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Comment: Re:Spectromancer not FPS (Score 1) 291

by Cinnamon Beige (#47930895) Attached to: The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming

Card games are for meatspace. Theyre a complete waste of modern computing.

Depends on how feasible managing meatspace is. I've been in several CAH games online where a major part of it was that we (the players) were spread over several countries as well as time zones, and one of the major questions of meeting up would be which country is easiest. (Then there's the minor fact that while all of us were in countries that will let citizens of the other countries get tourist visas for the asking, at least one person would be in for a 6-8 hour flight.)

At some point, the ease of meeting up in meatspace for any given activity will drop to the point that it's more efficient to do it via cyberspace.

Comment: Re:Actually a good thing. (Score 1) 211

There are ways out of this. The first is to find one or more partners who have the necessary skills to develop the prototype with him, in return for equity. Not willing to give up equity? Then too bad? Can't convince devs that your idea is not that great/unique/compelling (because we've ALL heard variants of this "my idea is SO great - all you have to do is code it and we'll be rich" bullsh*t)? Again, too bad.

The real "way out of this" is to realize that, since he doesn't have the necessary skills, he either has to acquire them or give up. Not willing to take the years necessary to acquire them? Like the old saying goes, "The will to succeed isn't as important as the will to plan to succeed." Not having a plan that takes the obvious potential obstacles such as the ones you cited into account is a pretty good indicator that you're not the one to invest in. After all, ultimately, people invest in people, not products. The product won't complete itself. You can't hold an incomplete product accountable. You hold the people behind it accountable.

Not only that, but having a dev (team) lined up when you run your KickStarter is a pretty good sign that you're serious about this--though honestly I'd be more inclined to go with a project where the dev(s) are taking at least part of their cut in equity, because that means the dev team actually has motivation to hold up their end. Some amount of wages may be necessary, but equity provides some motivation to release a product good enough to keep selling once people see the end product: This protects me as a backer, and honestly I'd feel more confident about the results if the dev(s), who should know a lot more than I do about the project, feel confident enough to be wanting equity. Particularly with a known good dev team, I'd expect them to not be likely to do that unless they feel sales stand a reasonable chance of being good.

A prototype of some sort is a good way to show that you really do believe in the product you're pitching me, which actually makes a difference. If you don't believe in it well enough to put in the work to show me even a very loose prototype, why should I believe in you enough to give you money? More importantly, why should I give it to you when there's other, equally-interesting projects that have put the effort into their pitches that you didn't?

If you're an established group, knocking out even a quickie prototype may actually be relatively easy--and it helps you narrow down what you actually are going to do once you've got the money. Are you going to make an all-new engine for your video game? Do you actually need to, and even if you really do, can you get a prototype going with an existing engine? (Slap on disclaimers saying that this is a pre-alpha version and significant changes will definitely happen.) This would probably give at least some sense of what sort of budget you may need to look at...

If you've already got a rep for delivering, you may not need to give anything more than "We have the basics pinned down," but you absolutely need the rep for delivering and it certainly would be wise to keep people informed about if there are delays. Even better is having a rep for timely and informative updates as well as one for delivering--not necessarily regular ones, since "We're working on it!" daily is less useful than even a long quarterly report whose tl;dr is "We have reached these milestones, here's some of what we've got to show you now, we expect to be reaching these other milestones soon." (Better would be a report on those milestones being hit as they're hit, as well as a notice when snags are hit and overcome, but still, infrequent informative updates are better than frequent uninformative ones.)

Comment: Re:Try Kickstarting A Novel (Score 1) 211

Unless you're picked as the new Anointed One by Big Puiblisher, you also have to do your own marketing; the only 'marketing' they'll give most writers is putting your book on a book store shelf, if you're lucky enough to get a print run and they don't go straight to ebooks. And few people look for a publisher's logo on a book before they buy it.

Don't forget that the Big Publisher may also take the marketing fees out of your royalty checks, even when this is all the marketing anybody can tell they did. They really don't like cutting royalty checks if you're not one of the Anointed Ones or other darlings. Part of why indie is taking off is because the Big Publishers are acting like the Big Recording Companies did at their worst, and while having a print version out on shelves is nice there is a lot to be said about actually getting paid for your labor.

Comment: Re:Pay For Ad Free (Score 1) 108

by Cinnamon Beige (#47854661) Attached to: Facebook's Auto-Play Videos Chew Up Expensive Data Plans

And I haven't paid them dick and STILL don't see any ads.

So you are a free-loading asshole?

