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Non-biased Legal vs. non-legal moves poll

Posted By: Taper_Mike
Date: Monday, 3 March 2014, at 9:59 p.m.

In Response To: Non-biased Legal vs. non-legal moves poll (Art Grater)

We don't want to lose you, Art! As you say, however, you may have to accomodate yourself to LM (unless an enterprising tournament director decides to go against the grain).

The Cable TV business is probably not a good analogy to tournament backgammon because it is not a free market. In my area, at least, cable companies are granted monopolies under franchises awarded by local government.

In the past, cable companies have directed significant lobbying efforts against laws that would require them to offer the kind of "a la carte" programming you describe. I presume that is because they have judged that such offerings would lower their net profits. I know I could get by with fewer than a dozen channels. Since standard cable, which used to cost around $50/mo., gives about 100 channels, the revenue from this customer would certainly be less!

But a bigger problem for cable operators is that I don't miss cable TV much at all! I can play VHS tapes and DVDs whenever I like. Netflix is probably in my future. Furthermore, I have found that I enjoy the free videos at YouTube better than the programming I was getting when I watched cable TV.

I have done fairly well locating sources for math and physics. My next endeavor is to find similar high-quality sources of historical programming. The lecture on C-SPAN3 from the author of a recent book about Thomas Jefferson's treatment of his slaves is a good example of what I am seeking. (The same author wrote a book detailing Washington's relationship to slavery as well.) By way of comparison, the documentaries from the History Channel hit the mark way less than half the time. Sometimes they are worth watching, but the "history" of ghosts and UFOs doesn't much impress me. PBS usually does a better job. I especially enjoy the work of Ken Burns. What I am really looking for, however, is high-quality college courses.

The problem with TV, including PBS, is that it is designed for a general audience. I have heard explanations from the producers of the PBS show Nova, for instance, that understanding their show requires only a high-school science education. They have a proscription against the use of equations! You won't learn much about the Higgs bosons (yes, there is more than one of them!) watching that show. I prefer a presentation tailored for an undergraduate or post-graduate university audience.

The stuff I like is boring as hell, I know!


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