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Comment: Re:Obligatory (Score 1) 147

by Mal-2 (#47927715) Attached to: I think next winter will be:

Average winter temperature for St. Louis since 1994 has been 33.7 degrees. The deviation from which has been no more than 6 degrees.

A deviation of six degrees when you're hovering around freezing has an enormous impact on the conditions, particularly driving conditions. It doesn't matter so much if you're fluctuating around a point well above or well below freezing.

Comment: Re:hope for improvements (Score 1) 329

by Mal-2 (#47912621) Attached to: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

I get 30+ fps on an E350 machine with the integrated AMD GPU, 8 GB of RAM. I get upwards of 120 fps and turn on the limiter on my 6-core Phenom II, with a GeForce 9500.

The exception is when I'm near a farm. All those animals really slow down the game. Anything over about 200 nearby mobs seems to have a significant impact, though the degradation is gradual on the big machine and more like a cliff on the E350.

Comment: Re: I can simply ignore all health and diet advice (Score 1) 291

by Mal-2 (#47885301) Attached to: Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

I occasionally smoke tobacco to help ward off headaches. It's a temporary effect (maybe 30 to 45 minutes) but it happens quickly, and gives other drugs a chance to kick in. I only need a quarter of a cigarette to achieve this effect, because I have essentially no tolerance to nicotine. It will take me a week or two to finish one cigarette, which I quench with water and store in a jar.

I asked a friend of mine who is an emergency room doctor what the health risks associated with this are, and he said there are essentially none. So long as you don't abuse the body enough to overwhelm its repair mechanisms, there is no lasting damage. (Actually he said there is one risk -- I might burn my fingers.)

Comment: Re:Helium? (Score 1) 296

by Mal-2 (#47870029) Attached to: WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

Methane is still a large improvement over air or nitrogen, however.

Air is, to a rough approximation, 80% diatomic nitrogen and 20% diatomic oxygen -- or molecular masses of 28 and 32, respectively. The average molecular mass of air is then about 28.8. (You can quibble about the numbers but this is close enough to make the point.)

Methane -- CH4 -- has a molecular mass of 16. While it's quite a bit higher than helium (molecular mass of 4), it is still a lifting gas. In fact, one night over drinks, an engineer friend and I decided to do some back-of-the-napkin calculations based on an absurd idea I came up with. I wanted to know if it would be possible to lift a cow by trapping its own emitted methane, and if so, how long it would take. It turned out our answer was somewhere on the order of ten years.

Ammonia -- NH3 -- would weigh in at a molecular mass of 17. Unfortunately, it tends to be horribly corrosive in a lot of situations.

Comment: Server-side vs. client-side (Score 5, Insightful) 368

by Mal-2 (#47869911) Attached to: Report: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Studio For $2bn+

Another issue is that enabling server-side mods means players don't have to buy anything at all. I didn't have to pay for the mods, but even if I did, me paying once would be far cheaper than players having to buy them individually.

I had all sorts of things on my server -- giants, creepers started fires, skeleton arrows could blind you, spiders could poison you, zombies could make you hungry and/or cause the Wither effect, nearby explosions would cause you to become dizzy, there were "space zombies" with glass helmets and 5x the health wandering around (in the Nether too). Monsters would target you from 27 blocks away rather than 16. There were Elementals, invisible monsters, and flying carpets. I also nerfed the enchantments to reduce the power differences between well-equipped and just-starting-out players. That way I didn't have to crank the difficulty up quite as high, and the n00bs could live a little longer. There were shops, and there was an economy. We had mcMMO. We had trading posts stocked with villagers. We had minecarts on the backs of bats, so you could ride in a random aerial pattern if you felt like it. We had bouncy blocks that would catapult you into the air. I added drops (for example, blazes would drop quartz, and magma cubes could drop regular slimeballs). One of my admins made uncraftable blocks such as circle stone and packed ice expensive but available through stores.

The effect of any one of these mods was minor, but taken as a sum, they made up an environment unlike any other Minecraft server. What was the player required to do to enable all of these changes? Absolutely nothing. Just sign on and play.

This is anathema to the DLC business model. Therefore, it can't be monetized by the company producing the game. Mojang was OK with that. (I wasn't running Pay-To-Win.) Microsoft most likely won't be.

Comment: Numbers Stations (Score 1) 448

by Mal-2 (#47840191) Attached to: Could Tech Have Stopped ISIS From Using Our Own Heavy Weapons Against Us?

Maybe this is what numbers stations are for? It's Russians handing out activation codes to their (or our) weapons!

No, I'm not suggesting this is actually true, but issuing keys that have to be periodically entered to keep a weapon active makes a degree of sense. A stolen weapon won't immediately deactivate, nor will those of an ally who turns coat, but come the next update period, the key issued is one that works for everyone except the people you want to lock out.

Of course, governments don't REALLY want to do this, or it will quickly be pointed out that insurgents/terrorists/freedom fighters are continuing to use weapons that could have been deactivated.

Comment: Re:Known For 50 Years (Score 1) 58

by Mal-2 (#47840027) Attached to: Music Training's Cognitive Benefits Could Help "At-Risk" Students

Unfortunately though, I can report that among professional musicians, drugs (legal or not) are an occupational hazard. I know it's far from the only profession where this is the case, but keeping out of trouble in school does not always correlate to keeping out of the same kind of trouble afterward.

The devil finds work for idle circuits to do.