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Comment Inflammatory headline? (Score 3, Insightful) 307

Okay, so I decided to do a little digging on the actual op-ed piece. It's available here:

Here is a translation of what he said regarding the moon landings, courtesy of washington post:

“No, we are not saying they never flew up there and just filmed a movie instead. But all these scientific, or perhaps even cultural artifacts are part of an international human heritage, and their disappearance is a great loss for all of us. An investigation would reveal [what happened and where they are].”

This is ALL he says about the moon landings. The slashdot post insinuates, "various murky details surrounding the U.S. moon landings between 1969 and 1972." but the actual piece after translation and in context with the corruption tone of the article looks like an accusation of US officials selling off or stealing material recovered from the moon. Not an accusation that the US never went to the moon. He even explicitly says that's not what he's questioning.

But I guess we gotta get our pitchforks and torches out because it's the evil bad Russia.

Comment Re:Free Speech (Score 5, Insightful) 180

...but that what happens when citizens can't be fucking bothered to pay attention and give the goddamn lobbyists free reign to write the laws!

Literally blaming the victim. Heh.

Look, it's not simply a case of "We just weren't prepared enough for this, didn't take any precautions, and did nothing to stop it." this is systematic rot that has been eating away at our rights for decades. We've fought it all over the place. Our method of rooting it out has itself been rotted away. We live in "democracies" where our votes are meaningless now.

There is no internal solution to this anymore. It's more than evident that our votes don't matter, and anyone voted into office will be bribed or worse. This is no longer a matter of voting the right person in. That doesn't mean 'give up'. It means 'start working outside the system'. You'll know it's effective when the government starts banning whatever method it is you've chosen for changing the system, the media starts demonizing you to destroy any popular/public support, and the intelligence agencies infiltrate your group to destroy it from within.

In fact, we have two prime examples already of this taking place: Occupy Wall Street, and the Tea Party movement. Anyone who thinks we haven't been fighting the blatant corruption in our government hasn't been paying attention. We've been fighting plenty; it's just that we've also been losing.

As I mentioned earlier - this is only going to get worse as time goes on. I'd honestly argue that many western nations are practical powderkegs right now. I don't think it's going to take much more for armed rebellion to start taking place. Another 2008 "recession", a sharp rise in the price of food, a couple more serious scandals like snowden, or CIA torture. People are getting fed up. People are noticing that their votes aren't changing anything.

Pretty soon people are going to start changing things in their own ways - and that isn't going to be pretty. It's going to leave many people wondering if we weren't better off just being the cattle we're being treated as.

Comment Re:Politicans who forget who voted for them... (Score 0) 121

We have more than two political parties in Canada. The choice isn't limited to "Conservatives or Liberals". You can vote for NDP, Green Party, etc.

Good joke, I laughed.

The policies of the NDP, Greens, and Liberals are very similar - so much so that the last election which granted a conservative majority in parliament was drummed up to the liberal vote being split between three parties, where the conservative voting bloc had one. The conservatives won a parliamentary majority with a minority of the popular vote.

So when you say "You can vote NDP, Green, Liberal..." all I see is: "You can vote liberal, liberal, liberal..."; it's honestly not a lot different from a 2-party system. If we wanted a better system, we'd use proportional representation, but we don't and probably never will until, and probably well after, our current government collapses at whatever nebulous point in the future. (As government's are wont to do - call it entropy)

If you asked an average Canadian to explain the difference between those three liberal parties you'd get:
NDP - ???
Green - They're environmentalists who want to legalize pot!
Liberal - ???

Or to get to the point: If you think the Canadian version of democracy was an improvement over the American version (or any other) you are sorely mistaken. It's the same thing with different window dressing. I honestly think only the Swiss have an actual functional democratic system of government in today's world, the rest of us are just faking it.

Comment Re:No they don't (Score 1) 226

Maury, the problems with your math are mostly in your base assumptions - that you presume solar cells in space produces the same amount of power as solar cells on Earth. That is not, in fact, correct. Also incorrect is your Ts value, ("Ts is the loss between the two antennas") for which you give 50% efficiency, but the paper you cite gives 89-96.5%; I looked for other sources and they corroborate ~90%+ transmission+conversion efficiency for rectennas.

Sunlight from the sun has to get through the atmosphere around earth, and the earth has rotation that puts it out of direct sunlight every so many hours. Peak solar energy production is for just a few hours per day. Where you place a transmission loss on a space-based solar array, you do not put a transmission loss on the ground-based solar array. This is essentially the crux of the mistake.

