Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:A Boom in Civilization (Score 2) 227

by Sloppy (#48854533) Attached to: Sid Meier's New Game Is About Starships

May I once again posit that war is not a natural result of being human, but rather one put upon mankind by strong, selfish, sociopaths that profit from it?

It's a natural result of life, apparently. Go look at some pictures of floppy-eared puppies, or fluffy kittens or fish or trees or algae or fungus: awwww, what cute warlike sociopaths. "You're eating my food, competing for my mate, or claiming my turf? Fuck you. DIE!!" Humanity is the only thing I ever heard of, who sometimes isn't sociopathic.

One can hypothesize a space empire without war, but it would require some extreme creativity. If you have an idea for a warless game, that's awesome, but do you really think war is a far-fetched assumption on someone else's part? I know what planet you grew up on, earthling, so quite pretending you're from some other alien background.

Comment: Re:The 3 Laws of Robotics (Score 1) 258

by Sloppy (#48797323) Attached to: AI Experts Sign Open Letter Pledging To Protect Mankind From Machines

There seems to be a lot of confusion over the intent of the second one. Some people think nobody should have graven images, some people only a well-regulated militia is allowed to have them, and some people get caught up in trying to figure out how to weaponize engravings in Dwarf Fortress.

Comment: Stingrays for Everyone! (Score 3, Insightful) 303

by Sloppy (#48749277) Attached to: FBI Says Search Warrants Not Needed To Use "Stingrays" In Public Places

If the cops can do it without getting any exceptional permissions, then it must not be a crime for private citizens to do it, either. Right? Right? (Why is everyone looking at me like I just said something amazingly naive? And WTF is with all the Blade Runner "little people" quotes? I saw that movie and don't remember that many midgets.)

Comment: Re:Not surprising... (Score 1) 278

by Sloppy (#48721579) Attached to: Vinyl's Revival Is Now a Phenomenon On Both Sides of the Atlantic

I very much doubt that the vinyl enthusiast shares the geek's obsession with DRM.

That's because they don't have DRM! Their classic turntable is actually able to play the records they buy!

If they had DRM (i.e. you buy a vinyl record and then there are technical barriers and legal risks to overcome before you're able to get it working) then you expect the situation to create "obsession." The social experience would be a some kind of hackathon, with occasional screetches where all the girls and boys would grimace and hold their hands over their ears. "Eww, that didn't decode right. I thought I had the key, but that wasn't it." The second half of the party begins when you're finally able to play the record, and everyone dances in celebration.

The machine is exposed and celebrated, not hidden.

And that's why it can't have DRM. You're allowed to understand how it works, whether or not you're a "geek" and bother to do so.

Comment: Re:It looks like a friggin video game. (Score 1) 351

by Sloppy (#48666809) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

Jackie Chan is so many forms of awesome that it's not funny. (Well, no, actually.. he's funny too.) And you have provided Yet Another in the long list of ways he is awesome: as an example for why video fidelity is a good thing rather than a bad thing. (Which you'd think would be obvious, but some people don't get it. Until you mention Jackie Chan.)

Comment: Re:It looks like a friggin video game. (Score 4, Insightful) 351

by Sloppy (#48664109) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

There is a difference though, the 24fps frames makes up for the low frame rate with motion blur. If the new digital HFR doesn't have that it will always feel like you're watching a baseball game instead of a swordfight.

Wait, am I watching the sword fight live, or recorded on obsolete media? And does the same go for the baseball game?

You inadvertently put your finger on the truth: that a sword fight should look like a baseball game.

Comment: Diary entry from 2150 (Score 1) 440

by Sloppy (#48610355) Attached to: Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

Told kid about nano-cam dust today. He's only 4 years old, so he didn't know about them yet, and I'm trying to teach him basic hygiene. I explained for that for nearly a a hundred years we have all lived in an environment where other peoples' cameras are always in our homes. We track them in, on our shoes. The AC intake blows them in. The servers the cameras send video too, aren't owned by people who are practicing subterfuge. It's not like they snuck "spy" dust onto our porches in the hopes we'd track them in. It just happens; it's an inevitable consequence of the stuff blowing around everywhere.

My great grandparents complained about it. They thought they had a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes, because nanotech was new. They didn't see the dust, so they didn't know it was there. In the absence of sensual confirmation, the default expectation (at least to the layman) was that it wasn't there. That was naive, but my grandparents didn't work with nanotech or even use consumer models themselves, so perhaps their ignorance could be forgiven. (Just as my own ignorance of hyperspace can perhaps be forgiven, since I'm not a miner.)

My grandparents, though, grew up with the stuff, though it was still a bit expensive, so it wasn't totally ubiquitous yet. By their time, almost everyone at least knew about it, and if in a gathering of any five people you were to say "nobody sees me inside my home," chances were there would have been a few guffaws and someone would likely point out that the statement was likely incorrect. Sometimes the stuff got innocently tracked into your house, and sometimes it was manipulated into getting there, through subterfuge. The law and social norms lagged, though, and people debated privacy a lot.

By the time their children (my parents) grew up, though, it was all over. Everyone knew about nano-cam dust, and unless you did a rad-flash a few minutes earlier, fucking in your own bed was just as public as doing it in Times Square.

And now my kid knows too. It's just something everyone is expected to know about and deal with. If I were to write a story about it, I think I would set the story in the time of my grandparents, back when society was truly conflicted and in the midst of change. I bet those were interesting times.

Comment: Why not ask who are in charge of defining words? (Score 1) 173

by Sloppy (#48602939) Attached to: The GPLv2 Goes To Court

If you were going to ask a "someone" how they meant to define "derived work", you would ask Congress, not the author(s) of one out of a million contracts which happen to make use of that term.

You're right that it's upsetting that (mostly) people who don't really work with copyright would end up answering it, but that's the nature of law, or at least until you start electing[/appointing/etc] authors. (Cynic: or until those people start funding election campaigns.)

It's only after you have determined that something is a derived work, that you go study licenses. Until that point, licenses are irrelevant.

To restore a sense of reality, I think Walt Disney should have a Hardluckland. -- Jack Paar