Some of us earned it via means other than money. But I'd actually be open to whitelisting everywhere an adserv which promises and delivers malware-free and video-free ads, and even doing things like helping it know what ads to serve me. (I'd see it as cutting down on my need to figure out who actually has what I want: if I can do that, and they don't point any ads my way, then I am fine with figuring they don't want my sale.)

Comment: Re:Cameras reduce problems for everyone (Score 1) 455

by Cinnamon Beige (#47804257) Attached to: Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

yet you tell a police officer that he's being recorded (better yet, streaming live), his entire demeanour changes instantly.

Been there, worn that t-shirt, many times.

There's a reason one of the headaches in doing research in the social sciences is reactivity: you tell somebody they're being watched, they start behaving differently. This is pretty robust, to the point that one of the things you learn about doing for designing experiments is how to (ethically) hide that you're watching, or at least that this is for a study.

Bottom line? Yet you tell any human being that they're being recorded (better yet, streaming live), their entire demeanor changes instantly.

The fun thing here? The camera doesn't need to be working, they just have to think it is...

Comment: Re:Sigh (Score 1) 748

by Cinnamon Beige (#47731791) Attached to: News Aggregator Fark Adds Misogyny Ban

I agree. I'm Canadian where we do allow homosexual marriage (which I'm fine with), but ideally I would like the concept of civil marriage to be done away with. If you believe in a religion that has marriage, then that's fine and feel free to marry/divorce according to that religions customs/beliefs. But, that shouldn't have any effect on our civil lives regarding taxes, benefits etc.

Except there's another sword edge to your stance that you may have missed. There are legal implications to marriage that deal with probate that would also need to change in order for your proposal to work. You seem to leave out inheritance, or are you completely against that in all cases as well? You decouple civil union from marriage and you create another monster of a problem that I don't think you've completely thought through, which is the problem with most ideas/stances like this--not thinking them through. On the surface this idea has appeal, but in practice there are an awful lot of gotchas to overcome for a positive outcome. I really don't see the dissolution of civil unions as the ideal fix.

The majority of people who get married or want to get married do not have a clue about the legal implications of marriage, and in fact getting married is merely the less expensive way to achieve the same legal results.

Part of the problem is that marriage law currently is an entrenched piece of bad code--if it was a program, it would be a piece of crufty, wrongly-documented COBOL woven together of crocks and kluges which properly ought to not work at all--and the most reasonable fix of scrapping it entirely & rewriting from the ground up is going to get anger from all sides.

Civil unions don't have this problem. I doubt you'd even have many people knowing to complain if you enacted the reformed version of marriage codes using 'civil union' in place of 'marriage,' and once you were done...announce that civil unions will now be required for legal recognition. (Basically it'd ultimately be a terminology switch, but one which permits actual useful and practical reforms, especially if you want to also allow polyamorous relationships to have legal recognition.)

Comment: Re:No, school should not be year-round. (Score 1) 421

by Cinnamon Beige (#47647023) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Should Schooling Be Year-Round?
I'd honestly be all for year-round calendars if it wasn't for the fact that I suspect that the primary reason they're getting pushed is that the switch would be used to hide increasing the number of days of school. It's one thing if you're just redistributing the number of days in the breaks--and another entirely if you're decreasing them.

This is especially important, since one of the advantages of a year-round schedule is that you should be able to actually give more days off, since shorter breaks mean less time wasted covering again the material you did before the break. In fact, this is really the only justification for the change: if there isn't research backing up the assertion that something, anything, will improve educational outcomes, it is a waste of time & money and abusive to the kids.

Switching how the money is given out to 'educational outcomes' from 'time spent warming seats with asses' would do the trick wonderfully, and a lot of the objections can be solved by having the outcome be defined in terms of improvement with only critical milestones needing to be met on schedule. (The latter may only be penalized if you promote the child to the next grade before they've met the particular milestone: Little Johnny will have mastered basic literacy by the time he enters Nth grade, but he can spend as long as needed in N-1th grade.)

+ - Ancient worms may have saved Earth->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "You can credit your existence to tiny wormlike creatures that lived 500 million years ago, a new study suggests. By tunneling through the sea floor, scientists say, these creatures kept oxygen concentrations at just the right level to allow animals and other complex life to evolve. The finding may help answer an enduring mystery of Earth’s past.