The sun is the transmitter, and the earth's atmosphere is pretty good at deflecting a certain amount of that, especially if water gets involved (clouds, storms). This is a problem that radio/microwave-based transmission avoids, as the atmosphere is more transparent to the beamed radiation than the sunlight reaching the surface of the Earth. A solar cell in orbit will be in sunlight almost permanently, and with nothing between it and the energy source (the sun), there is essentially zero transmission loss.

Comment Re:Such a bad summary (Score 2) 126

Actually, force fields that can hold back air from vacuum (or another atmosphere) while letting spacecraft (or other things, including light) fly out, are a real thing known as plasma windows:

They take a lot of energy to produce, however.

Submission + - Drones and satellites spot lost civilizations in unlikely places-> 1

sciencehabit writes: What do the Sahara desert and the Amazon rainforest have in common? Until recently, archaeologists would have told you they were both inhospitable environments devoid of large-scale human settlements. But they were wrong. Here today at the annual meeting of the AAAS, two researchers explained how remote sensing technology, including satellite imaging and drone flights, is revealing the traces of past civilizations that have been hiding in plain sight.
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:This doesn't sound... sound (Score 1) 328

We just don't have an actual established science of economics yet.

Today's study of economics is like Astrology and its connections with Astronomy 8,000 years ago. You've got a bunch of old men who noticed patterns in the stars and the seasons and could predict things like full moons or eclipses or when to plant crops and when to harvest - it looked like magic to those who didn't understand, and even those who caught the patterns and exploited them never truly understood what they were observing and predicting; and they would create stories and fables and gods and divinity to explain and control. You had to become a priest to learn their secrets, you had to join their secret societies and open brotherhoods and worship their gods to learn, and then you too could profit from the knowledge.

And when someone comes along and says, "Hey, I figured it out! This is how it all actually works!" they are persecuted, because they upset a certain ignorance amongst the population that a select few were able to exploit for their own personal gain.

This is exactly what economics is like today. There are people out there gaming the system because they've noticed or figured out something the rest of us haven't. They've created entire economic ideologies to waylay anyone looking to bring forth actual knowledge, because the pervasive ignorance of economics is profitable for them, and common understanding and knowledge of how it all really works isn't.

Inevitably the control will slip, as it did with astronomy. Whether thanks to technology, or something else. And ten thousand, or twenty thousand, or a hundred thousand years from now there will be people looking back at our economic policies today, chuckling quietly to themselves about how silly, superstitious and primitive we were about a science that's so easy to understand.

Comment Re: I agree, except: (Score 3, Insightful) 390

Nah, you're overthinking it. Episodes 4-6 are about the rebels living on the ragtag fringe of galactic society. Think of what cars tend to look like in the poorer sections of Mexico. Shade tree mechanics and barely running junk. Episodes 1-3 were most of the time centered on the heart of the Republic when not in battle. Shiny, ergonomic, aesthetically pleasing. And when the Sith and the Empire took power the newest tech became blunt instruments of power.

Comment Re:"Just pay extra..." (Score 3, Informative) 473

I have also paid for beta access.
The game is NOT fun. It's a fucking disaster.

First of all, what's good: The visuals, audio, UI, graphics, etc. Everything related to how the game looks and feels is top-notch. It suckers you in that way.
What's bad: The gameplay.

Oh lord the gameplay. In one word: Shallow. It's like a pile of disjointed minigames. Everything is "there" in the sense of a checkmark on a list, but it is not there in the sense of "I actually want to play this."

And the game is monetized out the ass.

For the longwinded bits, read below:

More detail:
Combat: Like your typical "spacesim", AI is easy to kill, and between players - whoever has the biggest most expensive ship is the winner. Skill doesn't enter the picture because ships are not sidegrades, they are direct upgrades. The incompetent player with 1 million credits will always beat the skilled noob in his sidewinder, no exception. The combat brings nothing new to the genre and lacks serious complexity. (They have a good idea with their stealth system, but it's tacked on rather than a core concept in dogfighting like it needs to be) In spite of all these problems, the combat is probably the best/most fleshed out portion of gameplay and the one that can be legitimately fun for awhile.

Mining: In every game I have ever played, mining has been an exercise in tedium. This game is no different. You shoot an asteroid with a laser until it pops out a rock that you scoop up. Repeat ad nauseum.

Money: Get this out of the way quickly, everything you do - mining, combat, missions, trading - earns you next to nothing. To put it into perspective, the most expensive ship in the game was the Anaconda at 150 million credits (after every stage of beta they increased its price, who knows what it'll be post-launch). Your average mission earns you 15,000cr and takes about 5-30 minutes to complete. If you are extremely dedicated you could probably earn ~100,000cr/hr (more is possible with a good traderoute and a lot of cargospace, but this is hard to find now). It'll take a good year of playing multiple hours per day, to afford the most expensive ship. Then the upgrades to that ship will double or triple its cost, at the least. There were comments by Braben (co-creator) [archive link in case reddit deletes the post as they are known to do with touchy subjects] that the game is going to come with a cash shop. Considering the grind and the comment about the cash shop for credits, I can understand why they wanted to get rid of the offline singleplayer: They don't want people modding the game to get what they paid for.

