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Comment: Re:Easy answers (Score 2) 276

by Dan East (#46821741) Attached to: 'The Door Problem' of Game Design

If there's a door there, it should open. If it won't open, there shouldn't be a door there. How hard is this? Putting a door there that's never going to open just frustrates the player and destroys the suspension of disbelief. It reminds them that they're not really in this world they can see, they're in some arbitrarily limited construct devised by a "product manager" at some company to try to screw a few bob out of them.

What kind of world do you live in that you're able to open every single door you see? You actually believe that is realistic? Especially for games like the original Half Life, set in this huge commercial / industrial type top secret research setting. I would expect that EVERY door would be locked by default!

Comment: Schools are operated by cowards (Score 4, Insightful) 88

by Dan East (#46818971) Attached to: Parents' Privacy Concerns Kill 'Personalized Learning' Initiative

First of all, the summary is misleading. It wasn't parents that "shut this down" (and that would simply happen by parents not utilizing the service in the first place). It was the governments that own and operate the schools. The passed laws that will not allow the schools to share the data in the first place. Big difference. Especially since there was no breach. Nothing "bad" happened to warrant this ruling.

Whether this has always the case, or is simply more apparent in this day and age, I'm not sure. But at this point in time, public schools are operated by cowards. I'm talking about the school boards and superintendents who operate the school districts at the highest levels (where these kinds of decisions are made). I'm talking about everything from their policies regarding "threats" (like how you hear in the news about 10 year olds being suspended from school because they made their fingers into the shape of a gun and made a sound), to locking down schools with video cameras at the entrances so parents have to show their ID and be buzzed in just to have lunch with their child. An event happens at one school in the entire nation, and suddenly that is somehow a realistic threat to that every other school in the nation too. It's because those operating the schools at the highest levels are cowards. They say they have "zero tolerance" for many things now (like the whole "gun" threat nonsense), which really means "We absolve ourselves from having to think or make decisions in any way, so that we, the school board, have zero liability at all in the event, no matter how remote, that something bad happens at our schools." Cowards .

Now this whole inBloom thing, whether a good idea or not, is dead because of those cowards. Parents no longer have this option, in the 21st century, to simply consolidate their children's educational data to a single 3rd party service. Why? Because school officials, in their fear and ignorance, assume that somehow it's all going to be breached - and here's the key part - and that they will be responsible and bear some degree of liability.

Comment: Lawyers (Score 5, Insightful) 88

by Dan East (#46803451) Attached to: General Mills Retracts "No Right to Sue" EULA Clause

This is the kind of thing that happens when lawyers aren't kept on a short enough leash. They can't stop regurgitating into the legal documents they produce and you end up with this kind of complete and total stupidity. If the company really wants to save face they should fire the entire lot of them. Unless the executives are that afraid of the litigious cretins.

Comment: In other words... (Score 1) 180

In other words, people with little emotional self control over themselves in general, also have little emotional self control while playing games. Surprise surprise. Just because video games can place a person in a "stressful" situation in which failure happens often, and thus triggers the person's natural behavior that may not occur as often in less-stressful day to day real-life situations, does not mean video games *caused* that person to have that tendency.

Comment: Re:I have this "problem" (Score 1) 224

by Dan East (#46692543) Attached to: Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

I have the exact same "history" as you do (18 years old in 1990), and starting when I was 16 I got into dialing up BBSs and reading lots of messages in that kind of format. Then of course on to usenet and email in college and prolific reading of thousands of messages a week. My ability to read "books" hasn't been affected at all. I don't know if it was because I was already a prolific reader (I read the Hardy Boys books as fast as I could get my mom to buy them for me when I was younger - she made the mistake of saying she would keep buying them as long as I kept reading them, but eventually had to limit me to 2 a week). I still read a fair amount (just finished the Dark Tower series), and again, I've not had any ill affects from my daily large consumption of online fragments of information.

So this must affect different people in different ways.

Comment: Re:Ltetres odrer (Score 3, Insightful) 224

by Dan East (#46692495) Attached to: Online Skim Reading Is Taking Over the Human Brain

I wrote a script to do that:

Thing is, once you start throwing lots of more robust text in there (excerpt from a book, etc), it becomes very apparent that it really only works with simple, common words. Once you start using proper nouns and more diverse vocabulary, it becomes very difficult to read the scrambled text. Also, the way the words are scrambled makes a big difference too. I ran your text through my scrambler a few times, and some of the results were harder to read than others.

