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Comment: Re:Are you saying that criminals don't exist? (Score 1) 123

by NicBenjamin (#49756533) Attached to: 'Prisonized' Neighborhoods Make Recidivism More Likely

I've never liked this argument.

Partly it's because the math is clearly wrong. Canada is roughly 1/4 people whose first language is French. Another quarter were not born there, and a much larger fraction then in the US are Aboriginal (which is what the call the people we'd call "native americans"). Which means that under this theory it should be a dystopian hell-scape of ethnic violence because only half the community is the majority ethnic group. They do fine. Sweden is 14% foreign-born, and has had it's own ethnic minorities for centuries. It's also fine.

But mostly it's because there's no way we can stop being diverse. These people are here. We need to figure out a way to live with them. Ideally one that doesn't involve sending all the black potheads to prison (because their Fourth Amendment rights don;t count, just ask the Appeals Court), while moving all the white potheads to Colorado.

Comment: Re:Played for a few hours and got bored (Score 4, Insightful) 70

by NicBenjamin (#49756413) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

1) You might be surprised. IRL if you're a growing region it's very hard for a city to go bankrupt. IRL Detroit has been in a bad region, dominated by a shrinking industry, and overseen by a state which would rather it went away, since roughly 1970. And we managed to not go bankrupt until very recently.

2) IRL it's very complex to value sprawling cul de sacs of suburban development. When first built they're great because the people who live there are the kind of people who almost never need the government, and have a fairly good income. If they weren't both they wouldn't be able to afford to buy into a suburb. This means a miniscule tax rate is enough to run the city. Then life happens, and 50 years later you've got houses designed to standards nobody wants, owned by people who were too poor to move out, which means that a) they need lots of government services, and b) they can't pay for those services with the miniscule tax rate, leading to c) the City Manager scrambling around to save the city while the long-time residents are convinced that it's still an upper-income enclave. Quite a few very smart people have pointed out that it's much easier to build new suburbs then build a new Brooklyn because of the way the Feds give out grants..

But in a world where you don't have the Feds actively subsidizing suburban growth, and region is growing (aka: a world where the game is fun), then having a core of apartment buildings surrounded by no development makes sense because it cost as lot less per unit to build/maintain a small apartment building then a suburban neighborhood.

3) This is a game. IRL in the US most cities have no control over their schools whatsoever because those are run by an independent school board. That would be no fun. So is forcing the player to plan an expensive education system from the beginning. Which is why no version of SimCity would require you get the entire City within the radius of a High School zone before you could build industrial zones.

4) Again, this is a game. It's no fun if you can't get started building pretty quickly, which means that educated migrants are necessary.

Now if you want a more realistic (ie: much harder) game you can mod it. But unless you mod in some pretty nasty ethnic dynamics you;re never going to make it as hard as real life is for cities like Detroit.

Comment: Re:EA never understood the SimCity Market... (Score 1) 70

by NicBenjamin (#49756319) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

If I may point out Rimworld, it's pretty much DF, but with nicer graphics

Seems less detailed.

One of the charms of Dwarf Fortress is that it's clearly written by someone who is clearly an Aspie, and is thus ridiculously detailed. For example, your dwarfs have to wear socks. Each sock is tracked by the game. Each sock wears out. They replace them as needed with the most expensive sock available, and there are multiple ways to make a sock more valuable (ie: more expensive cloth, dying, decorations, better weaving, etc.). So if you get besieged by goblins who like red socks, you'd better make sure all the doors are locked before you start letting the militia shoot the siege, because if Urist McSuicidal realizes there's a red sock on the map whose owner is dead he'll sprint into the middle of the siege in an attempt to claim it first.

Another of it's charms is actually the ASCII graphics.

Comment: Re:Linux Support Was Why I Bought Skylines (Score 1) 70

by NicBenjamin (#49756231) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

The publisher (Paradox Interactive) has quite a few LINUX Games in their library. Their first hit was Europa Universalis in 2000, so they've been around awhile. The developer is a much smaller, newer company called Colossal Order. Paradox is Swedish, Colossal Order are Finns.

So check out their LINUX games. Mostly they're Paradox's classic grand strategy game, but Colossal Order also has a couple transit system sims, and some fantasy stuff too.

