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Comment: Re:Interesting line from TFA: (Score 1) 138

by Dutch Gun (#47802827) Attached to: Radioactive Wild Boars Still Roaming the Forests of Germany

Now you want to call praying mantis people too? wow, what an abandonment of specieism that would be.. So when are mosquitoes gonna be protected as having individual rights under the Constitution? Not anytime soon, I reckon..

Whoosh? Pretty sure that was just supposed to be funny. Granted, it's sort of hard to tell if people are kidding about that sort of thing nowadays, with some extremists actually declaring the life of a human and a rat as equivalent in value.

Comment: Re:Great post - shame humans AREN'T as rational (Score 3, Insightful) 360

by Dutch Gun (#47790175) Attached to: Islamic State "Laptop of Doom" Hints At Plots Including Bubonic Plague

FUD works because people don't think things through; we are very bad at proper risk assessment. The question remains whether we should trust our government to do better - or suspect it of abusing the opportunity this allegation makes. Recent history encourages the latter!

Keep in mind that it's quite literally the government's job to try to protect against or prepare for worst case scenarios. FEMA does it with natural disasters. The military plays end-of-the-world wargames and trains for battle against people we hope never to fight against. And of course, the various Homeland Security agencies look for people who want to do America or its citizens harm. It's their job to try to anticipate or prevent worst-case scenarios. We hire people to do this so we won't have to.

This create a quandary of sorts. On the one hand, they're by far the most qualified to answer the question as to how legitimate the potential threats are. On the flip side, it's in their own best interest to magnify the threats so as to increase their own budgets and importance, which is a natural trend for any bureaucratic agency. We can, however, blame them for overreaching their legal and constitutional bounds in carrying out their mandate. And we need to call them out when we see that they've magnified threats beyond their logical probability as well. That second part is a bit harder to do - realistically, only our elected officials have access to the most sensitive raw sources and data, so we have to trust that they'll exercise proper oversight in that regard.

As lay persons, you and I (and the general public) are not really qualified to determine whether various threats are real or not, both because a) it's not our area of expertise, and b) we don't have enough data to make a well-informed judgment. For instance, many terrorists may have been stopped by good intelligence, but it's possible this information can't be released to the public (similar to the allies Ultra/Enigma project in WWII), for fear of compromising the source or techniques used. This leaves the public feeling like there is no credible threat, which on the one hand, is a good thing, but on the other, leads people to question the necessity of the very agencies preventing the attacks. It's unfortunate that these agencies have undermined their own trust, because now we have a hard time believing them even if they're telling us the truth.

Who do you turn to when your best guard dog has been crying wolf?

Comment: Re:Yup - the story is doing its job (Score 3, Insightful) 360

Jihadists succeeded in a pretty big way with the 9/11 attacks. I fail to see why another group wouldn't be capable of doing something of that magnitude again, given some proper funding and competent planning. It seems illogical to conclude that there isn't a real threat against western targets after we've seen those and other attacks.

I'm not saying we should panic, overreact, or (in the case of the NSA) overreach, but I think some vigilance is surely warranted.

Comment: Re:*drool* (Score 1) 172

by Dutch Gun (#47788299) Attached to: Intel's Haswell-E Desktop CPU Debuts With Eight Cores, DDR4 Memory

Game developer here. A lot of stuff still happens on the CPU, especially when you're talking about large-scale AAA 3D games. Note that some of these items may make use of additonal GPU or specialized hardware, but that's still somewhat rare.

* Model animation is performed on the CPU. This is probably the biggest CPU hit in most AAA games today.
* Audio engines are all in software now, and they're applying a lot of real-time effects, in addition to the costs of real-time decompression and mixing overhead.
* Physics and collision detection is performed on the CPU.
* Pathfinding can be very CPU-intensive.
* Particle effects are sometimes performed on the CPU, especially if they need to interact with the world in any way or have complex behaviors.
* AI and any sort of scripting is, of course, performed on the CPU

Obviously, some games push the CPU a lot harder than others, but it's still important to have a reasonable CPU/GPU balance if you want to be able to play a wide variety of games.

That being said, of course it's pointless to upgrade your CPU if you're already GPU-bound, and that still tends to happen faster, because it's easy to crank up visual complexity until your video card chokes and sputters under the load.

Comment: Re:Not quite old but... (Score 4, Insightful) 610

by Dutch Gun (#47788083) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

Yeah, completely with you there. I'm fine with the anti-skeumorphic trend - it's silly to continue to make things look like now decidedly old-school real-life countparts for it's own sake. But why did color, gradients, gloss, and borders have to go as well?

Now we have flat, borderless, and ugly designs all over the place, and what's worse, I've found these UIs more difficult to use, not less, because you're often left guessing as to where buttons begin or end, or what even is clickable/pushable. A lot of the visual elements removed were important visual cues that simply got tossed out the window.

Comment: Re:Just proves the point (Score 1) 1220

Mind telling me which one that was? I just watched "damsels in distress (part one)" and it seemed pretty reasonable, handing out a lot of criticism but also pointing out some positive examples as well. Did she get a lot more vitriolic in later videos or something?

Comment: Re:Start at the top (Score 1) 1220

What I don't understand is why we're down on the "Save the Princess" games when yeah, there's much worse stuff out there to be dealt with.