Trading: It's really just hauling goods, and it's rather boring. There is a 15 minute video here which shows almost the entirety of trading gameplay. (Not including hours spent trying to find a decent traderoute) You fly back and forth, earn a few thousand credits for the trouble and that's that. There used to be a trading calculator available on the forums - you downloaded it, it would check the trade good prices wherever you docked and give you a centralized database from everyone else's information which allowed you to pick the best trade routes. People were using it to make boatloads of cash and Frontier, failing to think of a way to counter this tool by making trade interesting, instead banned it.

Exploration: You literally jump into a system and hold down a button for 5 seconds. Your ship "pings" everything nearby and if its newly discovered, it gets added to the exploration catalog and earns you 1,000-10,000cr (depending on number of planets/stars you found and only after returning to a space station). You can also fly close to the stellar object to do a detailed scan - but it takes a long time to fly around a system and the reward is peanuts. Maybe 500cr per planet. It's faster to jump to the next system (of which there are billions) and ping again to discover whatever is close to the star.

Travel/Supercruise: As cool as it is to fly around a star system, it's too time consuming. Moving between space stations in adjacent systems - or even within the same system is a minimum of 5 minutes. See the trading video above. You do it enough times, it rapidly loses its appeal.

Missions: Just basic fetch quests. There's a mission BBS, you either move goods from A to B, or kill something. Payout is, once again, crap. There are no objective markers to point you to where you need to go, either. Get a mission to kill some guy (AI) in your system? You're stuck wandering around for hours to find him. Semi-related to missions are wanted warrants - players and AI can be wanted for crimes, if you kill them you get to collect the bounty. However, you need to dock at a station and turn in the bounty to earn it. It's very common in the bigger battles to have a dozen bounties, only to get killed by some AI (Friendly or not) accidentally ramming you. When that happens you lose every bounty you collected and all that time you spent fighting to earn credits is completely wasted.

Multiplayer: It's primary existence is always-online DRM. For a game that's supposed to be focused around multiplayer it's shocking how piss poor it is. It's difficult to send friend requests, the organization of your friends list is obtuse compared to the slick UI everywhere else. You cannot speak to more than one person at a time (if you have a group of friends, you're best using third-party sofware like mumble), and the text is shoved into a corner where it's often ignored as it shares space with random AI chatter. Should someone you try to talk to actually see your message, it is not made clear to the player how they can actually even respond. There is no efficient way to trade between players (dropping/picking up cargo, time consuming, and it has to be done away from the station). Each solar system is instanced to 32 players max, and the instances are built up in a peer-to-peer network, so your connection is always shaky. It's common for people trying to play together to get put into different instances all the time. Player interaction is essentially non-existent, there is literally no reason to ever work together with someone as nothing offers equal rewards to BOTH players, and finally - due to the size of the player space, you will essentially never run into another player outside the noob systems. (A few tens of thousands of players spread out across billions of stars in the galaxy)

It has become increasingly obvious as time has gone on that Frontier intends to rip off their customers and treat them like glorified money pumps than actual people or players. Everything about this game feels like it was designed with the freemium "skinnerbox" design in mind. There's always that everpresent desire to upgrade your ship for bigger numbers, and the illusion that doing so will make the game more fun than it is right now.

Obviously the normal gameplay has to be almost fun, so it leaves the player wanting just that little bit more to make it fun - and that little bit more will come from the cash shop. Already there is talk of new DLC ships, there are DLC skins that were released for sale while in the beta (at $3-$5 each, one skin applies only to one ship type - so you have to buy multiple times for all your ships to have that one skin. Insane), and it was recently announced that beta players/backers will get a special "pass" to visit sol. There will apparently be other solar systems that are "restricted" this way, and you'll either have to grind for access, or presumably, buy a pass in the cash shop.

Oh and if that isn't enough, there's a stipulation in the EULA that the customer agrees to in-game advertisement, as if the rest of it wasn't enough. There are billboards that fold up/down every time you take off and you have to sit and wait for them for 5-15 seconds every time. No advertisements as yet, but it's obvious where they're planning to put them.

Stay the fuck away from this game.

Comment Re:Even Donations Come with Obligations (Score 1) 473

I predict that if they have free servers that they will be shit, and that you will have to pay a monthly fee for access to a server that doesn't lag you into oblivion. As my internet connection is crap, an online-only game is simply not an option for me at all, so I would be livid if I had backed this kickstarter.

