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Comment: Re:Bullshit.... (Score 1) 133

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:Arneson (Score 1) 164

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: Nope. Need 250 plus margin on mountains. (Score 1) 117

But 200 miles certainly covers any and all local in-town and in-area travel possibilities, and nearly everything but very long distance travel.

Nope. You need 250 plus a safety margin - on mountains for part of the trip.

In my case that's half a commute between my Silicon Valley townhouse and my edge-of-Nevada ranch. But that's virtually the same trip as between Silicon Valley / San Francisco Bay Area and many weekend vacation spots: Lake Tahoe ski resorts, Reno gambling, gold country camping, etc.

Make a car that can do 30-mile-one-way commute efficiently and has this 250-and-chage range, and a Northern Californian who works near the coast and blows off steam near the CA/NV interface only needs ONE vehicle. (So it takes four to six hours to charge when you get there and when you get back - so what? It'll be parked longer than that anyhow.) Less and he/she needs TWO, with all the environmental impact of building both. Further, the long-range one is a gas hog by comparison.

Comment: Yes it does. But... (Score 1) 117

Does a loaded F-150 even get 500 miles on a single tank of gas?

Yes, it does.

But it's a 37 galon tank.

I love everything about my F-150 Lariet EXCEPT the gas mileage (and the refusal to pan the weather map except when the vehicle is stopped). Unfortunately, when you have to haul several tons up and down a mountain or across an unpaved desert from time to time, it's hard to avoid a tradeoff in that department.

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirty Six

Journal by mcgrew

Drills
I got woke up early again, about five thirty this time. Fire in passengers quarters number forty seven. God damned drills, but I had to get up and inspect forty seven anyway. I put on a robe and trudged down there.
Yep, just a stupid drill. I noticed that Tammy was in the commons with the German woman as I walked past on my way back home. It was still early enough that I could still get another hour's sleep or so.

Comment: Re:Spruce Goose (Score 1) 85

by hey! (#47550163) Attached to: World's Largest Amphibious Aircraft Goes Into Production In China

Different requirements drive different designs. Before WW2 seaplanes were common because of the lack of runways. After WW2 airports proliferated, and seaplanes couldn't keep up with technical advances due to the compromises involved in allowing them to land and take off from water. But that doesn't mean there aren't applications for aircraft with a flying boat's capabilities, it just means there isn't enough of a market in places like the US to support an industry. Even so, here in North America there are some 70 year-old WW2 Catalinas being used in aerial firefighting. China is a vast country which is prone to many kinds of natural disasters that could make airlifting in supplies difficult, so they may see potential applications we don't.

It's also interesting to note that seaplanes were highly useful in the pacific theater of WW2, and there hasn't been a protracted struggle for sea control *since* WW2. Also, China is a country with no operational aircraft carriers; aside from its training ship the Liaoning, it has a handful of amphibious assault ships that can carry a few helicopters. The US by contrast has ten supercarriers and nine amphibious assault ships that dwarf the aircraft carriers of WW2. The technology and expertise to run a carrier fleet like America's would take many years for China to develop. It's conceivable that the manufacturers imagine a military market for aircraft like this in the interim.

Comment: Re:You are one ignorant jackass (Score 1) 211

by mcgrew (#47549375) Attached to: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

You, sir, are an abusive moron who is obviously not intelligent enough to realize that the Mars rovers are spinoffs from Apollo. Were it not for Apollo there would be no Hubble, no Martian robots, no ISS, none of the space exploration done today. Obviously unlike you, I remember Sputnik. We can thank the Russians for Apollo.

Now crawl back to 4chan where flamebait like yours is welcome. Where in the hell are the moderators?

Comment: Re:Where were you when the Eagle landed? (Score 1) 211

by mcgrew (#47543305) Attached to: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Turns 45

I was working at Disney World when the first shuttle took off, and saw every shuttle launch before Challenger without a TV. One was a night launch I saw from my mom's house in Tampa. We drove to the cape to watch one, man that thing is LOUD.

The first one I not only didn't see firsthand was Challenger; I missed that launch completely. I was in Illinois looking for work (we'd just had our first kid and moved back to be close to family and besides, Florida is a shitty place to live).

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