Comment: Re:EA (Score 1) 70

by NicBenjamin (#49756171) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

I liked SC4 more then 2K. I never really could master 2K because I never figured out how to get subway tracks laid underground right. I mostly mastered getting pipes underground, but one subway track would never align with the next, and god help the poor Sim who thought the station was actually connected to either line. IIRC there was also a weird shortcut they took with water pressure. Your water pressure wouldn't be calculated from where you actually built your water towers, it would be calculated from the center of the map. Which worked fine most of the time, but if you had a big city in the middle of the map, and a satellite city down by the waterfront, you'd need to really overbuild your water department or the water would never get from the center of the map to your satellite city.

In 4 I really liked that you could build up a an entire region into a megacity. You build up a city, have it produce lots of extra power, then your next city doesn't have to build a power plant with it's initial budget because it can buy from the original city.

Comment: Re:WSJ is owned by NewsCorp now, right? (Score 4, Interesting) 162

by NicBenjamin (#49755665) Attached to: WSJ Crowdsources Investigation of Hillary Clinton Emails

It's the paper for business-oriented conservatives. Their news sides has always been pretty good (it's not smart to invest on what you want to be true), but the editorial side has never been what non-business conservatives would describe as "sane."

They're always convinced the world would be a paradise of joy if only the big bad government would let businessmen have their way with everyone else. During the Civil Rights movement they were squishy about Dr. King on their best days, they were the ones beating the "FDR is a Commie" drum when he created Social Security, etc.

Comment: EA never understood the SimCity Market... (Score 1) 70

by NicBenjamin (#49755383) Attached to: How Cities: Skylines Beat SimCity At Its Own Game

I loved SimCity. I have never played a multiplayer game in my life unless forced to do so by the game's design.

What I want in a City sim (or almost any other game) is a detailed simulated single-player game. Note "game." I do not want a campaign, objectives (my least favorite thing about Railroad Tycoon II and 3 was that it took me a good 20-30 minutes to figure out how to just play the damn game without any fucking objectives), or even scoring. This is my simulated world Mr. game-runner, I want to pick a somewhat ridiculous objective and achieve it without the pressure of being told I suck because you idiots didn't figure out a way to score my ridiculous ambition.

I do not want a real challenge, because if it was a real fucking challenge I'd be too busy fighting to survive to achieve my ridiculous objective. I do not want to need to be online, because the time I will most want to play your game is when my internet goes out. Since half the point of having my own fucking world is that I don't have to deal with everyone else, I really truly hate the idea of mandatory multiplayer in principle.

Thus the games I have actually enjoyed in the past decade are so are all either a) Paradox games because Paradox still does this kind of thing (note: Paradox is the publisher of Cities), b) sequels to very old series which still keep to the model (ie: I loved Tropico, Civ, Railroad Tycoon, and Simcity 4), or c) extremely unusual Indy games. The last game I really got into was Dwarf Fortress.

Comment: Re:Either of the poles woulc cause this effect (Score 2) 481

by NicBenjamin (#49740107) Attached to: The Brainteaser Elon Musk Asks New SpaceX Engineers

You start a more then a mile north of the South Pole. Specifically, you are 1 mile north of the latitude where there's only 1 mile of West before you're back where you started. You walk one mile South from Point A to Point B, then you walk 1 mile West and you are now back at Point B. 1 Mile North puts you back at Point A.

And I swear I figured that out before I read several dozen comments outlining that scenario already.

Comment: Re:Oh hell no... (Score 5, Interesting) 91

by NicBenjamin (#49734125) Attached to: Tweets To Appear In Google Search Results

From the context of the rest of the conversation I can almost always figure out what a stupid Slashdot comment meant.

OTOH, tweets are virtually impossible for me to parse, because everyone's using lots of pronouns to stay under 140 characters, and "twitter threads" really don't show me "ok this guy was responding to this tweet, which was a response to that tweet, which was a response to something that chick said, so the 'she' in this last tweet is probably that chick..."

For example, every time I go to Fivethirtyeight.com there's a list of tweets the Fivethirtyeight authors are making. I can generally figure out what half of them mean. Today it's up to 3/4 or so, because Enten just sent out a barrage of 6 on the same topic and one of them said "this is the topic I am talking about," rather then the twitter-user's traditional reliance on everyone knowing precisely what they're talking about right now, and therefore not including any context becsides a timestamp and the twitter handles of the people they're interacting with.