The game uses mostly peer-to-peer hosting. The server likely just does routing for players.

I bought the game; not through the kickstarter either. I made a mistake of buying the game when it was "early access", and I want a refund, but I have no customer rights so that will never happen.

Comment CO2 mining (Score 1) 695

>Below zero of course means mining existing CO2 out of the atmopshere somehow.

Yes. It's too bad there's not an easily farmable organism out there that could take all that CO2 in the atmosphere, and, you know, stick it someplace else. Wouldn't that be a godsend? Instead we spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year collectively buying political advertisements, making documentaries and mockumentaries and contributing more hot air to the atmosphere than anything CO2 would account for. Server farms included. But think of putting all those billions of dollars to work and farming these miracle organisms at $1 a piece (expensive estimate after economies of scale) to just restore the CO2 balance and shut people up. Nah, it's much more fun to play the blame game and tell other people how to live.

Comment Re:Robots? (Score 3, Insightful) 421

You're kidding me right?

A woman working under biohazard 4 conditions, wearing a hermetically sealed suit, working with a patient she KNOWS has ebola and is infectious; gets Ebola herself, and you are seriously trying to play it off like it's no worse than HIV? Acting like a know-it-all expert on infectious diseases and trying to reassure everyone that this isn't going anywhere and isn't dangerous?

Look, I'm not trying to fear-monger here for the sake of it, and I'm certainly no ebola-expert, but trying to reassure everyone that this is just going to blow over with this idiocy about how safe Ebola is and how nobody can catch it unless they fucking lick infected blood when that is increasingly not the case just sets me right off. Even the media has done a complete 180 on their usual fear-mongering. Let's suppose for a moment that this woman did something out of procedure - she didn't clean her suit or something, and she touched it, then rubbed her eyes.

That's not HIV-level infectious. That's influenza/cold-level infectious, and that is extremely worrying, because the CDC seems to be grossly incompetent in this entire situation and I'm beginning to wonder if the corporations involved who have the potential to make literal billions to trillions off Ebola vaccines aren't giving little nudges here and there to maintain a certain level of incompetence in the matter. We aren't even quarantining Africa - the CDC says that wouldn't do anything. Like hell it wouldn't. The first thing we did when SARS was worrying people was to quarantine and shut down air travel, but apparently we're finding out only just now that this didn't work and won't work for Ebola, so let's just spend millions trying to screen for it ineffectively at the airports into our countries? I'm sorry, I'm not buying this. I'm not buying anything the mass media are telling us about this disease anymore. How many times does the mass media have to lie to people before they stop actually trusting them?

Did you know that one of the Ebola strains quite possibly moved through an air gap to cause infection?

We also know that the Filovirus family can easily become airborne:

This virus is spreading into the tens of thousands range in West Africa. That's an immense breeding ground for it to adapt to a new host. We know that Ebola strains can become airborne, and we keep having doctors getting sick with the virus in spite of hefty precautions against it. So why are we assuming it can't be airborne and can't be transmitted during its incubation period? Why are we assuming it has low infectivity when doctors in full protective gear are getting it? When people are literally getting this virus from just touching things that ebola victims have touched? Why is nobody taking precautions in case it IS highly infectious? This isn't some joke of a virus that kills 2% of the people it infects; almost everyone who gets it dies. This isn't something to be jovial and careless around, yet we took more precautions around SARS than anything we're doing with Ebola. It's fucking madness, and I keep seeing people parrot this bullshit that we shouldn't be worried, have nothing to fear if we aren't literally bathing in Ebola-blood like West Africans obviously are, and so on.

No, we DO have something to fear from this - you'd be foolish not to be worried - and I am not satisfied in the least with the way our governments are treating this whole thing. It's almost flippant. I think some serious discussion about this virus getting into western countries uncontrollably needs to seriously start happening. What are you going to do if Ebola ends up in your town? Have you even considered talking about it with your family? With your local community? Is the effort involved in being prepared really worth the risk of not being prepared and having to deal with it by the seat of your pants? Hell, that kind of communication in our communities is something that can help dramatically even if Ebola goes nowhere.

I think these are things people need to start doing. Don't sit back and leave it to the government to take care of it for you. Figure out what you should do, talk to your neighbours and discuss what you think the best way of handling this stuff is. Argue with people online about it and get informed. You don't have to go out buying full-body hazard suits and masks blindly, but having some networks to rely on and work with, having plans to deal with failing services, or losing loved ones, is important. This is a dangerous disease, an infectious disease and something that should quite frankly, be taken more seriously than it is right now.

"What people have been reduced to are mere 3-D representations of their own data." -- Arthur Miller