magnetic field of a cell phone can cause cancer, we're about 4.5 billion years too late to do anything about it.
About animal charities
"organisations like PETA and donkey sanctuaries get more support and media coverage that human-focused charities"
I hear what you're saying, but I am pretty much fed up with charities. Very little of the money goes to the problems they allegedly are solving; most (if not all) goes to salary, staff, benefits, expenses, and advertisements. Remember, the primary function of a charity is to raise money. And if you say "No, thanks", they try to make you feel guilty. Well, I grew up Catholic; amateurs like the charity beggars can't make me feel guilty after all these years.
Now, having said that, I quit giving to human charities, unless they promise the spaying and neutering of politicians, or if they provide scholarships to the children of fallen soldiers, policemen, or firemen. (And even then, I want to see the financial reports.) The main reason is that, when I did help, I never got a thank you. All I got was "I need more! It's unfair!" Now, my wife and I foster dogs for a couple local shelters. Believe me, those dogs know how to say thank you. It is only through an iron will and constant focus that we haven't kept all of them. So I got no problem helping dogs over people. The more I see of people, the more I like dogs.