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Comment: Re:Easy answers (Score 2) 278

by SirSlud (#46822545) Attached to: 'The Door Problem' of Game Design

For all practical purposes, you're probably within 40 feet of a door that can never be opened. Or let's go the other way - hey, given enough time, you could probably find a crane and a wrecking ball, and destroy the building you're sitting in. Therefore, games without fully destructible environments are frustrating to you, because in real life, you can destroy everything? That's a silly line of reasoning. You're marking the line between what is reasonable and unreasonable that is clearly out of whack with the majority of players who accept that some level of suspension of disbelief is required in order to enjoy a video game. Game design conventions and art design directly addresses the concerns you're laying out in the vast majority of games with visual cues as to which objects are interactive and which are not. Anybody can be obstinate about those conventions, but to argue the point without acknowledging that they are a standard part of game and art design is being utterly disingenuous.

Comment: Re:You don't. (Score 4, Insightful) 167

by Bonker (#46818241) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Can We Create a Culture of Secure Behavior?

An important caveat to this line of thought is that GOOD education DOES work to prevent risk behaviors.

A blanket 'Just Say No' campaign like the one ran by Nancy Reagan in the 1980s did more harm that good because, when a lot of the kids had it force-fed to them for a decade grew up and discovered that marijuana didn't immediately kill your or turn you into a junkie, many of them threw out the entirety of 'Drugs are bad, m'kay?' and went on their merry way destroying their bodies with harsher and harsher drugs.

However, kids who had explained to them what drugs really did to a person's body and which drugs were more addictive and which drugs were less were, and are, less likely to actually do those drugs.

The same is true of sex education. It's been shown with frequently tragic consequences that 'Abstinence Only' education usually makes the teen pregnancy and STD situation worse in places where it's taught. However, more complete sex education that explains pregnancy, STDs, and all the other associated risks that go along with sex causes a notable decline in teen pregancy, STDs, and an actual increase in the average age at which teens start having sex.

I have found the same line of logic to be true with IT security. If you make a point of explaining the whys and wherefores, perhaps going so far as to make an interesting, engaging education program, the people who are your 'risk vectors' decrease, as do the number of security incidents you have to deal with.

No, you never can completely eliminate the problem. However, by offering education that is interesting, complete, and that doesn't treat the recipient as an idiot, you can dramatically reduce the problem.

Comment: How big are we calling 'Macroscopic'? (Score 2) 199

by Bonker (#46661971) Attached to: P vs. NP Problem Linked To the Quantum Nature of the Universe

My understanding is that we have some pretty good examples of 'larger than just a few elementary particles' superposition and observer effects that have been demonstrated.

For example, birds' touted ability to navigate by way of feeling the Earth's magnetic field is apparently enhanced by the observer effect.

Now... cellular level effects are still pretty small, but it's an example of a living organism we can hold in our hands (and pet, if you're a bird person.) learning to use quantum effects in its everyday life.

For an example of superposition in living organisms, one needs to look no further than our abundant flora, where superposition apparently increases the efficiency of photosynthesis, without which our current biosphere would pretty much collapse and we'd all die.

So, I think we're looking at a bell-curve like thing here. The bigger the 'observability' of a phenomenon, the less likely we are to experience it in our lifetimes. My guess is that huge, say, planetary-scale, examples of superposition are quite possible... just so very unlikely that one hasn't happened observably in human history (and probably the history of the universe.)

Comment: V-V-V-Virtual Box! (Score 2) 860

by Bonker (#46408175) Attached to: Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires

So 'Desktop Linux' is just not cutting it for me yet. Almost, but not quite. (Seriously, get USB keyboards working with yer full disk encryption, Debian.)

That said, I'm not going to Windows 8 or even 8.1. Evar. In the rare event that I need to run something that only runs on Win 8, I've got a company supplied Virtual box VM image with a legit corporate licensed copy. (I've booted up to run the latest version of MS Dev Studio less times than I can count on one hand.)

