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Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 2) 54

Less exciting; but sufficiently dense pixels might also make subpixel defects less obnoxious, even if the actual resolution requirements are low enough that multiple physical pixels are driven as a single logical pixel to reduce computational costs or display link bandwidth. And more acceptable defects means fewer scrapped panels.

Comment: Re:because drinking water is so pristine (Score 2) 201

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#47439187) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water
The drugs are often exotic molecules we've cooked up for the purpose; but hormonal birth control exploits the same hormones that would naturally show up, since those are the ones that there are receptors for and that cause the desired changes. The quantity that a dense human population will put out is something quite different; but the chemistry won't be markedly different between humans and other placental mammals.

Comment: Re:Not new, and not shocking. (Score 1) 201

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#47439137) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water
There might be an RO system somewhere that uses gravity and an input reservoir at higher altitude than the output to supply some or all of the pressure; but I don't think that that is anything like the typical configuration. Cleaning up after a leak in zero gravity isn't going to be lots of fun; but everything else should work largely as planned.

Comment: Re:Subject bait (Score 4, Insightful) 235

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#47438915) Attached to: A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System
In the case of SDI the PR might actually be worse than useless (playing mutually-assured-destruction isn't much fun to begin with; but if one or both sides come to believe the hype about a missile defense system things could really go downhill). In the case of 'iron dome', though, it might actually be helpful. Barring fairly substantial increases in rocket construction expertise, or acquisition of something particularly nasty to fill them with, the attacks it is supposed to defeat are only modestly dangerous; but extremely inflammatory.

Given how lousy the alternatives for appearing to be taking action against the rocket menace are (grovelling through every last hidy-hole in Gaza is militarily doable but a PR debacle and unlikely to turn up more than a few bits and pieces of impoverished machine tools, because low-end rockets just aren't that hard to build. Paying Hezbollah a visit might turn up somewhat more interesting stuff; but that hasn't turned out well in the past) a system that postpones or prevents somebody taking the bait and trying them might be quite helpful.

Comment: Re:Idiots (Score 4, Insightful) 139

What the hell they are complaining about now? If court ruled that how Aereo previously defined itself was illegal, then obviously it has to change it. First they win now they complain about it?

As best I can tell, they are whining because they preferred the imaginary world where the lawsuit against Aereo was actually over whether the filthy, disruptive, upstarts shoudl be burned to the ground and have the earth beneath them salted, rather than whether they were more like an antenna rental service or more like a cable company.

Aereo obviously didn't want to be a cable company, hence its ongoing defense; but the tone of the rhetoric against them was never "Yeah, because of a raft of tedious reasons, Aereo ought to be classified as a cable company for regulatory purposes"; but rather a bunch of fire and brimstone nonsense about the signal-stealing piratepocalypse.

Comment: Re:As plain as the googgles on your face (Score 1) 56

by Sloppy (#47427477) Attached to: The Future of Wearables: Standalone, Unobtrusive, and Everywhere

As intrusive as the Google Glass has proven to be, it will only be worse when observation recording tech is more difficult to detect.

I disagree. The exact opposite: when people stop noticing, they will stop caring. It won't be perceived as intrusive anymore, and people will be less annoyed by it.

It's the conspicuousness of the camera in Google Glass, the constant reminder that you might be recorded, that makes most people feel creeped out. For the previous decade leading up to that product, nobody cared about small+cheap camera tech itself. And people walk/drive by fixed-position cameras all the time, and don't give a fuck there either. Peoples's behavior shows that "intrusiveness" happens when a cameras looks like a camera, and I suspect it also has something to do with being face-level, literally "in your face" and you're making eye contact with it, unlike the case with less conspicuous cameras. It was never about privacy; it's some aspect of self-consciousness kind of related to privacy, but a different thing.

You might say "maybe you, but I sure care. Hell yes it's about privacy." Of course you say that. I'm talking about how people behave and the emotions they display. Not their innermost secret thoughts that they are always terrified to express in voting booths or policy decisions, yet are happy to speak of on the Internet.

You know, the Internet, where they don't have a camera in their face making them all self-conscious! The Internet, where instead of a terrifying 1x1 pixel image that makes you think "WTF is that? That's weird! Are you watching me?" you now instead see a bunch of "like buttons" which are obviously for liking things, not getting your browser to send a request to an unrelated tracking server.

In addition, there's a certain inevitability about it all. The cameras have been there a long time, there are more today, and there will be even more tomorrow. You can't do anything about it, except stay at home. So you'll either accept or you'll go insane and get selected out. You'll handle it. (Contrast that to Google Glass, the one small camera out of the hundreds out there, that you actually recognize and is also rare enough that there's little social cost to shunning. With GG you can refuse to accept and also stay within social norms, so GG is different.)

