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Comment Re:Vacuum tubes handle EMP's better (Score 1) 64

I'm getting quite fed up of this myth. Solid state electronics are _momentarily_ disrupted by strong EMP, volatile and some non-volatile memory is wiped, so yes in a mission-critical situation they're not always suitable but capacitors and resistors and transistors all work just fine after the EMP has passed (seconds at most). I witnessed an experiment a few years ago where a strong but highly-localised EMP was directed onto a running consumer PC (windows 95 era). The computer predictably shut down, the CRT monitor had resetted to factory settings but otherwise worked just fine. The PC wouldn't boot because the BIOS had beed completely erased along with HDD firmware and the like, but we transplanted the CPU into a fresh machine and it worked just fine. Anything that doesn't rely on firmware or settings or OS stored on solid state (or magnetic) memory will likely function perfectly after (if not during) an EMP. As a simple example, an EMP would wipe all your gameboy/atari 2600 cartridges but the console hardware would still be working. I'm not trying to downplay the continued-yet-widely-unknown usefulness of vacuum tubes, its just this misconception about EMPs really annoys me sometimes.

Comment Re:This is how cubemap reflections are made in eve (Score 2) 37

As someone who 100%'ed JC2 (well, 99.95%, which was the best you could do because of a bug) I beg to differ. The sky and terrain on JC2 looked amazing and indeed rival modern games including GTA5, but the extra detail and variety and sheer amount of stuff going on in each and every scene in GTA 5 make it a massively prettier game, even if each individual element is not much more detailed then any other recent large open world game. The reflections and water in GTA5 are way ahead of JC2. Never mind that GTA5 is far more GPU usage efficient, yes the PC version of JC2 on max setting might look better than the PS3 version of GTA5 but that's hardly a fair comparison. Infact the GTA5 PC version has extensive GFX tweakability even for a PC game, and to run it om even above-average settings requires a top tier card and more VRAM than I care to speculate. In terms of world size, have you heard of Oblivion? JC2 is nothing, yes the world map may be physically huge but its so empty and unvaried compared to (admittedly newer) other games. In terms of explorability and variety I'd say Far Cry 4 packed in way more stuff to explore and discover and more variety than JC2 in a much smaller map.

Comment Where can I find more? (Score 2) 37

I am not a programmer, I do not work in the IT business, but I find this kind of stuff incredibly fascinating, its a major reason I still come here. So much so that I remember very clearly a particular article from a few months ago about auto-generating dungeons. Where can I find more?

Comment Re:Countries don't have friends. They have interes (Score 2) 213

You're all defending the spying operations targeted at the leaders of foreign allies, but nobody really cares about that. Merkel knew full well she was being spied on simply because she was also spying, I see no problem here. We're all outraged about the spying targeted at the working public for relatively minor (compared to international relations) crimes, especially by the citizens' own government. Yes there's a 'slippery slope' arguement, but we can't realistically stop all spying, so lets focus on the particular type of spying that we really care about stopping. The NSA spying on Angela Merkel's professional dealings isn't that.

Comment So what? (Score 1) 179

So the duration is 12 days longer than the average, so what? 20-30 days is usual across all the industries and sectors (private and public) that I have worked in. The far more interesting story is the 80% increase in the average in just 5 years. I suspect some form of selection bias (people with long interview processes might be reluctant to fill out a survey afterwards but this effect decreased over time as their sample size increased, or something) but it would be interesting to see their raw data anyway.

Comment Re:This policy is ridiculous (Score 1) 290

Yep. I cannot have my account under my real name because I sometimes work with children and young offenders who know my name, it would be quite annoying if they could all find me easily on facebook, even though I have all the privacy settings (good one!) turned up to max. If facebook turns round and says I can't use that pseudonym anymore I'll just delete everything and move to google+ or something. I suspect a lot of people would do the same.

Submission + - School lunch program scans student thumbprints for 'tracking purposes' (

schwit1 writes: A Pennsylvania school district is scanning students' thumbprints, tracking all of their lunch purchases, and turning the data over to the federal government.

The Hazleton Area School District recently announced it would be providing free meals to all students, regardless of need. The move comes after the federal government began incentivizing school districts to provide more meals to more students.

As The Citizens' Voice reports:

While it would seem that providing all children with lunch would cost districts more, the pilot federal initiative turns that assumption on its ear. The initiative encourages school districts to move toward full participation by providing districts with reimbursements that will in fact absorb the cost of providing lunch to students of all income levels, whether they walk to school — or if a chauffeur drives them.

"We will at least break even, if not come out ahead because of federal reimbursement," according to district superintendent Craig Butler. The conclusion comes after the Hazleton district purchased biometric software to track students who receive free or reduced-cost lunches.

Comment Re:The fundamental problem is wealth redistributio (Score 1) 117

From a rich person to a bank? How is that redistribution? If the bank gave it all away, to charity, to its poorer customers, its poorer employees, or even just threw it out the window one day, I'd be all for them taking the money from the rich guy and so would most people I'd wager, stealing or not. In reality it will flow into the pockets of other rich guys, that is not redistribution.

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang