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Comment: Re:Not much different than the fire starting laser (Score 1) 179

The laws of war generally oppose weapons intentionally intended to maim rather than kill. Mostly dates to popular revulsion around the WW1 era over weapons designed to inflict nonlethal but gruesome casualties to hobble the other side by flooding their hospitals and supply chains. As a result, countries agreed to a ban on various chemical weapons, expanding bullets, weapons designed to blind people, etc.

Comment: Re:Linux, cryptography, HTML and JavaScript. (Score 4, Informative) 139

by Trepidity (#47892971) Attached to: Harvard's CompSci Intro Course Boasts Record-Breaking Enrollment

It seems to be structured as kind of an intro to programming, which is one way CS101 classes (in Harvard terminology, CS50) are structured. Not really an intro to CS the discipline, but a broad intro to computers/programming in general for people who may or may not go into CS. Traditionally MIT took the opposite approach, but many schools took this approach.

Fwiw, you can find the 2013 version of the curriculum here (it seems to have been also co-offered as a MOOC). It does seem a bit like a grab-bag of "random stuff in computers".

Comment: more a reflection of what Harvard decides (Score 4, Insightful) 139

by Trepidity (#47892937) Attached to: Harvard's CompSci Intro Course Boasts Record-Breaking Enrollment

Harvard gets far, far more applicants in every area than they can possibly accept to their relatively small student body. So shifts among disciplines and interests almost entirely reflect decisions on the part of Harvard admissions policies. They don't necessarily reflect shifts in either broader society or even the subset of society that applies to Harvard. It's possible they do, but it's also possible Harvard explicitly decided to accept more CS applicants for various reasons.

Comment: Re:True North? (Score 3, Informative) 260

by Trepidity (#47853681) Attached to: Tesla Plans To Power Its Gigafactory With Renewables Alone

My guess, without having any particular knowledge, is that the factory will have some kind of internal grid system (fairly common), and aligning the factory with a compass direction means you can easily convert between internal coordinates and lat/lon GPS coordinates. Of course assuming you aren't converting by hand, it's not really hard to convert even if the factory were not axis-aligned.

I could be way off, but I can't think of another way that statement could make sense.

+ - Lara Croft explores her players through data mining

Submitted by jtogel
jtogel (840879) writes "Whenever you play a game of Tomb Raider: Underworld, a comprehensive record of your playing activities is collected on servers at Square Enix. Pretty much everything is tracked: from number of deaths, causes of death, requests for help, total and relative play time and rewards collected. Researchers at the University of Bonn, Fraunhofer IAIS and Northeastern University have mined this data to identify how playing behavior evolves throughout the entire game.
Using unsupervised behavioral clustering algorithms on gameplay data from 62,000 players, they identified six archetypes that both offered explanatory strength and representation value difference. Confirming earlier work that clustered players into Runners, Pacifists, Solvers and Veterans, this research found consistent spread of behavior at all levels of the game except when the design of a level enforced defined play attitudes. What’s more, playing styles vary and evolve as you play the game. This research helps game designers identify how players change from one type of behavior to the other, for example move from novice to expert, or from a non-paying user to become a paying user. (So that they can put all their effort into the ones that will eventually pay?)"

Comment: Re:tax by transaction (Score 1) 316

by Trepidity (#47745779) Attached to: For Microsoft, $93B Abroad Means Avoiding $30B Tax Hit

There's no consistent US/EU difference on that. Some states in the U.S. apply full sales tax to groceries (Alabama, Hawaii, Kansas, etc.), some apply a reduced tax (Georgia, Illinois, etc.), and some exempt groceries entirely (California, Texas, etc.). The same goes in the EU with VAT: some apply the full rate (Denmark), others apply a reduced rate (Belgium, France, etc.), and some exempt groceries entirely (UK, Malta).

Comment: Re:Waaah. (Score 1) 338

by Trepidity (#47735667) Attached to: New EU Rules Will Limit Vacuum Cleaners To 1600W

I do think kettles are getting more common in the U.S., but in the '90s they were almost unknown. Another factor imo is that microwaves have been ubiquitous in American kitchens for decades, and are commonly used to heat water, so there's already a common alternative to the stove. They're not a great option for boiling water, but they're a common way (in the U.S.) of making near-boiling water for brewing tea or making ramen.

Going the speed of light is bad for your age.

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