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Comment: Huh? (Score 1) 131

by Daetrin (#49088089) Attached to: Carnegie-Mellon Sends Hundreds of Acceptance Letters By Mistake
"The program accepts fewer than nine percent of more than 1,200 applicants, which places the acceptance level at about a hundred, so they're bad at math, too."

Does this joke depend on some fact in TFA? (Which i am unable to read at work.) Are they actually supposed to be accepting some number that is significantly higher or lower than 100? As it is that statement stands out as a total non-sequitur.

Comment: Re:No reason to go there (Score 2) 294

by Daetrin (#48998277) Attached to: Radioshack Declares Bankruptcy
Radio Shack serves a need, it just doesn't serve it very well. I needed a 6' USB extension cable last weekend on short notice. I checked at Radio Shack, Staples and Office Depot. If i remember correctly the prices were:

Radio Shack: $35
Staples: $25
Office Depot: $20

I'm probably wrong about the specifics, but that was the general range. Meanwhile i could go online and get a cable from Monoprice for $3-4, and, rather insultingly, Office Depot's online store had one for $5-6.

If Radio Shack had a cable for about $10 i probably would have given up and bought it there just for the convenience, even though i still would have considered that price gouging. But paying an order of magnitude more was just out of the question. This ought to have been exactly the case where Radio Shack came to the rescue, but instead they were the worst of the bunch.

Comment: I don't understand the problem (Score 2) 194

by Daetrin (#48998143) Attached to: Farmers Struggling With High-Tech Farm Equipment
Slashdot was telling me just a couple months ago that "farming has been stuck in a bit of a rut" and "farming has been using techniques that have been handed down from centuries ago". Since Slashdot is never wrong, clearly farmers don't use high-tech equipment. So how can they be struggling to repair it?

Comment: Velikovsky (almost) strikes again! (Score 1) 65

by Daetrin (#48941541) Attached to: How Gaseous, Neptune-Like Planets Can Become Habitable
Looks like another example of how _some_ of Immanuel Velikovsky's ideas, such as those in Worlds in Collision, were actually plausible and scientifically interesting, at least at a basic level. It's too bad he felt it was necessary to sabotage himself by compressing all of his ideas together into an implausibly complex series of events taking place over an implausibly short timeline in order to make a kind of historical conspiracy theory.

Comment: Re:anything has to be better than beyond earth (Score 1) 227

by Daetrin (#48856589) Attached to: Sid Meier's New Game Is About Starships

I still suspect the reviewers were bribed somehow, or perhaps tested the game before it got radically dumbed down, just before release?

I think the glowing reviews of Civ5 are explainable without resorting to bribery or shenanigans by the developer as the cause.

I am a long term but relatively moderate Civ player. I've been playing since the first Civilization and have played all of them since then. Including Civilization: Call to Power and Call to Power 2, plus Alpha Centauri. And all of the Master of Orion games (including 3, regrettably) Master of Magic, and GalCiv and GalCiv2.

I am not an expert however. I can't beat any of them at the highest difficulty settings, with the exceptions of the original MoO, mainly due to Sulla's recaps and videos.

When the initial Civ5 news stories came out i was wary about how the one unit per tile thing would work, however when i first got the game i have to admit i quite liked it. It was simple and easy to get into and it was very pretty. And i've always liked one city challenges, it it made those really easy!

It took time to realize that perhaps it made one city challenges _too_ easy, and did so at the cost of making other styles of play (anything involving more than three or four cities) prohibitively difficult/unrewarding. Doing the tactical combat was kind of fun at first, it took a little while for the problems with the combat to become more clear. I did notice the dearth of interesting buildings and how long they took to complete much earlier, but i didn't really make the connection to 1UPT until it was pointed out by Sulla and others. I'm sure those problems were immediately apparent to the real experts, but for the rest of us it took a little while.

Reviewers generally don't have that much time to invest in playing a game for review. They saw the pretty and got to experience the first dozen or so hours where it was fun and easy, but with enough choices available that it seemed to present the kind of strategic depth that would allow for a great deal of replay. They never got to the point of realizing that most games end up being the initial rush to build your first two or three cities and then just sitting back and hitting "next turn" a lot.

So they gave their reviews and left it to the Civ community to do the in-depth analysis and rip it a new one.

But those initial reviews were probably correct for a lot of people. Civ5 _is_ a great game for people who want to put in a few dozen hours without facing a serious challenge and then move on to the next game. Or people who like dumping in a lot of time into a game that's at least moderately entertaining in order to pick up achievements. (I confess that i got sucked into that for longer than i should have.)

Comment: Re:Media blackout (Score 1) 556

by Daetrin (#48635199) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate
Uh, backing down when threatened with violence does not make one like a troll. It might be cowardly or it might be sensible, but it certainly isn't troll-like. It's the people who _threaten_ violence who are usually the trolls, since they don't have valid arguments to back up their stance.

Someone threatening violence if a debate takes place isn't "things getting interesting", it's someone trying to shut down a debate they can't win within the context of the debate.

Comment: Re:Ride sharing? (Score 1) 139

by Daetrin (#48572905) Attached to: California Sues Uber Over Practices
Most sensible geeks get incensed when the government passes a law about "Doing X, but on a computer/the internet" or when a company tries to patent "Doing X, but on a computer/the internet". We quite rightly point out that there are already laws or patents covering the same thing and doing it on a computer or the internet doesn't make it magically special.

Well this is part of why the government sometimes keeps trying to pass "Doing X, but on the internet" laws. Because some jerk is always willing to try getting away with something and then when they get caught argue "but it was on the internet, so it doesn't count!"

