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Comment: The Hobbit didn't take the material seriously (Score 4, Interesting) 72

by sjbe (#47562757) Attached to: The Hobbit: the Battle of Five Armies Trailer Released

What's so horrible about The Hobbit?

The movies are stretched and it shows. They simply didn't have enough plot or action to fill the time and I got fairly bored at times. There are seemingly endless and mostly pointless action scenes that serve no purpose and frankly aren't all that well done either. The special effects were rushed. The dialog they added is insultingly bad. Etc... While I won't say they are horrible money grab movies on the level of say The Phantom Menace, they could have been a LOT better even if they had just spent more time in the editing room. Basically they knew they would be a commercial success so they really didn't try very hard.

LOTR all had battle scenes that took up half the movies that were too long. Songs were not included and plot from the book cut to make room for action and Hollywood.

The Hobbit is worse regarding the action scenes - the ones in LOTR didn't feel nearly as stretched out. And as for the "songs", there are lyrics but no actual music in the books so any music would be contrived. And frankly NOBODY wanted these movies to be a musical. (If you did then you are the only one) I sure as hell didn't go into them wanting to hear a bunch of "music" and I've read the Lord of the Rings probably close to 20 times. That is not what is the really interesting bit about the books - it's more of an intellectual curiosity than anything else that would have been terrible on the big screen.

Comment: Re:Radicalization (Score 1) 700

by ultranova (#47560233) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Well then, Iranian homosexuals have the same rights as everyone else there: they can avoid gay sex or die. And Jews in Nazi Germany were perfectly equal: after all, they could live if they weren't Jewish.

If you must lie to yourself, shouldn't you still have enough self-respect to use a bit less transparent bullshit?

Comment: Re:Radicalization (Score 1) 700

by ultranova (#47560039) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Israel is sure doing a good job in that area creating more enemies, if that is their intention, the plan is working.

They've spent decades - most of their existence - surrounded by enemies. At this point, an end to the hostilities and siege mentality would be a threat to established powers that be. Just as happened in the US after Cold War, really.

Comment: Re:Bullshit.... (Score 1) 131

by hey! (#47558273) Attached to: A Fictional Compression Metric Moves Into the Real World

It doesn't have to be linear to be useful. It simply has to be able to sort a set of choices into order -- like movie reviews. Nobody thinks a four star movie is "twice as good" as a two star movie, but people generally find the rank ordering of movies by stars useful provided they don't read to much into the rating. In fact the ordering needn't be unique; there can be other equally useful metrics which order the choices in a slightly different way. *Over certain domains of values* minor differences in orderings may not matter very much, especially as your understanding of your future requirements is always somewhat fuzzy (e.g. the future cost of bandwidth or computing power).

The problem with any metric occurs outside those domains; some parameters may have discontinuities in their marginal utility. A parameter's value may be good enough and further improvements yield no benefit; or the parmater's value may be poor enough to disqualify a choice altogether. In such cases such a metric based on continuous functions will objectively misorder choices.

For example Suppose A is fast enough but has poor compression ratios; B is not quite fast enough but has excellent compression ratios. There's really only one viable choice: A; but the metric may order the choices B,A.

On the other hand suppose A has better compression ratios than B; B is faster than A, but A is already so fast that it makes no practical difference. The rational ordering of choices is A,B but the metric might order them B,A.

This kind of thing is always a problem with boiling choices down to a single composite number. You have to understand what goes into that number and how those things relate to your needs. You have to avoid making your decisions on one number alone. But some people *will* fasten on a single number because it makes the job of choosing seem easier than it does. Just don't be one of those people.

Comment: Re: Founders tend to make bad CEOs (Score 1) 163

by sjbe (#47558055) Attached to: How Gygax Lost Control of TSR and D&D

To be fair Steve Jobs didn't make the transition from startup WizKid very well at all... He got kicked out of his company got ten years... And used the time to seriously adjust his attitude toward his workers/managers.

He did better than most. And you will notice that the company did quite badly once they kicked him out and recovered when he got back. No he didn't get everything right but he's one of the rare founders that was able to make the transition. Most do not.

And by all accounts he was still an ass when he came back. Maybe a more polished ass an ass nonetheless. People overlook it because he got good results.

Comment: Bullets will not win this conflict (Score 2) 700

by sjbe (#47558017) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

The people in Gaza are not Israeli citizens.

And yet Israel insists on controlling the territory. They may not get a vote but they ARE Israeli citizens until such time as Israel actually stops trying to control their political processes and truly leaves. Israel conquered the territory, they control what goes in or out and they fairly regularly send their military in. Even the maps show Gaza as a part of Israel. What they have done is to conquer a territory full of people who don't like Israel and never made a secret of that and then treated them badly for a long time. Shocking why things have gone badly.

Since I'm sure you'll mention the naval blockade, So for your information, the blockade was enacted in June 2007, when the Palestinians elected a terrorist organization (Hamas) to lead them, and started firing rockets in to Israel. Btw, right after their election, Hamas eradicated PLO members from the Gaza strip (which were *relatively* moderate muslims), through a series of violent clashes.

Yep, both sides are doing all sorts of evil things to each other. That's what happens in a civil war. Ever consider that a big part of the reason Hamas has such a large voice is because of the decades of stupid decisions by Israel? I totally get that Israel is a bit touchy given that they are surrounded by neighboring nations who have to put it mildly been quite hostile. But this is a conflict that will NEVER be won with bullets or walls. It will be won with cooperation and discussion and genuine caring about others.

Comment: Win hearts and minds (Score 1) 700

by sjbe (#47557833) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

So what do you think should be Israel's response to the constant bombing of their country?

Here's a notion. How about trying to win the hearts and minds of the people who aren't trying to bomb Israel and get them on Israel's side? This conflict will NEVER be won by force of arms unless we countenance genocide. If Israel really wants to have a solution they need to listen to what the Palestinians are saying and actually work out a deal. They need to bring economic prosperity to the region and give it a voice in political matters even though the people there aren't Jewish. If they need to establish separate nation states then do that. Stop moving into contested territories. Stop making Gaza an outdoor prison camp. Kindness might work here. Bullets never will.

The fact that Israel hasn't just wiped the country off the map is perplexing to me. It is usually what happens when a weak country continues to poke at a stronger one.

So you are proposing that the Jews commit genocide? Have you forgotten the Holocaust? If ANYONE would be reluctant to do that I should think it would be the Jewish people.

Comment: Re:Arneson (Score 1) 163

by hey! (#47557795) Attached to: How Gygax Lost Control of TSR and D&D

After Gygax's treatment of Arneson and the way he attempted to attack other games in the roleplaying hobby, I find it hard to feel much sympathy for him.

Well, if you put yourself in his shoes you might well play hardball with other games in the hobby.

D&D as a system wasn't really all special; there were competing systems back in the days he was at TSR which were every bit as enjoyable and arguably easier to play. But D&D had two big things going for it. First, when the three basic manuals for AD&D were published it had by far the best organized and written materials. The Monster Manual was particularly useful. Second it had the network effect: it was the best system to learn to play because everyone else knew how to play it. You could start a campaign at a drop of a hat -- no need to bring everyone up to speed on yet another set of rules.

So put yourself in his position. The future success of D&D is contingent on no other game reaching critical mass. You're completely dependent on D&D, you have no other marketable skills or assets. You have a company with over a hundred employees (which is surely a mistake on your part), and that company has nothing else bringing in cash *but* D&D products. You've made D&D your life work. It's not a situation to bring out the best in people.

Comment: A pointless conflict (Score 1) 700

by sjbe (#47557747) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

You also have to consider that the Palestinian people as a whole are not Hamas, in the same way the Northern Ireland population were not the IRA.

And yet the Palestinians have not rejected Hamas wholesale either. Obviously a large percentage of the Palestinian people supports Hamas and their goals. Some don't but clearly not enough to clear out the radicals willing to use force. The Israelis for their part are just as bad. They keep electing people who support policies that they know are provocative to the Palestinians and they damn well ought to know what the results of those policies will be by this point.