The idea is that as they dug and wiggled, these early multicellular creatures—some were likely worms as long as 40 cm—exposed new layers of seafloor sediment to the ocean’s water. Each new batch of sediment that settles onto the sea floor contains bacteria; as those bacteria were exposed to the oxygen in the water, they began storing a chemical called phosphate in their cells. So as the creatures churned up more sediment layers, more phosphate built up in ocean sediments and less was found in seawater. Because algae and other photosynthetic ocean life require phosphate to grow, removing phosphate from seawater reduced their growth. Less photosynthesis, in turn, meant less oxygen released into the ocean. In this way, the system formed a negative feedback loop that automatically slowed the rise in oxygen levels as the levels increased."

Link to Original Source

+ - Verizon Throttles Data to "Provide Incentive to Limit Usage"

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "About a week ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asked for Verizon's justification on its policy of throttling users who pay for unlimited data usage. "I know of no past Commission statement that would treat 'as reasonable network management' a decision to slow traffic to a user who has paid, after all, for 'unlimited' service," the FCC wrote. In its response, Verizon has indicated that its throttling policy is meant to provide users with an incentive to limit their data usage. The company explained that "a small percentage of the customers on these [unlimited] plans use disproportionately large amounts of data, and, unlike subscribers on usage-based plans, they have no incentive not to do so during times of unusually high demand....our practice is a measured and fair step to ensure that this small group of customers do not disadvantage all others.""

Comment: Re:How much have they spent already? (Score 1) 92

by Cinnamon Beige (#47606361) Attached to: Australia Rebooting Search For MH370

You don't need a downed aircraft to do that kind of research though, you can just go out and look for something, maybe something that isn't even there.

You do, however, need funding, and which means that you have to pick a something that people will fund you looking for. Securing the money necessary to do basic research is amazingly difficult, especially when the honest answer is that your work is not expected to be of practical use to anybody but fellow researchers for whom it will lower the costs of doing their research.

Thus, it needs to have a good perceived value, and people need to believe there is a good chance it will be found. Getting money to search for polar bears in Honolulu is highly unlikely to happen.

There probably is very little expectation of actually finding the downed plane at this point, but people currently will fund any search that looks to be in the right area & actually finding it would prove we've gotten to the point where we can find such things.

Comment: Re:How much have they spent already? (Score 2) 92

by Cinnamon Beige (#47605939) Attached to: Australia Rebooting Search For MH370

You are of course correct for the initial search, but at some point you hit diminishing returns. Even if the failure were a technical one, the value of locating the wreck and determining the cause is likely of limited value. There are only so many systems that can fail, and we already do thorough failure modes analyses when designing aircraft. That's why flying is so safe these days.

You forget to factor in that sometimes the point of the search will (has, likely, already) become more than anything else a way to improve and prove the techniques used to search, and hopefully they're keeping good records.

There will, I assure you, be scientists waiting patiently to mine the data for things useful to their own research, that they would have been unable to justify the costs of doing themselves. It's like basic research that way.

Comment: Re:But was it really unethical ? (Score 1) 619

The fact that you cannot foresee all consequences is not a fundamental error of consequentialism, any more than not knowing all applicable virtues and which to prioritize is a fundamental problem or not knowing exactly what God wanted in every specific instance is a fundamental problem. It's a complication. All moral systems have to deal with human fallibility, and the lack of omniscience is one fallibility that consequentialism has. I've met some very, very good people, but none who were absolutely always acting morally. I'm not interested in arguments for ethical systems that require perfection, since everybody fails in that case.

Let's consider a situation in which somebody else will be badly hurt unless you lie. A consequentialist will weigh the harm done in each case. Somebody who believes in the virtues of telling the truth and helping others will have to make a choice of virtues. A deontologist will have to decide what God requires in that instance. A sanctimonious asshole will try to remain morally pure, disregarding the consequences to others. In this case, we see that the consequentialist has more philosophical support for ambiguous situations than a virtue ethicist or deontologist.

I am overall a consequentialist, but I am one who is fully aware of how people work. One of the things you can rely on is people denying responsibility for their choices as much as possible, and consequentialism leaves a big one called "But I meant well!" even when the only person they meant well towards was themselves.

This could be simply avoided by requiring the ends must justify the means, and not the ends you intended but the ends you actually reached.

The test with consequentialist systems, therefore, is how it places your obligations should you discover that a choice you made was not the right one? Are you obligated to act to minimize harm? Are you not morally responsible simply because you had good intentions?

Oh, and how do we define what is a good consequence and to whom? Can I trust you to care about my own opinions when you say you're acting in my benefit?

Or are you going to just be another in a long line of people who mean well but did great wrongs in pursuit of an unattainable good end?

Ultimately, it's not that the ends justify the means, but that they must ultimately do so. This is a lot easier when you don't have too much needing justifying...