Comment: Not quite... (Score 3, Insightful) 222

by Daetrin (#48568949) Attached to: Dad Makes His Kid Play Through All Video Game History In Chronological Order

Andy taught him about gaming by making him play and master all of the old video games and gaming systems in the exact order they were actually released.

Part of that sentence is definitely wrong and part of it is definitely misleading. Because he skipped straight from the Atari 2600 to the NES, and then to the Super NES, and then to the N64. No Coleco, no Genesis, etc. So not all the consoles, and from what i can tell not even all the games for each console. And i can't see any indication that they're being played strictly in order either.

So it's a heavily curated list of games, which is a good thing because the full list would be impossible to do, and it seems to be in strict chronological order in terms of consoles but only vague order within each generation.

Comment: Oh, _that_ asshole! (Score 1) 239

by Daetrin (#48523045) Attached to: Google Hopes To One Day Replace Gmail With Inbox
This from Jason Cornwell, who decided to "allow" us to write shorter emails by "allowing" us to use a tiny little non-resizable compose window in Gmail.

Okay, that's not 100% true. You can switch to "full-screen" mode, which enlarges it to a size that is neither all of the screen nor even just all of the window. But it does "kindly" grey out all the GUI elements that the "full-screen" window isn't covering up and disallows you from interacting with them without minimizing the window.

But i guess it make senses. If he can just make Gmail unappealing enough then of course we'll all switch to Inbox, right?

Comment: The writer doesn't get the Singularity either (Score 1) 455

*sigh* Someone doesn't understand the Singularity theory. Based on the title i'm guessing it's the professor, but since i can't actually read the article at work it's possible it's the Slashdot editor who conflated lack of AI with lack of Singularity.

The basic premise of the Singularity is that over historic time periods the rate of knowledge acquisition of the human race has increased at a geometric rate.

The reason this has happened is because acquiring knowledge allows us to develop tools that allows us to build upon the pre-existing knowledge to make new discovers that allow better tools, and so on. (Although it's far from a perfect simulation, anyone who's ever played Civilization or any similar strategy game should know that process by heart.)

There are two possible outcomes to this progression, either we hit some rate limiting factor sometime in the "near" future, or the rate of knowledge acquisition over time will approach a mathematical singularity, at which point we will be discovering things so fast that our current minds can not comprehend what will happen. Obviously proponents of the Singularity believe that it is the second possibility that will happen.

However the theory of the Singularity makes no prescriptions about _how_ we will obtain that rate of knowledge. Certainly Artificial Intelligence is one such way. However direct augmentation of our brains is another possibility. Whether that will be via cybernetic implants, biomedical alterations, genetic tinkering, or something else we haven't, and possibly can't, think of is impossible to say at this point.

Up until now of course tools have allowed us to indirectly augment out brains. Writing lets us record information. The internet lets us retrieve information. Now Watson helps us interpret that information. Yes Watson isn't doing anything, Watson is just a tool we use. But tools that help us accomplish things we couldn't before are exactly what moves us along the path towards the Singularity.

As has been pointed out, there was just recently news about replicating a worm's mind in a mechanical body. Yes it's very interesting, but no, it isn't a perfect recreation of an actual brain. But maybe when that paper gets scanned into Watson 2.0 it will make some connection to some other paper on artificial neurons or some such and Watson will let the authors know that they really ought to talk to each other. And boom, we're suddenly creating real artificial minds. Or maybe something else happens. The whole point is we don't know what the next step will be, we're just observing a trend.

If you want to argue against the Singularity you can't just pick a hole in the prospects for AI. You need to explain why the current trend in knowledge acquisition won't continue.

Comment: Re:Who cares about the lander? (Score 2) 337

by Daetrin (#48390711) Attached to: Philae's Batteries Have Drained; Comet Lander Sleeps
So sarcasm aside, it sounds like you're annoyed that people got diverted from talking about the science to discuss the politics of a shirt? In fact you were so concerned about the issue you decided to write a post diverting us from talking about the science to discuss the politics of discussing the politics of a shirt. After all, it's of dire importance we raise awareness about people trying to raise awareness about the shirt since none of the people complaining about it were kind enough to complain about it here first where we would be aware of it.

Well speech is free, and it's not like we can't discuss both issues (or all three issues?) And I am glad you care enough about justice in these kinds of social issues to fight for your beliefs!

Comment: This really is a serious problem (Score 4, Funny) 264

by Daetrin (#48326709) Attached to: We Are Running Out of Sand
Sand has a lot of uses but it's non-renewable. There's no way (yet) to manufacture it. If you mine the beaches you ruin the environment and end up with eyesores. The same thing happens if you go to your local desert and mine there. It is possible to strip mine a desert, take all the sand and sandstone, and then put a layer of sand back on top. That leaves the landscape looking mostly the same, albeit a bit lower in elevation than it was before, but it takes a _lot_ of work. I've heard of people doing massive underwater operations to strip mine the seabed of sand so that none of the easily visible above-water environments are damaged.

...wait, we are talking about Minecraft, right?

Comment: Re:Well (Score 1) 594

by Daetrin (#48301429) Attached to: Space Tourism Isn't Worth Dying For
Saying "if X were [easier/better/safer/whatever] we would already be doing X" is vastly overestimating human intelligence and insightfulness. We often fail to recognize the true value of certain inventions or techniques until well after their invention, and often choose to use non-optimal methods for what seemed like good reasons at the time.

A tongue-in-cheek but still insightful article about the subject (#1 and #3 are particularly relevant to this discussion.)
http://www.cracked.com/article...

Committees have become so important nowadays that subcommittees have to be appointed to do the work.

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