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Submission + - Categorical Thinking And Climate Change (

Chemisor writes: We often hear this disconnect in the climate debate: sceptic Joe says "human impacts are small and likely not harmful"; alarmist Arthur says "humans are affecting the climate, therefore we must act now". It is not possible to get the alarmist to answer the claim of the skeptic that the impacts are likely to be small. I believe the disconnect results because the alarmist is using categorical thinking. In this mode, if something is bad, it is bad. Water is either clean or not clean. Forest is either wilderness or it is defiled. This conversation cannot progress because the world views of the sceptic and the alarmist are incompatible. The words they use do not mean the same thing.

Submission + - How do we get smooth animation on Linux?

Chemisor writes: For animation to be smooth, you need to do three things. First, draw to an offscreen buffer to avoid flicker. Second, swap buffers during the vblank interval to avoid tearing. Third, synchronize animation frames to vblank interval to avoid stuttering. Thirty years ago, the X11 SYNC extension was designed with this exact purpose in mind, but except for one failed attempt in 2006, a vblank counter still has not been implemented. VBlank detection capability also exists via the DRI2 extension, but DRI2 is only available with open source drivers, can not be used remotely, and has no Xlib API. OpenGL can synchronize buffer swapping, but only in 3D application, and only synchronously via glFinish. As things currently stand, smooth animation is not possible to implement under X, so here's a question for you, Slashdot: what can we do about this? Whom can we beg or pay for this functionality, so important if we are ever to see any games on Linux?

Submission + - Risk Value Analysis and Health Insurance (

Chemisor writes: While there has been a lot of handwaving in the media about everyone's need for health insurance, very little attention has been given to actually quantifying this need. A nerd like me needs hard numbers for things like total health risk and how much an insurance premium is really worth. So, here's a small article talking about these very things in mathematical terms, and calculating some interesting conclusions. For example, that a typical thirty year old white male has a total risk of dying of 0.14% this year, and would receive no economic gain from insurance if he has to pay a yearly premium of more than $482.

365 Days of drinking Lo-Cal beer. = 1 Lite-year