Comment: Re:Bitcoin isn't money but it's still a financial (Score 1) 132

by Sloppy (#47424471) Attached to: Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

Bitcoin's primary purpose is to traffic/launder money and goods.

Objection. Will stipulate that its primary purpose is to traffic. But I call mega-bullshit on its primary or even secondary purpose being to launder, though there might be a way one could use Bitcoin for that.

Comment: Re:I live in Montana. I'm looking forward to it. (Score 0) 384

by Silvrmane (#47418959) Attached to: Blueprints For Taming the Climate Crisis

"Proven Liar" - citation please.

"Paid Shill" - citation please.

The graphs you two are arguing about are apples and oranges. One is a graph of temperature readings, the other is a graph of temperature anomalies. They also cover different time periods, and have different vertical scales. I should also point out that the anomalies graph quite visibly dips downward after the year 2000. Just saying. It cannot be argued that there isn't a 'pause' in the warming. It cannot be argued that temperature co-relates poorly with CO2 levels. What can be argued are the reasons why this is so.

Comment: Re:Law Enforcement has been doing this forever. (Score 4, Interesting) 221

If memory serves, the ostensible logic was that civil rights groups were pawns of International Communism(because clearly only sinister foreign influences could have given the negro the crazy idea that certain aspects of American life were less than ideal) and thus a terrifying internal threat. That, and Hoover just didn't feel alive if he wasn't wiretapping somebody.

Comment: Savings? (Score 2) 149

Even in areas where all the cabling is buried(which definitely isn't all of them) how much do you save by putting some fancy and expensive widget within a couple hundred meters of every customer's location? Aside from the joys of managing a zillion touchy network devices out on the poles in all winds and weathers, you'd better hope that there's no secondary market for such gear or people will be harvesting them faster than you can install them...

Comment: Re:I wrote about this in 1996 in BYTE (Score 1) 586

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#47415295) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software
While I strongly suspect that anyone who thinks that good developers can be made without also being correctly born is either terminally optimistic or a biologist who should quit talking and get his work into wider availability, there is a case to be made for the issue of building tools that allow seriously mediocre not-really-developers to solve the (effectively endless) supply of theoretically uninteresting, but too large to be manually tractable, problems that come up in all kinds of business and other situations. Ideally without setting them loose to produce brutally unmaintainable and incomprehensible messes.

It arguably fails the 'brutally unmaintainable and incomprehensible messes' criterion; but that's basically the function that has allowed either a dubiously sensible pile of Excel hacks, or a shambling Access monstrosity(often several of both) to become a vital part of offices everywhere. They are pretty dreadful; but they allow people with very, very, limited programming knowledge (and essentially zero computer science skill) to bodge through the assorted business-process data schlepping tasks that are too small or mundane to get an actual developer involved with. Not glamorous; but extremely useful and widely used. Even the humble mail merge, commonly treated as an invaluable tool by secretarial workers who explicitly claim to 'not know computers' is valued because it allows somebody without programming knowledge to perform the oh-so-frequently-useful "Iterate through this file and do something sensible with each line" function.

Making more good programmers is hard; but building tools that allow bad programmers to get some of the benefits of programming, ideally with features to keep them from hurting themselves or puking up unmaintainable messes, is a more tractable problem, and a valuable one to solve.

To go with your music analogy, normal humans are effectively excluded from composing and performing music at anything resembling a serious level; but hobby/amateur level musical activity is extremely widespread(and contemporary societies with recorded music and mass media might actually be atypically low, by historical standards, in mass participation in musical culture). Doesn't mean that kiddo's high school rock band doesn't suck, or that kiddo would know 'music theory' if it bit him in the ear; but music-making for recreational and social purposes is very accessible without much specialist knowledge.

Comment: Airplanes/cars/whatever (Score 1) 586

by Enry (#47415075) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Remember when you could build your own airplane, or build your own car, or maybe your own radio set? Well I don't, but you could. Heck, people built their own computers for the longest time (some still do).

But the nature of just about everything is it gets more and more complicated until it's much easier to just get something prebuilt than it is to do it yourself and those who choose to do it themselves are doing it either as a hobby or because of their employer.

I've been writing code for 20 years though I've primarily been a sys admin. There are things that are much more difficult but many of the tools I used in the early 90s (bash for example, or C) are still around and follow much of the same rules as now.