Here's the summary scrambled, and there are parts that can be read pretty easily, but then there are words that simply can't be read "automatically" and you have to sit and think about them.

Meiahcl S. Rlwosnead rtoreps in the Wnasitgohn Psot taht, adrnioccg to covniitge ntesenucoiirtss, haumns seem to be dopnvileeg daigtil binras wtih new crtiuics for simnkimg torhguh the trneort of irfianoomtn oinlne at the eespnxe of taadinrtiol deep ridneag ctucirriy... Mraaynne Wlof, one of the wlrod's fsmoroet exptres on the stduy of rnadieg, was stretlad last yaer to divseocr her bairn was aertpnalpy antiadpg, too. After a day of srincollg tghoruh the Web and hdedruns of e-malis, she sat dwon one enenvig to raed Hearmnn Hsese's ciannlhgleg nvoel The Galss Baed Gmae. 'I'm not kniddig: I cdluon't do it,' syas Wlof. 'It was troture getitng touhgrh the fisrt page. I cdouln't fcroe msyelf to solw down so taht I wsan't siknmmig, pciinkg out key wdors, ognranizig my eye moetvnems to geantere the most ifianotromn at the hsiehgt seped. I was so digsutsed wtih mylesf.'

The bairn was not dseengid for riaendg and trhee are no geens for radenig lkie three are for lauaggne or vioisn. ... Bfeore the Irntneet, the barin raed mtlosy in leianr wyas — one pgae led to the nxet pgae, and so on. The Inntreet is deneiffrt. With so mcuh iorfainomtn, hpyernilked txet, vedois asldgonie wdors and ireittntavciy eewvhrerye, our branis form suothcrts to dael wtih it all — snnicang, sinhcaerg for key wdros, srlclnoig up and down qilkcuy. Tihs is naneoilnr rnieadg, and it has been dmteucnoed in amcadiec sduetis. ... Some rseahrcrees bilveee taht for mnay polepe, tihs sytle of rneaidg is bnngiieng to idnave our abiltiy to dael wtih otehr mdeuims. 'We're seinpndg so mcuh tmie tincohug, psuinhg, liinnkg, sinlolcrg and junipmg toughrh txet taht wehn we sit dwon wtih a nveol, yuor daliy hbatis of jpmuing, ccilnikg, lniikng is jsut iareingnd in you,' syas Anerdw Dloiln."

Comment: Sounds good! (Score 5, Insightful) 107

by Dan East (#46669087) Attached to: Japan Orders Military To Strike Any New North Korea Missiles

If North Korea wants to provide Japan with some awesome real-world testing of missile defense systems, then so be it. The data to be gleaned from both successful and unsuccessful missile intercepts is invaluable, and Kim Jong-un is extremely ignorant to give his "enemies" such wonderful opportunities to fine tune their defenses against his small variety of missile assets.

Comment: Dangerous territory (Score 2, Interesting) 470

by Dan East (#46669059) Attached to: It's Time To Bring Pseudoscience Into the Science Classroom

Any time you are trying to tell someone what not to think, or what not to believe, you are entering dangerous territory. This is even more important when state sponsored - aka the public educational system. If schools do their job right, then students will be able to make their own informed choices on what to believe or what not to believe, and even if a student does not adhere to what the school "wants" them to believe, that is okay - the school has done their job either way. Direct comparisons against things schools do not espouse is not necessary or appropriate in any shape or form.

To be perfectly clear, let me explain what I'm NOT talking about. Take cigarette smoking for example. There are hard scientific studies showing that smoking causes specific health problems, so it is appropriate for a school to teach that smoking is bad and then provide the evidence. Now on the other hand, suppose there are people in the world who believe smoking is beneficial (and certainly those people are out there). Is it the school's job to incorporate that into their anti-smoking teaching and attempt to specifically discredit or call out the opposite viewpoint? No. That isn't necessary or even feasible. What this story is talking about crosses far into this kind of territory.

Comment: Lack of correlation is even worse (Score 2) 137

by Dan East (#46657787) Attached to: Study: Exposure To Morning Sunlight Helps Managing Weight

The other problem is lack of correlation for this hypothesis. There are large numbers of people whose work shifts that have them awakening at night to work during the night. If this study's conclusion is correct then the vast majority of these people should have a very high BMI, and the effects of working such shifts would have been noticed decades ago.

Then there are people at the high latitudes who have months of very reduced sunlight, and thus wake up in the dark for weeks on end. Again, do we see the same correlation there? This type of thing should be easy to study in places like the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, where those that stay over winter experience little sunlight for a few months non-stop.

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234