She tackles a lot of issues, but I started with her "damsel in distress" video, so that's what I commented on. I'd recommend watching the video if you haven't. You sort of have to put yourself in place of a young girl growing up as a videogamer. It would sort of suck to always be forced to play as a male hero rescuing a helpless princess, wouldn't it? She simply points out that it's a cheap and simple way to pander to adolescent male power fantasies, which is absolutely true. Note that she goes after this trope first because it's such an incredibly pervasive theme, even if it isn't the "worst" of the problems.

p.s. I don't agree that "save the princess" is inherently bad to the point that it should be eliminated entirely. Somebody needs to be saved, after all. It's more that it's generally lopsided in favour of helpless female "props" and male protagonists. Maybe we need more Princess Fiona types that can kick ass in their own right

Yep, and she pointed out some examples of games that did this better than others. For instance, Princess Zelda in Wind Waker was a strong and capable sidekick throughout most of the adventure. Of course, she also points out that three minutes after she's revealed to be the beautiful princess Zelda in the game, she reverts right back to the "helpless female trophy", and is captured and imprisoned exactly three minutes later. She gave props to the game for the fact that Zelda helped Link to defeat the final boss as well.

Essentially, the theme of her first video was simply demonstrating how the "damsel in distress" essential reduces the female role to one of a trophy to be won, fought over by protagonist and antagonist alike. It's hard to argue that such a critique is untrue, even if the intent wasn't overtly malicious in any way.

My take on the situation is not really about feminist issues, it's simply a matter of improving the quality of storytelling in games. I think active and engaging characters are much more entertaining than passive and objectified characters. Which character do people find more interesting: Princess Peach or Princess
Fiona? Even if a female character is relegated to the role of supporting character, she can still be an interesting and engaging personality.

Comment: Re:Cut the Russians Off (Score 3, Insightful) 827

by Dutch Gun (#47775685) Attached to: Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

You don't want China deciding to flex their economic muscles by playing with the bond market next time America invades some random country, do you?

Oh, I don't know. Maybe that would be a nice object less as to why it's not healthy to be buried in so much debt. Or to be policing the entire damned world on our own dime, for that matter.

Comment: Re: Her work (Score 5, Insightful) 1220

I'm a professional game developer and a life-long gamer, so perhaps it's fair to say that I've got as vested an interest in videogames as most. I've got fond memories of many "saving the princess" games, which of course she takes issue with. Is that really worth such outrage?

I'm fine with having our industry challenged from time to time. For example, there are worse things in gaming than a "save the princess" plot device, but let's face it, feminist issue aside, it's a horribly cliched trope that could stand to be re-examined. Even if you don't agree with her, I think she raises some interesting points of discussion. I'm watching some of her videos right now actually, and am actually finding them fairly interesting. A direct quote from her video:

This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember that it's both possible and even necessary to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it's more problematic or pernicious aspects.

It takes a certain moral fortitude to listen to criticism of something you care deeply about. Game developers deal with this all the time when a reviewer writes a scathing review of the game you just spent the last two years of your life working on, or when gamers casually dismiss the problems you've spilled blood and tears to solve. It's really hard to put your ego and indignity aside and ask how you could have improved your product rather than lashing out at the one criticizing your work.

It's not like I'm really expecting the general public to restrain from criticism and outright name calling, but I seriously wish it wouldn't devolve to the level of death threats.

Comment: Re:The federal deficit this year is $550 billion (Score 1) 126

by Dutch Gun (#47773777) Attached to: Indiana University Researchers Get $1 Million Grant To Study Memes

Large government-sponsored programs have a notorious history of exploding far beyond predicted budgetary constraints. We'll see in another few years or so if that prediction, turns out to be accurate. History is on my side, unfortunately.

Even so, I'll go ahead and concede the point. Fine, let's say the new health care program has zero impact on the budget, or perhaps a negligible effect. I should also have not used the phrase "with no regard to how the government is going to pay for it", because obviously that's not true, as the budgetary effects were studied by the CBO. Better?

It's completely besides the point I was making, which is that the fact we've had record deficit spending for many years demonstrates we simply don't have excess money to waste. I don't believe the government's deficit spending is a partisan issue. It's pretty obvious that unless we eventually reign things in, we're going to be in real trouble later down the road. You don't agree?

Comment: Re:The federal deficit this year is $550 billion (Score 2) 126

by Dutch Gun (#47773679) Attached to: Indiana University Researchers Get $1 Million Grant To Study Memes

Did you not even read my post? I'm agreeing with you about the military spending - it's a massive part of the federal budget. I'll even quote myself for your benefit, so you don't have to do all that pesky reading before typing up a reply.

The military budget is out of control. Yes, we live in a dangerous world, but we need to ask the rest of the civilized nations to help share the burden a bit (and this is coming from a somewhat conservative hawk), or perhaps scale back our overseas adventures.

And how exactly is meme investigation "basic research"? I'd really like to know how cutting frivolous grants like this will damage future meme propagation on the internet. I'm perfectly fine with federal dollars being judiciously spent on science which may have a real impact on our society or fundamental technology, or even of our understanding of the universe. This isn't it.

A million dollars is a tiny percentage of our federal budget, but that doesn't mean we should be pissing it away when we don't have a lot of excess money floating around.

Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.