Comment: Re:But was it really unethical ? (Score 1) 619

Being a role-player, "lying about a die roll" has no strict ethical value to me: if I'm a player, it's unethical, but if I'm the DM, it's just part of the job ! ;) I never lied about die roll as a player, and would never do it, so you can consider me to be "very ethical"... but on the other hand, in a setup like that experiment (when the harm of lying is not clear at all) or as a DM, I don't have any issue with lying.

The harm is, you will have people less willing to play with you once they find out that you will lie about die rolls.

If you're a player. As GP states, I want a GM who will fudge the dice rolls (or not even roll them) occasionally to make the story better. Sometimes the dice are wrong. Yes, it's a game. But it's not fun when your characters face too little or overwhelming danger.

No, it can apply to a GM too: I do want to go for the story, but I would prefer the transparency of unrolled dice--I want to be able to tell when it's the dice or the GM if things do end up facing too little or overwhelming danger, as you put it. If it's the dice I can live with it, particularly since I am fine with tormenting my PCs; if it's the GM I will be Not Amused.

It's hard to tell with a GM who isn't open which it is.

When I GM, I sometimes will flat-out skip rolling because there's no point other than to buy time--if the player's roll hits outside of a given window in some of the systems I'll run, there's no chance my roll will change the outcome significantly...and I can figure out what this window is on the fly. A few times, when it's getting a bit absurdly difficult, I will just flat-out give them it and say as much. (Sometimes this required waiting until the laughter died down, though.)

Comment: Re:But was it really unethical ? (Score 1) 619

Consequentialism ethics say they being ethical is judging acts for the consequences it has on people. For consequentialist, lying (or stealing, or killing) aren't bad in thesmselves, but only because they have bad consequences (ie, they hurt people). For a consequentialist, stealing something that would be wasted. For example, after a natural disaster, a supermarket is wrecked and has no staff anymore, and food products are getting rotten, there is no harm done in taking them, so it's ethical to do so.

If you look at that setup, well, what harm is done by lying? Not much, so while virtue ethics and deontology would still prevent people from lying, consequentialism doesn't. Maybe the answer is just that people growing in DDR, less exposed to religion, are more consequentialist ? Which doesn't make them less ethical, none of the three system is clearly the "best", it's a highly contested topic (I tend to lean towards consequentialism myself, but don't completly reject the other two).

And on this, I'm definitely a consequentialist. Being a role-player, "lying about a die roll" has no strict ethical value to me: if I'm a player, it's unethical, but if I'm the DM, it's just part of the job ! ;) I never lied about die roll as a player, and would never do it, so you can consider me to be "very ethical"... but on the other hand, in a setup like that experiment (when the harm of lying is not clear at all) or as a DM, I don't have any issue with lying.

The harm is, you will have people less willing to play with you once they find out that you will lie about die rolls.

The problem and fundamental error of consequentialism is that it ultimately assumes that you can know the harm your choices shall/have caused. It presumes omniscience--in fact, arguably it imposes upon a moral actor who wishes to remain ethical an obligation to know absolutely everything.

Of course, if you're simply looking for a way to self-justify actions which in virtue or deontology ethics are wrong, claiming consequentialism as your school is a pretty good tactic...

Some schools of consequentialism solve this problem simply by having a positive obligation to avoid/minimize harm: Using your example... If I'm going to steal something because it's going to be wasted, first I need to make sure it really is. This means I may even have the supermarket opt to give me the food products, because this is a win-win situation--I can arrange it so the situation benefits all of us, especially if I pitch my request as "Donate the food, it'll get you good will & the goods removed, and we both know you would have to write it off anyway."

Comment: Re:let me correct that for you. (Score 1) 619

Families are mostly feudalistic, and faith based orgs are unsurprisingly cults with charismatic leaders fleecing flocks. What planet are you on?

My guess is Earth, so the question really is where you are.

Communistic and socialistic groups that are completely voluntary lack most of the problems, and certainly are not automatically feudalistic (all feudalistic aspects actually come from feudalism being an attempt to scale up the family) or 'cults with charismatic leaders fleecing flocks' as you seem to believe. All it really takes is the entire group being in agreement to pool resources, and it being voluntary can actually be quite an effective incentive to keep getting along.

It may fall apart, but to some extent this is both natural and desirable, especially when it was originally formed as an ad hoc group anyway.

(Incidentally: Many monastic sects--Christian and otherwise--are communist, especially when they actually do follow the rules of their order. An individual monastic might not own anything more than their clothes, with the group itself owning everything else.)

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI

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