Comment: Re:Classic 100 years from now? (Score 3, Insightful) 138

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#47414547) Attached to: Dwarf Fortress Gets Biggest Update In Years
In terms of replay value and intricacy, 'computer games' are arguably several largely different things that all just happen to be amenable to running on computers and being sold in software boxes:

The trivial analog to simple games is (of course) those games implemented on a computer. Being the trivial case, this is mostly a wiseass cop-out; but it's worth mentioning because computer implementations have made a substantial difference in what games are considered 'solved' and how strongly. Some games are so simple that children can solve them by hand (tic-tac-toe, most notably, since people do actually play it; but it's simple enough that most players eventually solve it and lose interest); but solving checkers, or the partial solutions for chess and go, are exercises that require ingenuity and cunning; but a lot of brute force.

The slightly less trivial analog is extensions of classic games that would be impossible or impractical to fabricate as board games. Mostly 2d games adapted to 3 or more dimensions(or 3d puzzles, like Rubik's cubes adapted to 4 or more dimensions). These usually have some improvised implementation that doesn't need a computer (multiple chess/checkers boards with rules for pieces moving between them in the extra dimension, that sort of thing); but computers make them easier and less knock-over-and-abandon-in-frustration prone.

Then there are computer games that are really, in terms of playability and intricacy, basically team sports, rather than anything analogous to deterministic games of perfect information like chess, checkers, go, etc. Something like Counter-Strike is replayable much like soccer or football are (ignoring the fact that operating systems and Glide/OpenGL/DirectX tend to break backward compatibility more often than 'grass' does, so a single, specific, implementation may not remain playable in the long term without porting, though games with robust port support are in decent shape). There is strategy and teamwork; along with individual expertise in implementation, so most of the 'churn' in these games is either abandonment of older engines in favor of nicer ones, or iterative tweaking of weapons and balance. Specific 'games' in the sense of 'Program X sold under name Y' tend to come and go; but the overall dynamic is similar to regional variations, changes in equipment, occasional rule tweaks, and the like in traditional sports, except that traditional sports tend to treat variants as all being flavors of A Sport, while the trademark and SKU-focused game market tends to treat each variant as a separate game.

Then there are the 'games' that really shade into choose-your-own-adventure books with pictures, or movies with reflex tests: I enjoy these myself, and they are a perfectly valid form of entertainment; but they are about as dissimilar from classic 'games' as something called a 'game' can be. Single-player FPSes, relatively 'closed world' RPGs, that sort of thing. Hardly identical to a film(in all but the worst excesses of the early days of "Wow, we have a whole CD to fill with shitty, overcompressed FMV!" era), the tests of reflexes, RPG party management, or whatever are genuinely part of the experience; but they aren't terribly replayable because, sooner or later, you run up against the fact that there is only so much manually-generated, written, and voice-acted plot to uncover. Likely good for more than one playthrough, unless brutally linear; but each 'branch' costs so much dev and artist time that there aren't going to be too many of them.

There may also be a category for the games (the Civilization series being the most prominent example that comes to mind) that could have been implemented as board games; but would be near insanity if you had to keep track of teeny plastic wheat counters for every single square. If these are single player, they often wear out their welcome sooner or later because the AI opponents just aren't good enough (whether because there just wasn't anything in the budget for 'hire academic computer scientists to do deep analysis of the game and attempt to solve it', which there isn't, or because the game may not be solvable in any remotely computationally tractable way); but against humans these might qualify as both genuinely somewhat novel, and genuinely replayable and intricate, it will be interesting to see.

'Emergent' games (like DF), may or may not be sufficiently mature; but if they do end up standing the test of time and intricate replayability, that would be the most novel of all, since (unlike games that attempt, with varying levels of success, to make an AI do a human's job) these games tend to give the NPCs fairly limited intelligence; but enough room for the world as a whole to just go nuts in interesting ways. That has not historically been possible in games; but it is also not an imitation (however accurate or inaccurate) of a human opponent or opponents, as with 'Chess-but with someone who's always up for a game!' type computer games.

Comment: Re:Is it still braindeadly single-threaded? (Score 1) 138

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#47414121) Attached to: Dwarf Fortress Gets Biggest Update In Years
Why wouldn't it be an explanation? 'Excuse', is a slippery term because it tends to have moral connotations that can lead one into the rather subjective territory of arguing about what somebody does or doesn't have a duty to learn and why; but an 'explanation' is just an account of why something is as it is.

It might be that 'He's an autodidact' isn't the correct explanation in this case; but 'He picked it up on his own, because of his interest, which is why the result shows an idiosyncratic emphasis on what interests him to the exclusion of some accepted best practices.' certainly sounds like a reasonably well formed explanation, whether one finds it excusable or not.

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken

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