This will probably be incredibly useful for a small set of users (ie: twitter addicts who get the lingo; marketers figuring out everything said about their boss, etc.) and be completely useless for damn near anyone else.

Comment: Re:Why did they ditch the TV? (Score 0) 243

by NicBenjamin (#49729931) Attached to: Why Apple Ditched Its Plan To Build a Television

Because they have half a clue ...

Apple doesn't enter a market unless they see the ability to innovate and change it. They aren't always first movers, but they DO bring innovation and of course profits to any segment they enter.

The magic is in saying "NO" to doing things that don't make sense... entering a crowded, unimaginative, razor-thin margin, mature TV market doesn't make sense for Apple. That's why they said no.... No more, no less.

My company declines jobs and new markets all the time. We run some quick numbers and make a decision on whether it makes sense to take on X risk for Y% margin. Nobody calls us "magic".

Apple doesn't enter a market unless they see the potential to charge $1 for a lime that everyone else is selling for 50 cents.

Which only tend to work when the thing everyone else is selling is clearly a POS for 90% of use-cases. Pre-iPod MP3 players had better specs then the iPod, but no good way to deal with the music you had on them. Pre-iPhone smartphones had better specs, but were incredibly bulky and wasted something like have their screen space with a huge keyboard. Don't get me wrong. My favorite smartphone ever was a Treo 650, and the runners-up are Blackberrys, but for the vast majority of the public an all-thouchscreen model with much better software integration is much superior.

Even the first Mac had demonstrably worse specs then most competitors, a terrible OS (the GUI took up lots of RAM, and there was only 128 KB with a KB, so there was no room for memory protection or multitasking); but it also had the only GUI available on a machine that wasn't intended to be a scientific workstation. And for a huge number of people it doesn't matter what features you have in your CLI OS because they can;t figure out how to use the damn thing.

That kind of advantage just doesn't exist with TVs.

Comment: Re:Neglected the Rule of Cool (Score 1) 90

by NicBenjamin (#49729611) Attached to: On the Taxonomy of Sci-Fi Spaceships

That's a very interesting-looking series, sadly I will not have the time to read it before this discussion is archived. But it will go in the to-read list. The concept of humans as race with drawbacks is fascinating to me, because in every SciFi universe I've read we are by definition average and the point of the aliens is to talk about whichever exaggerated human characteristic they're supposed to represent.

And Slashdot will certainly have more stories like this in the future, so we'll be able to talk about it then.

Comment: Re:Sound Money (Score 1) 294

So a private company, canceling the property rights of landowners for a mixture of political reasons and personal greed, is by definition the highest and best use of the river water.

But the government, choosing to do so through a process that includes opportunities for all sides to make their case (ie: "lobbying") and does not involve directly enriching anyone who makes the decisions, would be illegitimate?

The more I hear limited-government activists talk, the less I believe in their connection to reality.

Comment: Re:An intelligence officer? Well he MUST be expert (Score 2) 263

by NicBenjamin (#49721191) Attached to: Book Review: The Terrorists of Iraq

So figuring out what secretive people are doing is really hard, because they're (you know) secretive and shit; therefore we should never trust what anyone who works in the field says about the field?

FYI: actual intelligence officers didn't miss the boat on Iraq's WMD. Their boss was convinced by a con-man telling him what he wanted to hear, and their job is to back up the President. They didn't know 9-11 was going to happen the way it did, but it was pretty clear something was going to be tried by Bin Laden.

Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 528

by NicBenjamin (#49716455) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

You're doing the wrong math.

"No correlation" means you get admitted at the same rate as everyone else because your application is the same as everyone else. Asian Americans make up 20% of Harvard admissions and roughly 6% of the population.

Which means that Harvard is telling the world Asians are 133% more qualified then everyone else. So you just proved that they should admit less Asians, not more, because you showed that Asians are just as qualified rather then showing they're 250% qualified.

Comment: Re:seems kinda pointless (Score 1) 143

You're getting ahead of yourself.

The Courts currently require warrants for this kind of testing. They may in future change their minds, and say it's an extension of non-warrant-requiring fingerprint tests, but that ruling has not happened.

Moreover, as I pointed out (and you completely ignored), if the cops have a coke-using informant whose willing to fake evidence against you they really truly have no need for this test. They can get their warrant, plant their evidence, and fuck you over just based on the guy's word.

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.