Comment: No innocent governments here (Score 2) 700

by sjbe (#47557707) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Hamas started it and reuses to agree to any proposed cease fire.

Doesn't matter who started it. That's an argument that children make to justify their own bad behavior. There is no innocent party here.

Israel isn't the group calling for the extermination, Hamas is.

Israel has turned Gaza into a large open air prison. Many people in Gaza are innocent of any criminal action and yet they are made to suffer along with the terrorists. Israel will not give any voice in government to anyone who is not Jewish. Israel is not remotely being a fair minded party here. They conquered this territory and haven't done a good job of winning hearts and minds. They aren't going to convince the extremists but they could have convinced the more reasonable people to deal with the extremists. There is no evidence I can see that this was ever tried with any serious intent.

Israel has also offered legitimacy to the Palestinian government in exchange for a cease fire and removing the language in the charter to kill all jews.

Hamas is not the Palestinian government. Neither is Fatah which is the other major political group involved. They are roughly akin to political parties with a percentage of their membership (particularly Hamas) who are radical. There are extremists in the Israeli government too and they keep provoking the Palestinians even when it is clearly not a good idea. Neither side is listening to what the other cares about and neither has been willing to do what it will take to bring peace.

Comment: No innocents here (Score 1) 700

by sjbe (#47557393) Attached to: Gaza's Only Power Plant Knocked Offline

Israel never bombed their own citizens, you probably mean Hamas.

The people living in Gaza are not citizens of Israel? They are for all practical purposes since this is territory controlled by Israel. So in real terms how is this anything other than a civil war? Both sides are bombing each other and neither side is willing to be calm or rational. If you ever needed a better example of why I think organized religion is a terrible thing I certainly cannot find it.

Israeli citizens has all the rights that Americans have.

Tell that to the people living in Gaza. I'm sure they'll agree that their "rights" aren't being trampled on in any way and I'm sure they're fine with being kept in what amounts to a large prison camp with walls and guards.

Comment: Founders tend to make bad CEOs (Score 3, Interesting) 163

by sjbe (#47557261) Attached to: How Gygax Lost Control of TSR and D&D

Why the hell didn't they hire a competent CFO???

It's a good question and more common than you might think. Part of the problem is that bringing in competent outsiders can be uncomfortable for company founders. Gygax clearly had a problem with involving anyone who was not a wargamer but the people who are competent at finance don't overlap heavily with people who are gamers. Plus when things are going well it is easy to think that you can handle it. After all, it's gone well this far right?

One of the big challenges in growing a company is that the skill sets for founding a company and the skill sets for running it when it gets larger overlap far less than most people think. For every Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos there are thousands of people who simply cannot make the transition from small company founder to big company manager. The founders of Google were actually smart enough to bring in some outside management relatively early because they knew they didn't really have the skillset at the time to manage a company with a stratospheric growth rate. It would be like hiring a guy who has never managed a network larger than 10 computers to suddenly take charge of Amazon's data warehouses. The skills needed are just on a completely different level.

Comment: Stock warrants (Score 1) 163

by sjbe (#47556941) Attached to: How Gygax Lost Control of TSR and D&D

But if Gygax already controlled 51.1%, it doesn't matter how many shares they buy; unless Gygax sold some of his own, they should never have more than 48.9% and thus never have been in a position to oust him.

What you are overlooking is treasury stock and stock warrants. Treasury stock is stock owned by the company itself (often through buybacks) and most companies have some. I'm guessing the options held by the Blume family were in the form of warrants to buy treasury stock (or something very similar). A warrant is a form of an option. When a stock warrant is issued shares for that warrant are created but held by the company until the option is exercised. This means that the shares already existed and were owned by TSR but the Blumes had the right (but not the obligation ) to buy them at a fixed price. Warrants are dilutive so while Gygax held a majority of outstanding shares he did not own a majority of issued shares. Gygax's majority was contingent upon those share not getting exercised. When Gygax declined to buy the shares (he declined his first right of refusal) then they could be exercised and sold and at that point he was no longer a majority shareholder.

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