In the slightly more common event that I need to run something that ran fine on WinXP, but won't run on Win7, I have a WinXP Virtual Box image. This has saved my older, but perfectly working USB scanner.

In the much more frequent event that I want to run in a Linux desktop environment for, say, development work, working with iptables, or the like, I've got a couple different Mint Linux Virtual Box images.

About the only thing I don't have an image for is a Hackintosh... but I've got a company-supplied Macbook which also has an array of Virtual Box images hanging around.

Mint is about || yay close to being usable as my main desktop OS, but has a few standout problems. I DO use it as my laptop OS.

Win 8 will NEVER be an issue for me.

Comment: Re:isn't it used on violent prisoners? (Score 1) 326

by SirSlud (#46365739) Attached to: The Science of Solitary Confinement

Which is not at all what the article is saying. It's saying that solitary confinement is being used on many more people than those "some folks." You're not making an argument any more than me saying, "Well, some folks should be killed, so why would we care how many folks are being killed?"

Comment: Re:isn't it used on violent prisoners? (Score 1) 326

by SirSlud (#46365733) Attached to: The Science of Solitary Confinement

We're not talking about "quite a few". We're talking about 80,000 at levels per capita that no other country on earth does. We don't conduct science and research to make ourselves feel fuzzy. We do it to point out that a huge amount of those people are not in for life, and will be released at some point, so why would we be complicit in inflicting mental instability on them given that it would be in our self interest to ensure they're not crazy when then are released? The whole point of raising the alarm on this is that it's being used on people who do not pose imminent physical threats and dangers to others. It's right there in the summary, and the article - nobody is suggesting that solitary confinement isn't required, but it's weapons grade stupid (if a profitable business model for jails) to turn humans into worse humans. We figured out a long time ago that it's more more beneficial for US to rehabilitate those who we can, so if you're okay with using punishments and detainment that cause people do become more of a danger to society when they're let out than when they're let in, you're not even making a case for self interest.

Comment: Native American Hearing and a Loud PC (Score 5, Interesting) 371

by Bonker (#46107741) Attached to: How loud is your primary computer?

I'm partially descended from Cherokee on one side and Choktaw on the other. However, as a computer nerd with a florescent-light tan, I am the WHITEST Native American you will ever meet. (Oddly enough, there are *blonde* native Americans less white than I am.)

I've also been blessed to keep my hearing despite working in or near various data centers and around heavy machinery. I've always been very careful about hearing protection.

I can hear the capacitors in my CRT TVs cycling. I can hear the constant whine of AC power in the walls. If I'm lucky enough to be around older electronics with real vacuum tubes, I can hear them sing or hum, depending on size.

At night, I can hear the nails squeaking in their holes as my house settles. I can hear that damn squirrel scurrying across my roof in the wee hours. Yes, stomach, I know that squirrel is edible, but I am an well-(over)-fed computer programmer and not a nomadic hunter-gatherer. Would you and my ears *please* quit waking me up for that kind of thing?

Accordingly, I'm one of those individuals who can gauge the load on their PC components simply by listening to them. This has become more true as newer motherborards tend to have throttle-able fans. I can still distinguish when my CPU decides to page out to disk even *with* the fans droning out the hard drives, though.

It can be bloody unpleasant at times. For example, I've paged 3 times while writing this post. Why? I'm running VM and a ton of RAM-hungry apps, including Firefox. I twitch every time it happens.

However, it's also saved me countless hours of frustration and lots of cash as I can often identify hardware problems by sound.

I really pissed off my neighbor once doing this. He had an AC mechanic out because his air conditioner kept quitting. Mine was as well... but I could HEAR the transformers humming oddly on the poles. (And not the good kind, where the Autobots defeat the Decepticons)

"This isn't an AC issue. It's a power issue. I've called the power company."

Made the mistake of saying that after he'd just paid for the AC service call.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson