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Comment Awesome if it works (Score 4) 416

If it really does make elections easier for third parties, I'm all for it (especially the Libertarians!). Personally, I'd love to see more parties come to power; our current two-party system is pretty much broken. Hopefully it would reduce or eliminate gridlock caused by representatives voting along party lines, and eliminate representatives put in their positions due to the same voting by the American People. One can dream...

Submission + - Ski lifts can get all cargo traffic off the road (

An anonymous reader writes: These days, we use them almost exclusively to transport skiers and snowboarders up snow slopes, but before the 1940s, aerial ropeways were a common means of cargo transport, not only in mountainous regions but also on flat terrain. An electrically powered aerial ropeway is one of the cheapest and most efficient means of transportation available. Some generate excess energy that can be used to power nearby factories or data centers. An innovative system called RopeCon (not to be confused with a role-playing convention held annually in Finland) can move up to 10,000 tonnes of freight per hour.

Comment Finally (Score 1) 180

I'd have my old connection speed back and hopefully my packet loss issues would be gone. When you live in cheap college apartments with included internet, you really get what you pay for.

If your included internet is by Airwave Networks, be ready to run or open your wallet. Seriously, any latency-critical applications like online games are completely unusable for me.


Submission + - HTC HD2 running Windows Phone 7 like a charm (

An anonymous reader writes: HTC HD2 owners have been able to run Windows Mobile, Android and Linux on their devices so far. Last month, someone was able to show us a video of Windows Phone 7 running on HD2, but this time we are seeing a possible full port of WP7 and it seems to be working quite well. More here —



Submission + - Lamebook Sues Facebook Over Trademark Infringement (

designersdigest writes: Here’s a head scratcher, at first glance at least: Lamebook, a hilarious advertising-supported site that lets Facebook users submit funny status updates, pictures and “other gems” originating from the social network, is apparently suing Facebook over trademark infringement.

Submission + - Income Tax Quashed, Ballmer to Cash in Billions 1

theodp writes: Washington's proposed state income tax not only prompted Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to spend $425,000 of his own money to help crush the measure at the polls, it also inspired Microsoft to launch a FUD campaign aimed at torpedoing the initiative. 'As an employer, we're concerned that I-1098 will make it harder to attract talent and create additional jobs in Washington state,' explained Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith. 'We strongly support public education, but we're concerned by key details in I-1098. This initiative would give Washington one of the top five highest state income tax rates in the country. I-1098 would apply this tax rate to all income, including capital gains and dividends, and would not permit any deductions for charitable contributions.' Nice to see a company take a principled stand, backed by a CEO who's not unafraid to put his money where his company's mouth is, right? Well, maybe not. Just three days after the measure went down in flames, Ballmer said in a statement that he plans to sell up to 75 million of his Microsoft shares by the end of the year to 'gain financial diversification and to assist in tax planning.' Based on Friday's closing price of $26.85, the 75MM shares would be valued at approximately $2 billion. All of which might make a cynic question what was really important to Microsoft — public education, or a $2B state income tax-free payday for its CEO?
Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - Are there Programmable Maps for RPG Economies?

Krennson writes: I've been running various RPG systems for about a decade now, and I invariably take a very data-intense method of modeling the details. It's not uncommon for me to have four or five spreadsheets laid out for a campaign detailing every minor NPC, statistical analysis for generating your 'average' village, etc, etc.

Until now, I've always just used spreadsheets to crunch those numbers. But a new project I want to undertake is modeling a medieval economy; being able to know what the minimum cost of, say, a sack of grain should be, depending on your location on a map.

The problem is, in order to do that, I basically need a programmable map, or possibly a map add-on for spreadsheet software.

What i'm thinking of is a a simple square- or hex- grid map, showing terrain, roads, rivers, farmland and cities. But each 'sector' of the map has the equivalent of, say, ten spreadsheet cells inside that sector, where i can enter ten formulas to calculate things like how far the sector is from the nearest farm, what travel costs are, and what the markup on grain should be.... or calculate other things, like what the response times for the nearest military post is, or how fast messages can propagate over a mountain range....

Are there any types of programmable maps or spreadsheet-map hybrids that could work like that? Or am I cursed to finally break down and learn a programming language so i can model this properly?

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome. -- Dr. Johnson